Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ratty's New Adventure

Today I thought I'd share just a little bit about my new life in rural Iowa. This has been a huge change for me because even though this is the area where my family comes from, I grew up in the middle of a big city. And this change has not been an easy one for me for other reasons as well.

What you see above is the area at the southern most point of my property.To the left of the picture, just on the other side of those trees is a deep ravine that makes me afraid every time I go near the edge. I'm not sure I could get out of there if I ever were to fall in. Youch!

Past the ravine is a huge cornfield. They just recently harvested all the corn, so the cornstalks are all gone now. You can see for miles through there once you get close enough to look through the trees. I'll share that view another time. For now we'll take a tour a little closer.

Before we go on I want to let you know that I have a small ad in this post. You'll know it when you see it. I'm trying these ads out for now. I'm very inexperienced in things like this, so I'm not sure how it will go yet. I've always been very wary of advertising on any of my sites, and my feelings haven't changed. I don't do this for money, and that will never be my motivation. I just wanted to let everyone know the ad was there so as not to be deceptive. Let's get back to the post!

What you see in the picture above is one of the small sheds on the property. I've never been inside this shed yet because all of the overgrown weeds. The weeded area was at one time my dad's garden, but he couldn't maintain it once he got sick. It's too late in the year for me to fixit up, so I'll have to see what I can do next spring.

This is the wood stove my dad built. It may seem crude to some of you, but this stove works better than any I've ever seen. And the stove itself is outside, so no smoke ever gets in the house, only heat. This is an old fashioned way of living, but this is the way my dad liked to live.

Keeping wood burning in the stove is a lot of work, but it's so much cheaper than any other way of heating a house. The ladder is there because I had to climb up and clean out the chimney a few times. Without my dad around, I'm having to learn about things like this as I go along. I can leave the ladder there because the outside of the stove building doesn't get hot.

The hardest part of all this work is that I can only work for about five or ten minutes at a time. The head injury I suffered only allows me that long before I begin to feel dizziness and pain. As long as I obey those rules I'm alright though.

This is the town I live in. What you see here in the picture above is pretty much it. The town is just big enough to have its own post office, but that may not last. Even our police force comes from the town up the road from us. My house is at the very south end of town, so I have plenty of room.

Since I'm so far away from most of my family, I'm not going to be able to do anything big for Thanksgiving this year, and I won't be traveling either. But if any of you choose to travel, you might want to consider cheap all inclusive holidays. It's sure nice to get away sometimes, especially if you are as alone as I am right now.

One idea that was offered to me for Thanksgiving was to go and serve dinner to the poor. I'm strongly considering doing this. It sounds like a good idea. The only problem for me is that I've been spending so much of my time alone that I'm a little nervous around a lot of people now. This makes the decision rough, so I'm going to have to really think about it.

The picture above shows you another view of the south end of my property. There will be a lot for me to clean up next spring. I'm going to try to clean things up without taking away the wild feeling of the place. My dad liked it this way, so I'll try to be faithful to what he wanted.

And finally we come towards the end of the post. This was a long one this time, wasn't it? The next one will be shorter, I'm sure. I hope this gave you just a little insight into what my life is like now. I know it was probably not as much as I could have shared, and it was kind of vague, but I've never been very good at giving information about myself. This is actually the most I've ever shown of a place I've lived.

I'll be back next time with some of the wildlife Isabella and I see when we go out here every day. I hope to begin posting more often now. Maybe these little ads will give me some added motivation. Time will tell. Talk to you next time.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!


  1. You certainly have lots of new things going on, pally! Wow! That is hard for anyone--especially since you are still recovering.

    Take things in small strides--just look at how long this post is! See--you are coming along! :)

    I'll bet you are learning a lot about your dad as you live on his property. I think this is going to be an adventure of a different kind as you "rat" around his place.

    Hugs to you. If it is any consolation, we stay home a lot during the holidays. Christmas day is just the four of us and we like it. :)

  2. i love the first and the last pictures, i do understand the feeling of being in a new environment, i too, during my first few months in San Diego, kept on missing the greenery from Connecticut. thank you for sharing your beautiful place, you are in the middle of nature, i can see why the change is not easy.

  3. I have a feeling that once you get used to your new place and make the adjustments you want you will love it there! I also live in a house that has been in our family for a long, long time and I wouldn't trade it for anything else!

  4. You'll get used to your new space and way of living..takes time!
    This is a wonderful adventure, with so many ties to your dad :)

  5. This is a real long walk that I really enjoy very much.

    I like the golden colour of the surrounding. It is beautiful.

  6. It's five miles to the nearest village, but we have neighbors here in west Michigan. Your new neighborhood looks like the one I grew up in many years ago. We're nearly finished with fall clean up and nearly ready to "hibernate" until spring. Love your photos, Ratty.

  7. The thought of being out in the middle of nowhere has always appealed to me.
    Learning as you go along there sounds a bit frightening but it seems as though you are doing well with it. Take your time and as for the holidays just do what feels right for you.

  8. Talk about a "One Horse Town"! Ha! Ha! At least it looks peaceful. I'd rather be in a place like that than a city. That old wood stove is neat. I've never seen one outside before. It seems it might be hard for you to go outside all the time to add wood. You be careful. I'm sure glad you have the dog to keep you company. Take care Ratty.

  9. That does look like an adventure, living at your dad's place - I bet you get some wild creatures exploring your property that you can photograph without even having to go to a park! You already have some awesome scenic photos to start.

  10. Well, I do believe I've caught up with your posts, Ratty. You seem to be settling in. Time will tell, I guess, whether you make your move permanent but it's nice that you are out and exploring your area and I'm sure you are enjoying Isabella and she will remain part of your life whether you stay in Iowa or go back to Michigan.

    It looks quite beautiful with the fall foliage. I imagine winter will be quite cold and you'll be so glad of Isabella's company on those snowy days.

    It's so good to have you back.

  11. Ratty- it's your choice of course, but I think you should go to the dinner. Holidays are so difficult alone. Wish I could invite you here.

  12. I'd like to thank you all for your comments. They always mean so much to me, especially right now.

    I'm thinking more strongly every day of going. It would be a great new experience for me. Your comment is a big help in giving me the confidence to do it.

  13. You give just enough information on your new environment, and it looked like a quiet place to live. I hope you're happy there, Ratty, and Happy Thanksgiving.

  14. My move was opposite from the country to the city. All changes this huge are hard but you have a head start because you love nature and you'll be seeing a lot more of it. If you can muster up the courage to go help out, it's the easiest way to meet people. I worked at a volunteer organization and it's the best way for new folk to settle in.