Seeking the Simple Life and Penpals

The sun is rising, splaying pink and metallic colors across the mountains and along sides of structures. I am so thankful to be in the country. I watch the horse across the street from my office window run and jump, darting through trees, and landing in a swirl of dust near his food bowl as his owner comes out with hay.

Maryjane (my six year old granddaughter) had her first riding lesson. She at first did not want to go because she found that her cowgirl boots were too small. She perked up the minute she saw the horses and she fell in love with the bubbly, blond instructor, Miss Britney. These were great horses; Maryjane clutched one large horse in a hug and he did not budge. Maryjane easily learned how to guide the horse, as her little sister, Ayla, blew kisses to all of the horses. These are country girls.

At Grandpa’s house Saturday, we celebrated his 92nd birthday. He had to take off work to do so. He is forever at his drawing board, on the phone, or meeting with clients. He sipped his coffee as he told us stories of working on a dairy farm, milking eighty head, or helping the vets bring down the draft horses for treatment. He once rode round-up moving horses from Sterling to Estes Park, 146 miles. His stories about being a cowboy, the rodeo circuit, World War Two, working on the sugar beet farm for his uncle during the Depression, and working at a dairy come with a final relief that he moved to the city.

We are lucky to be modern farmers and homesteaders. I am able to romanticize it a bit. It doesn’t hold the same urgency of survival as it did in Grandpa’s time.

Doug and I chat in the car on the way home about our ideas and goals. We have done this before so we know what to expect and how to do things better this time. We want to live simply. So simply (and prepared enough) that if the power were to go out or a storm were to rage, we would be snug in our home with plenty of light, warmth, water, and food.

Simple enough that our electric bill stays lower than if we purchased solar. The clothes being cleaned with a washer plunger in the summer and dry flapping in the wind on the clothes line. Food chosen from rows of dirt or rows of canned goods. Meat from our own chickens or from our friends’ cows and pigs. We seek out and associate with other homesteaders/ranchers/farmers. We travel long distances to each others’ homes for dinner. Keep up on social media. Cheer each other on. Support each other.

One of my favorite old activities is to write and receive letters in the post. A moment to sit with a cup of tea and an old friend in prose and see what is going on in their world. Then with pretty stationary and pen, share our private life, thoughts, and ideas. Now that we are settled into our home and winter is upon us, if you would like to be pen-pals, please write me! I would love to correspond.

Mrs. Katie Sanders, 790 9th Street, Penrose, CO, 81240.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. It’s great your grandpa is still active and is quite a storyteller. I am sure everyone cherishes him and his stories.

    1. Farmgirl says:

      I lost my grandma this year. She and Grandpa were married 70 years. I have been lucky to have them for so long. There are five generations of us! Knowing Grandpa may not be around much longer makes me listen to every word he says! We should probably do that for everyone, I guess.

      1. Five generation is great!

  2. Wow your grandpa is awesome, still working! Different generation I cannot see many youngsters still wanting to work at that age. Your wood fire looks lovely and with regard to solar our power prices have raised so much in the last three years that I dread to think annually how much our bills would be now without the solar! I think your plans are good, if you don’t have to use it the bills will be nominal! I obviously use what I can when the sun is shining, I can my produce outside on a gas stove nick has rigged up for me because we can not guarantee a sun shiny summer sadly although it hasn’t been too bad this year. We get paid for half the electricity we produce even though we use most of it, they guesstimate that people are not using it all and it goes into the grid system. This offsets our costs for the rest of the year now that the system has paid for itself.
    And, as everyone always says, but it’s the truth, honest, there is a letter in the post! 😊

    1. Farmgirl says:

      Oh yea, a letter!! We don’t get paid here anymore if we go over on solar. It is kind of shammy, the way the electric company requires that we hook up to the grid and pay them a fee every month. I suppose if we had lots of cash and could pay the $10,000 for panels outright, it would make more sense…maybe. I don’t know, we may end up getting them again. Doug likes them.

      1. It’s a big lump of money and I don’t suppose you would get that back depends how expensive your power is.

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