9 Things to Consider Before Moving to the Country

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So, you’re thinking about moving to the country! This post is a great guide to help you take the next big step. Moving to the country can be an adventure and can be a positive experience for your mind, body and spirit.

moving-to-the-country

Many people find they really enjoy the slower pace of life offered in the country. Without the bright lights of city and suburb living the night sky will be bright with visible stars and constellations.

Removed from the hustle and bustle of the city, the country offers an abundance of opportunities to hike, hunt, fish and enjoy nature to the fullest. You’re also likely to find more freedom to live and prosper from the land.

Country living can also offer more space to plant and tend your own crops. More land allows the opportunity to become more self-sufficient in growing and raising your own food. However, there are a few things you may want to consider before taking the plunge.

1. Income

Income is one of the major considerations in deciding to move. Homes and property in the country can be significantly more affordable than in larger cities. This means you may be able to stretch your income further when purchasing.

It also means that you’re likely to get more bang for your real estate buck in terms of square footage and acreage. Also consider that more property will require more upkeep and maintenance.

Utilities to run a larger home are also likely to be more expensive. A larger home, outbuildings and property can all be expensive to maintain. Can your income support these additional costs? There are ways you can supplement your income from home while still enjoying the rural life.

2. Commute

tractor-in-country When you move to the country will you stay at your current job? Moving to the country means that you are likely to be farther away from most offices and employment opportunities. How long will your potential commute be?

It’s important to consider gas prices and commute distances when calculating your income and total costs. Are you required to report to work late at night or early in the morning? Will you be on-call and expected to report to work quickly?

If so, you may want to explore other job possibilities such as working from home.

3. Availability of Utilities

You will also want to consider the availability of utilities in the area. How reliable is the electricity? Is it frequently down due to storms or downed trees? How long does it take for power to be restored if it is interrupted?

If you are building a home, are the utilities already connected or is there an additional fee? Back up energy generators or off the grid energy choices, such as solar, are an additional expense to consider. What is the availability of cell phone reception and high speed internet access?

If you were planning to work from home, access to these services is crucial. Children may also require internet access to complete school assignments. If cell phone reception is poor, you will need to invest in a landline telephone.

If you enjoy watching television, is cable or satellite available? How reliable are those services? It can be frustrating to have the television signal go out every time there’s a storm.

Another consideration is water supply. Will your new home utilize well water or water from a municipal source? Will you have to dig an initial or additional well? What is the quality of the water and water pressure from the well?

Also, many homes in the country utilize septic systems and do not have municipal sewer services. Septic systems can be costly to repair, maintain and replace. These are all important things to consider.

4. Availability of Services

If you had a medical emergency how long would it take the ambulance to reach you in the country? How far away is the nearest hospital emergency room or urgent care office? If your child became ill in the middle of the night how long would it take you to reach the closest medical services?

The availability and potential response time for police, fire and ambulance is important, especially if you have young children. If you have children, you’ll want to think about the local school system. How far away is it and is bus transportation provided from your location?

If the children miss the bus will you have time to drive them to school before work? As far as home maintenance, how is trash and recycling collection handled? You may have to pay for a commercial trash hauler or take your trash to the landfill yourself depending on where you chose to live.

Are recycling centers offered in the area? In addition, creature comforts of the city, such as restaurant delivery may be unavailable in the country. Do you often rely on calling for pizza delivery at the end of a long day?

5. Transportation

Stanley is still for sale at Cabinwood Farm

Stanley is still for sale at Cabinwood Farm

Do you have reliable and rugged transportation? Living in the country means you’re unable to access the buses, taxis and train systems of large cities. Having your own reliable transportation is nearly essential.

Especially in bad weather, you’ll need a rugged vehicle– such as a truck or Sports Utility Vehicle– to get down flooded or snow covered roads. It is also likely that the nearest store will not be within walking distance so you’ll need to plan accordingly.

The nearest gas station may be further from your home than you’re used to so maintaining fuel levels is important. You wouldn’t want to get stranded on a country road with an empty gas tank.

6. Weather

What are the roads like and will they be cleared in the event of heavy snowfall? It’s important to consider that the roads may not be plowed quickly as they would be in a city. You will need to arrange a backup plan for getting to work or the store.

Snow covered roads may not be passable for several days so you’ll need to plan ahead to make sure you have plenty of food, water and other essential supplies. Often, country roads are considered not critical and may be low on the list to receive maintenance such as expansion, paving and repairs.

Also, consider the possibility for flooding or damage caused by downed trees after a severe storm. Living in the country means you’ll need to be prepared with essential supplies in the event of an emergency.

7. Isolation

Are you someone who craves the peace and quiet that is offered in the country? Or, do you need a hopping nightlife and a bunch of neighbors to feel happy? The somewhat isolated nature of living in the country is definitely something to consider.

It may be exactly what you’re craving, or it may be torture for you to be away from the restaurants, bars and events of the city. Will you be comfortable living miles away from the nearest mall, movie theater or sports field?

8. Neighbors

In many cities or suburbs there are a myriad of rules and regulations instructing people how to utilize their home and land. Many of these regulations may not exist in the country.

While that can mean more freedom over how you use your property it also means that you have to extend the same right to others. You may want to consider that your neighbors may have parties, burn leaves or keep livestock on their property.

Your potential neighbors may be far enough away that you won’t be bothered; that also means they might not be available in a true emergency or even when you need a cup of sugar.

9. Respect

Living in the country means paying a great deal of respect to plants, wildlife and your fellow man. Depending on where you’re planning to move, be prepared to share your land—and sometimes the road— with all manner of critters such as raccoons, deer and possum.

You’re also likely to encounter neighbors who also enjoy the peace and tranquility of country living. It’s important to respect the space, wishes and desires of your neighbors as well. Maintaining your property and avoiding activities that may pollute nearby water, air or land is an important part of living in the country.

The benefits to living in the country are vast, and for many people, completely worth any sacrifice. The peacefulness of country living and the great outdoors awaits you. Consider the points I’ve outlined before you plan on moving to the country and you’ll be the next satisfied country dweller.

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Comments

  1. Betty Sharpe says

    I love your emails, don’t have your book, I don’t live in the country but I grew up in the country and loved it, just not financially able to move to the country. I love flowers, we had all kinds of wild flowers and other flowers where I grew up. Roses, daffodil’s (buttercups) Irish’s, lilies, etc. I remember we had what we called our snow-ball bush and I loved it. I want to have a small garden of flowers in my back yard which is not really very big, but I can find room for flowers. I am 66 yrs old and I have a bad back and replacement hip, but I get around pretty good. I love in a subdivision but our back yard is fenced. So wish me luck when I start my flower garden, it may be next year as this year hasn’t allowed money or time, but I am going to get there. Happy planting.

  2. Grandpa Mal the kiddies' pal says

    Dustin his important points that I was also going to make. While I say we live in the “country”, my wife says it is still suburban. I guess there is no definition. We are zoned two acres and many nearby have three to ten, and even 60 acres. We regularly see deer, and other non-suburban critters including foxes, rabbits, ground hogs, coyotes, and rarely even a black bear. Peacefulness, fresh air, the beauty of nature, clear nights are a joy. Drivng the streets, the country side is so beautiful from spring to fall. Winters can be pretty, but a big snow is more of a problem than in the tighter suburbs. While towns and malls are further away, traffic, traffic lights are less, so it does not take much longer to get to where we want to go. Except for housing, we were surprised that most other things cost more than in the denser suburbs: without more competition and less foot-traffic merchants charge more, and there is less choice. There are fewer close-by good restaurants. But, we are still only an hour and change from the denser suburbs and the Big City, so maybe we have it all.
    Enough procrastinating; off to finish planting six rose bushes and three rhododendron to “soften” the side-facing-the-front of our detached “carriage house” (garage).

  3. Donna says

    Hubby & I purchased an old fixer-upper “with good bones” on an acre of land surrounded by hundreds of acres of woods & fields 2 summers ago. i had never lived more than 15 minutes away from a mall; i could always walk to the grocery store. Having to plan “errand days” where i buy groceries & take care of any other business while I’m out because the nearest grocery store is half an hour away was a HUGE adjustment for me!!

    But I’ve always loved the peace and quiet of nature, and now, while I’m working in my veggie garden, I know I’d never be able to go back!!

    Lots of truth to the advice about checking out utilities before you buy!! I work from home, and I frequently curse having to rely on satellite internet!!

    Another bit of advice from me would be to be realistic about your own abilities. Living in the country may be the simple life, but it is hard work!! If you are not willing to devote your time and energies to some physically demanding “chores,” country life may not be for you!!

  4. Presha Merritt says

    I sort of live in the country on my 2.25 acre farmette! I have a struggling garden, lots of trees and 3 beehives. I make a little money off my honey in the summer, but I am more interested in keeping the bees alive and healthy. I plan to expand my hive count to a maximum of 10. Beekeeping is a lot of physical work at times and I am not getting any younger! I have a grown son that is a beekeeper with me. When I retire I would like to move even further out in the country and get a few more acres. I want chickens next and possibly goats. I am a genealogist and know I come from a long line of yeoman farmers so it is in my blood!

    I read your emails and watch your videos. And sometimes things work for me!! I have to learn from experience and everyday is a learning day!

  5. danelle says

    Hi mike,
    I was raised in the city, and i moved to the country when i married 21 years ago. I wouldn’t move back for anything. The only thing I miss about city life is how close things like markets and banks and the likes are. With modern internet i can do my banking and a lot of my shopping without even leaving my kitchen, and my garden foods taste better than anything i bought anyways. No one is around to tell us what and how to do things, or to tell us even their opinions, but we still have neighbors close enough to call them friends.
    Small communities are very close, tight knit places where kids and family are priority and people actually get to know and care about each other.
    Cities are great, and i was blessed to be raised where i was, and buy whom i was raised. Just like one has to love a city to enjoy what it has to offer, one has to love the land to enjoy what country living has to offer as well.

  6. says

    I live in the country. I only have one acre, but have usage/access to 15 more.
    I don’t think I could live very happy in the city as I don’t play well with neighbors that get in my face.
    I am working toward total self sufficiency, as I believe the end of the USA as we know it is near. Financial collapse of the country is going to happen and soon. So, although selling plants may be a short term fix for a few extra bucks, In the near future, don’t think people will be interested in landscape plants. Seeds might be a better choice. I now put my extra money in food producing ventures and ammo. One to feed me, the other to protect me.

  7. Sara says

    I am truly blessed I have it all. First of all I was born and raised in Los Angeles so I know how to do LA. I have lived in the rural area of my state in a small town for the last 40 years. I moved onto a 100 year old dairy farm that is right on Main Street in the center of town. This place was here before the city grew around it. I have all the benefits of town living while having all the benefits of living in the country. The city approved keeping chickens last year and I have 5 lovelies free ranging as we speak. I strive for organic farming, learned years ago that all the chemicals in the world won’t improve my farm. I learned that comfrey fertilizer tea is the best fertilizer I have ever used and mulching my weeds work better than all the roundup in the world. I recently bought Mike’s book and I am looking forward to propagating the lavender and other herbs I have been growing. Has anyone ever seen those lavender fields? That is what I am going for. Rows and Rows of lavender. I think with the help of Mike’s system I can attain my goal. Thanks Mike I recently bought your program.

    • Anne says

      Hi, Sara!
      Thanks for your comments! The comfrey fertilizer really interests me. I have a farm also around which a town has grown up. I’ve been interested in comfrey as a fertilizer and as possible hay for the horse lovers around here. Would you be interested in selling me some cuttings??? My e-mail is dixie4321@gmail.com.

      I also have about 45 beehives, but someone else owns them and I just get my honey from them. We never have a problem with pollination. I would encourage anyone who is really interested in plants, even if it’s in town to have a beehive. This day and age with pesticides being used as they are, it’s taking a hit on the bees and butterflies, etc. Basically, having bees means that we can’t use powdered pesticides around here.

      Mike’s right about the challenges of farm life. Raising animals of any kind requires time and effort, not to mention someone always has to take care of them rain, shine, cold or hot, vacation or holidays. Acreage has to be bush-hogged or hay cut. One way or the other is has to be cut or trees and weeds take over. Fences must be maintained and the equipment to do it must be purchased. When it breaks down someone has to fix it; you don’t usually haul your tractor off to a mechanic to get it fixed. It’s cost prohibitive! I’ll get off my stump now. With all that said, I still wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. The beauty of the earth and the glory of the skies is incomparable.
      I have also purchased Mike’s plan. I’m presently clearing the area where I’ll establish my grow beds and put my plants one step at a time.

  8. John Quackenbush says

    Mike,
    Moving to the Country? Been there done that!! I choose Country anytime. It will cost you more for gas to get too and from town but you will learn to plan and combine trips to be able to enjoy the Country more. OoooHHhhhh the joy of independence and liberty of movement. Be self sufficient. Raise small plants.

    • Mike says

      John,

      I agree, I couldn’t imagine commuting back and forth to work and spend 3 or hours a day in the car. I know a lot of people do it, and for them it’s a way of life, but those of us who have never had to, it’s a better way of life. Sure we don’t make that big city money, but it’s not always about the money.

  9. Tara says

    HI All,
    I have some property in some hill country.
    I know my neighbours, have a great, quiet community.
    Almost everyone is self sufficient.
    Bee keeping in addition to several other rural pursuits is a great idea to add to the environment.
    Chickens and something with four hooves to add to the transportation issue is also advised.
    have fun everyone!
    Tara

  10. Barry Forbes says

    Great blog topic Mike! I have lived in the country all of my 47 yrs. I live on the farm that I was raised on. It’s not a huge farm, less than 80 acres, but it’s plenty big enough for me and my family. You raised some very good points to consider when moving to the country. There can be a lot of unexpected expenses. I guess I’m used to the daily commute, but if you were new to the country, that extra commute along the scenic roads could get burdensome. There’s also the issue of delayed response in the event of emergencies. That is something to consider if you have health issues and are planning on moving to the country. With that being said, you don’t have to have bad health to have an emergency. I plowed up a yellow jackets nest two yrs ago and if it wasn’t for my brother-n-law being close by to perform CPR, I would not be here today.
    All in all, I wouldn’t trade farm life for any other way of living. As Danelle stated, modern internet is really useful and has made living in the country a bit easier. It has definitely saved me lots of time and money.

    • Mike says

      Barry,

      I love this; “It’s not huge farm, less than 80 acres.” I realize that’s not a huge farm, but that’s a lot of land to most people. I’m happy for you. To be able to live on the same property for 47 years is awesome, especially 80 acres worth. I’m sure it’s work, but it’s also a love of the land.

  11. Wayne Ansley says

    I live almost in the country, There is a corn field across the road . but I am not on a farm. As for Beekeeping I started three mounts ago. Still LEARNING>>

  12. alouette iselin says

    I have lived in the country all my adult life, in a little town called Nelson in southwestern NH. When my youngest child died in 2002, we made a memorial garden for her (she had actually helped to begin it by planting some fruit trees). I know that I could probably make money by selling plants — I’ve gotten pretty good at starting cuttings with rooting hormone — but it delights me to replenish others’ gardens with gifts of love from my daughter’s garden.

  13. Carol Frentzel says

    Hi,
    I don’t really live in the country. We live on four acres in a city of 29,000. We have a large organic garden and usually end up giving a lot of produce away as it is always too much for us to use. We do have a large family and all live fairly close.
    I was raised in the country until I was seven and then in a small town, way different than the city. Then when my Dad had terminal cancer we moved back to the country where my grandparents were. That was my first year of high school. I loved the country.
    We aren’t allowed animals here, but do have geese, ducks and a chicken. I would love to have more chickens, but my husband doesn’t want them.
    At the present time we only have one bee hive. I used to have twenty but now that I need a shoulder replacement, I am unable to do all the work that it takes. Or really lifting. We do get enough honey for us.
    I love raising the plants for our garden and always have way too many, which I usually give away. I have always wanted a greenhouse, but have never had one.
    I also grow a lot of different herbs.
    We are no longer young, except in our heads. My husband is 83 and I will soon be 73. I think as long as you do what you love you will stay young.
    Carol Ann

  14. Jennie says

    When my husband’s work required a move from town, I came, kicking and screaming! A town with three stoplights, you’ve got to be kidding! Then the only house we could find to rent was 6 miles out of that town! Within two weeks I was hooked and would never again live in town! We did end up in a small “town” population 30 for 20 years, then had to move to town again for 5 years. We now have 5 acres with the nearest neighbor about a mile down the road. It’s not for everyone, but I love being able to see the night sky without light pollution, breathing the clean air, letting my dogs have a really big back yard! Necessary things are within 20 miles, I don’t know if I would like to be further out than that. If a commute is within the budget and time, I highly recommend country living!

  15. Ed says

    I’ve lived both country and suburbs. Both have plusses and minuses. I feel that a small, settled town with a rural feel (mix of homes, open spaces, and farms) is the best for me. Being within 5-10 miles of a small city is a plus. You get the best of both. And the small town may have a country or convenience store/gas station for milk, etc. Too far out is too far out. I like to be within and hour to an hour and a half of an airport. Small town won’t be enough for a city person. That’s fine for the bright lights big city nights type. It is really an individual decision. However, watch out for a really long commute to work. That’ll kill you over time…

  16. Dave says

    Hi Mike – We moved to the country 10 years ago and never looked back. I’ve been following your advice in newsletters, and now blogs, since before we moved from town. I built several greenhouses, bought a tractor and implements, and spend as much time ‘playing outside’ as I can. Every time I buy another piece of equipment or stock plants I tell my wife “Hey, you can’t put a boy on a farm and not expect him to want toys…”

    I’m ‘retiring’ next year, taking SS before the gov’t gives it all away, and pouring all my time into my passion. It truly gives me a sense of purpose, knowing that I am contributing, in a small way, to a greener and healthier earth. Thank you so much for your inspiration.

    Dave

  17. valentina says

    hi Mike.Thanks for all your emails.There help me a lot.Yes i live in city but i have 5 acre I have chickens,rabbets,bees and quails.I have garden,flowers and same fruit trees.This is my hobby and i work full time.This is good idea to multiplay plants,but i do not have time now,maybe when i will be reteyred.

  18. Midge says

    I love your emails! I’m a disabled widow that lives 2 miles back a dirt road with my 2 dogs, so I guess that’s pretty “country”. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is not being close to stores. I plan my shopping trips carefully and run as many errands as I can in the course of a day. Still,I would not trade country living for anything! Being on a fixed income, I am saving up to get your program, although I’m not sure how well I will do. My physical dexterity is a bit short, but I’m willing to try. I do have one concern though. I was looking at the “possible” trees to take cuttings from around my house and I noticed they are covered with what I believe to be a grey lichen. Maybe I won’t be able to grow anything?

  19. Lynn says

    We moved to the country 33 yrs ago and I wouldn’t change it for anything. I love the quietness, the opportunity to go for a leisurely walk down a country road with my dogs, the independence, and the opportunity to do whatever I want whenever I want. We have to be more resilient than our city cousins, be a jack of all trades, and go with the flow….and it’s wonderful. I have been able to experience so many aspects of agriculture such as market gardening, chickens, both egg layers and meat birds, beekeeping and horse management and dog breeding which would not have been possible in town.

    Now that I am in my 60′s and starting to have health problems, I find we are looking at different ways of adapting so we can still stay here for as long as we can. I now have a small garden tractor that I haul my garden equipment up and down the hill and around the property so I don’t cause any more damage to my knees, and my hubby now has a tractor with a snow blower for winter and a bucket for summer work. Life is good!

  20. Hilary says

    I grew up in the country and returned to another country location when we retired, husband and I having lived and worked in cities and suburbs most of our lives. Never worked so physically hard in my life – creating 3 acres of flower and veg gardens, and loving it! I’ve never been fitter or happier. My husband doesn’t garden, but he put in the watering and other systems for me, and keeps bees – absolutely fascinating.
    Mike – your article is great; all the considerations to think of before moving are important. Where we live would be a tough commute for anyone who doesn’t want to be self-sufficient or can’t work from home, and activities for kids would be very different from city-life; not better or worse, just different. As retirees, we don’t have to worry about those, only medical emergencies, and we have a small but decent hospital a short drive away.
    Tight-knit community, new friends, potlucks, sunsets and space. Couldn’t be better!

  21. Lina says

    I was raised in a big city, but we always bought our dairy and produce from the farmers in the country near by. I moved to the country 26 years ago when I married my husband and still love it, even though I have to travel some distance to get the to our big small town. It is nice to know your neighbors, even though we are miles apart. I never had that kind of closeness with my neighbors who lived right next door to me in the big city. Commuting to work was a bit much, but now I am retired, and enjoying it. I love the quietness of my area. At night when it gets dark, it’s dark and we can see stars forever. We also raise cattle, it is nice to take our own cow to the butcher, that way you know what was feed to you cow. To me there are more plusses, than minuses, when living in the country.

  22. Peter says

    Hi,

    This has to be quick because today is a cutting/stripping/sticking day and watering is a must, but I suppose I live in a suburb because I’m 5 minutes from a decent sized town/city, home of Yale University, but I have 2 acres as do all of the neighbors. The house was built by my dad in 1947 and I’m back in it with my family.
    I love to be outside, am retired and really not interested in bees other than for pollination and a concern that there seems to be a lot fewer of them than before. The country is not the country anymore; case in point, one of my neighbors had both of their cars stolen the night before last. No, not the same; used to be we left the doors to the house unlocked, etc. but no more.
    I’m gardening and propagating for themselves, not to sell. If I live long enough to become a successful propagator, then I just might go through the paperwork hoops to become a supplier.
    I really enjoyed Rural For Life too! Hope to get back there soon….

    Peter

  23. Bonnie says

    I’ve lived in the country (Virginia) all my life generally about 10-15 miles from the small county seat and conveniences…40 minutes to the larger city and the mall. We have 40 acres in the mountains and I love it. I have a few chickens and lots of different fruit trees, brambles, veggie garden for canning and freezing. Cicadas have made a mess of them the last few weeks. I’ve added my first bee hive and have joined the local beekeeping association. So far so good. I won’t get honey this fall but if they survive the winter/and my learning…we will have honey next year. A neighbor is giving us raw milk, another supplies venison. We have a root cellar that I’m learning to use. Life if good and very busy. Jesus Christ has blessed us. I wouldn’t live anywhere else.

  24. Helen says

    I have to agree with Ed since I too have lived in both places.

    To avoid a more rocky than smooth path in a move to the country, I believe one must consider their own physical health and strength and how strong their vision for future accomplishments are. People are often heard saying: “When I retire, I’m going to move to the country.” But that is not retirement. There is always something needing to be done in the country: I.E.: mowing, gardening, feeding animals, caring for pets or farm animals that have been injured for one reason or another, cleaning the barn(s), fencing to be repaired, plumbing, and the list goes on but at the end of the day, there isn’t a replacement that I know of that compares to the serenity of the country, the freedom, the beauty, the opportunities, the growth of an individual, or their connection with the universe. IMO this is PEACE-FULL-NESS and worth every bit of effort it takes to be in the country.

  25. wendy says

    I live in the city and Mike they took down my shade trees in front of the houses and planted small ornamental trees. High 80′s here in Rochester NY. The country sounds good but not practical. Could you please give advice to us city people on how to have a nice garden and trees?

    • Mike says

      Wendy,

      Everything I write is how to have a nice garden, yard, trees and plants. Shade is fine, but many people don’t have it and never had it at all. In my nursery if we need to shade something we create shade. Gardening is easy. Lots of organic matter worked into your soil and water.

  26. Teresa says

    Hi Mike,
    I live in a small rural (3500 pop) community in central very far south WA state (just 11 miles above the Columbia River–which divides WA from OR)). It is mostly a ranching and farming–the grain silos are still used for the farm market, but it has also developed into a touristy, historic town. It is a timbered area, that is still logged. It is sheltered in a rain shadow basin on the east side of the Cascade mountains and in the southern highlands of the Simcoe mountains. It is beautiful here, quiet and peaceful. My grandfather, his dad, and his mom’s dad had ranches here. I grew up coming to visit every summer during the haying season after the calving and lambing had passed. My favorite memories are of riding on top of the hay bales stacked on the back of the semi, as it took them to the barn. Then after all the bales were stacked in the loft, my uncle would build tunnels with them for us kids to play in. We would also swing down from the loft and drop into the loose hay on the floor of the barn. I remember riding the tractor with my brothers and our grampa, gramma’s huge garden, riding the horse and the old Guernsey milk cow my uncle would saddle, my brother almost falling into the outhouse (my grandfolks 2nd bathroom), picking the black berries that grew on the approach to their road, running from a bull that got loose in the pasture, going to the Yakima nation Pow Wow’s and rodeo’s, investigating the old cemetary that was on the back end of their property, watching grampa work the bee hives–and the bee house–where they processed the honey at the end of summer, watching grampa saw the lumber at his old mill, walking through the woods and playing in the creek, swimming in the little Klickitat river and watching out for the rattlers. Grampa was also the director of the SE region of the department of natural resources–during fire season so the crew would come to the house so gramma could feed them. There were always lots of people at their house. When my cousins would come to visit at the same time we had a great time! I live here now. The ranch is no more although 30 acres are still alternated between barley and alfalfa–leased out, but the woods and creek are still on the old homestead and I love to go walking on the property. There are still cougar, deer, bear, and skunks, possums, and raccoon that live on the place among the family dwellings that are there. Our family’s biggest struggle is keeping the original property intact. Taxes are a detriment to that, the temptation to sell to land developers is strong. This land should go to the 6th generation living on it, but the kids aren’t interested in it. I want to buy my brother’s piece so that it doesnt go out of the family, but when I am gone my kids have no interest in moving from SD to live on it and make it theirs. It is bittersweet.

      • M-E Jinno says

        We are moving from the edge of one town in Vt to the middle of town in Maine. We are retiring near the coast.We have 3.5 acres and the “girls are moving w/ us (6 Barred Rocks, 1 Wyandotte,1 Americana and one Buff Orpington)They are getting a brand new coop built from mostly scraps. The house was built Circa 1740 and half remodeled. The Library, Opera House, Grocery Store, YMCA and Harbor are all within walking distance. I have already moved some plants over and landscaping has begun. Will rotertil in the fall for cover crop until spring. Need to still build one out building and install generator. Been in Family for more than 50 years. Who could ask for anything more? I thought about bees but Mother & 1 son highly allergic to bee stings, there are always other things, leave Bees to neighbors.

  27. Shelly says

    I live on a fifty acre farm with my husband and three kids. We just moved here about eight months ago.

    The property is basically in the raw. No fencing, 35 acres of forest, and various out buildings.

    Living in the country is not for sissies! It is a lot of confront to the world without fast food places and nearby shopping malls. We have “neighbors” that we did not have in the suburbs like coyotes, bears, elk, deer, all kinds of bugs, etc. But all of it is worth the hard work and will better the planet in the future.

    There is a lot of work to get the property situated to how we want it. We are currently logging the forest and will correctly re-plant in January.
    We are also interested in bee keeping for several reasons. Pollination for crops and honey production. We already have two huge natural hives that are located in old oak trees. Hopefully we can add to that population. We are learning all we can on bee keeping.

    We want to be certified organic and have the property basically run itself in natural cycles. Everything must be sustainable and so therefore permaculture tech is applied whenever we plant, change, or install something on this property. We also collect rain water and it is used for all the plants. Eventually we hope to expand this rain water collection system and include a natural filtration system to it as well.

    Eventually we will obtain farm animals and they will be a part of the permaculture on the farm too.

    I also have a nice crop of Japanese Maples that I grow for landscaping, bonsai, and dwarfing varieties. This is my art and it lets me create something different.

    We mostly bought this property to be able to grow our own food and be in control of what we nourish our family with as far as food. We also wanted to teach our kids about growing food and include taking care of the environment. Even if they choose not to farm when they are on their own at least they will know how to and that their food does not come from the grocery store. They will know how to survive in any situation and care for their families in the future.

  28. Mike says

    Thank you so much everybody that contributed to this discussion. I can assure you, I can’t imagine not living in the country, even though I’m not that deep in the country. But we are still in a rural community and it’s a great way to live and raise families.

  29. Pinky says

    We live the country in Northern NH. We have 13 acres, but 10 of it is forest. We are surrounded by the national forest so it is very beautiful here. If you can find one of the new 2013 White Mountain quarters, you will see Mount Chocoura which is practically in our backyard. We swim in the lake on the quarter. I love the peace and quiet, and having room for a large organic garden, and room for animals. We raise as much of our own food as we can. We also forage for wild food. And we can, freeze and dehydrate as much food as we can for winter use. It is great making a strawberry rubarb pie in February! We don’t run out of our own tomatoes until the next years are ready to harvest.

    Jobs are scarce and the pay is low! Very low! Would love to grow plants for profit. I need some help preparing some ground. I miss having the friends I had while living in the city, but I try to keep active in town affairs. We only have 735 people in our town. I’ve lived in NYC and Boston, so you can imagine the shock! I am on both the planning board and conservation Commission in our small town though. With such a small town we are able to do things like enjoy a town picnic on the new land we just purchased and put into conservation along the shores of the Swift River. We also hold a Christmas Party for all the children with Santa sitting in an antique sleigh posing for photos. I take the photos each year and we print them out there and the children leave with their photos.

    We plant certain plants to encourage butterflies and bees, but we do not have beekeeping hives here, because I am allergic to bees! We would have them if not for that problem.

    We love our country life, and our family and country grandchild!

  30. annie says

    Hi–this is a response to your email enquiry about country living. I live in the country and love being surrounded by trees and mountains. I live on a one lane country road with overhanging trees–very magic to come home and I love the way everyone on this road is polite and makes room on the road for others. We have to rely on each other out here, and people are friendlier.

    I do not currently keep bees but hope to in a year or two. Also plan on adding nests for the other bees that don’t live in hives.

    Enjoy your newsletters.
    annie

  31. Bill Maitland says

    Hello Mike. We moved from the city to the country down in southern New Jersey. We have a two acre property bordered by a hundred acre wildlife preserve. We get visited by deer and turkey just about every day. I am slowly trying to landscaoe this into a little slice of heaven. The deer make it just a little difficult. People should be aware of snakes when they move to the country. I see a lot more than I care to see. After being here for 13 years I am still amazed at the variety and size of BUGS that I come across. I would not trade what we have here for anything in the world. when the snow geese migrate they fly right over our property, what a site. I have been trying your propagating techniques and trying to teach my son them also. We have had some success but now I have another project. The gopher who has been living under my shed has done a little propagating of her own. Now I have to find a way to try to shoo them off my property and get them to reside in the wildlife preserve. Thanks for all you do Mike. I really appreciate all the info you give us.

    • Lynn McMillen says

      Bill – do you have a dog? If not, I suggest one of the terrier breeds. They were bred to do just that. I’ll bet a rat terrier would have a ball chasing those gophers and other critters, and you could teach him not to chase the chickens or whatever you have that he should not chase. Reward him for chasing the vermin, and tell him “no” when he goes after anything else. I used to be able to garden around here when I had a dog – German shepherd mix. Used to wonder what that crazy dog was barking about sometimes at night. Well, I found out. When he died, my gardens were all eaten by woodchucks, deer and bunnies. Mostly, I suspect, bunnies. If I hadn’t had shepherds all my life, I’d probably get myself a terrier, too. BUt it’s either that, or shoot or poison the gophers. They’re not going to leave by themselves. Of the three, I think the dog is the best solution. Since my dog died, I have woodchucks everywhere!!!
      Best luck on your move to the country, and I hope you can grow lots of things. Lynn

  32. Edie says

    We live in a small town of 2700 14 miles away from a medium city. We only have a regular yard. We have a bit of both rural and city life. I feel comfortable letting my kids roam in our small town. We have an IGA, so milk is only 1 mile down the road. But it costs $1 more per gallon than milk in the city. My husband works in the city, so we already have the commute. I’d love to move to a chunk of land just outside our small town so we could have more land, chickens, well water (city water is expensive!) and more freedom. We will work Mike’s system in the mean time and hopefully get ourselves in a better place financially so we can do that!

    Edie

  33. says

    We live in North Central Florida SW of Ocala (horse country)
    Bought our place back in the woods in 1962 (3 3/4 acres at $10 a month)
    Left a steady job at Pan Am World Airways after 16 years to move our 5 kids to the country and away from the Miami area drug infested environment. My freinds, relatives and co-workers thought I was crazy but I was determined to give my kids the benefits of living a country life as I did when I grew up on Grandpa’s farm in CT.
    Cleared the land by hand and brought parts of an A frame cabin,built in our backyard in Hialeah,AND hauled it every other weekend to our place in the woods.
    Started a garden right away while building onto the pre-made 8 x 16 foot A cabin in which my wife and 5 kids lived in while I addded room by room. It is at this time a two story, large a frame great room with two second floor bedrooms, two down, large all wood country kitchen, and other rooms and 2600 sq ft.
    We do not regret our move to these woods and have been here 45 years, all our kids have country homes like ours, raise animals, plant gardens and become Hunting and fishing gurus and our grand and great great kids also.
    I bought Mike’s system to help my youngest son Gary, who still lives here and takes care of us ol folks(87 and 82) and loves growing plants and veggies.
    Due to todays job problems, I wanted him to start a business he loved so Mike’s program really helped.
    Just this week we got our Fl. state license! We had an inspection and I am converting a 50 year old aluminum trailer I built in Hialeah and used for our trips to “the woods” into a plant and veggie unit to set up at startegic allowable locations near our place.
    I know this is maybe very long Mike, but thoght it would inspire others to maybe sacrifice the closenest of communities for a REAL LIFE in the country.
    My thanks fr allowing us to join with your BYG friends a couple times as it helped us get to where we are today in growing plants.
    Although we have inncured high medical etc. expenses and facing foreclosure we intend to keep fighting to save our home,gardens and now our”Portable Nursery” (should we be forced to leave)in the
    woods!
    I did not intend for this to be a “sob story” but to relate to others that they can do what might seem ridiculous or impossible if they set a goal and “GET R DONE”!
    Your methods and programs are all perinted out and we now have 6 large notebooks and other booklets I print with all the great info you send us. Gary will have a complete reference library and videos(yours) to have and refer too.
    65 years ago during WW2 (B17 ball turret gunner),I never envisioned what I would be doing to foster farming and a nursery, but thanks to you and your great members, a dream is finally happening. I have been able to start “Garys Home Nursery” before I bite the dust.
    Again I appolligize for such a long story but this email “opened the floodgates” and I had to vent or rant as you say.
    Thanks to you and yours. Al

  34. Lynn McMillen says

    Hi Mike — I grew up on a dairy farm out in the northern plains – South Dakota. The winters were long and COLD (temps -20, wind chills below -50. I loved it. I was the oldest, so I grew up working hard – milking cows, haying, making fences, feeding and watering animals – all the things you do on a farm. When I left home and married, I moved to western PA, in the Allegheny mountains. It was so beautiful there. We lived in a tiny village (pop @ 125) and had a horse in our backyard, right behind the MEthodist church. I loved how I could just reach out and there was food all over for the taking – wild berries, grapes, mushrooms, fruit. And I found out that it’s true – once you’ve worn out a pair of shoes in the mountains, you’ll never want to leave. But my first husband died, and a few years later, I remarried and moved out near Allentown, PA. I have about three and a quarter acres hear, with only a few neighbors. I also have arthritic hips, two herniated discs in my back, and knees that are on their way out, as well. But I love growing things. We always had a garden when I was a kid, and when I was in W. PA. But my dog died a few years ago, and now the bunnies, dear and woodchucks eat my gardens faster than I can put them in. Lately I’ve been just growing flowers in a blower-bed I dug by hand. I’ve added things every year, and right now it is in full, glorious flower.
    Because things were really, REALLY tight last year (we were fighting foreclosure) I started with the simplest of your growing methods – the tub, sand and white garbage bag method. I started with forsythis because they propagate so easily – sometimes propagating themselves naturally when snow weighs down a branch and it roots itself. I bought two forsythia plants, and now have five – courtesy of mom nature. So I cut and trimmed a tub full of forsythia slips, and let them go, putting them inside the barn to keep them from getting too much sun. They rooted beautifully. This was late fall. NOt having a planting plot, I potted them up in a mix of heavy, black mulched horse manure, lightened up with about 1/4 sand. I tucked them right up against the barn for protection, but did not cover them with plastic, not knowing any better. Surprisingly, even though we had a cold winter last year, most of the survived. Just before winter set in, I did two tubs of mock-orange, from a monster mock-orange in my back yard – it’s the size of a house. I could take cuttings from it forever, I think. I put them in the tub, covered with the plastic bag set them on the north side of the house, and left them until spring. I’d say survival was over 90%. I bought a rototiller this spring to make beds with (our economy has improved) and I now have three rows of nice little mock-oranges growing, and a row of forsythia. My three acres also included wild dogwoods, including a pink one, a trumpet vine, yellow and red honeysuckle vines, an antique pink cabbage rose, and some other things I can take cuttings from. There are quite a few neighbors who will let me take cuttings as well from things like wisteria. I just have to take it slow, and be careful. Sand is heavy, but it’s working fine for me to grow cuttings. I can’t do hundreds or thousands per day. I’ll just do what I can until I have my back surgery. I’m hoping that will improve my situation. ONce I can make a lot of cuttings, I plan on making a sand-bed and getting an intermittent mist system, as I live out in the country now, and have my own well.
    Anyway – that’s my tale of life in the country. And I’m getting another dog soon.
    Thanks for all the great newsletters and videos, and your books. They’ve kept me inspired.
    -Lynn

  35. Tom Biesiada says

    I have always lived in the country. other than a short time I was a policeman and had to live in the city. I soon quit and moved back to the country in the Hinckley metro park i lived surround and land locked by the 2200 acre park but only had a acre and a quarter that I owned I had my own equipment business and bought 18 acres in Montville twp with a pond and several outbuildings.I built one more 32×96 dug a second pond became a master gardener and a state certified master tree farmer.The farm was a source of solitude in my busy time. I sold the business after 30 years I also had bought back the house in hinckley after a fire and rebuilt it. I had the farm sold but at the last minute I told the buyer NO and keep both of them.I have my Ferguson 35 with my loader and I piddle around cutting wood in the back building stone fire pit and such. I have had your information and web site for a couple of years and am getting everything together to go more after it next year .I built my propagation box and have most of the other needed items gathered .My property goes back almost mile and there is nothing like sitting at the fire ring watching the deer a listing to nature at the back lake 3/4of a mile back. I would never give this up.Nature reminds us of how insignificant we are and a tree planted is the best legacy you can leave. I look at trees I planted 40 years ago and are now 40 ft tall and I know they will outlive me .I have a japanese maple my father gave me in a five gallon bucket for father’s day that is now 10″ around and 30 ft tall and every time i look at it I think of him.Things in the country are more beautiful than anything man can design

  36. Rick Lutes says

    I left San Diego 35 years ago for a rural town of about 150 (unless you counted the livestock). It was a very rapid adaptation! When I needed to move for personal and economic reasons, returning to any big city was not an option. I now live in a town with 3,000 residents and a small college. We get to watch the sheep herded past our home twice a year….out to the summer pasture and home again. The nearest real mall is 90 miles away. We are not an “artsy-fartsy” community. Yet we brag of our talented local artists and writers. One of our neighbors even has artwork on display in the White House. We heat our 130 year old home with a woodstove and harvest our firewood from the nearby forest. We do welcome any city dwellers to join us here….as long as they don’t try to change OUR way of life with big-city restrictions, laws, and ordinances!

  37. says

    mike; I do not have any bees except those flying through, as for living
    in the country I love it here, my dad died before I was five years old
    my mother was left a widow woman with six kids an a mother in law an a
    sister in law an three thousand dollars she spent it for a forty acre farm
    an a pair of mules an a cow for milk an butter. we dug a living out of the
    ground . my oldest bro went into ccc when he grew up an left me to raise
    what I could at age fourteen. when I was seventeen I joined navy, spent
    21/2 years at this time, I was discharged returned home sent my mom a
    monthly check while in navy in(47) I got employed at u.s.steel as an elect
    helper worked up to a relieve foreman an was offered foreman full time. in
    the mean time I bought (35) acre of land I was raised on an built me a home
    here.i was laid off in (81) went to work in north car. got injured on the
    job an had to have surgery twice an the dr told me my working days were
    over I had built house here an when I was laid off I sold out in b’ham an
    moved here . lost my wife of (52)years in (2000) remarried (3) YEARS LATER
    to a wonderfull woman who my daughter introduced me to \we have now been
    together next month (11) years I have since had heart surgery,knee
    replacement an the hardware they put in loose on both ends an have lost
    my balance an am subject to falling (twice) already am using a walker.
    got good neighbors closest (200) yards away, one (1/4) mile
    cuts my field for hay keeps from growing up about all I do is ride mower to
    keep my yard up takes me about (4) to cut it but I do not want it to grow
    up I am not able, short winded an can not walk due to knees but we me, my
    wife, loves to get out an pet her flowers bless her heart don’t know what
    I would do with out her live on a state hwy good paved road,(10) miles
    to townwith bus service when called ,cable ,tv an comp, love it here my
    wife owns a nice home In Gadsden , her daughter lives in it I am on s.s.
    an have little pension from u.s.steel so we get along an enjoy it here.

    • Mike says

      Clyde,

      Thanks for sharing. It sounds like your life is going along nicely consider all that you’ve been through. Take care and stay inspired!

  38. Bill Maitland says

    Thanks Lynn, I appreciate the advise. I will be looking for a dog now.Aren’t rat terriers a small dog? The one gopher is about the size of a small dog. This should be fun. Thanks again.

  39. Andrea says

    I’m a beekeeper in the city and would like to move to the country. We have talked about it, but that’s all. We have a veriety of 15 fruit trees in our urban yard, raspberries, blackberries, veggies, and beehives. We also have, fiber rabbits. We spin, weave collect various fibers for spinning.
    So although I am in the city, I am trying to be sustainable and live like I’m in the country.
    With all that said, I would still like to not be so close to my neighbors. I would like a bit more secluded.

  40. Jim says

    Mike,

    I live on 13 acres and love it. Now granted 15 years ago I thought I would have it in “prisitine” shape but that is not going to happen. I have a garden, goat, chickens, rabbits and a few fruit trees, I do have bees, just put in two new hives, as I lost two in the drought last summer. I am now beginning to raise fish and am going to start do aquaponic gardening. Am really looking forward to it. First grow beds should be in within two weeks. Enjoy your posts and information.

  41. Carolyn Schwartz says

    I have always lived in the country and just can’t imagine how it would be living in a city or even small town.
    I LOVE the country!!! And every thing about it!