Water, Waste, Trash, and Warmth. When we first moved out of the Perfect Suburban University Paradise we were uncomfortable with some of country livin’s inevitable mechanical features, such as a well and a septic tank/system. Not so much anymore.
For water there’s the “Irrigation District” piped-in water, a kind of hold-over from the old days of “Ditch Tenders,” water-rights, and mining operations – and what some still consider to be a rapine Utility just like in the old days. A lot of people up here have wells and that’s drinking water – but they need to be tested for various levels of stuff besides bacterial nasties, like iron so your pants don’t come out of the wash brown. In the current drought-conditions, some of the lower elevation wells were going-off dry or showing up muddy. In order to restore volume and flow, some people had to get another few hundred feet deep. That can get pretty expensive and I imagine that a bunch of other well-stuff gets upgraded or replaced at the same time.
Waste-systems, as a friend in MA where it’s actually pretty suburban but lacking in waste-infrastructure says, “Think of a septic system as a biological engine, and don’t throw food-scraps down the in-sink-erator disposal.” The leach-field or tank needs to be properly maintained and at a proper distance from the well. And then there’s “casual/causal waste.” Being that we produce X-amount of archaeological-worthy litter on a daily basis, where does the garbage go? Some folks also have burn-piles and on burn-days sometimes it’s smells like they’re burning old milk cartons and plastic wrap – it’s not all fragrant pines and balsam up in the woods. As discussed in comments:
Out in the sticks many driveways are practically tiny roads, too long, twisty and tight for the big waste-haulers to even navigate. If you have to push your waste-bins down a mile to the road every Thursday it gets a bit old. Lot of people have a small garden-tractor and trailer for just that. Lot of people leave the waste-bins lined-up in rows by the roadside next to the mail-boxes. Some mail-theft here too.
But still people are free to live like pigs in squalor, and you can see them from the road. Homes where garbage is piled all around, blue-tarps cover mounds of decaying old vehicles and mattresses, ancient rusting appliances dotting the landscape. I dunno, it’s either because they’re old, or just cheap, or poor, or they are hoarders who never throw anything away. We have passed-up several opportunities where the neighbors lived like pigs and too close-proximity made all the difference. I guess for some people it’s a way to prevent anybody (at least people of a certain sensibility) from even moving-in next door. Or they might just be crack-heads on Gov. assistance.
Heating. Given the sheer natural abundance of timber, wood is still a viable heating alternative to rapine utility companies like PG&E, but in an appliance-rich environment they still they mostly get the “E” out of you for lights and computers – unless you go Solar. But the cost of electricity is not so great (compared to the Expensively-Perfect Suburban Paradise), and many kitchens are all-electric. My preference is for gas wherever possible, and it can be re-plumbed to connect-up to the propane tank, because most furnaces are running on propane…