Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Unrealistic Expectations

We received a comment that got us to talking. This post has nothing to do with this nice lady. She was only the trigger that got us to talking. This post has nothing to do with her!

BUT!!! People can be idiots. We got to talking about some of the things we have come across.

Fiona's old homestead was built in the early nineteen hundreds. When there were no cars, no plumbing, no electricity. She was questioned as to why the house was built where it was, close to a coulée. This man was very upset. His words. He couldn't understand how someone could be so stupid to build so close to a ravine with no room for a shop.  The answer: The source of water was a spring down in the coulée. In the winter, the temperature was quite often twenty to forty below zero. Not just cold, but very cold! And with a stiff breeze on top of that. When you went to get water (no pumps – no electricity!), you didn't want to carry the water hundreds of yards back to the house – their log cabin. And, no, it didn't have a dirt floor. Way back in the eighteen hundreds and early nineteen hundreds, people built close to their water. And water dictated where you built your house. It was a huge matter of safety from the elements and convenience. There was no electricity and no pumps. Cattle drink a lot of water. It all had to be hand carried, in the cold. That is why the barn was close to the house and the spring. People have myopic vision. They see things through their own eyes, in the here and now. They can't see things the way they used to be or the why of how things get done. Country life is different and things have to be done differently.

We thought we might try to give you some other examples of stories of what we have come across.

We were looking at a nice farm that didn't meet what we wanted. The people were very nice. They told us of an older couple from Connecticut that had driven down to see the farm. They wanted to buy it for retirement. They wanted to raise five or six chickens for fresh eggs. This was sixty acres for six eggs. The man seemed fine and was into the tour. But the woman kept hanging back and was quiet. At the end of the tour, they asked the couple what they thought. The woman said the place smelled. We were there. Yes, the place smelled. But it didn't smell bad. It smelled like a farm. And even that was light compared to what it could have smelled like. They (she) were city folks with no country experience, just “Green Acres” dreams. They got a rude education.

A young woman in her early thirties was getting a divorce. She wanted a lifestyle change. She was going to move to the country and raise animals on a farm. She would be single and had never done any of this type of work. She had lots of questions of: “how do you ...” It was clear that she was going to be doing a lot of learning. Or starving. Her ex- was going to be doing the financing of her project, according to her!

Another woman wanted to know where the street lights and neighbors were.

Another place had a couple from upstate New York visit. He wanted to be a “Gentleman Farmer”. Neither of them had any country life experience. Her first question was: “Where is the nearest Starbuck's?” This family told us that when they said: “It is a little over a hundred miles that away”, that the visit was over. The Upstaters got in their car and left.

Some friends of ours in south-central Kentucky had their place up for sale. An out-of-state couple were coming by to look at it. They called for directions. Bobby gave them the local directions. They knew the couple was less than fifteen minutes away. After an hour and still no visitors, Bobby called them. They were on their way back home. They had driven by and saw the place. It was too isolated. They weren't interested. The map, the listing, and Google maps all showed where it was – isolated, on a dirt road.

Most listings in our search area say “only minutes from Wal-Mart”. None say anything about Target or Starbuck's or Macy's. A lot of these towns have an IGA supermarket and that is it for groceries. No fancy amenities need apply.

Another place had a young couple look at their place. The couple were serious about moving to the farm life. From the questions, it was apparent they had never farmed. He finally asked them the big question. They said that no, they had never farmed or even lived in the country. He talked with them about their expectations and desires. He laid the life out to them. Their bubble was burst. They left. They had an unrealistic dream that wasn't based on fact or research.

Another place, the owner laid out the daily chores: fence repair, haying, calving, lambing, crops, canning, etc. They said they didn't realize there was so much work. They left.

To live in the country requires you to give up a lot of the city conveniences and niceties, and crime. But, you gain the country and its benefits. You have animals and your gardens. You have fresh food. You have your family. You have fresh air. You have a quieter lifestyle. You may even have to talk to your spouse for a change.

Sit down with your “significant other” and make a list of what you want in your future (not just you, but your spouse, also. Your definition of “country” and theirs may be way different. One of you may be thinking “suburbs”.) and a timeframe/schedule for accomplishing those goals. Don't dream or guess. Go to the country for a drive: day and evening. You'll be surprised how dark it can be out there. And the weird and horrifying sounds. Find a farm “bed and breakfast” and spend a few days. You may even be allowed to help in the fields and kitchen. Jump in and get your hands dirty. Don't just dream, learn. Actually do what you can to become part of your dream before you actually buy the farm. Do you have an aunt or uncle that has a farm? Or a cousin? Or...

Evaluate your skills against the skills needed. You don't know what skills are needed? Learn! Before you go hunting. What can you do? What do you WANT to do - with the land and with yourselves? Educate yourselves. And that appendage you have... That thing called a spouse? You are 100% gun-ho. They are doing this just to please you! What are you going to do when their 10% gun-ho goes to zero? Do you know what DEEP do-do is? You will. Big time! You are a team. Act like it! Don't force a bad situation into something you don't want anything to do with.

If the PAIR of you – that means 100% of both of you - can enjoy this, then by all means, go for it. But get 100% times two! No half way stuff or “they will come around”. That trap door will dump a ton of bricks on your head.

This is a big step, an expensive step. Be sure of what you are stepping into. And good luck with whatever direction you go. And take God with you.

May God grace your steps and guard your future!


[A note from Fiona]
This is a follow up to the Plans and Dreaming post that caused havoc! 

I overhauled the blog and removed the calender feature. It seems to have fixed the problem according to tewshooz who noticed problems a while ago. Thank you all for putting up with the confusion.


  1. What a great post!! Isolated? yes, yes. Dirt road? Sounds like our place. Smell of cows, horses, chickens and sheep....ditto. I love the country! The quietness (well, except for the sounds of nature and animals). I hate it when city people move in to our area and start complaining about the smells and inconvenience and no malls and then let their dogs roam at night, killing livestock. I love old barns and houses. And the stars at night......and yes, the darkness and silence of a new moon. Love it! Could not live anywhere else.

    1. The people with all the street lights have no idea about how bright and wonderful a night sky is! But as you know it takes a "special" kind of person to be able to deal with it all. And I am glad your back!

  2. Thank you, Glad to be back; I missed reading your blog and about your house hunting. Did you finally find a place?

    1. We have narrowed it down. Two places. The weather has been too miserable to do the final tours yet.
      Ralph did order the bean seeds for 2015....that's another adventure.
      Thank you for stopping by.