Thursday, March 25, 2004

Mother Nature's flower carpet 

It's been a week since I managed to get out for my usual walk in the blissful woodland near our home. The weather had been wet and breezy for a few days, and so when I last visited the ancient forest, the river had burst it's banks and it left large swathes of the woodland under water. The last few days have been absolutely serene spring days, with bright sunshine and crisp gentle breezes... so I stirred myself this morning and got myself out for my woodland walk.

Well, what a transformation in a week ! Last week I experienced a waterlogged woodland walk .... today what greeted me was a spellbinding display of stunning color and awesome beauty. Mother Nature had been redecorating while I was away ... and had installed a brand new spectacular flower carpet. Because of the mild climate here (i.e. no frost/snow) plants and flowers seem to burst forth spontaneously in unison to deliver lavish displays of flora. What greeted me this morning was a stunning display of wild flowers, the obligatory daffodils have been in bloom for many weeks now, but they have still not lost their brillance. The new arrivals, consist of wild primrose in multitudes, both cream and yellow in color, interspersed with silky buttercups, and then millions of a white flower with a golden centre, and slightly pink veins running through the leaves, which I have never seen before. On this bright spring morn, I was invigorated by this simmering display, and I quietly thanked Mother Nature for laying on this breathtaking sea of color.

© James Walsh,2003-2004


Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Happy St Patricks Day ... 

Wherever you are around the globe, may I wish you the best of greetings this St Patricks Day :


(Old Irish Blessing)

© James Walsh,2003-2004


Tuesday, March 16, 2004

How to make the move to country life (some tips) - PART 2 - "The What" 

Ok, in the previous installment I broadly explored "The Why" - that is the reason(s) you want to make the big move to country life. In this piece, I'm going to expand a little on "The What" - or to put it another way, now that you are clear on why you want to move to rural life, WHAT sort of country living experience are you seeking ?

When Una and I developed our reasons (The Why) for moving to the country, we also noted some loose ideas on the kind of life we wanted to live in the country. Having young children, naturally their needs were a primary concern, in fact one of the key reasons for the move was the better quality of life and freedom our children would have in the wide open spaces.
In developing a picture of the sort of country life we wanted we looked at the previous scribbles and thought about things like :

- The kind of environment we wanted to live in (i.e. forest, coast, mountain, small town etc), the kinds
of views and scenery that we ideally wanted to surround us.
- The kind of property we wanted to live in (design, traditional, modern, aspects etc)
- The essential services and facilities we wanted to have within a reasonable distance
- A list of things that we were willing to give up to achieve our desired lifestyle

After weeks of toing and froing, Una and I came up with a clear vision of the kind of environment we wanted to live in. Having evaluated all of the different types of environments, we decided that living on or near the coast with an ocean view was an important priority for us, and we concluded that we wanted a traditional property with at least 1 acre of ground around it. Given that our children were young, we were also mindful that living within a reasonable distance of a hospital and medical facilities was an important factor. We also concluded that living any further than 5-10 miles drive from a reasonable sized town with decent facilities was also important to us.

With this clear vision in place, it made the whole process of finding a suitable location, and then a suitable property a lot easier.

© James Walsh,2003-2004


Monday, March 08, 2004

A roundup of recent country life articles that caught my eye : 

HOW we live - Country living holds sway in rural Clark County
The Columbian - Vancouver,WA,USA
By DEAN BAKER, Columbian staff writer. To a newcomer, the names of Clark
County's rural hamlets may seem quaint: Amboy, Hockinson ...

OAK Ranch in 1993. Among their first
Hood County News - Granbury,TX,USA
"Our interest had more to do with finding a place we could enjoy country
living and expand our opportunities to roam the land," Becky said. ...

ARE you fit to join the country club?
Telegraph.co.uk - London,England,UK
... a variety of ways of living in the country, and most people will thoroughly
enjoy being out of the city if they can just identify the kind of country
living ...

GRASS is greener across the bridge
Sydney Morning Herald - Sydney,New South Wales,Australia
... 30. And despite the perception that country living is healthier, the
wellbeing of urban dwellers and country residents was on par. ...

5-ACRE dream homes focus of controversy
Bellingham Herald - Bellingham,WA,USA
... five-acre lots as rural, but some people see them as sprawl that puts
more cars on more roads for longer distances, destroys the ambiance of
"country living ...

OPTIMISTS find a way to turn vast wasteland into rich farmland
Minneapolis Star Tribune (subscription) - Minneapolis,MN,USA
... Regina Ward has gotten over her aversion to country living. "I feel
like we're contributing to the advancement of the region," she said. ...

THIS historic old adobe has lasted a long time
San Mateo Daily Journal - San Mateo,CA,USA
... The thick walls of the three room adobe kept it cool in warm weather
and cozy on chillier days. Country living was simple in those days. ...

© James Walsh,2003-2004


Monday, March 01, 2004

How to make the move to country life (some tips) - PART 1 - "The WHY" 

I've had quite a few emails from people who ask for my advice on how to go about making the move to country living. I'm no expert, but hopefully some of things that we have experienced may be of some help to others. I will add things to this list over time, as they strike me, so hopefully over time this will become a helpful resource to people considering the move to the country.

This is a rather large topic, and thinking through it, I have tried to break it down a little based on how Una and I approached the big move from the city to the country. I will update each piece over the coming weeks / months as my knowledge grows ...

1. The Why ?
2. The What ?
3. The Plan
4. Making it Happen

1. The WHY ?

Naturally, this is usually the biggest discussion point for individuals, couples and families considering the move. Why do you and/or your family want to break away from city living ? For Una, and I it was really the feeling that we were "existing" rather than really "living" and the sense that our quality of life would be a lot better in the country than in an ever burgeoning city. I hasten to add, a move to the country doesn't solve all these issues, because there is more to truly living than a nice environment in which to live, but it sure helps !! Thinking back, we spent many years kicking around the crazy idea of leaving the metropolis, however we got really serious about it about 10 months before we actually moved. We sat down each evening over a period of a week, and tossed around all the pros and cons, the hopes, the dreams, the things we would gain and the things we would lose. It was fun, but hard work also, as we were questioning many of things we'd always assumed to be foundations of our lives. At the end of the week, we had distilled a document which started with the statement of principle that we had decided to move to the country for a better quality of life and that we were willing to make some sacrifices in return for this better quality of life. We had also written out some loose ideas on the the kind of life we wanted to live in the country covering topics like the kind of lifestyle we were seeking, where we wanted to live, finances etc. The most important part of this work was the decision in principle to move to the country and our WHY was for a better quality of life for ourselves and our young children.

[to be continued ....]

© James Walsh,2003-2004


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