One of our blog readers said that she liked all of the remodeling updates, but that she wanted to hear more on what we thought about our new surroundings. I'm going to take a shot at responding to her kind request.
First, the vital statistics. We live on ten acres in a very small town. We have a Millersburg mailing address, and live in Ocqueoc Township (pronounced Ah-key-ok). Ocqueoc is a Native American word meaning crooked water, and refers to the Ocqueoc River (which is within walking distance from our house). According to City Data, Ocqueoc Township is 52.3 square miles, and has a population of 643. Like I said...we live in a very small town.
One of the things I truly love about the area is the abundance of water. We have the river close at hand, we're within a 15 minute drive of Lake Huron, and we're within an easy drive of several rivers and inland lakes. It's a dream come true for a water bug like yours truly.
We're finally feeling somewhat settled in, and are slowly getting used to country living. The biggest adjustment has been the loss of living close to our friends and former neighbors in Ohio. I am a very social person, and I truly enjoy talking with people. Because of that I fit in very well with small town folks...in that I'll talk to just about anybody. However, talking to strangers just doesn't compare with hanging out and BS'ing with long time friends. We are beginning to get to know our neighbors, and are getting more and more familiar with our local business owners. We are planning on joining the local Millersburg F.O.E., to become more active in the community and to continue to meet more local folks. We surely can't expect the locals to make us feel welcome if we don't make a valid attempt to become part of the community, can we? No, we can't.
This area is so amazingly different than anything we've previously experienced. Another adjustment for us was dealing with the long driving distances to larger cities for shopping. The closest larger city, with a Wal Mart and K Mart for example, is Cheboygan at about a 45 minute drive. We also have Gaylord and Alpena, with a Meijer, Home Depot and Lowes, both at about an hour drive. We do shop at local businesses as much as possible, but there are times when only the big box stores have what we need to get a particular job done. The ACE Hardware in Rogers City gets a ton of our home repair supplies business, but sometimes a trip to the Home Depot in Alpena is the only way to get the job done.
Living on acreage in the country isn't easy or convenient, and because of that many might wonder why we would choose to live here. It's difficult to explain, as it's something of a contradiction. There is a certain freedom we feel by being tied to a piece of property, which is dependent upon us for maintenance and care. I know...it doesn't sound entirely right to me either. I'll try to explain. The more we're becoming attuned to our land, and are providing the care and nurturing for its development, the more it is giving back to us. The woods around us are a prime example. They require regular care, with the cleanup of fallen branches and trees, and the clearing of dead fall that could become a fire hazard. However, they most certainly pay us back for our efforts. They are an ever changing tapestry of deep summer greens, vibrant fall colors, and snow-covered winter white. Whether looking out our windows, or hiking under the branches, they are a constant source of peace and beauty. The bottom line for us is, we get far more from our woods than they require of us. That's a theme that runs through all of the additional time and effort required to live here. What we receive in return is worth far more than the effort expended. While we know that it's not for everyone, we know that it is most definitely "us".
Until next time...