Forest Living – What to Know and How to Prepare

Forest Living – What to Know and How to Prepare

If you are thinking about moving to one of the forest towns or areas in California, here are eleven things to think about…

Home Owners Insurance

Not all Insurance companies cover these areas because of the higher fire danger. Check with your Insurance company or just check around before getting into escrow.


  • Google: heart-worm disease because it is prevalent here and it means you will have to protect your pets from it which, is no bigger deal than protecting against fleas.
  • We don’t let our cat out at night, (or try not to), there are many hungry critters roaming around at night from foxes, (who will team up), to coyotes to loose dogs.
  • Lot of ticks, mostly in the Winter but after a walk, you should always check and protect your pets from ticks.

Everything is more expensive here

I don’t know why I thought the cost of living would be cheaper but it is definitely not, compared to the urban areas. From the smallest hardware to food and gas, everything is more expensive. You have electricity and propane and they both fluctuate but I would say that the price of propane is nearly double that of natural gas per year. You would be lucky to be able to utilize solar because of all the trees, (our house has about three hours of direct sunlight).

Hospital/Medical Services

As you get older you tend to need more help staying healthy and things take longer to heal, (Heck, just getting out of bed can be an adventure). I’m not saying that being an hour away from a Hospital or your Doctor is bad, it’s just something to consider.


We don’t worry about big shopping too much anymore but there really is a lack of “big” shopping in most small areas. Groceries are no problem, either is hardware, (except for the price). We used to drive an hour to Costco or Sam’s Club but I think the price of gas at the time equaled out the savings we thought we were getting. If you don’t need it immediately then shop for it online!

Tree and Property Management

Tree and property work are constant and what that means is chainsaw, splitter, grinder noise is constant. It’s expensive to take down trees even if you can lumber them and with the drought and the bark beetle damage trees can die almost instantly. Keeping a 100ft perimeter around your house clear is also constant from picking up broken limbs an pine cones to keeping up on all the pine needles and oak leaves.(WM charges extra for green waste containers and to dump green waste).


I spoke of its expense already but what you can do to beat some of that expense is to buy and monitor your own tank. Propane companies charge substantially more to be on their lease plan, buying your own tank allows you to shop around for the cheapest price, (Usually in August).


You can almost forget the high-speed internet, especially with unlimited data! There is microwave internet available in some locations but you can forget DSL or cable, they just don’t go out this far. I use my cell phones hot-spot.


Again we do not get cable or phone company tv which only leaves satellite. Which company is up to you but where we live I can only pick up one satellite out of three which means I can only get Standard Definition. (I do get enough signal through my hot-spot to stream though, just have to watch the gigs!).

Cell Phone Service

Hands down the better service in most rural areas is Verizon.

Pine Fresh Air

On those quiet days, with the tv off, the propane tank full and no cell phone signal, just to look up at the pine trees against the deep blue sky and hear a breeze come up through the trees….ah man, It’s all worth it!!

When we moved to Nevada County

Okay, we’ve had the Grand Opening, the parade is over, it’s time to get down to brass tacks. The reason we started Forest Living California is to share our knowledge of not only moving here but of living here. We want to promote the businesses, photographers, bands, recreation and lifestyle and we also want to share money saving tips and today we are going to start with money saving tip number one, the price of propane.
When we moved to Nevada County a number of years ago the first thing our new neighbors told us was, “you have to buy your own propane tank”, for two reasons. First, owning your own tank allows you to shop around for propane when you get under twenty percent. All the propane companies charge differently, delivery, price per gallon, ,etc., but only owning a tank lets you shop around. Second, when you are on a lease plan not only can you not shop around, you are going to end up almost paying double just to have the convenience of not having to check the quantity left your own tank.
We purchased a 500gl tank used and I believe is was around $1,000 installed. Comparing the price of propane vs electricity varies year to year. If you go all electric but propane is super cheap….well. I think having a little of both works best for us, electric water heater, propane stove top, the central heater takes a lot of both.
Lastly, when it comes to refilling your tank the best time of year, price wise, seems to always be towards the end of August, (this has been corroborated by neighbors and two professionals who are in the business). It’s a good chunk of change filling up a 500gl tank so if you can save a buck a gallon, well hell….you might be able to take Ma out to town for one of dem fancy DIN-nerrrs.

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