Monday, April 4, 2011

$800,000. What Would You Do?

“Do not suppose opportunity will knock twice at your door.”

Photos and story not related!

$800,000. Yes that is the rumour going around. A farmer was offered this for his house and land. Not his machinery, or farming related items. The house is rundown, the barn and buildings need lots of repair, the land needs work, and fences are non-existent. This is not prime agricultural land.
   He refused.
 This farmer is older and very, very close to retirement, his health is not the best. He would be set for life, and never have to worry again. That is a substantial amount of money.
 I started to wonder what I would do.
 I love our farm it brings me great joy. We have built it up from nothing, anyone that reads ‘My Journey’ would know this. All the blood, sweat, and lots of tears we went through to get to this point I will never forget. We are still working very hard everyday to keep it up. I am one with this piece of land. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I have neighbours and friends who are like my family. I spend every chance I get in my bush; I know every inch of this place.
 I also know the farm work is taking its toll on our health. We are getting older and most of these everyday tasks are getting more difficult. The upkeep is never-ending; I see no end in sight for the constant worrying about retiring, of an illness or an injury. We are not slowing down.

  I go to a lot of auctions where widowed farmers are living alone, their house and barns falling down around them. They are sitting on valuable land. They are living in one room, holding on to this farm that they have struggled to maintain and work all those years. They are holding on to it and living in sometimes-horrible conditions thinking their children will farm it after they are gone.
 Most times their children sell the farm after this farmer has passed. Not very many children want to, or are capable of farming. There is a lot more to farming then people realize. I know this is not always true but I have seen this more times than not.
 I know we could sell this farm and if we wanted, we could buy another one somewhere else and start over again, this time with money not like the first time. We could help our children with their student loans so we would not watch them struggle.
 I do not think money makes you happy. I do think people deserve to live in a safe environment, and not struggle all their lives. 
 What would you do???
 This is not about our farm I hope if that offer comes I will think carefully about all the pros and cons and realize sometimes opportunity only knocks once.
 I asked M this question and she thought it would be pretty selfish of her to want us to stay and not be happy and safe.
  Please leave a comment. I think we will have many different answers and it will be interesting to hear what others are thinking.



  1. My husband and I have talked about this many times. Although we love our place and have put many hours and much money into it over the years, it may not be practical to stay here once we reach retirement age. Besides, there are other adventures we'd like to experience once this one has reached its end. :)

  2. In my situation, with suburbia fast closing in all around I would take the money and run...somewhere quiet and much more isolated. Now if I was that old farmer that had worked his land for a gazillion years and was very much attached to it I might possibly do as he did and turn it down, that's a very tough decision to make.

  3. I have lived on our farm for 13 years and I love it to pieces. However, I do realize that I may not always be in the condition to take care of it. I certainly would not sell it now, but if I were a much older senior citizen....likely I would.

  4. VERY good question. Hubs and I have talked about this on many occasion. As he has lived here all his life, and I only moved out 4 years ago- it's certain our opinions vary. I STILL am trying to adjust to this way of life- I don't have the attachments here- and I still see farming as very hard and often a gamble.
    I would sell. He would hold on forever. And hence is the battle....

  5. We don't have a huge acreage, but we have enough that it feels somewhat remote from neighbors. As we age, I wonder if we'll be able to keep things up as they should be. I hope to enjoy this place for another 20 yrs or more before we're faced with a decision to move...

  6. I only have an acre and a half and age is beginning to take its toll. It is a constant battle to keep things up and very wearing. My kids think I should move to town and take it easy. So if I had a huge offer, at this point in life I would take it and go! But I would have to have a yard to put in a small garden and a few chickens. *smile* Just couldn't leave everything!

  7. Love your blog!
    Glad we found each other! We seem quite alike. :)

    Now....I do need to find your blog about the Evil Queen Anne's Lace as I heard about it once and have NO idea how to tell it from the Good QAL. Also, I have some "Snow On The Mountaintop in my garden that looks also very much like QAL. Could you please point me toward your blog?

    Have a lovely Spring Day!

  8. Nancy Yes I think it is always a hard decision and I think age does come into it. I think today yes tomorrow maybe no depending on my mood. B

    Mr. H Yes I think there seems to be an age where once you cross it you will dig your feet in and never move regardless. I am not sure of this age I hope the guy with the money comes before that or do I I really don't know. B

    Farmchick I am 58 and I am still not certain but yes I think it would be the wise move. My Hero says it would be crazy not to.He said we could buy 10 acres just to putter on. B

    Dawn We have been here over 31 years so we are attached but I think we are getting tired and farming is getting harder. b

    Texwisgirl. Today is one of those days if he came today I would have my bags packed and ready to go. More on that on next post.

    Alla I know it would be hard to move and I love the animals too but I can understand your children's worry. We have 200 acres of work. B

    Mimi welcome and thanks for joining it is nice to read your blog. I have put a comment on your blog. Thank you B

  9. Probably the toughest thing my parents ever did was sell the fields and building and animals. It took them over a year to get through all the paperwork and agony. Even though they were set financially, bought and paid for a little house in town near me...the dirt was in their blood. But trying to keep it going put them both in the hospital more than once. Yes, tough decision.

  10. I think I'd take the money and the first thing I'd like to do is come and visit you. Love your beautiful photos. Maa.

  11. Leenie Wow I am sorry to hear that it must have been awful to watch them go through that. I think I would handle it much better then My Hero would he was raised on a farm. That is my fear of putting our girls through the injuries and sickness that will come as we age it is a hard life. Thanks Leenie. B

    Maa Well I would love that. If I sold ours I may just show up on your doorstep also. Thanks Maa. B

  12. My son just this weekend asked so sweetly and concerned, " Mom is this place getting to much for you and Dad? I think about it all of the time what happens if we can't take care of it? Well, just like I said, when we moved here, next time I move it will be because someone takes me out in a box. I love my little farm, I don't know the answer to your question because the land I live on is what keeps me sane and sustains me.

  13. We are lucky as youngest daughter wants to take over the farm and at 11 she probably knows more about raising cattle than I do. I can understand the old farmer not wanting to sell his property as if DH had to move to a smaller place or to town I'm sure he'd curl up and die. "You can take the boy out of the bush, but you can't take the bush out of the boy" is a quote that I've heard for decades.

  14. Farmgirl I love my farm too but I am still not so sure especially this week. I do love it here. Maybe we just have to change from cattle. B

    RobynK Yes you can take the girl from the country but you can't take the country from the girl. I think the cattle thing is getting hard. My health with the fibro leaves a lot of work for My Hero which is not fair. I love my bush. I don't think I will have to answer this question for awhile I have not seen the man with the money. Our girls love the farm but I don't think they can do it. B

  15. We only have a little more than 5 acres, but on it are a big farm house, two big barns, an indoor riding arena and a studio barn. We are down to 4 horses, 4 cats and 2 dogs and have been here for 30 years. Yes, it gets harder as you get older, but as long as I have horses, I'm not going anywhere. My husband and I will both be 68 this summer and still work our butts off. I can't imagine any other kind of life. Having more animals would be difficult, but the number of horses has gone down (used to have 6 of my own) as they aged and passed and so has the work load. No more boarding either. (at times, had 10). I still ride and enjoy them very much.
    One thing is for've got to love it, or it just doesn't work. Not something you can do half
    heartedly. I know that I could not handle having large numbers of cattle if the coyotes were killing off the young. It would eat me up.
    Farming is tough....

  16. I will never be in your position as I desparately wanted to live all my life on a farm, but I had to have income to support myself. While I lived on a farm it didn't belong to me.

    Have you considered sharecropping? It works here for older people who have the land but can't farm like they once did.

    And you are so right. Money does not buy you happiness. I still remember those times I sat on the porch and watched the creek below on a farm that wasn't mine.

    God help you make the right decision.

  17. Lori Skoog It sounds like you have thought this through and you are just a little older than I hopefully we can work out something we can handle and still stay here but I just don't honestly know what I would do. It is a tough living. B

    Mary Yes we have considered everything but we do not want chemicals near our house we have never used them. We rented land once when we first moved here and that is what crop farmers used. We would love to rent to organic farmers but they are few and far between here. Never know it is getting more popular now. B

  18. At this point in my life I will say I want to live here and be buried in the backyard,this is my home,my forever home,but I'm just shy of 30 and only the Lord knows what will happen between now and then.
    I would like to think that is how it will go though...

  19. Farmer That is exactly how I feel but now I am starting to wonder. With my girls looking after us out here may be hard on them.My Hero has a very bad back and I have the Fibro so I am thinking different but it makes me very sad thinking of ever leaving. B

  20. Hello Buttons, I've read your 'My Journey' and certainly understand your deep connection to your home. It's a basic need isn't it, to have your own little spot in the world to which you belong. When one has endured and triumphed over as many hardships as yourself and your husband, that connection would become even stronger.

    I feel sorry for those farmers you mention. It's the same over here. In many cases, it's just not practical anymore for their children to take over running their properties. They find work elsewhere. So, the older folk hang on until the grim end, for their own reasons, choosing not to sell. We've known a few like that - no happy twilight years after a life of hard work.

    We've bought and sold a few times over the years (not farms). Each place we put down roots. Renovated, gardened and settled in. Different circumstances came about that required a relocation, mostly it was work-related opportunities. Even though it was the best for our family, every move was not without regret at the time. Even today, the strongest memories of each home centered around the raising of our young family within them. We treasure the photos we have of back then.

    Retirement came, we had a dream which could only be financed by selling up. Should we or shouldn't we? We'd worked hard, had our children's encouragement - so we took a deep breath and did it. Became full-time grey nomads. A wonderful, rich experience which we enjoyed for many years.
    However, in the end we realised there was always that little tug deep down inside... we'd made a comfy home of our bus, but we needed our own bit of dirt, our own place in the world. So we ended up finding our little cottage and here we will stay as long as our health continues. We have new memories here, the children and grandchildren visit. We tend our gardens, raise chooks, love life.

    We're very aware that some time in the future, health related considerations may have to be made (not for a while yet, we hope). If that happens, I'm sure we'll adapt and put down roots once again. Even if it's reduced to gardening in pots :D)

    I know we're rich - not monetarily, but we're rich.

    You ask "what would you do??".... I'd sell.

  21. Susan Thank you so much for your comment. I think everyone should read this as you have lived it in all the different ways. I love the way you worded it. I truly thank you for your insight. I think you are right.I think we would sell.You are truly a wise woman. B

  22. What a great thought provoking question. My husband and I are living our dream, a log cabin in the woods. Our weekends are spent doing projects. We've added an orchard and this year a greenhouse. The question in the back of my mind is what happens when we are too old to fight the snow that plagues us every winter? Do we sell out and start again? We've discussed it. Hard to say. The money means nothing, because we'd just put it right back into something we could build ourselves. Good question.


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