In just a few days I will officially have lived in the country for an entire year. One whole year living a very different lifestyle then I had before. So, just for fun, I thought I would write about my first year in the country … actually about what I wish I knew before living in the country …
And since of course many of you wise folks may already know these things about country life, this letter is for myself – well, the me I was one year ago.
Dear City Sarah,
So you are moving to the country. You are ecstatic and excited, but there are some things you really should know:
1. You will be outsmarted by a raccoon for the first 3 months in your new home. At first it will be hilarious … “He got into the compost again!” (heehee). But after a little while, you will begin to question your intelligence. After all, by this point it is clear that the raccoon is really outsmarting you … “He got into the compost again!!” (hmmmm). By the next month it will be more frustrating than you can even imagine … “He got into the compost again!!!” (WHAT THE….!) You will prevail … think rebar, stakes, and metal wire.
2. Snow Days are really not as fun as you think they will be. Sure, the first day you will spend tobogganing with the little ones and warming up with hot chocolate. But you will have a lot of them. A lot of days snowed in, without internet, without contact with the outside world, and on one occasion – without coffee. But don’t worry, even though you think you won’t, you survive every time.
3. You will love your chickens. You think you will really like keeping chickens and you will. A lot. You will name them. And then get a questionable number more.
4. A mouse in the house is not a big deal. When you first move in you will be very troubled by the fact that there are two mice caught in mouse traps. You will learn this is all part and parcel for country living. In fact, you will have MUCH worse critters in your house, but that is best left a surprise. A horrible, get the shivers even thinking about it, surprise.
5. The night that the unnamed-animal is found you will want to leave the country so badly. You will cry that night and tell your husband that you want to go home, and mean it with every ounce of your being. He will attempt to comfort you by saying that you are home. This will only make you sob harder. There is no going back. But don’t worry, this feeling will pass (although you will still check under your covers every night before crawling into bed).
6. You will become best friends with your wood stove from the months of November through March. You two will be inseparable, closer than you ever thought possible with an appliance.
7. Growing things is hard. Really hard. And it takes a lot of time. You will love your garden and learn to really appreciate the food that comes from it. Food is viewed very differently when it is homegrown. You will lose some sleep in fear of frost, too much rain, and not enough rain. Your first crop won’t be great, but it will be good enough. You have a lot to learn. And a grocery store nearby.
8. While you are quietly worried about being isolated and alone out here, you will have some tremendous neighbours. They will check on you when you are snowed in, they will give you firewood and food, they are good people. Good country people. You won’t feel isolated, you will feel a part of something wonderful.
9. Your car will be constantly dirty (as it already is) but now you can say it is because you live on a dirt road. Just don’t let anyone see inside your car to keep your cover.
10. You will hear coyotes howling almost every night. You will tell yourself it is just your neighbour’s dog every night. You will do this so often that you actually believe yourself. It helps you sleep knowing it is just a dog. Just a tiny little dog not capable of any real harm. Some nights you picture this dog with a bow in her hair. A sweet little fluffy white dog named Fifi. I’m not sure if this is a normal thing to do, or if this country living is slowly making you lose it.
But most importantly, your family loves it out here. And so do you. Minus a few snow days.