Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Relocating out west? Random thoughts to consider

If so, just a few random tips you may not want to learn the hard way.  I have personal stories behind most of these, but we don't need to waste the electrons.

- If you aren't living in the city, you'll eventually need all-wheel or 4-wheel drive.

-Your vehicle needs more than 6 inches of ground clearance, even in good weather.

- If you can't stand a few creatures occasionally sharing your house with you, don't move here. We've captured, relocated or killed uninvited scorpions, vinegaroons, geckos, moths, junebugs, centipedes, birds, bats, various rodents, etc. from inside the house. The yard has hosted many larger, more scary creatures.

- If you look at a prospective property in good weather, check nearby for little valleys above the property. Could be that the drainage will cover your back patio in mud during the rainy season.

- Flash flooding is deceptive. Never cross a flowing wash unless you can CLEARLY see the line in the middle of the road. If you can't, your vehicle probably can't take you across safely.

-Always have at least a gallon of water per person in your vehicle. I drive alone in remote places often, so carry a kit that will keep me for up to a week.

- Never ask a rancher how many cattle/sheep/whatever critter they have. It's like asking how much money they have or their net worth.

- Don't ask a rancher where or how much land they run their cattle/sheep or other critters on. Not only is it like the question above, but it's often more complicated than you want to hear (some owned, some leased) unless you know them well and have some time to listen. For example, a friend of my brother's runs his cattle on 4 different properties, some owned some leased, more than a 50 mile drive to see the closest edge of them all.

- Wherever you are, don't get co-opted into making or promoting a change outside your own property for at least a year. Sometimes, recently moved city-dwellers will do this to the newbies and it will create a lasting rift between you and the longer-time residents. These ventures can also have harmful effects to other residents and get you sued. Example 1: The push for paving roads happens often -- recent resident city-slicker realizes his [insert expensive car brand] is getting dirty or hit by gravel and wants road paved. This raises everyone's taxes, diverts funds from important meaningful projects, etc.,  Can actually make flooding and erosion problems worse.   If you wanted paved roads and they weren't there when you moved in, suck it up. It should have been on your list of must-haves when you looked at the property. Garage the Ferrari and buy a beat-up truck.   Example 2: (This really happened in a ranchette conservation subdivision near me with a central lake/pond)  One recent city-slicker guy thought the pond bottom was too gooey and wanted to assess other members $3000 to empty the pond and concrete the bottom for a better 'swimming-hole experience.' Turns out that 'pond' was the place that recharged the local aquifer providing everyone's domestic water. When the pond was emptied, but before it was concreted (waiting for the engineering and cost estimates), wells started going dry. Project was halted, pond refilled, wells recovered, bullet dodged.  It would have cost a lot more to jackhammer all that concrete out.

- Dust. Learn to live with it. Yes, vacuum and dust regularly, but it will be back quickly so don't obsess. The important things to dust are your electronics (refrigerator coils, air-conditioning filters, etc.) and vacuum around your baseboards (where the dustbears grow).

- Consider renting for 18 months to see if you are allergic to the place. I've never had worse allergies than in the times I lived in Texas and Arizona.

- NEW ITEM: Amazon Prime is SOOOO worth it when otherwise you wait until the monthly trip to the big town and then have to shop for it!


  1. You sound like you live in the same general area as I do! The dust; y'gotta make peace with the dust! My wife vacuums every day, and uses a leaf blower outside to get the dust somewhat away from the house. Lotta good it does though, as the dust devils blow it right back again! Then she freaks out when a humongous tunnel spider appears in the middle of the kitchen, probably exiled from the outside by the leaf blower! Then there are the bats, the opossum, the raccoons, and; oh yeah; the coyotes; never leave the Beverly Hills chihuahua outside after dark! As for the city folks; it always irks me how they try to get away from the city, and end up bringing it with them! They bring the Wal-Marts and the gangs, and then petition d'gubment to take away our guns! Go figure! Then they complain about the smell of the goats, the cows, and the chickens, and bitch about the flies (insert sound of baby crying here!). I'd tell them to go jump in the lake, but there's "no human contact" allowed...

    1. Yup!!! We've had newcomers post signs about their lost cats in the same week that folks posted pictures of the mountain lion downing a deer inside the village -- info to all that a big cat was hunting in town. The domestic kitty was probably an appetizer! Even though I live in a village ( about 30 homesteads in a couple square miles) I go out with the dog for her last whiz of the day before I take off my firearm. Don't want her to be lion food. We are probably at least in the same Zip Code zone. Mine starts with an 8!!

    2. Unfortunately, my zip code doesn't start with an 8. If it did, I would be much better prepared to deal with "predators" whilst going about my daily life. Certain politicians can't seem to get that through their heads... Or are they themselves the predators?...

  2. This is good advice even if someone is moving into the country in the east. Most city-slickers move to country and then want to make it like town. Later, they sometimes lament how citified it's getting, but they never make the connection.