Monday, September 7, 2009

Call me Lisa ... or, Welcome To My Little Corner Of The World.

Some of you may recall the popular television show from a while back -- was it the 60's or was it the 70's -- called Green Acres:

Eva Gabor played "Lisa", the pampered (spoiled) wife of "Oliver", the wealthy New York lawyer-turned-farm owner who sold out of the penthouse apartment on 5th Avenue to move to a tiny, quiet town in rural America to live "the simple life" (Paris & Nicole's predecessors, I guess you could say!).

Well.. call me Lisa....

We sold our beautiful "new" home and left the bustle and traffic of our former city, lured by the peace & quiet of "the country" where the thing most likely to hold you up on the roads is a slow-moving farm tractor, not a line of cars as far as the eye can see.

Eight years ago we purchased a rather run-down historic home --

a rare beauty who'd been cut in half (yes, you read that correctly...) and trucked out here to a 4 acre parcel in "the country"
from her roots in the beautiful, tree-lined historic district of our town.

I guess in many ways, our home is like me -- a "Lisa" in her own right.

I am a city girl -- through and through. But I also love the character that not only historic homes but that small, rural towns offer, too.

So go pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee

(go ahead -- I'll wait...)

come back ready to take a little tour of "my little corner of the world" 

This place is known for one thing -- STRAWBERRIES, and the annual Florida Strawberry Festival, which takes place only a few miles from my house and is apparently a tourist destination for millions each March.

I say apparently, because to live here during those two weeks in early March is to count what seems like easily an additional million new people cramming into our teeny-tiny little space here!

Much of the town's acreage is vast fields/farms devoted to the cultivation of the one big bumper crop each year -- strawberries.

To live here is to live & breathe all things Strawberry.

Homes display their strawberry flags, strawberry wreaths, ladies can be seen sporting strawberry-shaped handbags and strawberry-shaped earrings to compliment their strawberry sequined shirts...

There are scads of local beauty pageants devoted to who will be crowned with Miss Strawberry-this, or Miss Strawberry-that... the biggie being the Florida Strawberry Festival Queen pageant.
Well, you get the picture.

Second to strawberries would probably be the cattle raising part of agriculture out here. If there isn't a field of strawberries stretching as far as you can see, there is a farm filled with cows.

The middle school and high school kids are very involved in FFA (Future Farmers of America) where part of the participation is raising some form of livestock at your home, during the year, then bringing it to the Strawberry Festival to be judged then auctioned off.

Okay, for those who are wondering....


Olivia did not do the whole FFA-raise-a-cow thing.

Not a chance.

Well, we do have our beloved black lab, Nickodemus who some would say rivals the size of a small farm animal...

Does he count?

Now, for all the small-town charm, there are drawbacks: if you're in need of a "quick" jaunt up to Target, well -- you're out of luck.

Ditto for any mall.

And any eatery above the caliber of Outback Steakhouse.

But all in all, if you're looking for quiet, and space, we've got it in spades here.

In fact, we didn't have one of my beloved Starbucks here in town until a year ago,

which means that for 7 years it was at least a 1/2 hour drive in any direction just to get to one.

And yes, I made the drive -- often.

But, when we did get our one and only Starbucks, it opened up about 2 miles from my house and it is open 24 HOURS!

Patience paid off!

Now... if we can only convince Anthropologie & Sephora to open stores here...

Oh my, how about a 24 HOUR SEPHORA?

Anything is possible -- Afterall, we did get a 24 hour Starbucks!

Below is a fun little slide show "tour" that will give you a taste-of-the-town -- from the local phenomena Dinosaur World

to the row of Airstream campers that appeared almost overnight along our major interstate -- buried "face down" in the ground just off the road.

I call it "Airstream Henge", like Stonehenge just no stone and all aluminum.

We're also home to the famous Alligator Bob's (he's just right around the corner from me!) who specializes in all manner of Alligator "delicacies".

Wonder if he knows about the gators who call the pond on our property "home" that I wrote about in this post

So, do I ever long for the "city life" again? For those conveniences I took for granted? Umm.... yes....

I do dream lately of a major scaling down of my dwelling and it's contents

and living in a much smaller space with just enough rooms

and none that go unused

for months...

I long for internet service that goes uninterrupted for a span of months/years rather than days/weeks....

Ditto for phone service.

I dream of living in an urban setting in a historic building above my store, The Beautiful Life, where my store/work is just a flight of stairs away and I can invite customers up to my "loft" for coffee and a chat.

But for now, you can call me "Lisa", living quite happily in

my little corner

of the world...

Ya'll come back now, ya hear?



Tattered Goods said...

Such peace and serenity... I like it and I love BINGO! I loved this sweet lil post. I hope your week treats you well :)


Simply Me Art said...

I Love this Ruth, I never knew this about you! Would Love to hear more about your Home and its move to your property too. Your town looks Beautiful and those Air Streams, Love it. Thanks for sharing. Jamie

Laura said...

Hi Lisa, er...Ruth!
I get it! Now I understand what Florida means to you! Loved the slide show...Don't be so anxious to live in a small place though...I would have loved to have a large historic home like what can be done with that gorgeous old church? I hope you have a great day...thanks for sharing...
Laura :)

Bonjour Madame said...

It looks like a lovely small town. Your home is beautiful!

Teri said...

How is it that I've driven down I-4 on my way to Disney like hundreds of times, and I've never seen those airstream trailers? I must be blind, or reading a magazine.
The Starbucks by you is HUGE. We'll meet there...someday!
I miss Texas a lot, but after reading your post, I realize there are some similarities between FL and TX.
I will admit, even though I consider B. a SMALL town, I'm closer to Sephora than you are!

Love this post,

Kasey said...

i wonder if they would notice if i took one of those airstreams for myself?

NicNacManiac said...

Love the tour...thanks!! The peaceful country life takes some getting used seem idyllic!!

Anonymous said...

How many women put on high heels to go to the grocery store??? Not least in Plant City! But that's what I love about you!

Anne~fiona and twig said...

Ruth, if I didn't know better I'd say that we were separated at birth! I'm most definitely a "Lisa", too. We are only out in the country on 4 acres because my dear husband wanted the peace and quiet....30 miles from a Wallyworld, no less. And I'm a ginormous Sephora and Anthropologie junkie, too! Methinks we might need a DNA test, girly girl!
~ Anne

The Flying Bee said...

LOL! I loved all the pictures!

Yep, that's what it's like around here, too. We have a festival around us for everything, strawberries being one of them, along with shrimp and crawfish! We have a Whistle Stop Cafe, too, right on the railroad tracks!

A 24 hour Starbucks! I didn't even know they had those!

It's not too bad, though, if I want the big city life New Orleans is not that far away!

Jackie said...

So funny! That was my favorite show as a kid!! 24 Hour Starbucks??? Ours closes at kidding! I'm a city girl and live in the 'burbs, but I spent many a summer in small towns with relatives and they certainly have their quirks and charms!

Andrea - Faded Plains said...

Love those airstreams...too cute. I always thought Florida was all palm trees and looks a lot like my lil' town.

north pal said...

Ruth, i've done both. born & raised in st.paul,moved to wisc. to go to college.met my husband who was a farmer up until a few years ago,but am still rural. i'm thinking very few around here would even know what sephora or anthrop. was. that's o.k. makes me appreciate more my visits home, plus there catalogs. makes me laugh when an operater wants to look up my zip code,so she can direct me to a store that carries the item i want. lol :) but, needless to say, i am happy here and i still have the beautiful life,Ruth. bestest, Denise

Beadboard UpCountry said...

You are not going to believe this but I KNOW your little corner of the world as my parents retired in a double wide in Country Meadows, Plant City Fla. Your Green Acres thing was a hoot! I miss Eva Gabor!!! The house is beautiful.Keep up the great posts!!!

Beadboard UpCountry said...

You won't believe this but I am familiar with your "corner of the world"! My parents retired there in a double wide in Country Meadows, Plant City Fla.... Your home is beautiful I wish they were here to see how this area developed. Love the watertower....

LuLu said...

Green Acres... I loved seeing the old shows so the beginning of your post had me laughing! Your little corner of the world sounds lovely!
Enjoyed reading about your move and your life!

Chrissy said... are so cute!! What a pleasure this post was to read,they just keep getting better!!You are one of the best,talk soon,Chrissy

Daisy Cottage said...

Fabulous capture of Plant City! Loved seeing it through your and Olivia's eyes!

And why oh why is the Whistlestop NEVER open?? It is such a fun place to dine too.... Sigh.

Thank you Ruth for a wonderful post!