Life In The Country: The Stories The Pictures Don't Tell

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I send my faraway family and friends snapshots of my new countrified life, full of berries and gingham and fawns. And those things are real and wonderful, but they don't tell the whole truth.

I've loved this last year of small-town life, and am looking forward to living in the country full-time, but it's not always as picturesque as it may seem.

Free produce, at a price. I never imagined I'd be so lucky as to have obscene quantities of strawberries or an entire gallon of red currants (what is that in San Francisco prices?), but my country life is full of riches. And for the 45-minutes that it took to pick these, my eyes were full of bugs — a million teeny bugs, just dying to get to my sweet, sweet eyeballs.

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There's no such thing as a free lunch. Our gardens are big and beautiful — this one is at the house we're selling, and the one at our new house is six times the size and will (hopefully) keep us fed all winter. But in their early days they required frequent waterings. This meant carrying countless buckets of water to the garden and up and down the rows, to the point where I acquired a seemingly permanent Bucket Bruise where it banged against my thigh. Not to mention the sunburns (despite sunscreen)!

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Birth is more photogenic than death. My ordinary day of house painting was interrupted by a fawn brought for me to cuddle, a long day of renovating was sweetened by the discovery of a nest of teeny eggs, and there's basically a baby bunny on the stoop every time I walk out the door. It is damn adorable. But the roads are smeared with squirrels, the ditches hold dead deer, digging in the garden or deep-cleaning the house means trying to avoid murdering myriad bugs, and sometimes an entire nest of eggs simply doesn't hatch.

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Sundress weather = mosquito weather. I love the warm, sunny summers we have here (none of that freezing-fog-rolling-in-at-5pm nonsense like in San Francisco), and I relish the opportunity to wear my thrift store sundresses — but I have so many giant, red mosquito bites on my blissfully bare limbs that I look like I have a pox. Or that vampires are rampant in the countryside, considering the number of bites I have on my neck. I do my best to wear bug spray, but it only does so much. This week I've been so itchy-crazy, I've done my best to avoid going out into the beautiful weather.

What less-than-ideal aspects of your city/small-town/country life do you generally keep to yourself?

(Image credits: Tess Wilson)