country cottage not required

Living Small – the new ideal

For years I’ve said, “Use your imagination. It’s what we’re all about.” For years I’ve imagined our little old cottage, the color of rain, occupied a choice piece of country real estate, was surrounded by a charming cottage garden, and had folksy neighbors who lived down the lane.

Rockers on the porch & a barn

In my imagination there is a front porch for rockin’ and a ramshackle barn to shelter the critters. In my imagination “cats and rabbits would reside in funny little houses“….

In real life, our small cottage is something quite different.

We do live down the lane, in a little old cottage the color of rain. Our choice piece of country real estate lies across the lane, and consists of about 20 acres of undeveloped land, in what is now the center of a city of approximately 128 thousand (a population that has doubled since we came to town in 1981).

Country real estate

This shot, taken one rainy day in early spring, gives a fairly good impression of the view we enjoy each day. The meadow is home to some critters; birds, squirrels, field mice and the occasional escaped domestic duck or rabbit, but a barn is not necessary. When it comes to farm animals, I live vicariously through a dear friend who farms IRL (in real life) about 800 miles from here. Considering the amount of effort it takes to keep up with our wookie and our cat, it’s probably just as well.

We do have a porch. And chairs for rockin’

chairs for rockin' on the porch

We do have neighborly folks who share the load, and love us…but from afar. Many California folks go for years without knowing their next door neighbors beyond a wave or a nod. They like it that way. They want it that way. Trading pie with the folks next door is a memory from another era altogether…at least in our neck-of-d-woods. This is one area where my imagination is stretched nearly to the breaking point. The folks who read this blog, comment on it, and offer love and acceptance are about the only IRL neighbors I have.

the neighborly peace & love guy

We do have a perfectly lovely garden, although it is a far cry from the cottage garden of my imagination. This is, after all, Central California. Summer days run toward triple digits from late June to mid-September. We are in the middle of a record breaking drought. And…we have slugs the size of mice and snails that will eat almost anything. Result? We plant only those varieties that are heat, slug, snail  and drought resistant. Ya gotta love it anyway. And the gardener, too. 🙂

country gardener

You’ve already seen the inside of our cottage. Or if not…it’s right here. But basically I’ve said all of this, to make a point.

What point are you making, e?

Well…simply this—if you’re interested in living small; downsizing, going green, or whatever—you might want to consider an inner-city solution. Check out mobile home communities, older neighborhoods, or some of the adorable little cottages available in cities across America. There doesn’t have to be granite counter tops, master bathrooms large enough to hold a hoe-down, all new stainless steel appliances and enough space to afford each family member 900 square feet all to themselves.

Believe me, in order to live a simpler and smaller life-style, it really is not necessary to have a country cottage, in keeping with the new American ideal either. All it really takes is a little imagination.

Let me know how that works out for you, K…?

see ya soon