The simple life that's not always simple

January 21, 2003 12:00 am

Is living the rustic life simpler?

That was the question posed in a short essay I read recently titled "Living Along a Rural Route."

The author, Ann Hinge Klein, advised readers who might be moved to jump their gentrified fences for more serene pastures to consider the realities of countrified living.

She went on to mention septic tanks, back-yard varmints and relative isolation — subjects not likely to enter the minds of prospective new immigrants who see only a poetic existence communing with Mother Nature.

The bottom line, she advised, is this: Plan to drive more, buy more equipment and spend more time "in the business of making your life go," as one of her interview subjects put it.

After nearly three years of "making it go" as transplants from the city, I'll vouch for Klein's take on things when it comes to the harsh realities of living the highly touted simple life.

In fact, just a few columns ago, I rambled on about the yin and yang of the winter experience living above the snow line.

Idyllic, yes, to gaze on those snow-covered pines while snuggled by a cozy fire as the ice balls batter the roof.

Not evident to the unjaded eye is what it takes to achieve the charmed setting.

We have to go all the way back to August here, the month my mate rings up "The Wood Guys" from the valley to arrange for delivery of three cords of timber.

Not just any timber, mind you. Oh no, this stuff must be cut to the right lengths or it won't fit in the stove box.

Once we recover from sticker shock over the price for the lot of it, we take a time out till October, when:

a. We hope the wood guys show up;

b. We cross our fingers that the wood measures 16 inches;

c. We write the check and,

d. We move the load three times before it even hits the inside of the stove.

I'll spare you the details of the additional energy expended in circular discussions with friends and neighbors on the wood versus gas stove issue.

Suffice it to say, we're still operating on the wood plan, so the fuel must be at the ready by the time frost hits the pumpkins.