The Hobby Farmer Adventure Begins

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It is moving day. Actually, it has been moving day for a few weeks, but by the time you read this (fingers tightly crossed), we should be beginning the process of unpacking and getting used to our new abode, a few miles north of Longview, on 57 acres. The tract is mainly hardwood timber, but there is plenty of grass to mow. The grass will eventually provide sustenance to a hobby farm’s worth of critters. We might even buy a buffalo, because, well, we like looking at them. No horses, though. I still recall what a North Texas horse breeder told us while giving a tour of beautiful, high-dollar horse farms in Denton County:

“You know how to make a million bucks in the horse business? Start with two million.”

I don’t think he was kidding, either.

The other day, I listed every place I have lived since graduating from high school in 1973. I might have missed one or two, but this is the 36th time I have moved in 48 years. This is the 14th house I have purchased. I still despise moving, especially after staying put in this house for more than 9 years. But we will survive and thrive out in the country; I am confident of that.

At the new place, there is only one neighbor in sight. For the first time in a long while, I have a huge shop in which to return to woodworking, have a home gym and still have ample storage. The seller was kind enough to let us start moving items into the shop. We got a head start on the movers by getting the little shop here — really a one-car garage — cleared out with the help of our family once again.

Our last trip on Sunday afternoon resembled the Joads in John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, heading to California during the Dust Bowl. First in the convoy was brother-in-law Jim with his 16-foot trailer loaded with woodworking equipment, all securely tied down by another brother-in-law, Harris, who loaded his truck up with bicycles and whatnot. I was driving Big Red, whose large bed was filled with more tools and stuff. My Beautiful Mystery Companion followed in her loaded, 15-year-old SUV, followed by daughter Abbie in her SUV, also packed to the moon roof.


I have been tractor shopping, as well as pricing zero-turn mowers, like the army of yard crews that descend on our old neighborhood use. A genial fellow at a place a few miles from our new house let me try one out in his store’s front yard. The zero-turns have two levers, one for each arm, and no steering wheel. It takes some getting used to, but I figure I’ll catch on pretty quickly. My BMC is also chomping at the bit, ready to ride that bad boy once I get it soon after moving in. And yes, the one we’re buying is called a Bad Boy.

We’re also going to need a real tractor with a circular cutter (bushhog) in the back and a bucket in front, to work on the rest of the property. I’m scouring online classifieds in hopes of finding a decent used tractor. As I wrote a few weeks back, I spend a pleasant, sweaty day on a John Deere cleaning fence lines on this property. We both are looking forward to spending some quality time on a tractor.


I took a final Big Red load of stuff out to the shop the other day. Nearly everything else in our old house will be transported by the professional movers. We’ll carry out clothes in our cars, as well as the computers. I stood outside the shop for a few minutes, listening to birdsong and tree frogs. No leaf blowers or lawnmowers could be heard, the soundtrack of summer in the old neighborhood.

This will be a fine adventure.

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