Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Living in the country: 10 things that make living in the country special

Our Land in East Texas
 I only moved to the country in September 2014.   To say I wasn't exactly prepared, well, that would be the truth.  You see, while our land in East Texas is most definitely in the middle of nowhere.
Beautiful sky
 An admittedly rustic and beautiful, nowhere.

Our chickens in our backyard

More chickens in our back

Our actual home is only in the middle of nowhere in principle.  We live about 5 miles from the center of one of the most amazing suburb in Dallas.   You wouldn't really consider this the country if you drove there.  It is, however, still rural in ways I wasn't prepared for or considering. 

So, here is what you need to know about living in the country:

*Internet options suck:

This is one of the things I struggle with on a daily basis.  AT&T in it's infinite wisdom, doesn't provide service in our area.  We are therefore, stuck with crappy service from a satellite provider.  Here is the thing about the service, it is charged by the gigabyte.   Now remember, I have a 12 year old who is, as most are, addicted to the internet.   During spring break, she went through our entire months supply of service in 2 days.   To say it is horrible beyond belief is an understatement.

*Septic Tanks:

In the country, they make like it is 1935 and all the homes are on septic tanks.  Basically, once every few years, you have to call a sceptic company out to pump your...well poo.   Seriously, this is a disgusting job if ever there was one.  I have no idea where they take all the stuff but yuck!   Also, you can't put certain things down the drain because it causes problems.  You know, things like certain paper products, any kind of drippings from the meat you cooked like hamburger grease, oh and pretty much we never really use our garbage disposal even though we have one. 

*Wild Animals:

It isn't unusual to find tracks from bobcats or hear a coyote's song after dark.  One of our neighbor's chickens was actually lost to a coyote last spring.  Now to be fair, these animals will make their way into the city as well.  Arlington, where the Rangers play, has a bobcat problem and you sometimes see them walking down the city streets but that is usually near a large city park.   Here, you could lose your dogs, cats, or whatever else you raise in a matter of seconds to a hungry animal.  I promise you if you live any where near a water supply, there are wild hogs around.  When I lived in Lewisville my then Fiance, now husband  and I would walk through the city park and he would point out the pig rubs on the trees.   As a hunter, he is tuned into that stuff.  I use to see bobcats running around and heard stories from my neighbor friend about the coyote that walked right down the road.   You have to believe me when I say, you may not know they are there, but they are however in the country you see them and hear them.  One night I started to let my dogs out and saw a coyote pacing up and down the back fence.  I think he was trying to figure out how to get to my coop.   Thankfully, he was scared off by me.   My neighbor told me his neighbor came over and told him "Your pigs are in my field and I would really appreciate it if you could come get them."   He said "I don't have any pigs".

*Farm Animals:

I won't lie, if you come to my house you will see my chickens roaming the front and backyard at any given time.   They are small and they stay in either our yard or our neighbor's.   They don't really mind because we give them eggs and the chickens eat their bugs.   What you don't really think about is large farm animals.   One Sunday while I was cleaning and hubs was watching a race sleeping, the sheriff department came to the door to let me know my goats were in the middle of the road.   Thing is, we don't have goats.  I directed him to the correct house and laughed.  Last week on the nextdoor app I got a message about donkeys in the road.  Three of them.  Someone lost their donkeys, no joke.  How exactly do you misplace something as big as goats and donkeys?


I am pretty sure this is one of the little "charms" of living in the country that makes me crazy.   We live on a 2 lane Farm to Market road that is fairly busy because it is the main road through the small town we live in and out to the country beyond.  Our mailbox is constantly getting hit by drivers who can't keep on the road.  More than that, apparently kids think beating mailboxes is a ton of fun.  How bored do you have to be to decide to go out with a baseball bat and hit mailboxes as your zit faced friend drives down the road at stupid speeds?  We are about to replace our cheep box which we have replaced twice in 18 months with a heavy steel box that is suppose to hold up under baseball bats and side mirrors.   I know this sounds terrible but I would rather the mirror suffer the damage than my box.   I don't want anyone hurt and because our FM road is technically a state highway, I can't enclose it in concrete blocks anyway (oh that I could some days!).  I just want people to PAY ATTENTION!


Remember how I said that we live (technically in) just down the road from the town that usually makes the top 10 of best towns in America?  Well, if you go to the local gas station or Walmart, you would think you were in the middle of a hunting convention.  I have never seen so many people wearing so much camo outside of the Bass Pro Shop.  It is like the unofficial uniform of the country.


I lived in my last home for 16 years and it wasn't until the last 3 years that I met my neighbors.  I was in my current home about 3 days before people started introducing themselves.  I know both neighbors on either side of me and the minute I heard little voices coming from the trees of the home across the street, I grabbed my step kid and ran over to help her meet friends.  Our little community had a workday a few months ago when we picked up trash and where I met more neighbors.  Some that even own chickens!  People leave Christmas baskets on my porch and we leave eggs on people's porches.  


We have one and so do all our neighbors.   In my little house in "the city" there was no place to grow tomatoes much less a garden.   Here we have a flower garden and a vegetable garden and assuming the chickens actually allow something to grow, we will have fresh veggies.  We even planted a bunch of fruit trees last year and this year I planted vines for other fruit.   I will have to learn to can if this stuff actually ends up healthy. 

Small Town Mentality:

When I go to the grocery store in the small town next door, the people are so friendly you would think we were friends.   My hairdresser has a group of ladies who play bunco once a month so I go there and try to win the bunco lottery.  People are just friendly.  Friendly in a way that you don't get in a bigger place.  Plus, everyone knows everyone and you can't go anywhere without running into somebody.   Everytime we go to Walmart or the grocery we run into friends. I even run into them randomly at Khol's or when I was running around the downtown farmers market.  It is amazing.  The moral of that story is dress like you will run into someone because you probably will.


Much like the sceptic system, I wasn't prepared for my gas to come from a propane tank.  These things are big and ugly but in the winter or when you turn your stove on, you are really happy to have them.  Truth here, I didn't know anything about monitoring them and last winter we actually ran out of propane one Friday night.  Luckily, the propane company sent someone right out to refill the thing because it was actually a cold winter spell we were in the middle of and our home was about 20 degrees.  Moral of the story here is don't run out of propane. 

Having owned a home both in the country and in the city, I will take the country every time.   There is a peace that comes from being able to sit on you back deck and watch the animals play.  There is a comfort in knowing if you need something, you can walk next door or across the street.  There is a simplicity about living somewhere that you can raises and grow your own food.  Is it for everyone, probably not.   It is for me. 

Thanks for reading and sharing my blog.  

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