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Taking back my life

This is the post excerpt.

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Wake up call

There was a time a few decades back when I was in my teens and twenties when I was the ultimate prepper girl ready to face anything with just the contents of my BOB and a tube of the perfect shade of pink lipstick.  In other words I was a fool.  OK, lets be nice I was young and naïve.  It happens a lot.  Then life gave me a wake up call.  The body I had taken for granted fell apart on me.

At first it was gradual.  I thought I was tired from overwork and stress.  I had just taken a desk job following my divorce and it made sense but I felt like I was trying to jog in quicksand.  I remarried and tried to move on with my life.  No matter how hard I tried things just kept getting worse and worse.  The sicker I got the more the rest of my life fell apart.  I went from one doctor to another fixing each individual problem without seeing the bigger pattern until one day I awoke to the sad realization that I was dying.

Needless to say that was a serious disappointment for a woman who had planned to go out facing off the zombie hoards or at least doing a credible impression of Ma Ingalls on the great plains.  Worse it was a horrifying discovery for a widowed mother of a young child who didn’t want to leave her baby behind.  I had to do something so using my prepper skills I sat down and reevaluated my life.

A disease of civilization

At my worst I was on 60mg of Prednisone along with 3 antihistamines, blood pressure medications, Xanax and nausea medications for 6 months.  I was unable to stand well enough to get to the bathroom on my own.  My heart would race with resting heart rates in the 140s.  My blood pressure would suddenly shoot up to 215/110 and just as suddenly drop so low I fainted.  I could not eat and had lived for months on nothing but apple juice yet my weight skyrocketed over 300lbs due to the effects of the Prednisone.  I seemed to live in the ER often going there 3 or more times in a week.  I had horrible migraines.  Blood vessels in my eyes popped and I started seeing bright lights that were not there.  I was constantly having horrible chest pains along with pains in my neck, arm and jaw.  My face would go numb suddenly and I would have problems talking due to numbness in my tongue.  I would lose the ability to use my fingers and would start dropping things. I would fall constantly.  Worst of all I had brain fog so bad that I was helpless as a small child and easily could be taken to suffer from Alzheimer’s syndrome.

The list of diagnosis was so long I am afraid to even try to remember it all.  PCOS, metabolic syndrome, fibromyalgia, prediabetic, gestational diabetes, diabetes, GERD, IBS, mega colon, nerve damage, carpal tunnel syndrome, possible MS, possible Cushing’s syndrome, possible lupus, rosacea, brain damage from all my falls.  Plus so many others I have forgotten along the way.  In the end none of them were the truth.

All of this stemmed from something I consider to be my own personal SHTF.

Thankfully with a lot of research and effort both on my part and through the support of my fiancé I was able to regain my health.  Today a year after hitting my lowest point I have lost 80lbs.  I am on no medications yet my blood pressures are in the 95/70 range with a nice normal heart rate.  The dizzy spells and fainting are explained and controlled.  My digestive system is functioning properly.  After two decades of erratic or nonexistent periods my menstrual cycle has returned to normal at the age of 50.  My supposed diabetes is gone and I am told I was never diabetic.  As a matter of fact all of the assorted diseases I supposedly had now have been explained and I am for all intents and purposes cured… as long as I stay away from civilization and all of its byproducts.

A toxic world

When we preppers speak of SHTF we think of some huge event that will wipe out civilization leaving us to struggle on with just our preps and our family for support.  In my case it turns out that SHTF is going on as we speak and I am not alone.  Even today people are getting sick and dying in huge numbers from assorted forms of what took me so low.

I have had issues with chemicals and pollutants since I was young but did not know there was an issue.  Then circumstances made it much worse.  When we were first married my late husband bought me a beautiful brick house on a couple of acres of land in a nice neighborhood.  It was bluntly a bit much for me and could easily be the poster child for what a huge carbon foot print looks like.  No rational woman wants 5 1/2 bathrooms and all the rest.  It is just too much work to keep clean but it came with the man I loved so I accepted his gift with a grateful heart.

What we did not know when we moved in was that the house was a death trap.  The county landfill was uphill of it and our water supply was contaminated.  The water for the house was a spring and the spring box was made with pressure treated lumber.  The house itself had black mold issues hidden behind its pretty wall paper.  The basement closets and attic  were left full of chemicals, pesticides (many of them so dangerous they were no longer sold in this country) and paints.  These chemicals had permeated every corner of the house and were thick in the heating ducts.  Due to poor layout the windows were never able to keep the house cool so we had to run the air conditioning / heat with the windows closed allowing the chemicals and other pollutants to build up in the air.

The previous owner’s husband suffered from repeated bouts of brain cancer and she had horrible problems with mini strokes.  A neighbor who shared our water supply also died of brain cancer and then I lost my husband to the exact same thing.  Then I almost died.

If I were the only one this had happened to I would not be writing this blog but these hidden dangers are everywhere all around us.  They are robbing each and every one of us of our health, our happiness and our productivity

Bugging out to the woods

My friends we speak of SHTF in terms of some distant event involving bombs or some other nasty occurrence yet we ignore the obvious hazards that are slowly destroying us as we go about our daily lives.  In other words folks the feces has already passed through the fan and is currently decorating the wall, windows and carpets and more is on the way.  You live, eat, drink and breath in a mass of toxic chemicals that collectively are stealing your health and happiness.  Worse yet we are exposing our children and grandchildren to this mess and leaving it as a burden to future generations.

I have cured myself by bugging out to the woods where the air and water are clean.  I found that I am highly reactive to chemicals, VOCs and some foods like corn that are used in the manufacturing of just about everything we use in modern society.  Sadly, I cannot change the world so I am more or less trapped here in my woodland bubble but I am healthy and alive.  Something that would not be possible if I had stayed where I had lived or if I had moved into some other house in a populated area.

I am not a doctor and have no desire to tell anyone what to do to fix their own bodies.  That is the height of foolishness but I have a strong urge to share my story so that others can open their eyes to what we are doing to ourselves and those we love with the toxins we churn out in an incessant tidal wave.  It is my deepest hope that others will join me in stepping back in time to a point where we lived a healthier chemical free life.

 

 

 

Cooking from scratch

Short on time and energy

I still have better and worse days.  They usually depend upon how many chemicals I am exposed to.  My biggest issue is the urge to go to town even if I cannot go in anywhere.  I just like to see new sights and feel like I am still a part of things but it can be hard on me.  It seems to “cost” me more than a day spent doing work here on the farm but either way there are just days I do not want to cook.  I am sorry, there it is… I am lazy woman who wants to sit on the sofa eating bonbons and watching soap operas.  (Actually we don’t get TV out here and just watch DVD documentaries and the occasional movie but lets go with the stereotype for visualization purposes.)

Joking aside I know real people don’t have time to come home and cook a 4 course meal every night then get up in the morning to make breakfast and pack everyone’s lunches.  Such fantasies are dangerous.  They ruin our self-esteem and cripple us with guilt.  I can still remember in my 20s thinking that while clearing land and building a house I was somehow supposed to be able to compete with Martha Stewart who had a complete staff to help her look so together.  Seriously, I really was a ditz wasn’t I?  Yet this is who we women tell ourselves we are supposed to be.  It is only later in life that we realize that the key is not in trying harder but in accepting your own limitations and planning around them.

Panamanian Prison Portions

I have never figured out where he got the phrase from but my fiancé, Larry, teases me about my tendency to overcook by saying that.  I cannot help it.  I am the mother of 3 adult sons who as teenagers were always on the brink of starvation.  I did not cook in sauce pans I cooked in caldrons and I still do but for a different reason.  Now I am old, tired and over worked so I like to freeze food for later.

DIY TV dinners

Today I am cooking.  I have a pile of tomatoes big enough to fill 3 shopping bags, a dozen onions, a crockpot full of pinto beans I made last night, 10lbs of ground beef, 3 chickens and assorted other odds and ends sitting there waiting for me.  In a few minutes I am going to stop typing, hop out of bed and start cooking.  It is a “me day” and I am prepared to enjoy it.  I have an audiobook ready to listen to.  The kitchen is mine for the day and the wrath of God will descend on anyone who interferes.  We are not even going to try to work on the princess’s school work and I have planned ways to keep her busy if she gets bored.

Today’s goal is chili, chicken for salads, bone broth from the chicken carcasses, chicken soup along with chicken casserole and a big pot of mac and cheese for the princess.  All of this is to be made in portions that would feed an army and then put away in the freezer for later in the month.  It is sort of like making Thanksgiving dinner and then freezing most of it.  I recently tossed the microwave but for those who still keep theirs dinner is as simple as nuking a jar of this and another of that.  For me it involves thawing the food during the day in the fridge and reheating it in a pan on the stove but it is still far easier than cooking.  It is also far healthier than store bought canned or frozen foods and you cannot even begin to compare the tastes.

It would be a nightmare if I did it every day or even every week but I don’t have to because it is already there and waiting for me when I am ready for dinner.  As is it is just so much easier and more productive to cook a few big meals and spread them out over a month than to struggle each night with the what to eat question.

Hidden Veggies

The secret to a happy digestive system is tons of veggies.  When I was sick and could not cook the princess quickly developed constipation issues and other difficulties that arise when someone on the spectrum doesn’t eat properly.  The pediatrician was quick to suggest chemical solutions and I admit I gave in temporarily but the results were not good.  Sure it cleaned her out but she was like a different child when taking it and to be honest I had doubts about it being healthy.  I was especially unhappy with the idea of putting her on Miralax (polyethylene glycol) which is chemically disconcerting to put it mildly.  I am sorry but fiber in vegetables is so much more attractive to me as a mom than a chemical that is used to manufacture everything from hair spray and herbicide to rocket fuel.  Call me weird if you like but I would much rather put a bunch of carrots, onions etc. through the blender / food processor and sneak them into sauces than resort to daily use of a chemical to get my little one to poop.

It is a sensory thing

For those of us on the spectrum eating can be a bit of a struggle because we often have sensory processing issues.  I don’t exactly know how to explain it except to say we tend to feel things more and differently than the rest of the world does.  Often this shows up as intense food preferences.  This is really hard on some parents because their kids end up living on a few less than healthy choices like chicken nuggets, crackers and macaroni.  This then causes issues with the digestive process and kills off the good bacteria in the gut as well as leaving the child malnourished.  The end result is a cranky sickly child who is constantly melting down because they are miserable.

Yet you cannot make them eat.  Seriously, I have seen my kids throw up when forced to eat cooked veggies.  It is not a thing they choose it just happens.  Imagine if I told you that you had to eat a plate full of living slugs.  To them that is how it feels.  Cooked vegetables can just feel too slimy.  Often these eating issues go away with practice and enough of the right minerals (zinc is helpful) but it takes time and the longer you wait the more stubborn they get so I hide vegetables in everything.

You need a system

So how do you do this without going nuts?  Well you break it down assembly line fashion.  For example I know I will need a huge amount of carrots. Instead of repeatedly slicing carrots I just run the whole pile through the food processor.  Then I set aside bowls of carrots for each project.  The same is true with onions only I take it a step further and just cook all of the onions at one time.  I love caramelized onions.  They are so sweet and subtle in their flavor but they just take so freaking long to cook and it is much easier to do it all at once.

Get full use out of everything.  The same pile of chicken that provides the breasts that are sliced up into salads leaves us with multiple other meals.  I cut off the drumsticks and freeze them separately for the princess’s lunches when she doesn’t like what we are eating.  The thigh meat is sliced up for soup and casseroles.  Then the bones are tossed back into a pot and boiled down for bone broth.  Waste not want not is not just about economy.  You will love what a steady supply of broth will do for your cooking and your health.

Don’t let the dishes pile up either.  I do dishes by hand and I find that it actually makes things easier.  Dishwashers are nifty things and I remember my old one fondly but to be honest they are also sort of a trap.  You can only fit so much in them so you end up either letting things sit and wait or washing partial loads.  For big cooking projects it just makes so much more sense to wash each pot or utensil as you go.  Not only do you keep more counter space open but you also do not have this huge pile of sticky gunky dishes with dried on food waiting for you at the end when you are tired.

Plan ahead.  There is nothing more annoying that having 4 different things cooking and then realizing you are out of some vital ingredient.

Keep it chemically clean

Get a cast iron or stainless steel pan to cook in.  They have their flaws but they are far healthier than Teflon and other nonstick surfaces. Remember it is better to avoid putting dangerous chemicals in your body than it is to treat the illnesses they cause at a later date.

With all the hard work involved you don’t want to ruin your efforts by contaminating your food.  That means avoid plastics especially with hot foods.  If you must use ziplock type storage bags let your food cool first and don’t reheat in them but know that all soft plastics are especially dangerous.  The actual Ziplock brand bags are healthier than many of the off brands but I find any plastic that is combined with food and heat to be an iffy situation.

The dirt dilemma

Back to the good old days

One of the biggest things I did for myself was deciding to take control of my food supply.  When I was a girl, everyone where I lived had a garden.  I still remember my Granny laughing and telling people about my following her through the garden as a toddler taking a bite out of each tomato I found trying to find the best one.  Nothing has ever tasted as good to me as a tomato fresh from the garden and still warm from the summer sunshine.  My body longed for that simple pleasure and returning to it was like coming home but there was more to it than just nostalgia.  Your body needs fresh nutritious whole foods not the processed chemical crap we buy in stores these days.

Growing your own starts now

For most of human history we ate real food.  It was grown in real soil without all the chemicals we now ingest as a part of our food supply.  That was because our ancestors still had topsoil.  What passes for topsoil these days is a sad and sorry substitute.  Over the years I have seen many preppers buy stashes of heirloom seeds and tuck them away assuming that come SHTF they will grow their own food.  Sadly this is often a pipedream.

Go look in your yard and really think about your soil.  When your house was built it is likely that the builders scraped away all the remaining topsoil and sold it.  Years of growing a monoculture (grass) and hauling off all the compostable material (grass clippings) further worsened the plight of your soil.  To keep the grass growing and the dandelions away odds are you and those who owned the house before you applied copious amounts of fertilizer, herbicide and pesticides to the soil.  As a result the soil is often dead or close to it.  Healthy soil contains not just decomposed plant material but worms, bugs, funguses and microbes.

Sadly that means that your yard which struggles to grow more than crabgrass will not support a garden without help.  You must either rebuild the soil or rely upon chemical fertilizers.  From both a health standpoint and a prepper angle that is a dangerous addiction.

The dangers of chemical farming

For what I say to make sense you first need to understand that chemical fertilizer is a product that can disappear easily.  In large part it is a byproduct of the natural gas production industry but many of its components also come from places that are not all that friendly to us and they are becoming in short supply.  In other words chemical fertilizer is not a sustainable resource.  Even if it were if you are a prepper you would have to ask yourself how you would get your weekly dose of Miracle Grow if the supply chain shut down.

Chemical fertilizers kill the microorganisms and other creatures that inhabit good soil and in effect turn it into a dead zone.  This turns gardeners into fertilizer addicts because without chemical fertilizers your damaged soil will not produce enough food to feed you and your family.  Once you start using chemical fertilizers it takes time to restore healthy soil.  In addition it takes outside resources that you will not have access to in a SHTF situation.  Today you can order mushroom spores to help restore the balance to your soil.   Today you can go out and buy truck loads of compostable materials.  Today you can make use of machinery to help you do the hard work of developing your soil and restoring it to its natural state.  That option might not always be there for you.

Weak damaged soils produce weak damaged plants that are more prone to illness and susceptible to insects.  Healthy plants can withstand a great deal of natural stress.  You don’t have to treat weeds with herbicides and pesticides in order for them to reproduce.  they just naturally compete and compensate for what nature throws at them.  Since most of what you eat is the result of the plants reproductive process (fruits and seeds) you really need your garden plants to also be able to “grow like weeds”.  The problem is that in order to both grow and produce effectively your plants need healthy soil with lots of moisture and nutrients both of which are lacking in chemically damaged soils.  Like a person with AIDS, plants grown in weak soil become sick and fail to thrive.  As a result they are more vulnerable to stressors like insects, fungal and other infections and weather related stress.  That means smaller or nonexistent crop yields.

Beyond that chemical fertilizers become runoff and do further damage to our already weakened ecosystem but I will spare you that lecture for the moment.  Let’s just stick to practical matters like putting food in your mouth for the moment.

But is it still really food?

Chemically grown foods are not as healthy and do not have the same nutrients as organically grown foods.  Picture two children.  You feed one child a healthy balanced diet.  The other child is raised purely on junk food and candy along with an occasional vitamin pill.  You would not expect both children to be equally healthy, would you?  Of course not.  The same is true for plants. Growing a plant in healthy soil is the same as feeding a child healthy food.  The plant thrives and produces more and healthier crops.  The crops contain all the nutrients the plant picks up from the soil and as a result you get more and healthier food from the plant.  The sick weakly plants grown on a fertilizer / junk food diet cannot give you something they do not have.  If nutrients are not in the soil they will not be in your food.  That is part of the problem with our health these days.

Nobody should have to buy vitamins

Think about it for a moment.  Which drug store did your ancestors go to in order to buy their vitamins?  I know, you are sitting there looking at your screen wondering if I am a complete idiot but just stop and consider what I am saying.  You ancestors did not need to buy vitamins.  They also did not need to buy food products with vitamins and nutrients added during the manufacturing process.  Why?  Because the vitamins we need to keep our bodies healthy were already there in the foods they ate.  It is that simple.

Obesity is in part a disease of malnutrition.  So are many of our chronic illnesses.  We can place a lot of the blame on the fact that people no longer cook and instead buy prepackaged manufactured foods.  These manufactured foods are usually made with the cheapest produce possible.  This food is usually grown on massive factory farms that use chemical fertilizers but even if you cook your own foods from scratch the result is the same if you buy poor quality ingredients.  Healthy people need healthy foods and those come from healthy soil.

A recipe for gardening success

So what do you do about it?  You prep healthy soil.  Yes, you read that right.  Treat your soil as a prep.  As an intelligent person you try to save money.  As a prepper you store away a stash of food and other needed items.  Well as a farmer you need to invest in your soil.  How do you do that?  First you provide lots of organic materials for the microbes and other creatures that are supposed to live in your soil to feed on.  That means hauling in straw, composted manure, wood chips or whatever you decide upon as a soil building material.  You need to do this today, tomorrow and next week.  It is not a once and done fix.  Think of it the same way you do as rotating your preps.

You may also need to repopulate your soils flora and fauna by reintroducing missing elements.  You can buy a selection of mushroom spores online.  I get mine from the folks at Fungi Perfecti ( fungi.com ) but I am sure you can find them at other places as well.  You can also buy earthworms to add to your soil if you want but I find they seem to just show up on their own given enough food to encourage them.

You also need to protect your soil.  After putting so much work into “growing” healthy dirt why let wind and rain steal it from you.  Dirt stays put because a combination of plant roots and matted mulch hold it down.

Without them in dry weather the topsoil turns to dust and blows away.  Google the Dust Bowl that resulted from poor farming practices during the depression of the 1930s and you will get an idea of how bad it can be.  Or just think about a dust storm such as occurs in the deserts of the world.  These things are still happening now.  Nature doesn’t change.  We just learn to work with her.

Just as dry conditions can rob you of your hard earned topsoil so can wet conditions.  Have you ever seen a muddy stream after a storm?  Where do you think that dirty water came from?  You are watching someone’s soil flowing down stream.  Again this is an easily preventable problem.

It is a simple equation.  Grow organic, protect your soil, protect your planet and protect your health.  All you need to do is to imitate nature.  In nature fallen leaves and other plant matter accumulate and help hold the soil in place.  You can do the same with deep mulch.

Ruth Stout a gardening heroine

Decades ago I found a book by a lovely lady who is long since dead.  Her name was Ruth Stout and she championed the idea of just piling huge amounts of hay, straw, leaves… whatever you have at hand up in the garden and letting it decay.

She called it a lazy way of gardening because you did not have to haul compost to a pile, turn it and nurture it and then haul it back to the garden only to then have to double dig it back into the soil.  No instead you just pile it up and let it go.  Nature does all the work. Microbes break the straw down.  Worms mix it into the soil.  Dirt (topsoil) grows in your garden.

The mulch sucks up and holds moisture so your plants do not dry out.  There is consistent moisture levels as well not the usual feast or famine cycle you get from using a sprinkler.  That means no more cracked tomatoes and bitter greens.  Under most conditions a well mulched garden will never need watering.  This is a definite plus for those of us who worry about water shortages.

Just to make things a little more pleasant it also dramatically cuts down on weeding.  If a weed manages to grow through or in the mulch just pile more mulch on it and smother it.  Seriously it is that simple.  If you see a weed just kick some straw over it and the weed cannot get enough light to grow so it dies, rots and adds to the already present pile of compostable materials.  A simple and elegant solution.  The only caveat I would add is that these days one has to watch out for straw that is too contaminated with herbicide that might hurt your garden but so far I have been fortunate.

When do you start

Today is a great day, now isn’t it?  Seriously go buy a few straw bales.  Make it a weekly project.  Every week budget a few dollars to pick up some straw.  If you don’t have a source of cheap spoiled hay (check craigslist) then just go to the big box hardware stores or a feed store and ask if they have straw.  They usually do.  Contractors use straw to mulch when putting down grass seed and people with livestock use it for animal bedding.  In my area it is usually around $6 a bale but we are not a big grain producing area so it is more expensive here than in some places.  In other areas it might be more expensive because it has to be trucked in further but good soil is worth its weight in gold so compost is cheap at any price.

We have only been here a year and we are just getting started so I understand your frustrations.  There is always so much to do and so little time / money to do it but think what just $50 a week could do for you.  That is 8 bales even if you pay big box hardware store prices.  Over the course of a year that is 416 bales of straw or looking at it another way it is well over 8 tons of compostable material you can add to your garden just assuming small 40lb bales.  By spring you will have some serious growing space in your garden to produce healthy organic produce and it is a gift to yourself that keeps giving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The joys of downsizing

Feeling trapped

One of the biggest problems we had trying to change our lives was the house.  I am not talking about the fact it was making us ill but rather the fact that all of our money was tied up in it and we were knee deep in medical bills.  This is much like the situation that many retirees face when looking for a new home.  Let’s face it moving is scary but the debt load that comes with it is worse.

Knowing what we did about the house we found ourselves unable to lie and trap another family in what felt like a toxic waste dump to us yet we could not afford to fix the damage the previous owners lies had stuck us with.  In the end we were left with just $40,000 to buy the house and we were resolved not to go into debt.  It seemed hopeless.

Bargain shopping for houses

There are lots of houses out there but so few were in our price range I was giving up hope but we worked out a plan.  We had the ability to work from home so we were not trapped by our jobs.  That was a gift.  We were able to look for repo houses in economically depressed areas.  I am not going to lie, we looked at a huge number of lemons.  We also found a number of good deals that I could not go into without passing out due to my chemical sensitivities.

Coming home

In the end we found our perfect place after a few false starts.  It was a repo that had stood vacant for over a year.  The previous owners had left almost 20 dogs in it for months and the place had been almost unsalable when they left but after the bank was done cleaning it out and enough time had passed it was actually in fairly decent shape.  There was and still is a lot left to be done but it is home.

So what can you buy for under $40,000?  Well it is a sturdy stucco covered block house with 4 bedrooms (2 on the first floor and 2 in the attic), a big kitchen, a living room, dinning room, laundry room and a single bath with a half basement underneath.  There are 11 acres of land with a small stream.  The land was partially timbered a few years before it was repoed by the bank so there is a lot of scrubby growth on it but the goats and pigs are making short work of that.  It is rolling land but there are lots of garden spaces.  The house is built around a big central chimney so we have places for wood stoves in the kitchen, living room and basement which is a good thing as wood is the only heat source.

Best of all is the neighborhood.  We live on what is more or less a one lane dirt road miles back in the woods.  When we moved in the neighbors for miles around stopped by to say hi and welcome us to the neighborhood.  It is the kind of place where people trade favors and stop to talk.  Deer and bear wander through the yard.  Occasionally hawks and turkey stop in to visit as well.  You cannot drive to town without meeting some form of wildlife.  It is a beautiful place.

What do I miss?

Do I miss the fancy status symbol house?  No.  I was always meant to be in the woods and while I loved my late husband I never felt like myself living so close to town when we were married.  I do miss the extra storage space and the big back deck but we can always build a new deck and storage buildings are cheap.  Occasionally when my back is sore I miss the whirlpool bath but that is about it.  You would be amazed at how quickly you adapt.  There is very little in a house that makes it a home that you cannot take with you.

I will be honest… Cell phone service here is awful and generally phone calls must be made on the front porch if you actually want to hear what the other person is saying but that tends to be more funny than annoying.  The land line only works as a warning system to let you know when lightning has struck nearby.  The rest of the time it was silent so we disconnected it.  Forget about quick internet service.  When the power is knocked out by a storm we are at the end of the electric company’s list because there are so few people here.  The dirt roads do not get plowed in winter anywhere near as often as paved roads and they washboard in the spring but you are usually the only vehicle on the road so it is not much of an issue.  None of these really are to me.  They are actually part of the attraction.  Without the distractions you slow down and enjoy life more.

The list of things I don’t miss is far longer and more important to me.  The property taxes are far lower.  I don’t miss paying those.  I don’t miss the big electric bills either.  Even with buying firewood figured in we now spend about 1/3 as much money on that.  I don’t miss the noisy neighbors or what now seems like the endless parade of cars going up and down the street.  I don’t miss the way everyone could see everything you were doing.  Here there is a level of peace and calm I had almost forgotten existed.

What do I love here

The privacy has to top my list.  I can let the chickens free range in the yard without worrying about their getting in people’s way or annoying them.  I can run out to the clothesline in my nightgown without worrying someone will see me.  It is nice to be able to go shooting in the backyard without worrying about hitting someone and hunting there is nice as well.

I love the bird songs that keep me company through out the day and the wildlife that seems to be everywhere.  I love the clouds of butterflies that erupt off the mud puddles in the dirt road when we drive past.  I love the snowy silence in the winter.  I love the depth you see in the sky that comes from having such clean air.  Seriously the clouds down in the valleys look so flat due to the pollution.  The sky is just so different here.  I love the stars at night.  There are so many more of them without the light pollution.

I love the crappy internet and lack of decent satellite TV service that forces us to read, talk and play games.  I love getting snowed in or watching the thunderstorms that attack our mountain top like some battle between ancient gods.  Most of all I love feeling healthy again.

Would I recommend moving to the country?

It works for me and I love it.  So do my fiancé and my daughter.  Would it work for you?  I don’t know.  Some people miss the city.  They want manicured lawns and all the protections the nanny state offers.  They miss Starbucks, WalMart and all the other luxuries / curses of civilized life.  Do you like your own company?  Do you like the quiet of the woods?  Can you make your own fun?  If so it might be right for you.  Just don’t come to the country expecting to find the city.  It is a different world.