Hopkins Stream is one of those special places you're likely to find out in the country. Credit: Courtesy of George Smith

Here’s how to tell you’re living in the country:

You’re out before sunrise and the lights are on in the neighbor’s home, and not for security.

Droppings on the side of the road are from deer, turkeys and other wild critters, not dogs and cats.

The bird bath on the front lawn is an old bathtub.

The best entertainment in town is the kids’ ballgame.

The most powerful political group in town is the fire department.

If the local country store doesn’t have it, you don’t need it.

There is no mall and no fast food restaurant.

Your favorite department store is Reny’s, not Walmart.

You see more deer and turkeys than people.

Some of the town’s roads are gravel and closed in the winter.

The good people have more guns than the criminals.

When the woods are suddenly alive with the sound of gunfire, you don’t call the police because you know it is the opening day of the deer season.

You have a complete wardrobe of orange clothing and you wear it year round.

You wear camo clothing to hunt, not as a fashion statement.

You wake up to the scent of lilacs, not the smell of car exhaust or factory fumes.

The silence is filled with the songs of birds, not the wail of sirens.

You see people carrying guns — and they’re not the police.

You see people carrying guns — and you’re not afraid.

You heat your house with wood that you cut on your own woodlot.

When a car goes by your house, it is an event.

Your 10-mile commute to work takes 15 minutes, not an hour and a half.

Neighbors passing in a vehicle on the road give you a wave.

People you see at the store say hi, rather than look the other way.

The trees you see have grown naturally and were not planted using money from a federal grant.

You eat supper in the evening, not dinner. You never eat dinner.

Your favorite restaurant is a church and your favorite meal is a bean suppah.

Your favorite perfume is Ben’s 100.

You can distinguish between midges, black flies, mosquitoes, deer flies, moose flies, wood ticks and deer ticks. You have become an expert in removing the latter after they take root in your skin.

You know how to reduce the population of red squirrels and other varmints without using a Havahart trap.

You make your own jams, jellies, pickles and maple syrup.

You share venison, pickles, jam and more with your neighbors.

You are not offended by the smell of manure on a farmer’s field (or dropped on the road from his tractor while it travels between fields).

Instead of wrought iron or wood fencing, you put up electric.

When you see a white-tailed deer, you think of steaks, not Bambi.

You get excited when you see a bear, not scared.

You see more bald eagles than pigeons.

Your idea of a night out is sitting on the front porch in your rocking chair.

Nonresidents pay more than 50 percent of your town’s property taxes.

You still call the transfer station the dump.

You bring more stuff home from the dump than you deliver there.

You get most of your news at the local café.

You have a root cellar.

You have enough canned food in the root cellar to survive any national emergency.

You make do, and you know what that means.

You eat breakfast, never brunch.

You can see the stars and the northern lights are not just something you’ve heard about.

You know all the people you see in town.

A fishing trip is a 30-second stroll to the water, not a two-hour drive.

Your boat doesn’t sail.

The only time you see an out-of-state license plate is in July and August, and you see a lot of them then.

Your favorite magazine is Uncle Henry’s.

You paint the front of your house and let the back go.

You don’t need a building permit for an outhouse, tree house or doghouse.

You don’t have a town manager. You do have selectmen. Many of them are women.

You understand that trees grow back after they are cut down.

You know the difference between a hardwood and a softwood.

You realize that fiddleheading has nothing to do with fiddles.

You can fix things, but don’t until it’s an emergency.

You don’t need a permit to have a lawn sale.

A flag flies in your front yard.

City people secretly envy you.

Fess Up. You know you do.

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George Smith, Outdoors contributor

George Smith has spent his life advocating for hunters, anglers, wildlife and conservation. He has been awarded many lifetime achievement awards including from the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife...