November 13, 2016: It was 21 Years ago I wrote this story to Homesteader's Magazine..

This is how it appeared

*reprinted from Countryside magazine..May/June 1996 issue*

Their lack of insurance was just the beginning of a nightmare
They were happy, even though they didn't have money, or insurance...or an important piece of paper.

"One of the more interesting and unusual aspects of Countryside is its spontaneity. Here we meet real people, with real life experiences. Our articles are not planned in advance by an editorial board or sales staff."

When we asked our Question of the Month we certainly didn't expect a story like this one...
"...and then we die..."

Here is what I wrote:
I am reading this article on December 13, 1995. Exactly one month ago today my husband died unexpectedly at home.

Lynn was always a very healthy, strong man and very young for a man in his 60's. We were together for a very short 6 1/2 years. We began our life in the San Francisco Bay Area. He owned a limousine service and I worked for him as a chauffeur. He was an excellent boss and became my best friend. In spite of the 23 year difference in our ages, we fell in love.

We lived in the fast lane. Our business catered to the computer companies, and being located in Silicon Valley, they were the most prominent in the world. The money exchange in the business was phenomenal and we were both well insured for health and life.

By 1991 we realized "city life" could not offer what we really wanted, for us or our 11 year old son. We owed it to him, as well as ourselves, to get back to basics and have a life we really believed in. We bailed out and moved to Arizona. We left everything dealing with the city behind, turned the business over to an associate and hoped she could get financing some day to pay us.

For two years we lived in Sedona and did what everyone else who doesn't work for someone else does:

We made Native American crafts and sold them at craft shows and to local retailers. We lived on a fraction of what we made in California.

This was a better lifestyle than before, but still not what we were looking for. Sedona is a very beautiful place, but it too was becoming a city. We began looking for a place where we could have animals and more of a farm life.

Lynn was born on a dairy farm in Michigan in 1931. I, on the other hand, was born in San Jose, California, and lived in the Bay Area all of my life, but there was still a yearning in my heart to live the lifestyle he was blessed with as a child.

While in Sedona, we did touch on this. We had a garden and learned to can our own fruits and vegetables. We picked wild blackberries and made jam, and even sold some to help with the expenses. But this wasn't enough. We wanted chickens and our own milk and cheese.

We moved onto 6 1/2 acres in Rimrock, Arizona, in February, 1992. We were 10 miles from town on undeveloped property. From some dear friends we borrowed a motor home to live in until we could build a house. It was fully self-contained, so we were in pretty good shape. We got a small generator so we could run power tools for building, had our well drilled, and planted a good-sized garden. My Mother's Day gift was 12 day-old chicks, warmed with hot water bottles and kept inside the motor-home until they were big enough to be outside.

Always on the lookout for used lumber and building materials, we got what we needed to build a chicken coop. We were becoming very resourceful and satisfied with our accomplishments. Our son's values were beginning to change. Instead of worrying about what would be on TV, he was more interested in showing us the latest critter he found. We shared sunrises, sunsets, moon rises and everything else. We learned we could get many things accomplished on a moonlit night. The weather became an important factor in our life.

We definitely lived on a shoestring. Lynn's social-security check was our sole income source and that amounted to just over $700.00 a month. We learned to barter for things we needed and became expert at using other's throw-aways.

We acquired four goats from a petting zoo facing bankruptcy. We had no idea what to do with goats, but we were ready to learn.

It wasn't long before we found out that if you're a "goat person", you just can't get enough. We found our purpose:raising goats. It wasn't long before our herd had grown to 25, mostly Nubians and Angoras, with a few Pygmies. We learned from books and from other goat owners, but mostly from the goats. It's amazing how fast you learn something when your heart is happy...And we were happy!

We got by with very few material things and amenities. Most of our income went to the animals. We even let our insurance coverage slip. It just wasn't necessary. We were no longer in a high-risk lifestyle and we were healthy. We were broke, but happy and immortal, and the money we saved in insurance premiums bought a lot of hay and grain.

Back to Goat-Link
Page 2