We didn’t know what we didn’t know….
Next month will mark seven years that we closed escrow on our property in Tuolumne County that we fondly refer to as The Golden K. Although when we arrived we were not entirely “fish out of water” we were suburbanites out of suburbia. The romantic vision I had as a young man of living in the mountains had come true after Holly and I raised our family in the East Bay town of Livermore in Northern California.
There is a long story and many details involved with our decision to move. The short story is me seeing a house on a real estate website, Holly telling me she was not moving, and me coaxing her to come and take a look at the property just “for fun”. She agreed to go. We saw the property; I fell in love with it and Holly liked it a lot. She again told me she wasn’t moving. Weeks passed, we had a lot of conversation about it, and finally an agreement that it would be great to get out of suburbia. Over several weeks we viewed more homes in Tuolumne County. The property I had seen on-line prevailed. We bought it and began preparations to sell our home in Livermore and make the move “up the hill”.
And still we didn’t know what we didn’t know.
There was so much more beauty and joy living in the forest than we had even imagined! The community was so much smaller, more intimate, and overall very welcoming. I’m sure we were called “flat landers” for a while. But, hey – we were!
When one moves to a different home there are always things to learn. Especially when migrating from the concrete suburban jungle to a rural area that is mostly forest and open land. So we learned. We learned about septic tanks and wells. We learned about tree mortality. We learned about wildlife and gained greater respect for it. With a much larger home with out buildings on five acres there was more work and maintenance. So we acquired the necessary tools and learned how to utilize them to work smarter and manage our property. A tractor, back-pack leaf blowers, industrial grade weed walkers, chain saws, wood splitters, etc.
Admittedly when we first arrived at The Golden K we were slightly naive and starry eyed. But we began understanding what we didn’t know and embraced the learning process. A big part of the learning process was repairs. When something broke or needed maintenance we called in locals and I paid attention as they did repairs or described how to perform maintenance. The time spent and care given by who are now “our guys” was refreshing compared to the fast pace and impersonal experiences in the Bay Area.
We learned how to drive on rural roads. We learned how to drive in the snow and when not to drive in the snow. We learned how to enjoy an approaching storm and the ensuing rustling and howls of the tall pines. We learned that Black Tail deer will eat anything green, especially plants and shrubs one puts the most effort into. 🙂 We quickly came to love those big bucks with their majestic antlers and the female does that graze through the Golden K. We especially love seeing the cute spotted fawns that follow along with mom during Spring.
We learned that less is more especially as it relates to community. Community events like street fairs and concerts aren’t overkill with tens of thousands of attendees, shuttle bus parking, and $15 beer. They’re nearby in many of the local communities like Twain Harte, Sonora, and Columbia, and harken a small town vibe from “back in the day“.
Now seven years later, and no longer Flat Landers, Holly and I know what we didn’t know. And we have an even greater appreciation for our environment and our community than when we arrived.
A Glimpse Of The Golden K