Rural charm wears off on city folk

We rural folks, especially in the American Southwest, are uncomfortably aware of an interesting phenomenon.

City people, looking for escape from the busy, noisy urban life, come to the rural areas. They observe the pastoral, rustic lifestyle and want it for their own. So they purchase or build a home in their chosen promised land.

As the old song goes, all goes well for a couple of weeks, and then the wonderful dreamscape springs some leaks. Those beautiful farm animals they admired, it turns out, are kinda sorta — actually disgustingly — noisy, stinky and — messy.

So the newcomers call the authorities and complain, “Our neighbors have roosters that crow forever in the morning, their dogs join in the chorus, and all those animals’ manure draws flies all over the place. You need to make those neighbors fix these problems.”

When the authorities visit the neighbors, they see a normal country family, and when they deliver the complaints the family reminds the authorities they were there first. The country family often is forced to build a high solid fence between themselves and the newcomers — at their expense of course.

Then come the spring and summer “garden” problems. The corn grows so high it blocks the newcomers’ view of the “lovely” mountains for a couple of months, and we can’t have that. Plus they bring those noisy hay balers in before sun-up (when the dew is right on the mown alfalfa).

Wintertime they don’t like, either. Coyotes actually come around now and then. Also, the pavement doesn’t reach the driveway, and the mud is quite yucky when you get stuck in it.

One New Mexico village met these problems head-on. They have an ordinance which established the Farmland Preservation and Agriculture Commission of the Village of Corrales.” The village is across the Rio Grande and a little north of Albuquerque’s north valley edge.

Agriculture is defined, in the ordinance, as “the tilling of the soil and the planting, growing and harvesting of crops for consumption or use by humans of livestock, and includes also the breeding, raising and butchering of domesticated animals for human use or consumption, the production of eggs, milk and dairy products, and the keeping of bees and the production of honey and honey bee products.”

The Farmland Preservation and Agriculture Commission’s mission statement says, in part: “preserving the agricultural character of the Village; and providing for the local production and marketing of agricultural products to provide a sustainable supply of local food and other agricultural products for the residents of the Village.”

It’s my understanding that prospective home and/or land purchasers are made aware of all the village’s ordinances, but this one in particular.

I have a theory that when people are inundated on a daily basis with “wars and rumors of wars” all over the world they tend to withdraw into their cocoons where they feel safe. Since they feel powerless to affect the big problems they choose smaller ones — like the animals next door or, in a pinch, the neighbors’ noisy wind chimes.