Got it! How to maintain it now??

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by cc-rider, May 31, 2005.

  1. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

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    Hi all!!

    I got the 112 acres of woods in SE Ohio that I looked at a couple weeks ago! I'm excited, but getting scared now. So much to learn!

    Biggest problem right now is that there is an 8-acre field of grass at the top of one of the hills, another 8-ish acre section of grass that has tree stumps here and there down a path from the first clearing, and a smaller (2 acres?) piece of marshy/grassy area at the road. I want to keep these mowed down so that they don't become brushy. Hoping to build on the highest one in a few years.

    What do you suggest? Someone mentioned that I should build a barn and buy a mower. What kind of mower? Brushhog? Would I need a tractor to pull it? Bellymower? Gravely (what is this???) Biggest drawback is that I'd need to build a barn to keep it in first - and I don't know where I want the barn - and don't want to build one until I have a better feel for the land. And look at it all! I've only seen what can be seen from the few trails I found that were cut through the woods. I'm sure there are hidden places I haven't found yet!

    Another option is to advertise for someone to come and cut and bale the grass. Someone local called it hay (but it sure isn't the hay we raise around here! Timothy grass, clover, etc.... this stuff just looks like weedy grass to me!) They seemed to think someone would do it for free just to have the stuff. Biggest drawback here is finding someone I can trust and giving them the key to the gate.

    Last option that I can think of is to just hire someone to cut it for me. I could ask around, I guess. I think I know who USED to do it for the previous out-of-the-area owner. Biggest drawback, again, is finding someone I trust to have the key - and the cost.

    Any other ideas?

    Do you know anyone personally in the Rio Grande/Gallipolis area that would cut and bale it??

    Thanks!
    Chris
     
  2. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    Put a sign out front free horse grass and your number they will cut and bale it and you will have a new friend.

    mikell
     

  3. heather

    heather Well-Known Member

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    It has been cheaper & easier for us to hire the mowing done

    Usually, you can make enough friends in the country that somebody has the equipment needed & will do it for a reasonable price

    In addition to neighbors, call your township office & ask the secretary or township supervisors who they know who might have the equipment & be willing to do the job. Our twp supers know EVERYBODY

    Good look - it's an exciting time for you!!
     
  4. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Is putting a couple or three steers on it an option? How about renting the property to another farmer just for grazing?
     
  5. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

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    I thought about that, but it isn't fenced at all and no water available except the lower piece that is only a couple acres. And it isn't fenced, either.

    If I lived there, or closer, I think I could stake cows or goats?? Of course, then I'd need a barn, too.
     
  6. Ozarks_1

    Ozarks_1 Well-Known Member

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    "Build a barn and keep a mower in it" is a BAD idea! More than likely, you'd pay a visit to your property some time ... and find the barn looted. Thieves might even steal the whole barn too! (Gates and locks are good for keeping honest folks honest; they're a mere annoyance to thieves.)

    If none of the (all very good) ideas for hiring someone to do the mowing appeals to you for whatever reason, consider getting a utility trailer and a mower ... and do it yourself. In order to keep it from getting too overgrown, you'd probably be able to get away with mowing it maybe 3-4 times a year. (After all, it doesn't necessarily have to look like a park.)

    Type of mower?
    "Logic" seems to indicate that you should probably get a small tractor and mower ... because you'll likely find all sorts of uses for the tractor once you move to the property.
    Bushhog or belly mower?
    I've had both. Each has their good and bad points. I prefer the bushhog.
     
  7. Snakeoil

    Snakeoil Well-Known Member

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    I would get it cut on shares, they take half and you get half, there half for all the work. Thats the way its down here. A decent tractor and bush hog will run you at least $2500.00 and up.
     
  8. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If they get it cut on shares they have to build a bulding to store it in and since they have no animals yet why would they want to store hay? Check at the local feed store for hay cutters. If there is nothing on the property now why would you be afraid of giving someone a key to cut the pastures? REmember, you are planning on living there and these folks will be your neighbors.
     
  9. ibcnya

    ibcnya Well-Known Member

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    Maybe they won't store the hay but sell it?
     
  10. mama2littleman

    mama2littleman El Paso

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    Congrats on getting your land!!!

    I was wondering about you.

    I have no advice for you since I'm a city gal myself (well suburbia anyway) but wanted to send you my well wishes.

    Nikki
     
  11. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    Chris,

    I would suggest that you stop on by our place, look it over and listen to our experiences over the past 3 years going through a similar situation as you are going into. Our commute (about an hour and a half each way) isn't quite as long as yours is but I think some of the issues are the same.

    I think the most important thing is to figure out what you are looking to achieve with the property. Some things flow from other things. Do you need/want to generate income from your property? Then you will need to focus on some things and not others.

    Before doing anything go and spend time on your property. Walk the entire boundary. Look for the survey marks (assuming there has been one in the not too distant past). Otherwise just work from the legal description. Get to know your property. You should be able to get a section map from the platt book at your county map office. Make a number of enlarged photocopies. Carry that around with you on a clipboard. Make notes and appropriate marks using the map to remind you if interesting things. For example, is there a nice sugarbush (doubt that on a property in southern Ohio) or a nice grove of black walnut or pecan trees. What about springs or potential springs? Think about your vision for your property. If you visit our place I can give you a detailed plan of what we intend to do with various parts of our property (currently 47.5 acres, about to be 55 acres in a few weeks).

    It's a lot of work to keep up a property that you don't live on. As far as the hay, it sounds like you have orchard grass, maybe some red clover and some brome mixed in. That seems to be a pretty common hay in Ohio. Even if you have to give it away free, get your hay cut down at least once a year. Otherwise you will get an increasing amount of weeds growing. And watch out for multiflora rose...that stuff is insidious. If you don't make a deal with someone to take the hay off then you will either have to brushhog it yourself or pay someone to do it. I just brushhogged 10 acres over the holiday weekend as well as working on other projects at the farm.

    One thing you should take to heart is that each thing you do/build will then require some amount of time to maintain it. Always consider maintenance requirements when you put in something.

    You will also need to find a balance so that you can have some time to enjoy your property in the now, not at some potential point in the future. Otherwise you'll feel like you are chained to the place.

    One important thing to look into right away is whether the land is under CAUV. If you place it under CAUV you will have to actually engage in agricultural pursuits. It can cut your taxes quite a bit. I was just in talking with the fellow in our county auditors office that handles the CAUV stuff. They aren't used to someone who produces honey and black walnuts and were kind of surprised initially. Now they call me the bee man. The other thing to look into is enrolling your property in an agricultural district. I'm still looking at the paperwork on that on but it helps protect you against nuisance suits if you are engaged in farming.

    Good luck with your new property. It's a really amazing journey.

    Mike




    If you're interested, drop a PM.
     
  12. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

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    We have 160 acres, with lots of fence line cutting required a few times a year, and lots of other work. We use our tractor and brush hog a lot -- much more than you would think.

    We keep our little beauty at the neighbours. I think if you weren't around and left it in most places, it might be gone. Can you make friends with someone nearby, and store it there, until you get there.

    From another post of mine:

     
  13. Bluecreekrog

    Bluecreekrog Well-Known Member

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    Hi CC, I would get to know the property a bit before building barns and buying tractors. This is what I did. The first few years I established a "base camp" which I moved around a bit to find a spot that suited me best. My first purchases were a good string trimmer, a high wheel push mower and a 30 yr old travel trailer. I saw a neighbor discing his tobacco field and asked if he would be interested in bushhoging a few acres for me, a couple of times over the summer. He also ploughed and disced my garden plot the first time.
    Mike is right, start finding out about the different programs to reduce your taxes.
    Rog
     
  14. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

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    Thanks for all the good advice!!

    I've already checked it out -- it has been in CAUV and I've got the papers to renew it. Evidently they'd been claiming "hay" in order to get it. Guess that's fine with me to keep it there.

    As far as hay, I don't think I want to mess with shares and having to sell or store it, and I have no animals now. I'd MUCH prefer to GIVE it to someone in exchange for mowing it. There are a lot of amish in the area.... maybe someone will want to do it.

    I guess the only reason I'm leery about giving out the gate key is that I'm afraid someone will take advantage and bring 3-wheelers, etc., and ruin the trails. I don't want ruts all over. I guess if I really trusted the person, I'd feel better about it. I just need to find someone, I think.

    Hey Mike..... when are blackberries ripe in that area?? The woods are absolutely FULL of blackberries, and they were blooming when I was there a couple weeks ago. I don't want to miss them! I wasn't supposed to close until June 20, but I've got the money arranged and everything done now, so might be able to move it up a couple weeks. Hardest part is getting down there!

    Thanks for all your help!!!
     
  15. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    Farther south I'd guess blackberries would be ripe end of June or beginning of July. Ours (Cuyahoga County) ripen mid to late July depending on the weather.

    Mike