Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rural vs Urban Living

We left the city 2-1/2 years ago. Best decision ever. During our last couple years living in the city, we were located in the city centre. What a horrible existence that was. Noise, crowds, pollution, crackheads.

Traffic noise started about 6:30 am. This would go on until all the wage slaves had scurried out of downtown by about 6:00 pm. Just when things seem about to get quit, the bar crowds start staggering around yelling and vomiting. Meanwhile the crackheads are twitching about screaming at each other or someone only they see. This goes on until about 4:30 or 5 am. Finally a little peace until 6:30 when it all starts again. The homeless are always wandering around but they don't make very much noise usually. But watch where you step, they do all kind of nasty things in the most unusual places.

So now we live in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nothing but distance. Being on the prairie, even the horizon is many miles away. Our closest neighbor, a friendly farmer, is a couple miles away. People think there is nothing out on the prairie, that it is just a vast wasteland between things that are interesting or useful.
Quite the opposite actually. There are many species of plants that are useful, even edible. There is a wide range of wildlife; deer, coyotes, fox, owls, eagles, porcupine, even moose. And many more. Certainly no shortage of things that like cats. We've lost about a dozen so far. Gotta have them though for mouse control. Got those in the country too.

By far the most interesting and important critters out here though, are the people. There are only five thousand of us spread out over an area of five million acres. Sparse. I ran into the friendly farmer at the country store one day and asked him if I could buy a bit of straw. A couple days layer there were some bales in front of my house. I phoned him and asked how much I owed him. He refused to accept payment.

The small country store itself is such a refreshing change from the city. It's only a tiny place, but they sell everything from gravy mix to welding equipment. And if they don't have it, let them know and they will get it for you. More than once they didn't even charge me for a small item because they 'just had it sitting around anyway'. Shortly after arriving in the area I called to find out the store hours on a Saturday because I was running low on cigarettes. The manager told me 5:00 pm. So about 4:30 I head off to the store and get a couple packs. I didn't see the manager, but paid the lady at the till and went home. About 5:30, I get a call from the manager. He says that he didn't see me and that they are closed now but not to worry, he knows my brand and will swing by my place on his way home with a few packs. I live about 12 miles from the store and he lives in the other direction. Wow.

It reminded me of  going to get some smokes once near the end of my city living. I show up at the store 10 minutes before closing and the door is locked. I see the store clerk standing by the till. He shrugs. I look at him and point at my watch with my index finger. He looks at me and points at the ceiling with his middle finger.

I find it interesting that the smaller the population base, the stronger the sense of community. When living in the city, I hardly even knew any of my neighbors at all, not even their names. City folk (I'm getting all farmy now) don't look each other in the eyes when passing by, let alone say hello to a stranger.  They may call a cop or scream for help. At the very least look at you kind of oddly. Out in the rural areas people wave, say hello, strike up conversation with everybody. Even those they don't know.

It doesn't take very long to adjust to that kind of courtesy and friendliness.


  1. Definitely a lucky couple to live all alone by yourself without having to hear the blaring noise and the rush of people. The article was quite interesting and nice.



  2. Girikumar,
    We love our new country location. The opportunity to build a natural earthen home has been very rewarding so far. Gardens too, we are thrilled to produce some of our own food.