Country Livin’ Part 2-Things are different in the country

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In A City Slicker’s Guide to Country Livin’, I shared 3 (tongue-in-cheek) reasons to move to the country. Today, I’ll share a few more (humorous) things you need to know before livin’ in the country.

Moving to the country

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We mow weeds, not grass in the country

An actual picture of my front yard. Notice all the clover!
An actual picture of my front yard. Notice all the clover!

Out here in the country, we can’t afford lawn service. So we do our own yards. We also don’t bother using fertilizer. But who would want to? When you fertilize the grass (or weeds) they just grow faster, which means you have to mow it more often. As it is right now, it takes about 3 hours to mow our yard (and yes, that is on a riding lawn mower!)

And lets discuss riding lawn mowers. A riding lawn mower like they sell at Lowes or Home Depot is just that-a riding lawn mower. It is NOT a tractor. You wanna come see a tractor? Come on out to the farm and I’ll show you one. Better yet, I’ll even let my 15 year old give you a ride. But don’t EVER confuse a riding lawn mower with a tractor, no matter what the sales person at the local hardware store will tell ya!

Driving a wagon full of hay
Driving a wagon full of hay

Back to the yard-it is just that-a yard, not a lawn. (Notice I don’t refer to it as “cutting grass”!) Many times, its mostly weeds. But that’s ok. We don’t want to have to cut it anymore than we already do. So while you are out having fun on a Saturday afternoon, I’ll be at home on my trusty Cub Cadet, mowing my yard.

Weather

Weather is another thing you pay attention to when you live in the country. There is a reason all the old farm jokes center around the weather. Your livelihood depends on it.

To cut hay, you need to have at least a 3 day dry spell between cutting the hay and planning to bale it. Hay needs that long so it can cure properly. You don’t want to cut several acres of hay and then have rain fall on it. It reduces the quality of the hay and takes even longer to cure. And if it rains for several days on that hay? Well, you can kiss that crop (and the $$$$) goodbye.

It always amazes me when people show up to various events and a storm rolls in and they had no idea it was going to rain. The weather people have been talking about it for DAAAYSSS! And you still didn’t know that? Or it suddenly turns cold and everyone forgot their sweater. Really? Listen to the weather on the news or download a weather app. I currently have four on my phone. ?

Rainbow after the storm
Rainbow after the storm

You also need to know the amount of rainfall you get each week, so a rain gauge is necessary. The last storm dropped 2 inches of water? No need to water the garden or the crops this week. Only rained a few sprinkles? Time to start watering.

And a snow day in the country doesn’t mean a day off. It might actually mean more work. Cows, horses, and chickens still have to be fed. And you have to provide the animals with fresh water too. When it is below freezing this can mean changing out water buckets several times a day.

Snow day on the farm
Snow day on the farm

Going places

Another thing people don’t understand about livin’ in the country is that you can’t just stop what you are doing and meet up with friends at the drop of a hat. If the weather is nice, you’ve got work to do. And if the weather is crappy, well, you still have work to do. And even if you can spare the time, you will still need to shower first.

Even going to the store requires some thought. First, the grocery store isn’t just right around the corner. So when you go, you plan. You want to get everything at one time so you don’t waste so much gas going back. You also want to go first thing in the morning, BEFORE you start your farm work. Because if you do it later, you will need that shower I was talking about. I have been guilty of running into the grocery store after picking up my kids from school with chicken manure on my shoes. OOPS!

Cleanliness

When you go in and out all day, from barn to garden to house, you usually track in mud or grass. Living in the country just means things aren’t always as clean as one would like. I could sweep my floors everyday (and some weeks I do) and they still won’t be as clean as those of you who have paved driveways and concrete walkways.

Visitors in the country

When you live in the country, you don’t often have drop-in visitors. But if you do, they are usually in for a surprise. If you drop by my house on any given day, I probably won’t be in nice clothes. But, I won’t be in yoga pants either. Yoga pants get torn up too easily and don’t provide much protection from briars and hay stubble. I’ll be in jeans and a t-shirt that may or may not look very clean.

When you live in the country and do farm work, you don’t need to go to the gym. First, the nearest gym is still too far away to make it worthwhile. Secondly, shoveling manure and moving hay bales gives you quite a workout anyway.

Still thinking of moving to the country?

So are you still thinking of moving to the country? Honestly, it is a lot of work. This lifestyle certainly isn’t for everyone. You have to have a plan for vacations, errands, even your meals. But this is a life I love and I would hate to give it up.

But if you decide to drop by my house in the country, please don’t look too closely at my floors. And if you stay too long, I just might put you to work.

Is country livin’ something you’ve ever considered? What obstacles stand in the way of making it happen?

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tractor and trailer full of hay on the farm-country living

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