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Old 08-17-2006, 02:31 AM
 
14 posts, read 63,503 times
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I'm wondering if vegetarian, somewhat bohemian (though not hippie) atheists can get by OK in Montana...we're coming from Oregon. Culturally Portland is probably perfect for us but it is way too crowded and too dreary (only 3 mostly sunny months per year.) We want to live near good people who respect one another and we want to have some space to breathe. We are not in need of jobs since we have an online business that makes us a modest living. I'll happily trade the 9 months of rain we have for a cold snowy winter. Just want to know if we'd be seen as outsiders forever, and if it comes up that we're vegetarians would that be looked at the same as is we said we're communists or aliens or some such thing. Any comments? thanks!
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Old 08-17-2006, 11:08 AM
 
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Depending on where you move in Montana, I think you'd fit in fine. If you're moving into ranching country, people might look at you sideways about the vegetarian thing, but for the most part Montanans tend to let people mind their own business. And, especially Missoula and Bozeman, there are plenty of natural food stores and restaurants that feature vegetarian meals.
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Old 08-21-2006, 09:47 AM
 
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I agree with the above- to a point- you will get some hassle about the veg, as I don't have much to do with meat, but am not a total. It is beef country, and the ranchers are proud of what they grow/raise for the country to eat. The atheist part might be a bit harder- I only know of one- she is a friend of my mother's, and nobody will have much to do with her. I live in a 5,000 pop. town. The more north/west you go in Montana, the more you will experience Morman, and they are not too friendly as far as welcoming you into their lives. (look at a post in Utah, I think is were I saw a post re someones move to Morman area). Bozeman, maybe, but I don't think Missoula. Are you happy just having one another for company, and doing things together?
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Old 08-23-2006, 12:11 AM
 
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There are lots of different types of people all over Montana. Montanans are pretty much all about letting people do their own thing as long as you don't bother them. It is likely, if you go to a larger city, that folks may not ever find out you are athiest. And also likely that you could find kindred spirits.

I have a very veggie loaded diet, and the main issue living in various small (tiny) towns is that the local supermarkets have very poor supplies of veggies. I mean, no chard, no kale...only bags of wilted romain, brown cauliflower and yellow broccoli.

Missoula, the Flathead (Kalispell), even Havre all have plenty of veggies in the stores.

Also, western Montana is not exactly sunny in the winter. I don't know how the number of sunny days compares to Portland, but we all hate the grey. Spring doesn't get here til May. I remember tulips in Portland in Feb. We get them here in Apr.

There is a lot more sun over East of the divide. And a lot wilder weather.

The Flathead valley in NW MT has a very diverse religious community. There are a LOT of Bible thumpers, but we also have plenty of milder protestants, mormons, jack mormons, jack baptists, buddhists, theosophists and wild eyed new agers.

If you end up in a tiny town, volunteer at the school and you will make your way into the community more easily.
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Old 08-23-2006, 09:16 AM
 
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Default Vegetarians do fine

Quote:
Originally Posted by tidmode View Post
There are lots of different types of people all over Montana. Montanans are pretty much all about letting people do their own thing as long as you don't bother them. It is likely, if you go to a larger city, that folks may not ever find out you are athiest. And also likely that you could find kindred spirits.

I have a very veggie loaded diet, and the main issue living in various small (tiny) towns is that the local supermarkets have very poor supplies of veggies. I mean, no chard, no kale...only bags of wilted romain, brown cauliflower and yellow broccoli.

Missoula, the Flathead (Kalispell), even Havre all have plenty of veggies in the stores.

Also, western Montana is not exactly sunny in the winter. I don't know how the number of sunny days compares to Portland, but we all hate the grey. Spring doesn't get here til May. I remember tulips in Portland in Feb. We get them here in Apr.

There is a lot more sun over East of the divide. And a lot wilder weather.

The Flathead valley in NW MT has a very diverse religious community. There are a LOT of Bible thumpers, but we also have plenty of milder protestants, mormons, jack mormons, jack baptists, buddhists, theosophists and wild eyed new agers.

If you end up in a tiny town, volunteer at the school and you will make your way into the community more easily.

In general, Montana is like anywhere else. If you don't try to push your beliefs onto others, you'll do just fine. If you try to push your ways, you'll probably be disliked--not for your beliefs as much as for trying to tell (or imply to) others they're wrong. Do keep in mind Montana is a major ranching state. And ranching means beef cattle. However, vegetarians do fine here as well. Supermarkets in cities here, like elsewhere, tend to have very large selections of diverse produce, and many of the cities (I know Helena and Bozeman, for example) have large natural foods stores. True about the small town grocery stores, but that's also true in other states as well. Many if not most people who live remotely are used to driving an hour or more each week or two to get to the supermarket, WalMart/Target, or whatever your favorite frequent-shopping stores are.

As in other rural areas, some farmstands exist, and the Hutterite colonies tend to show up in certain towns in summer once a week with farm stands with their produce and other products. Plus the major cities all have farmers markets once a week or more.

I have a Jewish vegan friend who does just fine in Montana. He doesn't push his views on others and does fine eating at social events, at restaurants, and the like.
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Old 08-23-2006, 02:38 PM
 
Location: Libby
12 posts, read 267,008 times
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Well...My Step-Mom lives just in the next town from me here in Montana, and she too is a Vegitarian. Most people in the Northern most corner of the State are pretty cool...they just stick to themselves. Which for me is wonderful ) Most people don't care how you live your own life here, as long as it doesn't infringe on theirs It is very diverse here as far as religion (or choice of no religion) goes...I've met people of just about every faith (except muslims and hindu's) from Catholic to Wiccan to Agnostic to Atheist...They all have learned to just smile and nod and not push personal beliefs on those who don't want to hear it It's gorgeous here and I love it!! 4 distinct seasons
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Old 08-24-2006, 06:31 PM
 
14 posts, read 63,503 times
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Default thanks

Thanks for all your help so far. I like the tip about volunteering at a school if we end up in a small town. What I'm hearing, though, is that I probably want to stick with a city like Missoula, maybe Bozeman (?)

We're certainly not the types to "preach" our beliefs to anyone. I'm as normal as they come, really; dress normal, act polite, don't make a spectacle of myself in any way. I was raised Catholic...now I just happen to be an atheist. I do have high morals and actually agree with many of the fundamentalist Christians on some issues (mostly with regards to the effects of the media on children). I am respectful of all religions.

Anyhow I have never gone around trying to pick fights with meat eaters. I have found myself many times trying to change the subject politely when questioned about my diet. Some people like to make it into something, which I've always hated. I like to be left alone about it and not have to "prove" why being a vegetarian is ok. Funny how it just blows some people's minds and they can't leave it alone.

We do keep to ourselves much of the time but enjoy making friends within the community, just like most people do. My son is almost 6 (plays baseball and would need to be able to make friends. My main concern is whether he'd be able to fit in/be accepted, as newcomers. Missoula I would guess is accustomed to influx due to the University.

I haven't any problem with ranchers, no plans on protesting anything.

Regarding the gray weather: In Portland (and elsewhere in western OR) you can go for weeks without seeing the sun. Then when you do see the sun it will be for a couple of hours in the afternoon...then you'll go another week or two or five...and repeat this process for several months. Granted, you do have the odd spell of a few days of sun here or there. But you basically can count on 3 months of mostly sun and 9 months of mostly gray/rain. Is that how Western MT is? Somehow I doubt it could be that bad. How about fall? Here it is cold, gray and drizzly. Do you get a pretty fall around Missoula?

Thank you!
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Old 08-25-2006, 02:50 AM
 
295 posts, read 528,022 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheekypercy View Post
Regarding the gray weather: In Portland ... you basically can count on 3 months of mostly sun and 9 months of mostly gray/rain. Is that how Western MT is?
From the Western Regional Climate Center http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/CLIMATEDATA.html

Precipitation: Portland 43, Missoula 14 inches per year on average
Raining: Portland 11%, Missoula 5% of the time on average.

However, they may be more similar than you'd expect:
Clear: Portland 68, Missoula 75 days per year on average
Cloudy: Portland 222, Missoula 208
Foggy: Portland 33, Missoula 27
Missoula has the most "Oregonian" weather of anyplace in Montana... the winters are relatively mild, but gray.

If you're seeking more winter sunshine, most towns in eastern Oregon get more than any town in Montana does, and the winters aren't as cold, either.
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Old 08-25-2006, 02:46 PM
 
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thank you, yes, I did think of eastern Oregon in terms of getting more sun. The place that comes to mind would be Bend, but it has grown extremely fast in the last 5-10 years and is quite expensive.

I'll research Bozeman a bit and see how the sunny days compare to here. I also thought of moving down to the Sierra Foothills just because it's so beautiful there (again, I don't need a job since I have an internet business) but I worry that all of CA will turn into suburban sprawl sooner or later. I hate to say it but CA does seem to breed people that are obsessed with status and getting ahead. I've had CA friends turn their backs on me once I no longer had any special advantages to offer them (connections, skills, etc.)

I'm born and raised in south Florida. "Cold" to me used to mean 55 degrees! I'll never go back to the Southeast, though. I love the West. (Don't want to live in the Southwest, though.) I want to get away from urban life, crowds, etc. I don't care about eating at the hot new restaurant or going shopping to pass the time. When I want that I can visit a big city.

Anyway you all have helped a lot so far. Thanks!
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Old 08-25-2006, 06:56 PM
 
78 posts, read 696,213 times
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Default Sunny East of Divide

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheekypercy View Post
...

Regarding the gray weather: In Portland (and elsewhere in western OR) you can go for weeks without seeing the sun. Then when you do see the sun it will be for a couple of hours in the afternoon...then you'll go another week or two or five...and repeat this process for several months. Granted, you do have the odd spell of a few days of sun here or there. But you basically can count on 3 months of mostly sun and 9 months of mostly gray/rain. Is that how Western MT is? Somehow I doubt it could be that bad. How about fall? Here it is cold, gray and drizzly. Do you get a pretty fall around Missoula?

Thank you!
Sounds like you'd do fine in MT (or elsewhere), with no issues on your vegetarianism and other beliefs. Everyone has his or her own beliefs, and as long as we each don't take the position that we're right and everyone else is wrong, we should all be able to get along (anywhere).

East of the Divide--areas such as Helena and Bozeman, for example, are quite sunny. I'm fully off-the-grid and have little problem with solar. Of course occasionally we have short rainy periods in spring (hurray--we need all the rain we can get!--but those days mean no sun to charge my system), but generally days are much more sunny here than, for example, throughout most of the midwest U.S. I can only speak for east of the Divide, however. West of it may be cloudier, wetter, as precipitation comes out of clouds as the air moves up mountains, and with prevailing winds from the west, that means the west sides of mountains (or west of the Divide) get more precip. than east of it, overall.
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