top of page

Rookie Farm Mistakes

Buy land, get animals, it will be fun they said. Well, it is fun but what they don’t tell you is that it’s going to be the hardest thing you will ever do. You decide one day that you want to leave the city behind and move to the country and start a farm. Sounds easy enough right? Maybe for some people but for the average lifetime city dweller it isn’t. So, you set out to find your little piece of land or maybe not so little. You look and look until you find the perfect place. Now you have to secure your financing and put a contract on it. Now you wait for all the paperwork to go through and close on your new journey.

Finally, its moving day. You get moved in and settled and then the real work begins. If you’re like us there was lots of work to be done. Land needs to be cleared, pens need to be built, additional buildings need to be built and electricity run. We opted to put in a pond as well. Our driveway needed to be redone as it was a dirt road with ruts in it. Thankfully the property already had fencing and electrical gates. After digging up the back acre for our pond we had to hydroseed the land so we would have grass and not dirt.

The first mistake was the pond contractor. Day two of the project as I was getting cash out of the bank for the shed builder cops swarmed our property. My son calls to let me know that they were there because the excavator and skid steer were reported stolen. They were promptly removed from our property by the company and a report was filed. The equipment had been rented from Home Depot and paid for with a ex-girlfriends credit card. She promptly reported the fraudulent charge and now there was no equipment for my contractor to use to dig our pond he had started.

A couple days later he rented more equipment and got back to work. That’s when the fun began. We had been in a dry spell but now it was beginning to rain. With each rain storm the pond was filling with water and the equipment was getting stuck. What should have taken a week took over a month. Equipment was broken, one of my trees died, the cost went up and the contractor left me with a mess. Our backyard looked like a bomb had been dropped on it. So, we contracted another company to finish our pond which doubled the cost. Finally, we had a pond and just needed rain to fill it up.

Then we learned about the asphalt gypsies. What is an asphalt gypsy you ask? Well, they are traveling pavers that roam the country trying to pull “bait and switch” tactics on property owners. Their classic line goes something like this, “We are paving a job a few blocks away and we have just enough extra material left to pave your driveway.” Gypsies never do what they say they will, and they will never come back and fix a shoddy job. We fell for it. They showed up at our gate and it seemed like a gift from God. WE needed our driveway done and the companies we had called were extremely expensive and out of our budget. We would get reclaimed asphalt at a price we could afford, and it would be beautiful. That’s not what we got. We got shredded up tile, rubber and trash in our reclaimed asphalt and it was a hot mess. It is better than the dirt with ruts but not much more. Another rookie mistake in the bag.

Then the land clearing. We hired a company that would do all they could for $800 in a 4-hour time frame. We didn’t have too much to do so that should have been sufficient. It was a cold March morning and the crew had to leave to go to a funeral. Where have I heard that before, but we said sure come back and finish after the funeral. Well that never happened. I guess they did call back to schedule a time to finish but I didn’t get the message. Next time a contractor has a death in the family I am going to have to them produce their dead loved one! We had a pile of electrical poles on the property and a nice man that came out to give us a quote to do some work or something, I don’t remember now, said he would barter the poles for anything land clearing we needed finished. That was the best deal we made since buying the property. He worked hours and did everything we needed to make the property perfect. Lesson learned; bartering is the way to go.

Our son got his home delivered and his contractor nightmare started. He hired a friend of the family member that proceeded to do shotty work and walk out halfway through the job. He hurled threats and complaints after being paid for a job that wasn’t done. That’s when we finished the job ourselves. The shed builders did their job, the hydroseeding company did their job and we found other companies to come and finish what others started and cost us more money. We still have only half a driveway done and not done as we were told it would be done. That will have to wait as we have so many more projects left to do. We started doing much of the work ourselves to save money because we spent more money when we shouldn’t have had to. Our project list is growing as we find we need more things to make everything run better on the homestead.

My daughter in law gave me a sign for my living room that says “Welcome to the Sh?t Show. Hope you brought alcohol. It hangs proudly in our living room. It’s a daily reminder of what we went through to get to where we are today. What we have accomplished and learned along the way. I am sure we will make more mistakes along the way. After all we are city folks in new territory without a clue as to what we are doing. We are learning as we go. We are surviving and improving as time goes by. One day we will look back on all of this and laugh. The green city folks who came to the country for a new and better life. Our kids will tell their grandkids these stories and laugh. Our hard work will be passed down for generations to come along with the lessons we learned. Hopefully our grandkids and great grandkids will appreciate all we have done so that they can live a rich life like we are now.

10 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page