When you move out to the country, you don't always realize how much the little things will change. We certainly didn't. We knew about the obvious - a longer drive to get to the nearest grocery store, an obvious lack of movie theaters, craft beer not even existing within 20 miles.
But here's a few tips to the things that we didn't expect. Hope they help you a little before (or maybe even during) your move to rural life.
Holidays will change.
Especially gift-giving ones like Christmas or Valentines Day. Shirts, ties, jewelry - all of these things will give way to claw hammers, incubators, cutlery and subscriptions to GRIT magazine.
For Christmas this year, my husband got pork. Not "porked" (get your mind out of the gutter.) PORK. As in belly meat and bacon from a Mangalitsa pig. There is also a very good reason why I would buy my husband parts of a dead animal for Christmas.
I used to be normal (or close enough). I never would have imagined pig parts as the perfect holiday gift. But we're planning to raise pigs on our little homestead. Specifically Mangalitsa pigs. And we'd never tasted them, ergo the order of bacon and pre-bacon.
Now that we've moved here, we tend to use holidays and birthdays as excuses to buy things for the farm. And the best part is, we BOTH want it. So it's ok to get kitchen items for Christmas. An apron is NOT a totally sexist gift (though fellas - you might want to feel her out on that one). And Valentine's day is the perfect day to give him the gift that keeps on giving - a manure spreader.
(By the way, FFarmer also received 10 blueberry bushes, a set of knives and a bone saw. Ain't I romantic?)
Got a fear of bugs/worms? You'll get over it.
That is not a camera trick. It really is a grub almost the size of FFarmer's palm. We find these ALL THE TIME. They usually get fed to the chickens. In the beginning, we really only picked them up with gloved fingers. Now? Ha! We're bare-handing it. If we're out working in the yard, they go into a tiny wheelbarrow that the kids have, which, when done, gets dumped with the chickens as a treat. You get used to them (and other creepies) pretty quickly.
This doesn't apply to everything of course. I'm still a bit squeamish about slugs, in truth, but for most things necessity and timeliness do a lot for fear of bugs.
You will learn to speak a different language.
You will see, as you shoot the shit with a coworker or someone at your bank, that look on their face that implies they have no idea what you're talking about. This will happen as you rattle on about "flakes of hay" or "buying a grower". While you're in the midst of complaining about your lack of eggs due to poultry molt, please stop and remember - this isn't everyone's reality. Most people aren't as familiar with incubation rates of waterfowl or appropriate hatch humidity. Most people don't care. So you can either try to switch to a subject the average person is more familiar with, or use the opportunity to educate. Just don't be a smug asshole about it.
Expect that there will be dirt. Everywhere.
Dirt is now a part of your world. Deal with it. This ain't the concrete jungle, except on the patio. This is especially true if you free-range. Chickens poop a lot. Like A LOT a lot. And they do it everywhere - patio, yard, bushes, driveway, barn, front doorstep. You will no longer be grossed out by poop.
Well ... it will still be gross, but you'll shrug and just wash it off the patio chairs (seriously ladies? The CHAIRS?) Speaking of washing, that leads me to the next point.
Addendum: Your house will never be as clean as you want it to be.
Forget that Martha Stewart crap. Your house is not going to look like that. You will find a stray chicken feather under the couch. Mud tracks in the bathroom. Bits of straw in a kid's pocket. I'm not sure what bullshit planet Martha lives on where animals don't have assholes, but here in Texas, animals get dirty and much of the reason is what comes out their rears. Or from the mud they decided to tromp through. Or the dust bath they decided to take.
You can run but the dirt won't hide. That's why we've employed a few small, economical ways to fight back. First off, invest in a rag rug for the most frequently used door. Ours was a $3 deal from the local discount store.
Notice the filth? The best thing about this rug is that it can easily be picked up, thrown in the wash and voila! Good as new. It cuts back on a lot of the dirt, though not all.
The other thing that's helpful is to get a metal grate for just outside the door. It's good for smudging off dirt and everything before you even set foot on the rug.
You can also do what I did and buy a steam mop. I love this thing. My husband loves this thing. And quite frankly, that's worth it if it encourages my husband to mop.
ADDENDUM2: Your children will never be as clean as you want them to be.
OK, let's be real here. The kids were never really "clean" to begin with. And FFBoy and FFGirl can usually be found doing this:
Which then leads to this:
Kids love dirt. And they are dirt magnets. They also love, in no particular order:
You will become a food snob.
It will happen. Maybe not about everything, but something will no longer be on the menu when you go out to eat. For me, it was eggs. They simply don't compare to the fresh ones from home.
The kids seem to agree, as they don't even order them the few times we go out to eat. For FFarmer, I suspect it's tomatoes.
If you have kids, everyday life will become a classroom.
Honestly, this is one of the best things about homesteading/farming.
Yesterday, we found this under one of our winter-tarped garden beds.
Aside from the "Holy crap, we need more mouse traps!" moment, it was the perfect time to bring the kids over and have a talk about birth and development. And another, more challenging, talk about death.
Chores for kids are actual useful things - and they are productive at it, no matter the age.
Yesterday, our FFBoy helped FF clean out the chicken coop. We do a once-a-year extensive clean out, as we're doing the deep litter method in the coop.
Today the kids helped paint a few baskets and picture frames. Did they make a complete mess? Yep. Did I have to go back behind them and repaint? Yep. Was it worth the it? Yep. Keeping them busy meant we had time to get a lot done. And even though I still went back and did some touch-up, they did most of the painting work.
These are just a few things I can think of that have changed my life since moving out here. For those of you that have started homesteading - what changes to daily life have you encountered? Were they what you expected?
I'm the wife of a Fledgling Farmer(FF) and mom to Fledgling Farmer Boy(FFB) and Fledgling Farmer Girl(FFG).