Homesteading, Organic Gardening, How to Farm, Preparedness, Self-Reliance
It has come to be one of my favorite things about living in the country. While it might be considered a bit wasteful right now with current gas prices and with New York and New Jersey still struggling after Hurricane Sandy, we still can't help but jump on a road and go...somewhere.
It started as a way to view the neighborhood. We didn't know the area. Overall, we were still pretty new to Virginia. So why not take a look around? On weekends, we stared taking different routes to get there. Going down this road. Then that. Seeing what was around. It was a very wooded area so we were really surprised when we turned a corner and found a large field full of horses. That just lead to another horse farm, and then another. From the first direction we came, we had no idea that there were so many farms around us.
Next came the more round about trips. Mainly, seeing where these so called 'stores' were. Around the corner one said. Just a few miles that way, said another. Amazing how a few miles gets longer around twisty turning roads. And sadly still no stores. Only around "civilization" or the occasional gas station were we able to find stores. But in the searches for something closer, we found some of the greatest views.
The beautiful places you might find along the way always seem to pop up. They also tend to be sights that pictures don't really do justice too. Perhaps for really good photographers, which isn't me, can get the light of a forest the right way. That's something some city dwellers and suburbanites think doesn't exist anymore. Then there are the endless fields. With a slight fog or mist gently drifting over it. There is a reason people sell pictures and puzzles that look like this. They're so relaxing to just stare out at. Then the animals just happily grazing upon these, seemingly, endless acres of grass. Depending upon the angle you're at, you can see the entire fields, rolling hills and all.
Also sometimes you can get great ideas from seeing things from other people's set up. If you're in farm country, looking at other farms can give you suggestions on what you want to do. We didn't really know much about fencing. Except that we were going to need some. Especially for the goats we want to get. Books give you a good knowledge of what you're going to need. But really seeing it, not just as a picture, you really understand what you need to get and how it fits together.
Now we have explored most of the area round us. We take extra trips to see some of the beauty that's around us. it sometimes takes us on those creepy back roads, or near sudden cliffs with 10ft drops, but most of the time it takes us on really pleasant rides. Even showed us the most picturesque farmhouse I have ever seen. Although there are a few points that should be remembered.
Try driving with someone else. That way one person drives, one person gets to really look around. Halfway through the trip, switch places. This was both people get to see the area.
Never drive more than half your gas. Meaning if you leave with a full tank, don't drive past half. The county is called rural for a reason. You might swear that a gas station will be right around the corner, and it could be over 10 miles away. Always better to be safe and sorry.
Finally pack some water and a map. Sometime around the trip, you'll get thirsty. Water just nice to have. But the map is more important. Not a cell phone or GPS. Again I go to the rural comment. The amount of times I lost cell service around my house. That's not counting the back roads we end up on. You might think your cell phone will save you. Instead every moment that you spend out of signal just starts sucking your battery away. Before you know it, you phone will die and you'll still be in an area you don't recognize. The map doesn't have to be great. Just enough that it has the major roads on it, so if you see one, you know it can get you home. Or to that gas station you need.
With that, I recommend everyone take a drive when you can. Doesn't have to be long, but try to find your own piece of paradise that someone else owns....That didn't come out right.
Just drive, okay?
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