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So you how do you start your rural life now? What are the best things to do, before you move to a rural area? By beginning with simple things. Testing out ideas. Being open-minded, and using research and planning you can give yourself the best possible start to your rural life. Even while still living in the city.
Let’s explore in a bit more detail what each of these concepts could look like for the average person. Each section below will provide a rough outline of ways and ideas to explore in preparation for the start of your rural life.
This is always easier than it sounds. When you first look into rural life, there are so many areas it becomes daunting. Power, food, construction, water, livestock, and so on. Soon you have an endless list of things to learn, do, and make.
So what do we mean by begin simple? How does this create the best start for your rural life? Let’s break it down into more manageable sections. You can then take this and apply it to any other areas you wish to.
Treat knowledge as a tree, build the roots first and grow from there.
Does it Grow?
Even in the smallest of apartments you can find space to grow something. Herbs are a great way to start out. Some small pots, a few seed packets and a sunny window sill are all you need. Pick herbs you already use in cooking, or ones you like the flavor of. Oregano is a common one to start with as it is quite versatile.
Just ensure that they are herbs you will use, this is a key part. You are not only learning to grow and cultivate a food source but also how to use it in your everyday life. After herbs, there are many fruit and vegetables that you can successfully grow in pots.
Again choose those that you already eat and will fit in the space you have available.
Can I Fix It?
One of the key areas of rural life is the ability to be self-sufficient with repairs. You can begin now. Teach yourself to fix that leaky sink. Maybe a table or chair leg also needs repairing.
For the more adventurous, a walk around most urban areas will provide you with broken items being discarded. Thrift stores may also have cheap nonworking items for you to practice on. Repairing broken things can also hold the potential to provide a small income.
Don’t try to tackle complex systems, to begin with. simple mechanical items are good starting points. Electrical ones pose numerous potential dangers so require certainty that you can safely repair the item. Likewise anything using a combustion engine will need consideration of hazards.
Can I make it?
As with fixing things, you can start now with craft and construction projects. A simple bookshelf, table, or box can all be created within a small space. Learning to knit, crochet, or sew also takes up little space to start.
Two squares of fabric sewn together around three sides has the potential to be: A cushion cover, tote bag, or storage sack. Changing the size of the fabric and there is potential to create a sleeping bag. It is learning the basic root skills that are important, to begin with.
By keeping the skills and tasks simple you allow yourself to develop the core skills without too much pressure to complete a complex task.
Always try to test an idea before relying on it. The best start to your rural life comes from knowing the things you are putting in place, work. Pre-testing is especially important if it will be part of a critical system such as food, water, or power.
We cannot always guarantee what events outside of our control will do. Yet we can guarantee that the methods, devices, and things we are using are fit for purpose. We also have to know these things are safe for our families so testing can also highlight any potential risks.
Particularly in more remote rural areas power can take many forms. Off-Grid living can include, solar, wind, and hydropower sources. Gas or liquid-fuelled generators are common as back up sources. Wood fires can also be utilized, including new methods of generating electricity from the heat.
Each of these potential power sources has its own issues and needs. If you have no flowing water on your property hydro is probably not one to prioritize. Similarly, a cabin within a dense wooded area may see very little wind.
This is why you need to test ideas before relying on them. Building a huge solar array if a waste of time, money, and energy if you discover that it doesn’t even provide enough power to boil a kettle of water each day.
There are many ways to collect and purify water. Finding the one that works for you is critical. When you start your rural life, understanding your water supply is important. The easiest way to start is a simple water butt to collect rainwater for the garden. This also requires knowledge of rainfall and the local water table.
More arid regions will have to prioritize water above almost all other things. Choosing a method to make collected water drinkable may also require many tests to ensure effectiveness, and remove the potential for hospital trips. Testing both the collection system and location, can become as important as testing the purity.
Different regions require different methods to help food crops grow. It is important to make small sample tests of new ideas rather than jeopardize a whole crop you depend on for food. A new fertilizer, grow tunnel, or even watering schedule, can sometimes cause problems with the growth of a crop. I
f you keep animals as a food source, their diet can create dramatic changes. The color of the yolk of an egg is influenced by what the chicken eats. Milk production can be affected by food sources, stress, and the environment. Looking after your animals requires small change over time, so again it is critical to test ideas before relying on them.
You have to be able to adapt to change if you want the best start for your rural life. Being open-minded is a large part of this.
If you have spent your whole life in a city. You will be used to things happening in a certain way. This is often very different to how it will happen in a rural area. adapting to this change is necessary. Be open-minded and embrace the difference.
No matter how many facts you learn in preparation for starting your rural life, some will be wrong. You may read six books that tell you a certain plant grows well in the area you plan to move to. You may then find that this plant doesn’t do well at all in the are.
There are many reasons for things working or not working. Being open-minded allows you to adapt these facts to your truth. Locals can be full of useful information and facts about things in the area. Some of which may be exaggerated.
Rural living is about perception. Understanding how the land works. Your perception of rural life may be vastly different from the reality. A week, month, or even year of starting your rural life, will highlight this.
Blissful summer days, turn into stress filled periods of worrying about crops and animals due to the heat and lack of water. Idyllic snow-covered winter images turn into lean months of little food.
You have to be open-minded that your perception of rural life may not be actual rural life. Prepare for that moment.
Rural life can be hard work. Weeks of relaxed crop tending can become frantic once harvest season arrives. You may have slow days, followed by periods of intense action. This variability is one of the allures of rural living.
There is always something to do. Always a repair, or task to carry out. You have to be adaptable and open-minded to this. You can structure your day the best you can, but a sudden injured animal can throw that structure out of the window.
A sudden leaky roof during a rainstorm. High winds bringing a tree down across the road. These are all things you cannot schedule but have to plan for.
Any period of free time you have should be spent researching. As much as you can prior to and after you start your rural life. Country living has so many aspects to it you cannot learn them all without both time and effort. As mentioned above begin simple. Test out ideas, before you rely on them.
A simple change to your solar array may yield more power production on paper. Yet once you alter your entire physical array you may find that it actually now produces less.
Researching ideas, then testing them should be a constant process. There is always a better way to do something. If it is the better way for you can only be decided through research and then testing.
Books are invaluable for research, especially when it is something you are going to rely on. Usually books are researched written, edited, and proofread before being published. This process provided multiple points for the facts to be verified. This is what makes them a great source of information.
Local libraries are a perfect starting point and many will often try to obtain books for you. Ordering books online is also a great way to develop your own library of information that will last you years to come.
Internet based information
The internet is amazing. The technology allows millions of pages of information to be available at your fingertips 24 hours a day. However, anyone can publish information. Many sites have no external editor, the content is the product of one person. Much of the information is based on opinion. Personal bias is common.
Yet, there is a wealth of good, useful, researched information available. Going Rural, strives to ensure that our information is correct, and we attempt to fact check everything we publish. We still advise you to double-check any information that is linked to local law. Or anything that you rely on that has the potential to be a hazard, such as off-grid power systems or water filtrations methods.
Use good sense and judgment as to if you should double-check information before carrying out any suggestions.
Word of mouth
Like the internet word of mouth information is biased and opinionated. This information is not anonymous like the internet can be. A neighbor telling you which vegetable he has success within the local soil, is more valuable than an online forum.
The neighbor has actual experience in that area. You can even go and see his garden and ask further questions. Theoretical and practical knowledge requires a balance between them. Likewise, the neighbor may have never tried a certain vegetable so may assume to tell you that it cannot be grown in that area.
Dig deeper with word of mouth information, always as Why? How? and When? if possible.
The best way to start your rural life is to plan. Take your research and use it to plan out what you need to do. Plan out what you need to learn. This blog is centered around helping you with this.
As this blog grows more information and guidance will be added for you. We have planned this blog so it will be able to take a complete beginner, from knowing very little to being able to successfully thrive in a rural area.
Articles such as Good things about rural areas, and Rural Living: 15 Useful Tips For Your New Life are aimed at learning what rural life could mean for you. Later articles will delve into self-sufficiency, off-grid living, permaculture, and other areas related to countryside and wilderness living.
Start at the beginning.
Ask yourself what do you want from your rural life? Is it just to retire to a cottage and grow a few vegetables? Do you plan to go all-in and live off-grid being as totally self-sufficient as you can? Are you looking for a homestead or farm to start a business around? Do you just want somewhere safe for your children to live closer to nature?
Before anything you have to find your reason, your truth for wanting to live rurally. You cannot start your rural life, until you are certain why. only then can you take action and plan your future out.
Essential things first
Once you know why you want a rural life, you can then look at the essentials. Your essentials will vary and not be the same as anyone else. You may be moving to a cottage that has its power already in place. In that case the essentials may be who supplies that power.
If you are going completely off-grid you may need to plan for having no power until you build your preferred source. Then the need to plan for a generator may be essential. All of these things need to be researched, decided and planned for. In extreme cases this could result in the difference between life and death.
Always plan for contingencies. When you start your rural life, you will constantly find things you didn’t think about. Write them down and plan around them. If something happens once there is a chance it will happen again.
Perhaps the road you use all summer to get to town is suddenly blocked in winter. You may not have realized this when you started, find a solution then make a note of it. The following year when it happens again instead of guessing or trying to remember you have a written note of how you solved it.
Some things may seem logical or obvious but make a note anyway as you may not think in the same way the next time it happens
In conclusion to have the best start to your rural life, you must spend plenty of time working towards it.
Knowledge, planning and testing are important if you want to ensure key systems you will rely on work. Safety and success for those systems must be prioritized by diligent research and testing. An open-minded approach and starting with simple things will allow you to grow and develop with a solid grounding.
Treat this like a tree. Build solid roots first with the basics, then grow those skills and branch out as you need to. Prioritize your essential needs first, by examining why you want to live rurally. This will be the best way to start your rural life now.
Recommended top 5 books for beginners
- The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It
- Gene Logsdon’s Practical Skills
- Getting Away
- The Encyclopedia of Country Living
- The Rural Life
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