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Moving to the Country Could You "Head for the Hills"

Updated on December 17, 2017
Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle's interest in California history was rekindled when she began leading tours at a local museum in an 1850s Gold Rush town.

"Country roads, take me home . . ."
"Country roads, take me home . . ." | Source

Since moving to the country, we see more deer than diesels in our neighborhood. There are far more jackrabbits than jackhammers, more grass than graffiti, more trees than traffic, more squirrels than smog alerts.

The astounding blue sky, though seen for endless days in a row, is still astounding.

It is literally a dream come true, living in this beautiful place without a neighbor in sight. Neighbors are here, thankfully-- just not in sight.

They are hidden by hilly terrain, giant Ponderosa pines, massive granite boulders, gnarly ancient oaks, and massive herds of deer eating our carefully nurtured non-native plants.

Escaping the concrete-paved convenience of the city has brought on a deep breath of relief, and that deep breath is comprised of fresher air that doesn't exist in the city

Walking the road on a summer day I become aware of the dusty coniferous smell of dry pine needles warmed by summer sun. It evokes a memory of summer camping trips when I was a child.

In peaceful stillness I am aware of my own breathing, my heartbeat, and the faint rustle of leaves stirred by a pair of fawns behind a brushy thicket.


It is not for everyone.

Some people who don't want move to the foothills are: professional surfers, shop-aholics, socialites and party animals. There is a social scene here, but it's more likely to be street festivals, county fairs, potlucks, picnics and outdoor concerts.

Small town life is a web of interconnections. You might mention to your neighbor that you need someone to replace a window, have your chimney swept, or you need to have something welded. If you have a problem or need a special service, someone you know, knows someone who knows someone who can help you out.

So what is "bad" about living here? Shopping deprivation was an issue at first. I used to make regular visits to one of the nine major shopping malls in our old hometown. It was mostly window shopping. I can virtually do that on the computer screen now. I don't buy much anyway, and if do, it is delivered over the river and through the woods, and down the gravel driveway to my door.

We do have occasional power outages, due to falling trees, lightning strikes in isolated areas or other accidents which bring down remote power lines . These things can take awhile to fix but the outages are rarely more than a few hours. When it does happen we think we are doing our part to conserve power.

We are prepared for such things up here above the fog... and below the snow, there is rarely a house that is not equipped with wood stove, kerosene lamps and candles, and perhaps a small generator.


It is Still Surprising.

When driving to town I still marvel at the variety of surrounding green hues, the velvet density of the pines covering the hillsides, and the changing vistas accented by each new angle of the sun. Someday will I become so used to these, that I will not notice? I hope not.

Southern California , where we lived before, is also a naturally beautiful place, especially in winter months when the air is clear and the snow topped mountains appear to be within walking distance.

The sun radiates warm blessing upon the on the beach and salty breezes like those that were part of my early inhalations, waft inland. It is a true palm-decorated paradise. I have fond memories of my former home, which are celebrated selectively in my mind's eye.

Southern California is like the little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead, It certainly can be very, very good when it is good, but when it it is bad it is horrid.

Not having had real seasons in SoCal, we now regard weather with abnormal interest. Variations on the thermometer are noted with appropriate awe. We formerly never knew of any temperature much above or below "warm with occasional hot".

Here in the hills, we now have an occasional monster wind, thunderstorms, hail and sometimes snow between the blue sky times. Bright warm summer days linger into early evening.

Leaves show fall color. Seasonal creeks evaporate completely, only to reappear with desperate surging torrents after serious rains. Sudden thermal drops send us scrambling for fuel from the woodpile. Surprising spring snow dumps can change plans within hours.

So many of our city-bound friends...who remain rooted in Urbania or Suburbia say "Oh it must be great, but ....." ," I'll bet you love it, but... ", "Wish we could. but... ". etc.

We also had reasons why wouldn't, couldn't or shouldn't make the move, but..."

HOw do you feel about country living?

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Too Good to Miss...

Well, I'm sorry for what they are missing, though I don't want them ALL to move here. Kids, grand kids and immediate family would be nice.

Of course, that would mean that more companies and businesses providing gainful employment would also have to move here-- and the customers the companies support-- and services needed by the companies-- and housing developments and shopping malls and airports and train depots. Oh forget it, I don't want to drag the whole dang city up here.

It's possible to maintain frequent communication with the grown up kids electronically. Grandchildren require a little more hands on communication. It's hard to give hugs over the internet or phone. So when the Christmas visits have worn off, and the birthday season starts, we take a deep gulp of mountain air and go visit.

We'll be back home soon.

I have seen one couple in our area... who had been involved in a more "exciting" lifestyle... move in and out within a year. It's not for everyone ...thank Heaven.

No Place is Perfect

Floods can mean devastation in some areas, according to your precise location.... but we don't get the terrifying, 100 year inclusive flood warnings which were occasional inserts in our coastal area utility bills showing an alarming diagram of what might be wiped a catastrophic flood.

Floods are more likely in low flat places, like this isn't.

I have heard a number of "outta- staters" comment that they would never live in California because of the earthquakes. This fear, though unreasonable, is probably a good thing because California already has plenty of folks.

I have always felt similarly disinclined to consider living in Kansas or Nebraska . I don't fancy tornadoes much even if they sometimes come with warnings.

At least with an earthquake, your broken stuff stays pretty much in the same place. It may fall down, but it doesn't whisk you, your house and pets to the land of OZ.

Is the country for you? It's not for everyone, but that's one of the things I like best about it.


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    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 5 years ago from California Gold Country

      We see a bear from time to time, lots of deer, wild turkeys , an occasional fox or coyote, plus animals but none of the species you mentioned. :) We get some reports of rattlesnakes, but I've only seen a couple of harmless types of snake. Thanks for reading.

    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 5 years ago from Australia

      I have wombats, echidnas, kangaroos, kookaburras and occasionally spot a platypus in a nearby stream. I love living in the country.

      Mind you, we also occasionally have some of the world's deadliest snakes come to visit as well ... but only in the summer time! :)

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 6 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Yep, I'm sure you have snakes there. They may just be banned from the area for some reason or another! LOL!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country

      OK-- We have seen a couple of bears, several coyotes, a few foxes, lots of gray squirrels-- No mountain lions, (though sightings are reported now and then.)

      Not many snakes, but they are hiding here somewhere.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 6 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Something not everyone gets to witness, Rochelle! Those who only think of deer as gentle and beautiful creatures might change their opinions a bit if they ever observe two bucks fighting almost to their deaths. Of course, we also have a few panthers here to add a sense of excitement to a country stroll. :)

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country

      I agree-- Every morning when I walk the dog, I'm surprised if I don't see at least 20 deer. This season, more big bucks than ever. No one can say I don't get the big bucks-- sometimes they are jousting, yards from my front door.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 6 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Of course I love the country, Rochelle. I've hundreds of acres of woods ponds and streams to enjoy, as well as, plenty of wild animals to share them with. A writer and shutterbug's dream!


    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country

      Those are all good, but it gets deeper if you stay awhile. There's time to think.

    • Mary Stuart profile image

      Mary 6 years ago from Washington

      I used to live in the country. I thought there was good and bad to it. Mostly I concentrated on the good aspects. I truly enjoyed the fresh air, wind whispering through the trees, and the chirping birds early in the morning.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country

      There are, indeed, trade-offs. It depends on your needs and interests, to be sure.

      As for dancing-- here we have the "Bootjack Stompers Hall" across from the fairgrounds, where there are western square dances on a regular basis-- as well as ballroom dancing lessons and jazzercise classes, but that might not do it for everyone.

      Thanks for commenting, Marisa.

    • Marisa Wright profile image

      Kate Swanson 6 years ago from Sydney

      I think everyone thinks living in the country would be idyllic - but as you say, it's not for everyone.

      I'm a dancer. Dancing needs people - to watch you perform, to dance with or to teach. Dancers are a small percentage of the population even in cities, so move to the country and there will be even fewer!

      I lived in the country for a short while and although it was beautiful, I wasn't happy. There was nowhere for me to dance except my living room. I was bored, bored, bored!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country

      Hello, Chelsea! Thanks for loving the paragraph. Changing venues is a trade-off; you have to be ready.

      Thanks, Tipoague-- yes, it is had to quantify the elusive values of 'being country'-- but they do have a value that is had to quantify. I think it would have been much harder without the internet, even though I didn't use a computer a lot before moving here.

    • tlpoague profile image

      Tammy 6 years ago from USA

      I loved living in the mountains. Sure there were days when it was inconvenient, but the views and peace of the place were priceless. If given a chance, I would move back there again...less crime, more wildlife. Thanks!

    • chelseacharleston profile image

      chelseacharleston 6 years ago

      I wish I could forgo the luxuries and conveniences of the city. One day maybe. I loved your first paragraph! LOL

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country

      Fire dangers here require that we cut the weeds and brush back now and then. We have snow and ran in the Winter and nice warm summers which makes everything grow. There aren't enough deer to eat all the growth before it dries into tinder, but a mowing tractor is a necessity.

    • profile image

      Ghost32 6 years ago

      Absolutely, no paving. Preferably no dumb lawn, either; never could see the point of planting grass so you could water it so you could cut it so it would grow some more so you could...etc. etc. ad nauseum.

      Yay, weeds!

      I'm pretty sure my "down-to-earth practical talents" got their start under my late father's tutelage, whether or not said tutelage was always "properly appreciated". One thing he truly accomplished was teaching me how to work...:)

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country

      Thanks, ghost. I read some about your building projects awhile back. I admire your down-to-earth practical talents as much as your skill with words.

      There's something special about living on a little piece of land that's not paved over.

    • profile image

      Ghost32 6 years ago

      There's something to the saying that "you can take the boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy". I've lived in San Diego, Portland, and a few other cities--but always went back to my Montana ranch raised, rodeo bred, country roots.

      Unfortunately, Pam and I can still see neighbors--the ground isn't hilly enough, or the mesquite quite tall enough, to block them all from view. But down here on the Mexican border in Arizona, shooting Mojave green rattlesnakes and burning our trash, hauling the buckets to the "outhouse pit" until we can afford flush toilets, living in the Border Fort I build single handed (which will stop ordinary bullets, even), off grid Ha Ha no power outage...

      ...yes. We definitely love it.

      My favorite line (from your Hub): "There are far more jackrabbits than jackhammers, more grass than graffiti, more trees than traffic, more squirrels than smog alerts."

      Now, THAT'S a sentence of which I can be properly jealous for not having written it myself!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country

      Thank you for commenting, Jokylu. More people would probably live in the country if there was work available.

    • Jokylu profile image

      Jokylu 6 years ago from Waratah North, Victoria.

      Rochelle I really enjoyed reading your hub and I particularly like your style of writing. It flows so beautifully and is easy to read. We live in the country too and I wouldn't swap it for the world but it does have its moments, especially if your livelihood depends on it.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 9 years ago from California Gold Country

      I can live without the friendly snakes-- actually we have a few rattlesnakes which aren't friendly at all. All the rest of it is pretty good.

    • DonnaCSmith profile image

      Donna Campbell Smith 9 years ago from Central North Carolina

      Absolutely, I love my country life. Took Barnie for his morning walk just a while ago and we passed six deer in the pasture. I have a friendly snake patroling my patio, and the occassional fox wanders by my window.

      I am close enough to town, or even Raleigh, to visit city life if I want or need to, but that is not often. If I need a shot of social contact I visit my favorite spot in town, the coffee/bookshop. Always some friendly folks there.