How to Be Country

Two Parts:Learn New SkillsEmbrace Nature

Being country isn't about wearing certain clothes, listening to specific music, or talking in a particular manner. Instead, it's about learning the skills and adopting the mindset you'd usually expect country life to evoke. The best part is that you can “be country” just about anywhere, even in the suburbs or big city.

Part 1
Learn New Skills

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    Learn how to start a fire. One skill you'll definitely need to master if you want to embrace a country lifestyle is the ability to start a fire. Use this skill when camping or cooking with a wood stove.[1]
    • Gather kindling. You can use small, thin pieces of dry wood as kindling, or you can use other flammable objects like dryer lint.
    • Place the kindling in a pile and light it on fire. You can use a match or lighter, or you can try lighting the fire with a more basic method. For instance, the sparks created by striking flint and steel together can be enough to catch the kindling on fire.
    • As the fire starts burning, add small pieces of firewood to continue building and maintaining the flames.
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    Teach yourself to fish. Fishing is a classic recreational activity in the country. Even if you can't teach yourself to love it, learning the skill can come in handy in case any of your country friends ask you to tag along on their next fishing trip.
    • Do some research and find out where popular fishing sites are located in your area. If possible, ask someone who already knows how to fish to teach you since learning will be much easier that way.
    • Make sure you have the basic gear, too. This includes a fishing license, fishing rod, fishing line, and bait.
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    Plant a garden. Gardening is fairly popular in suburbs and cities, but it's even more common in the country. When creating a country garden, focus on practical plants like fruits and vegetables instead of ornamental flowers.
    • If you don't actually live in the country and have limited space to work with, consider growing a few easy plants in containers. Herbs are a good choice, but if you have a little yard or patio space, try something like tomatoes or peppers.
    • Regardless of how much space you have, starting small is a good idea. Gardening can be challenging work for somehow who has never done it before, and small gardens are less likely to seem overwhelming.
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    Cook from scratch. As convenient as TV dinners and boxed meals can be, learning to cook from scratch is more traditional and conducive to a country way of living.
    • Cooking from scratch also tends to result in healthier, more nutritional meals.
    • If the idea of cooking from scratch seems intimidating, start small by focusing on a few simple meals. Specifically look for cookbooks aimed at beginners and ask for help from more experienced cooks when you work on your first few meals.
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    Can and preserve food. Knowing how to can food is another useful country skill, and it's one that makes a lot of sense once you start maintaining a garden and learning how to cook.
    • Pressure canning can be difficult to learn, so when you're starting out, consider focusing on water bath canning instead.
    • If you're unable to can food, you can also learn to preserve some foods by freezing or dehydrating them.
    • Start with simple items like fresh produce, jams, or pickles. Once you grow comfortable with the process, you can gradually work on more challenging options.
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    Practice driving a stick shift. If you plan on actually spending time in the country, learning how to drive vehicles with stick or manual transmission can open up more possibilities.
    • This is especially important if you plan on helping out at a farm. Most farm equipment will have manual transmission, including the majority of tractors and lawn mowers.
    • If possible, consider practicing driving stick shift in a car before attempting to operate heavy farm machinery. You may still have some trouble at the beginning, but if you've driven a car with automatic transmission already, you might find yourself more comfortable practicing manual transmission in a car than in an unfamiliar type of vehicle.
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    Learn how to hook up a trailer. This skill may not be a necessary one if you're trying to be country while living in an urban or suburban setting, but it's a good one to know if you plan on spending time in the countryside. Learning how to hook up a trailer will make it easier to use cattle trailers, travel trailers, and other similar devices.
    • The two basic trailer hook-up types are gooseneck and ball hitches, the latter of which is easier to learn.
    • You'll need to raise the coupler before backing the vehicle up to meet it. Once the two are lined up, lower the coupler onto the ball and lock it in place. After hooking up the trailer, you'll need to crisscross the safety chains under the coupler and hook them into the holes of the receiver.
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    Perfect an old-fashioned trade or craft. Find a hobby that interests you and practice it regularly. Look at hobbies that require the use of conventional skills that have gone out of fashion in a fast-paced, digital world.

Part 2
Embrace Nature

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    Spend plenty of time outside. Much of the country life is spent outdoors. To really be country, you'll need to stop spending all your time indoors and start spending more of it outside.[2]
    • If you're not sure where to start, try doing some simple outdoor activities. Go for a walk. Pack a picnic basket and eat at a nearby park.
    • Even if you live in a big city, you can still apply this principle to your own surroundings. You might not be able to hike through the woods, but you can still take a walk around the neighborhood.
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    Don't fuss over dirt. With all the time you'll be spending outdoors, you should expect to get very dirty at times. Routine bathing is just as important in the country as it is in the city, but you can't be afraid to get dirty in between baths.
    • For that matter, you'll probably get sweaty and greasy at times, too, especially if you spend time pursuing common country hobbies or working on a farm. Living in the country involves plenty of hard work, so these things are to be anticipated.
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    Appreciate wildlife. Embracing nature partially means appreciating the animal life you'll find there. Consider spending some time watching and caring for the local wildlife.
    • You might set up bird feeders and squirrel feeders in your backyard. If that isn't an option, you can still nurture some appreciation for wildlife by engaging in bird watching or other forms of animal watching.
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    Raise pets. If you really love animals, consider raising a few pets. Dogs and cats can be found in the countryside as much as they can be found anywhere else, but you could also try raising something a little less common, like a hutch of rabbits.
    • If you have the time and space for it—and if zoning regulations don't prohibit it—you might also want to consider raising chickens or ducks. With proper care, you may also be able to collect and use the eggs produced by these birds.
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    Get used to insects. Insects are a part of nature; this is an undeniable fact of life. You don't have to love the bugs you run across, but you should at least try to remain calm and avoid panicking every time you see one.
    • That being said, you should also familiarize yourself with potentially dangerous insects and similar pests. Black widows, brown recluses, and ticks are some of the most common insect hazards you'll need to watch out for. You should also keep a wary eye out for venomous snakes.
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    Dry your laundry outdoors. As long as the weather is sunny and dry, try hanging your freshly washed clothes and linens on a clothesline instead of tossing them into a dryer.
    • Idyllic visions of country living can include many images, and a fully loaded clothesline is frequently among them. In addition to be "country" in style, drying your clothes outside is also cost-effective.
    • If you are unable to hang a clothesline due to space or neighborhood regulations, consider drying your clothes on a drying rack by your living room windows, on a balcony, or on a patio.
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    Build a backyard pond. Ponds are another big element featured in the conventional image of country life. If you don't have a nearby pond you can travel to and enjoy, consider building a small pond in your own backyard.
    • Choose a large enough area in your backyard and dig out the dimensions of your pond. For backyard ponds, you'll need to lay out a pond liner, then install a skimmer and filter. Once everything has been set up, you can fill the pond with water and appropriate plants and animals.
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    Seek and accept solitude. Country life goes hand-in-hand with slowing down and appreciating the silent stillness. Life may throw plenty of busy, noisy demands your way, but you should try to slow down every now and focus simply on living in the moment.[3]
    • Step away and spend at least 20 to 30 minutes in quiet isolation. Turn off your phone and put away your computer. If possible, sit somewhere with a good view of the world outside your home. Spend time reflecting on the blessings in your life and the vastness of nature.
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    Live off the grid. You don't need to live completely off the grid to be country, but the two different lifestyles do have a lot in common.
    • Minimize the amount of electricity you use. Handle digital devices less and opt for analog alternatives.
    • Teach yourself some basic survival skills, like outdoor cooking, gardening, and fishing/hunting. Even if you don't plan on using these skills in your everyday life, you should try to perfect them well enough to live off them if the need ever arose.

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