Country Responsibilities

Long for the country or a slice of it? Me too!!! For 32 years we lived on the last street in a town of 1,200 people surround by grasslands. I thought it would be a ten year at most lay over on the way to the country life. In the end, I was barely hanging on. My dad use to say, “you can take the girl out of the country but not the country out of the girl”.

It’s the land that feeds my soul. In town, the buildings seem to lean in towards and an intense sense of claustrophobia threatens. When I cross state lines it is as if the laws of the state hang in the air and I can literally feel them. It is why some states I never want to visit again. I can literally feel the weight of the bondage. I know why the pioneers HAD to go west. I would have gone with them for independence is a huge part of who I am.  

We worked hard to gain skills while we lived on the edge of town raising livestock, a garden, and many other self-sufficient skills. But there are some things we had no experience with. We are now in charge of our garbage. It has greatly decreased the amount we create and have to haul to the dump since we pay by the pound. A good motivation to keep it low and recycle at home and at the center.


Lately we have been snowed in one or two times a week. Kirk goes in to town before a storm and stays with our daughter if it looks like it will be bad to make sure and get to work. Our tractor is antiquated and only has a blade to do the snow pushing job. Luckily for now, we have a neighbor that is better equipped and can snow blow the road when a blade won’t do the trick. After Kirk replaces the tractor’s steering pump, the front tires, and the starter, we will get a snow blower of our own. It’s always maintenance time with a tractor.

I love country folk  because they are more comfortable relying on your own resources than depending on others. Yet country folk are the first to pitch in and help. They can. They not only know how, but they have the equipment to do so.

Living in the country means having a well to maintain of which we knew nothing about except drinking from one. Last summer ours had to have a new pump and pressure tank. Each year we sanitize it to keep the bacteria count down and monthly we maintain a water filter system and a water softener since our water is high in minerals else we have everything covered in a white film.

Living in the country means that the water well may be yours but the water in it is the states. You have a right to pump only what your license allows. The water in the creek, river, spring, lake or even the run off down the gully on your property isn’t yours. We slow the flow of water down our gully with boulders that were nearby to encourage seepage and keep it from washing out the landscape – but we do not stop it. Water is the source of life and the states fiercely guard it. As for the water runoff from the roof, that is ours so we plan on retaining part of it for watering trees etc. Your state may believe they own that too.

Living in the country means having and maintaining a septic tank. Sometimes having it pumped but more often paying attention to the toilet paper you use, the laundry detergent, not having a garbage disposal as it plugs it up, and watching what cleaning products you use and how much water flows into it. We put friendly microbes in our sewer lines on occasion to encourage breakdown of waste allowing us to go years before needing pumped and the septic tank pumper said maybe forever after checking ours out.

As I look out at our three trailers, antique tractor; nineteen year old pickup; Yukon; and small, old, car we call Target because the deer have run into the sides of it so many times it’s held together with metal bands and screws, I see caching, caching. But I also see independence.


Our granddaughter since she was little has loved goats.

You may think country life means high costs and all work? It can feel that way sometimes. But I’d rather live where I’d vacation than live somewhere where I felt I needed to escape from. So while we work, we breathe in the perfumed scent of wild flowers and the garden. We watch babies in the wild take their first steps. We haul a bucket of scraps from the kitchen and the chickens and the deer chase after me for the first bite. It means baby chicks peeking out from under the wings of their mother to glance a peek, and baby goats bucking like bronco bulls off flipped over feed pans.

It means wondering through the fields teaching grandkids the names of the wild flowers, and trudging through the snow identifying tracks of mice, jack rabbits, fox, a wolf, and yes, chickens and the barn cats. It means quiet interrupted only by the distinct rapid beat of Hungarian Partridges or ravens flying over head caw, caw, cawing instead of car horns, engines, and lawn mowers. It means the most bitter days of early winter, the skies fill with hundreds of Canadian Geese flying south. It means Bald and Golden eagles on fence post after fence post or the crest of hills as large numbers roam this winter range.

As for me, country life makes me more appreciative, more observant, more knowledgeable, independent, and more resourceful. Country life creates a better me. It isn’t for everyone. It’s why the cities are crowded and towns dot the land but because true country life is for the few, not the many, it’s why there is still a place called country, a place for me.






One thought on “Country Responsibilities

  1. Rural lifestyles are more variable regionally than urban lifestyles. I find that staying in Los Angeles is not much different from being in San Jose. The climate is different, which means that different fruits an vegetables are grown in the gardens, but it is easier to adapt to such relatively minor differences. However, staying just outside of Los Angeles is extremely different from living here, less than thirty miles outside of San Jose! I live among some of the tallest trees in the World, with shade that limits where fruit trees and vegetable gardens can be grown. There is enough water, partly because I do not need much. The soil is excellent. In the Mojave Desert, to the north of Los Angeles, their is no shade to interfere with gardening, but the climate is horridly harsh, the soil is not very good, and water is either scarce or expensive. I have always been intrigued by the Mojave Desert, and fantasize about living there. I really do not think I could adapt though. For now, it is only a vacation destination.


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