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The big move - from suburbia to a farm

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  • #21
    Not sure how to answer whether you know you / DH are ready. In some sense, you're never fully ready but I'd guess some good preconditions are that 1) you enjoy being outside a lot. 2) find some satisfaction in hard physical labor and 3) can find charm in imperfection. Because there's ALWAYS something that "needs doing", but it's important to be able to look past that sometimes and just enjoy the parts that look great, rather than obsess about that one paddock that still needs bushhogged.

    I would definitely explore more deeply DH's distaste for mowing, to find out what it is about that task that he hates. Because if it's related to being outside, having to work in the sun on hot days, bugs, etc, then I'd be concerned that he may not enjoy a lot of other types of farm work, too. Does he ever come to your DIY stable and help with chores? Even if you plan to divide the labor up, such as you do the horse stuff and he does property stuff, you both need to be able to swap roles as needed.

    I third/fourth the suggestion to read the zoning rules very carefully. Both to understand what YOU are allowed to do, but what your neighbors are allowed to do. Moving outside of town boundaries can often mean much more relaxed rules (if any), about land use. For instance, what if a neighboring property puts up a commercial building that's very noisy or brings high traffic? You can find countless threads on COTH about "bad neighbors", when the problem is actually "I didn't buy enough land to protect myself." If your home or riding areas will be close to the property lines, then give serious thought to how you would screen yourself from neighbors who negatively impact your enjoyment of the property (or vice versa! Not everyone appreciates horses).

    Does your county/province/whatever have a Master Plan that lays out their vision for long-term development in your farm's area? It can always be changed, of course, but it's an indication of the kinds of land use they'll approve over the next 5-10 years.

    If you have a really rainy day forecast, make THAT the day you ask for a house tour. Best way to understand what water/drainage issues, which have potentialy to seriously affect how useful the farm is. Visited one farmhouse in the middle of a downpour, and it literally had water pouring through the foundation walls at multiple places and ponding on the floor (the owner disclosure form said "some water seepage in basement, rarely").

    Another thing we did when farm shopping was to go by the place at a few different times of day, to get a sense of traffic patterns, how brightly lit things are at night. Light pollution is a pet peeve of mine, and at one place we were considering, a nighttime drive-by revealed that a neighbor's pole light was totally flooding our prospective property with light.


    • #22
      I built my place on my own - I am very glad now that I got to build from scratch because it means everything is laid out the way I want it & I got to plan everything.

      Farm owning varies widely based on how much $ people spend (I basically have none) & how you set it up. The more you build, the more you have to maintain. I travel A LOT for work, so I set my place up so even a monkey could dump grain into bowls, no horse touching required.

      I live in the SE, so I don't need a barn & didn't build one. Horses & I share a large run in.

      Plan for climate challenges ahead - I spent 2 yrs shopping for the soils & slopes I wanted & every project I do is designed with extreme events here in mind (hurricanes, flooding here).

      Since I have good drainage, I just ride in my field, I don't need an arena (and yes, I train in eventing, so dressage & jumping). My neighbor does have an arena, but I rarely go over there, maybe a handful of times a year. I actually prefer to train on uneven surfaces, it teaches me & my horses better skills & balance so when we do go in an arena, everything is easy.

      I also don't care what vegetation looks like & am not going to waste my life trimming weeds, so my farm is not perfectly manicured, I have better things to do. It's safe, the horses look great, are happy, & with no stalls, I can do all essential chores in 10 mins in mornings before work.

      There is always a lot of mowing with pastures tho. However, while I HATE mowing lawns as a completely pointless activity, I find bush hogging pastures to be zen & satisfying bc it's for the horses.
      Life doesn't have perfect footing.

      Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
      We Are Flying Solo


      • #23
        Make sure you can build any barns, arenas, or any other building far away from neighbors. Don't end up like the threads on here with noisy neighbors right next to the fence line. Also, don't assume that the neighbors now that seem nice will stay, and not be replaced by someone you're not as happy with.

        A friend who lived way out in the boonies loved where he lived, until the people almost a mile away sold to someone who put in a commercial hog farm. The few days a year that the wind blew towards his house were pure hell.
        You can't fix stupid-Ron White