My husband called this place Broke Barn Farm practically from the onset. I hated it and coming from my “boujee” background in the Hunter/Jumper industry, I thought there is no way this can be the site of a future small business when its name immediately takes me to a dark place where my back hurts on a mountain. Its on Country Lane after all. Country Lane Farm was my top pick. It was short, sweet and to the point. It also sounded like I raised cattle ponies to some and the already eclectic location didn’t help that image either. I tried naming it after anything… Heinzfield Farm (Go Steelers), Hunt Field Farm (too traditional), Green Cove Stables (too dated), Four Acre Farm (but its technically 4.4 so…no).
Greg continued the Broke Barn Farm mantra: it was broke when we got it, we’re broke now that we bought it, and we continue breaking it as we go. He roped me. It stuck. So what did we buy really?
When I first stepped foot on the property, I felt obligated to walk every inch. It was late April/early May and Florida was being overrun by wildfires. It was dry and CRISPY. Walking across what we now call “The Barnyard” sounded as though someone had laid out an entire box of corn flakes on the hardwood floor and tap danced on them. All I could think was its going to take a quality sprinkler system to keep grass growing and dust down. HA. Jokes on me!!
We closed the beginning of June and roughly a week or two before then we started experiencing our typical summer afternoon showers. The much needed rain brought on some amazing growth for the place, and what was a desert waste land became a local version of the Amazon. FAST. Grass (and weeds, a lot of weeds) shot up out of no where, making me completely excited and hopeful that we can manage quality pasture in a town where you struggle to find boarding with grass turnout. Our sand base makes maintenance a challenge, and just one too many horses, failure to rotate and rest, skipped seeding and lack of water will turn any place into a sand pit with the blink of an eye around here. That being said, we knew we were in for a real treat when the seller’s realtor mentioned several calls she had received about snakes and overgrowth coming from our soon-to-be property in the days leading up to and at our closing.
Apparently as we worked through the drama that was the purchase of this farm, the seller decided to stop maintaining it. Weeds towered my children (ages 9 and 6), And I’m not talking your average, run of the mill, garden weeds. These are trees. Weed trees. EVERYWHERE.
And in anticipation of our new found slice of paradise, we had ordered a ride on mower (my first one ever mind you) and while I was SO excited to get it on, I was not taking my second most expensive purchase in that month and exposing it to the forest. Greg though? No fear. Until he bent the blade in the first hour of his attempt and flattened a tire in the second. Oh look. A broken mower. Sounds about right. Heavy duty blades should help prevent that going forward….HA. Funny.
You know what we need! A weed eater. For the weed trees. Hand-me-down? Hells yeah! “Universal” attachments for heavy brush?! New spark plug, new trimming attachment, new blade for the weed trees. Yes please. $100? No problem. Ready to rip? No, because your universal pieces are intended for equipment made in this decade. Not your hand-me-down. So now you’re a whole different kind of broke and still can’t get the weed trees managed. Yay. We are blessed though, because being out in the country means there is never a lack of folks with heavy equipment and it didn’t take long for us to find someone to bush hog the place.
$375 later and we can actually appreciate what we purchased. It no longer looks abandoned or disregarded. It does however show off how awesome our fences are…not. They are not awesome. They need a face lift horribly. But one thing at a time, right?
Did I mention it hasn’t stopped raining. Because it hasn’t. Even as I sit here and puke my thoughts into words someone else can attempt to manage, it has not. Stopped. Raining. Since we closed in June, the longest “dry spell” we’ve had was a matter of a couple (don’t round up! I mean two) days at best. Our grass is in full swing, our Amazon is turning into more of a respectable swamp and when it dries up, sometimes we can even mow! And we have children old enough to help and who doesn’t love child free labor?!
BUT we actually expect a few nice days this week! Not that we can mow. Turns out those heavy duty blades aren’t Greg-proof….stay tuned for my I fixed a mower blog to follow… But I can’t even be mad because I have single-handedly broken my chicken coop (which I rewired completely on my own).
And the garbage disposal (which I unclogged and re-piped).
And the shower head (which I got right back in working order).
And the toilet seat (did you know that not all seats are the same shape?).
And the closet door…twice..in two rooms (Greg helped with that, thanks hunny).
And just recently flattened three tires across two vehicles this past weekend. Winning.
So what did we really buy? A huge work in progress, an excellent chance for me to improve on my handy-wo-man skills, a test of true love and oh yeah, a farm!