is there life in the country? *newbie

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by creationdreamer, Apr 14, 2005.

  1. creationdreamer

    creationdreamer Member

    Apr 14, 2005
    Well, I am sure you have heard literally thousands of these quandries, but here's another one, in case you may fancy them.

    so, ive grown up in the city all my life, suburbia to be perfectly candid. upper middle class has been good...but not the kind of good we are looking for (?). life is posh, but from the inside looking out, there are few moments of rest and enjoyment-especially in the company of one another, people are exhausted from running, "friendships" consist of chasing those who only like you because of circumstances, it doesnt seem like this is even who we are, but the world tells us its what success and prosperity and happiness are made of, so weve been drinking it in. excuse me, waiter? different drink please.

    as if i woke up in some kind of dream, we are now owners of a second property -40ish acres, authentic glorified shack with goodness awful wallpaper, and the whole 9 yards-.

    *identity crisis* aside from all the logistical stuff (hmm..where does the money come from, raising farm critters, timeframes..), weve got the heart wrenching questions of "is this what we want", "can we make it", "how", "can we make the turn", "take the plunge", etc. will our families ever be able to look at us with a straight face? will we regret leaving all the crud that we have taken such pride in and derived our identites from? whereas i fear more the abandonment of everything i know--all the reasons people like me, all that ive been taught is "important"; i know other fears consist of "do i have what it takes", "will i end up letting people down--not to mention those who i most care for", and the list goes on.

    I know this change will be far from perfect, and i have heard more than enough horror stories, but i need that knowledge of hope, that maybe it could be better, that it could hold the potential of a somehow better option. By "losing everything" can we really, possibly, find something? I imagine other people have had these similar feelings, fears, thoughts?

    though this be vague, a little background info: i am 18 and still live with my parents for the time being. i am even interested in taking part in a piece of this adventure they are facing. (i know, it's shocking, ive seen some very bewildered faces from friends when i attempt to explain "the country" ::que twilight zone theme::).

    Alright, thanks for listening to a newbie vent, this must be a fairly familiar tune by now.

    Thanks truly, it means a lot. All encouragement will push me further into this journey of pure faith and raw insanity :-D

    May the hope of God live in you and keep you.
  2. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

    Jul 27, 2004
    Interesting perspective from someone who is starting out instead of someone who is both feet in the middle of middle age. So.. for what it is worth (from the middle of middle age, which at your age looked positively ancient to me... and from my age looks positively youthful...)

    At your age I was in college. Four years, three degrees, all utterly "useless" for the rural lifestyle I adopted about 6 months after leaving college... all very useful in that I have that degree and it gave me a skill set which enabled me to do everything from research to land better jobs when I needed to. Although the other day I figured out that a bartender makes more per hour than I do... at least I get to work in the daytime. Were I you and I had the resources to do it, I would seriously consider college as a means to keep your options as flexible as possible.

    At 23 I moved onto a farm.. rented farmhouse with 5 adult roommates, two dogs, and a couple of neighborhood kids who thought we were too much fun not to hang out with. We paid rent and we were not expected to help with the farm, but, of course, all of us moved into the house, flung our stuff in a closet, and headed out to the barn. The little secret you need to know: most successful farmers own rental property. And they are quite tollerant if the labor is free. So I spent several years feeding bottle calves, flinging haybales, learning to garden on a grand scale, and setting miles of fence. Miles. I hate fencing.

    At the time I was perfectly happy to wear hand me down clothing and work gloves on the job. Then I moved again... back to our "home farm" ( look for the farm history section) to take care of my grandmother. This was basically "start from square one" small croft farming. No hayfields, no fencing, no garden even.

    And again, I was quite content for another 20 years or so to live quite close to the bone...BUT... I have always been an obsessive saver. No matter how little I took in annually, I've put 25% away, mostly in a traditional IRA which gave me a tax break, the rest in a conventional brokerage account. No matter how little you start out with, by the time you reach my station in life, you will, simply by default, have resources backed up. Especially if, like me, you don't incur any consumer debt. Frankly, I've never wanted anything badly enough to pay interest on it.

    So here I am, flat in the middle of my 40s, having lived a great "small croft farm" lifestyle for most of my life, holding down a variety of jobs (I have an awful resume!), and lo! I'm having a mid-life crisis which doesn't differ too much from your youthful one.

    When I moved here we knew all our neighbors and were "neighborly." Now those homes have sold to new people who are not neighborly... and are quite urban in their outlook. Our taxes have gone up 200%.. 200%.. that is a hell of a lot of money... in the past 4 years because our community has gentrified and these people want services, schools, new recreation facilities... none of which my sheep are likely to be welcome to use.

    However, there are new restaurants, new cafes, new shops, and I find myself thinking, on a Saturday afternoon after shoveling sheep poop for a few hours, how pleasant it would be to have nothing better to do than to get up in the morning, go for a bike ride to nowhere in particular with no reason to do so, come home, put on a pretty frock, and go sit in a cafe and sip a latte.

    The mistake one makes in one's youth, I think, is to assume that any choice you make is forever. Some, of course, are. Have unprotected sex and you're likely to end up with offspring. But most choices aren't, unless you deliberately lock yourself into them. I have friends who left the farmhouse about the same time I did who assumed they'd always love the lifestyle of odd jobs, being out of work during off seasons, cutting it close to the bone... so they never set anything aside for the day when that lifestyle either became too much for them, or they simply didn't enjoy it any more.

    And now they are well and truly stuck.

    "Living your life backwards" is what I call it, because they behaved through their youth like they were in semi-retirement. And now that they are looking forward to retirement in 20 years... and back on 20 years of living in semi-retirement.. it is starting to look ugly. They have no real assets and consequently, fewer and fewer choices.

    While you have choices open up that IRA and fund it. Make it a monthly payment that takes precidence over your food bill. Throw money into a savings account. Basically, what you're doing is buying yourself choices, and with the option of choices behind you, you can pretty much do anything.

  3. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

    May 12, 2002
    In beautiful downtown Sticks, near Belleview, Fl.
    Yes, there is life in the country; but not as you know it. At such a young age you are exspected to have flashy views on things. Your world is new to you as you approach life; our world is old, speaking for the more experienced ones here, myself at 3 times your age included. Things are slower in country living, and gentler, and more sincere that city life. Trust, handshake contracts, helping others is the norm out here, phoneys don't last long in this environment.

    Are you prepared to exit your hard worked for dinner to go out in the snow to retrive wandering cows? Would you gain satisfaction with a 'new' 1956 tractor starting the first time since you just rebuilt it, instead of gaining a GT GoFast that costs as much as some of our houses? Can you wait up well past midnight to help lift a weak calf to its mothers milk? Are you prepared to see hail destroy your last 6 weeks of labor, knowing that you will now have to take an off the farm job just to feed yourself?

    Would you be comfortable within a 20 by 20 cabin you built yourself rather than in a Mcmansion that costs 3 times more than our properties? What about when you get ready to shower and there is snow outside, drifted to the 4 foot level at the pumphouse door, that you must now enter to fix the pressure switch?

    Its hard at times, but what about when you taste the homemade ice cream and are proud of the fact that the ingrediants come from your land and labor? When you see for the first time a stumbling puppy try to catch your chickens; will you find it funny or disgusting? Barbed wire cuts, beautiful sunrises, which will it be? Both happens out here.

    There is no place for the timid in the country, you got to fight at times, and fight darned hard at that. No one will hold your hand when its time to get it done, workwise.

    There is no satisfaction like that that is self earned, country living supplies that satisfaction if you can stand up to it.
  4. Oxankle

    Oxankle Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2003

    Morrison Corner speaks truth. You cannot make a living on 40 acres doing any kind of conventional farming, and being new to the game will not help.

    Consider getting an education, then if you wish to homestead go about it in such a way that you put something aside for your old age.

    Unfortunately, old age comes much quicker than you will expect, and only preparation beforehand will soften the attack. Those of us who were given, and who listened to, this advice many years ago are the fortunate ones. Every day I look around and see people who lived well, enjoyed their new autos, big homes and boats and cruises but are now reaching the end of life with nothing to support them except their homes and social security. You see them at Walmart.
  5. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

    Jul 27, 2004
    You know... I've got to take exception to MooPups post. Honestly, you'd think everyone was slogging along here in the depths of the Great Depression, living hand to mouth with never a penny between.

    Many of us are not. Yes, we do hold down off farm jobs (so do many "real" farmers). Yes, we juggle and compromise. And yes, you're just bound to get dirtier changing the hydrolic fluid in your tractor than you are going for a nice bike ride by a lake... but please. We are not living in the depths of it here. We bought our tractor used but modern... our ATV new. We have more pieces of power equipment than is decent... most of them purchased new as we needed them. Ok.. the backhoe was to keep the husband out of my hair on weekends...

    So you have to get a job... you won't die of it. So you have to save up for stuff... big deal. And so you have to make choices, like paying more for a piece of property and putting a modest home up on it but locating closer to a metro area where the jobs are. Whoopee.

    You don't get extra points wallowing around at the bottom of the cistern. You want to try rural living, have at it... but don't get yourself into the mental state of "living in the country means I have to live like grandpa during the Great Depression." Because that attitude will land you right smack in the middle of your own little hell.
  6. ladoodle

    ladoodle Member

    Apr 9, 2005
    I am there with you, creationdreamer. I often think about how "worldly possesions" and having it all in a material sense...that is not how I want to be. It is not what I want for my life, yet here I am. Am I naive to think I can easily give up these things for a simpler life, when I feel it is in me. When I look at my life, and those close to me, there is a lot that seems superficial. But maybe more lurks underneath, maybe they all have the want for a little is so hard to describe! I don't want to work my life away in a retail management job that is all-consuming and find myself in 20-30 years having so many unfulfilled dreams. Wow, this is turning into a self-pity session, not what I wanted!! It is such a scary thing to pursue your dreams at times, for me at least.
  7. gleepish

    gleepish Well-Known Member

    Mar 10, 2003
    Your post hit home with me. I was your classic 'city girl' lived in a bunch of cities... and then decided for me and my family the country would be a better choice... Wow, what a change this has been.

    For us, our land isn't our source of income. Both Hubby and I work in the city (an hours comute each way) and for me, that helps a lot. I have gone through every emotion you can think of--crying because I just can't do this, being scared at night because it was so God awefull DARK outside... then one day...

    I was standing by the remenants of a fire we had built to get rid of some brush, just poking at the last of the coals and wondering what in the world I was doing out here... when a cow mooed and it scared the heck out of me. Now, for most people this isn't a big thing, but for me--well, I've never lived near cows in my life until now and at the time I didn't know that just a few miles away there is a dairy farm so I was shocked--so shocked that I almost fell over. Then I laughed at my foolishness. I also mooed back, but that's another story.

    It took a lot to get used to not hearing the traffic and the sirens at all hours--all the noise you become accostomed to. Now, I sit in my yard at night, listen to the peepers (they are louder then any siren this time of year), look at the stars and moo with the cows.

    You know what? I wouldn't have it any other way. Who would have thunk it, a city girl like me????
  8. pcdreams

    pcdreams Well-Known Member

    Sep 13, 2003
    Missouri, Springfield
    you have to decide for yourself what you want in life and then make it happen. Anyone can homestead, however, the desire and willpower has to be there.

    To many people are materialistic. Money (or more correctly greed) is the reason for the way we (as a country) bully other nations. But I predict this will come to an end soon. If we stay on our current path, I give it 10-20 years before capitalism is dead and sh** hits the fan.

    Those that choose homesteading will be far richer (knowledge and health wise) than all those money hungry CEO, because they know how to really make a living. Which has NOTHING to do with money and everything to do with responsibility.
  9. Dreams30

    Dreams30 Lady Rider

    Dec 12, 2003
    SW Ark

    What a wonderful position you are in!

    Here's my 2 cents...

    Move to the land. Attend college online and work an outside job. Apply and get every college loan that you can. Much lower interest rate than any loans going for someone young with no credit. Sock this money away (in an IRA) or use it build your dream, buy animals, etc.

    When you are done you will have a college degree and hopefully everything else paid for. Then, you pay off your college loan before you buy or do anything else. You will now have a good credit rating, a degree, no debt and savings for retirement. Now you are set.
  10. KindredCanuck

    KindredCanuck In Remembrance

    Apr 14, 2003
    Greatest country in the world... CANADA
    Talk with some of the folks on Singletree forum here too.. maybe combine efforts.. youth & wisdom..

  11. FolioMark

    FolioMark In Remembrance

    May 10, 2002
    illinois but i have a homestead building in missou
    I would certainly not want to be accused of raining on anyones parade. I love the homestead life and wouldnt trade it, but Creationdreamer might find the following book of interest. Im just now reading it myself and find it fascinating.
    Basically its a book by and about people who took to the land in the 70s when they were young and about their experiences and why some ( but not all) gave it up despite their original enthusiasm. Most of them have great memories tinged with a few disasters, but its an interesting perspective both for the young like Creationdreamer and for those of us who are older and creakier. The book is:

    Agnew, Eleanor. Back From The Land. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee 2004 ISBN 1-56663-580-2.

    Hope you folks like the book.
  12. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

    Jun 16, 2004
    My house is modern, built 20 years ago. I have electricity and a propane furnace. I also have a manual lever on the well and a wood stove and wood cook stove for when the power goes out. The road is nicely paved, but not plowed in the winter. Our cars and truck are older and bought outright. The tractor we bought new, along with the disk and mower. We've bought other equipment as we need it (get an auger to run off of that 3-point hitch, your back will thank you).

    I'm not saying the work isn't hard. Pounding fence posts is work, any way you slice it. I've been planting apple trees all week between rain and snow showers. My hands are swollen, sore, and raw despite wearing gloves. The goats have figured out the latest gate latch, so I'm back to chasing them out of the flower beds and securing the gate with a chain and padlock. When the power goes out it is usually days before it's restored, which means I'm hauling water and cooking on the wood stove.

    The trade off? My neighbors are open and honest. We keep pretty much to ourselves around here, but not a one of them has a hidden agenda. The work is instant gratification - I stand tired and sore and know that I have really accomplished something during the day. On warm nights I can watch "my" bat flitting around the skylights on my porch catching bugs. I have goats and sheep to chase and play with. It's quiet - I notice a car coming down the road because there isn't any other noise. It's dark at night - I can see the stars clearly, I don't have to go anywhere to see comets and asteroid showers. I don't have curtains on any of my windows, because nobody lives close enough to invade my privacy (this actually will change in the next year or so, unfortunately).

    It's a 45 minute drive to get to the grocery store, see a movie, or go shopping. There are a couple of small restaurants local we go to. The funny thing is, living in the middle of Seattle it took at least that long to get anywhere. The difference is in Seattle that 45 minutes was spent sitting in traffic. Here that 45 minutes is spent driving on a pretty mountain road watching the trees bud out and eagles fish in the Nooksack river.

    I wouldn't trade this for the world.
  13. MullersLaneFarm

    MullersLaneFarm Well-Known Member

    Jul 23, 2004
    NW-IL Fiber Enabler
    If you keep critters, you’ll still have few moments of rest, especially during birthing season, but we find we have a LOT of joy
    There is rarely a night I don’t fall into bed exhausted from the day’s activities.

    Prayerfully, in another year, you’ll look at that awful wallpaper and give thanks that the wall it covers keeps the weather from you.

    Probably not, if they don’t understand why you left ‘civilization’. Ask yourself though, does it matter what your family (or other “friends”) think??

    Not all of us. So what do YOU think success and prosperity and happiness are made of?

    You’re young yet, if you don’t like it, you can move out from your parent’s home soon and start your own adventure!

    Let me suggest you take every opportunity to learn what you can from what your parents are doing. You’ll never know when you’ll need it in your life.

    My son’s girlfriend moved from Chicago (where she grew up in an upper-middle class family) to the country outside a small town. She’s having difficulty adjusting, but every time she’s over, she’s willing to pitch right in and help with whatever we may have going on. She has already learned how to make strawberry jam, drive a team of draft horses, milk a cow and Saturday, she’ll learn how to make soap and later this year can garden vegetables.

    It is an awesome opportunity in front of you! What you get out of it will be determined by what you put in to it!

    You brought tears of joy to my eyes, Mitch. It is all SO worth it!
  14. januaries

    januaries Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    At 18, there was a lot I didn't know about myself. I hadn't had the chance to test myself or put myself in growing situations. Ten years of trying different things, struggling, discovering, testing, and growing taught me alot. You wonder whether you have what it takes to live a homesteading lifestyle. Test yourself and see. Learn and work and give it your best shot. Even if you fail, you will still learn a lot.

    I've come to the conclusion that no matter where I am, I am myself. Although I may adapt to different environments, the environment doesn't really change my personality. You wonder whether you can find something by losing everything. It's possible, as long as you're not expecting to find a completely different person. If people are materialistic, they can continue to be materialistic on a farm. If people like to grub in the dirt, they'll find a way to do it even in the city. If people are easily swayed by popular opinion, they'll still be sensitive to other's opinions even if they're living in Nepal. I'm not saying that people can't change; I'm saying that the change has to be activated by the person himself and isn't necessarily relative to the environment.

    As for the identity crisis... There is a theory that everyone has at least 4 functions in their personality. The primary function is developed early in childhood--this remains the preferred function. The secondary function is developed during teen and early 20s. The tertiary function is developed during late 20s and 30s. And the fourth function--usually the opposite of the primary function--begins to develop around the 40s. This is often what leads to a midlife crisis. A man thinks he knows what he wants and works hard to get it. By the time he's 40, he's developed new ways of seeing the world--sometimes completely opposite of his original view--and suddenly what he's always done isn't enough. Combine that with his fears of getting older, and he starts to freak a bit and scamper around looking for some way to put things back to "normal". A couple people have commented that you don't have to choose once. This is true. To be most effective, you allow yourself to change and grow. Changing doesn't have to produce a crisis if you understand that it's a normal part of continuing to grow and develop.
  15. creationdreamer

    creationdreamer Member

    Apr 14, 2005
    Thank you everybody for responding...I am very thankful!

    Your combined insight has made me realize a lot of things I can be working on, and if i figure out my priorities/goals/blah blah blah, it can happen. So, it is tough, but there are the good moments, sounds like. I know it wont be some sort of paradise with sun dresses and afternoon tea and brie and croquet in the orchard and sunset strolls waterside. But whatever, I've already had some moments like that at the new place and they were worth it :-D

    On another note, I am thankful for your honest approach, it's not a romantic sketch, and not the (well, i wont say typical, but im tempted) "yeah we live the rural life and we are somehow better than you... now you want to move to the country? HA. It's our domain now and we are the experts and you have no idea what you are in for". So maybe we don't know what we are in for? I guess people think corporate jobs bring more security or something--and even if they do, its a different kind of security.

    As for education/financial. I've actually been meandering through college for about 3 years now (with not a heck of a lot to show for it), but i could have a degree fairly quickly if i focused. I don't have an IRA, but I've got some different stocks, drips, bonds, and commodities. small amounts, but i am in the learning process. I have taken some real estate investing courses and (i know, there could be a huge montage about how risky/terrible/wonderful/etc RE is, but thats ok) and will also be looking at freelance work. (LOL, Some of you are probably rolling your eyes at this pont--"oh geez, another one with stars in her eyes. wait til she wakes up one morning and...").

    Bottom line because i am a blabbermouth...A big thank you to all, ive realized that since i am young and i do have more options at this moment in time, i can take this "risk", and yet do it responsibly...I'll be trying to build passive income, expand education of all types, and prepare my heart and mind to be open to the challenges--and rewards-- of the future. I guess for the "identity crisis", I am being a bit dramatic, but i want to find out if what i believe in my heart is real, if its are true, learn stuff about my fam, and be a part of this...

    Talk to you later.

    And a big thanks again :-D :-D


    Ladoodle~yeah, dreams are a scary thing to pursue. I guess that is why they are dreams, no? It's a piece of reality we've got to chase after. Thanks for understanding.

    Gleepish~I've had a scary moment out in the country too! Sent me screaming my lungs out...the shocking part is that nobody came for me...All my life ive learned if you are in trouble you just scream, lol, so much for that. No people in sight...or sound...or hearing distance apparently.

    pcdreams~You are right about being materialistic...and it's not just the resource of money itself, its the bloody greed that we attach to it.

    FolioMark~looks like an interesting read for sure! ill keep an eye out for it.

    JenH~Thanks for your valuable insight on "the trade off", it really put things into perspective.

    MorrisonCorner~I really appreciate your wisdom from a different place in life. Plus, thank you for assuring me you all don't take some sort of victimish pleasure in living in the "dark ages".

    MullersLane~LOL you made me realize we dont need critters! Our property came "free" with its own wildlife! Isnt that amazing? No honestly, I was amazed..and still am. Ive only seen this kind of stuff in a zoo or NP or somethin.
  16. Dave

    Dave Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2002
    Januaries said;

    "I've come to the conclusion that no matter where I am, I am myself. Although I may adapt to different environments, the environment doesn't really change my personality. You wonder whether you can find something by losing everything. It's possible, as long as you're not expecting to find a completely different person. If people are materialistic, they can continue to be materialistic on a farm. If people like to grub in the dirt, they'll find a way to do it even in the city. If people are easily swayed by popular opinion, they'll still be sensitive to other's opinions even if they're living in Nepal. I'm not saying that people can't change; I'm saying that the change has to be activated by the person himself and isn't necessarily relative to the environment."

    I couldn't agree more.
  17. bare

    bare Head Muderator

    May 9, 2002
    Hey FolioMark, I just finished reading the same book, Back from the Land. I couldn't help thinking as I read it that this lass just doesn't get it.

    Her outlook and experiences just sounded to much like sour grapes to me. Finally about 3/4's of the way through the book it dawned on me, she was a failure and most of the stories, interviews and anecdotes she relates were about failure. Yet, almost universally, folks looked back on their experiences fondly and wistfully, even though they failed in their endeavors.

    I would have been more satisfied with the book had she bothered to throw in a few of the success stories that she undoubtedly witnessed or ran across but those were few or nonexistent after she critiqued their lifestyle.

    I'll confess to a low tolerance for naysayers and my world view and experiences encompass a very tiny portion of our world, but geeze lady, look at all the successful back to the landers over the years.

    There's no doubt in my mind that homesteaders/back to the land type folks do undertake a sometimes huge lifestyle change and certainly, the romance can alter one's perceptions of reality.

    In my experience though which is fairly long, ie 30 plus years, more than 75% of folks that do make the transition succeed in one form or another. Even the 25%failures are the better for their experiences, so where's the harm in trying?

    I kinda have mixed feelings about recommending the book to others. On the one hand, personally, if I want to succeed at anything, I search for success. On the other hand, if one is going to undertake a really serious lifestyle change, they should go into it with both eyes wide open.

    In that vein, I'll offer to sell my copy of Back to the Land for seven dollars, which will include media mail. If anyone wants it you can PM me.
  18. Michael W. Smith

    Michael W. Smith Well-Known Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Sure there is life in the country. You are in charge of what you would like to do.

    Although all of us here are homesteaders, it doesn't mean the same thing to everybody. Some here, like to live without electricity, running water, a bathroom in the house. Some would like to live WITH those things, but can't afford it at this point in time. Some of us have all the modern conveniences of life, and that is fine too. Some depend on that electricity and running water, and if the power goes out, they have nothing. Some have solar power or wind power backup for when that happens. Some make their living off the land (or try to), and even if they don't have much money, they get by and are happy. Some have full time jobs off the property, are are happy that way too. Some people here plant a huge garden, can, freeze, etc., while some just have small gardens and don't mind eating at McDonalds. Some of us here raise animals, and some don't. The point is, nobody is living "wrong" here and nobody is living "right". We each live our own lives, and what one person here totally despises, another has no problem living like that.

    I applaud you for being so young, and yet so wise at the same time. You don't have to move to your 40 acres and live like it's the early 1900's, you can move there and decide what you want to do.

    My advice is to go slow. Don't "jump" in to anything blind. If you want chickens, you don't have to build a huge coop and buy 100 to get started. Maybe start out with 5, and see how it goes. Maybe you will love chickens and want to get more, maybe you will totally hate them and get rid of them quickly.

    We are homesteaders here, a very diverse group!!
  19. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2004
    I'll answer from another perspective, as one who has always lived 'on the land' and to whom your present way of life would seem as foreign as country living does to you now.

    Look at it as moving to a foreign country. There are new customs, interesting people, even a new language! It will be a challenge, but if you can leave the city behind, and are willing to work and to learn, I think you'll do well. I have some friends who are city people, and it's fun, and educational, to see their reactions to things I take for granted, like mud and poop (animal) around the barns. Butchering surplus animals -- and then eating them. Working in the cold, the dust, the heat, the dirt -- farming, gardening, animal care all have set times that things need to be done, and when they need to be done, you've got to do them whether you feel like it at the time or not. I'm usually thankful for the necessity of being dragged out of the house to do outdoor work, as once I get outside I'm glad to be there, but I have to admit that if it wasn't for things needing to be done on time I might not get outside as much. (I like to sew and do other indoor things, too.)

    I've been giving eggs to my pastor and his wife, who have an adult daughter -- raised in LA -- living with them. She was amazed at the eggs -- "These are from real chickens!"! "Yes," I told her, "but so are the ones from the store!" But until you've raised your own food, you don't really even think about where it comes from! I could show her where milk comes from, too, and meat . . . . I remember talking to someone who was dismayed to find that carrots and potatoes grew in the dirt . . . .

    I do things in the house that actually have shocked some of my town friends -- newborn lambs and goats who got too cold outside; a box of chicks is behind me in my bedroom as I type this; I've plucked chickens in the kitchen; used to help my husband extract honey in the kitchen and bottle it (what a mess!); mud gets tracked in constantly; I scrub filthy chicken equipment in the bathtub (could use the outside hoses, but at this time of year cold water on the hands hurts).

    A lot of what you've learned, living in town, will have to be unlearned in the country. Extreme cleanliness is required from dairy equipment, but if you fuss too much over dirt and germs in other areas, you'll wear yourself out cleaning. You can still have a shower every day, but in between you'll often get filthy dirty. Not to mention sweaty and sore, cut and bruised.

    Good advice is: tackle one new thing at a time. Don't bring home any animals until you are totally prepared for them. Start small, especially with gardens and other heavy work. It gets easier as time goes on, but just starting out it's really easy to bite off more than you can chew. Recognize that people who have been farming, or living in the country all their lives, probably know more than you do in some areas, and seek their advice -- and heed it. That alone will save you from a lot of mistakes. There was a thread on here a couple of weeks ago with a TON of good advice -- if you can find it and read it you'll learn a lot. Don't ever panic -- try not to get into 'interesting' situations, always have a way out and know it, but never freak and scream (LOL! As you already discovered, it doesn't do any good anyway!). Generally, if a problem needs to be dealt with, YOU are going to have to deal with it, so look it over and figure out what to do. Call for help if necessary (you'll get lots of help here).

    Books: Joel Salatin's You Can Farm.

    Carla Emery's Encyclopedia of Country Living.

    An older edition of the Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening.

    Sunset's New Western Garden Book, if you are in the Western part of the country.

    Gene Logsdon's books.

    Books on any animal you are interested in raising.

    And so on.

    Oh, and one last piece of advice. Most parts of the country have leash laws. Also, in most places, especially the western states, dogs that even look crossways at livestock can legally be shot. The sweetest of pet dogs can do terrible damage to livestock, even if he never touches them (just scaring them and making them run can kill pregnant animals, or they can run into fences, etc.). So if you have a dog, make sure you keep it on your own property. The country is actually the worst place for dogs to run loose, no matter how much fun it looks like they are having!

    I wish you well.

  20. mysticokra

    mysticokra Well-Known Member

    Feb 5, 2003
    Estillfork, Alabama

    Watch the 1970's series "Kung FU" with David Carradine.
    You can find seasons one and two at*

    If you find his pilgrimage compelling, then life out here may be for you.
    Having lived 34 years in cities since I left my small hometown at 18, I can tell you that the "noise" there has much more to do with the emptyness of people's lives than with the traffic.

    My suggestions would be to write down what would give you contentment.
    If the list is mostly "stuff" (cars, fun and rock and roll) then you may need to go there for awhile. I have lived well, made plenty of money, stuggled because it never was as much as I wanted and finally stumbled into a serenity that I really don't deserve. I am learning as Qwai Chang would say "to be one with the earth". Whoda thunk it. I really enjoy my ducks, the hay fields, the waterfall and the fact that the cell phones DON"T work here. :p