Moving Up to the Country

RED SQUIRREL MUSINGS — In her inaugural blog post, Christine Thomas shares her experience about moving up to the country.

April 5, 2010 | | Blogs | Community | Leisure | Red Squirrel Musings

We were urbanites with a dream to leave the banal concrete skylines and find our own rural idyll.

By Christine Thomas

Ed. Note: We are pleased to welcome Christine Thomas to our family of In The Hills bloggers. Eclectic, curious and nimble, Christine sometimes feels an affinity with the red squirrel. We hope you enjoy her “Red Squirrel Musings!”

We had heard and read the stories about embracing Mother Nature and living the life of the country squire with wide open spaces and peace and quiet.

During our five year search for sanctuary, real estate agents would often take us to THEIR version of a dream home. We would come home dejected. It wasn’t until we found an agent who could see through OUR eyes that we were able to choose our dream home: the ten-acre horse farm in Mono.

This century-plus homestead had a log barn, a run-in and a “coach house” that serves as a three-bay garage. All were livable, doable and almost within budget. It also had an old barn that I fell in love with. It was pristine, solid and the ceilings seemed to climb to the sky. Everything else was a throw-in.

We purchased the property in February when the area was encased in snow. This was another factor that led us north…to see snow again! In April, when we moved in, to my surprise beautiful gardens greeted my ungreen thumb! They bloomed and blossomed that entire growing season. Marvellous!

The home itself would require TLC, but for now we could live with the mustard siding, brown shutters, the dated kitchen and the orange shag carpeting in the family room. I began to hyperventilate. What had I done? Where was my head when we agreed to purchase this atrophied treasure trove?

That feeling did not go away for three years! Actually, I kept expecting someone to drive up the laneway one day and say, Hey, thanks for taking care of the place!

My friends set up the kitchen and I did not change it for six years. I had boxes stored in the coach house for five years and never once looked at them. Though that did not stop me from attending umpteen auction sales that first summer to fill the many outbuildings with “stuff.”

When I think back to those first few days, I realize I was overwhelmed by the most unexpected experiences. The welcoming spirit of our neighbors, the spaciousness, but mostly how quiet it was. I didn’t sleep for several nights because it was too damn quiet. And dark! OMG!!!

But it was never scary, spooky or intimidating. It was peaceful and serene. Funnily enough just like the stories said it would be.

I certainly fell for the travel brochure and am glad I did. I had my own motives for moving out of the city and it’s fun to hear others’ stories about their experiences doing the same. Writing this blog brings back many pleasant memories. Please feel free to share YOUR stories about moving up to the country.


A chef, caterer, dog walker and novelist in training, Christine Thomas also claims mastery of forklifts, composting, car racing and Italian regional cuisine. Christine lives in Mono with her husband, dog and three cats.

About the Author More by Christine Thomas



  1. After battling the traffic on the 401 to get home from work, it was nice to read about a quieter existence. Keep up the good writing and I will stay tuned to your rural adventures.

    Angie on Apr 16, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Reply

  2. Great article, makes one want to sell it all and get out of the city.

    I used to love it when we took the kids camping and it actually got dark and there was “silence” which is something we rarely “hear” in the city.

    Keep it up Christine, looking forward to more.


    Al on Apr 16, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Reply

  3. Christine: I so enjoy talking to you and now reading your “blogs.” Your love for life is effervescent and your blog in “in the Hills” was wonderful. It was written with such professionalism that I just wanted to keep reading. I too feel the exact same way about living in the quieter atmosphere of the country. Even though my husband and I have only 2 acres, we are thankful every day for the move that we made from Orangeville two years ago. Would never even consider going back.

    Kim Perryman on Apr 16, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Reply

  4. Your eloquent words brought a smile back to this urbanite’s face.

    I remember our move from the City over 20 years ago and shared the exact same feelings – too darn quiet to sleep.

    Where are the sirens and voices that lulled me to sleep each night?

    Instead, I am listening to tree frogs, coyote howls and waking to the chirp of robins and cooing of doves.

    I’ve never looked back.

    Corinne on Apr 13, 2010 at 8:24 am | Reply

  5. I agree that Christine has embraced “Mother Nature” and I thank her for it. Have you ever had a hoedown in a barn with ‘ceilings that seemed to climb to the sky’? I have now and there’s nothing like it.

    Becky on Apr 12, 2010 at 9:50 am | Reply

  6. Dear Red Squirrel,
    I enjoyed reading your first musings and can’t wait to get a regular update on your rural idyll, the flora and fauna, dog, cats, husband, neighbours.
    Kind regards
    Banal Concrete Skylines Urbanite

    Richard on Apr 12, 2010 at 4:05 am | Reply

  7. When city kids get a little fresh air this is what happens!! Even after all these years Christine’s energy and enthusiasm haven’t waned.
    Our century home is on the chopping block. Progress will replace history and our little piece of heaven will have to make way for the extension of highway 407.
    I thought I wouldn’t be able to find the energy to begin the new adventure that lies ahead, but Christine has reminded me of all the fun we had the first time around and maybe it’s time make some new history.


    Tom Calow on Apr 12, 2010 at 1:41 am | Reply

  8. It was delightful to read about Christine’s ‘moving to the country’ experience.

    As a born and bred city girl who made the move with two small kids in tow 16 years ago I can relate to the delight and ambivalence of such a venture.

    It’s always fun to hear of others’ experiences as we all have our own agendas and adventures with such a change in lifestyle.

    Lilla Fodor on Apr 11, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Reply

  9. Thought this article was a very good description of your life or rather of living in the country. Some of your neighbours are quaint and cute.

    Iris Thomas on Apr 11, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Reply

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