Some who read this blog (if anyone does) will say that the changes in life that I have written about have nothing to do with living in the country, that people anywhere can live the way that I am describing. They may say it’s just a matter of choosing to make the changes. To some extent, those people will be right. Most of the things I will write about can be done regardless of where you live. But some things cannot or, at the very least, are not practical in certain places. For example, lots of city dwellers simply don’t have the space for a garden and fruit trees.
But what I think those people will really be missing in making such claims is that making the choice is often the hard part and that the choices we make about how we live are very much influenced by what we see around us everyday. For example, even for someone who has the space in their yard to plant a garden, they might not think/choose to do so if they never see gardens around them. In my time in the city, I don’t recall seeing any vegetable gardens. Sure there were flowers all over the place, but no gardens intended to produce food. That I saw. I’m sure that there were some gardens, but I didn’t do an inspection of a million backyards to try to find them. But where I live now, I see vegetable gardens all the time.
When we moved, being able to plant a big garden was one of the changes about which we were most excited. And we did plant a garden. I will be posting about our garden quite a bit. Maybe we could have had a garden in the city, as we had a spacious back yard that was fenced in. We would have had little to worry about as far as animals eating our produce, since there weren’t deer and other animals around. The land was flat and would have worked well.
But it’s not even clear that we would have been able to use our yard for this purpose. Even though our yard was large (for the city), it was not as usable as I would have liked. I don’t think that we could have tilled the ground for a garden because of what was in the ground. There were cables for multiple cable companies. Phone lines. Electric wires. And who knows what else. You might think that these things would be buried too deeply to matter for a garden. Not so. I don’t care what various codes say about the depth at which wires and pipes should be buried, if there is no inspector around, the guy doing the digging and burying very often puts things in the ground just deep enough to avoid seeing them. So there was also a practical reason for not having a garden at our previous location.
Maybe we could have had a smaller garden or planted the garden further away from the house at our old place, but we didn’t. It just didn’t feel right. However, where we are now, it would not feel right if we did not plant a garden. It would seem like we were wasting an opportunity. An opportunity to have fresh fruits and vegetables of our choice, free of chemicals. An opportunity to see for ourselves what I consider the amazing process of growing something. Dig a little hole, drop a seed in the ground, cover, and water. And from that you can get 30 tomatoes. Seriously, that is amazing. But I don’t think a lot of people think about how the food that they eat ends up on their table. We get to see some of that. And, so will our children. I am happy that we can provide our children with an opportunity to learn about how food is produced, to gain an appreciation for the work that goes into getting food to the table.
Anyway, back to my earlier point. Don’t read this blog as saying that living in the country is all good or that living in the city is all bad. Don’t read it as saying that you really have to live differently if you live in the country. I might write about some change in our life that resulted from moving from the city to the country and someone might respond by saying, “You can do that in the city” or “I live in the city, and I do that.” It’s not about one person doing it; it’s more about what is the norm. And I think that most people will not be able to argue that for the vast majority of the topics about which I will write, there is a difference between living in the city and living in the country.