After some months of searching and several wild goose chases, a modest little place was found. The original plan was to live there just a few weeks in the summer, possibly from June into September, but the period stretched a bit each year. Now it is the year around. We are but one of many families that have traded the noise and congestion of city life for the quiet and isolation of the open country. Nor do all such cling to the commuting fringe of the larger cities. A good proportion have their country homes some hours’ distant, and the city is only visited at infrequent intervals.
Wherever his country place is located, however, there are certain problems confronting the city dweller who takes to rural life. They are the more baffling because they are not problems at all to his country-bred neighbors. The latter assume that any adult with a grain of common sense must know all about such trifles as rotten sills, damp cellars, hornets that nest in the attic, frozen pipes in winter, and wells that fail in dry seasons.
Of course, no one treatise can hope to serve as a guide for every problem that comes with life in the open country. This book is no compendium. It concerns itself only with the most obvious pitfalls that lie ahead of one inured to well-serviced city life.
WHY LIVE IN THE COUNTRY?
The urge to live in the country besets most of us sooner or later. Spring with grass vividly green, buds bursting and every pond a bedlam of the shrill, rhythmic whistle of frogs, is the most dangerous season. Some take a walk in the park. Others write for Strout’s farm catalogues, read them hungrily and are well. But there are the incurables. Their fever is fed for months and years by the discomforts and amenities of city life. Eventually they escape and contentedly become box numbers along rural postal routes.
Why do city-bred people betake themselves to the country? The surface reasons are as many as why they are Republicans or Democrats, but the basic one is escape from congestion and confusion. For themselves or their children their goal is the open country beyond the suburban fringe. Here the children, like young colts, can be turned out to run and race, kick up their heels and enjoy life, free of warnings to be quiet lest they annoy the elderly couple in the apartment below or the nervous wreck the other side of that suburban privet hedge.
The day and night rattle and bang of the city may go unnoticed for years but eventually it takes its toll. Then comes a great longing to get away from it all. If family income is independent of salary earned by a city job, there is nothing to the problem. Free from a desk in some skyscraper that father must tend from nine to five, such a family can select its country home hours away from the city. Ideal! But few are so fortunate. Most of us consider ourselves lucky to have that city job. It is to be treated with respect and for us the answer lies in locating just beyond those indefinite boundaries that limit the urban zone. With the larger cities, this may be as much as fifty miles from the business center; with smaller ones the gap can be bridged speedily by automobile.