Top 5 Things to Consider Before Moving to the Country

| 8/12/2013 2:56:00 PM

Tags: relocate, rural, home-improvement, garden, land, Kristy Athens,
In 2003, my husband, Mike, and I gleefully ditched our house in North Portland, Ore., to pick up the reins of a 7-acre parcel in rural Washington. Outside of some home-improvement projects and garden beds, we didn’t know much about rural life. But, we thought—We’re young! We’re enthusiastic! We figured that would be enough.

It wasn’t. After six years of working hard to keep up and stay solvent, the recession finally killed us off. Beleaguered by unfinishable-by-us projects and no reasonable job prospects, we reluctantly sold our beloved farm in 2009 and retreated to the city, where I finished my book, Get Your Pitchfork On! This no-romance guide is intended to give its reader better odds at success than my husband and I had.

The book is divided into five sections:

  • Land
  • Buildings, Inside and Out
  • Animals
  • Food
  • Community, Family and Culture

Below are highlights from each—food for thought.


Selecting property is far more important than anything else. A house can be remodeled; livestock and crops can change; but, with a few exceptions, the land is the land. So choose wisely.

This means paying attention to the landscape—where will the sun rise and set in the summer? And in the winter? Test the soil quality if a garden or crop is in the works. If it’s hilly, are there microclimates that might drop a pocket of cold air right where the basil and tomatoes are going? How will gardens be irrigated?

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