City mouse, country house

The influx of people continues apace. Many have moved to the area to have a change from city life. Of course, “city” may mean New York City or it may mean Billings (if they moved from New York City) or out on the plains. It is all relative. So are the adjustments. How do you know, in advance, whether or not you may be cut out for country life?

First, you should consider if you like to learn new things. A caveat for those who are moving in. We like things the way they are. If you intend to come here and change things (usually to what you didn’t like about where you moved from), don’t bother moving to our area. If you do come, know that it is you who must adapt to our way of doing things. News flash: We are not stupid, uneducated, nor country hicks. If you attend city or county government meetings and ask for changes, but don’t get them passed, don’t jump to the conclusion that the entity has not heard you.

Are you afraid to ask questions? When people visit our farm, I always try to put them at ease with the old adage, “There are no stupid questions.” We had a young woman from New York City visiting here who wanted to know three things: Why don’t our rural fire trucks have ladders, where do the cows go when it rains, and why are there not street lights all along the rural — though blacktopped road — between one town and another, a distance of 20 miles?

None of us would have thought to tell her until she asked. It showed that she was thinking and comparing our everyday goings-on with hers. What of someone who moves here, especially without much prior planning? Do they get right into the community activities and try to contribute? Or are they what are — not very affectionately — called “squatters?”

If you decide to move to the country and you buy a piece of “cheap” undeveloped land, what might it truly cost you to get settled into a familiar lifestyle? Around here, getting electric lines run to the property can cost at least several thousand dollars per mile. Read that again. Drilling a well might be quite costly, if indeed there is even water available.

What about the social aspects? Will you be retired or working from home after the big move? If you enjoy your own company, the country life might suit you better than if you are used to a daily coffee klatch.

Then there is health and welfare. Ambulances and fire departments in the country are run by trained volunteers. Because of distances, emergency crews can take some time to arrive on the scene. If you know that you have severe health problems, think it over very carefully before you move to the boondocks. The life you save may be your own.

Peggy’s internet latchstring is out at She welcomes comments and questions about city to country transitions.


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