Trading in the convenience of suburbia for the responsibility of an acreage takes courage. After you find the perfect property, pack up your belongings and leave city life behind, you might ask yourself – now what?

Years ago, Heidi Bradberry found herself asking that same question. See how she successfully transitioned from life in the suburbs to a thriving acreage with these five tips.

Heidi Stands In Front Of Her Bobcat Compact Track Loader.
Heidi Bradberry, co-owner of West Wind Stables

1. Find the right equipment for your new lifestyle.

Be prepared to get your hands dirty. Unless you plan on hiring help, maintaining the land is up to you. Heidi Bradberry found this out the hard way.

“At first, we were doing everything by hand. It was a nightmare,” she says. “We were breaking down 700-lb. bales of hay and using small carts to haul multiple loads up a slippery, rocky hill.”

This led Heidi to purchase her first-ever piece of equipment – a T450 Bobcat compact track loader.

“I had never used anything like this before,” she says. “Learning how to operate it was really intuitive. After the first 10 minutes of training at the dealership, I felt like I already knew what I was doing.”

Another great equipment option for maintaining an acreage is a compact tractor. A tight turning radius makes it easy to work in confined areas, and its versatility can help you complete a wide range of tasks, such as mowing, clearing brush or feeding animals.

Regardless of the machine you’re operating, whether it be a compact tractor or compact track loader, fitting your equipment with the right implements and attachments is the perfect way to tackle a variety of chores year-round. Achieve a professional finish on your lawn with a mower, replace fencing or plant new trees with an auger or quickly clear snow from your property with a snow blade or snow blower. Whatever the chore, having the right equipment, implements and attachments is essential for getting the job done quickly, easily and efficiently.

2. Connect with the local community.

Acreage Owner Uses Bobcat Compact Track Loader With Bucket Attachments To Move Dirt.
Heidi Bradberry takes on daily chores with her T450 compact track loader.

Living in the country can be lonely if you let it. But even if your neighbors are a little farther than they were in the suburbs, there is still an active community all around you. Heidi discovered firsthand how having a good relationship with your community can pay off.

“I give away fresh chicken eggs to the people who come help out at the ranch,” she says. “They only live about a block away, so they lend a hand and then fill up an egg carton on their way out.”

Don’t be afraid to find creative ways to get connected. Heidi has even toyed with the idea of hosting a “Women, Wine and Bobcat Equipment” night to show the other female acreage owners in her community how she uses her compact track loader.

3. Embrace the land.

The land is yours; take full advantage of it. Branch out from what you’re used to by adopting new hobbies or seeking new opportunities. With the right compact equipment and attachments, you can forge a deeper connection to your land and become more self-sufficient.

Acreage Owners Maintains Acreage With 3-Point Finish Mower Implement On Bobcat Compact Tractor.
An acreage owner uses his Bobcat compact tractor with a 3-point finish mower to create a pristine landscape.

Thanks to her compact track loader, Heidi’s acreage is not just her home. She also owns and operates a successful horse stable, cares for other animals including multiple chickens and four rescue donkeys, offers ranch camps for kids and provides adaptive riding programs for people with disabilities. With the help of her Bobcat loader and attachments, she’s able to take on more and has transformed her land as a result.

“It’s essential that I have access to my loader,” she says. “We wouldn’t be able to run our business without it.”

Whether you’re like Heidi and start your own business or you create a garden to produce your own fruits, vegetables and herbs, there are many ways to become more self-sufficient on an acreage.

4. Adjust to a new pace of living.

When it comes to maintaining an acreage, early wake-up calls are pretty much guaranteed.

“Living in the Colorado mountains means waking up at five in the morning to plow after a heavy snowfall,” Heidi says. “That’s one reason why our Bobcat loader is essential. We can just breeze right through wet or heavy snow.”

Acreage Owner Drives Through Vineyard on a Bobcat Compact Tractor.
A Bobcat compact tractor makes light work of acreage management.

As you might expect, there’s a lot to manage when you’re caring for an acreage. But, even with more to take on, owning an acreage brings with it a sense of peace that’s not usually found in the bustle of suburban life.

“We want everyone who visits us to step out of their car and get the same sense of peace that we feel,” Heidi says. “Out here, all the stress goes away. We want everyone to experience that and to feel the joy of being in the mountains and around the animals.” 

5. Hang in there.

At the end of the day, owning an acreage isn’t for the faint of heart. There will be challenges, but with the right equipment, support and preparation, you can find a way to thrive in your new environment.

“Moving here was a complete leap of faith. It renewed my spirit,” Heidi says. “It’s an incredible journey. Every day I wake up and I’m excited to be alive. I’m excited to do what I love.”

Read more of Heidi’s story to see how she abandoned the convenience of suburbia for a beautiful acreage in the Colorado mountains.

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