Adapting in Place… Somewhere Else

Last year in March, Rick’s company offered him a promotion which we initially turned down.  It involved a move across the country and we weren’t really interested in relocating at that time.  They begged him to reconsider and flew the both of us in to check out the area.  I have to admit, visiting the farmers market in the first week of June to find these…  well, let’s just say Adam’s fruit wasn’t nearly so tempting.

Texas Toms in June!

Some of you might know of Sharon Astyk and have read her concept of Adapting in Place.  It’s a concept that we’ve been working toward achieving for a long time here.  All last summer we confronted the question of how to adapt in place when you don’t know where that place is/will be next year.  And really, is it wise to give up all the work we’ve done here and move to a completely new climate?  Questioning, questioning, questioning.

Rick liked the job and we both thought we could like the area, but we were also fearful of such a large change and leaving “our tribe.”  Rick put together a proposal detailing what we would need to move out there; he aimed high figuring that if he got it, it would be worth it.  We spent the summer doing projects around the house preparing to move, preparing not to move, on pins and needles, only to have them turn him down in August.

Serious peaches in June

When we were turned down we were disappointed, but also relieved.  Both of us were born and raised here in Colorado.  All of our families are here (well, most of mine, I have a few scattered about).  And I have finally been feeling connected to my community here.  So many good friends have been made in the last year.

Fast forward to last week.  They called Rick back, and after some negotiating offered him more than he originally asked for last year.  The first guy they hired instead of Rick had to quit for health reasons, and the next guy has not been able to do the job.  All of this is to say we are going to be packing up the homestead and moving to San Antonio, Texas.

In less than six weeks.

Pearl Farmer's Market

It feels silly to say that this is really unexpected for us.  Last year, we spent a lot of time getting our heads and hearts prepared for a potential move across the country (not to mention the house).  We knew all along that Rick was right for the position and we knew his bosses knew it too.  We actually were surprised when he didn’t get the job after everything.

But now…  now… well now we are packing up everything we own and trying to find a place to rent in a city we’ve visited one time.

Everything we’ve heard about San Antonio has been a mixed bag.  Some love and others hate it.  I feel a bit like Rapunzel in the movie Tangled.  You know… filled with glee one moment and sobbing the next.  But a good friend reminded me that there are good things everywhere.  Thankfully, we’ve heard more good things than bad, and I know this is going to be a big adventure for our family. Ultimately, we are very excited.

Puffy Taco from Taco Taco

We are sad about leaving behind our friends and families and neighbors.  Of course, the beautiful Rockies.  We’re a bit fearful about starting over with gardening and homesteading and community.  I am sad to be leaving my new friends in my homeschooling group and all the friends we’ve made doing the potlucks.  However, I’m finding that I’m sad about leaving behind some things that I did not expect to feel so attached to.

My beautiful garlic that I’ve been saving and growing for the last three years.  It’s already starting to come up in it’s bed full of lovely soil that we’ve built up over nine years here.  The soil.  So much work has gone into building it up.  My compost bins, both full of nearly finished compost.  Just a little TLC when the warm weather hits and it will become black gold.

Our next door neighbor who dug up half his lawn to let us plant potatoes and carrots and onions.  He doesn’t even eat them.  The two cherry trees we discovered half a block from our house on city property… right when I was this close to planting my own.  The pick-your-own peach orchard on the Western slope.  All the digging and tilling and hoeing and digging.  This is the place I first felt that real connection to my food and the earth and, well, everything.  Everything!

Texan tree

On the flip side, there are things that we are really looking forward to.  A fresh start, a new neighborhood (maybe one with lots of families or at least a park).  Maybe a second bathroom and a guest room.  Picking a new house with a bigger yard and the potential to grow more food, year-round.  Did you guys see that there were tomatoes AND peaches in JUNE!?!?!?

So what does this mean for the blog?  Well, I’ve had a long list of topics that are half written about.  Some will need a bit of revision to fit our new situation.  Expect to see them pop up here and there in the next two months.  But I make no promises.

Us.  In Texas.

We’re pretty much scrambling to pull off a cross-country move with five people in less than six weeks.  We have found a home for our bees and potential home(s) for the chickens.  We will rent in San Antonio for at least a year, so we will not be taking them with us.  We think we’re going to sell the house.  If we can.  Oh, and did I mention that Rick will be flying back and forth between Texas and Denver and will be gone for 2.5 of those six weeks?  Yeah.

So if it’s quiet for a while, please understand why.  And if you live in South Texas and have any tips for a gardener moving from zone 5a to zone 8b…. please share them.  I’m going to need all the help I can get.  It’s snowing in Denver while it’s a sunny 81° in January there.  Yee-Haw!

Categories: Community, Urban Homesteading | 18 Comments

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18 thoughts on “Adapting in Place… Somewhere Else

  1. The Adventure Bite

    Coming from a girl who moved from Central Oregon to the middle of nowhere in Georgia let me tell you….it can be done! You will be so amazed at how much more fun gardening in the south is…..even with crazy hot summers and bugs galore you just can’t beat year round gardening. Make sure to get a drip watering system in place (you don’t want to water for hours in that heat plus the humidity=crazy fungal diseases from overhead watering) and mulch, mulch, mulch! Oh and squash here? It absolutely without a doubt must be row covered and hand pollinated or you will cry. Just trust me on that one. You will love it down here!!

    • Thanks for the heads up! Thankfully we’ve used a drip system here for years – for different reasons though. Good to know my that will be helpful there too.

    • Amy

      I grew squash last year and did not have to worry about hand pollinating (thankfully). We have plenty of bees visiting to pollinate for us and an abundance of large squash to eat! -in Houston, Texas-

  2. I live in zone 9a/8b. It’s amazing the amount of produce that can be produced in this climate. Get ready for some serious year-round gardening. And compost can be finished in as little as two WEEKS if you get conditions right. It’s pretty incredible.

  3. laura h

    Congratulations! I am more than a little jealous. I guess you will have a refridgerator in TX.:-)

  4. Rebecca

    Congrats on your move. I’m a Houstonian who used to live in Austin (close to San Antonio). Have followed the blog for a while now, but I don’t think I have ever posted a comment.

    I have an old friend who lives North/NW of San Antonio in a small community called Pipe Creek. She has chickens and a horse and a big garden, so I know that area allows those things. We’ve lost touch except for facebook, but I wanted to throw that area out there for your consideration. My sister-in-law also just moved away from a suburb in north San Antonio. They were a military relocation, but they did really love San Antonio. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the city.

    Both my Austin and Houston gardens taught me to rethink “traditional” planting seasons. I get my stereotypical Americana “fall harvest time” in June. InJuly/August, it’s so hot most things don’t pollinate well and yields fall dramatically. Late summer is also bug-season, at least in my experience. Summers in SA are even hotter than Houston, so I’d guess that you might have a similar experience. In Houston I can put my all of my spring/summer veggies in the ground in February; in San Antonio you probably could plant tomatoes outdoors by early to mid-March.

    Good luck!

  5. hmk71

    Wow! Exciting! Look forward to hearing how you get on when you have a minute spare…
    Good luck with the preparations. My friend just moved to Germany from the UK in similar circumstances and a similar time frame with 2 children, so you’ll be fine!

  6. Wishing you well!

  7. welcome to Texas, one note might be to try to work on rain collecting. We tend to ave bad droughts and water restrictions throughout summer. I’m in the Fort Worth area. Good luck and I hope all goes well.

  8. Moving is always hard but in the end it will be worth it. I actually think if you have children it will be easier and less lonely.

  9. Bethany

    I’m one of those who like San Antonio. I hope you enjoy it too! Although that’s not where I live, gardening in dry climates is something I know at least a little about. Drip irrigation, gray water systems, rain barrels, and lots of compost will make your yard as productive, if not more, than anywhere else. If you want to watch a miracle of planting in a climate much more severe watch Greening The Desert on YouTube. It’s pretty amazing. Good luck and safe travels!

  10. Wow – I will be sending good, peaceful thoughts your way. We were recently considering a move just 45 minutes to an hour away (and we’ve only been in our house for almost two years), and it was still gut wrenching to think of all we’ve put into the house and garden and leaving it behind. It will be an adventure for sure, but hopefully a very good one for you!

  11. Zone 9b here! You can grow a ton. Have fun and good luck! (p.s. Our chickens LOVE living in 9b 🙂

  12. Does that mean you can grow citrus?

  13. Oh my word! I was researching CSAs near Boulder, and came upon your blog and the awesome Monroe Farms… we (my husband, 2 daughters, & I) just moved here 4 months ago from SAN ANTONIO! I would love to chat. That is CRAZY! I have a huge network of real and organic food in SA, and I would love to pass the info along to you. Maybe we could swap San Antonio and Colorado resources. HA! We also moved in a short time frame (3 weeks!), had to move to a place we had visited once, and had to rehome our chickens in Texas. Our home is still for sale in SA and we are renting here. I have been missing our chickens, garden, food networks, homeschooling group, etc. Seriously, I would love to chat.

    • mentaladd

      That would be so funny/cool if she moved into your house. 😉

      • meredithalexandra

        Ha! That would be hilarious! I totally miss knowing all the resources for good food and just knowing what to do in the garden because of growing up in the climate. I have lots of research to do here!

  14. Wow! that’s quite a transition. I live in TN (so zone 7b), but have also gardened in FL. My top two suggestions are (1) rain barrels and (2) plan to garden year-round. I have cabbage, lettuce, kale, peas and carrots growing right now in Feb.

    Good luck!! I love your blog!

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