Wanna tell ya'll a story
'Bout a family from the 'burbs
Daddy commuted for an hour
and the cost of living was disturb...(ing) :)
So then one day
They decided to pick up and go
To six acres in the country
where they could save some dough...
Bread, that is... green, not white...
although I think we'll be making the rising kind, too...
we're in the COUNTRY now...
I'm sitting in what we call the "fireplace room"--although it's not cool enough yet to start a fire--looking out a huge picture window, and wondering if Michael isn't right... maybe we should just put the organic garden outside of the front door?
There are corn fields across the road... which, in front of our house, isn't paved, although if we turn left out of the 200 foot driveway (I'm already thinking about shoveling out somehow in Michigan winters, I know I know) there's pavement, and we can get to the highway without driving on dirt. Eventually. It's only about 15 miles away or so.
Between here and there?
Farms. Fields. That's about it.
Our neighbors have all come over to introduce themselves. ALL of them. Every house on the street... there are--count them--four. The people around the corner, though, they came over, too, for good measure. To tell us where the best bow hunting was during deer season.
In the suburbs, I knew the names of the neighbors on one side of us. We were on nodding-terms with the neighbor on the other side. Besides that, we didn't know any of the people who lived around us--and we were there for seven years! Here... it's different. Very different. Surprisingly and startlingly different.
Here, they have offered us zuccini and tomatoes from their gardens. They have offered to mow our 6 acre lawn (we don't have a tractor... yet... although Michael is scouring Craig's List furiously in search of one, and perhaps even a pickup, with a plow...)
They have loaned us trailers to help us haul things, and told us who does the best rubbish pickup. (You have to hire someone to do that--to haul away your trash. It certainly makes you think about what you're putting in it! We save boxes and paper products, now, not to recycle, but to burn on bonfire nights!)
Our neighbors have given us good recommendations for propane companies. (They don't use propane out here just for gas grills, like we do in the suburbs. Out here, propane is our heat source in the winter. My first thought was: isn't that what Hank Hill from that King of the Hill cartoon sells? Oh my god, we really are in the country, aren't we?!)
Our neighbors have invited us over to dinner, taken us to a country fair, and told us the best places to buy farm fresh produce and eggs at the road side stands. (They leave the produce out on tables at the side of the road with a box where you can put your money. $3 for a dozen ears of sweet corn. It's the honor system.)
The nearest grocery store is twelve miles away. The nearest gas station is seven miles... which Michael barely made it to last time, since he has a habit of letting the car run to nearly empty! Whoops... won't make that mistake again!
Until we got satellite TV and wireless Internet (which, all I can say about that is, YAY! Finally!) we had three snowy channels and were using dialup. I almost forgot the sound a real phone modem makes... But the kids didn't care. They were outside, climbing trees, jumping across the creek, meeting other local kids. We have a little girl next door named Zoe, too! She's just a year younger than Dmitri, and they've all become fast friends.
Once we got the satellite TV, they kind of just ignored it anyway. It's amazing to watch them explore the great outdoors. We don't have to worry--the neighbors have already reported back to me on several occasions about a few of the kids' minor transgressions. They're not going to be able to get away with much... :)
The most amazing thing to me, though, is how relaxed and easy it is here. People smile more. They wave when they pass you on the road. No one seems like they're in much of a hurry, even if they're busy doing something. We're enjoying the sound of crickets at night instead of the boom of some car's bass driving by. In some ways, it's as if the world has been turned upside down, or inside out.
What a strange and wonderous new place we've come to...