You would think that after twenty-five years of living on the same farm in Hope Township, we would miss it. I know the farm missed us, but did we miss the farm?
My wife, Caroline, and I ran a horse breeding business for over eighteen years, breeding, raising and racing Standardbred race horse, the ones that tow a little cart and driver behind them when racing. Age creeps up on everyone and we sold the farm on our timetable instead of waiting for it to be forced on us.
Last year we sold the farm and rented the house back from the new owners on a month-to-month basis with the understanding that we could stay for a year. It became obvious that the new owners did not value and respect the farm like we did. Debris piled up, the facility was rarely cleaned, and the picture perfect property we sold rapidly deteriorated.
It often takes a crisis to generate action and our crisis arrived five months after the new owners took possession. It was our intent to use the twelve months rental arrangements to search for a new residence. More than enough time, we thought. That proved to be totally untrue.
The owner’s real estate agent let us know, by phone, that his client had sold the farm and we needed to vacate the house in three months. In three months we would be homeless. This was panic city since the previous months had revealed an appalling lack of properties for sale and those that came on the market were sold in days at prices thirty per cent over the prices of the previous year. What were we to do? Where could we go? Living in a motel would be a disaster.
We needed a new line of attack.
All our thinking of the previous months had been based on physical features. Things such as square feet, storage space, age of house, repairs needed, alterations required. We realized that this was limited thinking. We needed to better define what we really wanted. We really had to address the lifestyle we wanted in the future.
We wanted space. We wanted to see the stars at night. We wanted room for the dogs to run. We only needed a few neighbours and above all, we wanted to be close to nature. We didn’t need restaurants, entertainment, a dense neighbourhood, sidewalks, street lights and Christmas tree pickup. We didn’t even have to own the property.
With this new set of criteria we started looking at different possibilities, largely ignoring house size, closeness to amenities, age of the house, lack of storage space and no sidewalks.
What did we end up with? We just completed our move to a house larger and older than what we sold, poorer internet reliability and a rental rate more than what we wanted to pay. We are ecstatic; the dogs are beside themselves and every morning we hear the rooster crow from the farm next door.