Living in the Country – 10 Things I’ve Learned

My husband and I had spent 7 years dreaming of a place in the country, a homestead to call our own. 2 summers ago we were fortunate enough to finally see that dream come to fruition.  Living in the country became a reality for us.

Living in the Country

When it came to living in the country,I knew I would love it, but didn’t really anticipate the challenges that would come up. Sure, I knew there would be little things here and there that I needed to learn, but nothing too big.

Well, I was wrong. As we have finished over a whole year of living out here on our little homestead, I thought it was fitting to write up a list of 10 things I’ve learned about living in the country.


1. If your power goes out, you better be prepared. Sure, I’ve had my power go out plenty of times in my lifetime. No big deal, right? Actually, it is a big deal if you live in the country. Did you know toilets don’t flush without electricity out here? After our power was out for 31 hours straight and we had no water, let’s just say, the toilet situation was NOT pretty. We now have jugs of water stored in our basement.

2. Men and women respond differently to wildlife. After seeing a bear cub, I quickly turned around and walked the opposite way, eager to get inside my house where nothing could eat me (hey, cubs are small, but mamas aren’t!). My husband, on the other hand, started walking towards the bear in an effort to get a closer look. (don’t worry, there was no mama bear around, so he lived to see another day). When the coyotes howl at night, I run into the house to hide while my husband starts making coyote sounds to call to them.

3. Without a guard dog, free ranging is a bad idea. Unfortunately, I had to learn this the hard way. After months of happy chickens who free-ranged without incident, we lost 6 chickens in one evening. With only piles of feathers for evidence, the guilt was enough for me to give up free-ranging until we have a dog that can guard the chickens.  Losing animals can be heartbreaking.

4. You will want to stay home a lot. I’ve had friends ask me if I get tired of being at home all the time. Are you kidding me? I am surrounded by trees, quiet,wildlife, flowers, and privacy. Most days I’m happy to give up my social life and just stay home, basking in it all. 

5. People will still pop in. I’m the kind of person who prefers a call before visitors come to the door. It’s not them, it’s me and my total struggle with proper housekeeping skills. I need the extra 20 minutes to run around my house while hollering at the kids to “clean the house as fast as you can, company’s coming!” Yet, even though our house is now an inconvenient distance away from most people we know, we still have people pop in. (and yes, I do feel blessed that people like me enough to do that! 🙂 )

6. It’s so dirty out here. I mean, it’s a given that you will deal with dirt in the country, but I really had no idea what kind of level of mess I was walking into. Spring is officially renamed “Mud Season” here on the homestead. Rubber boots are a necessity and are no longer just for rainy days. Wood stoves are perpetual dust making machines. Animals are cute but messy. These facts and more will mean you are doing A LOT of sweeping and mopping.

7. If you can throw seeds in the ground, you can garden. I am the worst at weeding (no surprise there given my above confession of my lack of housekeeping skills) and I lack all the fancy tools for gardening,yet vegetables and flowers are growing. After reading site after site online with very detailed information of all the ways your garden can fail, I’m pleasantly surprised.

8. Storms are more intense. When we lived in town our house was sheltered by other houses and buildings. Out here it’s nothing but us and the trees (and the coyotes as already expressed above). When the storms roll through the wind is stronger than I am used to. Also, because there are so many trees there are more chances of the power being knocked out by one falling. Which is why the first point in this list is so important.  Also, in a snow storm we are definitely one of the last roads on the list to see a snow plow.

9. Wood stoves are cozy, yet exhausting. The first fire in our wood stove was a magical moment. However, by the end of the winter, 6 months later, I was sick of loading more wood into that thing. If you are heating primarily with wood it does require an insane amount of work from chopping, to stacking it, to bringing it in your house,and then feeding it into the stove.  Nevertheless, next winter will come and you will still be excited to start that first fire again.

10. You will grow suspicious of every passing car you don’t recognize. When a total of three vehicles pass on your road everyday and you know who drives every single one, you will be suspicious of a car you don’t recognize. It’s not uncommon to see a car out your window and yell to your husband, “hey! A blue Corolla just drove by. We don’t know anyone who drives a blue Corolla, do we? Did those farmers up the road get a new car?  Are they lost? Are they up to no good? We better keep watching to see if they drive by again.”

For all the challenges the country can bring, it’s all worth it for the beauty,peace, and tranquility that comes with living in the country. With year one down, I’m sure I’ll have a new list of things I will learn in year two.

Related: How you can be a Homesteader no Matter Where you Live

2 thoughts on “Living in the Country – 10 Things I’ve Learned”

  1. I think the scariest thing about coyotes is the way they can walk past our back fence and be completely silent. At least if I hear them howling I have some idea of how close they are to the house. And I am like you, If I am sitting out on the deck after dark and I hear them I scoot right in the house.

    1. Yes, my husband likes to remind me they are more scared of me then I am of them, but that doesn’t comfort me. All it takes is one crazy one….lol.

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