As baby boomers hit retirement and the U.S. population ages, more and more people are left living alone in their later years. And more are choosing to stay at home.
LaRue Willis was born in Idaho in 1928. She married her husband in 1953 and together they had eight children. Three years ago her husband passed away, leaving LaRue to forge a new life for herself – alone. On the day I met with LaRue in her ranch-style house in northern Cache Valley, she described how hard the last few years had been.
“The hardest part is the loneliness. Sometimes I get panic attacks when I am alone and it’s really difficult.”
Through their naturally grown orchard, which includes 250 apple trees, a three-quarter acre garden, a food dehydrator, rabbit fur clothing, a commercial juicer, and chickens, Ali and Lorin say they try to practice green living day-to-day.
“Our effort here is to be sustainable for ourselves. 75 to 80 percent of what we eat we try to grow here on the property," Ali said. "We like to trade things, we trade vegetables for eggs and dairy and cheese. So, I think trading is a way to be sustainable.”
Ali said the orchard is all naturally grown.
“We’re not certified organic, so you have to be careful about the term because they don’t like you saying you’re organic if you haven’t done the certification," Ali said. "What we tell people is that we grow everything naturally."
She said that includes no added chemicals and no non-organic pesticides.
Regardless, Lorin said killing off bugs with chemicals is not always beneficial.
"My Address Is" is a Utah Public Radio series exploring Utah issues associated with how and where we live. This is part 4 of 6.
“My name is Connie Winder and my name is Parry Winder, and our address is Cache Valley Sunsets.”
Parry Winder was an air force pilot and due to the nature of his work, he, his wife and four children would move every three months to three years, with individual trainings and deployments for Parry in between. The family has moved a total of 23 times, living in many diverse places.
“Of course our unique place would be Germany, such a different place to live,” Connie said.
“We feel like it was an opportunity so we lived in a small German village rather than on the base. We shopped in the German stores and we went to the German restaurants and tried to become immersed in the German community and the German way of life, and it was just great; we loved it,” Parry said.
“Our favorite place was probably Alamogordo, New Mexico because we finally were able to buy our own home and have our own fenced-in back yard. Probably not the place that everyone would want to live; it’s not on anyone’s bucket list to go to Alamogordo, New Mexico, but we loved it,” Connie said.
The Winders say each place brought something interesting and new, but along with the unique opportunities that came with a career in the air force, there were some difficulties as well.
“Sometimes I could tell Connie where I was going and sometimes I couldn’t because we were in classified operations so we just would deploy and I’d say ‘I’ll be back when I’m back’,” Parry said.
"My Address Is" is a Utah Public Radio series exploring Utah issues associated with how and where we live. This is part 3 of 6.
When you walk into Steve Hatch’s home your eyes are immediately drawn to the ceiling where a four-foot clear dome collects the light like a magnifying glass. Hatch lives in a small yurt he built in this tiny town near the Idaho border.
Portage resident Steve Hatch says simpler living inside his 731-square-foot yurt has changed his outlook on life.
His new living space is a drastic shift from what he was used to. Just a few years ago he owned a $350,000 home and earned a comfortable living. But all that changed when he lost his job in the aerospace industry where he had worked for 36 years. On top of that he divorced and the value of his hillside home plunged when the housing bubble popped.
Unemployed and armed with what was left of his retirement, he moved into an apartment in Brigham City and quickly decided he needed to find a cheaper solution.
“I only had $60,000 to spend total on this project so I had to figure out a low cost way," he said. "I explored mobile homes but their cost would run me nearly $100,000 by the time I finished up."
He decided on a yurt — a sort of semi-permanent rounded structure with latticed walls and a domed roof held in place by a compression ring at the center.
“As you see a yurt from the outside and you walk in, I think you’re immediately impressed by how much space there is,” he said. “Living in the round is kind of a unique experience. It kind of changes the way you view a structure. It’s just a nice feeling inside. Most people that come into yurts feel that feeling.”
Hatch says his new 731-square-foot space is plenty big and it’s changed the way he thinks about a home and what goes inside it.
Internationally acclaimed composer and conductor, Bob Chilcott, will be featured at the Cache Valley Choirfest on Saturday. Over 350 youth from 11 children’s choirs from all over Utah will present a world premiere of one of his pieces, commissioned specifically for this concert.
After three years of patient waiting, the time has finally come for youth from all over Utah to have the opportunity to work with composer, conductor, and former member of the “King’s Singers,” Bob Chilcott. He is especially well known for his compositions for children’s choirs.
"My Address Is" is a Utah Public Radio series exploring Utah issues associated with how and where we live. This is part 2 of 6.
In a little more than 100 years, the Wasatch Front has grown from small settlements in the harsh desert into a dense urban and suburban sprawl stretching from Ogden in the north to Provo in the south.
And in the center of it all is Salt Lake City.
Joanna Landau and her husband Clemens are lawyers by trade. They live in a so-called “warehouse-style” home just up the hill from the Utah State Capitol. They and their two adopted children are four of the almost 200,000 people who call the state’s largest city their home.
The Landau’s chose their home because it allows them to live close to downtown while having the great outdoors in their backyard.
“Well it’s exactly why I can never live anywhere else, because we bought our house on a dead-end street that ends on a trail and which is five minutes from our work downtown on bikes.
It’s the best of both worlds. You can walk downtown to go to restaurants and you can walk up the hill- I think you can walk all the way to Bountiful if you want to in those hills, and walk even further afield if you are so inclined. It’s the perfect mix.”
The Landaus commute largely by bike to their respective firms in downtown Salt Lake City and can drop off their children at day care on the way.
Joanna says she and her husband, who are not religious, sometimes struggle with whether Utah is the right place to raise their children, who are African American and non-LDS, making them “othered” in the state’s dominant culture.
She says Utah is a great place to raise adopted children however.
Don Baldwin decided as a young man he wanted to be a dairy farmer, but the square mile, 600-head dairy he now owns in Lewiston began as a much smaller operation.
I grew up in Salt Lake City on the east bench. I come from a non-farm background, and we bought two heifers that had already calved, and 13 springers on Thanksgiving weekend in 1981. We originally started with just those two cows on a rented dairy, an old dilapidated dairy, it took us almost a week to get enough milk in the bottom of a very small tank that they could even measure it where the truck could pick it up.
And we just started from there. Laurie and I working together. She worked as much as I did. I helped her in the house, she helped on the farm. Lots of times we had the kids with us in a cardboard box sitting in the barn or with us in a tractor, you know that's how they grew up was with us. And the kids worked too.
Don’s job on the farm is more than just an owner and dairyman, he grows most of the food used to feed his cattle, from plowing the ground to fertilization and harvesting and mixing the ingredients together. In a given week, he is husband, father, chemist, veterinarian and mechanic.
Don’s existence is intrinsically tied to the milk his cows produce and the land. He says public perceptions about where food comes from has affected farmers.
He believes the majority of the public has lost their connection to the farm, and it affects all aspects of his life. Whether cities are encroaching on the farm and getting upset by the smell, how food is produced, or legislative issues, the American populace is separated from their food by too many generations.
Ok, right now, we are hauling manure onto our fields. It's a by-product of the dairy, and it represents a valuable source of nutrients for our cropping and crop rotations. People used to understand that was part of the game. Now, there's a hue and a cry if we start hauling manure that we are contaminating the roads, we are destroying the aesthetic value of the community because it smells.
As you open the gate of the small historic house, a colorful teepee to your right as you walk the pathway steps and music wafting as you enter the front door, you realize this is no ordinary home; it has been transformed into a haven of art and community.
The Utah Symphony, in concert with the Utah Office of Tourism, will be offering a series of special outdoor performances in the state’s major national parks. The performances, some of which will involve the full orchestra, are in commemoration of the Utah Symphony’s 75th anniversary.
Have you ever gone hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park and thought yourself, “This landscape would be perfectly complemented by Johann Strauss’s Voices of Spring Waltz”? Well, you weren’t the only one who thought so.
Once described as a "soap opera with excellent music," the opera department at Utah State University will present two performances this weekend of the delightful and hilarious 'The Merry Wives of Windsor" by Otto Niccolai. The new Director of Opera Studies, Dallas Heaton, has injected his own fresh, new perspective into the production.
A native of Kaysville, Utah, Dallas Heaton assumed the position of Director of Opera Studies at Utah State University this January. He completed a Master’s in Collaborative Piano at Arizona State University, and an artist’s diploma in Opera Coaching at the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. Since then, Dallas has worked professionally as a collaborative artist for several years.