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Downsides of Living Rural  RSS feed

 
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Regan Dixon wrote:Hello Joel, when I went to order early last year, I discovered this nonsense on amazon.ca.  Conversely, one could order in from amazon.com for about $10 in shipping and $2 in customs fees...and it's still Canada Post delivering for the last leg of the journey.


Interesting.  When I've bought books from Amazon.com and they've then been sent up from the U.S., I can't remember being charged duty.

Regan Dixon wrote:For curries:  toast the spices in a dry pan until fragrant, then add the oil.  Magic!


Thanks for the tip! I'll try it that way.

But I also do know - a change of scene (such as a city restaurant once in a while) is nice, and not just because someone else is cooking.  There's a whole lot of history to the "country folks visit the city" pattern.  So it seems pretty natural.
 
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Interesting about your amazon experiences, Joel.  I went through the order procedure again just now, a year later.  This time it is a "mere" $42 CDN to have the book sent, via amazon.ca, whereas if I ordered it in from the US, it would equate to only $10 CDN for shipping and a dollar for import fees.  I still have the correspondence from when I contacted amazon.ca last year to bring this matter up with them, so I am not remembering wrong!
 
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Location: Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia
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Regarding the lack of eating out options. We've not been so concerned about this and I think over time it'll lead to us being superior cooks compared to what we were when living in the city. If its been a case of "I miss such and such a meal" the answer is "ok, well we need to learn how to make it - we cant get the ingredients - ok we need to learn to grow it". We're even ambitious enough want to grow all of our own spices over time.....let me come back to you in 5 years

Something else we've noticed. We thought we were pretty good cooks, but damn, our neighbours in the country are superb cooks. All of them......to the point where we feel rather inadequate by comparison. Its good though, lots to learn!
 
pollinator
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While the title of this is deceptive as it really doesn't discuss how rural folks deal with the issue, this report does explain the issue of internet a bit.

 
gardener
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Location: Fraser Headwaters, B.C., Zone3, Latitude 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
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I forgot to say that I miss shopping in the alleyways, the endless alleyways of stuff that people are going to shamefully throw out.  i don't miss the fact that there is so much waste, but that I can find really cool stuff to repurpose on my projects, and save it from the landfill.  My local area has free sheds and local recycling areas, but I don't often find granite counter tops, or slate tiles... for instance. 
 
pollinator
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We've lived in greater Los Angeles for the past 20 years or so, so you don't get much more urban than our life today.  But back in the day, we lived on a chunk of land in rural South Dakota.

Things I miss:
* Quiet mornings, looking out every morning and surveying my "Kingdom"
* Keeping a horse.  Going for a ride in the evening.
* Plenty of room to experiment with new veggies, trees and crops
* Owning a truck and a car and a tractor
* Getting my annual deer, once by just stepping out the back door and shooting it from the porch.
* The lonely howl of the coyotes at night
* Pheasant hunting in the fall.
* Local high school sports for entertainment, particularly basketball in the winter.
* The mailman.  He'd keep an eye on things when he knew we were gone for a few days.
* We had some great neighbors and some dumb ones.  I miss the great ones, their kids and their extended families.
* No water bill.
* Cattle.  I really enjoyed working my cattle.
* I miss the way farmyard animals would become animated and so fun just before nightfall.  Little lambs, calves, colts, and even the evil goat kids . . . they are so cute and put on a little cuteness show right before sun down.
* Good, decent, salt-of-the-earth people with well behaved children, and thoughtfully informed opinions.  People assume rural means hick, but not in my experience.
* I miss using my guns whenever I wanted. 
* Little snakes in the garden.  Don't have those here in Los Angeles county.
* Fall.  I miss the colors changing, the corn standing in the fields, the Friday night football game, making sausage, and putting up food for the winter.  Thanksgiving meant something different back then.


Things I don't miss:
* Driving 45 minutes to get to the closest Home Depot or Costco
* The stupid deer wiping-out an almost ready garden in a single night
* The stupid critters of all types, getting into the hen-house/garden/feed shed/etc.
* That stupid badger.  My goodness that thing was destructive.
* Stupid cold South Dakota winters and stupid humid hot summers.
* Unable to order a simple pizza and have it delivered, not to mention any other good take-out.  The nearest Thai restaurant was over an hour away.
* Lack of access to the arts—museums, the theater, concerts.
* Pigs. 
* Goats.  If I never have to chase another Houdini pig or goat that somehow got loose, I will die a happy man.  Stupid pigs.  Stupid goats.  But mmmmm . . . home cured bacon.
* Mosquitoes.
* Snow drifts that blocked the driveway.
* When animals died.  That was always hard on the kids, particularly when we once lost a young colt.

Both lists could go on and on.  We lived in the country before Amazon and the Interwebs, and even before reasonably priced Dish TV, so I don't miss what we never had.
 
Joel Bercardin
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Roberto pokachinni wrote:I forgot to say that I miss shopping in the alleyways, the endless alleyways of stuff that people are going to shamefully throw out.  i don't miss the fact that there is so much waste, but that I can find really cool stuff to repurpose on my projects, and save it from the landfill.  My local area has free sheds and local recycling areas, but I don't often find granite counter tops, or slate tiles... for instance. 


I can relate to that.  Looking back, pretty well all the best finds I've acquired at yard sales, flea markets, and pawn shops have been purchases I made in cities.  Useful items like a chainsaw, hand tools in great shape, garden tools.  City people often have a lot of stuff, sometimes more than they need, hence will part with it - so it can show up at a yard sale.  Rural people are eager for bargains and may wind up competing for things like that, whenever they come across them.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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I partly relate to what you wrote, Joel.

I find that in rural areas, there are more auctions, and the yard sales have better quality items.  In the city the yard sales are mostly crap that I wouldn't want, with the occasional treasure.  The opposite is true at rural yard sales.  Often when rural people have a yard sale, it is because they are downsizing, or leaving, or someone has died, whereas in the city I find that although these too can be the case, the more likely scenario is that the over production of the consumer society is made rampantly apparent in a house full of crap... and that realization has it spill out of the house into a yards sale where it all ends up on the tables devalued from ridiculous purchase prices, but still not worth anything in my mind.  Occasionally though, there is a champion juicer, or some power wood working tools of high quality, or a set of brand new chisels, or something like that, and I know that I have struck gold, but I find that rurally these are more often found, although definitely more used.  In my community, we have an annual yard sale, where many people set up an outdoor flea market on Mother's Day; it is always full of treasures. 

Flea Markets, Pawn Shops, Thrift Shops, et cetera, are a different thing generally, and although they are available in smaller communities, the abundance in the city in regard to the 'wastes' of an affluent society are definitely something I miss from the city, and mentioned this in one of my previous posts in this thread.
 
Joel Bercardin
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Regan Dixon wrote:Interesting about your amazon experiences, Joel.  I went through the order procedure again just now, a year later.  This time it is a "mere" $42 CDN to have the book sent, via amazon.ca, whereas if I ordered it in from the US, it would equate to only $10 CDN for shipping and a dollar for import fees.  I still have the correspondence from when I contacted amazon.ca last year to bring this matter up with them, so I am not remembering wrong!


Pardon me, Regan, if you've already looked into this.  But ebook versions of very many books ara available, for a fraction of the cost of the print version, and you can download them from home.  You save even more $ compared with the physical book because there’s no shipping cost (and for a Canadian, no customs duty).  An ebook reader can be an investment that saves you a lot of money in the long run. A couple years ago, I asked around among experienced people and then bought a Kobo.  The company makes a variety of models ranging from about $100 to $200, depending on the particular features you’d like.

I still like physical books best.  But when I don’t feel I'll definitely want to keep a particular book on the shelf, I save money and buy the ebook edition.

I buy ebooks from Amazon or from Indigo/Chapters, or borrow them from the public library I belong to (the library is 80km away, but I can download from home).  You can convert the Amazon “Kindle book" editions for reading in a Kobo, or if a person prefers Amazon they can choose to buy a Kindle reader in the first place.  But the ebooks I buy from Chapters go straight into the Kobo with no conversion fussing.
 
Regan Dixon
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For those books that actually are available in electronic form, that is an option. 
 
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The only downside i have experienced about living rural is not doing it earlier.

I prefer not going into town if I don't have to. Love where I live, love that I can create my own food, entertainment, and enjoy the quiet and peace.
 
Joel Bercardin
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Just came back from a two-day trip to our nearest sizeable city, Kelowna — population roughly 130k.  My partner is a sculptor, and she’s having some work done on some bronze castings over there.  Takes about 4.5 hours to get there or back.

Didn’t get to any yard sales, pawn shops, or thrift stores this time.  But upside included having a big selection of tools (mechanic-ing) at Home Depot (where we also bought a very good overhead LED shop-lighting fixture for my partner’s studio) and a few other practical items — all at prices we couldn’t have found closer to home.  Delicious authentic Mexican meal at “Hector’s” followed by a first-run movie, chosen from a wide selection.  Bought some bulk-food things that we can’t grow on our place, again at very good prices.  And so on.

Downside:  As I indicated above, it’s not a tremendously large city, and normally during weekdays you don't have to work your way through throngs of people on sidewalks and in parks, etc there. But it sure does have a lot of impatient traffic… makes for a stressful driving experience.  The whole city throws the consumerist pattern of North America in one’s face, and (once again) I really felt like some sort of alien in that blaring environment.  True, we’ve seen/heard some great live entertainment over there in a few past trips, but not this time.

We were glad to get out of there by noon on day two… I more so than my partner.  Feels great to be home.
 
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Water. I miss my city water.

It's so easy: you just turn it on and there it goes, fresh and clean and perfect--straight out of somewhere in heaven.

Here I have well water that comes out like chocolate milk, filled with iron and manganese and calcium and sulfur and who the hell knows what all. It smells powerfully--from sixty feet--like boiled egg farts.

Sure, you can fight it with tens of thousands of dollars of aspirators and aerators and thousand gallon tanks, and zealite filters and carbon filters and salt softeners and UV santizers, and bleach shock--and...this one really amazes me...ACTUAL electric shock.

But if you ain't got that kind of dough...

You find out who your friends are, Boiled Egg Fart Man.
 
master steward
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I love my well water, but then, my well water actually tastes amazing. CIty water tastes of chlorine. I usually can't stand to drink city water unfiltered--I'm spoiled by my well. My well water does, however, love to turn everything yellow-orange. It's not iron, but maybe nitrates in the water. So, it turns my bath and toilet orangish, and my cups get a little orange, too, if I use the same cup for a few days in a row. But, all in all, I love my well water.

I don't love that my well pump seems to be nearing the end of it's life, though. It's 20 years old, and it takes my husband an hour to fill a 80 gallon fish tank...that's 1.33 gallons/minute. I read the well report from when it got installed, and it looks like it used to pump 16 gallons per minute . We also used to clean our patio and siding with the "jet" function on our spray nozzle, and now we can't.

I dread the cost of replacing the pump!
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Location: Fraser Headwaters, B.C., Zone3, Latitude 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
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Water. I miss my city water.

It's so easy: you just turn it on and there it goes, fresh and clean and perfect--straight out of somewhere in heaven.

 

At first I thought you were joking, until I read your whole post.  Poor you, Michael.  That deep sulfur water sounds nasty.   Have you considered building a reed bed and biochar filtration system, and bringing your water to the surface and filtering it biologically?  I mean you would have to pump it or pressurize it after that, but it would save on all that other stuff you mention. 

Anyway when I first read the beginning of your post, I couldn't disagree more in my mind.  The city water is clean but only in that it is sanitized beyond reason, and to me it is far from coming from somewhere in heaven for many urban people, and my experience of it is that it is generally heavily chlorinated to an extreme fault, and in many cases also laced with fluoride.  That and often city water comes from polluted watersheds (from air pollution), and the systems, including the pipes are often aging and need replacement, but the infrastructure costs are so huge that the city's budget can not do too much of it at once.  Living where I am now, city water is one of the many things that I do not miss at all.

To contrast the urban water of my experience, my own watershed is relatively free of problems.  I have second water rights on the creek.   It is rich in life and oxygen, and comes down a wild mountain through undeveloped property onto mine.  This is so much closer to Heaven, to me, that I had to give a double take on your opening line.  Ha Ha.   
 
Joel Bercardin
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Roberto pokachinni wrote:

Water. I miss my city water.

It's so easy: you just turn it on and there it goes, fresh and clean and perfect--straight out of somewhere in heaven.

 
At first I thought you were joking, until I read your whole post.  Poor you, Michael.  That deep sulfur water sounds nasty.  ...

To contrast the urban water of my experience, my own watershed is relatively free of problems.  I have second water rights on the creek.   It is rich in life and oxygen, and comes down a wild mountain through undeveloped property onto mine.  This is so much closer to Heaven, to me, that I had to give a double take on your opening line.  Ha Ha.


Quite interesting subject.  I've had rural water problems, of a somewhat different sort.  We have gravity-feed water to the gardens and to the house and one of our outbuildings.  It comes from way upslope, so we have about 80 psi pressure, so we reduce it where it comes into the house.  Normally only requires large-particle (silt or clay) filtration.

So far, so good.  However, our creek-water withdrawal & delivery system was in place when we bought the land. The top portion of the system was built in 1965, when the homestead land carved out of the conifer woods here had not been subdivided to the degree it was in more recent decades.  At this point, we share the system with five other households. The system has needed upgrading, with a good reservoir up near the creek, but three of the six households have been lazy and deliberately ignorant — unwilling to invest the time/effort & money needed for upgrade.  The system has required pampering and fixing during winter cold snaps (a real chore by the way!), and sometimes we run out of water on the homesites in August or September.

I agree that people in the cities, suburbs, and towns expect there to be "clean" water when they turn on the tap (though the delivery systems are, of course, potentially vulnerable).  And while I certainly also agree that their "clean" water is usually treated in ways that I personally dislike (chlorination, etc), I can understand Michael Sohocki's complaint.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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And while I certainly also agree that their "clean" water is usually treated in ways that I personally dislike (chlorination, etc), I can understand Michael Sohocki's complaint.

  As can I.  If I had his rotten egg water, I would probably have said much the same thing!  I have water that is so good, that, if I filtered it in charcoal, i could probably sell it in bottles !  There are many even in this valley who do not have it as good as me.

However, our creek-water withdrawal & delivery system was in place when we bought the land. The top portion of the system was built in 1965, when the homestead land carved out of the conifer woods here had not been subdivided to the degree it was in more recent decades.  At this point, we share the system with five other households. The system has needed upgrading, with a good reservoir up near the creek, but three of the six households have been lazy and deliberately ignorant — unwilling to invest the time/effort & money needed for upgrade.  The system has required pampering and fixing during winter cold snaps (a real chore by the way!), and sometimes we run out of water on the homesites in August or September. 

  The system on the land next to mine (which is where I currently live, renting a small house with my aging parents), has much the same issues as does the two that are downstream.  I've been brainstorming a way to deal with those issues when I install my own system, which may also include a micro - micro hydro project.
 
Joel Bercardin
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Roberto pokachinni wrote:
I find that in rural areas, there are more auctions, and the yard sales have better quality items.  In the city the yard sales are mostly crap that I wouldn't want, with the occasional treasure.  The opposite is true at rural yard sales.  Often when rural people have a yard sale, it is because they are downsizing, or leaving, or someone has died, whereas in the city I find that although these too can be the case, the more likely scenario is that the over production of the consumer society is made rampantly apparent in a house full of crap.


Having re-read what you've said on the subject, Robert, I'm wondering if you've combed the pawn shops in the cities?  I've found that a small pawn shop can be a disappointment, because at any particular time their selection can be too limited.  But that's not the case with larger pawn shops.  I've seen a lot of incredibly high-quality tools in such places — not "weekend-warrior" or "homeowner" grades of stuff but genuine professional's tools.

And one weekend when my partner and I were visiting her family in Edmonton, we did a yard-sale circuit and I was able to cherry pick some very good non-powered hand tools at a few of these.  But I agree that with city yard sales it depends on the particular household and their mysterious history.
 
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Roberto pokachinni wrote:I have water that is so good, that, if I filtered it in charcoal, i could probably sell it in bottles !  There are many even in this valley who do not have it as good as me.


This is how the water is on my property.  Amazing spring water - love it.  Makes my hair/skin feel amazing and it tastes great.  No need for a filter.
 
Michael Sohocki
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mm...yes, you want to know how they got those professional tools?
 
Michael Sohocki
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I wish I had kept the police report.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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But that's not the case with larger pawn shops.  I've seen a lot of incredibly high-quality tools in such places — not "weekend-warrior" or "homeowner" grades of stuff but genuine professional's tools. 

  In my experience, having done some work in the trades and having many friends in the trades, is that tools get stolen by the truck load off work sites or out of personal worker's trucks.  In fact, a few years ago while working on a railroad gang, all of our machines were broken into, where each operator's personal tools were.  All the generators were stolen.  All of the power tools.  All of the spare hydraulic lines.  Etc.  This was near Edmonton.  The next work cycle we had armed night security.  Unlike bicycle's, there is no registration on power tools.  The other reason is that these tools are at pawn shops is that the trades are rife with drug use, and as such if a guy falls on hard times and 'needs' his drugs, he pawns his tools.   Pawn shops are fascinating places, but they tend to feel a bit predatory to me.  I tend not to buy tools at pawn shops. 
 
Joel Bercardin
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Roberto pokachinni wrote:In my experience, having done some work in the trades and having many friends in the trades, is that tools get stolen by the truck load off work sites or out of personal worker's trucks.  In fact, a few years ago while working on a railroad gang, all of our machines were broken into, where each operator's personal tools were.  All the generators were stolen.  All of the power tools.  All of the spare hydraulic lines.  Etc.  This was near Edmonton.


That's depressing to hear.  Some years back now, I worked as a carpenter and an assistant masonry/concrete guy.  We didn't leave equipment trailers or smaller equipment on-site overnight, and nothing was stolen.  I hadn't given enough weight to how much in the way of really good equipment in pawn shops is probably stolen!

One pawn-shop owner in my region got some of his inventory by buying pallet loads of tools & equipment via police auctions: many tools went unclaimed, so after a certain designated time the police advertised pallets of the items online.

Roberto pokachinni wrote:The next work cycle we had armed night security.  Unlike bicycle's, there is no registration on power tools.  The other reason is that these tools are at pawn shops is that the trades are rife with drug use, and as such if a guy falls on hard times and 'needs' his drugs, he pawns his tools.   Pawn shops are fascinating places, but they tend to feel a bit predatory to me.  I tend not to buy tools at pawn shops.


This is a fairly common story in my region too.  Guys doing cannabis or meth can often keep their habits affordable, but those doing smack, fentanyl, or cocaine very often cannot.

True, if one gives it much thought, shopping in pawn shops can be sad or creepy.
 
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