Making The Lifestyle Decision – The Ruralpolitans Trend

Last week, during my online read of Mr. Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal, I noticed one of my favorite columnists was writing about one of my favorite topics: why people live where they do. In two recent columns, Gwendolyn Bounds discusses the emerging trend of large numbers of Americans “heading back to the country.”
Although some of us started the trend quite a while ago; 29 years ago in my case, the article confirms something we see here in the Adirondacks: the number of people making lifestyle changes has increased since September 11, 2001. And now, the deepening recession-bred uncertainty has further increased interest in rural living. This explains why the real estate market in the Adirondacks, and rural areas across the United States, has not suffered the debilitating declines of the suburbs and urban regions. In some rural areas, real estate sales are actually up as young adults watch their parent’s retirement savings dissolve and so decide to invest in something real, like land. For others, as the WSJ says, “…it’s about lifestyle change — a chance to start gardens and raise animals and show their kids where food comes from. But one theme coursed throughout: a desire for independence and self-sufficiency.”
This certainly was the driving force behind our lifestyle decision. Over the years, we have grown and “put by” our own food, raised chickens for meat and eggs, hunted and butchered our meat, split and burned wood for heat, and cared for 5+ acres of land. When we butchered our own pigs, it was extremely empowering to make our own sausage, and cure and smoke some of the best bacon and hams imaginable. Empowering because we were self-sufficient and I knew how that sausage was made! My husband is now building a new home from timbers he milled from huge trees he felled. These skills do not come naturally, especially not to this Jersey girl. As the new converts to the country lifestyle are learning however, once mastered, these skills and the abilities they render are liberating.

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