Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tips for City Transplants

I often hear longtime locals complain about the bad habits that newcomers bring with them when they move from a city to a rural community, so I thought I'd put together a list of tips that will help those "city transplants" fit in.

1. Drive slowly. Rural communities are loaded with animals, tractors, and dirt roads. You never know what's around the next bend. Also, unlike most cities, people in rural communities usually know someone in the sheriff's office and won't hesitate to call in a report if they are offended by your driving.

2. Turn off your outdoor lights at night. People in rural communities enjoy looking at the stars.

3. Don't hang wind chimes. People in rural communities like to hear the sounds of nature -- birds chirping, leaves rustling in the wind... not metal clinking against metal. (I know I'll hear some complaints about this one, because a lot of people love wind chimes, but there are just as many people who hate them. They are like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.)

4. If you want to listen to music, use headphones. See number 3.

5. Bag all of your garbage carefully and keep the lid tight on your trash cans. People in rural communities don't like to see your junk food wrappers and soda cans co-mingling with the flowers in their gardens.

6. When on roads that have more than one lane in each direction, drive in the right-hand lane, and pass in the left-hand lane. Once you have passed, get back over into the right-hand lane, so that other people can pass.

7. Respect your neighbor's space. People live in rural communities because they like their personal space and privacy.

8. Spread out. When driving in a rural area, there is no reason to tailgate or drive in the blind spot of another driver. There is also no good reason to crowd people when standing in lines.

9. Be respectful of everyone around you. That person you flipped off on the road may end up being a neighbor, an elder in your church, or the person you interview with for your next job. I guarantee, they WILL remember you.

10. Preserve the rural lifestyle. Don't knock down barns and corrals to build a bigger house, guest house, or RV garage that will block your neighbors' views.

11. Don't plant a garden in the migration path of wild mustangs, and then call the Bureau of Land Management to come trap those horses and haul them away when they start eating the efforts of your green thumb.

12. Don't haul your motorcycles and ATVs out to horse riding trails, and run the horseback riders off the land by spooking their horses.

13. Remember that black ice kills. In the winter months, you have to respect Mother Nature. Don't race around on slick roads thinking your new 4WD with studded tires won't be affected by ice.

14. When driving mountain roads, pull over at a vista if you have several vehicles in line behind you, or slow down when you reach a passing area so that people can pass. Drivers who are used to city driving often don't feel comfortable taking curves at the posted speed limit. I have seen tourists slow down to 15 or 20 MPH to go around curves while dozens of vehicles get stuck behind them, and as soon as they reach a straight section of road where people can pass, they gun it back up to the 45 or 55 MPH speed limit so that all those other drivers are still stuck behind them once they hit another series of curves.

15. Don't let your dogs run wild off leash just because you see your neighbors doing so. Those dogs you see off leash are often well behaved, well trained, herding dogs or guarding dogs that have a job. If your dog doesn't come when you call and terrorizes your neighbor's horses, sheep, goats, and hens, it needs to be on leash.

16. If you see someone on horseback, be aware of how your actions are affecting the horse. Sudden movements and loud noises frighten most horses. Slow down while passing, and don't honk when you see a rider on the side of the road.

17. Don't feed other people's horses without permission. Some horses colic easily and/or may be on special diets.

18. If you share a common fence between your property and a neighbor's, and you or your pets do something to cause damage to that fence, take the responsibility to repair it.

19. Protect the air. If you find yourself to be cold out in the country, get used to wearing sweaters, fleece, jackets, and gloves around the house rather than keeping a fire burning throughout winter.

20. Discover the power of contribution. Make a difference in your new community by getting involved. Find a way to help make it a better place by adopting a highway, volunteering in the schools, organizing the local parade, or joining a service club.


Beckz said...

such good advice! the movement of town people to the country and nan increase in the size of trucks on the orad means I don't really ride on the roads anymore. It just isn't safe on young horses.

photogchic said...

Good advice. I don't like to see the old barns fall down or taken down. They don't make them like that anymore.

BarnGoddess said...

The only time I have ever lived in 'town' was when I live din the college dorms in the late 80's. This post is RIGHT ON!

I have a neighbor (lives 1/2 mi away) who's daughter came to live with him while his wife was ill before her death....the daughter hung up about 4 windchimes on their front porch. We could hear them at OUR house! After the daughter went back to wherever she came from, the guy took all the chimes down. I wanted to send him a thank you note...instead I left him a few bell peppers in a small baskey on his porch.

jdp said...

Great list - I wish more people would just be considerate.

OnTheBit said...

#2 and 17 are big for me. I love to work at my barn in the summer because we do night turnout so I am there late doing stalls and getting set for the morning. I enjoy the quiet and dark with all the horses around. New people move to the area all the time and I swear at least half throw up 15 flood lights to "protect" their property. If someone is going to come and get your in a rural area lights are so not going to do anything to help you. It drives me NUTS!

Callie said...

#11, Have people actually done that?

Rising Rainbow said...

This is a great list. I too can relate to the windchimes. lol

ranchette said...

Great list. As a country girl who became a city girl and now has returned to the country...Hear Hear!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Yes, I got that one out of the local paper. A lady wrote in to chew out some people in her area who were reporting wild mustangs as being a nuisance, but who were not taking the responsibility of putting up a fence around their gardens to keep the horses out. She had to remind them that the mustangs were there long before them and their mansions.