Portage River Farm

  (Pinckney, Michigan)
Notes on our struggles and successes on our family farm in rural Michigan.
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A Great Big Ray Of Sunshine!

I have deliberately not mentioned matters of personal finance on this blog. I feel that it is mostly outside of the scope of what I want this website and blog to be about. At the same time, our finances obviously have a big impact on our ability to pursue our farming aspirations.

As you may have gathered from the website (http://www.portageriverfarm.com/), our income is primarily dependant on my job as an engineer in the automotive industry. Unless you have been living in a cave you are probably aware that the auto companies have been in a horrible state. Thus far, I have survived many layoffs and my company is now a fraction of the size that it was a year ago. On top of the anxiety of constantly worrying about job security, I have also lost many friends among my coworkers who have been let go.

As I'm sure you already know, the earliest phase of the current economic downturn was a collapse in housing values. That drop in prices back in July of 2008 put this property and the accompanying farming dreams within our reach. We decided to take the calculated risk of going ahead with the purchase when we still had not sold our old house. Little did we know that the economic tailspin had barely begun!

We have had little luck in attracting interest in purchasing our old home. The tightening of credit by the banks combined with the overall uncertainty that everyone has been feeling has left us in these frightening times trying our best to cover mortgages for both properties. We have been managing pretty well but there was always the specter that a job loss on my part would pull the rug out from under the entire thing.

I also had some trepidation about selling the old house when the market was so low. It is true that we would be in a far better cash flow state to have our burden down to one mortgage. At the same time, we would have had to give away all of the equity in the house to bargain hunters in this buyer's market. We decided that we would prefer to rent the house until conditions improve.

My wonderfully good news is that Friday evening we finally signed a couple and their grown son to rent our old house. They began moving in yesterday morning following a marathon cleaning session on my part that lasted until 3:30am. It is such a relief to have that finally taken care of and to have somebody staying in that house so I don't have to constantly worry about it being broken into. Let's just hope that the people will turn out to be good tenants too!
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