Citiot Learned Hillbilly Moving from the City to the Country

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 12:00
Posted in category Outdoors
<div class=\"postavatar\">Citiot Learned Hillbilly Moving from the City to the Country</div>

Post written by Rick Doyle

Citiot Learned Hillbilly Moving from the City to the Country

I should probably start by defining the subtle and yet infinitely different distinctions between a Citiot and a Hillbilly to really characterize how my country edification came about.  It’s a vast chasm between two worlds that find almost nothing in common. I was ill prepared to learn what a culture shock it would be to move to a farm.  The rules, conventions and the subtle and not so subtle ways of conducting everything from business to pet care to parenting to schools, virtually everything I ever grew up with in the city is so drastically different in the country it is like an alien experience. I was only moving 50 miles and I experienced culture shock.  How could two communities that are only 50 miles apart be so completely different?  There was a whole new language to learn.  I mean, what’s trifling?  Whatever it is, I promise I won’t do it to your daughter, Sir.  Ciphering?  Little did I know that ‘ciphering’ is the act of taking measurements before you cut or build something.  Dang, what’s that smell?!  Kyarn?  Apparently ‘kyarn’ is a lovely derivative of the word carrion, which is rotting flesh and the farm dogs love to roll around in it.  I know I’m going to lose a few of you here so I’ll try to explain some of the finer points.

As a Citiot I grew up thinking that 3 acres was a massive amount of land. For most people in the city anything over an acre is actually fairly large.  My wife and I have 33 acres, which out here, is so piddlin’ it’s not even enough to put a crop on short of fescue (hay for you Citiots).  I also thought that hard work was mulching 5 or 6 flower beds, weed whacking, cleaning the pool, with and without the automatic pool cleaner and running to Home Depot two blocks from my house to get little fix it items for doors, washing machine hookups and other really demanding tasks.  I thought a big tractor was around 20 hp and a really BIG tractor was 24 hp, reserved for the golf course type home owner with the 48″ cut.

As a Citiot I thought that fixing a leaky faucet or a leaky toilet is what you called plumbers to fix.  Getting wood meant calling the wood guy to bring a cord of wood to your house, already cut and stacked.  Gardening was what your wife did on weekends as a hobby.  Pruning trees, excavation, stump removal and pizza were all taken care of with a phone call to a service.  Even clearing the drive in winter with a shovel was maybe a 1 to 2 hour task, a real manly-man task if you don’t have a teenager around to do it. Pest control was a mouse in the house, a carpenter bee messing with your deck or the neighbor’s dogs doing their business on your front lawn.  Once, I had a really close call as a neighbor nearly saw me break a sweat, but I got to the AC just in the nick of time.  An apology in advance to you do-it-yourselfers in the city; kudos on the good work.  The rest of you know what I’m talking about so grab yourselves another cold one (big cities don’t usually have “dry counties”) while you keep reading. 

As a new Hillbilly inductee, I would need proper education and instruction beginning with the county fair. OMG, hogs of all kinds, including the human kind; there were more rolls at the county fair than any bakery has EVER seen.  I dodged tobacco spit, horse poop, goats, sheep and cattle.  I had no idea there were that many different animals in one county.  I got introduced to a whole new menu as well! Scrambled eggs and brains, rocky mountain oysters (bull testicles), scrapple, all kinds of liver and various body parts that the city restaurants and grocers don’t usually have.  My father-in-law even wanted me to have the chance to castrate a few young bulls to have fresh for breakfast before he sold off the last of his herd when he retired. I won’t go into the “rubber” Cheerios that you don’t eat but instead use to neuter sheep. (These are green rubberbands that are placed on a lambs scrotum thus cutting off the blood supply and causing them to “wither on the vine” saving them from the trauma of castration at an older age.  Believe it or not this is the more humane way to do it.) Ain’t the life of a Hillbilly grand!

As a happy Hillbilly I learned that the closest Home Depot is about 30 miles away.  So are most plumbers and other service personnel.  My wife asked me to build her a raised garden bed near the house last weekend so she could reach it with the hose.  I built the sides with old railroad ties and then moved about 20 tons of topsoil to fill it. We planted a dozen cherry trees, after losing last year’s planting of 100 white pine trees to the insatiable greedy deer.  Building an electric fence to keep out the deer for the main garden takes yard work to a new level! Our tractor, a smaller farm size, is about 75 hp, with 3 steps up to the seat, rear tires that stand nearly 6 feet tall that weigh more than 1,000 pounds each.  Do it yourself took on a whole new meaning from bug spraying to bush hogging.  (Bush hogging is cutting the grass that isn’t cut for hay or feeding livestock and is usually done 2 or 3 times a year) The Bush Hog (grass cutter) is 7 feet across and will cut a 2 to 3 inch tree like a hot knife through butter.  Our gravel driveway gets “plowed” in winter because it is ¾ of a mile long.  No teenager yet!  I had a culvert problem last year when heavy rains almost washed out our drive so I had to repair them myself.  Thousands of dollars on a bulldozer and crew or I could build wooden wings on each side then back fill with concrete to channel the water.  I had fun moving over 200 bags of concrete that I then poured by hand.  I did it!  In 90 degree heat too and I was lucky that no one saw me sweat.  My friends from the city occassionally come out to the farm just to see me sweat and then swear it’s just a special effect.  This couldn’t be the guy they’ve known for the previous 20-25 years and it has killed my reputation for being lazy, fat and useless.

I have since learned more things about bugs than I ever wanted to know.  There are bugs that bite, sting, stink and bugs that kill trees.  I’ve learned a lot about hunting and fishing and that snapping turtles grow to be enormous with a ferocious stink to match their size.  As a fine upstanding Hillbilly I can call my neighbor and ask for a pull out of a ditch as well as take pride in delivering my wife’s homemade apple pies or Christmas cookies to friends and neighbors. I learned that neighbors talk to each other when they have a problem and use an attorney as a very last resort.  I learned that my kids have the Star Spangled Banner played every morning for them in school which is followed by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.  Patriotism, Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny are all alive and welcome there.  It’s not feasible for the kids in the country to go house to house at Halloween so the local church and school get together and everyone brings a truck or car up to the school parking lot and passes out candy and treats.

Hillbillies watch out for each other a lot more than people watch out for their city neighbors.  Politically correct is non-existent out here, which is as refreshing as a cool splash of water on a hot summer day. There is also a lot less crime; fewer shootings, robberies and I haven’t sat in a traffic jam for years.  In the city if you did call for service or an estimate people called you back in an hour or two at the most. Too much competition meant a job went to the best price and fastest attentive business.  Here in the country, you could reach retirement age before you get a return phone call.  You chase a lot of people to get service or something done.  Prices are usually much better especially with a “family referral” but sometimes they have you hostage because they know there is no competition anywhere close.  For groceries, my wife makes a trip into town once a week and we stock up once a month at Costco or Sam’s.  The Pharmacy out here is great; they always remember your name and try to get you the cheapest price they can.  However, Doctors are ALWAYS worth the drive into the city, unless you need a Chiropractor and thankfully, we have a great one in the family!  

Round up is the greatest grass trimmer in the world!  Not the kind you get from Home Depot which is watered down and priced in the stratosphere.  Tractor Supply has the concentrate, which is 41% or higher. You can make over 120 gallons for about $100 from TSC for what you pay for 7 gallons at Home Depot.  Fertilizer is the same deal. You can’t hardly kill fescue (grass)even if you don’t water and don’t fertilize.  In the city deer are cute, so graceful and picturesque with their big limpid brown eyes. In the country they destroy anything you plant or grow (except for dandelions).  My wife and I put up 40-50 quarts of homemade apple sauce last fall from apples we picked right off the tree. We have added grapes, raspberries, pears and cherries to our fruit orchard.  Gardens in the country tend to be the extra large size of 1/4 to 1/2 acre. Although I would love to have a movie theater, good restaurants, and a few other conveniences close, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  I am getting very close to full conversion of Citiot to Hillbilly and learned that while it was a culture shock at first, the benefits at this point of moving from the city to the country have been well worth the adjustment.  While I love getting to the city for some fun or to see old friends, this is now home, sweet home because it’s where my heart is; my wife, kids and family.

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79 Responses to “Citiot Learned Hillbilly Moving from the City to the Country”

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