3 things to consider before you move to the country

So, you want the peace and tranquility, the privacy that comes with living in the country, do you? Before you put up the For Sale sign, check this out. Here are three things I wish someone had told us before we sold and moved out to the boonies.

1. A Well.

If you’re out in the country, you will need a well and not all wells are the same. They can be dug or drilled and, though there are tons of reasons for one or the other, the bottom line is that you want a drilled well. Otherwise, you’ll get soup instead of water.

But that’s not all you’ll need. Unfortunately, having a well doesn’t guarantee having potable water. You might get amazing, clear, bacteria-free water, but odds are you’ll need to do something to your water before you can drink it. It all depends on what’s under the ground where you dig and, though some people go around with sticks to find water, it’s basically random luck.

We had a well and got basically mud instead of water. So, along with the well, we had to have a sediment remover, an iron-blaster (to take out the iron from the water or it will ruin your clothes and pipes) and a UV light to remove all bacteria. The entire system cost about 5K Canadian. For the first year, we tried all sorts of other cost-efficient methods and only ended up with yellow-stained clothes and dirty water. If I had known what I know now, I would have installed the system at the very beginning and saved myself the aggravation.

2. A generator

You need a generator in the country. First of all, a generator is a machine that gives your house electricity when the power is out (Before we moved to the country, I didn’t know what they were…city girl!). There are different types, of course, but you want the one that runs on gas so that it’s guaranteed to work and won’t stop.

There are different strengths in generators. Some are so puny they can only power a bird house and others power hospitals. How much power you’ll need is up to you and what your needs are in your home but the bare minimum is one that keeps the following running: The heater – in winter, that’s a must in Canada or the pipes will freeze and destroy your house; the fridge and freezer in the summer – or you’ll be out of food and the sub pump – or your basement will get flooded faster than you can say gah!. You might also want one to keep the pump running that sucks water from your well or you’ll have no water while the power is out. And, finally, you might want want your kitchen to work so you can cook.

The reason why it’s a must is because when the power goes out, Hydro workers will always start fixing the power for the major cities first, then move to the smaller towns, then to the tiny towns and finally to those living in remote locations. Being last on that list means that you have to wait not hours but days every time the power goes out. Since climate change is making that a reality in both summer and winter, you need to have a back up plan or you’ll end up living at your local Tim Hortons Cafe.

3. A septic tank

Again, I had no idea what a septic tank was before we moved to the country. And, once we got one, I had no idea how to take care of one or what we could or could not throw down the drain. Adjusting to it was a steep learning curve for a city slicker like myself. It involved a lot of online searching and asking those who had lived with one for years.

A septic tank is a tank that is situated in the ground near your country home and will act as a sewer by containing all the things you throw down the drain. It does a little more than just contain things because it lets water seep out and has bacteria to deal with the biodegradable material that ends up there. This being said, septic tanks still need to be emptied every 5 years or so–depending on the type, size and number of people in the house.

The thing about septic tanks is that they can act up and that is really, really bad news. You can end up dealing with everything from foul smells to a back up of sewage. To avoid those ghastly situations, you want to keep your septic tank happy and working well. That means you have to watch what you throw down the drain and you have to add good bacteria to your tank from time to time.

It also means you have to watch the chemicals you use; like bleach. In the country, you simply can’t use bleach. It not only keeps your whites white, it also kills all the good bacteria in your septic tank. So, no matter how yellow those sheets get, keep the bleach at the store.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you cannot throw anything down the drain that is not biodegradable. That includes everything from feminine products to left over paint from your adventure as an artist. Even left overs have to be composted and not thrown down the drain.

Finally, you can’t use too much water or your septic tank will have a fit. That means, if you are running laundry, you can’t turn on the dishwasher or have a shower. You have to watch how many showers you have and emptying or filling a bathtub is something that has to be planned ahead of time.

That’s it, those are the top three big things I never knew and I wish I had known before we moved out to the country. I know they might sound dire but all the require is a little adjustment. After a couple of months, working with them becomes automatic and there are amazing bonuses to living in the country that you just can’t have in a city. The peace and quiet, the animals you see, the serenity and the beautiful trees, there are things in the country that make all the hassles with wells, septics and generators worth it.

So make a cup of tea, sit on your porch knowing there isn’t a soul around and just watch the clouds go by. Life in the country has no parallel.

Me? Oh, yeah, we live in the city now.

An uninvited guest

We live in the country. We love the fact that we get tons of trees around our home and the animal life that comes with them. In fact, when we saw a family of foxes, we were over the moon, staring at them and taking pictures. We really love our wild critter neighbours.

Until they come into the house, that is.

Yesterday, a mourning dove decided our garage was much more appealing than the trees and in she came.

What? Trees are for the birds

After flying around the inside of the garage for a minute, she landed on our open garage door and seemed quite content to stay there.

My husband, the therapist, immediately decided she needed counselling. He headed back into the house to check the DSM book.

I decided to try and explain things to our feathery friend. But, no matter how clearly I said to her that she was a bird who needed to live in the trees, our new visitor disagreed.In fact, she seemed to like the tone of my voice and settled quite happily in her new home.

It was time to use force. I got a dusty old broom out and waved it in the air, when that didn’t get a reaction, I touched the garage door, then moved closer to the bird. Until she flew…to the other side of the garage and found a new perch.

This is pretty nice too. Good view

My hubby reappeared and, seeing the bird was still with us, shook his head and headed back inside. My two furry akitas had, by this time, heard the commotion and were trying to get into the garage to see what the fuss was about. Through the door, I could see my hubby banging his head against the wall.

I tried moving closer to the bird to intimidate her with my human presence but this dove seemed devoid of any fear and didn’t even budge an eyelid. Jumping, waving my arms and even singing caused similar reactions and finally, exhausted, I decided to embrace our feathery friend. Maybe we could leave the garage door open in perpetuity.

That was when the clouds parted a rare ray of winter sunshine fell across our front lawn. While we don’t live in a paradisiacal forest, when the sun shines on the trees, it’s quite beautiful. Certainly more appealing than the inside of our garage.

The dove agreed and flew back outside.

Ah…life in the country is never boring.

A little bit of magic

We live in the country. It’s truly beautiful. But it’s full of bugs.

There are insects here that defy comprehension. One was so large it looked prehistoric, like it had managed to skip evolution altogether to come to our living room. Another appeared inside our washing machine. After my discovery-shriek had stopped shaking the rafters, I wondered how on earth it had managed to get in there. Others come by the hundreds.

You’d think we would leave but it’s peaceful in the country, the dogs love it and finally, some times, we get this…

IMG_0413

 

She was outside my bedroom window this very morning.