Life here isn't so bad, compared to what I'm reading.
We live on 2 acres in a rural development. There are probably about 40 houses within a 2 mile radius. We are just outside of Moorhead, Minnesota, along the Red River of the North. In our 2 county metro area we have about 200,000 people.
We can still find gas around here for about $7.50 per gallon, higher than national average. If you want gas right now, on the black market you can get it for about $10 per gallon. It's great if you need more gas that the stations are willing to sell, or if you're just in a big hurry.
I live with my wife and 3 kids. We have a garden out back that we just planted with carrots, lettuces, potatoes, peas, pumpkins and some other stuff. We have an established flower garden with hearty native flowers that we have been working on for about 3 years.
We don't see things like oranges here at all, but I expect to see lots of local crops in the farmers market pretty soon. There will be corn, beans, lots of apples, etc. We have 4 apple trees that bloomed this month, so I think we'll be able to trade apples for stuff, but the problem is that everyone around here has apples... we may be trading apples for the proverbial apples. I expect we'll be sick to death of apples by October.
We still get plenty of electricity here. The mail comes almost daily. Crime is not a big issue right now, and we've always had the lowest crime rate in the U.S., and I think we still do.
There are four local colleges which just got out for summer break. It's presumed that student enrollment is going to drop, but a friend who works at the college says that what is really happening is that enrollment is steady. Lots of kids from here who were going to school elsewhere are moving back in with their parents, and then enrolling in the local colleges. This is true of a neighbor, who just saw there 20 year old son move back home from Minneapolis, where he was going to school at MacAlister College. He's now enrolling in Concordia College here, to finish his degree.
One of the things that is concerning us is the relocation of people from the Twin Cities to these work farms, where they work the fields. There is one about 15 miles from here, and its been nothing but problems, so I've heard. Lots of fights. Not the greatest "quality" of people, so I'm told. They don't have much, they don't earn much, and so far haven't demonstrated much affinity for this area. They miss their ball games, favorite bars, etc. To lose all that and suddenly be working on a farm must really suck for them. But then again, its not much fun to have 2,000 people thrust into your community who don't really want to be here.