How to Be a Country Mouse in the City

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Two years ago today, I moved to the city.

That may not seem like any big deal to some of you, but it is pretty extreme when you grew up in a town of 1200 and spent the majority of your married life in towns with a population of 3000 and under.

I didn’t think the city would change me…
but it did.

I didn’t see that until just recently when a new friend of mine began asking me questions about the “domestic arts”. I realized I knew a lot about the things she was asking, but didn’t practice many of them anymore. I felt like I just didn’t have the time.

Some might say I have more children, but I have the same number I had 2 years ago.

Some might say it’s because I am homeschooling a 6th grader, a 3rd grader, and now a Kindergartner, but I don’t think that is it either.

I think I know what happened to my slower-paced country life…it stayed in the country!

I didn’t think the city would change me…
but it did.

It took me until a few months ago to find a raw milk source again. However, there was no cream on the milk like I was used to so I wasn’t using it to make butter and whipped cream and such. I was still making my own bread and had begun making kombucha tea, but there were so many other things I had left by the wayside. Somewhere along the line I quit making my own handsoap and the only canning and perserving I was doing was a little bit of jelly here and a few apples there. I no longer talked over the fence with neighbors or sat for hours in the shade with a friend while the kiddos played. Weekends at our rather rustic lake cabin left me wanting to return to the simpler life…the one I was beginning to realize I no longer had.

I didn’t think the city would change me…

but it did.

Let me take off my rose-colored glasses for a moment to tell you that it isn’t the city’s fault. And honestly, the country isn’t somehow holier than the city. However, living in the country, with less pavement and more open spaces, does allow God’s creation an easier time of testifying to his sovereignty. There is something to the thought that the city speeds life up while the country slows it down.
It is best summed up in this short, but incredibly thought-provoking blog post by Janelle at Blessed Nation Ranch entitled The Fruit of Our Labor. She’s talking about children, but the points made in the post about living in a “microwave world” and how nothing on a farm gets done quickly, speaks volumes about why the city speeds us up and the country slows us down.
Patience is one thing us city dwellers seem to have little of. With everything I could possibly ever need all within a 6 block radius of my home and a wealth of information available at 80 words per minute via the internet, I find I care very little for waiting. Even my coffee pot allows for me to pull the pot out before it’s done brewing!
This past weekend we took some new friends to meet some old friends back in my hometown. They own a farm that offers organic homegrown eggs, chicken, beef, lamb, and milk. We met at a local festival 8 years ago when they moved back to my hometown. I remember our first meeting quite clearly as I could not comprehend anything they were saying to me because I couldn’t stop counting their children. There were so many of them…ahem…4, to be exact. Later, we began homeschooling and met together in the same homeschooling group. We have always been uplifted and encouraged by our friendship with them. When our new friends showed an interest in learning about farm life, Janice & Alan seemed like a good place to start.
As we roamed their farm and later sat in the shade on their back patio, I began to remember what it felt like to just be. I remembered what it felt like to breathe deeply, talk about domestic things, talk about spiritual things, and learn from each other in a slow-paced atmosphere. This feeling carried throughout the entire weekend as we enjoyed fellowship and worship at the lake cabin. It seemed there was all the time in the world.
I came home changed.

I’ve told people for two years now that I’m not a city girl. Probably to most people that seems obvious. I leave the city every chance I get and I do continue to practice many domestic arts that seem to be rather foreign here, but I have been city-fied. Life feels much too fast and much too cluttered. But because I can’t leave the city for real, I’ve decided I have to just settle for being a country mouse in the city (one who scurries off every so often).

Simplifying doesn’t require you turn your back on the city. It doesn’t mean you abhor the culture of the city or the fact that you can get whatever you need in a moment’s notice. It also doesn’t ignore the myriad of ministry opportunities the city affords. This simple back-to-basics country-life is a state of being. It is a mind-set. It is something I am determined to regain.

So, how do you live as a country mouse in the city?

Well, my first step is declutter. (yes, life feels out of control and decluttering is what I do when I need to pull things back together!)

From there, I need to put school and chores in their rightful places.

I’ll probably spend some time looking at websites and books on homesteading and the domestic arts I’ve left behind. (I’ll put some of what I find on the Large Family Living area of this blog).
I’ll work at redeeming my time by streamlining some areas and allowing for more flexibility in others.

There are probably other things I will think of along the way, but it is late and country mice sleep at this hour!

So, goodnight all! This country mouse is going to bed here in the great big city.

4 Comments on How to Be a Country Mouse in the City

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4 thoughts on “How to Be a Country Mouse in the City

  1. This was put so very well. As a country girl living our homesteading lifestyle on the fringes of a town, I totally identify. The city way of life does creep in easily…..I remind myself often of what is important to me and what simply isn’t. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I can totally relate to this.

    Years ago, my boss told my “You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl”

    He also stated that if need be I could be put on a piece of land, given chickens, seeds etc, and I could survive when lots of other people would die of starvation.

    So, yes, I can relate to this post. I too, will be a Country Mouse in the City.

    Have a great day.

  3. Great post!
    I have had such a busy schedule (like the city mouse)these past few weeks but live in the country! I love a slower pace! I can’t wait til the end of August when things will slow down a bit!
    My garden and animals need me!
    My son Nick had a birthday (10) Aug 1 and I have not had time to post anything!
    Tell your hubby happy birthday! I’m bummed I missed out on your great giveawy! Maybe next time!


  4. Funny, I’m a city girl, living in the country! :) I’d like to be more country some day though. We do have chickens now…but you’ve always been way ahead of me by baking bread, making jelly and soap and pickles (gasp). Someday maybe…..someday.