Country living explained to city folk

I used to live in the city. I get it. But city folk just don’t get the country. So here’s a primer for them.

For the last time, I live in the country, not in the sticks. And I am relaxed, not a hick.

Ever since we moved to the country, I get the feeling you city-folk are confused. So here is a primer on what country living means.

When you walk three blocks from your house in the city, you will be in another neighborhood…and most likely lost. At the same distance, we’ll just be approaching our next-door neighbor’s front porch.

Our neighbors are no trouble at all. Sure they play hard rock heavy metal blow-your-brains out music all evening…but the birds and the crickets drown out the racket.

Our neighbor across the road has a sign that stays lit up all night: Bert’s Auto Repair. He no longer does auto repair, but he doesn’t do sign removal either. See? We have a downtown, too.

We don’t need streetlights. We already have the stars, thank you very much. What do you mean, “What are stars?”

Stars and street lights

You have gangs in the city. Every now and then, somebody loses an ear, a few fingers or a loved one. Ha! We have gangs, too. Our gangs eat the field mice. Bet your gangs won’t do that for you.

Don’t be shocked if you see a free-range skunk waddling across our front lawn on the way over here. We might not have major league baseball, but who says we can’t have a mascot? And our theatre nights don’t cost us much. Most of the crickets and lightening bugs play for free. They enjoy country living, too.

Country living slow and easy

Sure, I’ll mow the lawn. Ah…the smell of fresh cut weeds. Remind me some time next month. We’ll walk on the lawn then, but for now we can walk in the lawn.

By the way, it’s called a septic tank, not a skeptic tank. And yes, Irma Bombeck was right about the grass. And the weeds, too.

Every Monday morning I go for a hike. I tie up my laces. I put on my cap. And I grab hold of two heavy bags. Then I walk. And walk. And walk. And just when I feel like I can carry the bags no farther, I reach the end of the driveway. Yes, Monday is garbage day.  I repeat with the recycling bins, and with the compost container.

Out here, we ride our mowers and push our brooms. In the city, we hear you do the reverse. (Just kidding.)

You go to the grocery store to get your food. We cut out the middle man. We pick our own raspberries (both black and red) out back. And out front. And down the hill. And over in the woods. That’s the best thing about country living.

We grow our own apples; in fact, our trees might give fruit by next year…hopefully (OK, I’ve been saying that for years).

And when we’re in the mood for chicken, we sit silently at the property line with a hatchet, waiting for a stray bird to accidentally wandering under the fence. Or we could drive to town for KFC.

It’s true. The nearest grocery store is seven miles away. But it takes me only seven minutes to get there…which is how long it took me to get out of the condo parking lot when I lived in the city.

We don’t need bars. We have bonfires. The action gets pretty hot, especially when we have plenty of wood to burn. And who needs alcohol when you can just stand downwind from the fire?  By the way, they don’t sell a real man’s cologne, but standing downwind from the fire does the trick.

We don’t worry too much about breathing in pollution. There’s not much of that around here. But we do keep our mouths closed when the mosquitoes are swarming.

Lady bugs are very pretty, but not when there are 30,000 of them squeezing their way into your walls. If only they ate mosquitoes…

We have mice. You have rats. Mice are cuter.

Too bad they don’t eat mosquitoes, though.

Good thing the barn cats eat the mice.

Cat and Mouse

Sure I commute. What do you think we have a staircase for?

Don’t get me wrong, the city’s a great place for theatre, basketball and fancy restaurants that serve you itsy bitsy morsels on huge white plates with sweeping splashes of colored sauces.

But have you ever noticed how very few depictions of paradise include skyscrapers, traffic lights and hot dog vendors? Come pay us a visit and you can enjoy paradise all to yourself…if you don’t mind sharing it with the chickens, the skunk, the crickets, the barn cats and the mosquitoes.

Excuse me now. I have a some barn cats to feed.


  1. When I saw that title I had to read and share this. You live almost as rural as I do. We have wild blackberries and elderberries within walking distance. And organically grown blueberries and blackberries about as far away as the grocery store I never go to because what I can’t grow or buy from local organic farmers I order online and have delivered.

    I love my commute…it is 4 steps from my bed which doubles as a couch. My view overlooks the rows of watermelons, tomatoes and sweet potatoes where the ducks wander eating bugs and weeds. To the right are the neighbor’s cattle grazing or laying under the trees. To the left the horses, cute little snow white bouncing baby llamas, and miniature burros are playing in the pasture.

    Across the pasture behind me are two varieties of wild pecan trees 40 feet tall interspersed with 40 foot tall persimmon trees. On the way there I passed a pear tree that is even taller. Pears should be right soon and pecans closer to winter.

    Imagine the peace and quiet. No stress of traffic. No noise except nature. I took it even further: no car payments, insurance or maintenance. Anything I need I order and have delivered. You can afford a lot of shipping for less than the cost of having a car. And when you live on paradise, who needs to go anywhere else?

  2. I absolutely loved this post, David! I’ll have to share it with my wife.

    We moved from Toronto to Fort Erie last year — a town of about 30,000 on the US border.

    I don’t know if this quite qualifies as country, but there are a lot of similarities to what you described.

    For instance — within two weeks of moving down here — our dog got sprayed by a skunk. (Fun!)

    Anyway, I love it out here… and when we get the urge to do something in the city (such as tonight), it takes us 90 minutes to two hours to drive back to Toronto. It’s really not so bad. 🙂



  3. Love the article! I live 20 minutes North of Ocala Florida in a little town name Reddick. Its about 20 minute drive either to Gainesville or Ocala. I love the peace and quiet that country living has to offer!!

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