Monday, July 1, 2013

Living The Rural Life

I lived in the Los Angles, California area for most all of my life. Twenty years ago I met my husband and moved to Missouri where he was born and lived all his life. The farm has been in his family since before the Civil War. While I have visited farms and even vacationed at “Dude Ranches”, I could never have imagined all the work that goes into living on a farm. My first culture shock was living a rural life.

I remember I use to drive from L.A. to Las Vegas and would see those houses out in the middle of nowhere and wonder to myself, "how do they survive"? No neighbors, no stores or gas stations for miles. It had to be a scary and lonely existences. When I moved to the farm I found myself living in one of those places that I always wondered about. I soon found out it requires a lot of planning ahead. When the nearest store is 25 miles away, you make every trip count. I make sure that I have all my lists ready to go before I ever leave the house. I schedule doctor appointments, visits to the pharmacy, grocery shopping, getting gas and all the other odds and ends earns so that I do not find myself having to make an extra trip to town.

I am lucky that my husband has lived this life all his years so he is well versed in this life style and very self sufficient. Our house is all electric (some people out here have propane, but when we built the house my husband said that is just an extra bill so we went all electric). The only problem with that is we have live in tornado alley so we lose our electric power about once a month, sometimes for a few minutes sometimes for a few days. Knowing this, my husband put in a wood burning fireplace and hooked it up to the duct system. In the winter we can burn wood to keep warm. Even if it falls to 10 degrees outside, we can keep the house at around 65 degrees. We have a little propane camping stove that we can use to make coffee and some simple hot meals. We always have extra canned food and bottled water as well as extra 50 pound bags of dog food in case the roads are too bad to drive on.

In the summer it gets in the 90’s and 100’s with the heat index from 110 to 120 degrees. I can say I never thought I would ever look forward to a cold shower, but on those days there is nothing better. Since I have lived here I have done things I never dreamed I would do. I am my husband’s barber, I know one style, a buzz cut. Lucky for him that is the way he likes his hair. I have learned to groom the dogs, drive a tractor, run a riding lawn mower, build a fence and vaccinate the dogs and livestock.  Things I never gave a second thought about are now second nature to me.

 I use to go get my hair and nails done every month. I now do my own hair and nails. My wardrobe changed from suits, jewelry and matching handbags and shoes to blue jeans, boots and tee-shirts. As far as jewelry I have limited it to just my wedding rings. In the summer my wardrobe changes to cut off blue jeans and, tank tops and sandals. Handbags were replaces by pockets. My husband tells me if it can't fit in your pocket, you can make it through the day without it. To my surprise, he was right. I can make it just fine with my keys, phone and chap stick. 

When I compare my life in California to my life in Missouri, I think I like life in Missouri a lot better. It is far less cluttered and complicated. When I need to go to the Dept. of Motor vehicles I don’t have to have an appointment or wait in line for two hours. In fact most of the time I am the only one in the place and there is no waiting. Same thing at the post office and stores. The big difference is traffic. Often times I may be the only car on the road instead of always being stuck in a traffic jam. When I walk into a store, utility office, post office or just about anyplace else, they know me by name and I am treated as a friend rather than just another customer. 

While we do not have many neighbors, everyone knows each other for miles around and if I need anything I can pick up the phone and call any of them and they come running. But what I love the most is that I can walk out into my yard and during the day I can see bright blue skies for miles. At night I can look up at and see every star in the sky and hundreds of fireflies. I hear the crickets, frogs and birds, see wildlife run across the yard and hear the farmers on their tractors in the far distances.  It is very peaceful and quiet here in the country.  I still enjoy going to California to visit my family and friends. But I am always happy when it is time to return home to Missouri. 

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