We have been so very, very blessed with awesome neighbors.
Mr. Caffienated and I grew up in the country, so we remember having neighbors that occasionally helped or that we could go help. But we then we moved to the city (ack! phht!) for 20 years (I’m including college), and it is just Not The Same.
Since we’ve moved out to our new digs, we have been delighted and overwhelmed by how great these people are that live nearby.
One neighbor graded our driveway with his tractor and blade when the ruts got so deep that I couldn’t stand to ride over it because it caused such awful contractions. The same neighbor offered to haul the five tons of pellets that we purchased for our stoves this winter on his flatbed truck. Mr. Caffeinated felt like it would be imposing too much – this neighbor’s done us a couple other favors already. The same neighbor caught him making multiple trips with our van-and-trailer and let him know that “I really did mean it – call me next time!”
Another neighbor loaned us work lights and water and containers when we accidentally broke our water main. He would’ve given us the parts to fix it and fixed it, too, but Mr. Caffeinated and his dad were on it.
A third neighbor drove his excavator over and buried a goat for us when we had one die unexpectedly.
Neighbors with horses let our kids pet them and feed them. We have neighbors with children that ours have old-fashioned play-times with. Not this generation’s ‘playdate’ closely supervised by helicopter moms, but the kind where the kids tell the parents whose place they’ll be at, we set a time for them to be back by, and they all disappear into the woods for hours to build forts and chase garter snakes.
We’ve been able to ask all kinds of questions about how to handle all sorts of things that we never ran into living in the city or on the dry side of the state, and our neighbors not only generally have the answers, but are happy to share them.
We plan to go help our neighbors butcher chickens this summer. We don’t know how to put up electric fences very well, or wrangle cows, but we do know how to do poultry!
We met another set of neighbors a couple of weeks ago. I’d found a dresser on craigslist, and the guy I bought it from was doing some remodel work at another neighbor’s house – whom we hadn’t yet met. He introduced all of us – and they came over for some chainsawing fun last week! I gave them bread and pickles; the wife (who does ceramics) gave me two beautiful bottles that she’d melted in her kiln, and turned into a spoon rest and a serving dish.
We have many wonderful friends that live in town, and we do lots of fun and crazy stuff with them as well. But… if I need to know how to put up a gate, or how much lime to spread on an acre, or where to buy a hog or hay… I’m going to call my neighbors. I just hope that when they need a jar of applesauce, or freezer space for making a ton of ice, or a hand with some project, that they’ll call us.
This country life… I’m loving it.