When we left Illinois late last year, we made two trips with 26-foot U-Haul trucks; the first had a whole winter's worth of hay and straw, plus as much farm equipment (rolls of fencing, t-posts, etc) as we could fit. The second trip was all our household goods. Even with both of those trips, we knew we'd need to come back a third time to get the remaining farm equipment --- and I told this to the new owner of the property. I told him that repeatedly. We were moving to a place with three times the acreage, and we needed all our fencing and posts. And gates.
We had at least a dozen of those expensive, steel pasture gates stacked neatly against the barn. At least a dozen rolls of expensive chain link fencing. Chain link fence posts, all neatly stacked. And a huge pile (hundreds) of t-posts that I'd yanked out of the ground before it froze.
And it's all now gone. GONE.
Our intent had been to come back in mid-December for all of this, but the snows came first. I did go back in mid-February for some stray household goods, but couldn't get a big truck on that trip. And I told the new owner, again, we'd be back soon for all that farm stuff.
That trip was to be this weekend. But when I called to let him know about these plans, he told me EVERYTHING HAS BEEN GIVEN AWAY to his buddies. "I didn't know what you were going to do with that, and I needed to clean up the property," he said.
There are no words to describe how furious we are at this. Mrs. Yeoman Farmer is especially angry, because she spent two weeks out in the cold, very carefully taking down the chain link fence and rolling it up neatly. We couldn't have made our intentions clearer to the buyer.
I was frankly so stunned while on the phone with him this morning, my brain didn't engage enough to even ask, "WHY DIDN'T YOU CALL US FIRST?"
We're talking about a couple of thousand dollars worth of supplies we're now going to have to purchase...and that's money we don't really have at the moment. Yet with more lambs arriving every day, and goat kids bursting at the seams, we need to get these animals out on pasture. We do have some t-posts, and some fencing material. But that's only enough to get us started.
It's an old lesson, but one I grew complacent about following while living in the country: get it in writing. Even if all your country neighbors do everything with a handshake and verbal understanding, when this much money is on the line you really need to spell it out on paper. I'm not sure a piece of paper would've prevented him from giving the stuff away, but at least it would've provided us with some legal recourse to recover our losses.