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