Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Search Ends - New Farm!!

I can hardly believe I am typing these words but our farm search has ended! Yesterday Jason and I closed on our new property after searching for almost four years. The best part is that the location is exactly the area we wanted, and the lay of the land and the shape of the tract is almost exactly what we were looking for. We passed on so many properties either due to location, the lay of the land, the existing amenities, price . . . we seemed to find something wrong with every place we looked at. I am thrilled to say that we now own 150 gorgeous acres about 35 miles from our current location. The farm is adjacent to "hunt country" land where two foxhunts are based, so a very horsey area. As we wanted, the property is a blank slate with no existing structures of any type, nor any fencing. We would have loved to have had perimeter fencing already in place and then built the cross fencing as we wanted it. There is no perimeter fencing but you can't have everything! We will be fully responsible for the layout, design, and building of everything.

We love this property, the land is beautiful with some gentle roll

In desperation we actually sat down last fall and identified all of the "horsey" areas in the southeast and started looking at farms in various states long distance. In November we took a three day trip to Lexington, Kentucky and did nothing but look at farms for sale there. We came **this close** to buying a farm in Lexington. Anyone reading this who is looking for horse property, take my advice and run to Lexington. It was shocking at how CHEAP real estate is in Lexington, I mean it was mind blowing to us.

Many years ago this land was a part of hunt country and some of the jumps are still there. Jason mentioned tearing this down and I was like "DON'T YOU DARE! I realize it is in the woods, surrounded by brush and right by the creek and I can't actually jump it now . . .but that jump represents HISTORY!!" I don't think he agrees with that but the coops will probably be left alone just so he doesn't have to listen to any more shrieking about them from me.

The only thing that stopped us was winter in Lexington. It is no secret that I despise cold weather, and Lexington gets MUCH colder winters than we do, and they also get a lot more snow and winter precipitation. Unfortunately I think the farms could have been free and I still would have thought it was a bad deal once winter rolled around every year. When the real estate agent kept pointing out which barns had a "warm room" I knew that Lexington was going to offer more winter weather than I could handle every year. However, the farms were beautiful, well laid out and CHEAP. We came so close to purchasing a farm there we were even planning out the logistics of relocating not only ourselves and our stuff, but we were also working out the logistics of moving all of the horses and all of their stuff to Lexington. It was going to be quite an undertaking to say the least.

Another view of a different part of the farm; there are wooded areas interspersed throughout the property, but it is mostly open land.

Once we decided that we were not going to live happily in Lexington winters we were back to the drawing board again. We were sick of this drawing board! We were both so sick of looking at properties, I don't know how many hours of our time (it could probably be measured in weeks at this point!) and miles we put on the car driving to look at farms. There were two farms that we liked the best out of the many we had looked at. Jason announced that we were going to buy one of these two farms and be done with this or we were buying nothing for a very long time. One of them we didn't love the property but we did like the location. The other farm, the one we now own, we liked to much we had already tried to buy it almost a year ago.

Yet another part of the farm. Yes, I know, all of the pictures look alike unless you have seen it in person!

Unfortunately we were not able to come to an agreement on price with the sellers the first time around. Many times I told Jason we should try again, but it seemed pointless so we never did. However we were desperate at this point for this four year search to end, so we contacted the sellers right before Christmas and re-opened negotiations. After a lot of negotiating and multiple counter offers we finally came to an agreement on price. When we contacted them we had fully expected to come up empty handed again. Instead it looked like we were actually going to end up buying the farm that we had coveted for so long!

One more view

From there everything proceeded in typical fashion for a real estate transaction. The appraisal was done, a new survey was done, everything was going smoothly. Then the week before we were supposed to close we received a copy of deed restrictions for our approval from the closing attorney. HUH??? We had not been told of any restrictions and we had specifically asked the question, and this part of the sales and purchase agreement was left blank, as in they did not list any restrictions. Talk about trying to change the rules at the 11th hour! We said we would not sign any deed restrictions or restrictive covenants of any type, period, end of discussion. The sellers got angry, threatened to kill the deal and refused to back down from this new position. The reason we had issue with this is they wanted to limit agricultural uses and also dictate where barns and outbuildings could be placed. Umm, hello, this property will be used AS A FARM and we are not letting anyone tell us where can and cannot build barns, run-in sheds and fences!

This little stream is fed by a spring that originates on our farm

Then they proceeded to thoroughly investigate us. They looked at where we live now to see if it was up to their standards (anyone who has been to this farm will be laughing out loud at that), they called people to check up on us and asked if we would make good neighbors. It got a bit ridiculous. In the end they decided we would be acceptable owners of the property and agreed to honor the sales and purchase agreement, and we closed as scheduled yesterday.

The spring fed stream empties into this creek which winds around and through our farm

Now we will begin the process of building this out from ground zero. Our first project will be fencing. I don't know if we will fence and cross fence the entire property at first, but we will obviously at least do some of it. According to our calculations we will need 22,000 feet of fence by the time we fence the perimeter and then cross fence the interior. That is a lot of fence! Jason and I are already having a "discussion" about what type of fence. I am a huge fan of the no climb horse mesh fence. Jason feels that wood fencing is more aesthetically appealing to our clients. I agree with this, nothing is prettier than miles of wood fencing, I look at it every day! But I also know how incredibly high maintenance it is and how much horses like to chew on it, crib on it, and generally destroy it. I would actually like to do the cross fencing with electric tape and do the perimeter fence in wood.

Of course there are many other things that will need to happen in addition to fences and run-in sheds. We need to run water and electrical lines, we need a driveway(s) . . . we need lots of things! At least now we can occupy our limited free time with planning our new farm instead of searching for it. We are both very happy.

My favorite Norman picture. It isn't a great picture of him but I love how he is standing watch over his ladies (and Sparky the donkey). L-R Sparky, Sky, Norman, Bonnie and Lexi flat out on her side.

Ivan, Elfin and Thomas



Levendi; did he strike a pose for me to take his picture in front of the pond or what??!!


O'Reilly, Chili and Clay

Trigger and Leo
Lily, Missy and MyLight


Jason said...

Melissa is right...we are thrilled with our new farm and VERY sick of looking. But developing it from scratch will take a lot of time, effort and money.

One of our first "conversations" was about fencing types. Obviously, the perimeter fence, especially on the 6200 feet of road frontage that comes with the property, *needs" to be sturdy. I think it needs to show off the property aesthetically as well. I think that without question, this will be four board wood fence.

The internal fence is another matter. I expect it will mostly be no-climb mesh eventually; I like it too ! But the problem with *ANY* internal fence is that you can't know exactly where you want it until you've lived and worked with it for awhile. For this reason I think we've basically agreed that to start with, much of our internal fencing will be several strands of electric tape. It's safe and most importantly, it's PORTABLE, so we won't be stuck with an improperly placed fence until we're sure of the layout we want.

Kate...your recent post on barn design and paddock layout couldn't have come at a more opportune time ! Exactly when are you coming to visit ? LOL !!

Unknown said...

That is great. I would love to have the funds to start a retirement/rescue in our area as it is in dire need of one. We don't have any equine or large animal rescue within three hours at least.

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

Sydney, I hope one day you are able to pursue that!

Just to clarify, we are not a rescue or a non profit. We are strictly a boarding operation but we only board retirees. Our two favorite rescues that we support are The Bucket Foundation in Northern Alabama and Sunkissed Acres in Northern Georgia. You are so right in that every area needs to have a good rescue somewhat proximate - unfortunately as the bumper sticker says "mean people suck." There needs to be some type of organization in place to help clean up their messes. Case in point was the 82 horse rescue that took place about an hour away from us back in the fall. These poor horses were in dire need of being rescued, thank goodness the local organizations were able to come together and coordinate this huge rescue.

stilllearning said...


Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I'm so excited for you! It looks like a splendid property - I'm also jealous (although I don't need that many acres). I've got an even bigger incentive to come visit soon!

Norman's quite the ladies' man, isn't he?

IsobelleGoLightly said...

Congratulations! I hope the plans for the new "goat castle" that Mina and Jo would like are coming along. hee hee Just think how many goats you can have on all that land!

ZionFarm said...

I was so happy to read the title this of your post this morning! I actually started thinking.... ok why am I so excited? It's not like IM the one getting the beautiful new farm.LOL! Seriously though, I am THRILLED for you guys and can't wait to watch as the property develops into your new home/farm.

Congrats!!! :)

lytha said...

yay! now draw a little picture of your barn/arena plans!

i'm glad you got something nearby, in the climate you love.

i would keep that old jump too, a bit of history, and it drives the imagination, what hunts occurred there.

i love the creek. i wonder if salmon go through?

do you know if the fields were used for crops? it looks tidy to me, like it's been harvested.

i love how it doesn't matter what your neighbors are like, when you have that much land, you just don't have to deal with them.

but what about your parents - don't they live on your land? will they be joining you? will the cows?

i thought land use restrictions were placed by the state/county, not the previous owner. how odd. we cannot build anything new and permanent here, nor can anyone else. we want it to stay that way: )


RuckusButt said...

Wow, good for you!! I got excited when I read the post title too, though it's awfully hard to imagine a nicer farm than the one you currently have. Too funny that Kate just posted her dream farm plans.

What a fun and daunting task ahead :) I second lytha's questions and I'm also wondering if you have a sense of how long it will take before it's move-in ready. It's hard to fathom that kind of undertaking.

Do you anticipate having any difficulty selling your current property when the time comes? (I fully respect that you might not want to post certain details online, so if that's ever the case just ignore me, lol).

Hee hee, goat castle!

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

This is so exciting for you! And the good part about building from scratch is that you can do EXACTLY what you want with it. Awesome news!

jill said...

I have friends who bought land in Paris, KY a few years ago. You're right, 50 acres was super cheap for them!
Very glad for you! Enjoy planning your place!

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

In regards to my parents this is their home and I doubt they will be moving any time in the near future. They have graciously allowed us to use existing facilities here and also allowed us to build many more. If they ever wanted to sell they could probably sell this farm in about a day, the developers would be fighting over it. There is a lot of development right around us and land prices in our immediate vicinity are far beyond our reach, we did not even bother looking in our 'neighborhood.'

When we do move I expect to be moving cows, goats and the donkey in addition to horses. It should be an interesting moving day to say the least! As far as when we will move would be anybody's guess right now. We certainly have a target date in mind but largely it will depend on finances. We have so much that must be done and none of it is cheap! 22,000 feet of fence is expensive, as are multiple run-in sheds, a barn, driveways, water lines, electrical lines, equipment and hay storage . . . the list of things to spend money on is endless at this point!

LuLo Designs/Blue Eyed Tango said...


iamcanadian said...

I have been lurking on this blog forever and just now am posting congrats! We just purchased our farm this year, dream come true, now the decisions begin, talking yourself in and out of every choice!

Love how you care about the horses in your care they are very lucky to be in your hands. Wonderful job.

I fully agree with the eletic fence, like electric braid much easier to move and have things how you want. Also very safe.

Have fun, really your blogs could be a book....

Catherine said...

Oh, congratulations! I'm positively green with envy!

phaedra96 said...

As to the new farm--HURRAH! As for fencing, I would go with board on the perimeter with the mesh on the inside of it--keeps beasties off the fence but looks aesthetically pleasing. I would run hot wire along it, also and along interior fences. Just for insurance. Lesson learned well. Can you move any of the run-ins? I would so hate to have to leave all that and rebuild it all.

Vivian, Apollo's Mom said...

Congratulations!!!!I know how long and hard you have been looking for your own place. That is so exciting! Where is your new farm exactly? I will be looking forward to hearing all the news and progress about it. The place looks beautiful and it looks like you will be able to lay it out perfectly for your purposes. I am sure you will not miss having to climb that huge hill several times a day! We wish you all the best!