To say that our new-to-us “little house” is remote is an understatement. And as my husband and I were engulfed in cleaning… and cleaning… in the weeks after we closed on the property, we stood in the little gravel driveway and heard cows, turkeys and a lone rooster. It was kind of wonderful.
The neighbor to our right has seven acres that abuts our 4.5, then the neighbor’s son lives to the right of him on a working farm, and the fellow next to them owns forty acres and an impressive log cabin. Across the street from our place is a huge farm with beautiful green fields, aforementioned cows and two enormous navy blue silos.
Now if you’re in Alaska or Wyoming, I imagine such acreage is “small potatoes.” But in Connecticut, where things are crowded, where we’re 90 minutes from Manhattan, where farmland is untouched only in more remote areas, 4.5 acres is really saying something. It’s going from the civilization of 13 years in a condominium community where I never… I repeat, never… saw a snake, to a recent day at the little house where we found a snake in the garage who migrated to the birdhouse in the ensuing hour (creeped me out like nobody’s business).
“Oh, that rascal,” said my mother, “he’s after those baby birds.” (My mother is a country life aficionado).
I pause — while I’m contemplating this snake mischief … the natural order of things … and trying not to throw up.
“Nanny used to go after snakes with a hoe,” my mother continued, nonplussed.
I confess that a garden hoe is on my shopping list for this week at Ace Hardware.
The remoteness, I find, can be a little creepy too. It is unbelievably quiet when a car is not passing on our little road, and there are critters everywhere… mice, ticks, spiders, snakes, squirrels and God knows what else. We’ve been told by one neighbor that if we hear shotgun fire, not to worry, he’s just after the coyotes.
Well, alrighty then.
So why go through all this?
I think I’m still deciding what the real reasons are. As my mother says, there are good reasons and real reasons. Initially downsizing to 728 square feet was about saving money to eventually build on the property. But now? It’s more than that… it’s also about simplifying … I think about it often now. What do I really need?
For me, the debate came to head over a collection of butter dishes. They had multiplied in my cabinet over the course of twenty years of entertaining. And they were collecting dust. There were Pottery Barn butter dishes, silver plate butter dishes, dishes we had used for our wedding, etc.
I had to ask, “How many butter dishes does one girl need?”
The answer for me? One. Or a plate will do. Or simply taking out the butter from the side thing on the fridge and carving it right out of the paper wrapper – always a good option.
Are you thinking about simplifying your life? How would it make you feel to give some of your “butter dishes” away? Sad? Relieved?
I’m still figuring it out.