This month marks my eight year anniversary since leaving the city and taking up residence in rural Texas. It has been three years since I last wrote anything and resolved to amend that. To celebrate this fact I have decided to move my blog from Blogspot to WordPress. (To celebrate or because they kept messing up my posts, definitely one or the other.)
I am eight years older than when we first moved out here. I have grown. I have changed. I definitely feel I would fare better if there was a global catastrophe. I still very much miss the city despite that.
Looking back, we were extremely lucky to land in Whitewright. There just couldn’t be a better school district, in my eyes. We moved out here, in part, because I wanted the children to attend a small school. I felt that being a big fish in a small sea would be better for their self esteems growing up than being a small fish in a big sea and I must boast that I think I was right. The cartoons in the elementary cafeteria were removed years ago when the previous principal retired. The new principal is wonderful, he writes letters to the parents telling them not to overly concern themselves with state test scores and says some students are born to be artists and not scientists. It is reassuring and compassionate. The middle school principal greets each child by name and seems well versed on each one’s scholastic performances. He has an open door policy on bullying and zero tolerance for such. The high school principal is new but when my husband met with him about our son’s autism and ADHD issues, he was understanding and said all of the right things. He jokes with the children and loves Star Wars (that has to count for something).
My children have liked all of their teachers; that is foreign to my experiences as a child. I used to find it odd how so many of the children’s teachers were related… a kindergarten teacher is married to the high school geometry teacher, a superintendent is married to a kindergarten teacher and are parents to the middle school English teacher, the elementary principal is married to the middle school English teacher. Substitute teachers are always related to someone in the school …. no, never mind, I guess I still find this odd.
If it wasn’t for our love for the schools and what they do for our children’s self confidence, I would have moved by now. I feel stuck between two worlds, I don’t feel like I fit in here and I don’t feel like I fit in in the city either. We moved here just after Obama was elected and without having a clue about Facebook. Before all of that I had lived my entire life without knowing my closest friends’ political or religious affiliations. That was before the The Great War on Women and the equally hostile conflict, The War on Religion/ Christmas. It was before we had to choose, for importance, black or blue lives and never comprehending why the lives were not congruent but somehow diametrically opposed. Before people supported charity but then judged and picked apart people who partook in it. Before all of that I feel like we (collective) spent more time focusing on our similarities to each other instead of staring at our differences. It is difficult being a democrat in rural, Texas these days which must speak volumes about how much I feel the children are flourishing with their schools.
With that said, Here are a list of some of the things I have learned in my eight years out here…
1. Companies trim trees around electric lines and then grind them into mulch. You can get free mulch and firewood if you are nice to the people doing the work.
2. Everything, except food and underwear but really even underwear (though I don’t recommend it) can be found secondhand. You never have to buy new unless under a time crunch.
3. Free range chickens will hide eggs and make unwanted babies.
4. The male to female ratio of baby chicks is 50/50.
5. People in small towns probably gossip the same amount as everywhere else… but in a small town, where everyone knows everyone, the affects can be greater.
6. Gossip never dies, it is just replaced with newer gossip.
7. You can make big changes, with minimal effort, in small towns.
8. It really is all about who you know.
9. Scrapping metal is complicated.
- Every type of metal has a different price and there is dirty metal and clean metal as well. Dirty metal (for example) is the cord to an appliance; there is metal inside the coating on the cord. You can just cut off a cord and sell it for dirty metal prices. With clean metal you would remove that coating and just recycle the wire.
10. An old dryer will get you about $20 in scrap.
11. Everything is reusable or can be resold.
12. Moving out to the country is probably NOT more tranquil and/ or less expensive.
- Convenience. Employment is far away, stores are far away, everything is far away.
- Contractors don’t want to do minor projects far out so you have to learn to do these projects yourself or pay extra for the work.
- Same goes for most services. Tree cutting, painting, plumbing, even holiday light hanging…
- Farm animals require care 7 days a week regardless of time of year or temperatures outside.
- Lack of public services.
- Severe lack of amenities.
- Snakes, everywhere.
- Mowing takes forever.
- Internet sucks.
- Mosquitoes, fleas, poison ivy… all unavoidable.
- Clean cars are impossible.
11. Historic buildings are gravely endangered.
12. Repairing a fence is easiest in the winter. You don’t have to contend with snakes, thorny vines, or poison ivy.
13. You can pay a person $150 to come pick up a large dead animal from your property.
14. Cows will walk in to a pond to get a drink, get stuck and die. It’s true.
Here is a list of opportunities we were granted by moving out here that likely wouldn’t have happened otherwise :
1. I ran an art gallery.
2. I ran a small resale shop.
3. Out here there are plenty of farm finds for shabby chic interiors. You can check out some of those on my ebay store Green Acres Vintage or you can check out some of my collections on my instagram Green Acres Vintage.
4. I later joined the Denison Arts Council and became The Council’s President. I, an extreme introvert, led and organized a group of people to produce festivals and introduce art within the community during 2015 and 2016.
5. My husband learned electric, plumbing, and construction.
6. He is also a YouTube expert and has been known to repair small and large appliances with little more than a five minute video as reference.
7. He learned stained glass from a renowned local artist, I am learning to use a potter’s wheel from an artist friend.
8. 3 out of the 5 family members are black belts.
9. I have this blog about the insanity of country living and the idiotic exploits that derive from being inept.
Eight years is a very long time. I like to think I am older and wiser but I still do stupid things all of the time. My husband is a fairly cool guy. He saunters through life like Ichabod Crane managing to dodge obstacles without a second glance. While I on the other hand always, always, manage to land a foot in or on something. Which is a great segue for my next post…