Western Living Center Country Living Tips
t Are You Ready?
t Wild Critters
t Kids & Critters
t Families
t Roads & Utilities
t Landscaping
t Native Plants
t Fire Prevention
t Emergencies
t Pets & Livestock
t Ag & Wine Grapes
t Lifestyles
t Public Services

Includes 176 Photographs of 19th Century N. California!


Country Art

Rattlesnake Bite

Bites & Stings

Information links

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Are you ready to move to the country? 

Peace on earth. In the far right corner of the grassy area notice a peace symbol carved into the weeds. A new piece of alien art appears every year. 

That's Life

It was Valentines day 2000. It had been raining heavily for several days. Ric & a neighbor left for work about 6:30a.m. that day... the neighbor a couple of minutes later than Ric (I think Ric knew what was coming and left early to avoid the work!!!) Just as I was getting my business day going the neighbor's wife called in a panic... their garage was already flooded and the water was getting higher fast. 

I dropped what I was doing, grabbed some tools and boots and raced to their house... problem was whether walking or in the car I had to cross through water that was now about 7 feet deep and racing like only a flash flood could. 

As I approached in the car and saw the situation, I backed up the hill above the flood and gunned it hoping the momentum would carry me across and I wouldn't end up in their horse pasture. I got lucky and made it. 

Suzie (the wife) and I worked furiously to redirect the water. A neighbor quickly joined in, and Milton returned when he saw the creek downstream and knew we'd be in trouble.

Everything ended up ok, and we used it as a great excuse to be exhilarated by the force of nature that we survived once again (flash floods occur every couple of years here - click here to learn how to minimize their impact). 

That's country  life -- in all it's glory!

There's no question about it, living in the country isn't for everybody. You'll have lots of hard work to do to maintain a country place, and you'll have fewer options of finding help. 

The roads won't be as good. The commute will be farther, and your current city friends will think you're so far away they won't come to visit much any more.

You'll have to shop in bulk, be prepared for more down time of phones and electricity, and, if you want to continue your city activities, it'll cost you more in gas.

Your city friends may find it too far for a visit, but you will get other "drop ins" from time to time.

But, most of us who live here wouldn't trade it for anything. This book is being written by four professionals. We're neighbors and friends. We share in heavy work at each other's places. Help each other out when there is a problem or medical emergency, and share food from our gardens. Let me introduce this motley crew....

Ric Hornor, fine artist, rich media guru (that's all that animation and special effects stuff you see on CDs and the web) by day - holey-man (that means he's always diggin' holes to plant something new) nights and weekends . 

Jody Hornor, author of a best-selling marketing book, and lecturer to business organizations across the US by day -- killer (just the poison oak folks) nights and weekends. I'm also the primary writer of this book, so any misinterpretations of wildlife data or other topics in which I'm not an expert, are solely my responsibility. Please let me know, however so they can be corrected.

Since you are here as strangers, you should rather confine yourselves to the customs of our country than impose yours upon us. 

Wicomesse leader, 1633

Believe it or not, what we're most proud of is not our education, awards or career achievements, we're most proud of the fact that we can truly live in an almost untampered environment... in conjunction with nature's laws, enjoying anything and everything it throws our way. We respect nature's balance and hope others around us will do the same. 

What do I mean? Well, we've had people move into the area and want to get everyone together to exterminate the rattlesnakes. Sorry Charlie... they have their place in the balance of things and if we tamper with their existence, we're also tampering with ours! Besides, if you do go to the trouble of trying to chase off rattlesnakes, they'll come right back. Cats pretty well solve the problem over the long term.

Lightening Oak - named so after being struck by lightening in a 1990 storm. I'm proud to say that many of the pictures in this book are taken on our property or in our neighborhood.

Other newcomers have been seen taking their kids out to see the mountain lion their dog cornered. That's an excellent way to reduce the number of tax deductions you have the following year. Frankly it's just one of many things we've seen that let us know people who move here don't do their homework to learn about their new environment, and how to happily coexist within it. 

 So, we've created a simple, (tongue  in cheek) quiz to help you understand whether you're ready. Although this is intended to be more fun than real value, the points we're making may be enlightening to you.

  • Can you pee on a tree (under for you ladies)? If no, maybe you don't want to be here.

  • Do you want everything just like the city, but with more room around your house? If yes, we recommend you stay in the city.

  • Do you want to drive like you're on a freeway? If so, then buy a house on the freeway. Country roads are small, and usually low speed. Neighborhood roads are often dirt and have a 10 MPH speed limit.  

  • Are you afraid of wild animals, snakes, and bugs? Better get over it or not come to the country... you're in their territory and need to learn to live with them. 


It's a "what's it?" It was on our property, but we don't have a clue what it is. If anyone knows what kind of moth this is, please drop us a note..

If you decide you can live with these basics, then the rest of this online book will help you learn how. It incorporates about 45 years worth of experience in taking care of the many new aspects of life you've never experienced before in the city. So keep reading. You may find other qualifiers within the text that will help you make your decision.

Country Values (and we ain’t talkin’ ‘bout money)

Most of the people who come to the country and stay here share similar values. 

Values We Enjoy
  • We enjoy the quiet. Loud dogs, kids, and radios spoil the peace most of us came here for.

  • Our property is our property. It's been assumed by some that because we're in the country everything is there for everybody. Case in point. We went to our pond one Sunday to find the neighbors and about a dozen of their friends on floats having a party. Had they asked for permission, we would have said it's OK. Many neighbors like to have gatherings there, but they ask ahead of time. 

Needless to say, we were outraged. We didn't even know these people. Never met them, didn't know their names, nothing. Their comment, "well this is the country you know". 

There is a minor little thing like liability. And because we own the property if anyone drowns, is hurt, etc., we're liable. When we told them that they said... no problem, we'll sign off on the liability. But, legally, we're responsible anyhow. 

The bottom line... respect others' property. Ride your horses across... only with permission. Let your kids go to someone's pond to fish... with permission (and adult supervision). 

  • Respect nature... don't start killing wildlife, even if it does scare you. If you're going to live in the country it's your responsibility to learn about the wildlife so you know what precautions YOU must take for you and your family to remain safe in your environment.

  • Don't trash your property, dump non-organic material, toxins, or other pollutants. So many people come to the country and think they can throw anything anywhere. Just remember what you throw out pollutes the ground water that you're drinking yourself. 

  • Don't let your pets go wild. Many people think that because there's so much room they can simply let their animals run. The fact is that more domestic livestock, cats and other pets are killed by domestic dogs that have returned to their wild instincts (packing) because of lack of training or supervision. These dogs also tend to attack people and pets (now there's a nice liability suit for you) so it's in everyone's best interest to train pets and teach them their territory so they stay home.

  • Accept that country etiquette is part and parcel with living here, and probably is part of why you'd like to be here yourself if you aren't already. The old cliché "when in Rome..." is very appropriate. If you admire, but are unwilling to live this culture, then you will probably be unhappy here.

Ok, now you've got some of the basics. Click on the links for more details, or use the menu on your left to find the subjects you're most interested in.

All photos on this site are copyrighted. Many are available to purchase, however, at www.19thCentury.us


© 2008 - Jody & Ric Hornor l contact