gather and grow

Homegrown, hand-spun living in the city

And now, my big news: We are moving from Portland — to Columbia, South Carolina!! Hubs and I both got new jobs there, and we’ll be making the move from the Northwest to the Southeast this summer.

This means a few things.

First of all, between now and the end of May, we’ll have to pack up our home. As minimalist as I’d like to think we are, we’ve accumulated a lot during our time here, not the least because we got so serious about gardening, putting down roots, and experimenting with things like food preservation. On top of the usual items on the moving to-do list (notify utility companies, arrange address forwarding, start packing), ours includes things like “Find a new home for the chickens” and “dismantle the rain barrel system.” Thankfully, at least the chickens we can now check off the list: a friend who lives just a few blocks away agreed to adopt them. But we do need to pack more boxes than I’d like to think about, and decide whether things like shovels, various five-gallon buckets and well over a hundred glass canning jars are worth bringing with us. The best thing about this, of course, is that it gives us a good reason to inventory and to do some shedding. We’re moving on… with a slightly lighter load.

exit portlandSecondly, we’re sad to leave Portland, our home of almost two years. I couldn’t imagine a better place to dig deeper into the local food and urban sustainability scene: I can’t seem to turn a corner without bumping into some permaculture workshop or another, or an urban farm, or another homesteading enthusiast. I’ve learned so much while being here and reveled in it all. I think Columbia will be a little different. But if so, I welcome the challenge — and the opportunity for new kinds of learning.

Thirdly, for someone who has been so eager to put down roots, it’s going to be a summer of uprooting. The cross-country move is only a part of our rather nomadic summer plans (more about them later). I’ve kept my gardening plans quite simple this spring knowing that we’ll only be able to eat what gets harvested before the end of May. However, while we will initially be renting in Columbia, there’s a very real possibility that, before the end of the year, we might find a homestead of our own. And if we do… hold on to your hats, folks, because then we are really going to start planting, growing, tinkering and experimenting on a whole different level!

P.S. The new little “cross-pollination” feature I promised earlier is now up! Introducing my Link library! This is where I’ve collected links to some of my favorite resources on permaculture, homesteading, beginning farming and urban farming, voluntary simplicity, and Transition. These are all sites that I’ve learned a lot from, that I keep coming back to, and that I’d recommend to anyone. If one of them isn’t your thing, maybe it will lead you to something else that is — that, after all, is the beauty of the Web. Enjoy!

2 thoughts on “To a New Home

  1. Spring says:

    Found your blog through a link from Ashley ( and see that you are moving to my area – I am a media studies professor at USCA in Aiken, SC – USCA is part of the USC system and about an hour from Columbia. I’ve enjoyed reading some of your posts today – we also strive to live simply and locally, even and especially when life gets complicated. Wishing you safe travels to SC!

    1. Mari says:

      Thanks for writing! I’ll be at USC at Columbia. I know that one of my future colleagues commutes from Aiken. It’s great to hear from like-minded people living in the area!

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