January 2, 2011

Moving from the city to the country...

Living in the country can be a wonderful and satisfying experience for some, and for others it can really be a tough go. I grew up in a small city that was close to farmland in surrounding smaller towns. Living in the city we weren't near livestock but I always felt drawn to a rural lifestyle.

Lupine in Sugar Hill

In the early 2000’s we purchased an old camp on 1.25 acres abutting the White Mountain National Forest. It was a weekend retreat and I couldn’t wait to get away from the traffic and congestion of the city and leave the demands of my “work world” behind. I would enjoy the mountains and go out “moose watching” and to photograph wildlife. I got a kayak for Christmas and had fun with friends who came up on the weekends to share the experience. A couple from Connecticut owned the neighboring camp and had been visiting the area since the 1970’s. Our neighbors were friendly and welcoming and shared information about places to go and things to do in the area.

Sugar Hill, NH

After having the camp for a few years, we decided to purchase a home in the area. It was almost like “Green Acres” with the roles in reverse. I had worked successfully in the city but always felt a pull toward raising animals, gardening, and living a healthier and simpler lifestyle.  My husband was the one who was more comfortable with an urban lifestyle and its amenities. He also found no attraction to living “off the grid” and so we compromised. As a child, I had  always dreamed of living in a Victorian home and we fell in love with an 1860’s Victorian in town with enough land to have plenty of garden space and a few chickens in the yard.

From the garden

What I didn't know about living in a rural community began to show up pretty quickly. If you weren’t born in the area, you were considered an outsider; and while small town living can at first seem quite secluded, there is no escaping that in this setting just about everyone knows just about everyone else’s business. The cost of heating a big old house when winter temps below zero are the norm was shocking. Keeping chickens for eggs was fun, but taking care of them on bitterly cold days was tough and going on any sort of vacation with a growing number of “pets” was tougher.

Oogna, Olga, and Orla

Now we are three years in and have made many adjustments. I have been having the time of my life. I love my gardens and my animals; I love the slower pace, the open roads, and the beautiful mountain vistas. I love the access to a variety of locally raised foods. Friendships have been cultivated and the winters are now more “cozy” than “isolating”.


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