Making the Leap from City Life to Country Living: Green Acres Here We Come
So you’ve decided that you are ready to get out of the city, and start Country Living. Your dream coming true! Congratulations, you just made the most important step! Now, “how do I make this a reality” you wonder to yourself. You are in the right place because we are going to go through it step by step. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed by all the choices you have to make. The best way to avoid that is to break it down into a series of steps.
First thing: read, read, read!!!. One of the best publication is “The Mother Earth News”. They have been around since 1970, and they also have many spin off publications. I suggest you order The CD titled
Another great publication is “The Encyclopedia of Country Living.” It can be found both online as well as at any of the major Booksellers. By reading these books and magazines (and by subscribing to this blog), you will be able to put together a list of what you want in your country home.
Now for the first really big question! Where do you want to live?
I know, you want a beautiful log home nestled away in the mountains next to a lake filled with trout. Well guess what?- ME TOO! Sadly, these type of homes usually start in the high 6 figure range, and quickly move into the million dollars plus territory. They also take a small forest to heat with wood every year, or a huge utility bill every month. Unless you are independently wealthy, these homes are not on the list.
No, what you need are places ordinary people like us can find and afford. The good news is that Country Living is possible all over.. If you’re planning on being self-sufficient, you want to look for a place where the climate is compatible with gardening, although people in very harsh climates have managed to grow enough food for their families.
Depending on where you choose, you can find country property for surprisingly low cost. In my experience, land with homes are the most expensive within 100 miles of the ocean. Also over 2/3 of the US population lives within 100 miles of the coast. Another interesting tidbit is that 90% of Americans live on just 12% of the land. That’s great news for those of us who yearn to get away from overcrowded, smelly, miserable city life.
The first step is to sit down with a pad and pencil and make a list of what you want, what type of climate you want, and what type of terrain you want. If you are married, you’ll want to discuss this with your spouse as well (if you want to stay married that is…).
Climate is one of the main considerations. YOu can research the climate of any area you’re interested in by doing a search for the state and region of the state that interests you. Things to consider are average high temperature, average low temperature, number of days of sunshine per year (for solar heating), amount of rainfall and how it is distributed. Include crops grown, types of soil, and markets for agricultural products in your search.
Other considerations are chances for employment and markets to sell what you raise, cost-of-living, and shopping. It’s also important to find an area where the people are self-reliant, like you. In case of disasters, natural or manmade, having good neighbors is a prime consideration.
This list gives you a starting point for your search. Remember there are always going to be some trade-offs. Don’t expect to find jobs with the same pay scale as in the city. While pay is lower, so are expenses in the country. Land is cheaper, you can feed your family from your own gardens and livestock, and many other things are less expensive as well.
After you have your list, pick a few areas that that interest you, and look at a map of those areas. Notice the names of towns in the area, and see if you can find their newspapers online. Check their classified ads for land and jobs. Also go to Craigslist. Look for land there as well.
Take Your Time
Don’t rush this land search. Take as long as you need to feel confident and excited about your choice. Narrow it down to three possibilities and then do more thorough and specific research. Plan on visiting each of the areas, more than once, if possible.
Happy hunting with this first important step toward County Living.