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Anyone move from the city to a ranch/farm? - day dreaming here...
Old 02-27-2016, 11:33 AM   #1
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Anyone move from the city to a ranch/farm? - day dreaming here...

It's what I think I want to do i.e retire from the fast paced city life to a small quaint town on a 8 to 10 acre ranch. I don't intend to do much farming but instead have a large shop. I'm in IT but I'm a total gearhead and love doing things with my own two hands. In a perfect world I'd have a nice looking new 1800 sq-ft house with a 8000 sq-ft shop with a small machine shop, wood shop, automotive lifts, a few project cars (69 Camaro, Cobra, beat up pickup), JD/Massey/Chamler tractors, atvs, a cool old tow truck a small orange grove and a garden, may be a horse or two, a few dogs, all within a nice bright white picket fence where my grand kids can come and enjoy hanging out for vacationing. For the record I'm 41, DD is only 11 and we live in SoCal. Am I off my kilter here?

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Old 02-27-2016, 12:13 PM   #2
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Hi Dvalley, I grew up on a farm but lived in cities ever since leaving after high school. After the last move we opted for an acreage near the city (priced more like development land). We were somewhat concerned about the leap....especially for my wife. Have not regretted at fact we added bigger rec land a few more miles away as a more isolated spot to enjoy on weekends and more after FIRE as city grows around us. I have a shop, but only 1000 square feet - but love it (it's great to have a shop detached from house...keeps garage clutter free). A few critters, tractors and toys as well (all from craigslist..) No more or less Joneses influence is awesome. Time outside is to enjoy and maintain and not focus on perfection and not offending someone by accident. No concerns if you miss a weekend mowing or have a few leaves. All our friends love the place, but not sure if it is for everybody. Good luck.

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Old 02-27-2016, 12:31 PM   #3
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I would love to have 8-10 acres with a 1000 sf shop. I have 5 acres on the outskirts of suburbia with a 500 sf shop now. And I had another 24'x36' shop staked out and ready to go until the plan was squashed by DW 5 hrs after she approved the idea.

But I would like to start with a blank slate on 5-10 acres, build a 1700 sf ranch house, and a 1000 sf shop.

So dvalley - you are not off kilter. Go for it while you are young and have enough energy to finish the project and enjoy it.
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Old 02-27-2016, 01:18 PM   #4
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Exactly what we did 16 years ago. 7 acres in SW Oregon, a 1750 SQ ft house about 1000 sq ft shop. Have played with all kinds of criters, goats, ducks, chickens, turkeys, donkey, horses (currently 5 mini horses and 3 goats), gardening and planting fruit trees and such. Glad we did the move back then because there was a lot of fencing and building sheds and barns and tilling and clearing and so forth we had to do.

I'm personally not much into car rebuilding but half a mile from my place there is a feller that built about a 10,000 sq ft building and has a collection of about 20 or so classics that he's constantly working on and obviously having a lot of fun.

I'm currently 65 and am sure glad we didn't wait to standard retirement age to do it because I don't think we would have the physical stamina today to get all this accomplished. Now that it is (mostly) done it's nice to sit back and enjoy.
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Old 02-27-2016, 01:19 PM   #5
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Sounds like a great idea. I moved from the large city to a small city many years ago. The small city (around 50,000 population but far from other cities) is within 5-15 minutes in any direction from my home to farm-land and ranch-land.

My goal, if I can convince the spouse is to move about 15 minutes or so out of the small city so that I can be away from streets, close neighbors (proximity wise) and noise.

I too would like a dedicated shop. Just retired last October, and it is just a matter of covincing the spouse.
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Old 02-27-2016, 01:44 PM   #6
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I live so far out in the boonies that I don't have cell service. About 6 acres and in the middle of building my home. I will have about 1100 sq ft of garage plus a wood shop. I have an old pickup, an even older single axle dump truck, an old tractor, an Audi TT sports car and my daily driver which is a 2013 Jeep Wrangler. And just to make sure I have enough to work on, I bought a 1992 Jeep YJ for the kids camp up here with the understanding the I can take it back for mods whenever I want to. I've been retired for almost 3 years and up here for two. Wouldn't want to live anywhere else.
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Old 02-27-2016, 01:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by dvalley View Post
In a perfect world . . .
Sorry, but the world is not perfect. Your idea sounds great and it may be everything you want out of life, but just for a bit of a reality check, think about some of the cons. You've mentioned a lot of the pros but think about a few other things. I live a bit out of the city and will mention a few that I have to deal with:

Generally far to any type of good paying job, stores, entertainment . . .

Land requires a bit of up keep. You may not maintain the entire property, but you'll likely mow more and spend more time doing it.

Some city services are nice. Depending on how far out you live, you may not have city water, sewer, natural gas, cable . . . and what is there tends to be more expensive.

All those are things that may or may not be of any concern to you. However you mentioned one thing that you really need to think about. There's no guarantee that the grand kids will come see you. We currently live about 40 minutes from my daughter and grand kids and we are moving closer to them in order to be able to see them more a part of their life. Life is so hectic for a young family, coming to visit the parents/grand parents is not high on the list of weekend things to do. You'd probably have good luck having the grandkids during the summer but the further away you live, the less you will see them while they're in school.

I don't have the dream you describe (it sounds nice), but I do have some land and live in a quiet, rural town. I do feel moving closer to the daughter is giving something up. But if you want to be part of the kid's lives, my experience is that you need to be closer.

Just something to think about.
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Old 02-27-2016, 02:01 PM   #8
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We moved out to a 20 acres spread when we turned 40. Away from neighbors most folks has 40-100 acres and did not know there was a house back where we lived. Neat place watched wildlife like we'd never seen. Bucks fighting in the rut, Tom turkey's in the spring. Bobcats and coyotes all year. We held numerous birds and wildlife in our hands. It was a wonderful10 years.

Old ill maintained place with a '50 8N that was passed on with the place. Nobody really wanted the thing as the original owner was killed using it around a pond.

Eventually the downsides became bigger. I was still working and had a 125 mile daily commute. Then upcoming construction was going to add 2 hours to the commute. We are looking to move, maybe to the mountains. Won't be big acres but we think it will be an adventure, and more privacy.
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Anyone move from the city to a ranch/farm? - day dreaming here...
Old 02-27-2016, 02:11 PM   #9
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Anyone move from the city to a ranch/farm? - day dreaming here...

To quote Green Acres: darling I love you but give me Park Avenue...

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Old 02-27-2016, 02:30 PM   #10
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The plan sounds delightful and would definitely appeal to me. But your profile indicates 10 years yet to retirement and I wonder if you've considered the [probably] long commute until then.
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Old 02-27-2016, 03:47 PM   #11
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Old 02-27-2016, 04:02 PM   #12
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reminds me of these frugal folk...

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Old 02-27-2016, 04:13 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by dvalley View Post
It's what I think I want to do i.e retire from the fast paced city life to a small quaint town on a 8 to 10 acre ranch.
A 10 acre ranch is bigger than a small town, quaint or not. I.e., on a ranch that size you're not in a small town.
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Old 02-27-2016, 04:34 PM   #14
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Wow, great to see a lot of comments, suggestions and even questions. As I said it's a dream at this point- something that I'm looking forward to after I retire. I don't know if it'll work out or not. I'm still at least 10-14 years away from it at least until DD is finished with college and on her own.

Perhaps the sizes I mentioned might not be what I'll end up with e.g. it might just be a pre-built ranch on 2-4 acres with a 800sq ft shop. I don't even know which state the said ranch will be in either- ideally closer to DD but again that's not realistic because she might end up on the opposite coast after college. Lastly I don't quite know how I'll be accepted into small close-nit communities either being that I'm of the south east Asian decent and many rural parts of the US are not quite as accepting to eclectic cultures and people unlike say SoCal. So lots of unknowns but I can dream
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Old 02-27-2016, 04:36 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by gerntz View Post
A 10 acre ranch is bigger than a small town, quaint or not. I.e., on a ranch that size you're not in a small town.
The area in SW Oregon where I live is mostly 5-20 acre parcels with a lot of BLM land in between. Most people seem to end up building their own little "towns" a house, a shop, a guesthouse, a barn and several other buildings all seem to sprout in no time.
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Old 02-27-2016, 08:07 PM   #16
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The thing that worries me most about 'true country living' is the distance to a good (or any) hospital. You start getting up in years, that could be of great importance.

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Old 02-27-2016, 08:24 PM   #17
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We moved from the city into the small town (5000 population) in the 1990s, then moved five miles away from it in 2005 for retirement. DW loves it here with the raised bed gardens that I built. I'm tired of the half hour round trip to town plus the time in the store for anything we need. In the past, I shopped residences to be near work (15-20 minute commute, grocery store a half mile away). I prefer short trips to the stores.

There seems to be more maintenance when living in the country. We have enough trees that we have to haul the trimmings away as they won't fit in the dumpster, or burn them when we can. There is more driveway to deal with on snow removal. Due to sloped land, I needed to purchase a tractor with a bucket on it just to move material from the low end of the property to the higher part. Just another machine that needs periodic maintenance like the ATVs that we didn't consider having in town.

We bought one of the last lots in the rural neighborhood. Don't buy sloped land as it sells for less because you will pay more to build on it. We have spent on dirt work to flatten the house site, concrete for retaining walls that I installed, paved the sloped driveways due to erosion, and bought the tractor. We would have been better off with a well drained flat lot. We paid to get a six foot chain link fence surrounding where we live, to keep the elk out of the garden.

I now know that I prefer to live in town where there is less on-going maintenance, and better internet service. If your idea of retirement is taking care of your home and property, then rural living may suit you, but if you get pets, they will complicate your travel plans. DW will not travel during the gardening season. It is not the watering, it is the caring for the plants.

We do like the independence of having our own septic tank and water well, probably not a good investment, but fewer bills to pay.

The old farmer said that college didn't teach his kid anything. His son studied hydrology and came home and told his dad that the septic system was too near the water well, so the farmer dug new septic leach lines further away, but then the well went dry!
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Old 02-27-2016, 09:41 PM   #18
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When I first left NYC 13 years ago, the plan was to buy a coffee finca in Costa Rica. I ended up living in another city of 9 million. A way's back I thought about moving to a small town (German-Prussian)inhabitants in the Amazon high jungle ( several of my expat friends were talking about starting an expat community up there)and proceeded to get a option on a few thousand hectares on top of a mountain at 2500-3500 meters. It was basically coca producing, but could be switched to coffee and cacao. We made close ties with some townies and had our eye on a beautiful lot in a nearby village that a friend was willing to part with. It was a harrowing 10 hour drive up over the Andes including a 16,000 ft mountain pass. The saving grace was a landing strip in the center of town which would have reduced the trip to an easy weekend getaway. As luck would have it the Presidents family ended up buying a nearby lot and the landing strip was closed to non government traffic.

Time passes and the young wife realizes her career and city living are more her style. Instead of getting sorocche on a 10 hour bus ride our friends now pack a cooler with Andean cheese, smoked meats,bacon.steaks and ship it here. No roosters crowing, no smoke waifing from the chimneys in the morning,no Coffee roasting in the pan, but I can still dream.
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Old 02-27-2016, 10:15 PM   #19
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This used to be my dream. If you live in SoCal, look into the Fallbrook and Bonsall area, north of San Diego. Pretty affordable. I was thinking of getting another house with 2-3 acres and a large avocado grove. I love to live off the grit if I were younger. But my husband was against it, he is a handyman guy and if he refuse to do lots of work, I don't know how useful I would be. So I gave up my dream and settled where I am, in a tiny lot. But I make up for it by growing 70 fruit trees. However I can't raised chickens or goats here. Good luck with your dream.

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Old 02-28-2016, 05:24 AM   #20
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We moved in 2008 to 60 acres (mostly steep hills and valleys) and built a modern log house. We added a barn for nine alpacas, a 24'x36' workshop and a guest cabin. We're about 4 miles from a small town with basic shopping. We're near a small hospital about 20 minutes away and a decent sized one just over an hour away. Sometimes miss the convenience of box stores nearby and then look out the window. I do maintain a gravel road to the main road that is a bit over a mile long which involves some work but I have the right equipment now. Family isn't able to visit as often as we'd like but we love it here. It's very different from living in the busy suburbs and a lot of our friends from our former life would go stir crazy. Not perfect but pretty darn close!

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