It’s been a little less than a year (wow.) since we moved from urban NJ, to the wilds of Southwest Virginia and boy, how has our life changed. We’ve learned how to put up a fence, and how to trim goat (and sheep) hooves. We’ve picked up baby chicks from the post office, and built a yurt. We’ve met some truly amazing people, and kept in touch with some really awesome ones. We’ve boggled the minds of both our city friends, and our new country ones. It’s been a BIG year. What do we love the most so far?
1. Finding parking isn’t a blood pressure raising struggle (just watch out for the chickens!)
2. The stars shine far, far brighter out here
3. People don’t look at me like I have two heads if I mention making butter or a vinegar shrub, they smile and share their recipe
4. Our morning starts with our own milk, fresh from the goat and eggs, still warm from the coop, (and if I’m lucky, one of Mike’s amazing, awesome biscuits)
5. We don’t have to worry about our livestock dog waking up the neighbors, just US
6. I can pick dandelions for a salve or fritters, without worrying what it has been sprayed with (PS. In NJ, I wouldn’t have even THOUGHT to pick my own, I would have ordered dried!)
7. Shipping crates are a dime a dozen here, just waiting for a project idea, whereas in the city, they’re like gold
8. People wave to you as they drive by, and it’s not with the middle finger
9. Slowing down and taking your time is a value here, not an annoyance
10. Drinking sweet tea out of a mason jar is just the way it’s done
11. I now know the farmers at the farmers market, rather than feeling like an urban outsider looking in
12. Our UPS driver always smiles and chats for a minute or two, rather than shoving the package at us with a disgruntled face
13. Our dog doesn’t need a dog park or agility center, she has rolls of hay, fallen trees and chickens, goats and more to keep her company
14. Bartering is cool, not cheap
15. Frugal is cool, not cheap
16. Heading into town means a 20 min drive, but it’s a beautiful one
17. Being neighborly is a real thing here, and it has saved our butt at least once
18. Need something? Try the person behind you in line at the grocery, they’ll probably know someone who can help (that’s how we found emergency hay)
19. CSAs, raw milk shares and pasture raised bulk meat aren’t impossible to find, in fact, you’ll probably have a few options
20. Homemade moonshine can and will be pulled out of jacket pockets at potlucks (and it’ll probably be darn good!)
21. Yes, potlucks. They’re a weekly thing here. Expect homemade popcorn and lots of kale.
22. People know the value of land (many can talk about the history of the land, going back generations), and they take care of it
23. We don’t need to go to a park (although Buffalo Mountain is a must visit) to walk around, we can take a hike on our own property
24. Local isn’t just a slogan, it’s a real thing, you’re supporting your neighbor and they in turn will support you
25. If I need a break from work, I can go out and cuddle a goat or watch chickens scratching…puts everything in perspective
26. The things we “gave up”, like sushi and traveling, turn out to not be all that big of a deal at all when you love where you live
27. There are an astounding amount of things available via the internet, and arrive via Terry, the smiling UPS driver (see #12)
28. You can go to the nicest restaurant in town, with hay on your jeans and a baseball cap, and nobody stares
29. When you have chickens, not a scrap of food will go to waste.
30. Friends and family have really embraced our new life, and love to visit…and bring THEIR friends and family. Which is truly, truly awesome.
31. The life that you love (or dream of) is a life worth living. Nothing else matters.
This post is featured on the Joybilee Homestead Abundance Link Up!