For the past few months, I've been writing a weekly home and garden column for Del Ray Patch, our local online news site. My editor came up with the brilliant name: "At Home in the Garden." I rather liked that. He's good with names and headlines, an award-winner in fact. Me? I suck at the task and routinely file stories with lacklustre, obvious headlines like "The Sky is Blue" or "Farts Stink." Good thing, he takes care to fix most of them.
Anyway, a week or so ago, he delivered the bad news that his budget was slashed and he could only afford to pay me and another columnist once a month instead of weekly. I expected the job would be temporary when I took it. As a veteran of the news business with dear friends still in it, I know what little money there was in news is vanishing rapidly.
Still, I didn't think it would go POOF! that quickly.
I admit it hurt my heart too as I've grown rather fond of the little column. It's just the kind of writing I like to do. Small town stuff like the local realtor renovating her house who came home to find a letter from an elderly woman who grew up in the place. Or the weather geek I follow on Twitter who, it turns out, has a giant fish pond in his back yard with koi he and his wife dote on like a beloved family dog. Because of the column, I've met interesting folks doing unique things, all the while deepening my knowledge of and love for our neighborhood.
My editor ever so graciously noted that I could continue to file the column weekly. For free. It would be funny if it weren't such an indictment of a trade I love and friends still rely on.
Anyway, I hadn't planned on any of this. When I sat down to write, I thought I'd just share a link to the last story I wrote about a local food swap because I think it's an idea you guys would like and should try to emulate in your communities. Carry on.