TALLIES & TOLLS: How to make life work on a rural budget

TALLIES & TOLLS: How to make life work on a rural budget

It’s time again, for a TALLIES & TOLLS.

Have you ever had one of those giggly delight moments when you had dream you don’t even know you had, and before you can name it the dream becomes real?

This blog is my celebration of one of those moments! I’m still delighted and it’s been over a week!

Before I share, I will say this. Living on the extremely tight budge of the average rural budget woman makes these moments ever sweeter. This experiment can feel like such a tight squeeze on some days. I really don’t know how people do it. The term I hear from many is, “I live close to the bone.” Whoa! close is right! I’ve heard for months how people in cash strapped places trade services. I’ve been wondering just how I would do it. I have been part of the trading economy for years, but nothing that matches rural life. This month, without realizing it,  I had a chance to experience how it works. 

After being without a car for weeks, while I waited for glass, I found out my insurance would cover a rental while the glass was found. I was stoked! When the rental car company gave me an SUV wagon, I was in heaven! I transferred my gear from the van and did a road trip. I hopped in the car and headed to one of my favorite small coastal towns, Port Orford, a town of less than 1,200 at the southern most region of Oregon. I parked my mini home at my favorite on-the-ocean hide-away.

I’ve now been there three times researching their multi-pronged approach to creating a diverse, sustainable, inclusive community. (I’ll be blogging more on this, once I finished my series interviews).


This is how it happened.

I woke up super early one morning and was on the dock taking pictures before the sun rose. I started with the joists that pick up the boats from the dock and lower them into the water. It’s only one of six dock systems like this in the world! 

Then I started taking pictures of other cool stuff on the dock. As the sun rose and the kayaks lined the beach at an especially low tide, I wandered down to the shore.

As I was taking pictures, the guy leading the kayak tours with South Coast Tours asked if I’d send him images. “Sure,” I said.

Later that night, while having wine and a salad at a restaurant overlooking the sea, I sent him the images.

He texted back, “Wow, These are great.”

Perhaps it was the wine.
Maybe it was me dreaming of being out on the sea.
“Want to trade?” I texted.
He texted back. “What do you have in mind?” 
 “I really have no idea,” I wrote, then sent him the address to this blog. 
“Do you want to take a tour?” he texted. 

OMG! We arranged for me to go the next morning!!! 

As I pulled on my wet suit and my booties, I was giddy. I hadn’t paddled in the ocean for over thirty years. Thirty years. How did that happen? It was glorious! Last year I’d been out on a commercial lobster boat in Maine. On this day, I would power my own boat. It felt good! 

I paddled next to the starfish and the anemones. A seal swam by. Birds flew overhead. But mostly, I was on the water in the most beautiful, pristine coastal region. 

As far as TALLIES AND TOLLS: Not only are my gratitude tallies off the charts, but my financial tally is almost in the black! The toll: The charge for this dream-come-true opportunity. The fun of taking pictures of a place I adore and a chance to talk to the owner of the company and a fierce advocate of environmental education and advocacy.

Yes, indeed.  This addition of tallies and tolls is a rejoiceful one! 


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