Pros and Cons: Living in the Boonies

January 2, 2013 069As I’ve mentioned, I live in the Boonies. I live six miles from town. A town with one stop sign. So, by town, I mean village. It’s adorable. Picturesque. Redwood trees in the front yard. Deer nestled in the meadow. At the grocery store, they check your eggs before bagging them and there is a real meat counter.

But, as with most things there are the pros and cons.


*Natural Beauty. I’ve mentioned the trees. As you can tell from my serial The Roaring Redwoods, I love those redwood trees. I find them deeply moving, stirring my soul.

*Small town atmosphere with community events, a volunteer fire department. Every holiday you get a little bit of Mayberry and it’s a beautiful thing. A sing-a-long at the tree lighting. Trick or Treating where you’re given unwrapped candy or homemade treats– and eat them.

*That “get away from it all on vacation feeling”? I live there.

*Safety. I’m more worried about mountain lions than any violence from a person. Crimes that happen in cities every single day without a blip, are huge news here. We have had our share- don’t get me wrong- but they are (gratefully) rare.

*I feel a sense of “how it should be” here. There is a need for public system support. We would not make it without our highway departments, sheriff deputies, state fire dept and other aid coming from the public sector (i.e.; government). But there is also a get-in-and-get-it-done yourself spirit here. If a tree falls blocking the road, you can usually just wait for someone with a chain saw to come by and take care of it. When our town is looking a little worn, a Saturday will be scheduled to call out the volunteers to clean it up. It may because of the absence of other services, but I think it’s more, this is just how we do it.


*Trees. Those gorgeous trees make it exactly impossible for me to have any kind of satellite service. And that distance from town means no cable. They have a habit of falling and blocking roads, taking power lines with them, and crushing whatever might be underneath (think roofs, cars).

*Wildlife. I have not seen a mountain lion. The scariest thing out here are the raccoons. I used to actually collect raccoon figurines and stuffed animals. Until I lived in the woods and saw what horrid, violent creatures they are. And despite what you might have heard, they are NOT more afraid of you than you are of them. They will stand their ground over your trash can and bare their vicious teeth at you.

*Isolation. That safety and can do spirit can be insulating and isolating, making us disconnected from the real world. Why don’t people fix their own pot holes in the city? Because there is more traffic and they’d be run over in the street before they could lift the shovel. In the top 3 on my list for moving to a new house is being a neighborhood.

*Expense. It is truly ridiculous what it costs to live here. On the nice days, we say “this is why we pay what we do.” But we avoid looking at housing costs anywhere else because it is utterly demoralizing to see what $300,000 will buy you anywhere, but here.

*Distance. I just need an egg and it’s going to be a 30 minute trek to get it. One time, the power was out for five days.

So, all in all, I agree this is paradise. But it’s expensive and not without its challenges.