Finding the Country Girl in Me

sandhill plumsI grew up in a small town, the daughter of a farmer. I picked sandhill plums in the summer and split wood in the winter. I drove a combine during wheat harvest and broke ice for the cattle during blustery snowstorms. I knew where you could find free persimmons and I even knew what to do with them once I had them. At one point in time I lived on a ranch in the middle of a mile section with nary a neighbor in sight. And life was simple.

Then we moved to the city.

And despite the fact that I thought I would never forget and never fit in, before long that country girl got lost in the concrete and life felt a lot like rush hour traffic.  I didn’t seem to have time anymore.

Now I know the city didn’t time warp me.  There were other factors too, but already only a few days into our life back in the country I can feel time slowing.

The other day we worked in the asparagus patch – getting it ready for the new growth (I am so excited about having fresh asparagus!).  I’ve been researching what I need to do to take care of the fruit trees on the property.  I’ve started my compost bucket underneath the kitchen sink and I’m hoping to get a hold of some shipping palettes to make my compost bin outside (mine isn’t going to look as nice as the one in the link!).  Due to my poor health right now, I’ve been determined to return to eating whole foods and more raw foods – something I had no trouble doing when we lived in rural areas.  We’ve been taking in the local wildlife, looking forward to spring, and exploring the property in our spare time!

And I finally feel like I have time again.

It seems like a strange phenomena to me.  How did the city ever manage to suck this life out of me?  Surely I cannot blame the city for all of this.  However, I think the city can cause a person to lose their resourcefulness.  Most of my life I lived in places that required me to drive long distances for resources, so much of my life was spent finding ways to make do with what I had.  Making do creates a person who is resourceful and typically more content.  I have struggled with contentment for years (which is why I write about it so often here…I NEED to hear it too!)

Obviously, not everyone can run out and get a house in the country.  And obviously living in the country will not automatically create contentment and add hours to your day.  I sincerely believe you can bloom and thrive in the city, learn to be resourceful in the city, and even find more time in the city! 

So,this is my challenge to you – if you live in the country, GREAT – I would love to hear how you spend your time and how you are resourceful; and if you live in the city, GREAT – I would love to hear how you are being purposeful about your time and how you are living a life of contentment there!

And I really hope you don’t mind me rattling on about living in the country and all the things I’m relearning – this has truly been one of life’s “Aha” moments for me and I can’t help but share it with all of you!

 

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32 thoughts on “Finding the Country Girl in Me

  1. I’m excited to read about all the relearning you’ll be doing, Amy! I live in a “city” but I long for what you are currently experiencing (time slowing, gardens, good food, resourcefulness). I’m being purposeful with my time by living life (mostly!) by a schedule so I don’t waste my life on the computer (thanks Flylady!). As for being content, this is an area that I’m currently being tried in. We just moved in with some friends and it was a real scale-down for us. This is not a nice place at all, and I’m ready to have a place of our own. I’m finally beginning to become one with the fleas and the drafty windows and the mice (eek!) by treating the house with respect despite my feelings toward it. I may think it’s a trash heap, but it is our home, and treating it kindly by making it as homely and clean as possible has really helped with my attitude. And God is reminding me that this world isn’t my home, anyways :)

    • It is so tough to be content when your circumstances seem crummy. I try to remember Paul in chains…content and doing what he could for Christ’s name from where he was. Puts things in perspective!

  2. I know what you mean – except for me it’s been the opposite. I grew up in Suburbia and moved the the country as an adult. We live in a country town and we rent and it’s not an ideal situation… but still, I love it and have been able to make a lot out of the little we have – thanks to the Lord’s goodness and blessings! I look forward to reading about your new adventure! :)

  3. Hi Amy! So glad for you that you get to return to your country roots. :)
    I’m a bit of an odd duck. I grew up for 16 years in the suburbs of NYC. Then we moved to the country in PA and had cows across the street for neighbors!

    Since living in England, I’ve lived 6 years in a big city, 10 years in a small village, and now three years on the edge of a small city in a large town. In that large town, I live in the last street on the edge of town. At the end of my road if you went left you go into the town and lots of houses etc. If you turn right in is farm fields on both sides of the road!

    Funnily enough, the time that taught me the most about resourcefulness was the first 16 years living near NYC. I lived near my dear grandparents during that time and spent time with them every week. They had lived through the depression and a world war. They were very resourcefull and very thrifty – while still being the most generous people I have ever known.

    I learned how to mend and make do from them. How to appreciate good wholesome food, make the most of the smallest of pieces of land to grow what you can, to cook everything from scratch and deliciously.

    My Mom had five kids and we were a one income family as my parents felt that she should be home with us kids. She knew how to make things stretch, shop thriftily, find bargains and ways to suppliment the income while still staying home with us and working from there.

    This has been a very tough year for us with a major loss of income and then another. However, my planning and stocking up has meant we can keep eating well and healthily during the leanest times. We have grown quite alot of veg in our little garden by turning all our ‘flower’ beds out back into veg patches. We have canned foods that are hard to get here so that we don’t have to spend lots buying expensive imports (like Apple sauce and Apple butter!)

    This year I have spent time closer to home with less running around, more shopping at farmers markets and making our gifts to give. ( I hand made about 90% of our Christmas list this year) This keeps me out of mischeif and makes good use of my time by being productive.

    Although I technically started out as a city girl, I really think I’m a country girl at heart and in practice!

    It is truely the best of both worlds! I can get anything you get in a city within 20 minutes of my front door. I can also get free range eggs from the farmer down the road 5 minutes away! (so free range that you have to work at not running the chickens over when you drive up to buy the eggs!!)

    • I have a similar situation with being able to get things from the city and the country. This isn’t quite the country of my childhood, but it’s enough to kick my resourcefulness back in gear! I wish I hadn’t wasted time in the city NOT being resourceful. I did ok, but could have done a whole lot better!

  4. I was raised in a town of 300 in Missouri, lived in Miami for 20 years, moved to Asheville for 5 years and 6 years ago moved south to a town of about 1800 in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We have 7 acres in horse country and as much as I would love to garden, I know it would be a frustrating, never-ending battle with the deer for what I could produce so I content myself with taking garden overflow from friends or shopping the farmer’s market on Saturdays. We also homeschool and in a perfect world, only go to town once a week for errands and to the big city when necessary. Being home all of the time isn’t tedious for me, it’s a huge blessing! I love my little corner of the globe and don’t need to leave it to find happiness!
    What really has me intrigued is your persimmons comment – I have about 6 persimmon trees and would love to know what to do with them! Do tell!

  5. We live in the country. As long as the weather is nice yard work is therapy. I would rather pull weeds than clean house any day. We too have a compost “pile” but we will soon have a pallet bin (thank you) other things we do that saves us money is of course we make our own laundry soap and fabric softener; but I make our hand soap and body wash. Another thing I do that might sound a bit strange is my husband and a friends husband go out of town all the time for business. The guys bring me back all the sample bottles of shampoo conditioner whatever (because they will just throw it away once you have stayed in the room) when they get home with them I condense and I have been able to stop buying shampoo and conditioner for myself because of this. Oh and someone asked me if my hair smelled funny after, no it actually smells really good and very clean. We also have stopped using paper plates, paper towels, and paper napkins. That has save this family of 5 w/3 DDs homeschooled a tone of money.

  6. I grew up a country girl that couldn’t wait to leave the peacefulness and escape to the lights and glitz of the big city. :( When we moved to the country last August, it was like a breath of fresh air for the entire family and we’ve enjoyed a slower pace. We have abundant wildlife (there are geese, a crane and a mink in the pond right now!), we can’t see our neighbors, home is like a refuge now. Something I would not have appreciated before. I’m looking forward to having a huge garden and canning our food and our landlord has agreed to allow us to get chickens. I know we can’t live here forever, but it sure has been a welcome break for my family.

    • We are wondering about chickens, but I’m not sure our landlords will allow it. I know we aren’t here forever either, but that’s ok…I’ll enjoy it while I am!

  7. Hi! I live in a small town, but right down town – a block from the main road. We have a nice sized yard though and I try to make it my own little bit of country right here. We have one car and I find that that alone helps me stay resourceful. I simply cannot run out every time I need (or want) to. We have 12 raised beds in our back yard for vegetable gardening. As much as possible, I try to restrict our “going out” to just one day per week, and I find that it helps keep our live moving a bit slower, more intentionally inbetween trips.

    Great blog!

  8. Good Morning Amy!
    I can’t wait to see pictures of your new place! I’m definitely a city girl but I am working hard on being more purposeful in how I go about my day. We also plan on putting in a chicken coop and a garden (Lord help me with that, I tend to kill everything I try to grow!) LOL See, my problem is…okay, I’m just being honest, don’t judge me;) I really cannot stand dirt. Ha! I feel so much free-er now! But for my kids to have the experience of growing their own food, I will brave the dirt! I would love to read tips on what steps you take to get the ground ready, how to keep the dogs OUT of the garden, etc.:)

    Hope your day is filled with beauty!
    Michelle

  9. Amy, I’m so excited for you! We too, lived in the country, and although we didn’t do all the farming and homestead you grew, we had planted a few fruit trees and had a garden. Then, we too, moved to the city. I was pregnant and due in July (in Georgia!) and so we skipped having a garden last year, but are hoping to do one this year. I try to stay resourceful by not going out. Everything is very close now and it would be easy to just run out to the store every day because we run out of something. I try to stay home and use whatever we have on hand.
    I can’t wait to read more of you re-learning the country life. Your post today has inspired me to do what I can while living in the city! :)
    Blessings!

  10. Our daughter is 20 and currently in college to be a nurse. She has been raised much like you. I pray that she always remembers the skills that her dad and I have taught her no matter where life takes her. Thanks!

  11. We have a big old farmhouse on 3 acres – we’ve been here 3yrs now and while it isn’t perfect – it’s ours. And it’s beautiful. And I feel SO GOOD about raising our children here with our chickens and garden and space to just BE. So serene…and I promise you won’t find a nicer view of the stars as in the country. So happy for you and your family, Amy!!

  12. I love your thoughts, and, although I’ve never lived in the country, I have often wondered if that slow pace would be real. We live in a small suburb of a large city, so I think we get the best of both worlds. Although we don’t have acreage, our house looks out on a field with the small town beyond. We have enough yard for a garden and play-space. We live about thirty minutes out from the hot spots of the city, though, so we can easily reach excellent cultural opportunities and shopping when we choose. I hadn’t really thought about it before reading your post, but as we drive through the countryside toward the city, I can feel the pressure level increasing. And then, as we drove home after being in the city, I can feel the slower, relaxed pace sinking in again as I gaze over the farmer’s fields.

    • We aren’t real far from everything either, but we are enough out of town to be out of all the hub bub and yes, there truly is a difference. So strange.

  13. I’m enjoying reading about your country living! We are from the country but just recently moved to the city (into a house we had orginally built to sell). Long story short- our house is for sale and we are hoping to buy my parents farm in the country. I miss it terribly & can’t wait to get back to it! I’m trying to be content here, but I hope we get to move soon! I’m good with whatever the Lord decides to give us though! :) I really enjoy your blog!

  14. Sounds like a dream come true! Being in a suburb of Chicago, I try to live as simply and naturally as possible. Yes, we have Internet, etc. but, I try to use it only when necessary. Our family loves to read, we listen to classical music in the car, we homeschool…many thing to help us focus on the important things…God and each other. Of course, things get in the way, but I always try to remember our goals.

    Thanks for sharing your heart!

  15. Amy, I am so happy for you to be back in the Country :) And as for how I spend my time…well it won’t take you long to figure out how to spend your time…it is going to be all spent before you figure that out ;) I have found that I do what I can each day, grow what I can, focus of what the Vision is from the Lord for our family and then Thank Him for all that He does for us! God bless all of you as you come back to the Land!

  16. I am a country girl at heart. Born and raised in a small town and moved to the “big” (for me anyway) city with my husband after he graduated from college. We currently rent our house and live in the city but we still try to have as much of a slow paced country life as we can! I love what we have here. Of course I would love more room and to have some goats. I love milking goats, its so fun! But God has so provided more than we need right now. Contentment is something I too struggle with, that grass always seems to be greener. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 is what I constantly repeat to myself. It hangs above my sink so that I can constantly remind myself to be thankful and grateful for everything! I love to garden in our small raised beds and tend our city chickens! Last year my tiny little tomato garden provided about 10 batches of tomato sauce for me to can! I could not believe it. We have our little urban farm and love to can and produce as much as we can. It is busy but I think its the peaceful kind of busy. I rambled on and on. So I love your blog and can’t wait to see what you do in the country. :)

  17. I think contentment boils down to thankfulness. I find myself frequently thanking the Lord for all the conveniences I have in the city. That it’s so easy to find good deals on groceries and clothes because everything is so close. I love having several thrift stores to choose from, all close to home and lots of grocery stores so I can be picky about getting the best deals. I’m so thankful that we don’t have to worry about coyotes or snakes or whatever because of where we live.
    But I love visiting my friends who live in the country. It’s funny, I was telling my best friend (who moved to the country) how much I love her new place. It was so fun to hang out there and wander around. She asked if I wanted to move to the country now and it surprised me. No not at all. I’m very happy for them and I enjoy our visits, but it doesn’t make me want anything different.
    Just like the benefits of the city didn’t make you want to leave the country. I think we naturally love what we are used to.