Friday, November 14, 2008

Where the Pavement Ends


Not far from here the pavement ends and in it's place a gravel road stretches off into the distance.

It's a dusty drive in the summer and trecherous in the winter. In the spring when the ground begins to warm it's transformed into a dangerous slippery clay that will literally suck in a vehicle up to the axles. Cell phones are simply a required piece of equipment especially in sub-zero temperatures.

All the roads in our small village are paved but it is also our responsibility to maintain those 7 miles of roadway and that's a struggle. The village patches as best we can but have never had the type of money required to repave. Unlike the big towns we only have two businesses and only one generates sales tax revenue. A week ago that gas station and minimart shuttered it's doors and we're back at square one.

Given the option of having strip malls within our village limits or struggling with our budget, I'd venture a guess that most residents would choose the struggle.

Living in the country isn't for everyone. And technically we are very close to large population areas, but we still maintain a very low, rural profile.

Daniel Boone said, "When you can see the smoke from your neighbors chimney, it's time to move."

My question for you is, do you live in the country? Do you long to live in the country? What do you think it would bring to your life? I'm curious as to what people are looking for in their lives that draws them to idea of living in the countryside.


Purpleflowerpatch said...

Last year we lived 90 minutes from town, in remote Western desert all around us. It was so beautiful. We've been in a little town by the beach this year but we're trying to go back to the desert. It's so addictive to live in the centre of Australia!

Lori said...

We are in the country 10 miles form the nearest "Stuffmart". It seemes in real estate sales that how it's guaged now -- by how far from "stuffmart" you are. We used to live in a small town of 300 and as a kid I grew up with a 1200 population. I work in the "stuffmart" town but I sure can't imagine living there. The country is where it's at! ;)

Heidi said...

I have found that people who move from the city expect city rules in the country... no poop on the road from a manure spreader. No cattle mooing to loudly because they are impatient to be fed. NO 'smells' that may me perverse to thier nostrils and no tractors before 8am.... Those people want to live in Euphoria... LOL

Anonymous said...

This is a good question- one my husband and I disagree on- I want to live in the middle of nowhere and he wanted to live on the outskirts of somewhere. So we compromised- we live in the country but close enough to stuff that he can run to the store on Saturday mornings and be back within 30 minutes. I love being able to see nothing but star light at night and hear only frogs and crickets serenading me to sleep. I love the idea of being able to mow the yard or work in the garden nekked if I wanted to(I don't), but it is nice to have that option.

Laura said...

I live in the city and am desperate move to the country. I've never liked all the noise, crowds and general hustle and bustle of the city. When I was little, my grandparents lived in a small town in the country. It was two miles wide and two miles long with one stoplight. I loved it!

It seems to me that things are just more relaxed in the country, more natural and healthier.
Maybe someday I'll get to experience it for myself! :-)

belladella said...

I adore living in the country. I think it's just a part of who I am. It is where I grew up and being the granddaughter of farmers on both sides it is the fabric of who I am.

It is getting harder here in central Virginia to find anything left of the countryside. But we have it now and live in a county that makes an effort to control growth.

The peace out here makes my hour commute into and out of downtown Richmond each day so worth it. You know that I could go on and on.

Have a lovely weekend, my friend. I love that picture by the way. I think I've said in a post before, growing up directions to my house included the step of turning off the paved road. And my inlaws in Minnesota live on dirt roads. It makes for a fun ride :)

Anonymous said...

Part of me would love to live in the country. With lots of outbuildings for all sorts of stuff. The other part of me wants to live in the city. Surrounded by theatres and restaurants. Right now I live in the suburb, which is fine given that I live by a creek and a river. But it's the least favorite of the three for me. P.S.

chocolatechic said...

I have lived in huge cities (Houston, OKC), I have lived in tiny burgs (population 800) I have lived in the country, (Amish country) and I have lived is small towns.

I desperately miss the country. I miss hearing the birds sounds that aren't mixed in with traffic noise, I miss being able to walk outside and not be bombarded with the neighbors music, yelling, dog growling at me, or their cigarette smoke wafting in my direction.

I miss raking leaves and crunching in them. I miss the clean smells of earth and trees. I miss the silence that only the country can give. I miss the peace that settles in on you at the end of the day, because there is truly nothing like living in the country.

Donna said...

I live in Beijing, China - one of the densest cities in the world, I imagine. So I love your pictures of the countryside. I don't think I could handle quite that level of remoteness, but I love the idea of living somewhere small enough that you can really know it well. And your pictures truly make it seem so appealing.

Mama Koch said...

We live about 9 miles from three different little towns. One has a new supercrapmart going in, but less than 20K people.
I was raised further out in bonnieville, so there's no other place I'd rather of raised my kids.

Somebody has to raise wheat and cattle, right?! There's a drive-thru car wash in town, so if you don't like the poop in the road you can go wash it off.

Journey of Truth said...

I live on a military installation. I'll be moving to HI to live on another one next spring/summer. Although it is an interesting life, I can't wait to own our own home somewhere in the heartland of America. Minnesota is high on our list . . . I can't wait to have my own wide open space to campfire, watch birds, go fishing, not to mention the quiet of not having neighbours with vehicles in need of new mufflers. I grew up on Bainbridge Island (WA state) and it was remote and quiet enough "back then" . . . I long for that again.

Heather said...

We live in a suburb of Denver. I love the thought of living in the country because it sounds so beautiful and romantic, but I know it can be hard. My husband would do it in a heartbeat, but I'm a city girl. I need to see my neighbors and I need noise. This sounds crazy, but the quiet hurts my ears.

Trish said...

I would so like to live in the country but even living in a 'bedroom' community makes it a long drive to the jobs my hubby and I have in the City. We moved out here to a small rural town to raise our son in relative peace. But not so....huge mega marts etc. have been built in the last ten years, larger, more convenient roads and bridges bringing more and more commuters...right through blueberry and organic cranberry fields....sigh. I feel guilty as we too are out here...a part of the rape of the land. I have my eye on a rough side of Vancouver Island to retire...away from everyone! But how much do you want to bet it has been developed by the time I can retire there. I love your I feel for your little country struggle there...what to do what to do!

Lisa said...

I live in the city, but long to live in the country. There is just an embedded longing in me. I long for open spaces so that I can roam the woods or fields and take in nature, whether it be animals or plants. I long for peace and quiet that comes from not having cars driving by the house all the time or neighbors in the next apartment. As I get older, there are so many things I want to try that have to do with the old ways. The desire to be more self-sufficient gets stronger every year. I want to make butter....or at least try. To grow a garden and can my own food. To have horses, dogs, cats, chickens and maybe even a cow. My ancestors were farmers, so I think it is in my blood just trying to work its way out.

Queen B said...

I live in the city, but hope to live in the country. I will never get used to nosy neighbors and neighborhood covenants.

I want it to be an inconvenience to just run to the store.

I long for the smell of nothing but nature!!

Kendra said...

We live out in the country, but not as far out as I would really prefer. We live in a cluster of houses on a county road, (each homesite is about an acre or so...definitely not subdivision lots). We're still surrounded by green space and cropland, we see more tractors and grain wagons and combines than cars on the road at certain times of the year, we can hear grain dryers running, see/smell/hear the cattle from across the way, and it's dark and quiet at night. Yet we're about 10 minutes from a small city where we do our shopping and where our daughter goes to school.

Where we used to live, we were 1 of 4 houses on a 1-mile section of road, totally surrounded by cropland. I would like that population density again!

As for why we live in the country...we like the green space, the quiet, the feeling of not being surrounded by houses and neighbors and buildings, the ability to have a large garden or livestock critters (or both!) on your property. Basically, we like to have our own space with some room to stretch...and you just can't get that in a city or subdivision.

Anonymous said...

We did the city life for years in Phoenix. The suburbs that is. Used to be a great place to live but during the 90's they had a great influx in population due to real estate prices being very attractive to young Californians that simply could afford a home there... Hence, heavy traffic and pollution ensued in Phoenix.

We chose to move the the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Roanoke area of Virginia. Love it here! We also have to maintain our road... Each homeowner fills the potholes on the road in front of their own home, and when necessary we all pay our portion to have the entire roadway done. It beats living elbow to elbow in town... and the scenery is delicious to the eyes. Our "stuffmart" is only 10 minutes away. Like having a foot in both worlds... the city and the country.

The Blue Ridge Gal

Anonymous said...

We used to live in the country and I miss it so much but gas prices were so high and we were so far from the school so we moved to save money. We have some land still in the country that we plan to build on one day. I can't wait till that day comes! I miss all the smells and the sounds along with simplicity of life. My kids could go play outside and find all sorts of interesting things and they would get so excited over the animals they got to see and hear. Oh I have to stop cause I want some country now!

Suzanne said...

Having just moved from the bustling 'berbs outside of Baltimore, I so enjoy the small village where we live. We are just a few miles from town and have some convienence up on the highway. But we can go just a couple of miles and be in orchards or buying direct from the farmer at the farmstand. We are planning on finding the right place to retire when that day comes.

Moose Ridge said...

I live on top of a mountain, at the end of the road (only my part is gravel, the rest is crush-n-run), surrounded by hundreds of acres of trees -- finally accomplished our dream of building here and moved in at the end of August... as I tell people, yes, it is 100 miles round trip to work, down hairpin turns in the heavy fog (like this morning) before the sun comes up -- and it is worth every second / penny of gas!!!

Dunlap TN

Lena . . . said...

Aw, the country life. Ole and I live a half mile from a little village (pop. 350) that is 6 miles from a city (pop 150,000), so we've got it all. I grew up in the country and can't imagine living under any other conditions. We tried the city life at one point - Chicago - thanks but no thanks. I need my elbow room.

arlene said...

I live in a town of 2,000, 30 minutes from a town of 15,000, and 5 hours from two towns of over 1,000,000. We did live on the farm, but when illness stopped the farming, we sold the farm and into our little town. We loved the rural life, but our county roads are all dirt and we weren't up to coping with that any longer. We do drive out into the country occasionally just to smell the air and feel the spaciousness.

Pieceful Afternoon said...

We've always lived in the country - peaceful, lovely, serene - but the time in our lives has come to move to town - closer to the kids and grandkids, closer to work, closer to errands - but we've got the best of both. Our new house is on the edge of a woods (no development allowed nearby), we have deer, birds, quiet and can only see one neighbor from our house - plus a nice size yard for the grandsons to play in - but not so big it takes us all day to maintain and mow it - perfection - plus the house is less than 10 years old and after years and years living in old houses (and loving them) we are more than pleased to be in a new, modern, easy to clean house - we feel so fortunate.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

No, I live in town with neighbors' smoke that I can see and smell. I would love many things about living in the country, but I'm afraid that I would find treacherous roads unacceptable.

Abbie said...

Hi suzanne,
:) We live in the country, on 28 acres. That's alot for these parts as most don't have that much land. We can't see our neighbor's smoke, but when I get int he car, it takes me 10 minutes to get to Walmart, the grocery store and a State University and 5 car dealerships. We get to enjoy the benefits of solitude, but also get to enjoy the comforts of population. I like it, I don't think I could be any further out tho. Thankfully the university guarantees income for most local businesses.
Your image of the pavement ending is gorgeous!

MeadowLark said...

Anonymous stole my answer ;) Perhaps it was me and I didn't notice.

I grew up on 12,000 acres in the middle of nothing and LOVED it and yearn for it every single day. I miss the sound of emptiness.

Husband grew up in suburbs of major US city. He loves where we are now (70k population) because the "outdoors" is just a quick 5 minute drive but we have all the conveniences of the city.

I hate it. Every single day. Even if everybody says "Ooooohhhh {town name here}!! you live in such a great place". YUCK.

Louise said...

I do not live in the country, but I long to. I know it isn't easy, but I grew up as a quasi-country girl. Our best friends lived in the country, and it was our dream. I didn't really live in the country until my senior year of college.

What it offers that where I live doesn't:
-Wandering around the woods and hills and creeks. A solitude like no other.
-Up close and personal with birds and wildlife.
-SPACE! I long for the space for a garden the size I want. Space for my dog to run. Space for my kids to run.
-A place for chickens and other farm animals if we want them. (I want goats.)

But I know it can be trying. Those roads don't get plowed very quickly after an ice storm. Nor does the electricity return quickly in such circumstances. (Generator a necessity.) The land requires upkeep. (My dad mows 3 acres, brush hogs anotehr 7 acres and loans the rest of his out to a neighbor with cattle so he doesn't have to keep it all up.) If you have animals, leaving town can be an issue if you don't have close family or fabulous neighbors.

It's not as easy or convenient as life in the city, but I want it. The slower pace, the quiet, the SPACE!

Jill said...

We've always been city people, but that's primarily due to work. My husband would LOVE to live in the country...and never have to see, hear, or smell his neighbors cooking.

MeadowLark said...

Jill, good point. I always feel like I'm being bombarded by the lives of others - barking dogs, lawnmowers, cars, stereos. It's soul-destroying.

LDF said...

Interesting question. I left the Greater-metro-Vancouver, BC Canada area for what Vancouverites consider "the country" ... a small city of around 70,000 about 10 hours drive north. I haven't really considered my home here "country", although a ten minute walk from my front door takes me to uninhabited bush, bears, moose, etc. At the same time, a 10 minute bus ride takes me either downtown or to the local "Stuffmart" (as lori calls it). I'm thinking that the older I get, the more satisfied I am with this location as it gives me access to both "country" and downtown. I don't think I'm up for complete urban withdrawal anymore, but I wouldn't have said the same thing ten years ago.

Mary said...

Hi Suzanne,
As you know, I live in the house where I grew up. It was country then, but now it is definitely suburb.

Oh, how I miss the open fields, and the quiet, and the people who did not get dressed up to go food shopping. Our road used to be dirt about a mile from our house, and I miss that, too. :)

Donna said...

Great question! We live about 10 miles out of town in the hills of Missouri. I love it out here, the farther out, the better. I yearn to live in a time when the only way to town was on horsback or in a wagon and you only go to town once a month. We actually live off the hiway, but we're so far back in the woods you can't see our house and the hiway actually turns into a dirt road just a couple of miles from us.

Brenda said...

When I lived in town, I used to dream of going to the country on weekends and not having to sleep under streetlamps. Now I live in the country and I don't have to go anywhere on weekends because I am there! I love falling asleep to the moon and sounds of wild animals.

We have such a dream hillside. And then the mall and the freeway are only 5 minutes away, but you'd never know it.

Cottage Rose said...

I live in town and have always lived in town. But my best times growing up were when I went to my Uncle and Aunts farm. There was so much to do. I just loved it.


Cindy L said...

Good questions. I don't like big cities -- don't even like to visit them all that much unless there's a really good art museum I need to see. But I love small towns and college towns.

My requirements: I have to live near a good bookstore. And I love independent businesses -- art galleries, interesting shops. My grandparents were farmers and while I have country living fantasies, I know I'm not truly cut out for the lifestyle.

We just bought a retirement home on the west side of Michigan. It's in a small historic town (with an indepedent bookstore, yes) within short driving distance of Lake Michigan. Farmers' markets nearby...wooded trails ...and active arts community...just right for me.

Vanessa said...

When we moved here 22 years ago, we lived on a road much like the one in your photo, no neighbors in sight. WE haven't moved, but civilization has. Our road is now well paved (too well, as it encourages people to drive too fast), we have neighbors a quarter of a mile away, and cannot ride our bikes or walk down the road in safety due to the traffic. Also, we now live within 30 miles of 5 WalMarts. It is never truly dark outside, as we have the glow of two large cities and three growing towns. Would love to move to a mountain-top in Tennessee!

StitchinByTheLake said...

I live on a lake but have neighbors on both sides. My sister lives in the country on 7 acres - there's a house across the pond that she can see in the winter but not in the summer. I love where she lives with woods all around but only a 10 minute drive from the grocery store. blessings, marlene

Kim said...

I used to live in a small town (2500) in Kansas. I loved it, and your picture took me right back to those days!

srp said...

This looks just like the area in southern Illinois that my dad's family comes from. Many crossroads with no unique identifying markers... but a wonderful place with so many memories!

Princess S said...

I grew up in the country and I currently live in the city…hands down the country wins!! I dislike the constant hurry to no where everyone is in and the fact that when I go to a store people do not acknowledge the other people around them. Living in a small community there are waves from people as they pass by in thier car and there are a helping hands in times of need. To sum it up there is more of a sense of community living in a village then there is living in a large metro. I know there are struggles when living in the country (I was raised on a farm) but those struggles are worth it if I have a peaceful, and beautiful place to live. I would trade rush hour traffic for being stuck behind a tractor any day. I have seen both sides of the fence and they both need mowed but it is a lot easier doing it in the wide open.

Stubblejumpers Cafe said...

Seems you have a lot of country-dwelling readers Suzanne, or at least many who dream of living "miles from anywhere." I'm one of the lucky ones. We live six miles from town. However, I will be luckier yet when we get moved into our new place, which is on 37 acres one mile from here, off this busy grid road that runs past our present home, and into a yard that doesn't have my inlaws (who are lovely people but live too close for my comfort) on the other side of bush in this farmyard. I moved here in 2002 but for about 10 years lived on acreages and small towns in Alberta that many considered rural, but to me were not, really, because there were neighbours too close. I didn't even like to go for walks because there was always someone who could be looking out a window at you.
I have discussed this with a friend, who lives in Toronto and has little to no experience of real country living. We have come to the conclusion that while city people go inward, indoors, for solitude, those of us who live in the country go out into nature when we want to be truly alone with ourselves.
When living in cities, small towns, or on acreages, I didn't do much walking because I never felt alone outdoors. But living out here, I love walking because outside is a truly peaceful, magical place to be.
City-dwelling friends often wonder how I can feel safe alone out here, miles from people, while I have found that I was very nervous when spending nights alone in houses in the city, but out here I have no fears of strangers, burglars, etc. I feel far safer and more comfortable, while in the city every unexpected noise made me jump.
I was raised in small towns and on a farm with no close neighbours, so perhaps that explains this feeling like my natural environment.