Today I did some wandering around my farm (on the quad) and ended up at the small creek near McRinney Road. It was babbling along quite happily and I thought of the "city folk" who buy little waterfalls for inside their condos and felt truly sorry for them. I know, I know IF these people really wanted to be in the great outdoors they would be. But then is that really true? Does living in a rural area perhaps fall into the same category of "you don't know what you are missing when you don't have kids until you have them". John commented the other day that people know what they grow up with and change something takes a different attitude. All the pioneers were willing to change their lives and move to the frontier and try something different. To grow up in the city and move to the country really then takes more of a pioneering attitude.
Just as many mainlanders and islanders are unwilling to give the interior of BC a chance, I think many city dwellers are unwilling to give country life a chance. Perhaps the fact that kids shoes get muddy and in the spring your dogs are dirty 24/7 has something to do with this. But I think perhaps, to live in the country is to give up some of the convenience of the city. The convenience store down the block, no next door neighbours for kids to hang around with, a longer drive to hockey practice, the kids take the bus to school instead of walking and usually the driveways are longer for snow plowing.
However, the best part about living in the country is the life the kids have compared to city kids lives. When Peter was young and we ended up walking down a city street to a cross-country meet at an elementary school, Peter would always comment on the tiny yards and be amazed that they could even fit a trampoline in there. And all the questions he had about how the kids could actually play in such a tiny yard and what could they do? At the time our house was a large rancher 35 feet across by 130 feet long (including the built-in shop). The house wouldn't actually fit onto many city lots so you can see where he was coming from. A house in the country, even one on just a few acres offers so much more for kids. Lots of room for a trampoline and usually a dirt/sand pile that is eventually going to be used for landscaping. A gravel drive with lots of rocks for looking at or breaking. We once got a load of riverstones for landscaping which provided hours of enjoyment to the kids. They still go back to it and break rocks just to see whats inside. The amount of insects on a country yard is also amazing. Kids love bugs, snakes, frogs, salamanders and locating birds nest and broken egg shells. There is just so much more for a little kid to do in the country. And as they get older there is even more for them to do. Yesterday Peter took a walk with his gun just to see what he could see. In the summer the girls hunt for wild strawberries, raspberries and saskatoon berries. They can walk down to the creek and look for animal prints and try to catch the fingerlings hiding in the shade. They can put their hand out near the hummingbird feeder and wait for the tiny birds to alight on their outstretched fingers.
Our current house is average sized but the yard is huge. With a little thought things can be put into perspective. Our lilac tree is so big that it would take up more than half of most city yards and our "little house" which houses the birds, plants and office would be two houses away in a city. Our front yard is the size of a city park, the parking area as large as a city parking lot, our piece of forest near the house would be a major green strip left in a modern subdivision, the ancient log cabin located across the driveway would be a heritage home and made into a museum, the row of black current bushes and saskatoon trees scattered around the yard provide enough berries for a u-pick operation. In a city, the walk down to Tabor Creek could be a mountain biking/hiking route, the area around the road access to Tabor Creek could be a city picnic area, the raptors, cranes, woodpeckers, various song birds, ducks and ravens make the area so rich in bird life that it could be a bird sanctuary in the city. The wildlife: bear, coyotes, white tail deer, moose, squirrels, hare, beavers are abundant enough to have a wildlife viewing station. The garden is large enough to be a community garden located in the inner city.