1. Your snow boots are the most expensive pair of shoes that you own. And this is totally fine with you because they are super cute with fur-lining at the top.
2. You have ever pulled your groceries up your driveway on a sled.
3. Your toddler is afraid to go on a hike because of the moose you saw in your yard the day before. And you don’t really blame her because you are kind of scared too.
4. Your cat goes missing and you don’t even bother putting flyers up. In fact, you don’t even bother having a cat.
5. You have ever been slightly afraid of standing at the bus stop because there is a herd of elk standing across the road and they don’t seem inclined to leave any time soon.
6. Every year, you budget for new studded snow tires and for someone to come and plow your driveway a half a dozen times, and it doesn’t bother you.
7. Your mom has ever said the phrase “Don’t drop that baby in the snow bank.” to you.
8. You wear your nicest fleece to go out to dinner and you feel overdressed.
9. Mountain lion sightings, how to thwart garden-eating bunnies, and the condition of your local trails are examples of lively dinner conversation with your friends.
10. Your child has ever skipped a morning of school to go skiing on a powder day.
11. You have ever chased a pack of coyotes off of your property when they were trying to lure away your elderly dog.
12. Your child has ever run into the house after relaxing on his hammock because there is a bear taking a stroll about 20 feet away from him.
13. You can’t put your garbage outside until about 5 minutes before it is going to be picked up.
14. You know that, because of your neighborhood bear, you have to roll up the windows of your car and always make sure your car doors are locked and to never, ever leave a bag of dog food or a box of Clif bars in it. Ever. Bears really like Clif bars.
15. You know random facts about animal prints, like, big dog prints will have claw marks and big cat prints will not because their claws retract. You are very relieved when you see a huge print and then see that it has claw marks.
16. Every single person you know owns skis and a mountain bike and a chainsaw.
17. You think the normal age for a child to learn how to ski is two. And you have had the experience of looking around for your seven-year-old on the mountain, and then realizing he must have been bored with you teaching the two-year-old how to ski, so he decided to get on the chair lift. By himself.
18. Keeping up with the Jones’ involves being envious of your neighbor that has that awesome garage, or your friend with the ski-attachment for their baby stroller, or someone’s awesome UV water filtration device.
19. You know what a UV water filtration device is and how much it costs.
20. You know that if you don’t have a wood-burning stove, you better own some snow-shoes so that, in the event that the Big Snow happens, you can get to your neighbors that do own a wood-burning stove.
21. You can’t remember the last time you ate an egg from the store because everyone you know has backyard chickens.
22. You have ever contemplated having chickens, goats, bees or building a bat house.
23. You think that a slack-line and a rope hung from a tree are viable pieces of playground equipment.
24. You know WAY too much information about pine beetles, how to look for one, what it looks like, how a tree looks when it’s winning the fight against one, how a tree looks when it’s sick, what kind of trees can be affected, when you can cut down trees, how many days of below freezing weather you need to kill one, how the beetles communicate through hormones to each other. Way too much information. About that freaking bug.
25. You can handle snow, you can handle cold temperatures, you can handle icy roads, but at the end of a week of having 90 mph winds every day, everyone you know starts to look a little haunted around the eyes.
26. And, every single day, you can’t believe you get to live in a place that feels like you are on vacation all of the time.