Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Home on the Range……

            There are a lot of ways to take that title. Am I going to talk about cattle? Travel? Guns? No, I’m going to write about my extreme desire to live on a farm.

            I grew up in a small town with large family farms surrounding us. While many are not so “family” any more, my hometown is still considered by most that live there a “farming community.” Of course, I don’t live there any longer, but I’m a short 15 mile drive away. So, living on a farm should be easy if I really wanted to, right?

            Sadly, there are issues. I don’t want (and couldn’t pay for) 400 acres of prime farm land. I want 5-10 acres of decent farm land and no one sells plots that small in my area. Not to mention (though I will) the cost per acre of halfway decent farm land in my area would be astronomical even if you could buy such small acreage. Also, I live in CA where the taxes and regulations put even large farming operations out of business.

            Of course, there is nothing nailing my feet to the ground in CA except a slightly underwater mortgage (that is getting closer to the surface every day) and family. The wife would absolutely love to move away to another state. The kiddos would get over it when they find out how much easier it is to breathe outside our area. Even some of my extended family has hinted at a “you first” approach. I’m a teacher, so I can move anywhere there are schools and likely find a job.

            So what is stopping me from moving to another state and living my dream? Well, fear, mostly. The last time I did something so drastic I was much younger with a smaller family and no real career. Now, I’m in my 40’s, a wife, 2 kids and a career where I have some potential (arguably). Within a year, my house will be worth more than I owe on it, so I could leave CA with a few dollars in my pocket, but not nearly enough to just start over.

            Don’t get me wrong, I know it is possible. People have done exactly what I would like to do under far worse conditions. But, have you ever noticed how a lot of the homesteaders that blog online were given their land by family? That would an incredible gift as the land is the most expensive part of the process and knowing someone with intimate knowledge of the land is beyond incredible. That will not be happening to me as no one in my family has anything beyond their 8,000 square foot suburban lot.

            So will I ever move to a farm and become more self-sufficient? I don’t know. I do have a plan formulating in my head, but nothing substantial. I will be looking at what types of credentials one needs to teach in other states and the cost of property, water, etc., before I make any more decisions. You never know what the future holds…..