I don’t think we are living “in the country,” per se.
Especially since we are surrounded by trees and not farms, which is what I think “living in the country” means. Although it is a little rural where we live, granted; but not as rural as Eastern Washington, for comparison. The island still has paved roads (in some places), grocery stores, pizza places, pubs and gas stations. Some parts have sidewalks and lampposts, but I believe those are so the tourists don’t get lost in the woods (as some of us have a tendancy to do). Granted, our house is in one of the more “remote” northern areas on this little island, so there is that to consider. I think we are in the equivalent of the Scottish Highlands, which is more “in the sticks,” in comparison to the Scottish Lowlands, with more of an urban feel to the cities.
Funny enough, the Scottish Highlands has the same Hardiness Zone for gardening as we do, so that gives you an idea of how wet/cold/wonderful it is here.
There are certainly things this island is “missing,” although I will be the first to declare that I actually do not miss them at all: there is no Target on the island, Costco is 40 minutes away from us on the mainland, and we have one very empty McDonalds which fills the spot as the only fast food restaurant on the island. If you would like to go out to dinner, you aren’t going to find an Applebees; no, you are going to go to a locally-owned joint that uses food from local farms. There is a local distillery on the island, and a local bakery uses their spent grains. Instead of more car washes, you will find more public gardens in empty spaces.
So, I guess we’re a little country.
Nevertheless, we keep finding these little things about living here, on a personal level, that keep making me say, “well, life in the country.” Like, going to the local lumberyard for gravel to fill the potholes in our dirt road. Or being on a shared well, and then being a part of well politics (I think we need a new pump). The policies of easements along driveways, and the very scandalous “on leash” and “off leash” dog wars battling out on local beaches and parks. (this is a very serious battle here, not to be taken lightly).
Plus, we have traded in our rather pedestrian, run-of-the-mill axes for “northern european forestry” axes; which has made Ben’s life worthwhile. They are pretty Boss axes.
Here are a few cases of country life in our home:
- I can wash the dishes if the washing machine isn’t running, otherwise I cannot get enough water through the faucet to wash anything (life with a well).
- The water pressure tends to vary in the shower, unaided. So when the pressure is very low, you wash your face. When it is higher, you wash your hair. You adjust as the water adjusts.
- We cannot run the vacuum in the schoolroom if the lights and space heater are turned on in Ben’s detatched office, or we will throw a breaker.
- The coffee pot and electric kettle cannot be plugged into the same outlet, and run simultaneously, or we will throw a breaker and we won’t be able to open the garage door, either.
- We originally brought our cats into our home in CA to fight the mouse/rat infestation. They did a swell job in CA, but have yet to bring home a mouse here in WA. No, they have moved their sights on to shrews. We have had quite a few gifts of dead shrews on our doorstep, thanks to our very loving cats.
- We cannot walk through our backyard without wearing boots, or our shins will be whipped with stinging nettles (there is a nettle cull on the horizon)
- I used to worry about my neighbors’ dogs pooping in our front yard. Now, I am watching mother deer walk through our front yard with her babies, and poop next to our treehouse.
- During the day (and night, for that matter) I do not hear any cars, sirens, generators, freeways, house/car alarms, screeching tires, peel-outs, backfiring cars, racing cars, gunshots, loud music, loud motorcycles, tractors or horns. Just birds and wind.
Life in the country!