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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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