A reader left a comment on my post about Where the Crawdads Sing, and she wondered where they got sewer and electricity if they weren’t connected to town. That made me realize that there are people who don’t realize a lot about rural America.
My grandparents lived in a very rural location and many people around them did not have electricity. This was in the early 60’s when I would go visit them. My grandparents did have electricity as far back as I can remember but I was in my early years of high school (late 60’s) before they got running water or indoor plumbing.
We do not have to be connected to a city to have modern conveniences. It’s 2019. I live where trash pickup is not available. We do have electricity. We get our water from a well and have a septic tank for our sewer system.
As we look at places to live in Arkansas, there are cabins so far out in the woods that they do not have electricity. I’m sure they could get it but they don’t want to pay the price to have the lines put in that far back from where they would have to connect.
Back in the 50’s and 60’s, you could get electricity almost anywhere and I don’t even remember my parents having to pay extra to have it run to where they lived when they built their house in 1959. I’ve never heard them talk about having to pay for it but even where our house is built, the people who built the house had to pay to have the lines run from the highway and it is rather expensive to have it done. I think I remember them saying it was about $10K. They had wanted to build farther back but didn’t want to pay more for the electricity.
In an area like where we’re looking in Arkansas, it’s easy to get a good water well. Here, in this part of Texas, it’s not easy at all. It usually takes four or five drilling attempts before you get a halfway decent well and even then, some people never hit water.
It’s funny because our grandkids are going to grow up and remembering stories about life before internet, cell phones, tablets, and GPS.
Also, almost every house we’ve considered in Arkansas has a whole house generator and at least one 1,000 gallon propane tank. They seem to have extended power losses in the winter if the weather is bad and the people do what they have to do to make accommodations for whatever may happen.
It’s easy to get used to modern conveniences and forget that it wasn’t that long ago, not everyone had the option of having the things we have now. I’m happy to have well water and never have to worry about a water bill. Yes, we have had to spend $150 on well repairs since we’ve been here (almost 8 years) and we did pay for having a second well drilled (which took two tries before hitting water) but we have much better tasting water than we would have in town, and we have no chemicals in our water . . some people are happy to have that; some are not. We have our water tested . . we used to do it every year but it’s been a few years since it was tested.
I hope I never live without electricity. Even with solar panels and batteries (we do not have batteries), it’s almost impossible to run air conditioners like we need here in Texas. I do miss trash pickup. Since we’ve lived here I’ve said I hope to never live without trash pickup again but in the rural areas of AR where we are look, hardly anyone has it. They’ve had some landfill issues there and trash pickup is a problem. I doubt we’d have it there either. But, we’ve managed here without it and we’ll manage there without it.
For us, we’d rather give up some of the conveniences and NOT be so close to a city but not everyone feels that way. It’s a wonderful life – we can all choose what works for us and be happy.