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The most important conclusion I came to, though, was this – those things take time. Time each day/week to be a good steward of what we are given. Time to grow and mature, to produce fruits of our labor. (from Part 1)
George was very disappointed that we were not going to be able to get a cow and a horse. I tired to explain it to him, to no avail. Finally I asked him, “Would you rather have a cow, or get to see Grandma? You can’t have both.” He decided we could take the cow with us when we went to visit. You have to love the simplicity of young minds.
Then I started to wonder, how it was that I grew up in an area where having those things (several acres of land, living away from town, etc.) were normal, yet people still seemed to have a great life. That is when I came to a few other realizations.
- The area I grew up in contained mostly families whose relatives also lived there. Several generations of them in fact. Most of my cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents live/d in that county. I can take you to 4 or 5 different cemeteries, some so old they no longer bury people there, and show you distant relatives who are buried there. I grew up going to Grandma’s for Sunday dinner after church. In other words, family was close by. You did not need to travel to see them. We live hours away from family; traveling for days at each holiday is our normal.
- People did not move often. And if they did move, it might mean moving 10 miles away. Not states away. With each move, it means starting over again. Starting over takes time and work, as well as adjusting to new microclimates or growing zones.
- It was not uncommon of people would drive 30 minutes – 1+ hour one way for work. I am not talking through traffic driving, but country driving where 1 minute = about 1 mile. It would take you at least more than 30 minutes to drive across the county on the main state road, which was probably the only straight road in the county. These miles usually took them past stores, gas stations, etc, which they would stop at on the way home. Our reality is that the kids go to bed early, 7-7:30. If they miss this for 2 nights in a row, the next day is shot. We can not keep them up late in order to see Dad after work if we want to have any sort of calm home life.
- Everyone understood “working in the yard” really might take you all day Saturday. Especially after the kids’ morning sports activities or the afternoon ball game. Or the Saturday morning trip to town to “haul trash”, go to the bank, and do other errands. There are also no HOAs. If you miss a week of mowing, or your car has been sitting for too long in one spot in your yard, no one is going to say much. Well, your mom or grandmother might …
- People did not go to museums, unless they made a full day of it, driving the 1-1.5 to get there. However, it was usually a special event, not a common event. Yet, they would go play in the creek, go hunting, swimming in an actual lake, watch the river flood each spring, listen to the band at the local restaurant/festival, hear about how “grandpa grew up down there”, etc. It may not be in a building, but we were exposed to various enrichment activities.
- A farmer’s market was not a part of the culture. They tried. It never quite took off. However, I know who makes maple syrup, who has honey bees, who grows Christmas trees, who has apple for sale at the local volunteer firemen’s spring event, who to go to for quilting your quilt top, where an old farmstead used to be but now is a large plot of daffodils each spring, etc.
In general, life is different there. The pace is different. Time is on a different speed. That is not a good or bad thing, it just is.
(Honestly, if I had not married my husband, I would have gone back there to live. That was my plan till the end of college, after all. I love him more than my plans, though. Hence I am not blogging from there.)
In case I am giving a picture that is not a full one, let me give the disclaimer: not everyone there ‘lives in the country’. There are town folks, too. Or people like my one set of grandparents who lived about 10 minutes outside of town on a small farm, down a small county road which had no lines or shoulders. Yet about 90% of the county was a rural setting.
And that is not where we are living right now.
We live in a place that is 80-90% urban/suburban; a place where subdivisions vastly out rank farms. Due to recent population growth, there are still small farms sprinkled throughout town and a lot of people who did not grow up around here.
Where we are living is most likely not the place we will be in 10, 15, 20 years.
Unless we have a million dollars, are willing to be in a school district which can not necessarily address some of the needs George has, or want to see my husband less than we already do, our housing options are not the same as where I grew up.
This also goes to show why I am not in a rush to fulfill that dream of 40 acres and maple syrup right now. If I were to invest 10 years of my time and labor, I may not be here to see the result of that work.
As a side note, time is all relative. When we first were married, I was used to “tree time”, where 60 years is fast and 80-100 is when things finally start moving. My husband thought 6 months was fast and 5 was super long. It took us a while to get our clocks aligned. Even now, I feel like he is on fast time and I am on slow time.
That does not mean I have to give up everything. Only that it will look different.
… to be continued.