Move to the country, at what cost? |

Move to the country, at what cost?

So, you think you want to make the move to the country. Ah, the life — fishing from the docile creek that will flow just yards from your door, a huge garden from which you will harvest your own vegetables. Peace and quiet, clean air, a view unobstructed by machines and industry — that is what you envision.

But wait! That little stream has the potential of being a killer torrent during a downpour right there or in the hills above. Pay attention that the house you build is away from the creek and on considerably higher ground. The garden will have to be constantly weeded, the deer, raccoons and other wildlife will be vying for their share (which they consider to be all) of your fresh produce. You will have to fence the garden.

Then, unless you can also put a fence over the top, the black birds will likely find your spot and raise havoc. If you do all right with your daily harvests, you won’t be able to eat it all. You will want to preserve by canning, freezing, or drying. Those processes have to be done when the produce is ready, not when you get the time. If you are lucky and have excess produce, you might even be able to sell your wares at a nearby farmer’s market. Sharing or exchanging with friends and neighbors is also a large part of the fun of gardening.

When you purchase a property, you only know the current situation of your community. Without a crystal ball, you would not have fathomed when you bought the property some years ago as an investment and an eye toward your idyllic country life, that eminent domain would ever become an albatross. You had no inkling that after your house was constructed, a heavy haul coal train would want to build new tracks just across the field adjacent to your property. That would take care of the great view, the quiet, and the good air.

Yes, living in the country is a wonderful lifestyle. But it is best done after accumulation of knowledge and careful consideration of the facts.

Perhaps the single most important word that country residents must embrace is “responsibility.”

You will have to take care of trash removal, unless there happens to be a refuse company with a route nearby. Then you will have to pay the company yourself; the bill is not included with your utilities. If your well runs dry, you will have to fork over the money to drill a new one. If the fence needs fixing it is up to you to fix it or attempt to hire it done.

There is no more landlord to call, no more sanitation engineers to pick up dead skunks in the middle of the road. You will soon learn that all of those country-related perks can also be problems, and that they cost real money.

Peggy can be reached through

Peggy Sanders

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