From Beverly Hills to shoveling manure on a farm

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cat233
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From Beverly Hills to shoveling manure on a farm

I thought this was an interesting article, certainly see more of this to come.  I know I would be having some of these same feeling.

Cat

By Stephanie Chen
CNN

This story is part of an ongoing series of profiles by CNN about economic
survival in this time of financial crisis.

(CNN) -- They bid farewell to their
beloved trips to the opera and museum, the beach and Buddhist temples. They ate
one last time at their favorite restaurants serving Indian curried chicken and
warm bowls of Vietnamese pho.

Leah Bird and her husband, Ed Wright, have traded their
comfortable two-bedroom apartment and jobs in Beverly Hills, California, for
life in a trailer on a five-acre Oregon farm.

No longer do the couple hear roaring fire trucks in the
street or chatter from patrons dining at outdoor cafes. On this farm, the
dominant silence is occasionally interrupted by the sounds of frogs and
crickets.

"It's not necessarily a lifestyle that has ever seemed
attractive to me," says 28-year-old Bird, between tending to the farm animals:
two sheep, two Nubian goats, miniature horses and geese. "I always saw myself as
more of a metropolitan person, but you know, without money, this was our best
option."

The couple's drastic lifestyle change -- one they chose --
came last October when Wright, 48, lost his job managing life insurance
portfolios for millionaires at a private firm in Beverly Hills. His niche
company, which relied heavily on capital flow, had felt the pain of the credit
crunch.

Once making over $100,000 a year, Wright soon joined the
growing number of Americans facing unemployment in the economic downturn. iReport.com: Tell us how you're surviving

With meager savings, Bird and Wright knew they couldn't
maintain their costly Los Angeles lifestyle in an area where, they say, image is
everything. Even if they had stayed in Beverly Hills, they would have needed to
move into a smaller apartment and rely on Bird's modest salary as a financial
manager. Exhausted from the rat race, Wright decided they needed another
option.

"I've been in Los Angeles
for a long time and I've had to start over before," Wright says. "You spend two
or three years getting back on your feet and then what? It's a struggle if you
aren't making a lot of money."

Then Wright's parents offered to let the newlywed couple
live on their family farm in rural Douglas County in southern Oregon until the
couple bounced back.

Wright agreed immediately. He says he wanted to move there
to help his elderly parents manage the sprawling property. His wife, however,
was more reluctant because she still had her job. But Bird says she soon agreed
to move to the farm because it was the fastest way to cut expenses.

"I did it out of immediate necessity," says Bird, who grew
up in more of a suburban setting near Tucson, Arizona. "I don't think I was
ready to leave L.A."

While Wright wanted to make the move north, he wasn't ready
to move in with his parents. At Christmas, the couple purchased a 1974 Airstream
trailer, shaped like an oblong silver bullet, from Craigslist for a few thousand
dollars. The trailer living quarters are cramped, with about 300 square feet, a
major downgrade from the couple's 1,400-square-foot apartment in California. iReport.com: From Beverly Hills to Hillbillies

The couple moved to Oregon in mid-January, after a two-day
drive from Los Angeles, hopeful the farm would give them the needed break from
city life and a chance to focus on finding new careers.

In Los Angeles, they lived in a neighborhood with about
20,000 people. Now, the closest town has fewer than 20,000 people.

"We're not going to lie to you and say everything is hunky
dory," Wright says. "It's hard being out here."

"I feel like a fish out of water," Bird added. "I'm so out
of my element."

Their mornings now begin at the crack of dawn. They clean
the living space for the animals, pick up manure and fix the landscaping.
Afternoons are spent job
hunting, a challenging feat in a region where lumber and nursing are the two
dominant fields. For now, they are spending their savings until they find
employment.

Their trailer's bedroom has just enough room to stuff in a
queen-size bed. A narrow window by the bed looks out on the farm, where they can
see deer roaming the land in the mornings. There is no dining room, a difficult
adjustment for the couple, who once enjoyed entertaining guests over dinner and
wine.

The living room furniture consists of colorful pillows piled
against the wall on the floor facing the television and a desk for their
laptops. Their new kitchen has just enough space for one person to stand and
work.

There is one toilet , which is currently being remodeled,
and no shower. The couple bathe at Wright's parents' house; they admit that they
only shower a few times a week now.

Most of their belongings from Los Angeles, expensive
furniture and art accumulated over the years, remain in storage. While the
couple miss these things, they say their new lifestyle will help them survive
the troubled economy. They also hope it will teach them to live simpler
lives.

In many ways, Bird and Wright are enjoying the serenity of
their slower-paced lifestyle. They are spending more time together, and Bird
says she is getting closer to Wright's parents.

After the initial culture shock in the first month, Bird
says she is slowly adapting to farm life. She learned how to build a fire pit,
and she plans on growing a fruit and vegetable garden in the spring. She wants
to buy more productive animals like cows. With the garden and some cows, she
says, the couple won't have to purchase vegetables or milk from the grocery
store.

Her husband is remodeling their trailer by adding amenities
to the kitchen and bathroom. Wright, who has always been interested in
philosophy and religion, says he sees his unemployment as a time for "soul
searching."

The couple are still mulling their career options. Wright,
who is also an amateur musician, is looking at new job opportunities for the
future. He has dabbled with the idea of starting his own bar since he knows so
many musicians in the industry, he says. He and his wife are thinking about
joining the Peace Corps together, or maybe building a log house on the farm. The
options are limitless, they say.

A few weeks ago, surrounded by giant pine
trees in the cold winter air, the couple walked outside and looked up. For the
first time in a long time, they could see the stars shining brightly in the dark
sky.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/02/26/economy.survivor.farm/index.html

 

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SamLinder
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Re: From Beverly Hills to shoveling manure on a farm
cat233 wrote:

I thought this was an interesting article, certainly see more of this to come.  I know I would be having some of these same feeling.

Cat

 

Cat,

If you and Dogs plan on following that couple out here, you'd better hurry. We've only got so much room, then we're going to have to lift the drawbridge and lock the gates!  Wink

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cat233
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Posts: 575
Re: From Beverly Hills to shoveling manure on a farm
SamLinder wrote:

 

Cat,

If you and Dogs plan on following that couple out here, you'd better hurry. We've only got so much room, then we're going to have to lift the drawbridge and lock the gates!  Wink

Sam,

Dogs and I used to live in WA state, we loved it out there.  One of the few places we would move back to in a heartbeat.

I am sure I would love Oregon just as much...  I can swim and I can climb, I would find a way to the other side of your gates!

Cat Tongue out

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Re: From Beverly Hills to shoveling manure on a farm
cat233 wrote:
SamLinder wrote:

 

Cat,

If you and Dogs plan on following that couple out here, you'd better hurry. We've only got so much room, then we're going to have to lift the drawbridge and lock the gates!  Wink

Sam,

Dogs and I used to live in WA state, we loved it out there.  One of the few places we would move back to in a heartbeat.

I am sure I would love Oregon just as much...  I can swim and I can climb, I would find a way to the other side of your gates!

Cat Tongue out

L O L!

Yes, you would love Oregon just as much. But, as one of those evil former Californians (moved up here in Jan. 2002), I can tell you that we're gonna run out of room if the word ever gets out that we still have some space left!

'Course you know that we would make a little extra room for you and Dogs if push came to shove.  Laughing

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Re: From Beverly Hills to shoveling manure on a farm

As former governor Tom McCall once said in a CBS interview,

"Come visit us again and again. This is a state of excitement. But for heaven's sake, don't come here to live."

 

 

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cat233
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Posts: 575
Re: From Beverly Hills to shoveling manure on a farm

Gosh Sam and Worker Bee...

There really must be a drawbridge keeping us all out.  Dogs and I are having dinner with a SEAL tonight, we will bring him along.  Sounding like we will need his skills to get through.Surprised

Cat 

 

 

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SamLinder
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Re: From Beverly Hills to shoveling manure on a farm
cat233 wrote:

Gosh Sam and Worker Bee...

There really must be a drawbridge keeping us all out.  Dogs and I are having dinner with a SEAL tonight, we will bring him along.  Sounding like we will need his skills to get through.Surprised

Cat 

 

Cat,

"Come visit us again and again. This is a state of excitement. But for heaven's sake, don't come here to live."

Tom McCall was just saying that to keep the riff-raff out. We have special immigration slots for cm.com folks. Cool

p.s. - I hope that SEAL doesn't bark Yell  too loud - you know how noisy they can get when they haven't had their fish! Wink

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Re: From Beverly Hills to shoveling manure on a farm
SamLinder wrote:

p.s. - I hope that SEAL doesn't bark Yell  too loud - you know how noisy they can get when they haven't had their fish! Wink

Sam -

He's a recon sniper and combat medic at the Special Warfare Development Group here in Virginia.  His bite is much worse than his bark.  Very cool story about why he joined the military.  He was finished with 3 1/2 years of medical school at UCLA.  He had a required course that wasn't being offered the following semester in time to allow him to graduate in 4 years.  His words:  "I got bored and I figured becoming a SEAL would take care of that."  Amazing.

Come to think of it, his parents live in Portland so we get in on a family visa. 

I could be very happy in Oregon.  It would make the annual trek to the Northwest String Summit at Horning's Hideout in North Plains a lot easier.

There is also a scotch whisky distillery out in Oregon...............

Bluegrass AND scotch?  In Oregon?  With mountains?  Far from New York and hurricanes? 

It's a sign - we need to move.

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SamLinder
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Re: From Beverly Hills to shoveling manure on a farm
Dogs_In_A_Pile wrote:
SamLinder wrote:

p.s. - I hope that SEAL doesn't bark Yell  too loud - you know how noisy they can get when they haven't had their fish! Wink

Sam -

He's a recon sniper and combat medic at the Special Warfare Development Group here in Virginia.  His bite is much worse than his bark.  Very cool story about why he joined the military.  He was finished with 3 1/2 years of medical school at UCLA.  He had a required course that wasn't being offered the following semester in time to allow him to graduate in 4 years.  His words:  "I got bored and I figured becoming a SEAL would take care of that."  Amazing.

Come to think of it, his parents live in Portland so we get in on a family visa. 

I could be very happy in Oregon.  It would make the annual trek to the Northwest String Summit at Horning's Hideout in North Plains a lot easier.

There is also a scotch whisky distillery out in Oregon...............

Bluegrass AND scotch?  In Oregon?  With mountains?  Far from New York and hurricanes? 

It's a sign - we need to move.

 

Dogs,

That was a cool story. I have the utmost respect for SEAL's. My son actually tried out for the SEAL's when he first went into the Navy out of high school. However, he realized his eyesight (and a previously broken leg) prevented him from being all he could be. (Excuse my bringing in an Army slogan here!)

Before he washed out, he went to his commanding officer and requested to withdraw because he knew he couldn't support his team as well as he needed to. Instead he became a Hospital Corpsman and turned into the best darn medic to come down the pike. He got out of the Navy after six years and is currently a Life Flight medic and trains others in the field.

Unfortunately, like your SEAL friend, he's getting bored (says he's at the top of his game and needs more excitement). So now he's trying to sign on with Blackwater and become a flight medic in Afghanistan. Surprised

Come to think of it, he's been an adrenalin junkie since I can remember. Sigh.............

 

It would make the annual trek to the Northwest String Summit at Horning's Hideout in North Plains a lot easier.

North Plains is just a hop, skip, and a jump from where we are. You'll definitely have to stop and visit! Does Cat come along for the ride?

 

There is also a scotch whisky distillery out in Oregon............... 

I never knew that! Where is it?

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Dogs_In_A_Pile
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Re: From Beverly Hills to shoveling manure on a farm
SamLinder wrote:

North Plains is just a hop, skip, and a jump from where we are. You'll definitely have to stop and visit! Does Cat come along for the ride?

Sam -

Mrs. Dogs does not share my enthusiasm for most of the music I listen to.  I think there are two songs by Widespread Panic she likes and one song by Perpetual Groove, but that's about it.  So no - I don't know that Congress could construct a bailout package or bribe bill big enough to get her to go to NWSS.

We do agree on the classics - Verdi's Requiem, Itzhak Perlman, and most Broadway - Les Mis, Phantom, Aida.  I draw the line in the sand at Chicago and Rent and other squirrelly modern stuff.

If you are anywhere near North Plains then you are in a part of Oregon I could be more than happy with.  I love that part of the Northwest.

I'll try to find the info on the distillery.

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SamLinder
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Re: From Beverly Hills to shoveling manure on a farm
Dogs_In_A_Pile wrote:
SamLinder wrote:

North Plains is just a hop, skip, and a jump from where we are. You'll definitely have to stop and visit! Does Cat come along for the ride?

Sam -

Mrs. Dogs does not share my enthusiasm for most of the music I listen to.  I think there are two songs by Widespread Panic she likes and one song by Perpetual Groove, but that's about it.  So no - I don't know that Congress could construct a bailout package or bribe bill big enough to get her to go to NWSS.

We do agree on the classics - Verdi's Requiem, Itzhak Perlman, and most Broadway - Les Mis, Phantom, Aida.  I draw the line in the sand at Chicago and Rent and other squirrelly modern stuff.

If you are anywhere near North Plains then you are in a part of Oregon I could be more than happy with.  I love that part of the Northwest.

I'll try to find the info on the distillery.

 

Dogs,

I think I'm on Mrs. Dogs side on this one. But, that's ok - different strokes for different folks, as they say.

Since I can't embed images of my own into this post, here is the URL from google maps.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=North+Plains...

Look for the Portland-Hillsboro Airport SouthEast of North Plains, then look further East to "Orenco" which is very close to where we live.

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Dogs_In_A_Pile
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Re: From Beverly Hills to shoveling manure on a farm

Sam -

Horning's Hideout is up Brunswick Canyon Road off of Pumpkin Ridge just northwest of you.  This year's Northwest String Summit is 16-19 July.  I can't make that one - already have a music festival planned for the following week.

If you enjoy bluegrass at all you should check it out.

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