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No, this isn’t about homeowners insurance.

One of the things I still find amazing living out in the country is the generosity we’ve had from our “neighbors.” When we lived in Chicago, you could hold the door for someone and not get an inkling of appreciation or gratitude. And in the city, that was OK. That’s just how that aspect of life was – everyone sort of lives in their own world in public. That’s certainly not to say you never experienced generosity, but it was a place where you could be alone in a crowd.

Move out to rural Wisconsin and you get the exact opposite. You get slower paced, more friendly, inviting  interactions with people. From slow drivers to chatty neighbors, it’s been a whirlwind of experiences we never had in the big city. We didn’t know the names of the other tenants in our 3-flat in the city, now we know a little bit about everybody it seems – whether they live down the road or 10 miles away.

One Sunday afternoon our neighbor swung by on his shit spreader and chatted with my husband for a while. At the end he asked if he could use our hay loft in the old dairy barn for some equipment storage. Of course my husband said sure thing! We weren’t using it for anything, coons had been living up there and its not useful to us in any way at this time.

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The dairy barn’s hay loft

Our neighbor thanked us and said he could help us take the tree that had fallen on our hog house down when he got a chance. Wow what a trade for us! We’ve been struggling trying to figure out how to get that tree off the hog house without hiring someone to do it for months! Joe got most of the weight off by cutting off the branches from the roof, but there is no good – or safe – way to get the trunk down. So the next day, we went to work and peeked in the hay loft and by golly, that guy wastes no time.

This Christmas he stopped by with a basket full of fruit, chocolates and a gift card to the movie theater all in thanks for letting him store his wagon in our loft.

Another neighbor who walks down the road in his free time swung by while my husband was chopping wood and said that he had a few down trees on his property that we were welcome to take if we wanted them. Since we heat the house with our wood stove most of the winter, free wood is the best you can come by.

So off he and Joe went with the truck and filled it up with logs to be split.

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Good neighbors are one of the most important things your homestead can have!

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