Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Reflections on Rural Living

Before moving to Kettle Falls to start our dream of Happy Bear Farm, the smallest place I had lived was the Twin Cities (well, I lived in St. Paul) which have a population of a little more than 3 million people.  I have now lived here for 7 months and it is DEFINITELY different.

First of all I think that Jason and I are both a LOT healthier.  Since I am not working (and now that we are in our house with a working kitchen), I have been cooking basically all of our meals.  The restaurants that are in town (the good ones anyways) are only open Wednesday-Saturday so we don't really have many eating out options.  Because I am making all of our meals, we are sticking to our modified paleo diet.  We eat meat, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.  I call it modified because we occasionally have rice and I eat goat cheese.  Jason and I feel a lot healthier and I am back to my San Diego weight (I gained about 10 pounds when we first moved here because we didn't have a good kitchen in the first apartment we had and we ate a lot of processed food).  I love the magazine Cook's Illustrated and have been cooking 2-3 times a week using their recipes.  So our food is healthy and delicious!

Another thing that I've noticed is that Jason and I are big fodder for gossip amongst our neighbors and their interest is apparent and sometimes in our face.  For example I think that at least 4 of our neighbors has asked us how much we paid for the house.  When we were busy with contractors going in and out of the house, it wasn't unusual for a neighbor to stop by and ask what work we were doing and ask for a tour.  Now that it has warmed up and we are working in the garden, cars noticeably slow down on the dirt road and look at the garden we're putting in and some stop to see what we're planting.  I am not used to being so interesting.  They are very nice about it, it's just different.

Days can go by when I don't leave the house.  It's about a 15 minute drive into Kettle Falls and the only reasons that I ever go there are to go to work (if I get a sub job), go to the library, or go to Meyers Falls Market (the natural food store, which is great but really small and lacking in a lot of our regular food stuffs).  Once a week (at least) I drive into Colville (about a 25 minute drive) to go to the bigger grocery store Super One.  They're like a small Safeway or Cub Foods (about a third the size), but they have a small organic section.  We're slowly making friends but they're generally busy people and we don't see them that often.  Last week I left the house twice-once for grocery shopping and other errands and the other time for a fruit planting workshop.  I used to rarely be home.  I like our house.  I like making it into a home.  It's just different.

Finally Sundays are a different time here.  In general this community is fairly religious but no one has been preachy or proselytizing.   On a normal day we see 5-6 cars go down our dirt road, but on Sundays we see at least 20.  People going to church, people going to see family, people coming to visit, etc.  Also very few businesses are open on Sundays.  There is one hardware store (out of 6 in the area) that is open and Super One is open.  I think that's it.  Nothing else is open.  During the week, most businesses close at 5 or 6pm.  But most of them at 7am.  I have been called by people at 7:15am to ask my opinion about something.  This is considered "no big deal."  Most days I am up by 7:15am, but in my city life I NEVER would have called someone this early.

I like living here.  I love our house, our garden, and our dreams for it.  We're starting to meet people and hang out regularly with them.  I have found a political outlet by chairing a subcommittee in our local Slow Food chapter to organize for I-522 to label GMOs in Washington.  Things are good here, it's just different. 

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