The Seven Year Itch

Our former house in the city

I had to laugh when I read a post by The Minnesota Farm Woman a week ago entitled, “The Seven Year Itch.”

I’ve followed Chris (the farm woman) and her adventures of moving to rural Minnesota for a while and we’ve even become friends on Facebook. I think it’s serendipitous that we both embarked on our journeys at the same time.

I had been planning this post for this month and had the same title attached to it, so I hope Chris doesn’t mind if I still use it. Great minds do think alike!

It was 7 years ago yesterday, June 23, that we loaded up a moving truck, trailer, my Blazer and our pick up and headed south for our new lives in rural Arkansas.

We put in storage things I thought would later be moved to a 1,000 square foot house we planned to build here, loaded the three dogs (we arrived with four, Sade found her way to us) and two cats and were on our way to our Big Adventure.

And what an adventure it has been!

If you’ve followed our story, you know that the bigger house never got built. Finances and that little thing they called the Great Recession got in our way.

But that’s OK, it may not have been the life we had planned, but sometimes the life we have planned is replaced with something better. I love Our Little House and The Belle Writer’s Studio.

We’ve had our share of other challenges in adapting to rural life, which is quite different than the suburban life we left.

We still miss our friends and loved ones and there are many times I miss concerts and having our choice of restaurant and entertainment venues.

We’ve waivered back and forth about moving back to the city, returning Our Little House to a part time residence and getting a small bungalow in the burbs. But then we think of the cost of living such as high taxes and the prospect of having neighbors we actually have to listen to rather than the owl in our hollow or the coyotes at dusk.

When we visit, we drive by our old home and nostalgia takes over, we remember the good times and our friendly neighbors, but somehow forget the many times the police had to be called to the neighbors for “domestic incidents,” the two times we awoke to our neighborhood barricaded by police due to a shooting and a home invasion, or the morning we woke up at 3:30 because a young man so whacked out of his mind on drugs had walked right into our home. He mistook our house for the party house three doors down. We still shudder at the thought of how that night could have changed all of our lives forever.

We don’t think about how Animal Control showed up to our door one morning wanting to take our Emma because she had been misidentified as another dog that chased a kid at a bus stop that day.

Yes, there are many challenges to living in Our Little House, not so much with dealing with the square footage anymore, but the culture, the isolation (especially with a winter like last one) and the drive for the simplest of errands, but it’s those challenges here that keeps us from having the challenges we had to face in the city.

It’s all relative. And as each year passes, we feel less a part of that other world and more a part of this one and that is a good thing, especially on mornings when the fog is rolling over the mountains and the owl and mourning dove’s calls are competing for our attention.

Right now, the only 7 year itch I have is from the mosquitoes and chiggers and one cannot even escape those in the burbs.



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8 Responses

  1. Sheryl M says:

    Oh, Kerri! What a relief to hear you are still in love with the small rural life!. When you titled this the severn year itch, I just knew you would be writing about how you are considering moving back. We are only two years into our full time small; during the first year, we were back at the big house at least once a month When we were there full time, I always thought it was a relatively quiet neighborhood, but then after living rurally for most of the month, the city was so noisy. We could hear cars on the highway a mile away, and neighbors with loud parties late at night, etc. Now it’s just crickets and tree frogs that serenade us. Cheers to your continued small living!

    • Kerri says:

      LOL, Sheryl, fooled ya! :) After the winter, we did consider moving back, it was brutal. We took a lot of things into consideration such as finances, jobs, security in retirement and yes, neighbors and noise. I don’t know after living out like this for 7 years if we could go back to having “over the fence” neighbors again. This time of year is very noisy for us, though, with all of those cicadas singing their song of summer!

  2. Nancy Ryan says:

    Your blogs are so interesting whenever I run across them which is often since I’ve become enamoured with the tiny house movement. However, it is hit and miss. How do I subscribe to your blog? I would like to read it on a regular basis. Thank you so much.

    • Kerri says:

      Hi, Nancy, Welcome to Living Large! There used to be a subscribe button on the blog, but I’m not sure what happened to it. I hope to do a redesign soon. We have a very active community on Facebook and I hope you can join us there. I always post links to my posts to alert our Living Largers to new content. So glad to have you!

  3. caroline stilwell says:

    Kerri, I always read the Tiny House Blog. Mine was featured earlier this year,a search on the blog of Little House in a Potato Field will bring up my little house. We do not live there full time but since we are retired we run down there often! However, the reason that I am writing(and I did not see a link to send you a personal message) is that my grandmother’s family name was Fivecoat. Such an unusual name, I think I know of or know all the Fivecoats in Ohio. Where do you live?

    • Kerri says:

      Hi, Caroline, Welcome to Living Large! I love Tiny House Blog and saw your house. So cute! Would love to feature it on our Facebook page. We live in North Central Arkansas, between Mountain Home and Lead Hill on Bull Shoals Lake. We’re pretty isolated here in our ‘holler,” but we are getting more people out here and we don’t like that. Before the recession, this was the fastest growing county in Arkansas, but that’s not always necessarily a good thing. :) Glad to have you here!

  4. We bought 105 acres of rural property in 2000, which turned out to have a native prairie remnant on it, land that had never been tilled or plowed or treated with chemicals. The Missouri Conservation Department has it included in their Natural History Database as “Southfork Prairie.” Among the plants that grow there, the little prairie remnant includes many rare native species and at least one milkweed that is listed as endangered. We had only really been looking for a pretty place to build a home and have some horses, but the discovery of the little remnant changed everything. I guess it’s true what they say, “life is what happens when you’re making other plans.”

    In 2010, property came up for sale that is just right across the road from our land. The house is earth contact and sits on ten acres. It was designed with many energy saving features built in. We realized that it had virtually everything we had planned on incorporating into a house that we’d intended to build on Southfork Prairie, so we bought it, moved out of our suburban Prairie Village neighborhood,and have never looked back. I love our country life, love walking outside on any typical summer night and being awestruck by the glittering stars, the twinkling fireflies, the howls of coyotes, hooting of owls and all the other sounds and sights that make an ordinary country night feel magical. Despite the fact that things did not go exactly as planned, I have no regrets about the choices we made. It sounds like you and your husband feel the same way. Good for us! :-)

    • Kerri says:

      I think that’s become our theme: “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.” This hasn’t been easy, but another saying comes to mind: “Nothing worth it ever is.” :) Yes, good for us!