Here on Permies we have the threadDownsides of Living Rural and it’s largely comprised of plaints and lamentations of rural living, but some entries do note good aspects of rural life, so I thought it would be nice to have a thread all about the joys and delights of life in the country. The glass is half-full, or at least I think so.
I’m about to move to a rural location, and I’ve been camping out 5 days a week since July building the house my wife and I are soon to move into. Here’s some positive observations about rural living that I’ve had.
The night sky- man o man are there gazillions of stars in the sky and it takes my breath away. I’ve never seen the Milky Way before, and there it is above my head every clear night.
Wildlife- Every evening when the sun goes down, the owls come out. Having lived in or around the city my entire life and not hearing owls, I was delighted to hear a Barred Owl on my first night camping out on the new farm. And I’ve heard him hootin’ away every single night since. There’s another kind of owl, and after reading Audubon Societies information of owls in Tennessee, I think might be an Eastern Screech Owl. He makes me smile too.
The quiet- It's so nice to not hear noise like airplanes and car stereos. On any given day this summer, maybe a dozen vehicles would go down the road, and it was always more tractors than automobiles. After nightfall, maybe a car or two go by before 9pm. Otherwise the only thing to hear at night are the owls, bugs, frogs and toads. Now that it's the end of the growing season, the tractor traffic has really subsided.
The Bugs- There were tons of fireflies each night during the summer, reminding me of my childhood memories of lots of them in the backyard when I was a kid.
The people- It’s so refreshing to be in a community of down-to-earth, genuine people. When I go to the local diner, people I’ve never seen before in my life say hi, ask me how I’m doing, and chat me up like we’ve known each other for years. My next door neighbors (not exactly next door, more like a quarter mile to a half mile away) have welcomed my wife and I and have been so kind, and have stopped by and checked in from time to time while I’ve been building. I don’t even live there yet and I have spent more time with, and seem to know those folks better than my current next door neighbors of 9 years here in the city.
So, fellow good people of Permies, what do you love about rural living?
"Study books and observe nature; if they do not agree, throw away the books." ~ William A. Albrecht
I'm totally hooked on rural living. I was born and raised in a big city, so I'm well capable of making comparisons. And I'm much more content living the country life. Two of my siblings are still 100% urban. One other shifted to 100% suburban living in a housing development. I broke away from that rat race, so I'm the oddball.
The upsides of rural living for us are.....
...elbow room. Everybody around us has at least 10 acres, most have 20. So we don't live right on top of each other.
...quiet. We hear little human made noise. There's some, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to city noise.
...greenery everywhere. That's not true for all parts of country, but where we chose to live is full of greenery. I grew up with lots of concrete, so greenery is better.
...nature connection. Wildlife, insects, plants all doing their thing around you. As mentioned, the night sky is magnificent. Sunrises and sunsets can be grand.
...natural country smell. I really appreciate smelling rain, flowers, greenery, even the animals. It's far superior to smelling vehicle exhaust, sewerage, garbage, and dirty human stench (try riding the subway on a rainy day during morning rush hour while heading to school each day.)
...community. I know all my neighbors, plus hundreds of people in my town area. Contrast that to when I lived the city lifestyle, I was friends with one neighbor and could recognize a couple more if I met them on the street. But in general, I knew very few people. I could have died and the neighbors wouldn't have noticed it for days.
...a sense of safety. The country surely isn't devoid of crime, but it much safer than the city.
...freedom. At least where I'm living, people are more free to follow their hearts. There is not the intense scrutiny from the "department to make you sad", compared to the city. You can paint your house any color you want, replace your house roof without the building department official showing up, keep a junk vehicle in your driveway, turn your front lawn into a vegetable garden, set up a table along the road to sell your excess vegetables, butcher out your cow or pig without complaints, etc.
...privacy. I could walk out my back door naked and nobody would see me. There's no one spying on us through our windows. I had that problem all the time when living in the city, though I wasn't aware of it initially. There's no one snooping through my trash can or peeping over my privacy fence.
Yes, there are downsides to being rural, but for me the positive aspects make rural living worth it.
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
I like the security of it. When I wake up in the house at night because I heard a noise, I don't even have to think about what the noise was. If the dogs aren't ruckusing, it's not important. Go back to sleep.
There's never a surprise knock on the door. Nobody ever messes with a vehicle. No pamphlets under a windshield wiper. People drive by, but they don't go down driveways where they don't have business you are going to recognize as legitimate.
I once found legal papers face down in a mud puddle at the end of the driveway with a bite missing out of one corner. I guess our alpha male pack leader at the time (an 80-lb "yellow dog" hunting cur of indeterminate breed) convinced the process server that he (the dog) was an adult of legal age and competent to receive service of process. (We were not home at the time, but the papers were definite bullshit. That process server did in fact go on to file a fraudulent notice of successful service of process.)
The biggest upside for me is the feeling of security in having undeveloped land around me--I have resources, even if I'm not utilizing them right now.
A close second is being surrounded by nature. The wildlife can be destructive, but it can be the best free show you'll ever see, too. Like a herd of deer converging on and chasing a feral cat, or a hawk picking a squirrel right off the birdfeeder, or a jake trying to pick a fight with itself reflected in a chrome bumper. Sure, you can see that stuff on YouTube nowdays, but nothing beats seeing it live. And I'm always discovering new things, like a bug or fungus or weed, even though I've lived on this land for (most of) 30+ years.
Privacy is nice. I like being able to walk around looking like a slob, staying in my pajamas all day if I feel like it, with no one to see or judge me. I like keeping the curtains open all the time. I often find people tiring, so not having to do the dance of smiles and how-are-yous with five different people between my car any my front door is a slice of heaven in itself. And the most noise we get from neighbors is the occasional dog barking (except for the guy with all the guns, who decides to fire his entire arsenal over the course of a few hours once a month, and the other guy who loves his newly-legal-in-PA fireworks).
Being able to leave cars and houses and sheds unlocked is great.
It's so much cooler in the summer in the woods. The humidity might be a little higher, but it's always 10F cooler here than it is in town or in the cities nearby. We usually get the first frost a little later than everybody else, too (though the snow sticks around a lot longer and we get more of it than the low-lying areas, usually).
No one can see our yard from the road, so it doesn't matter if the grass is mowed or if I've got vegetables growing right next to the front door. If I want to repurpose parts of a washing machine or old cabinets for outdoor uses, there's no one to cluck their tongues or get me fined by some governing body (within reason; townships get involved when the place looks like a junkyard).
This isn't a pleasant thought, but it's still a consideration: if my neighbor's house goes up in flames, I'm not as likely to lose my house because it spreads. Similarly, I'm not directly affected when there's a problem with a gas or sewer line or any kind of industrial incident.
I like that there is more to talk about. Having been a city dweller, i didn’t know how to fix things or conserve food or brew wine, propagate plants. In the countryside you can talk to people about these things, the basics. That’s nice, because it makes you get to converse with all sorts of people. I find people in cities cluster together in likeminded groups of the same age. Here i am friendly with folk i wouldn’t have bothered with when i was a city dweller. Which has made me more adult cmplete and humane.
-- Security. No one comes knocking at your front door. They stay in their vehicle and honk if they need something. Cars stay unlocked as do doors.
-- Privacy. No worries about the neighbors seeing you in old house clothes. No worries about your music/tv being "too loud" or your dogs raising a ruckus.
-- Great scenery and wildlife. The deer scampering across the road, the coyotes howling in the fall, the wild turkeys walking along in groups, the snakes and lizards and well...just all of it.
-- People watch out for each other. If your car breaks down on a rural road someone will stop and see if you need help OR you can flag down the next car and tell them you need help. People may or may not be sociable but they do help each other out when there is an obvious problem.
-- Friendlier police. The cops know who the criminals and psychos are so they don't treat everyone they encounter as a potentially dangerous lunatic.
-- People are polite in public. In most rural areas people share the same values, language and cultural mannerisms which means people are more polite to one another.
-- Drivers are more polite -- road rage is rare. Drivers are more forgiving since the chances are good you will see that "idiot driver" in the parking lot at the grocery store in 10 minutes.
-- Businesses remember their customers and are happy to accommodate special requests. They usually don't operate off of corporate handbook that expects the worst from every customer.
-- People get involved. If folks see a crime in progress or something really serious like an assault others WILL get involved since keeping the community safe is every bodies business.
(Some items may be regional, I do realize that crime rates are high in some rural areas due to drug use etc...)
I'm 61 and have only spent a few years of my life living in towns or cities. Most of my life, we've lived in rural areas, sometimes VERY rural (a homestead in Alaska, for example). As a result, I have a bigger 'personal space' than most people seem to have, and feel crowded to the point of claustrophobia in an apartment or in a big urban area. I need the space of open fields around me -- right now, we have a cattle farm on three sides of us, and get to use their fields for our open-space view.
Also -- probably as a result of my upbringing -- I'm missing some of the cultural habits required to live peacefully in crowded environments. I do not like other people telling me what I can and can't do on my own property, or complaining about my roosters crowing or my dogs barking (my dogs bark to warn predators away from my goats and chickens). And I could not live where my neighbors or some city agency controlled what color I could paint my house, whether I am allowed to fence my front yard or have a garden there, or where I'm allowed to park my vehicle. Nobody is giving me a ticket for letting the grass in my yard grow taller than three or four inches, either!
So probably personal freedom is at the top of the list of my reasons for living in the country. Not that there aren't country neighborhoods that are just as controlling and intrusive, but with careful searching you can eliminate those.
Second would be peace and quiet. For me, with an autistic daughter living with me, I have so much stress in my life already that I have to minimize external stress as much as possible, and having a quiet, somewhat isolated location helps me with that.
Third is having room to grow much of our own food, not just gardening, but also some livestock. I like veggies, and we can consume much of our calories in plant material, but in order to be healthy and feel well, we need some animal fat and protein in our diet. I'm not going to criticize those who choose to be vegan, but it doesn't work for us. A city lot -- those folks in Pasadena notwithstanding -- isn't sufficient (they have pretty much a year-round growing season).
And I like being able to see the wildlife -- we've seen coyotes (which my dogs scared off, thankfully), deer, wild turkeys, a snapping turtle, and all kinds of birds since we moved here. We were enchanted by the fireflies this summer -- we've seldom lived where there were fireflies. I had family from Oregon and Wyoming visit us about the time the fireflies started to come out and it was the first time some of them had ever seen the shiny bugs.
We can sit out in the back yard around a little bonfire and we don't need a tall fence to screen us from the neighbors or passers-by. When we first moved here we didn't have any water in the house for several weeks, and I actually took a couple of showers in the back yard (with a privacy tarp, but still....I wouldn't have done that in town!). My garden is in the front yard; I'm going to plant chestnut trees on both sides of the driveway and black walnuts and mulberries on the other side of the barns, and nobody cares!! I can make my own decisions, and make things work here the way I want them to.
This thread deserves more love! You captured much of the glory for rural living, but it deserves stating again and again.
The night sky is precious, with more stars than one person can ever comprehend.
I love the distance from my neighbors, I care about them, and like checking in once in awhile. I do not miss intentionally ignoring the awkward intimacy of overly close proximity.
The peace of mind, with fresh air, sounds of wild birds, and the casual presence of deer and rabbits is worth more than my words can convey.
There are occasions I miss the convenience of food delivered to my home, or quick jaunts to the store , but I never really needed that crap and am better off when the most convenient meal is cooked be me.
I love life in the woods.
Always reading, listening, learning and finding my voice.
They have been so helpful, given so much advice when we've asked, lent us stuff, sold us stuff, all of which hasn't been of much material gain for them. Sure we've paid them and given them some farm produce, but I feel that's insignificant compared to what we've received from them.
Take for instance our cows. Our neighbors have sold us hay and delivered it to us, a round bale or two at a time with their tractor. The delivering easily takes 2 hours of their time. In addition, they always take the time to answer our questions about the cows. They've taught us when to call the inseminator, how to help a cow with delivery, how to take care of the hooves, eartag calves, etc.
Another neighbour has sold barley for our chickens and even 50 kg bags of wheat for our own consumption (we make our own flour and bake our own bread). The trouble for him in making those little sacks of wheat is far greater than the little sum of money that he asks for it. He has ploughed and sanded our yard and the road leading to it, without us even asking, just because he noticed we were struggling with yard maintenance in the winter.
I could go on and on with these stories We have been blessed with super nice neighbours! I hope one day we will be able to return the favours! I doubt we will ever be of as much help to them as they have been to us, but maybe one day we'll have another newbie as our neighbour and then we can the pass on what we have received
"But if it's true that the only person over whom I have control of actions is myself, then it does matter what I do. It may not matter a jot to the world at large, but it matters to me." - John Seymour
I just read the topic and it straightly attracted me to post a reply without reading any of the above.
The Ruralism, it's simple without much complications. The life is not composed of much extra things that kill your time. In our country, the rural areas are were people still meet, talk, discuss whereas the urban people are just on their technology, doing show offs and engaged in their own.
Rural areas are were people are close to nature, spend more time with it, and are actually breathing. I have a dream of living at a place where I can just view the greenery all around doing farming, gardening, sleeping, relaxing and nothing more.
I think I'll just lie down here for a second. And ponder this tiny ad:
permaculture bootcamp - learn permaculture through a little hard work