You Know You Be Livin' in the Country If...

We have been "enjoying" our isolation from civilization for the last year. A lot of these observations about country life might seem dramatic, but keep in mind I have never lived in a city that had less than 200,000 people. We had a brief stint in Pella, Iowa but that place is kind of like a small-town dreamland. Picture: windmills, a perfectly manicured square, it is illegal to mow your grass on Sundays (noise violation!), and it is pretty much out of the movie Pleasantville --in a good way, because we are BASIC and like stuff like that.

Now we are legit rural people, our town is less than 3,000 and that is big compared to the surrounding ones. The main struggle is we are missing the BIG THREE, my requirements for all the joys and happiness:

1. Coffee Shop
2. Target with a coffee shop
3. Mexican food

There is a lot to love about the town we're in. The people are wonderful, and it really is scenic as we're in the Loess Hills, which is this cool area where the dirt has settled into these beautiful hills.
Country rooooooad, Take me hoooooome
Being a new country gal, here are a few ways to know if you live in the country:
  • It constantly seems like the woods are trying to take over your house.
Can you spot the Mike doing his weekly sweep of leaves and cobwebs off the roof?

My funny husband told me the other day that it reminds him of a documentary he watched of Chernobyl (and I am wondering when the heck was that because I have only seen you watch the fishing channel and weirdo hunting dvd's where all the grown men WHISPER). He said once the town was abandoned, trees started growing through the middle of buildings. We are days away from that here.


This is our backyard "garden" just a few feet from our house. I love the view from my family room windows of the poison ivy and poison oak vines drooping down, really gives it that something special. 

After hearing my complaints, last weekend Mike started hacking at all the poison vines with the electric weedeater, sending poison ivy blowing through the air like a dust storm while the kids and I played on the patio. This is real life people. I was yelling at him and stomping my feet, per usual, but he couldn't hear me over the motor. I rushed the kids inside before they inhaled poisonous dust particles and ruined their lungs forever. Terrified by my panicked yells at their father, they were crying and asking me why daddy was being so naughty!



His response? "Well, I'm not allergic to it." It really is every man for himself out here. Wild west I tell ya.


  • You call the previous homeowners to ask them where the trash cans are and they laugh at you, saying, "Oh honey, you gotta go down to the Walmart and buy those yourself!"


"So who comes and picks up the trash?" A valid question from the suburbanite.

"You've got to hire somebody to do it, there are some local guys in town that have a truck."

City girl be like whaaaat?

Also there is no recycling pick-up out here which makes me super sad-- we have an entire closet dedicated to cardboard and plastic. Which fills up until my hubby gets frustrated and drives it to the "Recycling Center" in town (aka a blue dumpster)

Turn left down a dirt road and you see these happy neighbors!

This was my favorite view every morning on the way to preschool, there are 3 white horses the kids and I love to watch
  • You tell your husband you think you hear "a" bat in the garage and he gleefully informs you that there is a very large BAT FLOCK taking up residence in your garage to nap between sunrise and sunset. "But they're so great at getting rid of mosquitoes!" he says. Your kids become proficient at bat noises.

They like to screech at me when I take out the trash.
  • You can pee off the front porch and none of your neighbors can see you (3 out of 4 members of my household have done this. I'll leave you guessing on who). 


This also applies to getting to wear your leopard-print-bathrobe when you go get the mail. Cars do pass by our house often on their way to town, but thankfully we can hear them coming and I have time to make a mad dash for coverage. Due to my slow, postpartum sluggish run (go too fast and I'll start to pee), I've been caught twice. 

  • The closest Target and grocery store are 30 miles away so every time you go, you stock up like it is the APOCALYPSE. You also can almost never buy ice cream (too far) and have to put all your perishables in the cooler you keep in your trunk!

  • You wave at every car you pass, just in case you know them. My neighbors probably think I'm super bipolar. When we first moved out here, I assumed the 20 houses or so that I could see were the only people using these back roads. So I waved at every car I passed, assuming each person would recognize my car as the "new neighbor" and I didn't want to get labeled as unfriendly! Little did I know, there was a network of back roads leading to probably another 100 rural houses belonging to people who drove past our house all the time. So I gave up the waving campaign and settled for a "Oh, I didn't see you" reply when people mention they drove past me and I didn't notice! 
This little guy was attracted to my dust-free baseboards
  • When you talk to people in town, your neighborhood is referred to as "out in the..." as, "oh, you live out in the dips?" Extra bonus if people call where you live the "dips" because then you're just cool. 
    In the winter, there were 8-10 deer that came through our front yard every night to eat all my dead weeds
  • Everyone knows where you live, even if you haven't met them yet. This happens every time I call someone for a repair, because also, #countrylife there are lots. 3 weeks ago it was the AC/Furnace, last week it was the water softener, this week our underground septic tank "smells funny." Each time I find the listing, call, and before I even give out my neighborhood or address the serviceman says, "Yep, I know where you live. I drive by your house all the time." Oh thank you. That does not make me feel any more secure living in the middle of nowhere with no visible neighbors. It took me only one month of living out here to get us a legit security system! 

Visiting our cousins' chickens: Luvie, Dylan, and Chickaletta
  • Stray cats. Rosie is our 5th. Don't ask me about cats one through four, emotions. Every time a new one showed up, I posted on our town's swap page advertising the missing cat that turned up at my back door, solidifying my status as weird new girl in town who didn't understand the feral cat system. Then I realized all the cats are ownerless, there is a nomad pack that prowl the woods roaming from house to house until they're picked off by coyotes, bobcats, or mountain lions (oh, my). This made me second guess Emmy's love to treat the cats like babies and push them in her doll stroller. But then I forgot to warn her about fleas and cat scratch and let the play continue. 
RIP Huck and Sawyer

Rosie was afraid of us her first few days here and sat on this rafter. Mack was terrified and we had to run to our car with our hands over our heads for a week #notcatpeople #dontpooponme

I was afraid of her because I couldn't tell if she had a black nose or was missing half of her face #catfight #literally
Feeling at home now and soaking up the afternoon sun in our flower garden
For real I am grateful for our home and this experience. I would love to see our kids grow up in a small town! The first night we slept in this house, I felt so loved by God who provided this home for us. I love seeing the fireflies light up the woods at night and hear the train whistles echo through town. The verse Psalm 18:18 comes to my mind a lot: "The Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me." The slower pace here and getting to see my husband everyday has been so healing for my marriage and redeeming for my crazy parenting methods. Except in the winter. Then shit really hits the fan and as mentioned previously, I for real feel like I'm in the book The Shining. 



4 comments:

  1. you live in a log cabin!! This is like little house on the Praire!! Just pretend you are laura Ingalls Wilder:)

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    1. Betty-Girl, it is the real. deal. And I don't remember anything about Laura Ingalls Wilder so I cannot confirm nor discount that we have anything in common!!

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  2. I understand each and every one of these 100%. :) I've brought my top 3 to my husbands attention a couple times (read - complained and whined to my husband about them) to which he replied "How about you get a new top 3?"
    Then I told him I'd pray for his heart. Hah!
    Still working on that one!

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    1. Oh Kallie, that made me major LOL, I forgot to mention the part about having to wave at every car you drive pass just incase they are a neighbor or a friend-- which is actually super dangerous because of the winding roads-- do you guys have to do that too? Best wishes and at least in Heaven when we die we can hope God will honor our top 3's :)

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