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FARM living is the life for me! I think..!?

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  • FARM living is the life for me! I think..!?

    DH and I are making plans to move to the family farm to set up our "farmette". We've been discussing this for probably 2 years now and it has gotten to the point that we're talking about potential house plans, farm layout, etc. Our current hold up is that we own 2 houses (2 mortgages! ) and need to unload at least one of them before we can move on to our Green Acres plan. We all know how quick houses are flying off the shelf in some markets these days (Ugh.)

    So suddenly I find myself having second thoughts and wondered if others found themselves feeling the same way before they made the big move.

    The pros of our move look kinda like this:
    1) More space!
    2) No crazy, hateful neighbors to deal with (yay!)
    3) Dogs will have lots of room to safely run and play
    4) I can afford to have more than one horse (currently board my one senior gelding and can't afford to board two!!)
    5) Bigger garden
    6) Get to build another house now that we know what we DON'T like about our current houses!
    7) Chickens!!
    8) Access to lots of acreage for trail riding
    9) I can manage my farm/horses however I want

    The cons are looking like this:
    1) Longer commute to work - especially for DH, we drive in opposite directions
    2) I live at the beach now... farm is 45 minutes from the beach. I *heart* the beach.
    3) No neighbors?? With the exception of some relatives that live up the road. Will it get lonely??
    4) I am THE barn owner! Chores are on me! Will I always be tied down to the farm? (Not that we travel that much now!)
    5) There is A LOT of work ahead to get the building lot cleared (old houses torn down), barns pastures established, fences built, etc. I think this seems daunting to me at times.
    5) What happens one day when I'm old and grey and find myself living on my farmette all alone? DH is 9 years older than me so this is a big possibility. I'm not sure that we'll have kids.

    I grew up in this area and have an ag background, so I pretty much know what I'm getting myself in to here. We live in a subdivision now but I really only interact with one of my neighbors - never see the rest of them! I feel like I'm gaining more than I'm losing by moving. Did any of you guys find yourselves having cold feet before making the big jump to the farm?? Advice?
    "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

    Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!

  • #2
    On 40 acres now...high desert so no pastures but do have garden space, round pen now up for the horses and pens in progress for mares (currently on desert scrub field). Property is major fixer upper so I don't look up and see the whole picture very often or get discouraged...one small thing at a time and get it done then on to the next. Neighbors.....somehow more intrusive even though not as near....very small town atmosphere and you can't sneeze without someone commenting....they check the size of the hay stack, the progress of the garden, if the car is parked headed in or out of the driveway (and if headed in want to know, by way of the gossip mill, where I went and what I did!). Fuel prices as well as time constraints and work to be done means a trip a week to town and being very organized when I go...no duplicate trips because I forgot to get milk or check the mail or something. Social contact is largely by phone or in grocery store aisle. Tendency to get casual...have been out to feed in PJ's and slippers! Single and 60+...hard work sometimes and hard to find help.
    Colored Cowhorse Ranch
    www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
    Northern NV

    Comment


    • #3
      You are right on target...

      Your pros and cons are right on target. Yes, it's a lot of work. Yes, it can be lonely. (No barn buddies to ride with like when I used to board.) Yes, it can be overwhelming. BUT living with your horse(s) is the best. You are totally in charge of their care. Nothing better than standing in the barn with the lights off after the late night check and hearing them contentedly munching hay. Or walking across the pasture with the spring breeze cooling you. My farmette is small and humble but it's paradise to me.

      Comment


      • #4
        I can relate to your post. I close on my little farmette next week and I too, am having so many pro vs con thoughts. I have never, ever done anything like this and I have to admit I am having second thoughts on my sanity!! But I am sure in the long run it will all work out..I hope!

        Comment


        • #5
          #5-1--For getting rid of old houses you might be able to talk the local volunteer fire department into doing a training burn, or if the houses and such are decent wood you can sell it on Craigslist. People like the old, weathered wood for crafts or building projects, and for getting that rustic look.

          # 5-2--And just because you are alone doesn't mean lonely. A friend of mine was saying he should have had kids so they could take care of him when he's older, and I'll tell you what I told him-just because you have relatives or children doesn't mean that they'll take care of you or even visit you. I know that's depressing, but unfortunately it's true. And you never know what will happen in the surrounding area. Where I live there is a huge building boom, and where there were maybe a hundred houses scattered about within 2-3 years there will be over 2,000.

          I like the part about no neighbors, except a relative living down the road. It sounds like the area my favorite aunt lived in, and she was just fine, and lived alone after her daughter grew up. There's nothing like owning your own place, and having peace and quiet. You just need to find the right tradespeople, handymen (and women), and contractors or suppliers and you'll be fine. When you're a regular customer they will go out of their way for you, especially when you regularly send them customers. And if the land becomes too much for you make sure you make the pastures separate, and you can rent out the back or side pastures to cattle farmers, hay growers, farmers, etc. You just need reliable water sources, and separate driveways or gates. That way the land is maintained, you get extra income, and you can still keep the property with less effort. I agree with JSwan-ranch or raised ranch is the way to go. And don't build too small, since adding on later is a pain. And this is the chance to get things like a huge walkin master closet-you save big using the closet organizers they sell at the big box stores, and installing yourself (I've done this 5 times so you can too).
          Last edited by JanM; Mar. 22, 2011, 09:26 PM.
          You can't fix stupid-Ron White

          Comment


          • #6
            I also think your pros and cons are right on the money. Really, though, hearing one person tell you how much they love it or another telling you how much they hate it isn't very helpful.

            What are your husband's hopes, fears, pros and cons? You might learn a lot more and head off some possible problems later by swapping lists.

            We bought our property just as the real estate bubble burst, built, moved, and it took TWO YEARS for our old house to sell. Not fun. But I don't think I could stand to ever live in suburbia again. I see, talk to, and deal extremely closely with people ALL DAY LONG. It's nice to come home to quiet. we are also very lucky to be close enough to everything (work and town 10 minutes, beach 5 minutes, freeway 2 minutes, city 30 minutes, airport 40) but are still out in the sticks, relatively speaking.

            I think a long commute would be a killer for me, but that's not true for everyone.
            Click here before you buy.

            Comment


            • #7
              1) Longer commute to work - especially for DH, we drive in opposite directions
              Can't do anything about the commute. However, you can ask around at either of your jobs and ask about working some of the time from home to cut down on some commuting. Telecommuting and Internet Commuting is gaining popularity with companies because it costs less for them too.
              2) I live at the beach now... farm is 45 minutes from the beach. I *heart* the beach.
              Can't move the ocean. I'm 15 minutes from the beach and I can take it or leave it, so no help for you there. (it's Long Island Sound, not the world's prettiest coastline, LOL) But the country life has it's own lovely scenery and peace.
              3) No neighbors?? With the exception of some relatives that live up the road. Will it get lonely??
              If you're not close and personal with your neighbors now, you ain't going to miss them when you don't have them anymore. The trade off is running around outside in your jammies all the time.
              4) I am THE barn owner! Chores are on me! Will I always be tied down to the farm? (Not that we travel that much now!)
              Yes and no. You can learn to set it up in ways that minimize daily-grind chores and make it easier for pet sitters if you vacation.
              5) There is A LOT of work ahead to get the building lot cleared (old houses torn down), barns pastures established, fences built, etc. I think this seems daunting to me at times.
              The scary truth is...there's *always* lots of work. Even when you're done doing all the work. Just keep plugging away at it. And right now...budget budget research and budget some more for all that needs to be done. And do it in the order of most importance. And after you get your budget squared away before starting, double it as a just in case. When things start getting done...you'll be thrilled and want to do more.
              5) What happens one day when I'm old and grey and find myself living on my farmette all alone? DH is 9 years older than me so this is a big possibility. I'm not sure that we'll have kids.
              That's when you let someone board there in exchange for work around the place. Or lease/sell your place and move somewhere less work and board your horse(s). Or just pare the animals down to a really easily managed number. As a just in case, put up a ranch house or at least a bedroom on the first floor.
              You jump in the saddle,
              Hold onto the bridle!
              Jump in the line!
              ...Belefonte

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by SkipHiLad4me View Post
                Did any of you guys find yourselves having cold feet before making the big jump to the farm?? Advice?
                No, it was where I'd wanted to be since I was a little kid. Not as rural as I'd like (area is rapidly developing). But it beats being dead so I'm happy.

                Advice? You either love it or don't, it seems. Very personal decision.

                Don't skimp on things that will make your life easier.

                The first time you're sick or injured, or your spouse is unavailable for some reason, your neighbors will also be out of town, everything will break, you'll need to lift something weighing 200lbs, your tractor will break down - or something else will happen.

                I don't know why but that's how it works out. There it is.

                Accommodate large animal needs in your emergency plans, especially where you live. Potable water, know evacuation routes, etc. Guess you know that already though.

                Don't know what else to tell you except congratulations.

                Oh - post pictures when you are all settled.
                Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                -Rudyard Kipling

                Comment


                • #9
                  SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO jealous- would love my own little farm- love working around the barn- love tractors and mowing- BUT- you at least need to LIKE it more often then you hate it!

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Thank you for all of the words of encouragement! I can't imagine regretting the decision once we're there - I mean, when we go out there to "visit" I just catch myself standing there, listening to the sounds of NOTHING but the breezes in the trees and the birds It's like music!

                    Jan M - Thanks for the tip about the fire department. We've considered this. They did a training burn on another old house that was on an adjacent piece of family land. Unfortunately this house is completely covered in asbestos shingles (roof and siding!) so we'll have to remove all of those and help the FD get the asbestos certification before they can burn it. Sucks!!

                    MistyBlue - Telecommuting would be awesome!! DH and I are both civil service employees but at this point, our jobs aren't conducive to teleworking. I would be more likely to be able to do so with my work but at this point in time, I'm not allowed to do it. We do work a 5/4 schedule though so at least we get 4 day weeks here and there. A telework day on the 5 day weeks would be a huge help on gas though! I already drive 45 min to work so it wouldn't be TOO much father for me but it's easily double the drive for DH

                    JSwan - I told DH that I wanted us to be set up so that ONE of us could manage things financially and physically. I have a concern that if something should happen to him (sick, unable to work, etc) that I would be left struggling to take care of the farm and pay the bills on one income. Not to mention that it would really make things easier if we needed to ask someone to come in and help us with the work for some reason!

                    I really appreciate all of the comments. I think deep down I know that this is the right move but there are so many "what ifs"! I plan to start a blog when our moving adventure begins so I'll be sure to provide plenty of photos and commentary. Good luck with your move too horseluver! You can do it!
                    "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

                    Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You can easily take care of things on your own.
                      The secret: machinery and power tools

                      Investments in either of those is never ever wasted.
                      And get the right ones of the jobs. Don't underestimate the size you need...but also don't go way overboard too big/powerful either. Doesn't make much sense to have a huge tractor that you can't do much with.

                      Get a tractor that can handle it all instead of one that can only do a few things. And learn basic tractor maintenance. (it's actually really easy, especially on newer model hydrostatics) Enough hp to turn or move a manure pile, drag downed trees and use the attachments you need but not so big you can't fit it in or near the barn for mucking stalls into the bucket (saves a ton of wear and tear on you to not shlep it all manually) or fit between trees or whatever.

                      And power tools, learn to love them.
                      You jump in the saddle,
                      Hold onto the bridle!
                      Jump in the line!
                      ...Belefonte

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Just remember that life is all about change, some we choose, some we just have to comply with.
                        So what if you can only spend some years there, or if by some strange reason you decide after a year or two it is not worth it to you or DH and want to move on.

                        You are not tied to anything you don't want to.
                        Eventually some illness, accident, just old age will demand you again change and that is ok too.

                        If you go into this knowing you are doing the best and it is ok to change if you want to, or need to, you won't fret so much and will get to enjoy what you enjoy while you are there and move on if and when you need to, also contented for the years you were there.

                        (Does that make sense? )

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bluey View Post

                          If you go into this knowing you are doing the best and it is ok to change if you want to, or need to, you won't fret so much and will get to enjoy what you enjoy while you are there and move on if and when you need to, also contented for the years you were there.
                          Love this...great advice.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If you currently live and board your horses at the beach, I assume that you will continue to have horse-owning friends there? Why not set up some home trade vacations -- you get a week at the beach and they get a week on the farm with their horse, riding your trails and enjoying the solitude while you wade in the surf.

                            If you build a guest house or guest suite, this can head off loneliness (horse friends come to visit and ride with you) and/or enable you to hire live-in help now or in the future.
                            They're not miniatures, they're concentrates.

                            Born tongue-in-cheek and foot-in-mouth

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Susanne has a great point about the vacations, and the guest quarters. And you could go further and have a separate guest house or add-on and have a grad student or young professional live in their own apartment, maybe board there, and that would give you emergency backup, as well as another person there. Actually, a work-at-home person (lots of online telecommuters or internet only businesses these days) would be perfect.
                              You can't fix stupid-Ron White

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by susanne View Post
                                If you build a guest house or guest suite, this can head off loneliness (horse friends come to visit and ride with you) and/or enable you to hire live-in help now or in the future.
                                I'm concerned that if we build a guest suite that we might have a MIL that shows up and moves in there. Not the kind of guest I was hoping to attract.
                                "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

                                Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by MistyBlue View Post
                                  You can easily take care of things on your own.
                                  The secret: machinery and power tools

                                  Investments in either of those is never ever wasted.
                                  And get the right ones of the jobs. Don't underestimate the size you need...but also don't go way overboard too big/powerful either. Doesn't make much sense to have a huge tractor that you can't do much with.

                                  Get a tractor that can handle it all instead of one that can only do a few things. And learn basic tractor maintenance. (it's actually really easy, especially on newer model hydrostatics) Enough hp to turn or move a manure pile, drag downed trees and use the attachments you need but not so big you can't fit it in or near the barn for mucking stalls into the bucket (saves a ton of wear and tear on you to not shlep it all manually) or fit between trees or whatever.

                                  And power tools, learn to love them.
                                  This is so true.

                                  We bought our farmette last year. I'd never had the horses at home, and quite frankly, was freaking out about whether this was what I really wanted. DH really wanted it, but I was more cautious for almost all of the reasons you list.

                                  It is perfect? No. Going away, even for a horse show, is more challenging now. And the work seems as though it will never end (because we did not buy a turn-key place).

                                  But after the first year, I'm really glad we did it. I have more opportunities now to have additional horses. I got to take care of my old guy until the very end, just the way I wanted to. I ride just as much as I did before, if not MORE. And having the space, time and freedom to hang out in the pasture on a gorgeous evening can't be beat.

                                  The secret is in planning for a system you can run yourself and budgeting for the items/tasks you need done. Definitely buy a tractor. A good one. It will make your life SO much easier, faster, and more enjoyable. Hire out for jobs you need done quickly, and plan to do the longer jobs yourself (if you're handy). And make a realistic list of what you can get done this month, this season or this year. It makes everything feel much more satisfying if you see the bottom of the list once in a while. There will still be plenty of other things to do, but it will give you the opportunity to sit back and enjoy your accomplishments.

                                  Good luck!
                                  Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by SkipHiLad4me View Post
                                    I'm concerned that if we build a guest suite that we might have a MIL that shows up and moves in there. Not the kind of guest I was hoping to attract.
                                    How about putting an apartment in the barn? (Assuming MIL isn't terribly horsey.) Or lining up a tenant/worker immediately?

                                    I understand...I love my MIL,but I love her best in small doses...
                                    They're not miniatures, they're concentrates.

                                    Born tongue-in-cheek and foot-in-mouth

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      MIL or other unwanted persons can't move in if you keep the apartment rented, and you don't have to actually rent it. Just say the tenants moving in at the first of the month, and don't do tours if you furnish it. Fictional tenants should change names sometimes though to keep the illusion alive. And you could rent it if you want to, but not to relatives since you have to charge full market price to make it a real rental property, and relatives always expect a price break or free.
                                      You can't fix stupid-Ron White

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