Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
I made MY city to country move in stages--first, grew up in "Chicagoland", then to two smaller cities, then to the country, after driving out to the country to care for my horses for 14 years.
Congratulations!! You will love the quiet, and the sunsets, and the freedoms. THIS spring, you will want to prepare for next winter. Winter has more animal keeping work than the summer. That means have your hay in the barn by November--all of the bedding, too, if you can afford it. Buy grain cans. Keep them full if you have bad weather coming bc you won't be able to run out to the local feed store and buy a bag any ole winter day.
You have BIG plans--living off of the land, (I still haven't got that one mastered, even though I've double dug (30" deep, 3' x 12' raised beds for vegetables), maintained old fencing until we bought new, this year we are re-roofing the house&garage&barn.
Don't be hard on yourself if it takes some time to accomplish your goals.
Smart to keep boarding until April.
If you or DH are still driving to work, there will be some snow days where you HAVE to stay home.
Enjoy the boarding stable, and the times that they fed for you. YOU will do that now. I have fed horses for 27 winters now. I recommend a good pair of Cartharts and the bib overalls. These are my basic winter outerwear. My overalls don't get a lot of use, but the jacket does.
In the summer I often wear flip-flops and old clothes.
You will really want a 4-wheel drive vehicle, but you don't need to buy a truck or tractor this year.
You will need a good wheelbarrow. A muck bucket with a wheeled dolley doesn't get the muck to your manure pile. I also like those big grain shovels to clean with. Many people prefer to use an apple-picker, too, and/or a rake.
Surprising, there is garbage pickup in the country. After 12 years, I've learned to recycle so much stuff that I often put out only 1-2 bags/week. The rest goes to the garden, the horses, or the chickens.
If you get chickens, start SMALL. You only need 3-4 hens to supply your needs. I'm considering giving away 3 of my young layers. I have 15 of them, and I now nave 4 1/2 dozen eggs in my kitchen and fridge. They lay 8-13 eggs/day. Even giving some away, I'm still eating a lot and feeding them to my two dogs and 5 cats.
Speaking of cats, you will WANT them. Get them fixed, get them rabies shots, and replace them when the wildlife make them into a meal. I know of one horse owner who killed mice and rats with Warfin and also poisoned her peacocks with it. NON-chemical pest control is the best. I feed my cats the cheapest, dry cat food and trigger their desire to kill. Everybody is fat, and I get to see the mice and voles that they killed for sport.
On the other hand, I can look out my house windows and drink coffee while I watch my horses grazing and playing. So...yeah, it's worth it.