It’s the first day of the month … and we are _almost_ ready to move into our new place just down the way from the farm.
Last few weekends have included the usual collection of pre-moving maintenance tasks: inserting floorboards, patching walls, painting walls, ripping out a section of the kitchen to insert a dishwasher, installing light fittings, petitioning Australia post to perform street deliveries in the area, weeding overgrown garden beds and paths, cleaning out a section of the dam … and then when we go back to the rental we do some sorting, tossing of things we haven’t used in two years, packing, packing, packing, arguing over the merits of keeping certain items, packing, unpacking of previously packed box, ruthless de-cluttering of unpacked items, re-packing items that were not placed in the ‘toss” or “charity” piles and then we pack some more and wonder what kind of idiot decided on this path … (yes, it was me … I’m the idiot.)
In between all this goodness, the cat broke a tooth, which got infected and required veterinarian care … all I can say is she is lucky that a) we feel an emotional bond towards her and b) she is not a cow, because let me tell you, if the latter, she’d be dinner right now. So, that unexpected chunk of change joined another unexpected expenditure which was the electronic steering lock on the wife’s mer-say-dees failing. This effectively means the car is dead as electronics, key identification and engine immobilisation are all tied into that wee bit of componentry. So, a three day wait for the $1100 part and four hours of labour later and well, even if we were ready to hire the moving truck, we couldn’t afford to at this point in time …
We’re planning on being in by the following weekend now. Assuming nothing else jumps to the fore. Still, it could always be worse, and I’m just glad it’s not as bad as all that: the views are wonderful, the sound of the birds and amphibian wildlife is charming, the house heats up on a single redgum log, the neighbours seem nice, we’ve inherited a friendly raven called Charlie and the farm will be a mere quarter of an hour up the road.
It will all be worth it in the end. I’m sure.
There is always something to do on the farm.
This weekend, like most weekends, was spent erecting fencing. As a change, we were not erecting new fencing, but repairing old fences.
These signify that we have refinanced our existing mortgages whilst adding to the pile the new home that is nearby to the farm. thus, we have financially indebted ourselves to the banks (and off farm income) for the next thirty years in the continued pursuit of “the dream”.
Being an adult is hard.
Being an adult with dreams is harder.
The working theory was that building on Goodrock Park as we first wanted to do could place us in a precarious financial position that could foreseeably see us lose everything.
So, we made an offer pending finance on a home in Broadford … and with the unconditional approval finally coming through this week, we have paid the deposit for a hectare of land and will be making settlement (and thus moving) in October.
It’s a lovely home, nothing spectacular or Grand design worthy, but it is a “ready to move in and enjoy” property. The best part is that it is situated only 15 minutes drive away from Goodrock park.
This should mean that getting out to the property and getting things done should be a lot simpler.
Whilst choosing this path of purchasing a new property does not preclude the aforementioned financial risks, it does offer a level of risk mitigation in the form of multiple property security.
Delaying the emotional and financial entanglement that would come from tying ourselves to building on the farm also allows us to focus on the farm as a separate venture – making decisions that are based on the soil and productivity rather than lifestyle.
After the chat with Dad last month, and quite a few more with friends and colleagues thereafter, there is a point that keeps playing in the back of my head. I said last time
“what good is the additional cash to me if I can’t enjoy it?”
but the question turned around in my head was
“what good is the farm to me if I can’t enjoy it?”
After all, wasn’t that the point? To put all of my ideas, all of that accumulated knowledge, experience and passion into the building of something special?
My dad asked me that last night.
“I see you spending a lot of hours working out there and not having much to show for it”, he continued, “and it is going to be a lot of years before it becomes even half of what you say you want it to be.”
You know, it’s true. I might be happier if I could find a farm that was already established with a cell-grazing setup, fowl sheds and the like … but here’s the thing – even the cheapest farm that fits this description in the driest corner of the commutable distance from Melbourne is $600K – and that’s without a house – a house will add a cool $300K to that price.
I just keep thinking about the triangle of expectation.
Good. Fast. Cheap. Pick two.
You can’t have it all.
Even if the “right” farm and house combo showed up I would have to eget a second job to pay the mortgage unless it was below $750K and I could sell my current property immediately.
So, would I be happier? Yes with a but … Yes, I would, but not if I had to hock myself into a second job and thus never have the opportunity to enjoy it.
Which is also the reason I have not gone to get a second job now – because what good is the additional cash to me if I can’t enjoy it?
Sometimes the best we can do is take the slow road.
Yes, this answer is as much for myself as it was for him.