Oklahoma sunset, country highway

Thinking About Moving to the Country?

Do you live in the city or suburbs and sometimes think about moving to the country? Perhaps you long to get away from the “rat race” or to live a more simple life. At least in the USA this is a very idealized concept. Often when people take vacation in scenic areas they think, “You know, I’d like to live here!”

Why do people “go rural?”

There are a number of reasons people think about this kind of move. As already mentioned, there is usually a tranquility to be found in rural places. Personally, I treasure the sound of the whippoorwill singing and the night sounds which waft through our bedroom window at night. Rural places usually have a slower pace of life which contributes to a more peaceful atmosphere.

green pasture, animals grazing
Most people can only afford to purchase enough land to raise animals, if it’s in a rural area.

Moving to the country can net a person more space to raise things as well as more privacy. In rural areas one can usually find much more economically priced property. One might purchase house with land, a stream, out buildings and a pond for under $100,000,  the very same set up, located in a suburban environment would likely run in the millions of dollars.

There is generally much less regulation in rural areas and there are advantages and disadvantages to this. On the one hand, there is freedom. On the other hand, there must be tolerance. When one is free to do what they want, usually… so is their neighbor.

Kraienkoppe chickens, game type chickens
We used to have Kraienkoppes, which are an extremely good breed for incubating their own eggs.

When we moved from New Jersey to Oklahoma I was concerned that I be able to bring our poultry with us. We were raising a very rare breed of chicken. Out East, in some places there are strict laws about poultry. In fact, at the time, there were places which didn’t allow individuals to have chickens within a mile of a commercial chicken farm. Well, there was a chicken operation right behind the place we wanted to purchase. I expressed my concern to the realtor who raised her eyebrow and exclaimed, “Sir, this is Oklahoma. What you raise on your own place is your business.”

Poultry House, Oklahoma chicken outfit
This is an example of a commercial chicken shed (an old one).

“Sir, this is Oklahoma. What you raise on your own place is your business.”

We pretty well decided to buy our place, but when we got back to NJ, I looked up the owner of the chicken operation and asked him if he minded that I brought my chickens with me, if I bought “the Hannah place.” I can still remember his friendly tone, over the phone, as he exclaimed, “This is Oklahoma. What you raise on your own place is your business!” I was truly happy to hear this! Later, i was impressed with his tact. Just before cleaning out his chicken sheds, he offered to give me all the chicken manure I could want, for my garden. I accepted, and afterwards I hardly noticed the smell of his operation. I was simply thankful to have my own pile of free manure!

What to expect when moving to the country

Expect Less Money

First of all one will find that there are fewer jobs and lower pay. Most homesteaders also have to work an outside job. It probably won’t pay a lot, so determine to simplify and economize in order to get by. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great lifestyle, but for most, there will be a period of adjustment. Economizing necessarily necessitates less travel, less eating out, more do-it-yourself repairs and projects, and probably less expensive clothing. For some, it takes time to come to the point of contentment with the necessities of life (1 Timothy 1:8 “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.”)

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Expect to adjust culturally.

Moving to a new area with another way of life necessarily involves some culture shock. People will have some different values and definitely different ways of doing things. Norms concerning conversation, interpersonal interaction, generosity and punctuality will most likely be different from where you came from. Just a small example. Where I’m from, when going to see someone for a favor or to ask a question, people tend ask right up front. But where we presently live, that’s not how it’s done. Here, one asks how the other person and even their family is doing, visiting a bit before getting down to business. To skip this social nicety makes a bad impression. i believe this custom is meant to show that relationship is more important than “task.”

Tips for the new arrival in “the country”

  • Go light on comparison. It’s just natural to compare everything with where you came from, but be discrete. It’s better to keep your thoughts to yourself. Newcomers can lose out on relationships and opportunities if they play the “comparison game.” When adjusting to a new culture one is often tempted to judge, when in fact, they may not even, first, understand. Just wait. Learn, and then, after some years you may actually be ready to compare. Remember “different” isn’t necessarily wrong.
  • Be patient in relationships. In some small town cultures a person is still a newcomer for several years after arrival. That means, from the community’s perspective, they’re waiting to see if you work out before they really embrace you as part of the community. In some cultures any attempt to rush acceptance generates distrust.
  • Be a learner. Most people really like it when someone respects them and what they do. Being a learner and expressing appreciation for skills shared will go a long way toward building good will.
learn from people where you live
We knew nothing about cattle when we arrived in Oklahoma. Our neighbors taught us a LOT about ruminants!
  • Seek ways to contribute to the community. I like to think of it as having something to offer that folk appreciate and then, sharing it freely, without asking anything in return. This can go a long way in building relationships.

We love the country, but remember, even if you don’t live in a rural area, you can still do a lot of homesteading!

Have you moved to the country? Would you like to share any advice for those considering it? Share in our comments area. We’d love to hear from you!

1 thought on “Thinking About Moving to the Country?”

  1. Another great article, and so truly spoken. I think it took at least 10 years here before I felt like I was no longer a ‘newcomer’. By that time, we had helped raise many barns, plow many fields, plant many gardens, and had helped cut several cords of firewood with our new neighbors. Here, in the country, it’s, ‘share and share alike’ but you’d better be ready, and gladly willing to pay back for the things that were shared when your time comes, or you more than likely will get left out of the loop the next time your neighbors have a surplus.

    In all the years that we’ve borrowed and lent equipment, tools, or livestock, we’ve never had anything come up missing. That’s really saying something, considering we’ve been here for nearly 16-years. I once had a toolbox full of tools slide out of the back of my truck while driving up an incline on a dirt road almost a mile from my house. By the time I discovered it was missing, several hours had passed and I really had no clue where to even start looking. That evening, I found it right where it had hit the ground (in the middle of 510 Road). In all that time, no one had bothered it, though I’m sure everyone from the Mailman to the School Bus Driver, had to drive to one side to miss running over it.

    There is a great deal of comradery and comfort in knowing almost everyone within a couple of miles of where you live. Most of my neighbors are like family to us, with only a very few exceptions. (Nothing is perfect) but sometimes, life in the country is as close as you could ever hope to get.

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