30 June 2010

What I've learned moving from city to country

It's been six months now since we moved out to the middle of these Illinois cornfields from the near-northwest Chicago suburbs (where I spent most of my life), so I figure now's a good time to look back on what we've learned.

1. People consider the "neighborhood" an amorphous area of about 5 square miles around you, and everyone within that space and even beyond will know everything about you that anyone can find out.

2. All of those people will do anything they can to make your time on this Earth more bearable, at any time of day or night.

3. When Jehovah's Witnesses don't manage to catch you at home, they will hand write a personalized letter to enclose with the pamphlet they mail you instead.

4. Feed corn is nowhere near as delicious as sweet corn, but feed corn is all anyone wants to grow.

5. If Nature loves you, then a scraggly-looking stand of bush-like trees surrounded by tall weeds can turn out to actually be a few mulberry trees grown together... and mulberry pie is easy to make and extremely delicious*... and because of this, the weed-free stand of noble arbors will begin to look more and more beautiful to you every day.

6. I must get some livestock. I just HAVE to! Conveniently, I also find myself really wanting to.

7. The slow pace of life and constant contact with the cycles of Nature can turn you into an 80-year-old surprisingly quickly. Suspenders seem practical, TV seems unnecessary and loud, everything is more satisfying when done yourself, and a bout of shingles is apparently par for the course.**

8. Children can entertain themselves for a surprisingly long time right in your yard. Just with sticks 'n' stuff.***

9. The ability to do whatever you feel like without everybody looking over your shoulder is intoxicating, and I find myself daydreaming about where would be best to launch my fireworks and set up my shooting range (factoring in my future prairie, forest, giant firepit, pond, 9-hole golf course, and gardens).

10. Wearing a shirt feels like suiting up in a tuxedo or a parka, depending on the weather and the fabric. It's definitely one of the worst parts about going in to town.

* The only troublesome part is removing the little stems from each fingernail-staining berry, though some say you don't really need to.

** I'm pretty sure they'll repossess your house, or at least your land, if you don't develop it within 6 months. I made it just under the wire!

*** Only provided they have no apparent supervision.


unmitigated me said...

That yard is going to be that much fun ALL summer, LD. You have hit the jackpot.

Christy said...

What about all the conversations about lawn maintenance? When we lived on our little cul-de-sac in Cincinnati, all the guys would stand around in a circle and discuss the benefits of using various mowing patterns, chemical applications, and grass hybrids for HOURS...okay, maybe it was only 15 minutes, but it felt like hours. Yawn. Needless to say, I don't miss it.

Happy to hear you're enjoying your "new" life.
~Christy C

Mama Dawg said...

Oh, you gotta enjoy living in the country. We can compare fruit stained hands. Mine are blackberry. Every other day, I'm on my hillside picking those infernal berries that leave my hands looking like I went 10 rounds with a bobcat (the numerous scratches from the briars on the vines).

However, it is sooooooo worth it in the middle of winter when I have my blackberry cobblers. Yum, yum.

Mary said...

A list of 10. You should have added one more item just to be uneven. No shirt is better than no pants.

Joanie said...

I moved to the country twice, and both times, neighborhoods grew all around me. Guess I didn't move out far enough. Enjoy the space!!!

beth said...

Wish kids could be self-entertained in the City, too, but what would they play with? No sticks laying around...

Anonymous said...

it all sounds so dreamy! i can't wait to get out of this apartment so pretty much anything with a bit of a yard sounds dreamy to me right now!

Father Knows (Travis) Best said...

You haven't arrived until you've tangled with shingles. I'm still waiting to arrive.

Trooper Thorn said...

The weather report is less about what you need to wear to work today and more about what you need to irrigate.

Vodka Mom said...

I"m sending you a few pigs. and sheep. and perhaps a goat.

Now, where are those extra large boxes??????

Paul G said...

I've been commuting now for 2 weeks and it's killing me. I think I'm gogin to have to work from home too. Now just to convince my wife to let me move back in.

Amanda Haney said...

I really enjoyed reading your blog. I had a sort-of similar situation moving from the suburbs to the city and then back to the suburbs. It definitely opened my eyes to the differences between the two places. I really enjoyed reading your list and I definitely agree with these things. Especially number one, one thing I cannot stand about the suburbs is nosy neighbors. Would you say that you like living in the suburbs more than the city or less?