I've had this nagging suspicion for a while now, but today I decided it was true; if I'm being totally honest with myself, I'm not sure I really want a rural life. Now, I DEFINITELY know I do not like cities. I avoid them like the plague. Little towns, though, are nice. I hate commercial strips and malls. I have a real dislike for cookie-cutter subdivisions and am horrified by HOA's (though I can see why they're nice for some folks.) And I like where we live now because on 1 1/4 acre there's plenty of room and lots of possibilities. I guess what I like are "Exurbs." Still, DH has expressed for a long time the desire to move out into the country and have a small hobby farm, and I've agreed in theory. We go for a drive and comment, "isn't it pretty out here?" and "wouldn't that old farm house be nice?" In reality though, I think I'd hate it. We visited my DH's aunt and uncle today, the ones I discussed in a previous thread. Yeah, they're getting older and having trouble keeping up with the place -- the cattle, the hayfields, the veggie plots, the buildings. They've been having trouble lately with erosion and sinkholes. They're in their 80's and due to severe arthritis DH's uncle hasn't been able to do anything outside the house since July. They have 3 children who are in their upper 50's, grandchildren in their 30's, and great-grandkids in high school, plus a whole bunch of other relatives in town. Some are helping, but others just want a handout. Two of their offspring live in rundown trailers on the property and OH my, they make the place look shabby. DH's aunt and uncle are hardworking folks -- they grew up on the farm and always made it look easy and idyllic! They can't imagine any other life, but boy is it a liability now! As with many other rural areas, especially in old coal/iron towns, the country is pretty but what man has done with it is really hideous. Some of the eyesores we passed were due to poverty, but I suspect sheer laziness does a lot too. But I can't criticize -- taking care of acreage is HARD, especially if you're not used to it. Seems that so many people like rural living just because of the lack of rules and opportunity to do things like ATV riding and target practice with the 22's or paintballs. Yee-haw! Forget about the work it takes to keep the place up. Just our little acre and a quarter intimidates me. It'll be easier when we fix some things up and finish dealing with the landscaping/trees/brush/etc. but wow, I'm glad I have a strong husband. When I was younger, I used to think, wouldn't it be nice if his aunt and uncle decided my DH was such a good nephew they should just give us a big chunk of their acreage (or sell it cheap)! We could build a home there or maybe renovate the 100+ year old home standing abandoned across from theirs. Not that they would, mind you, or should, with 3 of their own kids living nearby - I was just musing. But now, I really don't want it. I'm sure Ironton is a nice place if you're used to it, but I'd feel terribly isolated. OTOH..."homesteading" isn't necessarily synonymous with "rural." You can do a LOT on a plot the size of ours. I still want chickens. And a huge garden! I may never be self-sufficient or want to be, but I'd like to be (and already am, I think) several steps farther in that direction than the average. Also...I think I have a much better chance at living a positive, productive "homesteading" themed life on a smaller lot that doesn't intimidate me than I would on a big rambling place that tires me out just thinking about it! Don't you? Kudos to you who manage huge parcels and live in the boonies! I have no idea how you do it.