many times and especially lately i hear people say it is their dream to live on a farm someday. i think maybe it’s the appeared romance of it all? a throw back to a simpler time?
let me preface this post by saying it was never my dream to live on farm. it was something that just happened and developed overtime. also despite all of the worry, struggles and pitfalls of owning an old house, barn, animals etc and living on a farm it is a pretty charmed life and for that i am eternally grateful.
like i just said it was something that growing up owning a farm was not on my bucket list. in fact is was quite the opposite. i grew up with no neighbors, no sub divisions and the only friend within walking distance was my brother and my grandma. (which was actually awesome) (we did crafts and she makes good jam). growing up i couldn’t wait to get out and live in a city. any city. i was going to live in a little loft, brand new, i was going to be a fashion designer for a big box store and live this glamorous big city life.
college gave me a taste of community living which i actually really enjoyed up until my senior year when the all night noise and parties just got really old. i was working at a coveted internship opportunity that required me to get up at 5:45 to prepare for my hour (plus if snow) commute and work an actual job while going to school. i missed the quiet for one of the first times in my life.
cut to getting married right out of college and we bought our first home in byron center. a foreclosure in a smaller subdivision. the silver lining was that there were no homes but wetlands behind our house. the downfall? a neighbor that thought he was the next bon jovi and had rock practice thursdays and sundays and when it was nice out he would move his “gigs” to his garage. and the kids turfing my lawn with their bikes and just other really annoying subdivision things. my garden was quickly taking up our entire backyard and i started to discover that my love of clothing/shopping was transitioning into more of a love of vintage/home/gardening and cooking. i canned alot those summers over my small stove and quickly ran out of cupboard room. however the first year i threw a majority away because i googled way too much about ebola. after about 5 years of living in byron center i could not wait to move and it was time.
we didn’t really think we needed a full out “farm” i just wanted a bigger garden and some chickens. we tried to buy a house back in zeeland across the street from my grandmas house but that deal fell through and that is when we found our now home in allegan. which included barns and 12 acres, hayfield and more garden space.
before you know it things started filling up. we had meat chickens, laying chickens, guinea hens and then sheep. and soon pigs. who knows.
but before you sell your house in a subdivision there are some real hard realities you need to take into consideration before hitching your wagon out to the country.
- old houses are expensive. you might (as well as myself) have these fantasies about buying a fixer upper and slapping subway tile all over it and making it look like something that was kissed by johanna gaines and you could very well do that… if your deck doesn’t rot, boiler doesn’t explode and snow doesn’t blow through your old windows. i’m not trying to be a downer but these are some realities we are dealing with right now. old houses are old, they are tired and sometimes the necessities to keep them functioning are going to eat away at your flooring budget. ps if you could say a little prayer that our boiler system doesn’t completely need to be replaced that would be awesome…
- old houses take a ton of work. the bigger they are the harder they fall. our house we have a running list of things that need maintenance, repair, upkeep. as soon as one gets done we move on to the other. example while packing up my clothes to go to my moms house to sleep because we currently have no hot water or heat (thanks boiler) i noticed more chipping paint on the eaves of the house. add it to the list. the brick needs paint, the landscaping needs work, the deck needs stain and the rotted boards need to be replaced. it’s work. granted i love it. but it is hard work and if you skip on a chore it will be about 10x the effort to repair. be prepared to work.
- your garden isn’t always going to look like martha stewart. i’ve tried i swear. but sometimes you just have to deal with some weeds and use ugly mulch because it’s all you can afford. oh and your bathroom is now your greenhouse. the point is to provide food. but you know what there is beauty in the imperfections and if you enjoy doing it then that is all that matters. pinterest isn’t a reality.
- animals die. and it’s horrible. and you feel incredible responsible for it and irresponsible because it happened. we’ve lost a few chicks and chickens over the past two years and sometimes there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. but they take a lot of work. they need to be fed before you eat or leave for work, cleaned, vaccinated, sheared etc. if i could recommend an animal to start with though i would start with sheep. for the most part they are pretty self maintaining but do require shearing, lambing help, nails clipped, deworming etc. but animals are a lot of work, (but also a huge joy)
- living in the country is one of the most rewarding and wonderful things in the entire world if you know how to keep up on it. there was a time i couldn’t wait to leave my house and now i want nothing more than to just be home. in the stillness and quiet.
i hope i haven’t sounded ungrateful or tried to deter anyone from making the leap into country life. i’m just trying to be honest and present what it really is like for me. who knows? maybe for everyone else it is super pinterest worthy and you are actually martha stewart. (btw martha if you are reading this…coffee sometime?).
just some things i thought i would share 🙂