Go out and buy yourself a farm!

Yes, you owe it to yourself to buy a farm somewhere not too far outside town, maybe along the river as I lived well for about 45 years. Away from the busy traffic, high taxes, and garbage bylaws. Out where you can still burn your garbage.
You can start from scratch if you prefer, maybe investing mostly your own hard work. But that can be very little more than the exercises we get shovelling snow or curling.
Maybe go further out in the district, if you prefer, out where all the oldtimers keeping beef cattle are now giving up while the U.S. ban against importing Canadian beef continues (your car keeps you going between town job and farm).
You’ll enjoy milking a cow or two, though, and gathering the eggs and dining on your hand-raised chickens and pork and garden produce. This all from a spacious yard big enough for a riding mower and snow blower to help you enjoy life.
The school bus comes along for your kids. And the used farm equipment you may want will be available at the right price—at least until cattle sales pick up again.
And by that time, you’ll be set with your own money-maker which a farm always was or there would not have been so many happy farmers around.
So don’t believe all that hardship stuff they can bore you with, because you quickly learn farming as well as he did, and maybe better. Just don’t get carried away instantly with dreams of developing any large ranches in this district!
However, the government will be kind on taxes once you start calling yourself a farmer, and the bank interest on borrowing will be lower that you have to pay now.
A major consideration before you get going is a generous, faithful, and healthy supply of drinking water. That means a good well drilled conveniently near the house—and well away from the septic drainage.
We were fortunate to obtain good and plentiful water. We drilled 120 feet down after one we had dug failed. The second one probably will never quit, judging from all the pumping it took for hours—even in the driest weather!
Our barn was located a respectable distance from the house, near several sheds and garages for machinery. I put up four open sheds and the huge barn was there since 1908.
While the outdoor “biffy” is usually long gone, the number of buildings you still need may surprise you. There should be a sizeable shed for your equipment, a garage for truck and car (because there usually are at least two drivers), a workshop and maybe a granary, and later on perhaps even a silo.
If they are not already in place, they will come in time with maybe an open shed or two for the livestock—and don’t forget a small chicken house for hatching your own babies.
If you don’t send away for chickens, their incubator and brooder may occupy the basement. Oh yes, a basement usually is required for a multitude of purposes.
And if you buy the house with the land, make sure it will be large enough instead of planning to add on later. Your future time will be filled with other projects.
If you believe all those buildings may add too much to the asking price of a farm, that’s not always the case. Farms with older, but still useful buildings usually are found on the market. Mine was—both before I went farming and when I left.
In other words, buying a farm is an “eye-opener” and much different from dealing on an urban home. But it’s also a thrill! Surprises are found all around you, so you’ll never be bored.
In addition to the land and buildings, of course, there are all those extras thrown in, such as all that fresh air and probably the availability of fish and game for which this district is famous far and wide (as you can tell from the number of American sportsmen always around us).
Then there usually are trees for the taking, both for firewood if you prefer or logging for lumber or pulpwood.
In fact, most visitors from other parts of this continent will be envying your when they see how Mother Nature has blessed this district. Don’t be surprised if your choice of a future farm soon will be eyed by visitors wanting to buy it—and not wondering why you won’t want to sell!
I know this because I received offers long before I finally had my mind made up for me both by the loss of my wife and my present lameness.
But then we both inherited farming backgrounds while lacking in experience ourselves. My late wife, Emily, had district farmers on both sides of her family while my father and mother also knew the rural ways.
While none of them tried to coax us into following in their own former lifestyles, there seems to have been an inborn instinct pushing us along the route of Canada’s pioneers—and we were both very grateful.
What to do after you find yourself living in the country? Number one: Take time and be grateful, remembering nature’s gifts are all around you and contributing largely to your ease in living.
Let the rest of the world put up with its disasters, such are unknown here.
Instead, this district (which has not yet attained any great population level such as will inevitably occur someday considering our convenient, desirable, and well-watered location) is offering advantages still being overlooked because we prefer industries with thousands of jobs!
Instead, we must learn to harness our present and plentiful advantages, offered by the sun and rain to promote wonderful growth of grass and trees, livestock raising, and forest industries.
Although we have managed to thin out our bush, the trees keep coming on and paper-making here apparently will never quit.
For those more adventurous, how long will we have to wait for our abattoir or Christmas tree farm, or other ideas depending on sun and water?
Someday, it appears from present conditions, the Americans will quit snubbing our beef cattle, pay us much better for our hay bales, and probably be moving into Canada themselves to enjoy our advantages.
And we’ll let them come in, too, because we’ve got more going here in our God-favoured country than we could possibly ever use all by ourselves.
So get out there and grab those farming acres yourselves. Beat them to it, and show them Canadians will never take back seats in this world while we’ve got so much going for us, including longevity from all that fresh air and outdoor exercise.
Why I’m getting too old myself to tell my own age anymore.
• • •
My notebook kept on gathering names for this column while the holidaying continued.
Elsie Ball was a name I should have remembered last week because she gave our former singer here, Fran Marie Murray, credit for recalling the “Fort Frances Polka,” which I’m hoping to hear more about because we deserve our own song.
• • •
So what did I get for Christmas? While everyone is wondering if I will ever stop growing around the middle, I must have received well over 50 pounds of shelled nuts, which are known to be my weakness.
Thank goodness for the several pair of pants that also came along because I insist on shaming relatives by wearing my old, smaller trousers until they fall apart.
So should I start either a store to sell all those nuts or a tailor shop specializing in men’s trousers? I’m sure others in the town’s best-dressed set will be coming along to admire my new 2005 looks.

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