Self-Sufficiency Series

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How to move to the country

Some time ago a reader sent the following email:

Dear Patrice:

I thank you for your columns on WND. They provide refreshing common sense in a very crazy America right now.

I have also noticed that people that live where you are generally more freedom loving and self reliant that the people on each of the coasts, Atlantic and Pacific with the exception of Alaska...

I myself am looking at a strategic location out to perhaps Wyoming or even Idaho. I am also looking to go to solar panels on my house so I can get off the power grid. Moreover, I want to if possible to get my water off a well and other ways of getting off the grid.

I was curious if you have a guide or where I can check out on your website ideas of how I can leave the city and go into a self reliant mode in out west as I feel that I would be safer and happier being self reliant.

I am pretty good mechanically and would like to learn blacksmithing as a hobby if not as a job to bring in some money.

If you have ideas that you could point me in the right direction or if you have suggestions for books that I could read I would be most appreciative.

With warmest regards and God bless,
Scott



I’ve given Scott’s questions a great deal of thought, and together my husband and I bandied around a number of ideas on what advice we would offer people who want to become more rural and self-sufficient. Some, possibly most, of these ideas may seem harsh, but by now you all should know I’m not one to mince words. The harshness is there because too many people fail in their attempts to go rural because their expectations are unrealistic, or they’re simply unprepared for the reality of life outside an urban area.

I am NOT saying Scott is guilty of any of the transgressions mentioned below. Rather, this is simply general advice I would offer to anyone longing for a rural lifestyle. With this in mind, here are some thoughts about how to increase your chances of success when moving to the country:

• Self-sufficiency requires money. If you’re saddled with debt and barely have two dimes to rub together (I relate!!), it will be devilishly hard to find the funds to build a barn, drill a well, buy solar panels, or any other dreams you may have. So before you move to the country, do all the usual stuff people always advise: Get out of debt. Live below your means. Save money. Believe me, you don't want to move your debt load with you to a rural location, because you'll have a much harder time paying the bills as it is.

• Broaden your skills. Rural life means you can’t always call an expert when something goes wrong. Do you know the basics of plumbing, electrical wiring, building, butchering, canning, welding, gardening, etc? I’m not saying you necessarily need all those skills in advance of moving to the country (though it couldn’t hurt). I’m saying those are all skills you’ll need to learn sooner or later when you move onto your farm.

• Change your mindset. When we left urban California in 1992 and bought our modest four-acre place in southwest Oregon, we knew we couldn’t go back. Or wouldn't go back. Whatever the distinction, failure was not an option because we wanted to live in the country more than just about anything else, no matter what it took. Because of that mindset and attitude, we busted fanny and lived in poverty for a long, long time. Those were sacrifices we made to stay rural and raise our children in the country.


• Develop a country attitude. Don’t be a city snob. Don’t presume you know more about rural ways than the rural folks do. A surprising number of urban transplants think they know more than their neighbors about what it takes to live in the country. That’s kind of like someone being an expert at parenting, but not having any kids. Anyone claiming to be an expert before they do something is just blowing smoke.

• Find an income. Unfortunately you can’t get a “job” homesteading. No one pays you for your efforts to become more self-sufficient, so you’re going to have to find ways to earn money. Ideally you’ll do this by working at home, but it doesn’t always happen that way. Find whatever outside employment you can (those skills mentioned above might be a good place to start) and don’t be afraid to work several small jobs. In fact, be prepared to do this no matter what your primary income source is. Most country folks have multiple jobs. It goes with being self-sufficient.

• Don’t be ashamed to start small or humbly. Five acres and a single-wide can be pretty cheap. You can always move “up” to what you want, but you need to start somewhere and having shelter, no matter how humble, is a bonus. Another bonus is that, once you’re already located in the country, you can find your dream home much more easily. Most of the really good deals never make it to the real estate listings. You’ll hear about them in the coffee shop or post office or grocery store bulletin board.


• Book learning is different than real life. No one can learn to become Grizzly Adams from a book. Nobody. There is no such thing as a correspondence course to become a mountain man (unfortunately). However, don’t neglect your reading. Study without practice is never as good as study with practice. Book learning gives you a starting point and teaches you the right questions to ask those who already have the knowledge and experience.

• Be a self-starter, but be willing to learn. Do you chafe at people telling you what to do? Are you the type to tackle a problem and figure out how to solve it? A rural lifestyle requires both: the ability to tackle problems head on, as well as the ability to take advice from those who have already trod that path and have experience to offer. (There are lots of those in the country.)

• Take reconnaissance trips before you decide on a location. Talk to the locals about weather patterns and conditions to learn what will and will not suit you. Personally I could never handle the heat of Florida or Arizona; others couldn’t handle the cold we get here in the Idaho panhandle. Know your preferences. Learn what areas are suitable for growing crops, and learn what kinds of crops will grow. Above all, ask about water. Where is it? How deep is it? How much is there? Are there usage restrictions? Who owns the water rights? Water is a paramount consideration. If you haven’t got enough and can’t afford to get more, your chances of having a success farm or homestead are nil.


• Learn the politics. Whatever you do, you do not want to end up in a part of the country where the locals will disagree with your particular suasion. If you’re liberal, don’t move to a conservative area. If you’re conservative, don’t move to a liberal area. Trust me, this will save you a lot of grief in the end.

• Do not bite off more than you can chew. Too many newbies think they can “do it all” their first year on the farm. They try to build a house and barn, get chickens, cows, goats, and pigs, plant a garden, drill a well, fence forty acres of pasture, cut and split eight cords of firewood, in addition to homeschooling four young children and trying to make some money from a home craft business. Then they wonder why they’re stressed, exhausted, and broke. Where’s the “simple life” they longed for? I would suggest no more than one, perhaps two major projects per year. That way you can devote more time and energy to doing it right, and maybe have a spare minute or two to go fishing or enjoy the sunset. After all, why else did you make all those sacrifices to get here?

• Stuff happens. To paraphrase Murphy, if something can go wrong, it will. Your cow will get mastitis. Your fences will get knocked down by trees or wind. Your young fruit trees will die from cold or rodent damage. Your garden will never grow, or if it does, it will get eaten by deer or grasshoppers. You will have one neighbor who doesn’t like you and spreads nasty lies about you. Your tractor will spend more time at the shop than on the farm. Your solar panels won’t work correctly or will get knocked over by the wind because you didn’t brace them properly. You name it, and it will go wrong. (Trust me on this.) Prepare to handle it with patience and a tremendous sense of humor.


• Don’t expect the same level of goods and services in the country as you had in the city. We don’t have Starbucks and we don’t want it. However you might be pleasantly surprised at what kinds of good and services you DO find in the country – goods like fresh produce, and service like grocery store employees who actually know you.

• Your issues may not be our issues. Whatever particular cause or agenda you’re passionate about, don’t try to badger your new community into caring about it as much as you do. Your particular cause might be good and worthy, but that doesn’t mean you should barge into your new town and try to “educate” the yokels about it. Even if we find your agenda to be just as worthy as you do, we’re not going to appreciate an outsider trying to tell us what to think or how to act. (A situation like that just arose here, which is why I’m cautioning against it.)

After all these warnings and advice, I hope I’m not discouraging too many people from exploring their dream. I just want you to make sure your dream is realistic, not rosy. In the end, there’s a lot to be said for the Nike slogan: “Just do it.” But I don’t suggest you “do it” without adequate preparations in advance and a huge dose of patience afterward.

I encourage everyone reading this to chime in with their $0.02. Whether you’re coming from an urban or a rural perspective, what else would you add to this list? Or what other questions do you have? We’re from the country, and we’re here to help. Really we are.

62 comments:

  1. *needs no encouragement to chime in*

    Patrice, I really appreciated the comment about how expensive it is to make a major life change. Of any kind, honestly. Going from the country to an urban lifestyle would be the same.

    Here's another tip:

    If you want to have stock, learn about animals first. Take courses in agriculture at the nearest junior college. Learn how to take care of a cow before you get one. It's cruel to take on the care of animals without knowing how to meet their needs. It's asking for a neglect or abuse situation, even with good intentions.

    I am forever amazed at how many people want to own horses, for example, as pets, without a clue how much space a horse needs to be healthy, or how much pasture it will need unless you want to buy all its feed.

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  2. When strangers wave at you on the road - wave back.

    Talk low. Don't overdress. Go to church.

    Don't tell people you have a college education. Don't deny it...just don't ever bring it up.

    And the most important for last -

    Develop some type of personal philosophy or faith if you don’t already have one.
    It is vital to hold a belief in some type of universal order, plan or reason. Without this you will not be able to sustain the heartaches, questioning, losses and disappointments that living a more self-reliant life will often bring.

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  3. Ya'll got that right!

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  4. To Patrice and all:

    Your ideas and insights have been a real help and eye opener to me to get off the grid to a more self sufficient lifestyle.

    I am a bit tired of the rat race lifestyle of living the subdivision, keeping up with the Jones lifestyle.

    As I write this, I am getting my ducks in a row using many of the ideas on this portion of the blog.

    I can not thank you all enough for your insight and help, and to Patrice, I thank you for not mincing words.

    With best regards and may God bless you,

    Scott

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  5. Don't be surprised if the local community of your new home is not accepting of you. The people in small communities and rural areas will be suspicious of you, and may not warm up to you instantly. They very well may keep their distance from you. While they will be kind, don't look for everyone to come to you immediately. Rural people have most likely been rural their whole lives, and for generations before them. The lifestyle and culture is ingrained in their being, and while they are incredibly happy and outgoing and friendly with the other "natives" they will shy away from you.

    Having said this, get involved in the community. Don't take charge, but become involved. Find an organization or a church that you care about, and work with them. If you have children, and they attend a local school, become involved with school events. As the people in the comunity see you becoming involved, and trying to be one of them, not an outsider, they will warm up to you.

    Some rural areas are quirky. Do your research. My grandmother has lived in the same rural town for over 40 years, but still feels that she has never been truly accepted by the community. I personally believe that this is because she didn't make the effort required to become involved in the community, so while the people are kind, she's not "one of them". I grew up and still live in the same town, and I feel completely accepted as a member of the community. I am involved with a few local organizations and my church. These things do make a difference.

    And most importantly, if you come in to your new community acting like you are better than the people that live there (I have seen this happen) you will be miserable.

    Lastly, don't be surprised if the land you buy is still called by the name of the people that owned the place for 3 generations 2 owners before you. If you buy "the Miller's place" you can pretty much rest assured that it is going to be called "the Miller's place" for several years to come, even if you live there for 20 plus years. Everyone knows it as "the Miller's place" and that isn't going to change just because your last name isn't Miller.

    I could go on, but I think that with all I have read, you get the idea. Good luck with your decision. Don't let us discourage you, but don't think you're Superman either. It won't all fall into place all at once, and if you try to make that happen, you're sunk.

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    1. You are absolutely right. I grew up in the country, then I moved across my state to my wife's home town. I worked on a farm, then doing construction, but I was always called the guy from the city.

      I tried to explain to explain that I grew up playing in the dirt, milking cows at friends' houses, and generally "living in the country," but it did not really matter to most.

      I think it is something you have to accept. You will be the outsider. But I do think that a good point is made that you just need to integrate in right away. Don't wait, do it immediately.

      I think that whether you move to the country, to the city, or just to a different area, the best advice is the do something genuinely nice to people you barely know. Even do something awkwardly nice. Offer help when they say they are working in the yard or on their house, bring them some bread you made, or invite them over after church simply because they greeted you.

      Treating people nicer than they expect will make you friends and make you less of an outsider quicker than you would otherwise achieve.

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  6. LOVE this post today, Patrice! You might also encourage the young man to try farm work FIRST. There are ample farm work jobs out there (many in his target area). Most farm jobs come with housing and other benefits. Check on http://www.farmranchjobs.com/ or http://www.agricareersinc.com/job_farm.htm or
    http://www.agriseek.com/work/e/Employment/Farm-Ranch/

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  7. I'm surprised nobody mentioned how dirty you get....LOL....I've never been so dirty, or sweaty before.....and I've lived in both types of places, it's amazing how many city people haven't gotten really dirty or smelly (consistently)......and I will take the peaceful, constant work of the rural area over a city, always......

    Above all the really great advice, you really have to want it....you have to be willing to do all you can to make it happen, every day, all the time, year after year, set back after set back.....I always have to chuckle at the people who finally find a place and think "ok, I'm done, I did it" - reality is it's only the beginning.....

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  8. LOL @ Michael about the Miller place... Yep. We live in "Mamie's House." Or, to the really old folks, we live in "Lulu's House."

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  9. My town is rural, but I don't live in the country any longer. I got too old, too worn out, and needed to be closer to the hospital and the amenities that town life offers. The fact that we all get old is something people need to consider before making such a major change as moving to the country and living off-grid. The ambulance takes a much longer time to get to you, and so does the sheriff when you live in the country. Are you prepared to care for a very sick loved one or a badly injured loved one before help arrives? (IF help arrives?) Can you muster the courage and clarity of thinking to handle a rabid animal or a madman if need be? Until help arrives? (IF help arrives?)

    Are you physically fit? If not, get fit or forget about it. Rural life is wonderful, but it requires a lot of hard work, as others have said.

    Be prepared to drive a long ways to get to the library, the grocery store, the movie theater, and other places that most urban/suburban people take for granted. Gasoline is usually more expensive in rural towns, and you'll more than likely use more of it - are you prepared to spend more of your income on gasoline each and every month?

    You'll need equipment and you'll need tools and you'll need supplies in order to maintain your off-grid lifestyle and your farm. From a snow shovel or posthole digger to a tractor and an ATV, you will soon learn that such things are necessities rather than toys or luxuries.

    Will you miss being close to your extended family? Will your extended family get along without you? If your parents are elderly, will you have too far to travel in order to help them?

    Moving to the country and living off-grid can be like moving to the Moon if you are a born and bred urban person. It sounds like a great way to live, and it certainly can be, but it can also be a nightmare if you don't do your homework BEFORE you go. As Patrice said, you have to learn about the water and the soil. And you'll have to learn about the local building codes and where the dump is.

    When it's -10F outside and your generator quits and the solar panels are covered with snow so they don't generate much power, will you be able to keep your family safe and warm anyway?

    Are you willing to help your neighbors without expecting anything in return? Are you willing to prove yourself worthy of their trust time and time again?

    I suggest renting a home in the general area you'd like to live and give rural living a try before committing to buying land and/or a home. Many times it is very difficult to go back to a suburban/urban area from a rural area due to price differentials, so think carefully before committing to rural life because you may find there is no going back...even if you want to.

    Other than those things - rural life is wonderful, especially when you are willing to adapt to and embrace your new lifestyle.

    Anonymous Patriot
    USA

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  10. If the person who wants to move to the country is single, how about a 'working vacation' on a farm or dude ranch? These places offer a two or three week INTENSE taste of what's involved on a day to day basis. For most folks, that's long enough to figure out if it's what they REALLY want ...every day forever.

    : )

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  11. What a great post! It hits a lot of our perceptions about country living right on the head and confirms to us that our heads are at least sort-of screwed on straight. We're just beginning our transition to the country and have a long way to go and more to learn than we can forget in a lifetime. But we'll do it one day at a time and be grateful for the opportunity. Thanks so much for your encouragement!

    Emma
    http://cityrootscountrylife.com

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  12. I second the commenter above saying get involved in the community. Join the local volunteer fire service, school committees, sporting clubs, or whatever floats your boat. But join at least 2 or 3 such groups, so you can meet a cross-section of local people.

    The other thing you need is plenty of time. If you have a job that requires a lot of time away from home, you're not going to get anything done on your property and it's going to frustrate the hell out of you.

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  13. I love that you say do something physically not just reading about it! Meaning you need to have some idea of gardening, not just an idea of how to do it. Raising livestock,. chickens, cows etc.

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  14. I am in the process of moving into the country and getting away from the rat race in the city. although my place is a little over an hour away from the city and I'll still be keeping my same job, just have a long drive every day. Ive been making the move rather slowly. the old farm house was really in pore shape.it needs a lot of fixing which I've been doing my self. the locals first stopped buy to ask if I was a "flipper" when I told them no, they were quite pleased and deposited gifts for me on our door step. things like a watermelon, bushel of squash, a few dozen apples, etc. I talked to everyone I could out here and asked for their advice and headed it. Ive done my best to not be in a hurry, which was very difficult for me, and made sure if one of the locals wanted to talk then I made the time to talk with them. Many times I've stop a project just short of completion to stand beside the rode a chat with a neighbor who stopped his tractor and wanted to say hi! even though inside I was dying to get the project finished , but instead chatted away the rest of the evening till it was too late to finish. I've made a point to attend the vol. fire dept pancake suppers and buy as much supplies as I could at the local farm supply or grocery, even though it was more expensive than at the big box stores.
    I now feel like a full member of the community, and I haven't even moved in yet. they have my phone number and I have theirs, I know there kids and they know mine. I know who's cows are in the field next to me and who to go to when I need to find out how to prune my apple trees. I know the man who is driving that huge combine down the road and who can butcher a deer nine ways to Sunday. What I'm trying to say is I've spent more time getting to know this community and the people than I've spent on my place (that's why I'm still not moved in yet) It has payed huge dividends. I know they have my back and they know I have there's. I made a point to leave the trash from the city in the city. Even though I'm an Engineer Ive always been of the attitude that these folks are far superior than any of the folks I know in the city. Any fool can walk into a Safeway and buy a loaf of bread. It takes someone with real salt to make that loaf right in their own kitchen. One ole timer told me "Count yer pennies and yer dollars will count themselves". When you make your move out the the country one should apply that philosophy, make time and take time for all those little conversations and chances to meet the folk around you. When disaster strikes, and it will, you wont have to deal with it alone but will have folk racing to your side to help out.Everything else will fall right into place.

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    1. i love this reply :) its sweet

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  15. Grin. There's no such thing as an 8-hour day and a paid vacation. Or an unpaid vacation. There's a reason why people left the farm for an easier life in the city!

    If you want to do animal husbandry, better be prepared to act as your own vet. A LOT. If a calf (or foal, or lamb) is malpositioned and needs turning for birth, likely there won't be anybody available at 2 a.m. on a freezing morning except you. If a cow comes down with milk fever, you need to be able to correctly diagnose and treat. If something needs castrating, well, guess what.....

    *sigh* I remember one particularly lovely Valentine's day pre-dawn morning lying in a freezing puddle of water while up to my elbows in a ewe trying to locate the head of a lamb that was turned down underneath the pelvic rim while the feet were hanging out. No possible way that was going to get delivered without help. I coulda sworn that sucker was headless!

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    1. I am not saying I could do this, although this is what I'd try. There is a book called 'The Good Life', a cult classic, by Scott Nearing, a guy who got through the Depression living off the grid in Vermont. He built his own house, did his own farming, and boiled down maple syrup for a cash crop. he reason to mention it is that he was vegetarian and said he only had to work FOUR hours a day! He said over 50% of farming work is caring for the animals. If you don't have any, you cut your workload right down.

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  16. Some excellent thoughts here on this thread. I'm really enjoying it.

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  17. I've never done this before - posted a comment, I mean. But I love this subject. I knew 30 years ago - when my husband and I went out together to cut our first cord of wood ourselves for the fireplace in our first rural home - that I wanted this life for the rest of my life. We're still living the dream: The sweaty, dirty, perpetually-dirty-fingernails dream.

    I garden by hand, I've raised and loved goats, I can fix my kitchen sink myself and I can frame a house with a hammer and a chop-saw.

    My advice: Put your back into it. No whining.

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  18. My wife and I moved here to our 20-acre home in AZ almost 10 years ago. We were probably too old, but we had to get out of Calif. CA is no place to live if you're retired... or a sensible conservative! It's a struggle getting by each day here. We're a half-hour's drive from Kingman, so not TOO far from "civilization," the doc, grocery stores, etc. We don't have a well (they have to go down over 1000'... too expensive for us!), but several of our neighbors and friends have wells and we haul our water from them in exchange for odd jobs, feeding their critters while they're out of town, etc.

    We don't have a farm, garden or fruit trees. Our backs and creaky knees just won't take the bending and stooping needed to tend a garden, but we're planning on planting some fruit trees soon. In the meantime, we're building up a nice pantry of canned goods and we have a 2500 gallon water tank we try to keep full all the time.

    We have big dogs and guns for protection, with lots of ammo. I'm a retired gunsmith. I still do gun repairs for our friends and neighbors to earn a few extra bucks. Our next project is to have a wood-burning stove put in our home. We should have done that to begin with! Better late than never, though. All things considered, I think we're ahead of the game compared to most people, but we still have a ways to go. Some solar panels would be nice. Maybe a wind generator, too, eventually.

    We have a feeling our liberal government leaders are just biding their time, waiting for all of us true, UNbrainwashed conservatives to die off so they can get going with their plans to turn the USA into a socialist state. They're already conditioning our children through their public schools, liberal colleges and the extreme far-left-biased MSM. We must all do our best to educate the younger generation with the TRUTH, even if they think we're dummies and old fogies. Do it anyway. The future of our nation and our way of life is greatly at stake! God bless you all.

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  19. This is why I love this blog so much. We've been talking about moving for a while now (although the plan is not to make a move yet bc of my fiance's aging parents). And we have lists of things we need to consider.

    Water is on there, how much land, what community, how will we earn money, do we want to be in a small town or right outside a big city, etc. Pretty much everything you mentioned. I was born in the Appalachians and am yearning to get back to that culture.

    Neither one of us are 'city-folk' at all, and luckily fiance is the type that knows a lot about a lot of things. I have much further to go yet. The next few weeks I actually have a few things planned as far as learning how to care for livestock. Neither of us are afraid of dirt and grueling work, so long as we don't have to live the superficial, Godless lives of our MTV and party-obsessed peers.

    My rural dream is driven by a desire to be closer to the way I believe God wants us to live. I have a lot to learn, but I'm thankful I found your blog, because you and your family have a lot to teach.

    Btw, good point about waving to people. We ALWAYS wave (it's the neighborly thing to do) and you can always tell the snobby folks who just moved here to run their home businesses w/o getting complaints from suburban neighbors (we have about acre lots in our neighborhood that are zoned for Ag. use and people take advantage of it). Those folks will stare at us like we have arms growing out of our heads while the ones who keep livestock and have been here forever always stop and say hi.

    The NY transplants have overtaken our little community and try to change everything. Drives us crazy.

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  20. Hear all that Ma! We're among folks!

    A LOT of very sound advice up here. Knowing that ya'll understand reality makes Ma and I more able to deal with those around us who don't ( and they be an awlful lot of'm! ).

    I don't think I've seen this little bit of advice up here yet, but it's a mighty important little piece of advice.

    Keeps a lot of problems from happening ( or can make them less of a problem ).

    "Use it up, wear it out,

    make it do or do without"


    Having said that, if ya'll come, you certainly won't be rich in cash ( unless something very, very, unusual happens or you bring it with you!).

    What you'll have CANNOT be bought with money.

    It can only be acquired by living and learning---moment by moment, bit by bit, heartache by heartache, joy by joy, failure by failure, success by success.

    What's its' value? It's PRICELESS!

    Oh, by the way----staying clean?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!

    Who ever said 'Cleanliness is next to Godliness' must have thought all farmers were without hope except while in the bathtub.

    AlaRedNeck and Mrs Neck

    (p.s. Where we come from it doesn't matter what you have or do; livestock, floral, crops, aquaculture, whatever, your a farmer.)

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  21. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post today, Patrice. My family and I just made the move to a little farm in the woods in April of last year, and I will say that it has been quite the adventure.

    Fortunately we were financially ready for the move out to the country, not only to be able to handle the expense with moving ($1,200) but because of the adventures we had right after getting here. Just three days after we moved here we realized that our septic system was crushed and gurgling in the yard. Cost: $1,600. Exactly one month after we moved here our home was damaged in the flood that came through middle TN. Cost: $4,200. Three months after that the our well system broke down. Cost: $500. And just last week we had the foundation in our house fixed because it was caving in. Cost: $550. My husband's truck had several problems as well. We had to get a new engine, battery, brakes, and fuels pump. Cost: Approx. $2000. Had we not been prepared financially we very well could have lost our dream home in less than a year's time.

    Soon after moving here we got to meet our neighbors. Most people on our one-lane dirt road have been here for generations, one family here actually dates back to the 1600's. Our neighbors did seem nosy and a bit leery about us at first. We certainly respected that because we are complete outsiders. My husband and I are both for two different states, and we have moved around most of our lives due to being a military family for years. Our goal was to remain low key for a while and allow the neighbors to adjust to the new "intruders" in time. :-)

    On Christmas day we decided to take a plate of cookies to the neighbors that were closest to us to break the ice a little. My children carried the cookies and a card up to each door, and my neighbors were so receptive. I feel a closeness with my neighbors now that I had not before. The cookies were a big hit, so we plan to make that a tradition.

    In less than a year we have made many friends with the people in our little town. The feed store owner knows what I am purchasing when he sees me come through the door. The workers at our local grocery store recognize us as regulars, and the workers at the two auto shops here know us by name. It's a wonderful feeling to be accepted by the locals here. When we first moved here the thought of blending in was quite intimidating, but we have made great progress.

    We will never be "insiders" in my small rural town, but at least we can be friends with the "insiders". Hopefully if my children stay in this town when they are older then they might have a chance to be "insiders" some day.

    Many blessings to you and yours.

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  22. Seems like what you are talking about is what most called "common sense" in the past. Do undo others as you would like others to do undo you.

    Also start where you are. Don't try things out somewhere else.

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  23. I'm also hoping to make the move at some point, after finding the "right spot". My take on what you will need as far as equipment: Start looking now and use that luxury of time to buy when the time and price is right. There are some things that would be almost foolish to pass up for the right price.

    Some examples - (not bragging, just to give an idea) Troy-Bilt Horse model 1 rear tine 1970's tiller with 20 hours on it for a hundred bucks. It's made from cast iron and will outlast me. Parts and seals are readily available. Massey-Ferguson 165 diesel tractor with a modern 3 point hitch for 2,500; parts readily available. Onan gas 4000 watt 1800 rpm long-lasting generators (have several, one has less than a hundred hours on it) for $100-150. Disk harrow for tractor, $60. 2 bottom turning plow $200. More kerosene lanterns than you can shake a stick at, some as low as $1.50, big heavy old ones for $10. Cold weather shirts ($4) and work jackets ($12) from thrift stores.

    Read up on what you're after, then *talk* to the people you're buying it from. The guy with the tiller threw in a self-propelled brush cutter - for free. Find a place to keep the stuff and it will help you hit the ground running when you finally get your place. Since you will be "cash poor" after the purchase, you might as well collect the relevant gear ahead of time.

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  24. My wife hails from a small town in northeast area of North Dakota. It is a town filled with hard working, proud, and honest people who all seem to wear many different hats in life. When we first got together my inlaws accepted my daughters and myself unconditionally and made us feel right at home. The town people all know more of me that I of them and it sets up a familial setting. It is still a slice of small town Americana that attracts many of us older people to and strive to achieve. One thing I can honestly say is never underestimate the resilience and cleverness of rural people or you will be unprepared every time. We hope to purchase some real estate there someday and have a place to go when we get a chance to retire. I hope this little town never changes like our rural town here in Florida has. Thanks Patrice and the people who has posted on this topic. Always informative and interesting!

    Had Enuff

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  25. Awesome article, Patrice. Spot on.

    With that said, I have a fantastic deal for the original poster.

    We currently live in Eastern Iowa. No better farmland in the country. However, the "paying job" is requesting me to move myself and family to the Nebraska area. This is an opportunity for us to get completely out of debt with a surplus of assets. We will be setting up a rural homestead out there with our long-term survival in mind - just as we have done here.

    So, long story short, our house here is going on the market this week.

    The house used to be a barn, but has been completely redone and is - if I do say so myself - beautiful inside and out. 5000 sq. ft of living space with 6 car attached garage. Not for excess cars, mind you, but very handy for working on the tractor when it is zero degrees outside. Garages are heated along with the house with wood heat. We have an outdoor wood boiler with propane backup. Haven't lit the propane furnace in over two years. I grew up with a wood stove in the house and I like it warm in the winter. Our thermostat is set at 78 degrees and our girls run around all day in their pajamas. I load the furnace with wood usually twice a day (maybe three times if it is really cold).

    Neighbor's lot has a spring-fed pond that runs into a creek through our property. Creek runs 100+ gpm with approx. 75' of head and runs year 'round. Getting off the grid is not a problem. That was going to be my next project - installing a micro-hydro generator - but that will have to wait for the next owners. The area is also wind-friendly. We have our own well and septic system. 7.25 acres of land with 5 acres of timber. All hardwoods.

    Enough pasture area to run a few calves or hogs. (Don't forget the constant running water) Indoor heated woodshop. Established garden area with established perennials like strawberries, asparagus, horseradish, raspberries, blackberries and grapes. We also have producing black walnut and hickory trees.

    Last year we filled two freezers plus approx. 200 jars of canned goods from our garden.

    Deer and other critters are abundant in the timber behind the house. All the venison one can eat.

    I grew up on a farm just a few miles from here. That homestead has been in our family since 1864. So frankly, we don't have the "fitting in" issues that were spoken of earlier - we are the most original ones around. But, it is very true.

    Actually, I would even take the landmark part one step farther. When discussing directions with the locals, not only will they reference "the old Miller place", but probably add something like, "Kind of by where that old maple tree used to be, You know, the one that used to get all pretty and red in the fall".

    And unless you were around 30 years ago before the maple tree blew down, you will have no idea what they are talking about...

    But, a better life you will never find.

    If interested, email me at grhomc@yahoo.com

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  26. I moved to the country decades ago, but, for family reasons, I had to move back to the burbs. But I wouldn't trade those years for anything. Boy, did I make a lot of mistakes, but Melissa is right; there is NOTHING like the feeling of being accepted for who you are by rural people. I've STILL got the little red metal Fire Dept. tag you put under your license plate. It says "Fire Chief." It's on my office wall, and it's still got all the dead bugs on it.

    The Miller Place

    Amen to that, Michael. It also might be a good idea for you yourself to CALL it "The Miller Place." A tiny wrinkle: "We're living out on the Miller place" might be better than "We bought the Miller place." Especially these days.

    Ooops. Looks like Maria beat me to it. Well, if two people are offering the same thought, it might be a good one.

    About joining the volunteer fire department, a small tip. When you hear the siren, everybody shows up to fight the fire. At least they used to. Make yourself available, but don't make a nuisance of yourself "helping." You WILL make an impression if you stick around after the fire to roll hose in the snow, and then follow them back to the fire house at 5 AM, and do whatever they tell you to do to clean up the gear. Again, be available, not a nuisance.

    Waving
    I don't know if it's still this way, but you could get an idea what your stock was worth by how many fingers came off the steering wheel.

    Jumping out of your truck to help a neighbor and his wife get in some freshly baled hay with a thunderstorm brewing was not a bad move either.

    Bill Smith

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  27. Melissa wrote, "We will never be 'insiders' in my small rural town, but at least we can be friends with the 'insiders'. Hopefully if my children stay in this town when they are older then they might have a chance to be 'insiders' some day."

    Well, there ya go, that's a great attitude. It's presumptuous to assume that one is accepted in a place where one has only lived a few years (and around here, a few can be 20). But to pitch in, to be friendly, to give without expectation of return... That's how you make sure your kids have a place to call home in years go come.

    We have been in our little town of 450 for 8 years now. I serve on the board of a local charity and my hubby is assistant fire chief and on the city council. It's an investment in a place we hope our children will bring our grandchildren home to throughout the next few decades.

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  28. We live in a tiny town of less than 500. My husband and I are pastors of one of the 3 churches here. We have spent our married life in a succession of small towns. We have learned we are instantly accepted because of the position we hold. Because we are hired by part of the community, we have a start on friendships. But to be accepted by the entire community, it takes effort. We always patronize the tiny cafe. My husband goes there for coffee every morning. Started out sitting by himself, just saying hi to the locals. Now they sit at his table. He also volunteers to help with any ranch work, plows snow, (we don't have that type of services out here) repair anything as long as it is not a computer, and sits at the gas station where everyone else pops in during the afternoon. I have joined the local Stampin' Up club, even though I didn't really have the extra money, also attend all the community church events such as Mother's Day tea, etc. Another way to get into the community is to support whatever benefit is going on. Buy all the raffle tickets, cookie dough, calendars, tri tip sandwiches, crab feed tickets, whatever. When you are willing to help invest in your community, people notice. Soon you are not a complete outsider. It helps to have really outgoing kids like mine, also. I am the introvert in our family. Everyone knew our kids within the first couple of weeks of moving here.
    All the other comments are very helpful for fitting in also.

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  29. RESEARCH! RESEARCH! RESEARCH!

    It amazes me that people will pick up and move to who knows where without giving a second thought as to a lot of details that will make life in their new environment happy and pleasant or a new he** on earth.

    Do not just research climate, water, etc. which is very important. Research laws!

    A few examples (as Patrice pointed out in a few items):

    Homeschool laws? Are they a burden and overbearing, or relaxed.

    Second amendment laws? What type of laws govern firearms in your new desired homestead? Are they obtrusive or can you protect yourself, loved ones and property without fear of spending the rest of your days locked up in a prison somewhere.

    Hunting / fishing laws? Again, how restrictive are the laws. Can you even hunt game legally where you want to live?

    Building and planning codes? Are they so overbearing that someone has to check every little thing you do?

    Political environment? Conservative or liberal. In our area they are a lot of old timers that vote democrat (for whatever reason), but are really very conservative in their views of life.

    Eminent domain? Study and research and talk to locals. Are they planning a new lake, highway, subdivision where you desire to be?

    Taxes? What good does it do to find your property, develop it the way you want, and then you can't pay extremely expensive taxes to keep it?

    Just saying: all areas of the country have laws and ordinances. You had better learn before you buy, if the laws are something you can live with at your new homestead.

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  30. These responses are excellent and sound like they are spoken by people who have lived it. Ask anyone in a small town what they don't like about "outsiders" and I'm sure they will all give you the same answer. Loud mouthed know-it-alls come in here to try and educate us backwards hillbillies. They know so much more than us. Yeah, right. Take everything that Granny Miller and Missouri Michael said to heart. It's true. We moved from a larger town in Ky to a smaller town in KY. Everyone on our road waved at us when we first moved here. I was flabbergasted. No one waved at us where we used to live, now all these people who have never seen us before wave everytime we meet them on our road. I didn't wave back, but my husband would. Now no one on this road will wave at me. I had been "rude" by not waving from the beginning and from that point on- they are DONE with you. I was amazed.
    Be Quiet. Quit talking just hear yourself talk. No one cares. Trust me. Just sit back and listen for a change. You will be surpised how well it works. Nobody wants to hear you rattle on and on about how much you know about everything. Once again, nobody cares- it just shows your ignorance and they are laughing at you behind your back and talking about what an idiot you are. Word gets around quick in a small town and NO ONE will have anything to do with you. It will be next to impossible to get anyone to help you in the future.
    Scott-Check out the John C. Campbell Folk School online. It's in North Carolina and you can take classes (such as Blacksmithing) and other classes that might interest you.

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  31. RESEARCH! A few more thoughts.

    One more thing, along with checking weather, etc. Be sure to check crime statistics. Most of this can be found online. You can see where known sex offenders live in most states by checking with the states public safety dept. Sure don't want to move next door to one with your precious children!

    Also, google the closest newspapers to the area you desire to live in and read all their local happenings. You can learn a ton about a community from what the newspapers print.

    Hope that helps!

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    1. Oh, thank you! Reading the local newspapers is a great tip!

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  32. LOL that Anonymous doesn't get waved at anymore... So why didn't you start waving as soon as you recovered from the shock? :)

    My daughter hates being in the car with me when we go to town to shop, because I wave a lot. She says I'm an embarrassment, but I only wave at people with whom I make friendly eye contact. It's just a habit now.

    Bill wrote, "I don't know if it's still this way, but you could get an idea what your stock was worth by how many fingers came off the steering wheel." Hahahaha! That's true. And only girls do whole-hand-and-arm waves. Guys raise one, two or all fingers off the steering wheel, and may or may not add a head-nod for emphasis.

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  33. That was a very helpful post!! I'm trying hard to not let myself be discouraged and I appreciate the dose of real life.

    DH and I are trying hard to get that home in the country but are saddled with the typical baggage - some debt, a job in the big city, little knowledge.

    We don't want this unless the timing is all right - ie the Lord's timing.

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  34. Well, I'm pretty sure I've told this one before, but not for a while, and perhaps some of the new people might like it.

    A "flatlander" had moved up to VT to be a gentleman farmer, and wasn't having much luck impressing the locals, but he had noticed that some of the influential men congregated at the service station in town on Saturday mornings. So, he did too, but nobody paid any attention to him.

    He'd also noticed that a big old dog liked to lie in the dirt among men licking himself where dogs like to lick themselves.

    So, one Saturday our flatlander decided to break the ice with a joke.

    "Hey, fellas, I sure wish I could do that!"

    Silence reigned until one of the more senior men said, "Well, you'd better pet him first."

    Bill Smith

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  35. great Article!

    It is amazing how technology smart we have become as a society while at the same time losing so much of our knowledge from the past.

    It's really a scary thing when people forget the basics of how to survive.

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  36. A few more things about living in the country.

    Considering you are going to be far away from the sherriff - buy a few guns, learn to shoot them, and be prepared to be the sherriff of your own place. Not saying I recommend standing at the gate ready to shoot anyone that walks by, though. And, keep them loaded!

    Realize that sometimes, it's necessary for others to cross your property. After all, if your hog gets out, you want to be able to send your dogs after her without worrying if the neighbor is gonna shoot you if you end up on his property.

    Don't log your land during spring, summer, or fall. You won't have as much milk, and it stirs the chickens up so they don't want to lay eggs.

    Make good use of the Proverb - Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    Start small, add a few more things every year. This gives you time to master the things you are learning. If you do too much at once, you'll fail at all of them.

    Once you get animals, learn to sleep with the window closest to your bed cracked. Many, many times this has saved my animals, as I was awakened by squawking chickens and loud mouthed goats who had an out of the ordinary predator of some sort in their pens. The guns come in handy in this situation here too.

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  37. p, love your blog always something to learn. I've been on both sides of the fence, 5th maybe 6th generation raised in rual ozarks. Graduated college did the corporate thing, bigger house/car with every promotion.....returned to the farm 12 years ago not going back!

    There really should be a rual 101 one must take before making the move. Here is the curriculum:

    1. don't paint every post purple
    2. drive under fourty on the county road
    3. one lane bridge first come first cross
    4. meet on the road get over, Wave!
    5. just because the neighbor has a pond doesn't give you fishing rights, ask everytime
    6. open the gate, close the gate
    7. extra garden stuff give it to a friend.
    8. the neighbor helps you, return the favor.
    9. great recipe? share it
    10. got a cold keep it
    11. if you have the plow on, offer to plow the neighbors garden
    12. I like music but don't like hearing it from your vehicle
    13. Manufacture things that go up your nose, in the lungs or down the hatch. you'll meet the local law.
    14. have a get togeather, invite me, I'll do the same.
    15. shoot a nice buck, call me I'll listen to the story and lend a hand
    16. cows are out, call

    extra credit: come live with us not amoung us

    KS southern MO

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  38. My mother always said, "Waving gives you permission to stare." LOL

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  39. What happens when so many people move to the country that the country becomes more like the suburbs? There is not enough sustainable land remaining in American to accommodate the vast number of people who want to move to the country. The federal govenrment owns most of the undeveloped land now. As the large farms get chopped into 20 and 40-acre parcels for mini-farms, the agricultural capacity is reduced - the growing efficiency is negatively impacted.

    Perhaps we're looking at this from the wrong angle. In the old days, when towns were getting established, each lot was 1 - 2 acres in size. This allowed the homeowner to grow a personal garden, have room for their team of horses, have a carriage house, and still have room enough to raise a family and have a front yard. The neighbors weren't within spitting distance, but they weren't so far away that they couldn't come together quickly if a fire broke out. It seems the oldtimers knew how to build a town.

    Through the years, as the price of land escalated, those 1 - 2-acre lots were split to accommodate more houses and to realize greater profits for the real estate developer. And, of course, the municipality could collect much more in property tax revenues, too.

    What if we went back to the days of larger lots, lower property taxes, and more privacy? If you had 2 acres and your neighbors had 2 acres, would it be so problematic if everyone raised a few chickens, had a few meat rabbits, and grew their own vegetables? I don't think so. I think it might be the solution to the problems associated with suburban and urban life. I would call these new old towns "rurban areas" since they embody the benefits of both a rural town and a suburban town, with few of the drawbacks of either.

    Think "rurban" - you heard it here first!

    Anonymous Patriot
    USA

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  40. I hope Scott, and all the others in the process of moving, come back here to let us know how it went/is going....

    This turned out to be not only informative, but very heartwarming....there's a ton of excellent advice on here.....

    It really does come down to the right attitude and being willing to work....

    I have a crafting background, and one of the first things I did when I moved "out there" was to try and buy not only from the local stores, but from those talented "towns"people who made things themselves....yes, maybe I could have made it myself, but supporting your neighbors includes helping out financially as often as you can afford to.....that's a contradiction when money is tight, and it's "easier" to offer to pitch in with free labor, but a few dollars to buy that beautiful quilt or whatever will go along way just as well....it'll last longer than store bought, usually....and it's so much FUN to go to the local garage sales, bazaars, craft shows, whatever event it is! You get great deals and find things you may really need right then, or someday.....

    If someone is offering classes, that's a great way to meet everyone, too....

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  41. To KS in southern Mo....

    If I could, I'd like to add a couple:

    17. Don't tear down a fence until you find out why it was put up in the first place.

    18. When using a tractor - If you have a lot of room, take a lot. If you have a little room, take it all.

    19. You can never have too much wood cut, hay baled or food canned.

    20. If you have horrible neighbors at the place where you are leaving, chances are you will have horrible neighbors where you are heading to as well.

    21. The best neighbors never expect a favor in return.

    22. The best way to have a neighbor respect your property line is to respect theirs.

    23. Hogs and sheep never go in the direction you want them to. Use that to your advantage.

    24. A good farm dog is worth its weight in gold. A bad one is worth about an ounce of lead.

    25. If you are moving to the country because you want that type of lifestyle, don't try to change the people who are already there to adapt to yours.

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  42. If you are going to live remotely (i.e., away from even a small town), do not expect constant entertainment to be just a short jaunt away. You might be lucky to have a gas station, post office and farm/ranch store within 10 miles of your place. And, none of these establishments will be open 24/7!

    If you, or your spouse, or your family members need to be constantly entertained by trips to the mall, to restaurants, to golf courses, to movie theaters, to bars or nightclubs etc., you/they are not going to enjoy living out in the country. It's going to be too impractical for you to be running into "town" or the city on a frequent basis. You must be comfortable keeping yourself happy and content at home (most of the time).

    We have friends who find it difficult to stay home for even one entire weekend day, without bopping over to the mall, the nearest Target or one of the local sports bars. Thankfully, these friends live in the city. They simply would be too restless living away from their customary amenities.

    My husband and I absolutely love our rural life and wouldn't trade it for anything! It's well worth any "trade-offs" of city life!

    Mara :)

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  43. I grew up in the midwest, suburbs of a big city...I use to wonder where all those stars shown in my school books really were....I found em once I moved out to the rural areas (the west especially).....We've had countless entertaining evenings watching the sky loaded with stars and an occasional Space Station drive by, all the sounds of life, and not cars or other city noises.....the never ending view changes nature provides, even the endless chores and responsibilities that keep us busy.......

    Malls, crowds, finding parking spaces, and spending money isn't my idea of entertainment.....

    I think people who choose to live out in the rural areas have a better understanding of what peace and quiet really is, and aren't so afraid of it....once all the critters settle down, that is, LOL......

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  44. I just discovered your blog roundabout from The Last Frontier blog. (Just discovered it today, too via Survivalblog.)

    I grew up on one of the San Juan Islands before they became a weekenders & moneyed-retirees' playground. When I was small, it was all about fishin', farmin', and making do. We were poor in money, but like the song says: "When love is in the house, the house is packed!" My folks were third-generation islanders and we made our living off a dozen milk cows, a half dozen pigs, a couple dozen laying hens, hay, cord wood, and Dad's fishing & county road crew checks. Change blew in, and me & my brothers spread to the four winds. We're all suburbanites now. Still go back to the island once a year for a family reunion/vacation at my Grandfather's homestead.

    The "Miller Place" sure fits! My wife's cousin lives in the "Franklin Place," but I can't recall the Franklins living there in my half century of life.

    I enjoyed this article on tips for people moving to the country. One that I'd add: Don't try to turn where you are into where you left. You left for good reasons! Leave be, and enjoy where you are.

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  45. Love it! I grew up on 200 acres in N. Wisconsin. Now with 4 kids of my own I am missing fresh eggs, fresh (is sometimes aromatic) air and being able to let my kids open the door without panic about where they are. Not to mention our 2 dogs at 80 and 100 lbs would like to run rather than be "walked". So we have taken the plunge and bought a bit of land with a 90 yr old farmhouse and a barn about 40 minutes from anything "city". It is close enough, yet far enough "out". I loved your blog post because I have been thinking a lot about my own adjustment and that of my techie, computer programmer husband! We are very excited, but I have wondered how he will adjust to the things that are not his vision of "our dreams come true"!

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  46. Whoo-hoo, Anon. 4:02!! You rock!! Keep us posted with your progress.

    - Patrice

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  47. I live out in the country also known as the middle of nowhere in Georgia. I have observed a direct correlation between ignorance/personal corruption and church attendance. The more devout the more treacherous the person. I do not and will not attend churches of any kind due to the bad company residing within them. Also interesting is that I am one of several in my community that has seen this relationship. In fact, the only people that work are those that refuse church attendance. Apparently, all the welfare recipients have a club called "church".

    Being a mature adult surrounded by superstitious/childish losers way out in the woods can be frustrating.

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  48. I live in Ontario, Canada and we are looking at some rural houses as well. We are country minded folk trying to live in the city and not doing very well at it! We feel more claustrophobic with each day we spend here. But our jobs are here and all our family and friends live in the city. So we are getting a lot of resistence from them about moving 'way out there'. They don't seem to get that it's not as far as they think and that being somewhat far from the city is the whole point!

    They also seem to think that we're being rash and are unprepared for country life. Posts like this one help tremendously and I have been researching like crazy to make sure this is really what we want to do. What we are prepared to do. For us and for our kids. It isn't just what we want to do, it's what we have to do. When you have to go on depression medication in order to live in the city, something ain't right. When your kids go to school surrounded by bullies and thugs, bad language and bad behaviour that they are starting to exhibit too, that needs changing too. Not that those things don't exist in the country, but they are far less common, that's for sure!

    We know we'll have to work hard and give up many conveniences, but for our health and well being as a family, it's so worth it! Way more benefits than drawbacks, as long as you are prepared, determined and willing. City life is literally killing us. It's a little too convenient to have a Tim Horton's and a McDonald's right around the corner, or to be able to run to the store every time you get a hankering for some junk food! The stress is the worst though, and I think we'd do just about anything to reduce it or at least trade it in for a more manageable sort.

    Sometimes you learn as you go, and you have to just dive in before you miss an opportunity. Be prepared to accept whatever is on the other end of that jump and adapt to it, but don't be afraid to take that leap of faith if this is the life you really want. People will think you're crazy at first, but when you are living the happiest life ever and they see that when they come to visit you, they'll change their tune!

    Thanks for all the great advice on here!

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  49. Found this yesterday by typing "I want to move to the country" into Google. Great advice and comments. I feel a call to live in the country -- always have -- but I'm 54 and my husband is 74, so there is pressure to give up that dream. I DON'T WANT TO! Thanks for all the great things to think about!

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  50. Found this yesterday by typing "I want to move to the country" into Google. Great advice and comments. I feel a call to live in the country -- always have -- but I'm 54 and my husband is 74, so there is pressure to give up that dream. I DON'T WANT TO! Thanks for all the great things to think about!

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  51. Any thoughts on moving to th country with teenagers? It looks like we are finally able to do this :). Friends are selling their place, and the little ones are fine ith it, but my very social 14yo daughter is unsure... Any words of wisdom?

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    1. A few thoughts.

      One, try not to cut your daughter off completely from her friends. I don't know how far away you're moving, but continued contact with her friends will be important to her, at least or until she makes new friends.

      Two, look for every opportunity to allow her to make new friends. This means you won't be able to stay holed up and isolated on your rural place -- you'll have to drive to functions, classes, or events where she has the chance to meet people her age. If she's enrolled in school (as opposed to homeschooling), this means allowing her to participate in school functions.

      Three, find something she's interested in that can be done in the country -- and let her do it. I don't know if this would be sports, or music, or (shudder) shopping, or whatever -- but her transition might be eased if she knows she won't be cut off from doing things she enjoys. Keep in mind this will probably mean travel time. It takes us an hour to get to the city for our daughter's music and gymnastics lessons, but we do it because they love it.

      Four, ease her into something "rural" that she will enjoy. Perhaps you can give her a spot to make her own garden. Perhaps you can get an incubator and hatch some chicks. Perhaps you can get a couple of baby goats. Never underestimate the "awwww" factor in a teenage girl! (Though keep in mind that baby animals grow up and lose the cuteness factor.)

      Just some thoughts.

      Please, keep us posted as to your progress and your daughter's adjustment.

      - Patrice

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  52. great advise i love them I am from the caraibe i have good back ground in country living business i want to move to the country but don't know where to start i am very handy and i am a truck driver.

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  53. Awesome article, thank you for being so up front about live in a rural area! I currently live in a smallish town with my husband, and while we're happy here for now, I often think about retiring somewhere rural. I also worry that I glorify the idea, and that the day to day would be quite different than I expect. Your sounds advice is just what I needed, thank you!

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  54. WOW! I don't know how I found this awesome site here and wish I had found it about 7 years ago when I first moved to this country village where I still feel stuck at times and undecided about staying or going back to the urban life. Patrice, I love how you tell it like it is, no sugar coating anything and that drew me in and I have read ALL of the posts. Where I live is on a river in a forest, horse ranches , cattle ranches, hunting, fishing, homeschooling, gardens, a sheriff once in a while but don't need one often, a medical helicopter, a fire substation, a few churches, a small library, a few restaurants, a couple of bars, a small post office, a small grocery store, a mechanic, a hardware store a gas station. I guess you would say we have all that we need. We are only 25 miles from the urban life yet it can feel so far. The gas out here is always at least 10 cents higher than in town. Everything else is higher priced also. After being here for 7 yrs I am just finally coming out of culture shock...no joke. The info here could have helped me alot over these years if I had known the mindset of country folk. I have had many set backs as well and constantly struggle to make a living. I thought it would be cheaper to live in the country but it really doesn't seem to be. The gas budget alone is tremendous. I bought a place (mobile home) that needs fixing up but can't seem to acquire the funds to do that so I get quite frustrated about it. The property is small, not even an acre. Enough space for a small garden and my dogs to move around. I tried to have goats but a bear ate one so I gave the other away to a friend. Some other wildlife eats the food in the garden before it matures so we hardly get any of it, certainly not enough to try to learn canning. I could probably write a book about my experience here and it would include all that was mentioned on this site. Some days I like it here and some days I don't. So my dilemma is to stay or move back to the city. About a year ago, I would have moved back if I could have. In the next few months I will have the opportunity to do that, but I am wondering now if I should or even could go back to the city life. Some things about the country life may have soaked into my skin more than I will realize fully untill I find myself In tight space among many more people, more rules, more traffic....I have thought I made a mistake moving out here but will I make a big mistake moving back? Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks for listening.

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  55. I would like to live where I could not see any neighbor from my house, where I could heat my barn to keep rescued cats, and I would not mind solar panels, or even an outhouse, but there are other things to worry about in the country...like neighbors who leave trash and old machinery out to rot, spoiling the view. Heavy black flies or other bugs. I could not stand to hear neighbors talk about the poor, helpless wildlife they shot. (Let alone any livestock they butchered). Not as important but I would not like neighbors who use improper grammar and have no interests other than survival. I know friends who have encountered these things when they have moved to the country as well as other things that don't bother me. One friend moved back to the city because he bought his kid a remote control car and his kid couldn't find anyone to play with him because no one else had these kinds of toys. (I think this one is a failure of the parents to instill the kid with interest in hiking, bird identification, swimming, identifying wild edible plants, learning new skills, etc). But the rest--!

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  56. Good ADVICE!!!!!!!!!!! :-)

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