January 5, 2022
– An article piece by COP Agent Amy Friend
When COVID lockdowns began in 2020, it was anyone’s guess as to what would happen in the real estate market, as well as the rest of the economy and world. What did happen is that those of us who specialize in rural real estate found ourselves the busiest we’d ever been. Web inquiries nearly doubled over the first several months and by summer 2020, we were inundated with emails and calls from people looking for a country property of all kinds; land to camp on, land to put a cabin on, vacation homes, second homes, small farms, and ranches.
As larger cities in California implemented strict lockdowns, people started searching for properties where they had more space, more independence, the ability to be more self-sufficient and grow their own food, properties where they had immediate access to outdoor recreation, places to exercise, and places where there was a stronger sense of community and knowing your neighbors. This growing feeling coincided with employers shifting job duties to allow for so many people to work from home all or part of the time, as well as increased high-speed internet availability in rural areas. In our sparsely populated area of Siskiyou County, fiber optic is available now in a high percentage of neighborhoods.
What did these previous urban dwellers find to appreciate about their new rural properties? The same things that make so many of us choose a country lifestyle, the things that make any other lifestyle unimaginable for so many rural residents, both in our part of northern California and across the country. Country living allows us to slow down and get closer to nature, to family, and to the community.
Country living means that on your morning commute, you watch for deer instead of traffic accidents and opportunities to change lanes and the view is of mountains and farms and fields instead of freeways and subdivisions and malls. It means that when you stop in for coffee, fuel, or groceries, you are likely going to be greeted by name and run into a neighbor or friend at the same time. On a Friday night, you can drive into town and have a great meal, listen to a little live music and when you get home, you’re going to see more stars than you knew existed as you walk into your house. You won’t hear traffic at night – just the wind in the pines or the song of frogs and crickets.
It means on Saturday morning, you don’t have to plan a weekend trip to enjoy nature – you can take your kids or grandkids hiking or fishing and probably won’t have more than a fifteen-minute drive. There’s room to grow a garden and it sure is a beautiful simple pleasure to eat a meal that you created right from the seeds in the ground. Farm fresh eggs become an easy option, and if you want, room for livestock and horses. One of the things we appreciate is the opportunity for youth to join organizations like 4-H and take on a project like raising a lamb or steer for the market – they get to learn record-keeping, budgeting, how to balance a checkbook, gain confidence from showing in front of an audience, and practice the daily responsibility of chores and how hard work can result in a nice paycheck.
Rural life offers countless opportunities to step away from social media, electronics and become present in our day-to-day life. It allows us the chance to create so many memories with friends and family as we enjoy the world around us, connect to animals, improve our fitness, and become part of a community where everyone knows each other and is willing to lend a helping hand.