City vs. Rural

Yesterday evening there was a show on TV that Vince was watching and I caught part of it.  Please don’t try to debate whether city living or country living is best.  Different areas are best for different folks . . but the guy brought up some points that I thought were true – points I had never thought much about, though they’re 100% true in my life.

One of the things he asked the audience was whether they thought people living in the city or people living in rural areas were more likely to know their neighbors.  They all agreed that rural folks knew their neighbors more.  I know there are exceptions and some folks in cities and subdivisions know everyone on their block or in their subdivision.

When we lived in Kentucky and had a house way out in the country, I did know my neighbors.  There was a man across the highway, a family way back behind us whose land bordered our land, there was an older couple right past us and several other families within a few miles of us that we knew and visited.  We had a house in town and I knew the names of the folks on both sides of me but can’t say that I ever visited in their home and as far as I know, they never came to our house.

Here, where houses are far apart and most can’t even be seen from the road, we’ve met and been in the homes of probably a dozen families.  I have never lived where I always have someone dropping by.  I laugh because this is the first place we’ve lived where I get up and get dressed every morning because I know it won’t be long into the day before someone knocks on my door.  One day the UPS man was here and it was one who doesn’t come often.  He said he didn’t have our gate code and I told him he was probably the only person in the county who didn’t know our code. He laughed and said “Oh, I called a friend who knows it!”

Another thing the guy on tv said was . . when we live in cities, everything is handed off to the institution.  We count on the government or similar entities to provide so many essentials. That’s true too. It’s funny because sometimes when I write things on the blog, I’m amused at some of the comments . . folks who don’t have a clue what it’s like to live this far back into woods and by Texas standards, we’re not terribly rural.

City folks count on the  city and call them when there’s a problem with the water, or sewer.  Hopefully you can call the police and count on them to get there in time if you need help.  If you have a fire, you call the fire department.

When we have a problem with water, because our water comes totally from our own well, we’re on our own.  Sewer stops working . . we have our own septic system so we have to figure it out.  We need the police . . chances are we’re going to deal with it on our own.  I believe there’s one, maybe two deputies working our entire county at night.  They’re not going to get here in time if there’s an emergency.

I suppose a whole lot of where you choose to live depends on your confidence level in the government and the infrastructure.  I suppose to speaks volumes about the amount of confidence I have in those type entities but if I had my way, I’d be living farther out than we are and we’d be living 100% off grid.

Even though there’s a certain amount of expense with having a well and septic system, especially if they need to be replaced, I love not paying a water or sewer bill.  Come to think about it, I love everything about living here . . except scorpions, black widow spiders and sand spurs!


  1. 1
    Sharon in Michigan says:

    For me, there’s nothing better than living in the sticks where you have no curtains on the windows because nobody is around to look in. I love looking out the windows and seeing nothing but nature and wildlife.

  2. 2

    I believe it’s true that country folk know more about their neighbors than city folk but there isn’t enough land or enough rural jobs for everyone in America to live out in the country. People in cities must rely on them because it’s required by laws. Imagine a high rise building trying to catch rainwater or a school building and 1,500 students with a septic tank. Where would those be put?

    A lot of the “know your neighbors” depends on the individual personality. Some people are just more outgoing than others.

    Sometimes city folk will read the blogs of country folk just live the country life in dreams.

    • 3

      Not everyone wants to live in the country and that’s why I’m thrilled that there are places in the cities and there are places in between city and completely rural. I see why there are municipal water and sewer systems, as well as mass transit systems. There are definitely advantages to having them.

      I think the sad part is when there are folks living in the city whose dream is living in the country and vice versa.

      As far as jobs, in many parts of the country, folks can work in a town or city and yet live in the country without too long of a commute. Vince drives 7 miles to work and his job is in a small city.

      I was merely sharing the differences that I heard a speaker discussing and to me, it was so true. I wasn’t saying everyone should live in the country.

  3. 4

    My SIL comes from a little farming town in southern MN, and now lives in Minneapolis, which is hardly the country. He loves it there. I asked him why, and he said that he’s used to walking or riding his bike everywhere, to the grocery store, library, wherever he wants to go. The town is 4 blocks long and surrounded by corn and soy fields. And he has that same thing in the city.

    • 5

      I can see how that would be an amazing lifestyle. I also think that at different times in our life, as well as how/where we were raised can play a part in where we want to live. Often, especially when looking at a recipe, I will briefly wish I lived where I could walk or ride a bike to a grocery store and that grocery store would have some of the ingredients that aren’t so common. Or I wish I lived where we had better restaurants.

      There’s a place for all of us and like I said, the sad thing to me is not knowing, or knowing and not living where you should be.

      There will probably come a time when we have to move more into town because of aging or financial issues and we will just have to accentuate the positive . . be happy for the time we had in the country and be happy that we’re able to move closer to town when that time comes.

      • 6
        Helen Koenig1 says:

        I lived on a farm when I was little, growing up, then married and moved to Boulder, CO with my husband. When eventually things became difficult at best and we were divorced, I moved to a larger city – then eventually to a farm – homestead type of farm – where my daughter and I DID take care of everything – or tried to! Yes – the house DID suffer – a lot! Mostly because I had a market garden that I worked by hand, as well as dairy animals to be milked, a fairly good sized flock of chickens to care for as well as a greenhouse to run and other animals to raise. On our farm – we traded my labor for what we didn’t have – whether grain and hay or scrap building materials (we built sheds and part of a barn with scrap materials). To say that I loved that place is putting it mildly. BUT we lived way out back of beyond – which I loved, btw, and when my son who was a baby nearly died from asthma and we were snowbound and had to depend on a neighbour to snowmobile meds into our driveway (no other way to reach us – and wind too high for helicopters to do a drop), I knew that for my little one’s sake I had to move closer to town. After several false moves (a trip back to CO where the jobs did NOT exist that I had been told did exist – and then back home – the hard way!) we eventually settled in a small town – and once again I employed the same or nearly so – type of living I had loved in the country – only no livestock! And there I raised my son (dd by then was grown and on her own). So in a way I’ve had the best of each kind of life style – country – deep country, city (St. Louis), small town – and now homesteading – mostly – in another small city on the east coast to be near my son (grown and married) and daughter (also grown and married).
        all that being said – Friends/acquaintances, etc. – it all depends – on the individual – and how welcoming they are, on the environment they choose to live in. Small towns can be the WORST for getting in your business – and worse yet for drawing erroneous conclusions and being pre-judgmental and small minded; at the same time cities – where I greet my neighbours with a cheery hi and a wave invariably startles my neighbours at first – but the neighbours eventually open up.
        Would I move back to a small town? probably not! I at least don’t do well there. At least in a homogenized community, I tend to develop foot-in-mouth-itis and tend to upset the status quo.
        At the same time – would I move back to the country – and ignore the neighbour problem? If that means I can raise chickens, ducks and geese – you bet!!! While I loved my dairy goats dearly – they DO have to be milked twice a day EVERY day – even in sub-zero temps – and I truly prefer warm! With chickens, at least, it is a LOT faster to feed, water, gather eggs, and get the heck back inside where it is warm!

  4. 7

    I think there are aspects of country living that I would love but there is NO WAY I could take care of everything being by myself. I wouldn’t have a CLUE how to fix the things that could break and take care of everything by myself. And I just don’t think I’d feel safe out there alone. Do you think you’d be able to maintain your place if something happened to Vince?

    • 8

      No, I do not and we’ve talked about that. First, I do not like to bleed! Vince is always working on something that makes him bleed . . barbed wire fences, pipe, chicken wire. I have no idea how to fix anything like the well, the entrance gate, etc. Without his help, I would not keep the chickens, nor could I have a huge garden. I wouldn’t go out into the woods to ride around by myself. Chad and Nicole would love to live in the country and if it worked out that they could or wanted to come here, that might work but otherwise, I’d probably move. I have no idea where . . I doubt I would stay here and with Chad moving around as much as he will for many years, I probably wouldn’t try to go where he is so . . I don’t know but it is something I’ve thought about.

      • 9

        Your blog reminds me so much of the things my husband and I used to do. It always makes me so happy to read what you are doing because it brings back such wonderful memories for me.
        Oh the projects…the fun…always something new we wanted to do or try.
        As the animals died we didn’t replace them because we knew we were getting older. By the time he died all the animals were gone. I let the garden go except for a small herb garden. I still cook everything from scratch even though I no longer can food.
        When the well goes out I call the well man, when the septic has problems I call those guys. I keep a running list of all the little things that I need help with and every few months I call a handyman and he spends the day doing all those minor chores hubby used to take care of. When they are gone it is more expensive to do it alone because you have to pay people to do what they did.
        I never go outside without my cell phone in my pocket because I’m very secluded here so there is no one who would know if I had a problem. I have no family here, but as long as I can live alone I’m here for the duration. I just love it out in the middle of nowhere.

  5. 10

    I love that there are no street lights and it is quiet….no noisy sirens or horns or trucks. I love that we know the neighbors and a good part of the people in our town. I don’t love the ticks or the sticker bushes.

  6. 11

    You forgot the grasshoppers!! :)

  7. 12

    My hubby grew up in a very rural area, and yes my in-laws knew everyone in the area. But the city has started to encroach the area. Mostly because everyone wants to live “out” from the city :-) I get tickled when my hubby tells me how this or that road was a one lane dirt road, and now is a 4 lane highway. Or how he and his brother used to go through the swamp and fish on some other property, that now is a high end sub-division. Yes people want to live in the country. Only they take the country out of country living :-(

  8. 13
    sharon massena says:

    I am so with you. I wish that we could live farther out, but will be happy with our 6 acres (near the city) for now. We’re looking for a bit more land, but DH will be 80 in January and we do have to consider what if something happens to one of us. For now, we enjoy our sheep, alpacas, fowl, dogs and garden. And yes, we know most of the neighbors.

  9. 14
    gardenpat says:

    I think the key is being happy no matter where you are and finding ways to improve yourself and all that you have stewardship over! We’ve lived on acreage in the Southwest foothills, in the mountains on a lake and now are in the middle of an “Olde Towne” neighborhood in the downtown area of our state capital! We miss some of the things that yard space may curtail, but have found ways to adapt others to fit our circumstances! We have 500 square feet in our raised bed veggie garden, have 4 six variety espalliered apple trees, 1 four variety cherry tree, 2 Arctic kiwi, 8 blueberry bushes, a hedge of red raspberries across our back fence and a 1500 square foot basement below our house! Been here 20 years and have made friends with many neighbors- barter eggs from my neighbor’s chicken for my homemade 9 grain bread! I guess the moral of the story is to find joy in your life wherever you are because time wasted can’t be replaced! Happy you found your happy spot!

  10. 15

    Judy, I grew up in a city; figured I’d live my whole life there. Then, DH was transferred to an area with a couple of smaller cities in the vicinity, but not ones you’d want to live in. So we bought a house in a village of about 3,000 people. I know a lot of the people, mostly from church. This is as rural as I could standat the time. He wanted to move farther out, and I told him no. So, now our little village has grown and I wish I lived way out in the country. Funny how life goes, isn’t it?

  11. 16
    Bev Austin says:

    Judy, Gardenpat said it all. What you are doing calls to mind the saying “Bloom Where You are Planted.”

  12. 17

    You’ve got to love Texas if you ever lived here. We are great friendly people who have come to the help of others each time something tragic happens all over the world. We’ve got the biggest hearts and loads of hospitality. YOU”LL come on over now you hear.We are one of the few sates that could substane ourselves it there was no one else around. WE have everything. GOD was good and blessed this state.

  13. 18

    I live in the city/suburbs on a cul-de-sac that has 10 homes. I know every one of those neighbors, plus a few more. I love being just a few minutes’ drive from nearly everything I’d want or need. Best part is that there are two quilt stores within 15 minutes. ;-) I sometimes think it would be nice to live in the country for the peace and quiet, but for now my slice of heaven is a quarter-acre lot in the city.