I am in need of advice. My partner, Jemma and I have rather a big decision to make regarding our future together.
A little background may help.
Jemma grew up on a farm. That farm is has been in the Hindle family for at least three generations. It was run by her parents and they produced grain as well as raising pigs, chickens (thousands of them) and the occasional bullock. When Jemmas dad died her mother took on the farm alone and carried on the grain production side.
These days the farm is still going but it is a mere shadow of its former self. The buildings are in sad state and many areas are simply not used anymore. Jemma stables a few horses there now, but thats it.
Jemma and I are frequently over at the farm, either collecting wood for our fire, walking the dog or mucking out the stables. Its a beautiful site with magnificent views but I can’t help but get a little sad whenever I am there. For example, today I was standing in front of one of the stables. Its roof has those large ‘s’ shaped red tiles that interlock each other. Some of the rows have slipped over the years and no one has ever attempted to repair it. The windows in some of the out buildings are all smashed or dirty and their frames are rotten and falling apart. I imagine, Tony, Jemmas dad would have repaired all of this when he was alive all by himself and would never have allowed this to have happened. Not far from where the stables are there stands two huge diesel tanks resting high on purpose built concrete stands. I can imagine Tony filling up the tractors there before driving down to one of the fields.
Jemmas mum is finding the work on the farm increasingly difficult as arthritis and age catch up with her. She is having to contract out a lot of the work to outside companies or temps to get the work done particularly around harvest.
I can see a day when she is unable to continue the work herself and will either have to sell off land and bits and pieces or contract the lot out. Either way its the end of an era and potentially the end of the Hindle families farm history. I find this immensely sad.
Yet all is not lost. Jemma and I are quite possibly the only ones able to keep the farm in the family. Her sister is not at all interested, which is unfortunate.
Jemma has always wanted to get back onto the farm proper and get involved. She has dreams of starting up the pig side again and too bring sheep in too. This is not so difficult as it seems. Jemma has experience of looking after both species. Her knowledge of sheep farming for example extends to not only feeding and raising but also to lambing. She can also shear them too. Pigs, she tells me are a lot easier.
It goes without saying that I have absolutely no experience what-so-ever.
So, here we have it. The big decision.
- We do nothing and let fate decide. Stay employed by the NHS (for all the moaning, we have a secure job, a pension and the money isn’t too shabby) and continue life as normal.
- We buy into the farm. We purchase a bit of the land. Stick some sheep on it and some pigs and hope for the best. One or both of us we need to go part-time to facilitate this option, but having calculated finances we think it may be possible. The down side of this option is that we would almost certainly have to sell out current home. This is a real downer for us as we both love this house very much. We love the area, we love the pubs, we love the convenience of local shops. Renting the house out is a possibility, but if it didn’t have a tenant for a period of time we would be in a proper shitty state. So, I believe selling up would be the safest option.
So thats it then. The big decision. I am torn between sticking with what we know and what we don’t. The safe option whereby we have a regular wage, a safe job and a pension against forging our own path into the unknown.
Your thoughts, advice and wisdom are all welcome…