Rural Life Versus Urban Living

Posted on October 01, 2010 by CJ Article Team

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Rural VS Urban

Have you ever wanted to go back to the simple life and live more rural? Unless you are prepared for the challenges and develop a quick-witted ingenuity to capitalize on there sources around you, think twice before you chuck the urban lifestyle. There are many unexpected things that have a tendency to pop up suddenly when living the country-style life year round. The other seasons have their own demands but winter will usually trump them all. Are you ready?

The first big question to ask yourself is are you ready for the unpredictable trials that will arise out of nowhere to sabotage your efforts? Are you prepared to give up reliable town or city plumbing to learn how to make use of a well, on a piece of land, where the pipes to your home that might freeze during a cold spell? Or a sewer that looks like a pond somewhere ‘out there’ that you will need to pump out yourself once a year, using a contraption that goes by the dubious name ‘honey wagon’. What do you do when you lose the water prime on your pump anyway? Realizing of course that you’re indoor plumping, the toilet plus all your running water and laundry is directly connected and reliant on this reservoir, how do you flush when the water is frozen? Have you insulated the pumphouse and put a little heater that runs on a timer on a piece of land for the really cold nights, to keep it warm in there?

I can answer these questions and more, having had the sheer joy of first hand experience! In a previous article on winterizing a trailer, I gave some advice based on my ever-growing intimacy with this way of living. Now I have more to offer the brave souls who are considering abandoning the urban jungle for the tranquil rural outdoors. First thing to know, don’t expect tranquil! It’s anything but tranquil! Though I can only give advice on trailer living, which is, for obvious reasons, quite different than moving into a house; I can give some ‘what to do’ situations for those who have a mobile on a piece of land, whether it be in the middle of no-mans land out of town or just on the edge of town. Here goes and I will start at the beginning of this list to make it easier to follow.

Whether you have a newer double or singlewide or a very used one there is a list of items to check which have to do with staying warm and cool. So, you are standing in front of the trailer you have purchased, here is where you start especially if its used. Begin by making a cursorily examination of the exterior walls for damaged areas, go up top and check to see what kind of roof you actually have and any areas are in need of repair. Also check to see that there are no soft spots and make sure you have all the proper pipes coming out for venting, there should be four of them. You need one that is quite high and reinforced for a wood stove because of the amount of heat that is lost through the stack, one for the furnace (be it propane or gas), one for the hot water heater and the last one rotates for air circulation in the attic. Ascertain what depth of insulation you have and what R-value it provides in terms of heat retention: the higher the rating, the warmer you will be inside. Check the siding to make sure it is firmly nailed onto the walls and there are no holes where the wind or insects can penetrate, as they will make a home there. Do you have all the wires you need for electrical hook ups and don’t be afraid to do some crawling under the trailer to see where the pipes are for sewer and water. You will have to build a skirting all around the circumference to keep the pipes from freezing and this is a good time to put heat tape on the pipes before closing it up. All that is left after that is to pile dirt against the skirting to keep small animals out.

When you enter the abode that will become you new home here is what to look for; starting with the floor, check for damage but more importantly slowly walk along the wall and ‘feel’ the floor for any slopping especially if its towards the wall. Try the front and back doors to make sure they open all the way without getting caught on the floor. If there is a slope that makes furniture ‘lean’ against the walls of the trailer, you will need to add support under the trailer for the walls. To do this, use the lift you use for your vehicle and raise the sides of the trailer and put supports under these areas. Most of the time you only need to lift it a couple of inches. Keeping in mind that the walls are only three inches thick, inspect them for any water damage from the windows and roof then examine the ceiling as well. If dark brown sections are in evidence, get on a chair, take a hammer and whack the ceiling down! Remove the plastic vapor barrier and the insulation and toss it; after we did this I vacuumed the remaining bits of insulation off the ceiling boards. When the ceiling dried out completely, it was fine. Doing this also removes any insect nests that are currently residing in the ceiling and/or walls so in spring and summer, they won’t be crawling out like they did in mine. Not to bore you but that was a most unpleasant experience that involved large quantities of tape, plastic and bug spray! Trust me, you do not want to go there.

Choose a wood stove that is EPA approved and follow the instructions for installing it after you have built a platform for it to sit on with a wood frame, concrete and top it with good quality ceramic tiles; use the correct pipes for all the connections as well. Once installed and fired for the first time, open all the windows because it will smell! This is normal as you are burning off the chemical coating and preparing it for regular use. I rather quickly found that cleaning the firebox out on a regular basis reduced the inevitable build-up and gave much more heat from the wood burnt. It seems that too much ash reduces the amount of heat while creating even more ash. Then I use a small brush to clean the inside of the stove and vacuumed the surrounding platform, along with every other surface that is close to the stove; the ash gets everywhere! Of course cleaning and maintaining the stove is dependent on how cold it is outside and how much wood you have to burn. I also use the top of the stove to heat water for dishes to reduce the amount of propane usage and when need arises, to melt snow when we have no running water due to inevitable freezing despite the heat tape.

These are only a few of the wonders to behold as you prepare for life on the outskirts of civilization but it’s comforting to know that the town is only twelve miles distant. It does get better with every new experience you triumph over; we have had our fixer-upper mobile home for a year now and have worked out quite a few bugs (literally speaking) having come through the four seasons and all they had to throw at us. I think this is valuable information to share with my readers.

Posted by CJ Article Team
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