Utilities & Roads
The first year we
lived here I made the mistake of thinking that we could run our
business as well from here as anywhere.
I knew phone
transmission speed was slow, but I didn't realize that it would
be non-existent so much. I had an ad for one of my products
breaking in an expensive publication. The day it came out our
phones when down and spent most of the next 35 days down.
tried to recoup my costs and lost business from the phone
company, I found I had no legal way to do so.
new neighbor moved in. Their home was located very near the edge
of their property near one of our ponds.
after they moved in the trash pile began to build near the
property line (and where all toxins could easily wash into the
creek near the edge of the property).
asked them to stop. They didn't. We asked them again and again.
They didn't. Then we called the county ... nothing happened. We
called the county again, nothing happened.
(the neighbor) tried to burn it a few times -- including PVC
which is toxic, aerosol cans which explode and send shrapnel in
all directions and all their toxic crap.
called the fire department.... nothing. We called the air
quality board, nothing happened.
went on for over three years calling every agency we could think
of. Then one day, we'd finally had it... when dirty diapers
(they had the only infant in the neighborhood) started washing
down the creek and into our ponds we were so appalled, we again
tried the county.
Finally a new department had taken over the
task of environmental clean up and they actually did
something... and quickly.
moral... someone elses' stupidity shouldn't be your health
problem -- report them.
Well this certainly is the topic of the year
since we don't have
enough of it anywhere these days. What we do have now costs an arm and a
leg. Let me give you a few unique aspects to our current power crisis
you may not have considered.
If you use well water when your power is
out so is your well pump. If you happen to have anything in your storage
tank at the time, you may have a little water for a short time. But,
automatic irrigation systems on battery timers can drain it as can leaky
valves in your irrigation system or indoor plumbing. So for all intents
and purposes, consider the fact that you really have have two major
systems down at once.
If you're running computers, it's highly
recommended that you invest in uninterruptable power supply (UPS)
systems for them. When the power goes down it'll give you a few minutes
to shut down without losing data or damaging your system.
You can have a gas generator standing by
to power some of your home or business back up... assuming you're there
to start it up. That'll run from $2000 & $10,000 or more if you want
something really big. When we go to generator power we select only key
circuits. Since we have an office in our home, that system is our only
priority. Remember that frozen and refrigerated foods stay that way just
fine for several hours unless you're constantly in and out of the fridge
so it loses its cold air.
You can run your pump off your generator
intermittently for water if necessary. But, keeping 5 gallons of fresh
water on hand is usually sufficient if the power outage will be caused
by "rotating blackouts".
You may find that you have other outages
too however. Winter storms can sometimes cause outages as can summer
fires. Just remember that if there are major problems for whatever
reason, it could take a while to get power restored.
Power lines run through remote areas that
are often difficult to get to to find the source of a problem or to make
a repair. It has taken days at a time in the past to get power restored,
and depending on how remotely you're located, that could be an
If you are concerned about that
possibility because of your remoteness, here are some tips:
Generator Safety Tips
The same thing goes on land
communication lines when lines are downed from fire or storms. It could
take a while to get them restored.
But there are some other issues with
communications as well.
Another issue that's been a major issue
for us is that because there are few people being serviced near us, the
phone company is using really old equipment at the node that serves us
(that's just another piece of equipment in between the CO and your
home). The first year we were here, we had 35 days down time over the
course of two summer months! And guess what? If you lose business, time,
or money as a result - YOU CAN'T SUE THE PHONE COMPANY! They are
protected by some crazy law that says we (their customers) have no
rights... even if they're negligent or unwilling to replace old,
antiquated equipment. I know, I tried.
In many country areas it's impossible to
get cable access or DSL lines for any high-speed data transmission. And,
the closer to the end of a service area you are for Pac Bell's Central
Office (CO) the more the voice lines degrade. I've tried for months to
see if Pacific Bell would be running DSL to our area and I've never
gotten an answer yet.
communications are important to you, then a wireless satellite connection
might be your only option. We've found it works like a champ (most of
the time)... except
in bad storms (same with our satellite TV) when transmissions can be
hampered by atmospheric conditions.
If you are telecommuting, you may have an
Satellite communication links to proprietary networks
for telecommuting may pose some special problems.
Satellite uplinks use what is called a "dynamic IP
address", which means it assigns you a new user address every time
you log on. Most secure networks must have a "static IP
address" so they can make a positive identification of who is
trying to log into their secure network. And, even though there may be
software available from your company, in my husband's case with Intel,
the software is NOT compatible with the satellite hardware and
software... and he works for a major high-tech company!
If your company does not
provide the right software, then you probably won't be
able to log into their network via satellite. You should check on this
with your tech support people before assuming you'll be able to
telecommute from a remote location.
Also, we've found that you must get a service that
provides both up and downlink availability so you have only one IP
address to talk to the special software. Again, this may change from
company to company, so check it out thoroughly before you try.
Many country locations are
out of range of a cell, or, as in our area, we have so many hills that
we're in and out of, transmission is impossible most areas near our
home. Keep in mind that cell phones generally use a "line of
sight" transmission signal. All that means is that the more
physical things that get in between you and your transmission, the more
problems you have. If you live at the top of a hill you may be OK if all
you want to do is use your cell phone from there.
What Day's Trash Day?
In many country locations there is no
trash day. You may simply be too remote for it to be profitable for
anyone to offer trash pick up services. In other areas, you may have to
load your trash bin into your vehicle and drive it to the nearest main
road for pickup. Or, you can simply store your trash and load up a
pickup every time your storage area is full and drive it to the dump.
Regardless of the method you use, you'll
store your trash for some period of time, and unless you want a mess all
over your property and perhaps your neighbors or in the road, you must
learn to secure your trash in an animal-proof shed, bin, or other
Again, domestic dogs will wreak havoc on
it. Even if you do a good job to make sure your dogs stay home, I
can guarantee that many of your neighbors won't. And, they'll get in the
trash if they can.
In addition, you may have bears and
probably have raccoons. They're both notorious scavengers and if the
dogs don't get your trash, they, or feral cats will.
Under NO circumstances should trash be
dumped on your property (it's illegal and draws stiff fines) nor should
it be burned (that's illegal too and draws fines from other state and
Also, DO NOT DUMP oil from autos, paints,
or other things you'd like to get rid of. Just remember, you're poisoning
your own water and potentially poisoning crops grown with that water and
animals grazing on your or adjacent lands.
Again, your neighbors may like you, but
they won't let you poison them and their property. They'll report you if
they find you dumping or burning illegal materials.
If you're very rural, you'll not have
access to public sewer lines, you'll be using a septic system.
Most counties will have regulations as to
the following, but we've seen some cases where either someone got around
them, or the county was unaware, but for your own health, make sure that
your septic system and leach lines are downhill from your well.
And, if you've never used a septic
system before, here are some things to keep in mind that are different
than being on a public sewer system: