I feel like everyone is moving to the country to have a mini-homestead these days! While we considered buying a house with land in the country when we were house-shopping two years ago, here’s why we ended up in our inner-ring suburban neighborhood instead.
1. We live close to everything. Our church, Catholic school, public schools, and parks are all less than two blocks away. Shops, restaurants, the library, and grocery stores are all less than two miles away. Living within walking distance of our church is my favorite part of all. People recognize us as “the walkers” and it gives us something to talk about. Plus, we can hear the church bells when our windows are open. We’re living the dream!
2. We have easy access to the city, including downtown and Forest Park. Forest Park is one of our favorite places to go and houses what I consider most of St. Louis’ finest. Because we live nearby (and within biking distance), we can visit more frequently without it turning into a huge trip.
3. Walking and biking are part of our lives. It’s much easier for me to set off on foot to a destination than it is to motivate myself to go on a “pointless” walk every day. I like having that exercise built into our weeks.
4. We could actually be a one-car family someday. This is a goal Gavin and I have been toying with since we were dating, and while the time isn’t right for us now, it’s something we could actually achieve living where we do. If we lived in a rural area, it would be a never, instead of a maybe.
5. Our neighborhood is diverse and we like it that way. Should we be blessed with children, we think it is important for them to grow up surrounded by all kinds of people. Plus it just means I can do things like shop at ethnic grocery stores for specialty ingredients and that we have authentic food from around the globe nearby.
6. Our small yard is enough work. Although we only have 1/8 of an acre, Gavin and I both feel like we spend quite enough time working on our yard. While Gavin can mow the grass quickly, we have a lot of beds and want to tear out most of our grass to create even more. I can’t imagine having a larger yard that needed even more work.
7. I like old houses, at least most of the time. While I don’t enjoy our old house when it seems like everything needs fixing, there are also times where I just love everything about it. There’s a lot to live: the tiled bathroom, the wood floors, the endless molding, the tiny but beautiful closets, the plaster walls. Plus, it keeps us humble to live like people did 75 years ago.
1. How long have you lived in your current house?
We’ve lived in our current house for about 2.5 years. We rented when we first moved to St. Louis so we could a) save for a larger down payment and b) make sure we chose a house in the right place! We chose the right location anyway though, because we bought a house four blocks from the duplex we were renting. I often feel like our house is a huge time-, energy-, and money-suck, but I really do love owning our own home.
2. How do you find out about news and events?
That would be the embarrassing answer of: Facebook, blogs, or my husband. I don’t even have coworkers to overhear things from anymore because I work from home now. In high school we had to watch the news for my government class, but I honestly just don’t like watching the news.
3. Would you be able to make change for a twenty right now? For a dollar?
Maaaaaaybe. Many thanks to my mom, for teaching me to give a little change (like $4.02 when the total is $3.77) to get less change. And thereby confusing every cashier I’ve ever interacted with. And reducing the number of small bills and coins I carry around with me.
4. What’s the craziest food you’ve ever eaten?
The craziest food I know I have eaten is probably beef tongue. Not very crazy. We do have a beef heart in our chest freezer though, which I think would be crazier if we ever eat it.
But I probably ate some weird stuff in China without knowing it. Definitely some stuff I wished I could spit out, like a strange red gelatinous meaty substance.
5. Which of the commonly removed parts have you had removed?
I got my tonsils and adenoids out when I was four because I snored like a trucker and had constant ear infections even on my fourth set of ear tubes. Since then, I’ve had maybe two ear infections, so it seems to have worked. Also I was young enough that I don’t remember any of the recovery, just changing into the hospital pajamas, going under in the operating room, and eating a lot of popsicles and noodles afterwards.
I also got my wisdom teeth out in college, which was very un-fun. All soft foods are basically sweet foods, and I did not like eating mostly sweet foods (plus mashed potatoes) for two days.
6. What’s your favorite sport to watch on TV?
None of them?
I like watching some Olympic events like gymnastics and synchronized swimming, but I still don’t go out of my way to watch them. I also surprising enjoy watching team handball. But really, I would be perfectly happy if I could never watch a sporting event again for the rest of my life.
I’ve been in a knitting lull lately, which happens to me every couple of months. I’ve learned to just ride it out and know that I’ll be back to knitting constantly soon enough. I usually pick up something quick because holding a finished item is what keeps me knitting. Normally I choose a dishcloth or hat, but this time I went with some really old, super-bulky yarn that has been in my stash forever. (Seriously, I bought this when I was about twelve.) I’m knitting a little basket…for what, I’m not sure yet, but I think it could look cool on my desk or in our guest room.
This week is the first week I’ve harvested anything from the yard other than herbs! Along with snagging the first snap peas from our garden, I picked a ton of mulberries from the trees in and around our yard. Plus my brother is in town this week and we went strawberry picking yesterday morning. My uncle shared some rhubarb with my parents, who passed some along to me, and I picked up our CSA yesterday. Our fridge looks crazy but I’m thrilled with the bounty we already have.
While I was picking those mulberries, I was standing on a five-gallon bucket. It’s the easiest stepstool to carry around into the schoolyard behind our house plus mulberry juice gets on everything so I don’t like to use anything from inside the house.
The bad part of using a bucket as a stepstool is that it’s not the sturdiest thing ever…and I totally fell off of it and scraped my leg on the bucket on the way down. I just got right back on the bucket and kept picking though, so it looks a lot worse than it feels.
My favorite (and only) brother-in-law, Clayton, came over last night to help us mulch our yard. (The last project he helped with was staining our deck, so can I just say I’m amazed he EVER came back?) After spreading one car-load of mulch and warming up some leftovers for Clayton, I had to leave to go to a youth group meeting and I came home to an almost fully mulched yard, the trash (including about thirty brush bundles) already at the curb, and two tired and sweaty men asking me to scoop them some ice cream. I don’t know about you, but I call that a win.