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FlashGordon
Feb. 10, 2010, 04:22 PM
A topic I have been pondering as of late...

We've spent the last year looking at real estate. Everything from country properties w/homes and barn, to vacant land, to typical houses in suburbia. We've made some offers, mostly on suburban properties, and nothing has panned out.

I've always wanted to be able to keep a few horses at home-- 2-3 max. Hubby has also always preferred the country, and spent 7 years before I met him managing an 800 acre working farm.

But I'm finding now that we have a kid, another on the way, and hubby's career has fast-tracked... that maybe farm life is impractical. *I* would love it. But would everyone else?

Mr. FG is so busy with work these days he'd not be able to help me much with property/animal care. With two small kids could I manage it on my own? The other bigger issue is location-- the properties we can afford, with a house and existing horse facilities, are a good hour's commute for hubby and in the middle of nowhere. Again, I don't care about that. But will the kids feel isolated? Will the drive back into "civilization" for school/activities make me crazy? Will I ever see hubby, who works long hours as it is?

I think there is a lot to be said for kids growing up on farms, having room to roam and explore, raise animals, etc. But lately I've been thinking perhaps I need to content myself with suburban life, because that will be "easiest" for everyone else, as long as it means I can continue boarding a horse. :confused:

I'd love to hear experiences from people who made the decision to move to or from horse property, particularly those with kids/SO's/etc....

GoForAGallop
Feb. 10, 2010, 04:27 PM
I'm a farm kid. Even better, I grew up with a sister and two rowdy male cousins, and we were all within five years of each other.

I played in the dirt all day, got plenty of scrapes and bumps that were never a big deal, and fell into bed exhausted every night. I've never owned a video game system, and we didn't have cable until I was 16 (2006) and only then because it came with the internet package! Even more importantly, I was raised with an excellent work effort to boot, which has only helped me in high school/college in regards to grades.

Granted....my town is a pretty small town and both the elementary school and highschool are within ten minutes. There was never any hour long commutes involved anywhere, except maybe to the "big mall." :)

But commute or no commute....I would not trade my childhood on the farm for anything in the world. And if I ever have kids, I will try my hardest to raise them on a farm as well.

EqTrainer
Feb. 10, 2010, 04:33 PM
Well you know what goes on around here :lol: I won't lie, when the kids were younger it was VERY hard. Sometimes they cried while I did chores. I told them that animals can't do for themselves so I had to and they would have to wait. I worried I would ruin them (the kids, not the horses).

Now they are 6 and 10 and honestly, amongst their friends, they are the easiest to get along. They are kind, they are not selfish, they play well with others. They are patient :lol: and they don't think the world revolves around them.

They have neighbors to play with. And three dogs and of course the horses and Rosie. Last week LMEqT took her brother on a tour of the farm via Rosies back.. he laid down and she lead him around telling him all about everything. It was priceless.

I don't regret that my kids live on a farm. I am glad they don't live in suburbia. The answers to having well adjusted kids are not in suburbia (or necessarily on a farm, either).

The commuting.. Mr. EqT hates it. But he doesn't want to live in suburbia either so he's stuck. And the truth is he loves his farm and he is so hyper what else would he do w/himself if he didn't have so much work to do?!! High speed internet has helped a lot.

You are so young that it probably doesn't matter but you know.. I intend to die here. And pass this farm on to my children. I hope they will keep it, if they sell it and split the $$ so be it, I will thrash around in my grave. But it is something to think about, at some point in your life.

I don't know if that helps. But today they are at school and I have still 1/2 hour before I have to feed and the radio is up really loud and I'm eating these great chocolate cookies I made that have choco ganache on top of them and you know... life is good out here in the middle of nowhere. I have no regrets, the city is there when I want it (went yesterday, had a nice lunch and did some shopping).

FlashGordon
Feb. 10, 2010, 04:45 PM
GoForAGallop, thanks for your perspective, as a kid who has grown up on a farm I appreciate your POV.


The answers to having well adjusted kids are not in suburbia (or necessarily on a farm, either).

So true and I'm glad you reminded me of that...


But today they are at school and I have still 1/2 hour before I have to feed and the radio is up really loud and I'm eating these great chocolate cookies I made that have choco ganache on top of them and you know... life is good out here in the middle of nowhere. I have no regrets, the city is there when I want it (went yesterday, had a nice lunch and did some shopping).

Sounds perfectly lovely, cookies particularly. I'm on a baked good kick lately and have the whale-like appearance to show for it.

Farm life would suit me just fine, my family says I'm antisocial anyway. :lol:

It's hard... suburbia makes me cringe. I either need to be somewhere in a village/city that I can walk everywhere I want to go, or out in the middle of nowhere. Problem with being in a village/city is the lack of green space and I'm not sure I can deal with a postage-stamp backyard.

I'm just going to keep hoping that the reason we've not yet bought a house is because the right one hasn't found US yet... the "right one" being a decent house w/ acreage and a reasonable commute for hubby..... ;)

(now this is all complicated by the fact that a friend has just listed her 10 acre property, complete with renovated farmhouse and barn, 5 minutes to a town and 15 to minutes schools... but an hour + commute for hubby... sigh.)

mkevent
Feb. 10, 2010, 05:16 PM
My DH doesn't like horses or farm life very much. I think he's learned to *tolerate* it. If your hubby doesn't hate farm life, that's a great start.

We bought acreage and had our farm built. I had a run in shed and some fencing up before I got pregnant. I also worked full time the first two years of my oldest DDs life and that was hard. I did set up the farm for horse care at its easiest so I could do it without help. DH would drop DD off at daycare while I did barnwork and got ready for work. I was able to transition to part time work before my second daughter was born, and that made life much easier. I think I got up early and did barnwork before the girls woke up or DH left for work-although I really can't remember now!!

Since I'm the only horse lover, my family sometimes thinks they've made huge sacrificies to live on a farm. Maybe so. But the nice thing about not being in a neighborhood is that you can pick which kids you invite over for a playdate! My girls also are very close-because they had to be. They learned to get along even when they didn't feel like being together. They are now 18 & 21 and we're still all very close and I think part of that is from living out here. As silly as it sounds, our bonding time is shopping at the mall-mostly it's just walking around and talking more than purchasing anything. I will miss them so much when they move out on their own.

We are in suburban farmland (an oxymoron) so it's not far to go shopping or anything-everything is conveniently close. DHs commute originally was 45 min. He now has a different position so the commute is usually an hour. He leaves super early (5:30 am) to avoid traffic and so he can work out in the gym before work. Luckily he's an early riser so it's not an issue for him. Me, not so much...

I think everyone in the family knows that we live here because I'd be miserable anywhere else. Some people can live anywhere and be happy. I need the earth and the air and the peace that being around horses gives me. Like EqTrainer, I intend to live here my entire life.

It may entail sacrifices, but if it is really important to one or both of you, it is worth it.

Quin
Feb. 10, 2010, 08:35 PM
Grew up in suburbia myself. Got married & bought the farm property WAY out in the country. Then had the kid. Then acquired horses and brought them home.

Commute to work - yes, it's a bear. It's also a bear if you live 10 miles away from the office if those 10 miles are in LA or NYC. It's not the mileage, it's the time. And what KIND of a drive is it? A 1 hour commute sailing down a highway at 70 mph with the radio cranked is a nice transition time; a 1 hour commute in bumper-to-bumper traffic is a heart attack waiting to happen.

Help with property/animal care - that's something only you can answer in terms of whether you are willing and able to do the physical work involved. It is possible to set up the horsekeeping to involve pretty minimal effort most of the time. But there will still be occasional fencing issues, manure to be moved, hay to be thrown, etc. Your call there.

Farm kids being isolated - don't you DARE buy in to that one. A kid can be 'isolated' in the middle of the biggest Levittown suburb on earth; that is going to depend on the individual kid. And those suburban kids (and moms) seem to spend their entire LIVES in the car going from one scheduled activity to the next.

Living on a farm, you can still choose to chauffeur them all over creation - but you can also choose to shove them out the door and tell them to go amuse themselves in the fields and the woods and the creek and the barn until you call them in for dinner. They can't get that in suburbia. Kids (um, like their parents are doing right this instant on COTH....;)) can socialize all day and all night via computer and texting and goodness knows what else will be there in another 5 - 10 years when it's really getting to be an issue for you. Physical proximity is no longer a barrier.

Yeah, I'm a Farm Life enabler.

SMF11
Feb. 10, 2010, 08:54 PM
I think everyone in the family knows that we live here because I'd be miserable anywhere else. Some people can live anywhere and be happy. I need the earth and the air and the peace that being around horses gives me. Like EqTrainer, I intend to live here my entire life.


Me too!

One thing to consider is the schools. Our town has the second-worst school district in the county and one of the worst in the state; if people can possibly do it they send their kids to private school. Hopefully your area is not like this.

My kids have grown up sheltered, and I like this. They are much less sophisticated than kids who've grown up in other areas. Yet this hasn't been a problem -- my 15 year old goes to a boarding school (as a day student) and mingles w/kids who grew up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with no issues.

Where to even begin -- this is such a vast topic.

Farm chores -- manageable with kids. My husband is distantly supportive -- he does very little around the farm. If I have a big job or one that needs muscles or skills I don't have I pay a handyman or a guy who helps out here.

There are many way to solve the various issues that will come up. To me, it is absolutely worth is -- living in suburbia makes my skin crawl (grew up there, and lived one year as an adult there).

Sorry this is so disjointed; you'll know it when you find the right place!

Catersun
Feb. 10, 2010, 10:24 PM
Flashy, you know I"m living it right now, and being a couple months in to the whole horses here thing with wee kids I wouldn't trade it for anything. Mr. C's commute is 90 minutes one way. TOTALLY sucks. I won't lie. He's gone at least 12hour 5 days a week. * note that we are hoping/expecting a transfer so he'll only be 20 minutes away the commute is TOTALLY his fault for wanted to move up in the company) Like other farm mommies, the baby goes in his playpen or crib for a nap and the 4yo watches ETV, or comes with me if the weather is nice. Chores get done. I have my own business and ONLY my own business now (as in not my own busines and contract work that I was doing before) so that is simplified. Life is good. Hubby was a farm kid, born and raised- has never known a day of his life that didn't revolve around farm life and everything involved. He turned out pretty darn good. I wouldn't want to raise my children any other way. The other day the 4yo had a little friend over, as I'm taking care of the chickens, she adn her friend are tromping through the pines playing pretend. It was very sweet and exactly what childhood should be in my opinion. I don't think life gets much better.

Farm life with kids is totally doable.

EqTrainer
Feb. 11, 2010, 07:54 AM
Schools - def. be sure what you are getting into there. We are in an excellent school district; my kids are both AIG and have individual programs to complement their regular classroom work and my son is a Duke TIP kid, too. So resources beyond school can be really helpful, too. A lot of their friends live in Durham and go to private school... $20k a year.. and they are not getting any better education than my kids are. I say spend the extra on more land!

deltawave
Feb. 11, 2010, 08:11 AM
There are pros and cons. I am lucky to have our little farm very close to where I work--I am still in a very, very rural area but my drive to work is 8 miles. That is a huge plus, and difficult to find in a lot of places. Where we used to live, not only was area for a farm REALLY expensive, but it was WAY out and my commute would've been an hour or more. :dead: Totally unworkable.

We have one child and it's a little lonely for him at times out here with only one neighbor kid within a mile. With multiple kids it's got to be a much smaller issue, but that's not in the cards for us at this stage of the game! :lol: And although he thinks the animals are OK, he's not enamored with them and I'm sure he'd trade them in for a pack of neighbor boys and a place to play football!

My husband enjoys the work outside but has no use for the animals at all. He's great with doing and fixing and jobs that are too big for me, but it's really "my" farm and 100% of the horse/animal care is my responsibility.

Personally I wouldn't trade it in for anything and have no "pangs" other than on my son's part. But ours is small (12 acres) and as such pretty manageable as far as time spent.

My advice would be not to settle, but to keep looking and maybe the ideal place will appear. It took us 3 years to find our property and another 2 to build. But we got what we (OK, what I) wanted. :D

MistyBlue
Feb. 11, 2010, 08:42 AM
There are pros and cons to having a family out in the sticks.

Con: playdates/kids hanging out with friends...you'll be driving for that. Normally it's a trade off...you drive one way, other parent drives the other type thing. Kids playing at your house...or dropping your kids off elsewhere.
Pro: Because of this...your kids end up with decent friends. Because you MEET every child and every parent and get to know them. Your kids don't just go out and meet up with whomever...or go hang out at someone's crack house. :winkgrin: Not to mention YOU make friends easier...with the other parents because you're meeting so many. And a smart mom makes her house "the" place to play so that she does the least amount of driving because all the other kids want to come to your house. ;)

Con: Commutes. You and DH have to decide ahead of time if the commute is worth it. It sucks out loud to get all settled in and then have to sell again because the person doing the commuting hates it or the person at home hates the spouse getting home so late all the time. Some people don't mind or even like a commute...others abhor them. My DH actually prefers a commute of 30-60 minutes than having a 10 minute ride home. He uses the time in the morning to pan his work day and the time in the evening to unwind and decompress. Our last house was 10 minutes from work and he really disliked that. (he's weird, LOL)
Pro: If the spouse doesn't mind a long commute...you get a tractor! Yay!
No seriously...you'll need a tractor most likely. Because it's not fair to spouse commuting to have to come home and spend evenings and weekends catching up on everything the home-spouse couldn't do. Commuting spouse will come to hate the farm and animals. A tractor means you can easily plow snow without him, mow fields, move manure/turn the pile, move hay or round bales around, lift heavy stuff, etc. You also get power tools! (okay, maybe it;s only me who gets excited over those) But yes, you can fix and build stuff with the right power tools.

Con: Your commute to shopping, school activities, etc. Can be a royal pain until you get used to it.
Pro: You get used to it and learn to plan trips and supplies. No running out just to pick up milk when you run out...not when it;s a 30 minute drive to get a gallon of milk. ;) You plan your trips to hit the stores, grocery, bank, etc all at once and you get extras of everything and stock up. After you get used to it, it's actually quite nice because you're not having to run errands every single day. There's also little helping tricks...some areas have PeaPod or other grocery delivery services for $5-$7 extra...which usually covers gas cost to go yourself. And you can grocery shop at 11 pm in your jammies on the computer. :D And Netflix delivers or you can get an On Demand type service with your cable to watch new movies.

And always a pro: Get yourself a generator and hookup. WELL worth the cost and having your well water work when you have horses at home is pretty much a major necessity. Not to mention the convenience and lack of worry no matter what the weather does. And get one large enough to run everything necessary instead of a piddly little one that does one or two things. The price difference between a huge portable and a small portable is rather small. Add in a small shed to store generator and extra fuel containers...and keep all extra fuel containers full for tractor, car in case you run low and generator.

And remember...rural life is great and kids raised that way tend to love it and don't miss what they never got used to.
Also rural neighbors can be the best...or pains in the butts. So check out the neighborhood and properties nearby. Remember that there are many varied reasons for living rural and your neighbors might not have the same reasons you do. Some move to the country for peace and quiet, others move there so their kids can rip around on ATVs without the neighbors complaining. Some move to keep horses, others move to hunt or be able to target shoot in their backyards. And some move to get away from the city and drugs and crime...others move to the country to make crack or grow pot. So peak into yards as you drive around and learn if the neighbors are the type you can deal with or not. Start up conversations too...neighbors will dish on which houses have all sorts of 5 minutes visitors all night after dark...avoid those areas, LOL! ATVs and target shooting aren't so bad...you get used to it and it despooks your horses. Just make sure the target shooter isn't also the town drunk. ;)

pcwertb
Feb. 11, 2010, 09:08 AM
We have 25 acres and two kids, 6 and almost 3. We do live only six miles from a grocery store and small town, so not bad. Hubby doesn't commute, I do, but only 1/2 hour and easy drive....interstate.

My six year old likes to ride, but LOVES the dogs/cats.....walking in the woods. Yes, we do have play dates with other kids and she loves it but she is great at playing by herself and with her 3 year old sister, which I thought she wouldn't like (they are 3.5 years apart).

My husband helps with a few things but otherwise I do chores, he helps with mowing in summer. He does get kids ready for school while I feed horses, but he enjoys that time with them. Bath time is my alone time with them.

Neither of us would trade raising our kids out in the country.

It was harder when oldest was 3 and I had a newborn. But if you set up the horse care right, it is doable.

Bluey
Feb. 11, 2010, 09:08 AM
The bigger generators, big enough to power a house, generally come already weatherproofed, with their own enclosure and just sit where you put them.

If you get propane, you can have as big a tank as you want sitting by it and not need small cans of fuel.

We have a 500 gallon propane tank and it runs the generator for many days, don't exactly know how many, because we never ran it down much, the most we were out of electricity was about a short week.
It comes on automatically.
They are worth every penny.

MistyBlue
Feb. 11, 2010, 09:37 AM
Ahhh, an automatic generator. Would LOVE one of those...but the cost for one was higher and the set up cost was higher too. I got my generator a few years ago...26,500 watts. Biggest portable I could find. Runs everything...well pump, furnace, AC, all kitchen appliances, all lights, computer, TV, outside lights...you name it. Only things it doesn't run is the washer/dryer and the barn which is on it's own electric supply from the street. But it has enough leftover power to run the barn if I run a buried cable from house to barn. Or I can get a small portable to run just the barn. Cost was $2500 for generator, delivery and hook up installation/new generator panel with switch offs. My neighbor got the auto generator...12,000 watts, runs the necessities in the house (well pump, furnace, lights, fridge) and the barn. (her barn shares electric with the house) Set on concrete pad with large propane tank. Cost was just under $10,000 for generator and installation. However...she doesn't have to be home or have to start anything. It starts itself once per week on schedule as a test run and if the power goes out there's a 3 second delay before the generator swaps all power from street to itself and turns itself on. When street power is restored, it swaps back itself too. Pretty darned cool! And she doesn't have to worry about bursting pipes when she's at home if the power goes out. I don't work outside the home so I have the portable. Only down side is my portable is enormous and heavy...550 lbs. It has tires, but it does take some serious oomph for me to roll it outside to hook it up. Then I swap power from street to generator and start it up, relatively easy as long as you remember the sequence of switches. ;) (Don't want to backwash power out to the street lines and blow some CL&P worker out of his cherry-picket bucket by accident :eek: )

Lori B
Feb. 11, 2010, 09:38 AM
Can't comment on the pros/cons of kid issues.

What I would say is, if you want to try rural life, do it now while you are YOUNGER. I think about it sometimes, but I'm 45, and I think some of the physical labor involved would be more than I want to take on. My partner is almost 50 and doesn't want to become a farmhand, so I will be a boarder forever.

Also, there are different kinds of commutes. An hour is crummy, but is it an hour of atrocious traffic, or just straight up driving on the highway? The traffic version will kill you and your car; just straight up driving, not so much.

10 acres sounds really nice......

Mozart
Feb. 11, 2010, 11:26 AM
Misty Blue has pretty much nailed the pros and cons so I won't say much other than to say..what she said!

Also, as much as we like to think that our kids will wander happily through the meadows chasing crickets...the reality is that you will likely be doing more, not less supervising. Even if you fence off a little yard you will still worry about what they can get into or what can get to them. Unless you live on a truly big rural acreage, you still have neighbours and traffic to contend with.

When my son was very young, I tried to plan things during nap time and made sure I had a monitor that worked in the barn. That worked really well, if I heard him wake up I could scurry back to the house.

As soon as he was old enough we taught him how to use the intercom. This is a blessing and a curse.

e.g.

Buzzzzzz "MOOOOOOOOMMM"
"What?"
"I can't find the remote".

Once the sports and activites start you will be doing a lot of driving. A lot of people move to an acreage and then find the commute (especially the winter commute) just does them in. I see a lot of people move back to the city once their kids get a bit older.

Schools may be an issue, do your research ahead of time and pick an area with good schools....or you will really be kicking yourself in a few years.

Challenging, expensive (gas costs) tiring...but the proverbial "wild horses" could not drag me back to suburbia.

MunchkinsMom
Feb. 11, 2010, 11:53 AM
My personal advice would be to wait until the children are older, say the oldest is ready to start school. I only say that because I cannot imagine trying to manage the farm chores and infants/toddlers at the same time. I'm not saying it can't be done, but I would not have been able to handle it.

We moved to the country (1500 miles away from our previous home) when my daughter was 8. It was tough on her at first (new kid in school), but we managed, got involved in 4-H and other kid friendly activities. She is now 14 and very happy here, although for the first 6 months at least once a week she would tell me how I ruined her life, making her move from suburbia to the boonies, and leaving all her friends behind.

The one blessing we have is that both my husband and I work from home, as it would be a 1 to 2 hour commute one way to any of the places that have work in our areas of expertise.

Yes, we spend a lot of time driving kids back and forth, and most of the time my daughters friends come here, as we have the biggest house, with the most kid-friendly activities, including the horses.

We got lucky that the farm we bought is within 7 miles of the 3 schools in this part of the county, and she is getting a good education, enrolled in the AICE program that is run by Cambridge University, and was just recently implemented here.

I personally love life in the country, I get claustrophic by the second day in the city/suburbs now when I make the rare trip to visit family.

horsetales
Feb. 11, 2010, 12:02 PM
Right now I am very positive on the quality of life here. We used to live in the DC metro area and the people here are so different and so helpful. I have another post about loving our hay guy. After this weekends storm we got hit by the blizzard yesterday. Our hay guy "just being neighborly" as he put it came over with his monster tractor and got our 400-500' driveway clear - DH was struggling with our compact Kubota with huge drifts and piles from the earlier storm. Last year, we were in a pickle as we had a very heavy, wet snow capped with ice and really too heavy for our tractor. Another farmer saw us struggling and came and cleared our place with his monster plow. There have been other instances where our neighbors have really been a big help. If I were raising children, I would much prefer this atmosphere than what we left.

My DH just retired 2 weeks ago, but up until that he commuted 4 hr/day. All of the daily chores were up to me. And yes at times, it was really hard, especially emergencies. He was not a horse person, but an animal person. Now he loves sitting out on the porch and looking over the fields watching the horses - to him the lifestyle here was worth the pain during the week.

FlashGordon
Feb. 11, 2010, 12:28 PM
Thanks guys for all the responses..... MB your post made me laugh, and you are right about neighbors.... The guy that built a house across from the boarding barn apparently moved to the country so he could race his ATVs and dirtbikes up and down the street, adjacent to both our outdoor rings. Fun times! Horses loved it..... We all got a great education in riding through 180 spins and spooking.... :eek:

If we do go the acreage/farm route, I suspect horsey would not come home for at least awhile. With bambino #2 due this spring, not sure I could wrangle a newborn, a toddler, and a high maintenance, old TB all at once. ;)

I'd love to have the land and space to putter around. I am terrible at sitting still and would much rather spend the time outdoors.

I think the big thing would be keeping the property size and layout as manageable and as well-thought out as possible. I've seen friends with farms struggle because of poor layout, lack of amenities (like electricity/water in barn,) or too MUCH land/barn and too many horses.

Anyway lots of food for thought.... we were supposed to close on a house this week, in a "suburban but rural" area, but the deal fell through. A decent lot but not enough acreage to keep horses. We were disappointed but I'm trying to stay optimistic and figure that it was for the best.... hopefully the right property is just around the corner....

onelanerode
Feb. 11, 2010, 12:42 PM
Thanks for starting this thread, FG. I should have my DH come read it. We are trying to decide what our next step will be ... we know where we'd like to move, at least the general area, and now we need to decide whether to buy a house, build a house, buy land (i.e., 5-15 acres) and build a house, buy a farmette (probably can't afford that option, but you never know), etc.

He can work from home in his current job, but he won't have that job forever ... in fact probably not more than 3 years. I don't know what my job situation will be, but I currently commute 45+ minutes. I don't really want to go more than that, though it might be worth it for the right situation.

I know DH would like to have land and be somewhere without an HOA, but neither of us are farm people. I've ridden and worked in barns since I was a young teen, so I have at least some idea of the amount of work it takes to keep even a small farm running, but I'm not sure he does, and I worry that he may not like the additional work involved as his job takes much of his time now.

Plus there are some nice advantages to boarding ... namely that if we need to go out of town, I don't have to scramble to find someone to take care of a farm!

He is keen on getting a tractor though, LOL!

FlashGordon
Feb. 11, 2010, 12:58 PM
He is keen on getting a tractor though, LOL!

Ha ha so is Mr. FG! :lol: He misses the old John Deere he used to putter around on when he was playing farmer in his younger days. Like I said when we met he was managing a working farm, running the business end of it, but he lived there and fell into a lot of the property caretaking aspect. For a Brit who grew up just outside Manchester, had always lived in cities, and was afraid of dogs.... he grew to love farm life.

I remember not long after we met he called me up and said "Uh.... there is a baby horse in the pasture?!? And it is spotted!" Sure enough the plain bay mare, who had been a newer addition to the farm, wasn't just fat... but pregnant. And she foaled in the middle of January in a snow storm! A loudly marked pinto colt. Hubby named the foal "Dave." Ha ha.

We spent several happy years at that farm together before we got married and we both miss everything it encompassed.... walks around the property, the wood stove in the farmhouse, the quiet winter nights, the evening checks on the horses.

Ok anyway enough reminiscing. I think it is the peace I miss. I know it would be different with kids (not much peace or quiet, lol) but there is so much about farm life that I think is good for both adults and kids alike....

Tamara in TN
Feb. 11, 2010, 01:04 PM
But will the kids feel isolated? Will the drive back into "civilization" for school/activities make me crazy? Will I ever see hubby, who works long hours as it is?

I think there is a lot to be said for kids growing up on farms, having room to roam and explore, raise animals, etc. But lately I've been thinking perhaps I need to content myself with suburban life, because that will be "easiest" for everyone else, as long as it means I can continue boarding a horse. :confused:



ummm well farm life is something that you should be acquainted with in advance...I really could not suggest it if you have never done it before...the learning curve is pretty expensive...on both the wallet and the families who try it....

Tamara in TN

chai
Feb. 12, 2010, 08:48 AM
flash, you are smart to really think this over before you jump in. Twenty years ago, my husband and I moved from suburbia to a rural state where we bought a horse farm. He commuted 45 minutes each way to work and I commuted an hour with an infant and a toddler juggling day care, work and a small herd of horses. It was exhausting but I was so happy to have my own farm, I loved it, especially when we got to the point where I could leave my job and take care of the kids and farm full time. I did that for ten years and it was a wonderful experience. I loved raising my kids outdoors on a farm, away from the pressures of suburbia and the 'whose kid was potty trained, learned to read or mastered a foreign language' competitive atmosphere that can be tough to take.

A job change forced us to move back to a more suburban area, and while I still have a farm, the area is much more suburban. While I miss the peace and tranquility of the country, the suburban life has been much better for my kids as they grew into teens. The schools are better, the sports programs are better and there are more things for teenagers to do in this area. Also, there is a higher ratio of college educated parents, so most kids have more hopeful, positive view of the future than the teens we knew in the area where we used to live where rural poverty is a stark reality. I think a lot depends on the region where you are looking, too. The rural area where we lived has no industry, so jobs are scarce for young people trying to get ahead. All in all, each lifestyle has pros and cons. I hope you will find the choice that works best for you.

watcher
Feb. 12, 2010, 02:06 PM
FlashGordon -

I know when we were looking for land, we looked 2+ years before we found a place big enough for horses that we could afford. It took a few years to build, but was well worth the wait. The farmers are unfortunately (especially in my area - and I [I]think[I] you're out by me) selling off a lot of farmland, and if you're in a position to build, check the listings often as land comes up for sale and is snapped up quickly.

If you are looking at a house with land to put up a barn, have you tried just driving around the area you like? Sounds strange, but there's a lot of properties up for sale w/out real estate agents involved (for sale by owner) that we found just by taking "Sunday drives".

As for the kids - mine are little (1 just in school, 1 not) and really, the hardest part for me was letting go of how I was used to having things as a boarder. For example, it used to make me crazy when the stalls weren't cleaned first thing in the morning. But at home the best time for me is at night after the kids go to bed (around 7:30). You know, it's only on moonless nights that it's a little dark to find the manure pile.

I feed before the kids get up at 6am, and I only spend 15 minutes out there because that's the time I have. I spend about 1/2 hour at night to muck a couple stalls and check feet/legs/blankets. Yes, I do need a couple hours on the weekends to catch up on the other chores (paddocks, etc) but they spend that time with me or with Dad.

And the kids have learned "barn rules" - even the toddler knows not to go inside the paddocks unless he's holding mommy's hand. I think it's better to start early, because both mine think it's exciting to bundle up, go out and feed the girls. When they're that little, they get excited by what you make exciting, if that makes sense. My toddler has a tiny plastic pitchfork and "cleans" the pony stall with me on weekends. And if he gets bored halfway through, he quits and goes over to the swingset.

When my oldest was an infant, I'd bring her out during her nap (weather permitting) in her stroller, and put the stroller in the empty stall next to me. The horses would be locked out in their paddocks, and she'd sleep through everything. But then, this is the kid who napped at horse shows in the pack-n-play in the tack room!:)

Anyway, I wouldn't trade the country living for anything, especially after spending 10 years in the city!

Tommy's Girl
Feb. 14, 2010, 11:24 AM
We have a rural life here, and what MistyBlue says holds true. You plan ahead, and you get used to the neighbors. The VAST trail goes on our property (right past the barn), so we get snowmobilers in the winter; come hunting season this place erupts in what sounds like the revolutionary war and during the warm months two of my neighbors have dirt bike races all over their combined acreages. Did I mention the coyotes howling at night (impressive!) The horses (and you) get used to it, and you come to appreciate them all when they respond to your 911 call - everyone around here is on the volunteer squads. I have to add that it's fantastic to live in a community where the horses, cows and chickens exponentially outnumber the humans!

I'm lucky and stay home with the kids, but my husband's commute is 45 mins, and he is gone for long hours. We have two kiddies, my daughter is 4 and my son is 18 months - so barn chores are before hubby goes to work, and after he comes home (and a rare run to the barn to throw out more hay when my son is asleep). The horses don't get dinner sometimes until 8PM... but they are out 24/7, so they don't mind. I'm all about figuring out a balance of ease and health - for the horses and the kiddies - it is a bit of a juggle, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

I drive a LOT going to pre-school, shopping and classes, but I have to say that where I live is so incredibly beautiful that I am still marveling at the same views two years later. I guess the little I have to add, after everyone else's great input, is that I want my kids to learn this kind of love I have for the outdoors, and no vacation, class or movie is going to do it for them. My husband and I are learning on the job, but I think it's great that the kids are part of building this up. It hasn't been easy - I am past 40 and my son gave me a real run for my money - but it is just so rewarding. We've tried hard to keep what we teach our kids relevant, so they are not alienated from their peers... my daughter can spot and identify a hawk from miles away AND type her name on a computer. It doesn't matter how old your kids are - whether in suburbia or in the sticks, they're going to learn what you teach them.

Shucks - I have to go get electrical tape! 5 miles away. LOL Good luck.

appaloosalady
Feb. 14, 2010, 02:00 PM
My daughters were both born while we lived here on the farm and I wouldn't have raised them any other way. It isn't always easy, but the benefits outweigh the negatives by so much that it doesn't matter. My husband was on the road for weeks at a time when the kids were babies and toddlers and my vet was amazed that I could get everything done, but it was a great feeling of accomplishment and my girls grew up self-sufficient and confident.

EqTrainer
Feb. 14, 2010, 03:49 PM
Ha ha so is Mr. FG! :lol: He misses the old John Deere he used to putter around on when he was playing farmer in his younger days. Like I said when we met he was managing a working farm, running the business end of it, but he lived there and fell into a lot of the property caretaking aspect. For a Brit who grew up just outside Manchester, had always lived in cities, and was afraid of dogs.... he grew to love farm life.

I remember not long after we met he called me up and said "Uh.... there is a baby horse in the pasture?!? And it is spotted!" Sure enough the plain bay mare, who had been a newer addition to the farm, wasn't just fat... but pregnant. And she foaled in the middle of January in a snow storm! A loudly marked pinto colt. Hubby named the foal "Dave." Ha ha.

We spent several happy years at that farm together before we got married and we both miss everything it encompassed.... walks around the property, the wood stove in the farmhouse, the quiet winter nights, the evening checks on the horses.

Ok anyway enough reminiscing. I think it is the peace I miss. I know it would be different with kids (not much peace or quiet, lol) but there is so much about farm life that I think is good for both adults and kids alike....

Uh.. the tractor is not for him.. it's for you ;) I LOVE MY TRACTOR!

LauraKY
Feb. 14, 2010, 04:14 PM
Can't comment on the pros/cons of kid issues.

What I would say is, if you want to try rural life, do it now while you are YOUNGER. I think about it sometimes, but I'm 45, and I think some of the physical labor involved would be more than I want to take on. My partner is almost 50 and doesn't want to become a farmhand, so I will be a boarder forever.

You're never too old! I was 52 when we bought our farm, husband is 4 years older. I was working in a gymnastics center teaching preschoolers, so I was in pretty good physical shape, but nothing to prepare me for farm life.

I LOVE it. Wouldn't trade it for anything. Couldn't pick up a hay bale when we first moved here, now I throw and stack in the hayloft. I plan to live a lot longer, too.

As for raising kids on a farm, daughter's polo coach managed to pull it off will coaching high school polo, managing the polo club in the summer and breeding. Her kids loved playing in the big sandbox (outdoor arena) and just generally playing outside.

So go for it. Don't worry if the house is dirty and your eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every night...it's a great life.

LauraKY
Feb. 14, 2010, 04:16 PM
Can't comment on the pros/cons of kid issues.

What I would say is, if you want to try rural life, do it now while you are YOUNGER. I think about it sometimes, but I'm 45, and I think some of the physical labor involved would be more than I want to take on. My partner is almost 50 and doesn't want to become a farmhand, so I will be a boarder forever.

You're never too old! I was 52 when we bought our farm, husband is 4 years older. I was working in a gymnastics center teaching preschoolers, so I was in pretty good physical shape, but nothing to prepare me for farm life.

I LOVE it. Wouldn't trade it for anything. Couldn't pick up a hay bale when we first moved here, now I throw and stack in the hayloft. I plan to live a lot longer, too.

As for raising kids on a farm, daughter's polo coach managed to pull it off while coaching high school polo, managing the polo club in the summer, breeding and training polo ponies. Her kids loved playing in the big sandbox (outdoor arena) and just generally playing outside and of course, their ponies.

So go for it. Don't worry if the house is dirty and your eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every night...it's a great life.

FlashGordon
Feb. 15, 2010, 10:51 AM
I want my kids to learn this kind of love I have for the outdoors, and no vacation, class or movie is going to do it for them.

Such a good point. I really do think the time I spent at the barn as a child grounded me, in a different sort of way. One of my lifelong friends teases me that she is not sure where I came from in relation to my siblings. She is not a horse person at all, but is convinced all the time I spent around them and the farm gave me a different view of the world.

Not to romanticize the whole thing too much but I'd love for my kids to have the same appreciation that I came to develop.