Making do with what you have and where you are.


I’ve dreamt of moving far into the hills, living in a quaint town, having a half acre to plant orchards and lush gardens filled with fruits and veggies. I would have homesteading neighbors that would trade me honey and eggs for my prized apples and herbs and we would all be like-minded and live copacetic.

But this constant dreaming of another place and situation, this planning and setting of goals toward a future something else, while positive in the aspect of having a dream or goal to motivate one’s self, it takes me out of the present.

There is setting goals to challenge and inspire to greater heights and depths. Then there is being far off in the future and not being present in the now to appreciate what you have and what is happening around you.

When I decided that maybe this home was fine and always would be, that this town wasn’t so bad, it has actually grown on me, that if I were to make a pros and cons list the pros would be so much more…

The town I’ve been dying to move to doesn’t have the growing season we have here. And I’m pretty addicted by now to growing things. Most women are addicted to shoes or purses but if my husband suggests we go to the nursery to get a new fruit tree I’m running to the truck. I had a dream the other night that we had moved and nothing felt right or familiar. I think I’m just tired of moving after years and decades of moving so many times I can’t keep track.

I spend time in this house cleaning it and rearranging the furniture all the time trying new looks. I think about the winter I painted all the doors and built in cupboards. The kitchen was my creation with the help of my neighbor’s daughter. And now I have a huge and thriving kitchen garden in the front yard that has already given me cucumbers. I know most of my neighbors and when I work in the front yard I often lean on the fence to chat with a few as they either walk their dogs or cross the street to converse. We have lovingly breathed life back into this home and I feel that the neighbors need us sometimes just to be here making the street feel solid or at least alive.

We are also located in a place that seems to be a middle point for getting anywhere. We are anywhere from half an hour to two hours from big cities and good stores.

Maybe I should be content with this and call it a day? I have a gypsy soul but maybe I’m tired of loading up the wagon and going off in search of a new village. There may be a better town and address, but there will be other things I’m not crazy about or that’s lacking.

This neighborhood used to be a bit of a mess and this house was the biggest problem with the squatters and drug dealers. The elders that moved across the street from this house began to straighten it up a bit by having old cars hauled away and a few police calls. When we moved in and fixed up this property it really gave the street a boost and other houses began to be painted and lawns mowed.

Most of us want to live in nice neighborhoods and charming homes, but these old, neglected homes need people like us to come in and bring them back to life. These run down neighborhoods need people like us to come in and set an example or at least shine a light to show what a little love and elbow grease can do. I feel sometimes that my neighborhood needs us. We took a dirty, lonely house and made it vibrant and full of life. This is a lesson for us and everyone who wants to change their lives. Sometimes you just need to be where others need you. Sometimes you need to go where you are needed.

Jesus didn’t hang out with perfect people that were enlightened. He spent time with the sick, the corrupt, the prostitutes, the tax collectors, the weary, and the crazy. Those were the ones he came to help.

Not saying we can be like Jesus, but I am thinking that the perfect neighborhoods and all those like minded people aren’t the ones we should be hanging out with, as pleasant as it is. It is the other group that needs us. They need us to show the way, the light, the example of what love can do.

I have a big kitchen garden in the backyard but this year I purposely dug up the front yard and planted a garden. I wanted us to be more present in our neighborhood, to claim the street so to speak, to show something creative and positive. I want to show others what can be done to transform their homes and lives with a little digging and seeds.

I was also inspired by the Dervaes family and their similar story. The father bought a fixer upper 15 minutes from LA city in a run-down neighborhood. He had his children and a dream to move to the country and start a community of homesteaders but that never worked out. When GMO’s became popular he was outraged and began digging up and planting every inch of his small backyard to grow his own food for his family. Now they have a thriving little farm in just 4,000 sq. ft. of yard complete with gardens, goats, ducks, and chickens. He influences the neighborhood and restaurants come to his front porch to buy his organic produce.

If a family of four can make a farm in a tiny yard in a funky neighborhood than we can do the same. Minus goats…and ducks in the future.

As I settle into this idea that we just may be “home” right here, I find that the desire to create is growing again. I love playing with, what I call my “grown up doll house” and I have ideas for the parts of the yard that haven’t been planted. I have ideas for the garage that sits in the back yard like a boring old lump. We could just build and plant and play right into retirement.

Even if you rent your home if you are in a good situation with the rent and landlord/lady and will be staying a while, then enjoy it. Decorate your house inside and out and plant flowers and vegetables. Paint. Clean. Have fun. Most of it doesn’t have to cost much at all.

Here are some really fun and inspiring, short documentaries about others who have been homesteading in cities. Some rent and some own. There is also one on the Dervaes family.

10 thoughts on “Making do with what you have and where you are.

  1. Hi Kate: I am glad to read your new post about living in the present and appreciating what you have right now! You are correct, and as I have said in the past, enjoy your family now while the boys are young and at home, and stay present in the here and now. We live in a similar type town (Sonoma), in a small, 987 sq ft home, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. We can walk to the town Plaza, stores, the library, hiking trails and it’s paid for. Just keep saving your money! Someday, perhaps you’ll find a nice little get-away property to buy when your kids are older, as we have finally done. You’ll still be young enough to enjoy another property and do as you please with it, I know, I had my last child at 42. You are conscientious, careful with your money, and enjoy the ‘game’ of being thrifty. You’re already set up to be a winner, and in the meantime, be grateful and enjoy the opportunity you have to be stay-at-home mom. Teddy Roosevelt said “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” I hope you have a wonderful day!
    Thrifty Lisa

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Another good article. Keep up the good work. I planted my garden. Its small but Im excited to see the outcome.😊

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  3. This is the perspective that I needed today, thank you. We have been trying to sell our home for months, we’ve dropped the price twice, and no luck. I think we may have to find our happiness right where we are.


  4. Great post.
    I always get that bug to move at around the 4 yr mark of living in one place because hubby was military. He have move twice since he got out and are finally after 6yrs of being in this house feeling a bit more stable. The feeling of having to move again is finally starting to dwindle and we are looking forward to making this our retirement home.
    I have a hard time making rooms the way I want because in the back of my mind , I am always thinking resale. I always go for colors and decore that is very subtle.
    I think it is time to start putting more of my own personality into it. My crafty side needs to express itself more.
    As for the yard–I am trying to talk hubby into a fence but the cost is high . I also would like more raised vegie beds . I have done research to see if fruit trees could handle the back area of the property but it is to wet and I fear they would not live. I may just put in more berry bushes instead.
    Anyway I am only just feeling like we can consider this our home to do with what we want.


    1. I get it. I used to move after one to two years and I have the gypsy spirit and want a new experience. I’m also never perfectly content. It could very well be that I’m not in the righ place yet or that it comes from within. Either way, I need to embrace were I am for now.


      1. Mrs. Kate I love your blogs and videos. It’s nice seeing some one else just living under their means making do and growing things for the family. I do all this as well. I have found true contentment by trusting Jesus as my savior. I used to struggle with discontent no matter how perfect things were. Now no matter what the circumstances, I have a deep contentment in the very core of my being because I know without a shadow of doubt Jesus is here with me and gives me the strength and peace i so longed for. May God bless you and may you find this peace for yourself. Thank you fro sharing your life.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this final thought from the second video you linked. Self-rreliance in LA.
    “Makes the house an engine of production, as opposed to an engine of consumption.”
    Thanks for sharing these videos.


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