My husband and I have learned this:
When we lived in the city, good friends were nice to have.
Now that we live in the country, with animals that depend on us for survival, good, dependable friends are a necessity.
The day we moved here, an Elder in the local branch of my husband's church came by to welcome us to the neighborhood. He lived just down the road and when he found out that I was not a member of the church, all church talk stopped and he became just a good friend. In the two years that we've lived here, we've become very good friends with his family - his teenage daughter is much loved by my girls and his wife is without a doubt one of the sweetest people I've ever met.
Our son had a cyst burst under his tongue last Sunday night, causing massive swelling and pushing his tongue back so that he couldn't breathe. We rushed to the local (and I now feel justified calling it 'podunk') hospital where he had to be life flighted to a bigger hospital an hour's drive away since our local hospital couldn't intubate him safely.
After the helicopter took off, we drove home, I pulled all my goats in, fed and watered the pigs and chickens while my husband packed our clothes and my pump, and we drove to the hospital an hour away.
The next morning, when we found out that he'd need care at Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City, we didn't have to worry about our animals for a minute. We knew without a doubt that we could call our friends and they'd take care of them. They live on an organic dairy, have beef cows, goats, and sheep, and have raised horses, pigs and chickens. Even with the barest of instructions, their knowledge and common sense could keep our animals going until we got home. Over the next four days until Grayson was released, that knowledge, that we didn't have to worry about the animals at all, was priceless.
Two life-flights: $20,000
Emergency care in three different hospitals: $Good golly, who knows, but insurance better not try to stiff us or so help me...
Good, dependable friends in the country and a healthy baby: Priceless