Many people love the Ozark Mountains. I understand why, I have the beautiful view of the Ozarks daily through my windows. As much as I enjoy living here, I would have had a better transition with the following advice.
1. Be prepared to have necessities set up on your land. There are many opportunities to buy land with houses on it. However, some people might want to live farther out in the more remote areas. This is where I live. We were fortunate to have electricity, a well and septic system already on the land. Some of the land available is tempting because it is so beautiful, but if you do not consider the cost of having electricity, a well and septic system put on your land, you could have a cruel wake-up call. This may sound like common sense but I have seen people buy land with dreams of building a house only to be disappointed by the cost of setting up the necessities.
2.You might have to obtain a 911 address. When we first moved here, we had to call the courthouse for our 911 address. We couldn’t have our electricity turned on or receive our mail until we had our 911 address. The courthouse had our address but did not have the sign for our road installed. We actually later realized we could have renamed our road. You can usually name your road as long as 911 has not installed your road sign. We did not bother to change what the courthouse had on record because we were already receiving our mail. My mom had the privilege of naming her road. It was quite a challenge due to regulations and having to obtain signatures of anyone who was going to be her new neighbors. She was there first and was able to name the road.
3. To receive mail, you must fill out a rural form at the post office. This is a special form letting the post office know that you have moved into your home and are ready to receive mail. I was unaware of this form. It took a month for the post office and I to work out the problem of not receiving my mail. I believed that if you filled out the forwarding address form at the USPS, they would have it in their computer. Apparently when you live this far out , the rural form has to be filled out.
4. Although not an absolute necessity, it is a good idea to purchase a generator. The electricity goes out pretty frequently due to high winds and frequent storms. During the Ice Storm, we were without electricity for 2 weeks. Because we had a generator it made the wait more bearable. It is also a good idea to have gasoline on hand for your generator. During the Ice Storm, we were unable to get out for a couple of days because the road was filled with trees and tree limbs. We had to chainsaw our way out and with the help of the neighbors bulldozer, we were able to get out faster. Although we had gasoline on hand, it ran out quickly when you are using a generator.
5. Everyone out here will likely tell you that your first year is the worst. I feel so lucky to live here, being able to experience all the Ozarks have to offer, but my family’s first year was very difficult. My 1 yr. old son and I moved before my husband did. We were on our own setting up the house when a Hurricane came through the area. Thankfully, we had the generator. We were without electricity for 3 days. Only being here for 1 month before the hurricane, I was not aware of how dark it actually got here and how bad the roads could be after a bad storm. I was blocked in until my neighbor cut down the trees for my vehicle to pass the road. I was able to get food and gas for the generator. Then the Ice Storm came, luckily we were better prepared. You will be tested your first year here, mainly because you are not prepared.
6. One terrific advantage of living in the remote Ozarks is the close community of neighbors. People out here know that we have to depend on each other. More than likely, your neighbors will hear about you before you even know they exist. Be open to meeting them, neighbors literally come out of the woods and show up at your house.
When any of us neighbors need each other, we are usually there before the police, fire dept. or any other rescue service. It really is a good idea to get to know your neighbors.
7.When you live in remote area, especially near the County line, you are the last to be taken care of in most situations. Your road is the last to be taken care of. Your electricity is the last to be turned on. Our road was being cleaned and cleared just this week of damage from the Ice Storm, 7 months ago. It is to your advantage to own a 4WD vehicle or a 4 wheeler. There are many times a vehicle can not get you through the roads or even to check on a neighbor. We have dirt roads so a 4WD vehicle is a necessity.
8. Shopping is different when you live remotely. It is a great idea to have access to the Internet. Yes,the Internet can be accessible, you just have to find the right avenue. UPS, FEDEX, and USPS all deliver to most remote areas. So if I want items not available at Wal-Mart, or grocery stores, then I search the Internet. I usually only go grocery shopping once a week . It isn’t convenient to run into town for a gallon of milk or loaf of bread. You have to be ready and prepared when you go shopping.
9.If you are not prepared for the land in the Ozarks, you might be unpleasantly surprised. There are a lot of rocks here. Our first few months, we only had a lawn tractor. I mowed our 7 cleared acres with our lawn tractor. I hit so many rocks, even on the highest setting. We later purchased a Kubota tractor, it has been great except for a couple of flat tires. They have a saying around here, “Every time it rains, a new crop of rocks grow”. I found that saying to be true the hard way when I tried to till my first garden. I worked so hard on that garden full of rocks that I did have a productive garden, however I have learned my lesson. Next year I will have raised beds. Be prepared to change tractor blades, and for many flat tires. As the neighbors say,” It is just part of livin’ here.”
10. One last thing you may not realize about living remotely is that there is no trash service. You have to bring your trash to the dump. You have to pay for a permit and then you can bring your trash. It is best to buy covered trash bins because the wild animals will try to get into it. Try to go to the dump once a week for good maintenance.
Living in the remote Ozarks is such a great life. I feel very blessed to have this opportunity. I just want to share some hard learned wisdom so that others seeking this wonderful life will be better prepared than I was.