Monday, July 21, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Rural life still not for everyone

By
From page HS3 | May 31, 2013 |

This is the time of the year when I feel my 10 acres is 9 too many. While my friends are playing golf, boating around Folsom Lake or taking the family on a picnic, I’m up to my elbows clearing grass, weeds and brush. My sole recreational activity over the next few weeks will be weed-whacking. It’s a sport where the player swings, pushes or rides some type of mowing apparatus around their property until they are exhausted. All my neighbors live on acreage and engage in this sport to some degree. This time of year, it’s the most frequent topic of conversation. “You weed-whacking today?” “How’s that new weed whacker?” “How much whacking did you get done today?”

Homebuyers relocating to our region often perceive El Dorado County as a bucolic rural county where farming and ranching are popular lifestyles. Although some will choose this lifestyle, most don’t. According to El Dorado County Tax Assessor Karl Weiland, of the 66,400 improved residential properties in El Dorado County only 7,500 are built on 5 or more acres.

The rural nature of El Dorado County may be attractive to relocating homebuyers but most don’t buy homes on acreage. Nearly half of our 436 home sales since April 1 were located in either El Dorado Hills or Cameron Park. Another 30 percent were within five miles of Highway 50. Only 14 percent of all county home sales were located on 5 or more acres.

Living on acreage has advantages. There is space for people, animals and stuff. The country lifestyle may seem envious to those living on a corner lot in a high traffic neighborhood but the care and management of rural properties requires a different set of homeowner skills and level of commitment not experienced by the suburban dweller.

Tom and Sally recently moved to our rural neighborhood from Sacramento, having closed escrow on a bank foreclosure down our one-lane country road. They moved here for all the right reasons. They wanted to live in a quiet, crime-free neighborhood. A place where windows were left open and doors unlocked, a neighborhood where everyone knows your name. They are good neighbors and I have had the opportunity of watching them go through the different stages of adapting to living in the rural foothills of El Dorado County.

After the moving van unloaded their furniture, they began experiencing the OMG phase. It is a combination of excitement, joy and wonder at discovering how much land they own. Every tree and rock out-cropping is a fascinating discovery. Walking the property becomes a frequent satisfying experience. Identifying property and fence lines seems important. Every tree undergoes a critical assessment. Wildlife is revered. It is enchanting watching the skittish deer browse on tender shoots of grass or the bold grey fox snooping for stray seeds under the bird-feeder.

Following the OMG, look at all the land we own stage, begins the inquisitive stage. The city slickers have lots of questions about their new environment and frequently stop by our place to ask important questions like “When will the grass stop growing?” “What’s a burn permit?” “What’s defensible space?” and “What tools do I need?”

Living on remote acreage requires an assortment of tools and equipment not usually found in a typical garage in El Dorado Hills. With mail, newspaper boxes and trash collection a mile or more away, ATVs are popular. Rural areas experience more frequent and longer power outages and a back-up generator is valuable. If the home has a wood burning fireplace or wood stove, a log splitter is another handy item. Old Ford farm tractors are not unusual but more often neighbors have John Deeres, Kubotas and riding mowers each with their own attachments and implements. Then there is the usual assortment of weed whackers, poll tree trimmers, chain saws and a large assortment of spare parts. A second mortgage may be necessary to acquire all the equipment needed in order to enjoy the rural lifestyle experience. Then a place to put everything comes next.

If the property already has a barn or out buildings, so much the better. If not, building a barn or another garage is another major undertaking requiring engineering design, building permits, fees and inspections. A less costly structure is the popular non-permitted shed often seen popping up after recently closed escrows.

Living in the woods or on acreage requires a few outdoor survival skills not normally developed in more densely populated areas of our county. The ability to recognize poison oak is important, as is the ability to quickly identify the difference between a Pacific Gopher Snake and a Northern Pacific Rattlesnake. Mechanical aptitude is a valuable talent. Equipment service centers can be an all-day experience at best and a trip to the local hardware store can take hours getting there and back.

If gardening is important, rural settlers should be familiar with infantry defensive tactics to establish a defensive parameter protecting against an invasion of deer, raccoon and gophers. Eight foot fencing, motion detectors, spotlights and water cannons are common defensive weapons required to protect tomatoes and zucchini from four-legged locals.

Horses are popular with rural property owners. However, like much of the charm of country living they are more pleasantly viewed behind another person’s fence.

Ken Calhoon is a real estate broker in El Dorado County. He can be reached through his Website: kencalhoon.com.

Comments

comments

.

News

IRS unveils Taxpayer Bill of Rights

By News Release | From Page: B1

 
Highway 50 collision fatal

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

Stay connected through sheriff

By El Dorado County Sheriff's Office | From Page: B1

 
EDH community unites to patch up historic barn

By Mike Roberts | From Page: A1 | Gallery

P’ville hires Camino superintendent

By News Release | From Page: B1

 
Bird tests positive for West Nile

By Ross Branch | From Page: A1

Heard over the back fence: Public swim times announced

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

 
County gets partial refund on promotional event

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A3

 
Jeepers expo Wednesday in Georgetown

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A3

Help SWR with squirrel babies

By Sierra Wildlife Rescue | From Page: A9

 
.

Opinion

The rural life: Save the day: Neuter and spay

By Jennifer Forsberg Meyer | From Page: A4

 
Different place, different priorities

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

California rambling: Giving cities a pass

By John Poimiroo | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
.

Letters

A thank you note

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Prada belongs in Berkeley

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Ready for Hillary?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
Fukushima

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Diamond Springs Firefighters Union is corrupt

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
100+ years and thanks

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

.

Sports

Valley View Sports Park

By Julie Samrick | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Under the Scoreboard: July 20, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

Schedule: July 21-26

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

 
Becker slips by in wild KWS finish

By Gary Thomas | From Page: A6

Sports Scene: July 20, 2014

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A6

 
Roundup: July 20, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

Season over for Post 119

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Sophia Barden wins strut title

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A7

.

Prospecting

How to safely help a horse

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Railroad Museum offers a fun ‘History Happy Hour’

By California State Railroad Museum | From Page: B4

 
As we were: Money for home repairs

By Ken Deibert | From Page: B4

Marshall Medical Center to host day of fitness and fun

By Marshall Medical | From Page: B10

 
Kids parade for free admission to the fair

By Amador County Fair | From Page: B10

Volunteer kitchen help needed in EDH

By Health and Human Services Agency | From Page: B10

 
.

Essentials

Crime Log: July 6-8

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
.

Obituaries

Betty Ellene Hock

By Contributor | From Page: A2Comments are off for this post

 
Douglas J. Beam

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Arthur J. Funston

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Jerry Grant Young Jr.

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Kathryn Noreen Nolan

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

.

Comics

Horoscope, Monday, July 21, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Sukodu

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A8

New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
American Profile Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Horoscope, Tuesday, July 22, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8