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Old 10-30-2009, 07:23 AM
 
Location: southwest TN
8,260 posts, read 15,227,298 times
Reputation: 15141

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I've been reading this thread: I'm reaching the end of my rope. And it's raised several questions for me.

We are city people for the most part. While I did live a few years in "towns" in New England, we never lived in the farm areas; and my husband mostly lived in cities or on military bases. So, the questions that arose from reading other threads are:

1. Even though our nearest neighbor is a good 1/2 mile down the road (his land, not ours - we just have a 4 acre piece of it); should we make it a point to go and introduce ourselves? We bought the property but don't movein for 22 months. There are 3 neighbor farms, one across the street, not sure where the farmhouse is; and one farm one each side with one of those extending behind our property.

2. I have cats, not dogs. My cats are indoor/outdoor cats. While we do live in NYC, we have a rural setting. We live on a national park with just a few neighbors, all park personnel, and there's about 100 acres for the kitties to hunt and sleep. There're very few mice left out there! We are often visited by flocks of ducks, geese, and even wild turkeys and my cats just look and drool, but have never made a serious attempt to stalk; although the smaller birds are not so lucky. Are cats the concern to farmers that dogs are?

3. And for those who have cats, are my cats in danger from poisonous snakes? The area we are moving to has rattlers, copperheads, and cottonmouths. While the little cat has brought home a garden (?) snake, about 6", there aren't any bigger snakes in this area.

We are moving to the country because we've had enough of neighbors; but we aren't moving to the middle of nowhere because I really do like people, just not so close to me. I'd like to learn how to be a good "country" neighbor. All advice listened to.
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Old 10-30-2009, 08:04 AM
 
Location: West Michigan
12,083 posts, read 34,587,197 times
Reputation: 16866
1) Wouldn't hurt at all to wander down and introduce yourselves to the neighbors. Set the tone for friendly open neighbor relations right off the bat is usually a good thing. You might just learn a bit of history about your place in the process.

2) Cats are not as big of a worry as loose dogs, but after a while, loose cats in the Country tend to wind up as lunch for Coyotes, or other wild animals. And generally traffic is faster down open country roads, than it is in parks or city streets, they might not have the "timing" right and end up as a "flat cat".

3) while cats are extremely fast in their reactions, it just takes one off day, or missed movement and it doesn't end well for them. Slight chance of harm from a snake would be my answer.

Practice making bread before the move and bring over a still warm loaf to the neighbors after you move in. Cookies and Pies are nice, but if they are elderly and on a restricted diet, or Diabetic they might not be able to enjoy it, but still feel obligated to offer you a seat and a slice over conversation. Nice loaf of warm bread is something you wouldn't really sit down and slice up for company, so the pressure is off them for actually eating it if it is something they either can't have or just don't eat. Banana bread works wonders. I learned this tip from my next door neighbor just last year after we moved into the neighborhood. She is 90 years old and has lived in the same house for 60+ years, has seen a lot of neighbors come and go over the years. While sitting down in her yard talking last Summer she offered up that tidbit of advice over lemonade and finger sandwiches she had made. The 88 year old widow that lives on the other side of me tossed out that lemonade and SOB Sandwiches were due to their DR's orders, and that "Years ago it was Screwdrivers or Martinis and real honest to God grilled meat to welcome people." I about fell off my chair laughing, I think these two would have been a hoot in their prime. I think it is some of the best advice I have ever gotten for meeting people in either rural, farm settings or in small towns.
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Old 10-30-2009, 08:30 AM
 
Location: southwest TN
8,260 posts, read 15,227,298 times
Reputation: 15141
No practice needed, I make bread all the time but I would not have thought of it as a "get to know you" food. Pray tell what are "SOB" sandwiches. Sounds like those are my kind of women!

As for the streets, I've been a whole lot concerned about that for my kitties. The one car that drove (FLEW) past the house while we were there made that skinny road seem more like a raceway. I am concerned for myself as well as my kitties. We are at a small bend in the road - the main road from Town1 to Town2 - and the house is hidden from both directions. I'm severely hearing impaired and car horns are not a sound I hear; so I was actually thinking we'd need to ask the county to put up signs of some kind to get folks to slow down. We plan to perimeter train the kitties but that doesn't happen overnight. There's really no reason for them to head across the street, we have woods behind the house - on all sides actually.

That brings up another question: you mentioned to just "wander over to the neighbors". Is it ok to drop in on folks (in the country)? First, as I mentioned, it's a long walk and there's no room to walk on the street - there are 2 very narrow lanes and no shoulder or anywhere to walk except IN the lane so I'd have to drive. Hmm, I wonder if people walk at all in this area - would seem really dangerous.
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:34 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,487 posts, read 38,404,041 times
Reputation: 23066
We moved to the country 13 years ago - at that time we had five cats. (To digress: in December 1995, my husband told my daughter and I that all he wanted for Christmas from us was for us not to bring anything else into the house that ate. In August 1996, we closed on the farm. There's a lot more animals now, but most of them don't come in the house!)

We've been up to as many as ten cats - right now we're at six. The ones that we no longer have are the original five who died of old age (we'd had them a while when we moved here). The rest are fine. They don't seem to have a problem with the rattlesnakes (in fact, cats will eat young snakes, so we have fewer snakes than we once did), though I've had a dog and a horse snakebit, both in the same year that was very bad for snakes. We have coyotes in the area, but we also have dogs, and the first dog we brought out here was a Great Pyrenees (they seem to have some sort of arrangement with coyotoe - "You stay off my property and I won't kill you") and now we have donkeys (same arrangement) and a GP/lab cross, so we've never lost a cat to a coyote. Cats are actually good in the country, as we do NOT have a rodent problem and haven't since a few months after we moved out here (it took them a while to get things to that state).

We didn't go meet all of our neighbors right away, though we did eventually. Trust me, though, they will know who you are long before you go visit! Taking a gift of food is always a good idea, city or country, though - a nice way to break the ice and leave a good memory. We got to meet some of our neighbors in a time-honored country way - we got a bull and he went walkabout a couple of times until we figured out where he was figuring out how to get out (it wasn't obvious - did you know cows can jump?) and we met some neighbors that way. (They already knew whose bull it was - see above about knowing who you are before you meet them.)

You might also want to consider checking to see what local festivals are in the area (the churches usually have them as fundraisers a few time a year, and the food is generally excellent, the VFW hall will do the same, and there's usually a fundraiser once or twice a year for the local volunteer fire department - usually music and food, sometimes games, sometimes dancing) and make a point of attending, perhaps even before you move to town - it's a good place to introduce yourself to the community, as well. Donate to the volunteer fire department at their annual drive (here it's somewhere between $10-100, the latter being for businesses, though we donate that most years because, hey, it's the fire department!).

A humorous read for people moving to the country is this brochure created by a country-dwelling fellow horsewoman (she's in California, but most of it applies) after much discussion of people moving to the country and being offended by things such as animal odors and "lawns" (read: fields) that weren't mowed and such on Practical Tips for Living In a Country Community.

Welcome to the country! It's great out here!
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Old 10-30-2009, 10:58 AM
 
1,340 posts, read 2,516,704 times
Reputation: 760
Quote:
Originally Posted by NY Annie View Post
I've been reading this thread: I'm reaching the end of my rope. And it's raised several questions for me.

We are city people for the most part. While I did live a few years in "towns" in New England, we never lived in the farm areas; and my husband mostly lived in cities or on military bases. So, the questions that arose from reading other threads are:

1. Even though our nearest neighbor is a good 1/2 mile down the road (his land, not ours - we just have a 4 acre piece of it); should we make it a point to go and introduce ourselves? We bought the property but don't movein for 22 months. There are 3 neighbor farms, one across the street, not sure where the farmhouse is; and one farm one each side with one of those extending behind our property.

2. I have cats, not dogs. My cats are indoor/outdoor cats. While we do live in NYC, we have a rural setting. We live on a national park with just a few neighbors, all park personnel, and there's about 100 acres for the kitties to hunt and sleep. There're very few mice left out there! We are often visited by flocks of ducks, geese, and even wild turkeys and my cats just look and drool, but have never made a serious attempt to stalk; although the smaller birds are not so lucky. Are cats the concern to farmers that dogs are?

3. And for those who have cats, are my cats in danger from poisonous snakes? The area we are moving to has rattlers, copperheads, and cottonmouths. While the little cat has brought home a garden (?) snake, about 6", there aren't any bigger snakes in this area.

We are moving to the country because we've had enough of neighbors; but we aren't moving to the middle of nowhere because I really do like people, just not so close to me. I'd like to learn how to be a good "country" neighbor. All advice listened to.
You could start by not letting your cats decimate the song bird population.
Insane, without them you'd bee knee-deep in bugs !
Around here they would be shot and rightly so.
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Old 10-30-2009, 11:18 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,487 posts, read 38,404,041 times
Reputation: 23066
Depends on your area. We live on a major migration route, and there are times of year when we have literally thousands of birds. The cats, however, seem more interested in rabbits and field mice (when we see them at all, it's because a cat has brought one as a hint that they'd like something a bit tastier in their food bowls). We do have a one-eyed cat that the vet ultimately determined was hit by an owl that thought she, little and fuzzy and grey as she is, was a rabbit, only she was faster than a rabbit.

Most of the folks around here have at least barn cats.

Of course, we're on 55 acres, not in the city. Are you in the city, Wingfoot? Do your neighbors really shoot cats? What's the rodent population where you are?
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Old 10-30-2009, 11:58 AM
 
Location: southwest TN
8,260 posts, read 15,227,298 times
Reputation: 15141
We do try to keep the kitties well-fed. They get wet food 3 times a day (dry as a supplement) - it started out as a training tool and now they demand it. But the baby seems to like to toy with her presents. We had to buy a butterfly net to capture what she brings in and tires of playing with. We have had birds in the upstairs bathroom, down in the basement, and swooping around the kitchen (ugh!) but this old house has no bugs or mice - I've seen her chase and eat crickets and grasshoppers! When we moved in, it was mouse haven as it had been empty for many years (historic housing).

So it sounds as though I will have to worry about coyotes. Hmmm - so much to learn
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Old 10-30-2009, 12:57 PM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,683,788 times
Reputation: 8170
Do not overfeed farm/country cats or they will become lazy and tiun into poor " mousers".

A cat that is a good " mouser" is valuable in a rural area and I never would shoot one.
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Old 10-30-2009, 03:11 PM
 
Location: West Michigan
12,083 posts, read 34,587,197 times
Reputation: 16866
I would never shoot a cat, even though I despise them as pets personally.

SOB Sandwich was her way of saying she hates them Son-of-a B..... Sandwiches. She really is a great ol' Gal, and so is the other one as well.
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Old 10-30-2009, 03:20 PM
 
1,340 posts, read 2,516,704 times
Reputation: 760
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasHorseLady View Post
Depends on your area. We live on a major migration route, and there are times of year when we have literally thousands of birds. The cats, however, seem more interested in rabbits and field mice (when we see them at all, it's because a cat has brought one as a hint that they'd like something a bit tastier in their food bowls). We do have a one-eyed cat that the vet ultimately determined was hit by an owl that thought she, little and fuzzy and grey as she is, was a rabbit, only she was faster than a rabbit.

Most of the folks around here have at least barn cats.

Of course, we're on 55 acres, not in the city. Are you in the city, Wingfoot? Do your neighbors really shoot cats? What's the rodent population where you are?
I live in a rural area in WI where ,as nature intended, hawks and owls keep the rodents in check.

Not thats it's relevant where one lives to have a basic knowledge of ecology.
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