Two weeks ago, we were down to two beds for six people.

Our family is in that phase: just married, just moved out, just leased first apartment.

At first, it was all fun and games. Take this! Take that! It felt good to free up the house of childhood furniture. Surreptitiously, I gave away overflow items from the kitchen and unloaded old linens. We’re glad you have it!

pioneer sugar silos findlay ohio
Pioneer Sugar Towers, Findlay, OH. We see these driving down to my brother’s. They’re the first sign you’re leaving urban life. Can you imagine how many people these feed?

The baby, Anne, decided at the 11th hour to move into an apartment this fall. She’s an upper classman at CMU. I should’ve seen it coming, but of all my kids, she’s the slowest to commit (already). They settled on the details while she was working at a summer camp and broke her dorm contact.

I used to say, about homework and class projects, “Your panic is not going to become my priority.”

Usually, I won’t be pushed by poor planning or procrastination into action. I don’t like it. I make bad decisions on the run and I don’t think it’s a good plan for well-reasoned living. Until my husband said to her, “Are you going to take your bed?”

No. No, she is not. If she takes her bed, we’ll be down to the bed we sleep in. All these beds over the years, and now, not one spare? Oh, no. What about out of town guests? Christmas with the family? Not acceptable.

My solution for Anne was an inflatable mattress. Her brother just used one (until he moved his own queen mattress out) for several months on a new job in Grand Rapids. Blow it up, honey. You might do it every night, but you’ll be fine.

Until it occurred to me, I could call upon my living community.

People like to say, these days, that there is no community. That we don’t know our neighbors. That we live segmented, in silos , a business buzzword, although most of them aren’t familiar enough with a farm to actually know the function of a silo. OhioSilo-GadkariIt holds stored grains, in bulk, until it’s sent to market or used for feeding the farmyard, as with dried field corn during the tough, non-growing months.

So, I put out the word. We need beds. She’s moving out…we might need a kitchen table, a bed frame. Can she use the furniture I’m holding for you, her siblings, until you need it or she finds something else? Does anyone, anyone at all, have a mattress?

You never know how you might be “fed” until you ask. In two weeks, we drove the Silverado and picked up or put into the trailer (which, by the way, was also donated):

  • a twin mattress, box springs, and feather bed, from an family of a former student from our old church.
  • a maple twin bed frame for $20, from a friend of a dear friend, who’s moving to Arizona.
  • an Ikea kitchen table and four chairs, from friends/parents of my daughter’s friend, whose own daughter used it in college and sent it home.
  • a king mattress and box springs, from a long time friend and her fiancé, who were updating.
  • two shelving units, loaned by her siblings, who expect to collect…somewhere down the line.


Somewhere, deep down, I think we like to believe the hype: we’re alone. We make it on our own. We are bad-ass and hard core, surviving on wits alone. We could probably skin something and eat it….or scale a sharp precipice to get to a nutritious herb (I love you, vegetarian friends, but this is harder to make sound Survivor).

ancient greek grain vases
Ancient Greek vases shaped as grain silos, 700/650 BC, Kerameikos Archaeological Museum, Athens. (Wikipedia)

We have literature dating the concept of silos back to the Greeks in 8th century BC – they stored grains in large bins, waiting for tough times or the occasional famine. I’m thinking the Bible’s story of Joseph, planning, on behalf of Pharaoh, for the locusts…some sort of container was needed, right? Someone was planning for the collective good.

Evil loves to move our thinking away from this ‘shared resource’ concept. If we’re separated, we can be defeated. “United we stand, divided we fall” is not just a slogan. If it lives in our minds – that we are alone, lonely – we go down easily.

Nice thing about silos. They’ve got a bad rep these days, but as an icon, they extend in to the sky. Silo living feeds everyone in the barnyard. I’m happy to be milling around in the paddock.

(*Featured image: Silo 3.5 miles southeast of Blooming Grove Texas built c: 1900 by F. B. Cumpston. Used mainly for corn.)