I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and every weekend when I was of driving age, I would get in my car and head for the hills. I always wanted to live in the country. Sure, there are things that I love about the city but most of those things can be accessed any time by a relatively short drive. Living in the Foothills affords me the peace and quiet that I require to make my life comfortable and because it is so centrally located I am within a day's drive to the desert, the mountains, the city, the ocean and even the redwoods. You can't say that about every place. I guess that's why this is a good fit for me.
When I worked at the local hardware store in town people who had just moved to town would invariably find their way to the hardware store. They would need some picture hangers or some paint, or propane for their BBQ's. Maybe even some flowers or seeds for their new garden spaces. It was always amazing to me how people had found our small town.
You really have to want to live here because getting here is not easy. And, generally not for the faint of heart. You have to go down a winding canyon road, cross a river, wind back up a winding canyon road and still have probably 10-15 more miles of two-lane road to travel before you hit "town". But, home is where the heart is, or so they say. One of my friends who also used to live in the Bay Area, knew the minute she laid eyes on this town that this is where she wanted to be. She is a very spiritual person and somehow this place spoke to her. It was that way for me too.
We purchased the first piece of property that our real estate person showed us. It didn't have any water (we later had a well drilled), it didn't have electricity (we lived with a generator until enough people moved in around us to afford the price) and it didn't have a phone. We lived without a phone for years and were so excited when finally we were able to purchase a bag phone for our car! Remember those? Huge and bulky but they did the trick at the time. They plugged into the cigarette lighter. We still have ours on a shelf in the garage. I guess it will be a relic one of these days (if it already isn't).
My daughters used to be in awe of electric lights when we went to my Mom's. They would stand on the chair and flick the light on and off and on and off marveling at the way the light would turn on. We were using kerosene lights at the time and also a few electric lights if the generator was turned on. For TV we had a AC/DC television plug that we could attach to our car battery. And our refrigerator was run by propane and came out of an RV. Like I said: you really had to WANT to live here to live here.
I haven't really minded what other people would probably consider inconveniences. It makes you appreciate everything that you have and have had to work for. We built our house with our own two hands, every rock, plant and bush has been planted with our own two hands (except for the native stuff that was here when we arrived) and we have enjoyed and planned it all every step of the way. When other people were out having vacations or taking weekend drives, we were chopping and stacking firewood for the winter. I don't think that we have given up all that much though. We have noticed the small things along the way. We have studied the details and know every inch of our property and house. Not everyone can say that.
I don't think that if I had the opportunity to change anything that I would. I think the lifestyle we chose was good for our daughters, it was good for us, and it has been peaceful. We gave up a lot along the way. I quit my job to stay at home with my girls and we didn't have the finer things in life but that stuff wasn't important to us. We had each other. And to this day, that is still true. We are a close-knit family. We talk about everything with each other. I don't think that there are any secrets between any of us. And, we still count of each other to this day. I guess I would have to say that it has not only been a sunny Saturday but a sunny lifetime. I am truly blessed!