Country life

So this morning as I peered out my kitchen window I spotted half a dozen deer in the field just north of the house. Then I turned and looked out my south facing window–more deer in the valley. It reminded me of the song, jokers to the left of me, jokers to the right, stuck in the middle with you.

Living in the country certainly has its advantages. My taxes are less than a third of city taxes, and I have 40 acres. My closest neighbours are half a mile away and I love my solitude. But that gets me pretty well zero services. The grader down the road several times a month.

I’m on the hook for my own water, septic, and garbage.

When my mom was still alive I took advantage of her garbage bins in the city. I don’t really generate a lot of waste. I send all of the food scraps to the chickens or the big dog. I’ve been separating burnables for years, instead of recycling. It’s been revealed thru investigative reporting that most recyclables are rejected (for contamination issues) and are sent to the landfill anyway. I saw that firsthand during my last year of work, when I was exiled to the scale house at the dump. The burnables go on our New Years fire.

I have a real problem with plastics, especially kitchen type plastics. All that thin plastic meats and veggies come wrapped in. Cling film used to cover leftovers etc. But those are now going into the burnables pile. Burning destroys the plastics, (yes, while releasing undesirable noxious fumes) but unburnt they live for so long. Here on the prairies in the middle of Canada they don’t really get into the ocean, where most of the horrific wildlife/plastic interactions seem to happen, but I don’t believe they cause less problems when landlocked. We just don’t see it.

Now that mom is gone I’ve been taking a bag here and there to friends and family in town. But I’ve decided to take page out of my neighbours’ playbook and go with the old fashioned burning barrel. He’s been using one for years, burning everything.

Water costs are negligible except when something goes wrong. And when it goes wrong, it really goes wrong. Drilling the well was the biggest up front investment. But over the years I’ve had to replace a pump or two, and the pressure system, each time scaring hell out of a couple thousand dollars. Service calls are ridiculously expensive and if you are not handy enough to do the work yourself, you have to pay for someone to do it for you.

Same goes for the septic system. I’ve had to replace a pump and the last few winters have been cold enough to freeze the line to the pump-out. I had to get a service man out to replumb the pump-out this spring and run a surface line till the 9 feet of frost melts. And last fall I noticed the pump-out was flowing up alongside the pipe at the outflow so it will have to be dug up this summer to repair whatever is wrong, doubtless a split pipe.

But those are really minor inconveniences. You couldn’t pay me enough money to live in town. Walking out into the deck and seeing the stars, or listening to the gooney bird trumps everything else. Life is good.

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