So, it turns out when you buy a property on 7 acres, it requires a lot of upkeep. I know, when I read that back to myself it seems insane that one wouldn’t fully realize that, but what I can say? I’m a city girl in the country, figuring it out as I go.
When Gil and I bought the house last year, we had a deal. He would take care of the land, the barn, fixing things in the house, helping me hang everything I bought, doing small renovation projects, and I would…. wait, what exactly WAS my side of the deal? Oh, right, he was going back to school full time and working at a local high school (more for the experience than the pay) so I agreed to take care of everything on the financial side for the house, because I could. That way he could focus on school, his job, and the 4 mile long list of things I wanted him to do around the property.
So, it’s been going really well so far. He’s done a ton of work in the house and I’ve been decorating up a storm, so things have been slowly starting to come together. Our well broke at one point (yep, we live on a well in California – seemed totally reasonable to buy a property on a well in the middle of the craziest drought in history) and since neither of us have any idea how wells really work, we called in a professional. $1,200 later, and it was good as new. But other than that, the property itself hasn’t given us much trouble.
Until a few months ago. See, California got rain this past year. Lots of rain. More rain than we’ve seen in years and years and years. Record breaking rain. Which was amazing because we’ve been in a drought for so many years that we had forgotten what rivers and lakes were supposed to look like. And I was thrilled, because the ground water was great for folks living on wells like we do.
HOWEVER. I did not consider that it also meant that the grass (weeds?) on the property would start growing at record speeds. Across 7 acres. And that no one was coming to take care of it for us.
So I started nagging Gil to figure out what we were going to do about it. What kind of mower did we need to handle it? Could we get a push mower? Or a riding one I could tool around on like something out of a movie? How much would it cost? Not more than a couple thousand dollars, right?
I mean, how cute. I thought we could just get a riding mower for 7 acres of 5 foot tall grass. Turns out that belief is not based in reality. And the heavy duty tractors cost upward of $10,000 which we couldn’t afford in that moment. We didn’t really know what to do. So we did what any responsible adult couple would do: we ignored it.
Well, not entirely. We bought a weed whacker. A WEED WHACKER. Which I’m pretty sure is meant for someone’s front lawn in a suburban neighborhood, not 7 acres in the middle of the country. But to his credit, Gil was out there sweating his balls off, hacking his way through our property. But at the rate he was able to go because he’s a human man, it would take about 10 years to get through the whole property.
Sidenote: I really wish I had a picture of Gil weed-whacking on 7 acres to show you, but I know when not to push my luck.
So anyway, a week or two later when I was out of town for work, I got a call from Gil. Our next door neighbor had stopped by. He must have seen Gil out there with his weed whacker and just laughed at the poor naive city folk infiltrating his neighborhood. He knocked on our door and asked Gil what was up with our grass, and if we had plans to cut it. Cue TOTAL MORTIFICATION.
We had become THOSE neighbors. The ones making the rest of the neighborhood look bad. Those entitled city people who decided to buy a farm without knowing anything about actual country living. People tease me that I am a living embodiment of Green Acres, and I’ve never felt like it was more accurate than when Gil called to tell me that.
In fairness to our neighbor though, he wasn’t coming around to criticize – I think he truly just felt sorry for us. Plus, it would have turned into a fire hazard once the rain let up, and they do live next door to us, so it’s just good sense. But when Gil called to tell me I wanted to die of embarrassment.
Our neighbor was really just offering to help us poor city schmucks out by bringing over his tractor to clear the brush for us. Which he did, because he’s a wonderful guy, and we offered to pay him whatever he thought was fair because we’re city people who have no idea what it should cost to have someone mow 7 acres with a tractor.
So now, I just keep thinking about what’s going to happen this fall and winter, because we will be right back where we were. Luckily, we have a plan. A super practical plan. That nothing could possibly go wrong with. We’re going to get a bunch of goats and let them roam the whole property and eat all the grass.
But as it turns out, you need something called a “goat rated” fence to keep those fuckers where they’re supposed to be. And I don’t know much, but I have a feeling that fencing 7 acres with heavy duty fencing is going to make quite a dent in my Amazon Prime and Homegoods spending money.
So we’ll start pricing fences, and when I regain consciousness after fainting from the sticker shock, we’ll start to really plan out our timeline. Until the next project that requires our immediate attention pops up. Because, you guys, apparently living on 7 acres IS A LOT OF WORK.