Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
Ah, life in the country.
It's the stuff of countless novels and songs, waxing poetic about the graces that come from living out amongst the birds and the trees. Yours truly has even been guilty of making it sound all fluffy and romantic on occasion (amongst all the talk of mice and predatory cats, but I digress...).
If you're pondering a move to the country and think your life will suddenly get blissfully silent, I'm here to kick that notion to the curb. Unless you literally move to the middle of nowhere, of course.
But even then, the country is noisy. Different noise, for sure, but noisy nonetheless.
My Love/Hate Relationship with Noise
I spent 20 plus years living in a reasonably sized city, usually for some reason in the vicinity of emergency medical facilities and firehalls (cheaper rent?). This wasn't so much of a problem when I was single and childless, but after having a baby and the sleeplessness that that brings, then living in a 'courtyard inspired' townhouse development where you could literally hear everything on a summer evening, I got pretty grumpy when it came to excess noise.
The fact we lived 2 blocks from the firehall and directly across from two extended care facilities with all their middle-of-the night ambulance visits didn't help.
So yes, I was a bit sensitive. Maybe overly so.
Which is why the idea of moving to our little cabin in the woods was so entrancing. No more ambulances screaming in my ear at 3:00 am, no more loud conversations at 1:00 am from tipsy neighbours on their decks when I had to be up for work in the morning. Just acres and acres of trees. And quiet.
Or so I thought.
Now, before you think I'm just complaining for the sake of complaining, I'll assure you that I love where I live. And for me, there's something about the sound of human activity that's sort of comforting (especially living in the toolies at the end of the road as we do). But I do know that some of the noises we're bombarded with here on a daily (and nightly) basis, would be the source of city council neighbourhood reviews and official community plan wrangling in other parts of our district. One local business just went through two or more years of political spinning and wringing to get a simple shed built on their industrial site - because the neighbours thought it might have trucks making deliveries (or something equally benign sounding). Pretty crazy - and a good chunk of the opposition came from recently transplanted 'city people'.
To me, these sounds are all more than tolerable compared to what I came from. But to others, maybe not so much.
The Noise in Our Neck of the Woods
We live far away from any subdivisions or towns. Properties are a minimum of 5 acres, but most are more - and few have anyone living on them. But we're adjacent to an industrial zoned area, and that's where all of our non-wildlife related noise comes from.
Here's a rundown of the regular and not-so-regular sounds we hear:
In other areas and parts of the country, you might have the sounds of farm machinery, military installations, main transportation arteries, mining activity... you get the picture. Just because you live in the sticks doesn't mean you'll be immune from noise. It's critical to do your homework before buying or moving. Remember - no regrets!
So the moral of the story is to do you research before buying or moving to our country property. Find out what plans are in the works in your area, what's in the official community plan (if there is one), and what industries currently exist that may expand at some point in the future. And be sure to spend a good chunk of time at your new property both during the day and night, and at different times of the week. A friend passed along that advice years ago, and it had saved them from a number of real-estate mistakes.
Great advice, I think, and so often totally overlooked.
Have you ever moved somewhere only to find the noise drove you batty? Do you have any advice for others looking for their rural dream property? Would love to hear your stories in the comments below!
(Image Credit: istockphoto.com)