Grit Blogs > Tackling the Country Life

The Green Acre Quest

By Steve Daut

Tags: pond, fishing,

Ok, so we’re not Oliver and Lisa, and we’ve never been in Hooterville, but after living our entire adult lives in relatively urban settings, Sue and I have moved out to a place with 2 acres and a pond near Chelsea, Michigan. In a way, we’re both going back to our childhoods – I am from a small town in Iowa, and Sue grew up in the country 100 miles west of here.

The house was a bit of a wreck with years of deferred maintenance to correct before we could move in. Now, the house itself is mostly done, our dog has turned junkyard almost overnight, and we’re beginning to focus our sights on the prospect of project work for the next zillion years or so. Unless I miss my guess, we’re not the only ones who have had to learn rural-ish ways, so this blog is dedicated to sharing ideas and discoveries along the way.

This list of potential projects goes on and on, and we’re looking for insight from the experts – folks who have actually had to tackle these things. Some of the potential topics we anticipate discussing are listed below. If you have some particular insight into any of them, jump in and share your thoughts!

Potential topics: building the ideal compost pile; what’s the cheapest wood for heating a home when you consider BTUs and everything else; septic field dos and don’ts; how to heal a pond; picking out fishing lures; cleaning up a scrub woodlot; raised bed gardening; tapping into the sun’s power; pros and cons of small lot wind generation; personal hothouses; native plantings; persnickety chain saws; home improvement nightmares; back-up power; can bass really taste good; deer and dogs; native plantings.

I’ve attached a couple of photos of the place. The first one is the pond out front. It’s about three-quarters of an acre, which is great because I don’t have to mow as much lawn that way. The pond is stocked with bass, catfish, and the biggest bluegills I’ve ever seen. Problem is, it’s also full of muck, algae, and bottom weeds.


The second photo is the back yard, which is the intended site of the garden, native plantings, and the perfect compost pile. There’s also a big beautiful wolf oak and the remnants of a foundation that was probably the original barn. Oh, and my dog Chili is in the photo, too. She refused to move, sensing her chance to become a celebrity. She’s an Australian Shepherd mix with her summer hair cut. Make no mistake, this is her place and she’ll defend it to the death, at least until the next thunderstorm sends her flying off to hide in her master’s arms.

Backyard and Chili

Before I sign off, I’d like to share a quick method I learned for getting a newly installed ceiling fan to straighten up and quit making that maddening “tick tick tick.” First rebalance it, and when that doesn’t work, just cuss at it. Worked like a charm for me.

So there you have it – this blog is about discovering the country life after becoming citified. Please share your own experiences and discoveries, and we can all learn together. I hope to hear from you soon!