Country living isn’t always a walk in the park

Country living isn’t always a walk in the

Hilary Hake

Hilary Hake

By Hilary Hake
Usually I write about how wonderful living in the country is and how glad I am that I am raising my boys in the country lifestyle.

I thought I would shake things up a bit this week and tell you what isn’t so great about living in the country.

For one thing, cell service is atrocious.

I fully believe I live in the black hole of cell service. You can look at any coverage map provided by any cell provider and you will literally see a circle over my home where there is no coverage.

So get a home phone you say? I tried. I am still trying. It would seem years back a certain gas company cut the phone lines when they were attempting to repair a gas line.

I say “attempting” because years later we are one of the only homes in our town that has to have propane instead of using the natural gas line. The phone company told me about eight weeks ago that it would be four to six weeks before someone would be out to repair the line into our home. I was told today it will be an additional four to six weeks because the schedule was mismanaged.

With no home phone and no cell phone, don’t even try to get internet. You can’t. At least not in the country.

That being said, it is extremely easy to be “unplugged” living in the country. I’m not attached to my cell phone 24 hours a day like so many are now days.

The other day while I was in Alton at a store I heard a phone ringing. It’s ring tone was “Fat Bottom Girls.” I enjoy that song and found myself lip-syncing the words. Then I got annoyed that no one was answering it. What if impressionable children heard that song? I then realized it was my very own phone that was ringing. To say the least I was embarrassed that not only was my phone the offender but that I didn’t even recognize that it was my phone.

Another thing about living out in the boonies that’s annoying is the act of buying milk.

I can’t just take five minutes and run to a store if we run out of cow juice. Nope. It has to be planned and scheduled. I can’t just run to the nearest store either. Nope. Not me. I have to go to a store that sells Lactaid as there are two people in my home who are lactose intolerant and neither one of them like the Silk milk, almond milk, or rice milk.

I tried to get dairy goats as goat milk is basically lactose free. Thought I would milk me some goats and save my family time and money. It didn’t turn out that easy.

We had to first get goats that were either already in milk or could be bred so they would come into milk. Then we had to train them to actually be milked. It didn’t happen.

Turns out our goats do not like having their udders touched and aren’t opposed to kicking you or head-butting you. I also think we may have a billy goat that prefers the fellas.

My children though love the trips into “town” to run errands. They marvel at all the traffic, sights and sounds. It’s like a field trip for them. They are ever so glad to be back home when we are finished though.

Traffic. That’s another issue.

One wouldn’t think that traffic would be a problem here. It is. I promise you that during planting and harvest season you will end up in a traffic jam worthy of I-70 at rush hour.

Tractors are the culprit here though. Moving at a snail’s pace and taking up not only their lane but part of the opposite lane as well making passing them quite an adrenaline rush. Yet, I still find myself smiling and waving at the farmer as I make my way past.

Why? Because farmers are the backbone of my community and if they need to go  six m.p.h. on the highway to get to their fields or back home after a long day in the fields, then I am going to respect them.

And then there is the noise! Whoever said living in the country was quiet was a fool.

Sure it is quieter here at night, but have you ever stepped outside in the early morning hours in the country? My house sounds like a zoo! There are roosters crowing, donkey’s braying, goats baaing, turkeys gobbling, dogs barking … and then there are those pesky tractors again.

Diesel engines are not quiet, especially in a tractor. Oh and don’t forget the gunshots.

During deer season it sounds like WWIII is happening! We walk around wearing hunter orange whether we are hunting or not just so we don’t accidentally get mistaken for a deer.

Speaking of deer, they can be annoying as well. Once during mating season I went to get the mail. I was walking back to the house and I spied one of my kids’ toys in the yard so I bent down to pick it up. BAM!!!

I was on my face! I looked up to see a deer running off. I was tackled by a doe in my very own front yard as I was doing the mundane task of getting the mail. I had hoof prints on my back and a large hoof- shaped bruise on the back of my leg. Turns out some hunters had scared it and it was running for it’s life. I would have tackled me to escape as well.

Wildlife in general here is just that, wild!

I am constantly fighting raccoons, opossums, minks, coyotes, and bobcats. Well, not hand-to-hand combat, more like paw to live trap combat. But you get the point.

The darn critters just don’t seem to understand that my chicken and turkey coop is not an all-you-can-eat buffet despite the sign I made for them. I am joking about that. I didn’t make a sign. I know they can’t read.

Then there are the cranes, geese, and muskrats that seem to think the pond I stocked is for their personal use only. Ever try to run a few geese off a pond? I wouldn’t recommend it. They are very territorial and their droppings are very slippery, making running a danger in and of itself. I can say though, who needs to go to a zoo in a city to see animals in a cage when I can show my kids a variety of animals in their somewhat natural habitat?

When I first moved out here I went to the bank and lo and behold it was closed for lunch. So was the post office. I had never encountered such a thing before. It turns out that most businesses around where I live are closed for one hour every day for lunch. Bet city people don’t have that problem. They just have to wait in long lines for an hour or so to do their business so I guess I can wait an hour in the comfort of my home to do mine.

Everything isn’t bonfires and ho-downs where I live. There are real people doing real jobs. There are real animals really trying to survive. There are ups and downs to living in the country. Fortunately for me, the good far outweighs the bad and I would gladly take being tackled by a deer over being mugged any day.