Live simply? Not hardly...

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by indypartridge, Jan 26, 2005.

  1. indypartridge

    indypartridge Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The thread on "living simply" made me laugh. I love our cabin in the woods; I love being out of the city; but to say "we've simplified" - I don't think so!!

    In the city, heating our home meant I flicked the thermostat on the wall. Now it means buying a chainsaw, learning to use it, learning about "woodlot management", days and days of cutting and splitting wood, trying to figure out how much we'll need for the winter, cleaning the chimney, and on and on.

    In the city, taking care of pets meant tossing a bag of dog chow in the cart and an occasional trip to the vet. Now I'm building stalls for horses. Learning about electric fence, putting up fences, putting up hay, making trips to the feed store for grain and to the sawmill for bedding, and on and on.

    In the city, lawn care meant a few passes with the Lawnboy and a few minutes with the weedwhacker. Now I'm learning to fix and repair the tractor. Gotta get the garden tilled and planted. Prune the trees. Fix the driveway where it washed out. Put up more fence. Seed a pasture. And on and on.

    This past year I have studied more, learned more and worked harder than I have in at least 10 years. I'm a city kid and I often feel like I'm in way over my head! It's a great adventure and I'm loving it! I just don't think it's "simple".
     
  2. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    *laugh* The wry writer Noel Perrin, who died this past year, wrote an essay on the disappointment many urban people experience when they move to the "simple" countryside and discover nothing is simple.

    There is mud season, hunting season, and "country time" which means that "it shouldn't take long..." means "probably sometime this year but maybe not."

    There are wells and springs that fail, instead of city water which never does. Septic systems which implode (or explode... had one do that, shooting.. er... the contents... 6' in the air). "Running to the mall" to pick something up becomes a half day trip...

    And the neighbors! Most of them are "weird country people." Which, upon reflection, would make sense since you moved into the country... but who thought they'd be living next door to these people?

    Anyhow, it was very funny because it was so very true!

    On the other hand, last year I had to go to a conference in New York City. Never been to anywhere that large before. Fortunately, I went with someone who used to live there, so I made it home alive. Anyhow... complicated? Holy Moly! First of all, I can't for the life of me see how an urban person could be heavy because they walk (sort of sprint, really) everywhere. They lug things like groceries for blocks. Moving a new piece of furniture means hiring a company to bring it to your building and then it becomes a three dimensional puzzle as to how you get it in the building... let alone into the room of your apartment you intend to put it in!

    Cook from scratch? Who has the energy to lug sacks of flour and sugar six blocks home and 4 flights up? No wonder the city has something like a 2 day food supply. Just getting one day's food to one's apartment is a part time job... nevermind getting several days ahead!

    So I thought my life was complicated, but it turns out that everything a city person does has to be thought out well in advance if there is any hope for success. Something as simple as letting the dog out the back door is impossible for them...

    Maybe the country is a little less complex!
     

  3. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It's a great life if you don't weaken, but a lot of fun if you do. The posts on this page are all right on the money. The main thing is to not sweat the small stuff, and not pet the sweaty stuff. The Garden of Eden is not to be found in this life.
     
  4. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    But atleast you get the benefit of your time and energy going into a place
    that is "yours".

    In the suburb, i had to shovel one heck of a path to my wood pile (which is out of the neighbors way/sight) and i'll tell you my shoulder hurt with us getting 38" of snow!!! In the country, i bet it could be in a convenient spot.

    When i'm going to go crazy this spring with a much bigger garden, i have to have concern that the neighbor might think it offensive to look at (I'm pretty sure they won't, but still) - in the country i bet you can dig up whereever you want!

    I know when we go rural, it won't be easy, but i know it will be less fast paced and crazy than here and it won't cost so much for everything!
     
  5. diane greene

    diane greene Well-Known Member

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    To define "simple" as "easy" is not going to work. I lived in NYC for 15 years and in a lot of ways life was easy. I had a small apartment (about 1 hour to clean), no car (didn't need or want), and if I wanted fresh baked bread or nice veggies I took a quick walk to green market. Don't feel like cooking? - many excellent restaurants deliver to your door. Same for laundry - someone will pick it up, wash it and bring it back folded or on hangers. Never had to worry about snow, plumbing, roofing, critters etc. I had LOTS of free time and used it to go to shows, museums, read, hang out with friends.

    The downside - no quiet, no deep immersion in nature, the lack of feeling you can do for yourself. In the city you rarely see the beauty of snow on branches, hear the sound of a running brook or a whipoorwill calling a mate, feel the warmth from a newly laid egg in palm of your hand, the smell of wood smoke in late autumn...could be a long list here, but you get the idea. No Utophia anywhere folks, just pick the place that most feels like home and make the best the of it.
     
  6. Dreams30

    Dreams30 Lady Rider

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    LOL, yeah, we own 21 acres here and just had it out the other day with our new neighbor about where we needed to put a road to get to our house. He is from the city and didn't think that our road and our survey map showing our county road frontage was nearly as important as the shrubs he had brought from the city and planted on our land before we bought the land.

    So, don't think you are going to get away from crazy neighbors in the county. ;)
     
  7. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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    You will just tend to have less neighbors, hopefully not quite as close. Most of the new breed will be crazy, no matter where you are. :(
     
  8. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

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    Hehehe... the simple life sure ain't simple! But what I really like about it is that life makes more sense. There's a direct connection between the work you (have to) do and the results you get. I know what it takes to produce firewood for heating and I know where my heat comes from. I know what it takes to get a tomato for my salad and what went into it in the process of growing it. Having a direct hand in creating your food, warmth, etc., brings direct rewards for your efforts, as opposed to working your butt off somewhere for somebody and getting money for that and giving that money to somebody else to get what you needed in the first place. Without much control over how much you get for your labor and how much you have to pay for the things you need, on top of it all! So, in a way, the simple life IS simpler - there's less spin-out-of-control hoopla, less confusion, less rat race, less dependency on all the things that don't leave us much choice. The price is hard work, which is probably why it's not very fashionable these days :)
     
  9. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Also, when you are directly involved in creating warmth or food for you table, you think harder about wasting it.
     
  10. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    Just to add.
    I talked on the phone today with a person living in town, and they said 'well, at least you have lots of room to pile your snow. In town here, there isn't any place to shovel it anymore'. On reflecting with that, I couldn't disagree that it was simpler here dealing with big snowfall....and lots of room to pile it up + no streets to flood and female dog about that when it melts.
     
  11. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    Vera,

    you hit it dead on!
     
  12. Nik

    Nik Well-Known Member

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    IndyPartridge, I'm glad I made you laugh with the post, but I don't think you understood what living simply meant. If you go to www.simpleliving.net I think it gives a pretty good idea of what I was asking about.

    Nik
     
  13. rwood

    rwood Well-Known Member

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    I just grew my first tomato, picked it yesterday (its summer in in Australia) ate it immediately yummmmm :p . Beats my first paycheck for satisfaction value hands down.

    I find everything I do on the farm has the same satisfaction value as that. Fencing, weeding, it doesnt matter. Thats the difference I think.

    Simple life? .....more like...... Simply a Happy life.

    Cant imagine how I lived in a 2 bedroom inner city apartment for 4 years.

    If its easy it gives you no satisfaction.

    "All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind."
    Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC)

    Cheerio
    Raphael
     
  14. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

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    Not wanting too much is what makes simple so nice. It's a whole package - about liking what you do - about loving what you do. You could simplify life anywhere. If you read Thoreau's Walden Pond - you will catch on to what is possible.

    It's a "peaceful easy feeling" - hard to get in the city. It's about doing what you want - and not doing too much if that's it - or going full-tilt boggy if that's it for you. It's about not following or even having to think about "Strata Rules" or "Condominium Rules" or noise and work only 7am to 7pm when you want to work all night hammering and sawing - or whatever.

    It's about being able to slow down - with out having to answer to some one eles for anything.

    IMHO and experience.

    Alex