I’ve been living on at my farm for a while now. I lived on my parents farm as a teenager so I didn’t have the same anxiety when I first moved here that many people did (how will I keep my horse alive?!). However, there’s some things that popped up that surprised me. It’s things I sort of knew about from my parent’s farm, but I was shielded from the full impact by, you know, my parents.
There’s so much maintenance
Ah, the beautiful farm! Everything is neat and tidy, and pristine. Of course I’ll keep it looking beautiful, we tell ourselves. Why would we not? Well, I swear, the horses are on a mission to destroy everything possible. If it was nice at somepoint, and it’s where they can reach it, they are going to rip it to shreds.
Nothing escapes their wrath. Got a nice board fence? Well, by golly, they are going to rip the boards out! Or alternatively, fling their entire bodies against it to leave some niec cracks. Did you actually like that fresh paint job on your barn? The horses thought scratching their teeth on it would give it some character. Or particuarly memorable, when we planted a line of lovely trees – Berry came up directly behind us and ripped them right out, one by one.
Why? Do they need a reason? No, they just like entertaining themselves. In some cases, I think it’s a form of self expression. They rake their teeth on things to tell me how slow and lazy they think I am (This is usually at feeding time).
They destroy everything, and when they aren’t the ones destroying things, pesky things like weather, or that herd of vultures, come along to destroy things. I sure hope I didn’t need those shingles on my roof, cause they’re all going to be gone soon.
Everything is time consuming
|Everything is breaking and/or falling apart, so now you’ve got to fix it. Fixing things takes so much time. Devote an hour to getting something done, and then realize it took up the whole day. Weekends are now spent on farm maintenance, and not just repairing stuff. The pasture needs mowing so weeds don’t sprout up. Need to weedwack the fencelines and clear branches out of the field. Grade the earth and put down gravel so you won’t have a mudpit when it rains. It adds up fast and so much of the time I’ve been working on something, then realize I can’t even ride that day. Not that I usually feel up to it anyway – much too tired.|
Nothing is Hard
Even though some of it can seem intimidating, it turns out it’s really not hard. Things can be strenuous physically sometimes, but only a bit more than actually caring for a horse requires. Plus, it’s like a workout, it’s good for you! The ones that are really hard just need a few more people. Many hands make light work and all.
But I’m referring more to the overall act. The paralyzing fear of doing something because you’re afraid you’ll mess it up is more of a factor than the actual labor. It results in wanting to hire someone or wait for someone to come along who will do it for you. If you’ve got a big budget, sure, hire it out, problem solved. But most of these things end up being really simple. Some things take google searches or YouTube videos to figure out, and then just experimenting. Like any skill it takes practice to get everything perfect, but it’s generally passable. My fence might be be a little crooked, but it’ll only bother me every time I walk by it, every day for the rest of my life. Maybe that was a bad example. But hey, the fence still works as a fence!
You realize you are capable of more than you thought
I had never used a chainsaw before. They were frightening. But now it’s fun. I never changed tractor oil, or leveled ground or spread gravel or stonedust, but now I’ve done all that stuff.
It starts with just pushing outside your comfort zone a little bit, then a little more, and soon you’re realizing that you are completely capable of figuring these things out and getting them done. It’s a confidence builder and it’s empowering. You are creating, building, finding the solutions, and innovating. You are able to do all these things, and so much more.
It’s true having a farm is a lot of work. But it’s also so rewarding. Not just referring to the peace and beauty of looking out at your horses grazing in their field, but the sense of acomplishment. It’s looking at the fence you put up, the barn you renovated, and the field you mowed. It’s inspiring for the next task that needs to be done. Cut down that old tree? No problem! Not only will you do it, you’ll figure out how to get some cross country jumps out of it. Maybe there’s even some nice wood in there for a few tables! (Ok, this hasn’t happened… to me. Maybe one day!)