Archive for April, 2011

1.5 years in…

April 16, 2011

I noticed that we’ve gotten some traffic lately about “thoughts on moving to the country” and other similar queries. I realize we haven’t yet done any kind of recap post or discussion about how living in the country is going so far.

We closed on our house nearly two years ago now. (end of May ’09), but we didn’t move in until end of August. As a whole I think things have been a solid success.

The Good Things:

  • The views, the quiet, the landscape. All these together could probably be individual line items, but they are related. They are part of the experience of living out here. Sitting on the deck reading a couple days ago I realized we are surrounded by nearly paradise. The air smells great, the stars are bright, and there aren’t many cars that go by.
  • The animals. We’ve got a family (flock?) of sandhill cranes that live nearby. Have you ever seen or heard one of these things? They are very strange birds, fascinating to listen to and watch. We’ve got gorgeous woodpeckers (which are not as charming when they peck on the house) and other songbirds. Our neighbors have horses and our other neighbors have cows and chickens.
  • Family. It’s been wonderful to be near family. Not to mention the free babysitting!
  • Pace. We wanted a slower pace of life and I think we are living more peacefully. Our calendars are fairly flexible and have some margin. Well, sometimes a lot of margin.

The Not So Good Things:

  • Upkeep. I know this is true of owning any home, there are always things that need fixing or upgrading or just attention. Owning an acreage I think there are more things to go wrong, whether it is truck problems, or mower maintenance, or woodpeckers on your house, or a leaky barn, or anything. This is not a knock on living in the country, but I don’t think mentally I was fully ready for how much time and money just keeping a house going takes.
  • Gas costs. Particularly now that gas is at $4, gas is a big part of our budget. Our cars aren’t gas guzzlers, but it’s about 24 miles round trip just to get to town, not to mention driving around. (I also still travel to Minneapolis at least twice a month, but that at least is a business expense.) We consolidate trips and don’t ever really go for just one thing, but it is still a cost.
  • Friends. Having a baby changes your relationships with others, and would have no matter where we lived. But having a baby and living 15 minutes out of town has made it hard to grow relationships with other people. We miss our close friends back in the Cities.

Spring time plans

April 14, 2011

I picked up some lumber for the raised beds we’re trying this year. I’ve now planned on spending the afternoon assembling them twice; the first day I realize I had mistakenly gotten 1.5″ screws instead of 2.5″, which aren’t long enough, and now today it has started to snow outside. Not a lot of snow, but enough to deter me from setting up the miter saw in the middle of the yard. It’s possible I’m being lazy.

The much higher cost of treated lumber at Menards led me to get untreated wood. Once things are assembled I will have to report back on the durability of how things hold up. That and the conflicting reports we’ve read in various books about whether or treated lumber chemicals can leach into your vegetables.

We’ve been debating about getting chickens later this summer. I think there’s a very strong possibility we will be getting a few chicks in a couple months. There are various pros and cons, as with any decision, but it might be time. More on that as we decide.