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What is it like living in the country?  RSS feed

 
Oliver Bradley
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This may seem like quite a wide question but I would be very interested to hear some of your thoughts.
I have always lived in small towns or big cities. I am looking into getting some land (possibly in N Texas) to build a house and learn how to grow stuff.
I have always thought about doing it. When I was younger I was too worried about being isolated and somehow missing out on exciting things..
I am 38 now with two young kids. I am a carpenter and will be building a shop to work out of but may also be looking for work (I wonder how hard that would be out of a densely populated area?)
 
Jay Green
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Can't really speak for N.Texas, but around here it's a long, long drive to anywhere...grocery, hospitals, big hardware stores, movie theaters, eateries, etc. Jobs are also a long commute for most professions, on average of 20-50 mi. one way. Neighbors are extremely nosy and will grill you relentlessly on every small detail of your life and will watch what you do on your place unabashedly~with binoculars, if necessary. The local hardware stores, gas stations and small grocer will gouge you on prices simply because they are the only game in town and you will have to drive 100 mi. round trip to buy elsewhere. No cell reception, pricy satellite services or dial up internet..if your lucky.

Is it worth it? You bet your life it is!

It's quiet, the air is like diamonds and the water like quicksilver. You can actually hear wildlife in all its myriad cacophony day and night but it's like a lullaby compared to what you've been used to. The stars look closer~like looking at holes in the floor of Heaven, seeing shooting stars will be often but never seem common~you'll always feel honored to have seen one , the sunsets and sunrises take your breath away and the smell of fresh mowed hay has no equal.

You can leave your doors unlocked all the time and folks will stop by and tell you if they saw anyone messing around your place~and often they will be able to tell you exactly who it was...they miss very little. Guns are not a threat there, they are a tool and no one brings one out unless they are going to use it or sharpen their skills at it...they don't carry them in their waste bands to feel tough. Country folk are already tough and they have nothing to prove to anyone anymore..they get to simply just BE. That's all...the art and act of BEING is something that was lost to the city dwellers long ago, ne'er to return.

The local schools are not fancy but your kid is usually safe there...everyone is looking after everyone elses kids and you will know every fart your kid lets at school and in the town. Guarantee it. You won't have to sell things to raise money for this or that...they will have a donkey basketball game to do that or even a cow pie bingo.

Your neighbor would give you the shirt off their back if you asked for it, but they will also just leave you the heck alone if you indicate that's what you want ...and they won't be offended. They want to be left alone also.

You'll keep your dogs on your own property and expect they keep theirs the same...it's just considerate and if there is livestock around, you will lose your dog. Guaranteed. They don't even have to be bothering the livestock, they will still be dispatched as a preventative. There are more disputes with neighbors over dogs than most anything else...city folk moving to the country where they can finally let their dogs "run free". Not exactly. Not if you love your pet.

You'll be able to build, plow or fence what you want without asking a by your leave to anyone...it's your property, do as you like. No sewage or water fees, you'll live off a well or cistern and you'll grow to love it if your water is good and abundant. You'll wonder how the heck you ever ingested that city water. The food you raise will taste like real food and won't cost your first born and the deed to your home at a farmer's market. In fact, there are no farmer's markets out in the country....farmers don't need them. You might see a farm stand along the road, though, and these are always pretty reasonable.

The seasons suddenly become much more distinct than in the city and burbs...snow and ice more damp and cold, the sun and humidity is hotter, the rains swell the rivers you must cross to get anywhere, the wind shakes the windows in your house and sometimes the whole house will shudder, and fall will be like the Heavens opened and spilled all their glory out on the hillsides just so you can gasp in wonder around ever bend in the road.

The small town parades will be a big deal and only last 10 min., the small festivals will bring folks for miles around...but there's nothing really all that much to see, the county fairs are small but right out of Mayberry RFD and worth going to every year just because. You'll wish you had a theater close by for a bit, but eventually you'll realize that the movie playing outside in your backyard or in your local small town is so much more interesting and uplifting that those tired old movie premises will no longer give you a thrill.

There are no traffic jams in the country, not many loud noises, life is prosaic and timeless there and you will feel like you have time traveled back 10 years from where you were before. The local mechanic sits next to you in church on Sunday, so he dasn't cheat you on a Monday...he'll try anything to get your car on the road the cheapest way possible. Yes, an honest mechanic really exists, just gotta ask around and they will all tell which one he is. He may look like a biker dude but he's as honest as the day is long.

Everything seems harder, but more satisfying. More real...everything tastes better, smells better, sounds better and looks better than from whence you've come. Going back home to the city to visit relatives will be an assault on your senses and you will yearn for home and the quiet sweetness you found there. Culture? They don't know culture in the city...only country folk know true culture, you just have to look a little deeper to see it and then you need to realize that it's culture at which you are looking.


Hope that helps!
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Oliver Bradley wrote:I am a carpenter and will be building a shop to work out of but may also be looking for work (I wonder how hard that would be out of a densely populated area?)


Earning/making a living is the most difficult aspect of living in the country, in my experience. That and as Jay points out "everything seems harder." This is easier while one is younger but gets harder as one ages. It's easy to have grandiose plans of being a farmer, but may be more difficult in reality, especially in an erratic climate like Texas.
 
Oliver Bradley
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Jay and Tyler. Thank you both for taking the time to comment.
Jay, that does definitely help. It sounds amazing. The thing that appeals to me the most (apart from the obvious natural attraction) is what you said about how people act.

 
Miles Flansburg
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bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
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Howdy Oliver, welcome to permies! Have you spent any time in the area you are looking to move to? I think it might ease your mind if you spent some time in the area. Go to the local hangouts, if there are any. Look at the bulletin boards at the store etc to see if people are looking for help. Ask folks in the area if the area could use a person with your skills.

I have moved around several times in my life and each area has it's own "goods and bads", I have been to places that took a long time to fit into and others where I felt like I was born there. So living in some parts of the "country" might not be as welcoming as others.

Jay covered it very nicely !
 
Oliver Bradley
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Thanks for the welcome. Finding this forum has been very helpful already in terms of links and general info.
I have spent some time in the area I am thinking to move to. Visiting is always different to living though I guess. I have moved a lot of times in my life (I am from England originally) but it has always been to different cities. I have been living in Dallas for the last 5 years and have enough work that I could do while living a couple of hours away from there. I am also thinking of moving to a totally new area, possibly the northwest but that is where it might be trickier in terms of work as I would need to start over. I don't think I am overly ambitious in terms of farming. I realise that I will need to be able to support myself by other means.
I saw the Growfood.org link yesterday which looks very interesting. Has anyone on here done an internship at a farm? It does seem like it might be a good way to learn some skills and test the waters a little bit for myself (and family)

 
Alder Burns
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Town or country, there is always the danger of moving next to the neighbors from hell, and unless you already know people in the area, it's difficult to find that out ahead of time. This is made even more likely if you buy vacant land or land long unoccupied, since neighbors will have become accustomed to using it for hunting, gathering firewood, etc. and even pasture; and will likely resent those privileges being withdrawn. My partner was once practically run off some vacant land she was looking at for this very reason. I guess you could just try to drop in on the neighbors of any place you're considering, just to catch a vibe; although there are some parts of the back of beyond where you might be greeted with a gun!
 
Michael Forest
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Oliver,

Adding to what's been said, the devil is in the details. You'll find that many times your daily plans (intent) can and will change suddenly. Assuming you're considering a homesteading lifestyle which is dependent on your daily efforts,unexpected things breakdown,need repair and for most things you'll figure out how to do the fixing. Obviously, Nature will have it's way, the more closely one lives in and with the natural world, your energy use will be determined for you. A tree falling across the land property access road will need tending to sooner rather than later. Literally the small things can have the biggest impact. Needing a certain bolt or screw, tool, food ingredients, can alter your plans for more than just a day or two. My wife likens it to living a triage lifestyle.

Water can be an issue. Ours is minor,the arsenic level is higher than we like so we get drinking water elsewhere. As to local business pricing, it's expected to be higher - time and distance is money,obviously. We're lucky to have a hardware store ten minutes away. The owner tells me,locals who've lived in the area all their lives,complain that they can get things a lot cheaper at home depot, "only" an hour to an hour and a half away.

Neighbors will be neighbors like any where else. Even though,around here people like to shoot their guns quite frequently, or believe that the best thing to do with a wooded lot is to cut down, sell the trees and plant pasture grass, they are friendly and there is a unspoken sense of community. Privacy is respected (well may be not acoustically all the time).


I don't want to come across as discouraging,quite the opposite. Do all you can to see if living in the country (however you define it) is your heart's desire. The rewards can be way beyond any definition in words and give your life enriched meaning not found in any other lifestyle.


All the best in your endeavors.

 
Jon Kennedy
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Hi Oliver
Well I would love to answer your question easily, I have to agree with all that has been written earlier and would like to add, that its all up to you.
No matter where you go, unless its a place surrounded by relatives and friends, its going to be an adjustment.
I have little knowledge of your background and experiences but as a carpenter you may understand that its kind of like picking clients. Some are alot better than others, some are more knowledgable, and some are just plain pains. And some days are just better than others!
Its going to take awhile to adjust and to learn who is who and who is related to whomever. Where things are and if you have to have permits or get inspections, (yes there are still places in the USA where you can build without being inspected). I think you will find that it could be good for your children , because they will have to learn how to work. Something that i believe is really missing in this country! And they hopefully will learn how to be more reliant upon themselves.
( although farm life is a bit more dangerous if you dont learn from your life lessons and use some common sense!)
I personally have lived all over the country from large cities to small 100 person towns where the closest home depot was 95 miles away)
It will take some time, for everyone. I personally would rather live in the country, a place where you can slowly learn about yourself, your neighbors, and just how little you really need to have a happy family life.
Plan well, find good water and build the dream you want, and Don't believe everything you hear, gossip is a lot louder in the rural areas! Throw that tv away, communicate with your family, alot, and laugh as much as you can, and Do Not assume anything, laws are different in every state, county and town.
Best wishes
Jon
 
Rion Mather
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There is nothing more exciting than the outdoors. As another poster said, pick up some hobbies in the area where you are moving, visit, and get close to nature. It will change your life. You will never want to go back and wonder why you stayed in the city for so long to begin with. Heck, I now consider a town with the population of 5,000 as a big city.
 
Oliver Bradley
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All the comments have been really helpful and interesting. A few points I hadn't thought of and a few confirmations of things which I hoped were the case. I will probably be posting to ask questions about various building stuff in the near future but will definitely update this once I have got somewhere..
Thanks all.
 
Yone' Ward
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Location: Springdale, WA USA - Cold Mediterranean Climate
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Your traveling distance will be a factor. If you can stack functions on each trip, as in: Can you do your shopping on your way home? will help save trips into town. When we make a shopping trip into town, we usually go to at least 6 stores, if not over a dozen, and come home with the car packed. The up side is there are a lot of hidden expenses to living in town that you may never think about unless you have lived in both places. It comes from both housing costs, to municipal fees and requirements, to added taxes. Cities typically have strict requirements on how building have to be built and you have to pay for the inspector to come check to see if you did as you were told. In the country the leading building requirement is: You are going to be sleeping in this place, do you trust it while you are sleeping to not fall on you or set you on fire? This usually ends up being much cheaper and allows for significant experimentation.
 
A Dow
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Location: Depending on the time of the year: San Diego, California, or Louisville Kentucky
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Oliver Bradley wrote:Thanks for the welcome. Finding this forum has been very helpful already in terms of links and general info.
I have spent some time in the area I am thinking to move to. Visiting is always different to living though I guess. I have moved a lot of times in my life (I am from England originally) but it has always been to different cities. I have been living in Dallas for the last 5 years and have enough work that I could do while living a couple of hours away from there. I am also thinking of moving to a totally new area, possibly the northwest but that is where it might be trickier in terms of work as I would need to start over. I don't think I am overly ambitious in terms of farming. I realise that I will need to be able to support myself by other means.
I saw the Growfood.org link yesterday which looks very interesting. Has anyone on here done an internship at a farm? It does seem like it might be a good way to learn some skills and test the waters a little bit for myself (and family)



Regarding the Growfood internship/apprenticeship situation...I say yes, do it!! I did it a few summers ago after college and I LOVED it.
I was at an amazing farm though; the main farmer majored in ecology and knew the scientific reasons behind why we did what we did...I learned so much! That said, every farm will be different, so call and ask questions. Some might allow your family to be there, others might not.
Here is another good website with organic farming opportunities: https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/internships/
good luck:)
 
caley inlow
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Hey there,
I live out in the country here in Oregon and absolutely love it! However, all the trade offs and cautionary tales being posted on this topic ring true for me as well. There's sort of this assumtion that moving to the country entails living a simple life. That's whats attractive to most people entertaining the dream. It's not really true unfortunately. It's not simple but, if you're up for it, it's fun and rewarding. As a carpenter, (I am too) your skillset will help out alot and, for a tradesperson, grow naturally as you meet the various challenges that come up. If you want to, GO FOR IT! Save up some money and jump! Remember: It's better to regret something you have done than something you haven't done! If your hearts in it you be fine and won't regret a thing. have fun!
 
The moth suit and wings road is much more exciting than taxes. Or this tiny ad:
The $50 and Up Underground House Book by Mike Oehler - digital download
https://permies.com/wiki/23442/digital-market/digital-market/Underground-House-Book-Mike-Oehler
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