My dad was a minister. When I was very small, we owned 40 acres in Troupe Co. Georgia. I remember a couple of things about the old farm. He had issues with our cows getting sick. I think they called it “Black Leg”. Also, we owned an old mule named “Jack”. My oldest brother actually remembers plowing the fields with old Jack. Each week when we got back from Church on Sunday afternoon, the first thing we knew to do was to check on Jack. My dad and older brothers would spend a fair amount of the afternoon trying to find him, catch him, and get him back in the pasture. When his ministry moved him to a church in Franklin Co. Georgia, he sold our little farm. Dad never owned land again. He followed his calling and no one would fault him for that. I do know however, as a man, he missed owning land the rest of his life. He often talked of farming and of the farm he had to sell. He would remember his own dad who was a poor share-cropper and the years growing up when farming was their living. When we would be driving along the road, and would pass a field with a few cows grazing away, he would often comment that that was one of the prettiest sights he ever saw.
I was born in 1960. So, as a preacher’s son, I never lived in a home that our family owned (at least after we left the farm). But growing up over the years and hearing my dad speak about farming and land, I developed a love for land and for spending time outdoors. I knew I wanted to own some land some day. One day when I was newly married along about 1984, I mentioned wanting to own land some day to a couple of older friends of mine, both of which owned at least 30 acres of land themselves. We were just standing around talking. They both warned me that owning land was fine but if you do, you have to “work the land” i.e. farm it, cut hay, etc. in order to afford it, especially the property taxes. They were, of course, absolutely correct and I don’t fault them for it. But, being a young man with many goals, I let it deter me from seeking to own land for many years. I let their words change my mind, but as I finally realized decades later, they didn’t change my heart.
Now, my wife and I have finally had a chance to (borrow money and) buy a little piece of land. We now own 5 acres in northeast Alabama. We live in northwest Georgia now but were unable to find reasonably-priced land here. Check some of my other blogs for lots of details about the work we’ve done on it so far. We’ve already invested quite a bit of sweat in clearing about a half acre in the middle of the 5 acres. Due to the danger of cutting the larger trees and the fact that I still would have to have the stumps dug up and hauled away, I gave up on the idea of cutting them myself. So, this week, we hired a construction company to clear the remaining trees and stumps. Also, they will put in the driveway. It will seem surreal I’m sure when we see the place again. Our hard work will continue, it’ll just be different. We’ll need to rake the ground, and get it ready to sow grass this fall (I hope). We will build our storage building/shop next as we also prepare our current house to be sold. We will also have the septic system installed as soon as money allows.
Now, after a lifetime of working a job to support my family, I look forward to finally being able live on and work a piece of land I can really feel is my own. As I look back at the homes my wife and I have “owned” over the years, I realize the stark temporary nature of all of them. The reality of working in this country for most people is our jobs or other life changes cause us to move every 5 years on average. In terms of home ownership, my opinion is we might as well rent. But, if by chance you ever get the opportunity to buy even a small piece of land that will always be yours, jump on it! Perhaps on some sunny afternoon down the road, it will be your pasture that has a few cows on it grazing away. Perhaps, that sight will be the prettiest one a passerby has ever seen. Perhaps viewing that pasture from your front porch, you will agree.
Please visit our website at Parmer Homestead. It’s still under construction but can be viewed.
Also, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!