Sowing the seeds of change

by Erin McIntyre

It feels strange, not starting seeds this year.
I knew the tender plants wouldn’t survive the move, even though we were only coming from Grand Junction. And I would have no yard in which to plant them this year.
As each seed catalog arrived in the mailbox, I tried not to drool over the photos of the heirloom tomatoes I wouldn’t plant. I thumbed past the cucumbers and the zucchini and I reminded myself I was planting the seeds for something else this year: a fresh start in a gorgeous place. My husband Mike and I would take on a new venture and, as others put it, start “living the dream.”
This newspaper is my garden and we’re lucky to have the former owners on-hand to help us with our first months of cultivation. Though I’ve worked as a journalist for years and Mike is a newsroom veteran with 20 years in the industry, taking on the business of a weekly newspaper comes with a steep learning curve.
Within the first few weeks of living here, we’ve discovered the community is just as friendly and welcoming as we hoped, and this is a fertile place for growing local news. Residents are engaged and curious, and we love that. Many of you have thanked us for taking on the business, for keeping local journalism alive and avoiding the proposition of an absentee owner or some corporation coming in and spitting out generic, irrelevant content instead of community news.
We’re starting to find a little bit of routine in the chaos of the transition, both in the business and at home. I tell myself I wouldn’t have time to tend my flock of chickens anyway, the ones I gave to a friend. New experiences make way for new habits, and instead of collecting eggs from the nest boxes, I walk our dog around the perimeter of the golf course and collect balls hidden in the brush.
At our old house, I watched the chickens through the patio door. Their antics kept me entertained for hours, as they chased each other and kept the rules of their pecking order at the Poulet Chalet, their fancy henhouse.
Now, I feel like someone is watching me. As I was unpacking boxes, I noticed a little face in the window, a too-friendly chipmunk peering inside and staring intently. It turns out they live in the rock wall of the patio and it seems they like watching human TV, a weird reality show of us trying to organize all our stuff.
And so it seems I’ve traded chickens for chipmunks, and gathering eggs for collecting golf balls, along with foregoing my garden. I’ll replace the satisfaction of thinning carrots and pulling bindweed with producing what those in the industry call “the weekly miracle,” a community newspaper.
We hope to meet all of you in the coming months, as we start to feel more grounded and become part of the community. Thank you to those who have already welcomed us – we hope to serve you well as the next caretakers of the Plaindealer.