Small town/Country living, what is life like? - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 12 Old 10-19-2006, 04:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I currently live in a small city in BC Canada, and am considering a move to a very small town in a farming community in Saskatchewan where my mom and my extended family lives. The town I would be living in has about 200 people in it, mostly related, and mostly of my extended family (my mother's husband's family) all of whom are amazing, wonderful, supportive people. There are some kids in the town but not too many. The nearest larger town is about 10 min away and has most of what you need. The nearest large city is 40 min away and has everything. I would love to raise my kids in the country, around my family, with a strong community and a more free, more natural life. The idea is to eventually have a small farm, ideally working with my mom and her husband. But I am nervous about the small town life. Whatever that means...

The concerns I have are, for lack of a better word, "stuff to do", especially in the winter, and culture, opportunities in education or the arts, feeling stimulated enough etc...I have never lived in a small town before and the thought of it excites me but also leaves me wondering if everyone is seemingly trying to get out of a small town, why am I trying to get in?

I just wonder what life is like, especially with young children, what I need to consider seriously, what sacrifices and gains I may be making.
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#2 of 12 Old 10-19-2006, 09:57 AM
 
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I grew up on a small family farm, with not many kids around (my brother & sister, who were older and thought I was a nuisance, don't count! ). I had a GREAT childhood! Some of my best memories are of working in the garden, helping to can produce, picking berries for jelly-making, and playing in the meadows & woods right by myself. I read a lot, and packed myself little picnic lunches that I'd carry off into the middle of the field and share with my imaginary friends. There was always lots of work to do, even in the winter, and I'm sure I complained and griped like any kid, but looking back I wouldn't take ANYTHING for my childhood. It's the biggest reason my dh & I moved back to my home ... so that our kids could have a similar upbringing (we moved from Atlanta to a teeny little sparsely-populated area.

As far as cultural opportunities, if you're near a town of any size, they probably have some sort of community theater -- always good for an evening out! Also, look for nearby universities, who will usually have some sort of music/theater program -- recitals and concerts!

Like anything else, country living is what you make of it. My mom was very focused on making sure we had lots of exposure to "culture," so we went to museums, concerts, cultural festivals, etc.

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#3 of 12 Old 10-19-2006, 10:32 AM
 
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I honestly think if you have children, growing up where they are free to wander and experience nature and daydream is the most magical thing. Children can feel stifled in the city -so many more things are off limit due to danger, bad influences, etc. i am not saying country life is free of those things but there are definitely fewer instances. I loved growing up outdoors, playing in the trees and out in the cornfield, making up stories in my head, reading on a blanket in the alfalfa field, mushroom hunting with my dad. I hope to get my child out of the city life soon too. Not everyone is cut out for country life though. it is harder than living in the city and people are closer and people love to gossip! Have you visited for an extended period of time? That might give you more of an idea how you will fare. Good luck in your decision!
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#4 of 12 Old 10-19-2006, 10:40 AM
 
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The nearest larger town is about 10 min away and has most of what you need. The nearest large city is 40 min away and has everything.
That's how I grew up. When I was 18+ I started thinking "I need to get out of here!" Then when I was 20, I moved to the city about 50 min away. At first it was nice, but now at 25 I'm thinking "I want to get back there!" Not a lot of job opportunities though. We plan on having kids eventually, but not till we have a house in the country.

Anyways, I wouldn't be too worried about your kids being bored. We lived in the country (picture Little House in the Big Woods ). We spent time working in the garden, picking berries in the woods, playing soccer/badminton/frisbee/baseball... in our backyard. There were 5 kids in the family, 2 cousins lived down the road, and a couple misc neighbours now and then. In the winter we would go sliding, snowboarding, cross country skiing (skis were bought second hand). We would spend the whole day outside, then come in for hot chocolate. We lived near a lake and would go swimming, fishing etc. (One year we built a raft out of a piece of old dock that washed up on shore. Totally freaked my Mom out )

My sisters and I would have "picnics" in the woods. We weren't really worried about getting lost in the woods. We knew how to tell directions from the sun and we lived in a huge block, so if we walked 1-4 miles in any direction, we'd get to a road. Man, I *really* miss being out in nature!

The area I grew up is where my Dad was born and raised, so my grandparents, and 2 sets of aunts and uncles lived just down the road, and some other extended family. Plus, the neighbour kids we played with were the kids of people my Dad played with when he was younger...

Which brings me to the drawbacks to country living: ***Everyone knows you and your business.*** Kind of sucks most times. But sometimes it's nice. Like you have a bigger support system. Someones house burned down one time and they didn't have insurance. There were fundraisers and people donated food, money, clothes etc. It's just the gossiping that bothers me.

Have to take a look at the schools in the area if you plan on having kids. Some aren't so great. Plus, we went to a regional high school, which meant that everyone was bussed into the city 45 mins away. : Bus ride took more like 1hr 15 min each way! People slept, did homework, read books, talked.

It seems like a big jump to go from BC to Saskatchewan, but I say go for it!
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#5 of 12 Old 10-19-2006, 12:03 PM
 
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I grew up like that. I enjoyed it and want to get back there now; however, there was a problem with kids who weren't yet old enough to drive but in there teens being bored. The town near us organized a youth centre and skateboard park and things like that, which helped. But even with bored teens hanging out on street corners late at night, they weren't really in much danger, the way they might be doing the same thing in a large city. Mostly getting into stupid trouble. Once kids are old enough to drive, drinking & driving gets to be a problem (might be different where I'm from since the legal drinking age is 19, 18 in the next province, so access is a bit easier) because there is no public transportation anywhere.

I did manage to find friends who lived nearby. But the town was more of a bedroom community for the city that was 40 mins away, so there were plenty of families with school-aged children.

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#6 of 12 Old 10-19-2006, 01:04 PM
 
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i live in a small town of 2300 and we are moving out to the country, about 15 minutes outside of town.

i moved here from the city and it was a difficult transition for me for the first couple of years - but now i love it!! i even think our town is too big now.
the thing i do miss the most is opportunities for culture, but at the same time with young kids, culture is not something they necessarily find fun or exciting anyway lol we are also 2 hours away from edmonton so it's not so bad if there is something we really really want to do.

our winters are long and cold (northern alberta) but the kids always find things to do outside and we read lots, do puzzles, play together and yeah, even on the -40C days we hang out and watch movies (ok, even -20C days ).

expect that there will be a transition period and that it might be hard at first. how wonderful you have your family around you though - that is something i often wish for.

good luck!

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#7 of 12 Old 10-19-2006, 08:23 PM
 
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#8 of 12 Old 10-19-2006, 08:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, thank you. I really do feel that this is the right choice for us. I am a single parent and I very much dislike the place we are in now. I have some family around but we are alone almost always.

heathenmom, I hope to make a huge effort to bring that culture into their lives as well, and the city we are close to has a wonderful university and many things to do, museums, beautiful parks, theatres, etc.

heather, thank you for your perspective. I really don't mind the gossip, everyone their os family, or like family and they would be in my business anyway. But that kind of thing has never really bugged me, I just think, they will talk anyway, so might as well give them something good to talk about or something interesting anyway. haha. I have two kids and they are both homeschooled, so the school situation isn't a problem, I hope to find some others with kids for them to socialize with, but I do know of at least a dozen kids of all ages that would be great with them. Another plus. Also you mentioned having all the family just down the street, that is exactly what it will be like. And that sounds so good to me.

Brisen, I think once the kids get older, we will probably move somewhere else, and knowing me, by that time I will want to move too. But I understand the need for teens to want to leave. Especially a small town where everyone knows your business. But then again they may love it and may not want to leave. But I'm always open to change.

mandib50, yes, I am a bit concerned about the winters, but I am sure we will find lots to do. The cold has never bothered me, I quite like it actually. When I was 21 I was all prepared to move to Iceland, but some technical stuff came up and I couldn't do it, but I am actually looking forward to the snow, if you can believe that.
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#9 of 12 Old 10-23-2006, 12:35 PM
 
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I live in a town of 170 (no, I didn't leave off a zero!) about 10 min from a town of 700 with a general store. We're about an hour from the capital city, which is 2300 people, and close to two hours from a "big city" (Burlington, Lebanon, NH). Three hours to Boston.

We moved from a densely populated suburban area, and dh and I both grew up in suburbia.

We love it here. Key to winter is snowshoeing, xc skiing, downhill skiing, snowboarding - get out in the winter and do stuff!

Having all your family around is a bonus.

Downside: everyone knows you and your business.
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#10 of 12 Old 10-28-2006, 04:19 AM
 
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My mum grew up in a very small town in Sask. and I grew up in cold places in Ontario and Manitoba. Stuff to do is no problem, especially in winter. Mum always flooded the garden for a skating rink for us and we played fox and goose in the snow and hockey on the creek.

We are in small town B.C and have a twelve year old daughter. We do a fair bit of driving for hockey but other than that there is the tree fort, climbing tree, sheep, dogs to take through the home made obstacle course, the creek, forst trails. flying kites in the fild up the road, riding bikes, the trampoline, making kindling, growing your own garden. Feeding pepsi to your pumpkin to see if it grow it bigger. (she is not allowed to drink it but we figured it was ok for the pumkin)

She knits, reads, we read together, is learning to spin, spends time with us and we like to watch the british programs on BBC Canada and the various learning channels. We actully watch SCN - Sask. communty tv often.

She goes to a wonderful school with small class sizes. 12 in her class this year, 2 in her grade (7) and the rest in grade 6. There is no trying out for school sports teams. Everyone who wants to be is on the team. They have lots of neat field trips.

We take trips into the city for things too, and her relatives rake her to Science World and other big city things when she goes there.

We are in the process of adoptin our daughter and she has lived with us for the last 10 months as well a most of last summer too. After visiting for the summer she asked us if we would adopt us. She loves it here. She has pets, has watched kittens and lambs being born, has rescued animals, is learning all about plants and nature and animals. Loves to play in the dark outside which is perfectly safe here, can walk downtown on her own when we go to the closest small town to sell at the Saturday farmers market 6 months of the year and although she occasionally says she is bored it is very rare and usually really means PLAY with me.

And you have all of us to talk to if you get bored.

Annie
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#11 of 12 Old 10-28-2006, 06:32 PM
 
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We live in a great small town in California. I love it. I think its a great life for my kids. Diversity is the only thing the area lacks.
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#12 of 12 Old 10-30-2006, 04:56 AM
 
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I'm so nosey I want to know where you're moving to. I live outside of N.Battleford.

I love it here but this is almost going to be my first winter. We are planning on doing a lot of outdoor activities.

there are a ton of subsidies right now for natural farming (I haven't looked into it too much but it looks like organic farming is being subsidized).

I really think the education differs from place to place in the province and I'm still not sure that I'm not going to homeschool.

We just moved from S'toon and the only real sacrifices I have made are spending money(I also miss highspeed internet but apparently SaskTel is working on getting it province wide). I don't shop at walmart and so there's not a lot of shopping to be had here. That being said we have gained a lot because we moved closer to family.
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