Archive for the ‘Farmer Smith’ Category

How Large Is An Acre?

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Dear Farmer Smith:

I’m looking at buying some land in northern Wisconsin to get away to on the weekends.  A friend told me that I should get at least an acre for privacy and seclusion.  How big is an acre?

Thanks for your help,
C.T. Slicker

Dear C.T.:

Thanks for asking.  Now just what do you plan on doing up north that you’re so concerned about privacy?  When I want some privacy (And, I live on 40 acres.) I just go into the outhouse and latch the door.

An acre is 43,560 square feet; square being the key word AND the confusing word.  An acre doesn’t necessarily have to be square. It could be a strip of land one foot wide and over eight miles long.  Sort of hard to get any privacy on a piece of land shaped like that, isn’t it?  If the acre is a square it would measure approximately 208.7 feet on all sides.

Now keep in mind, as unlikely as it is that you’ll come across a real estate listing over eight miles long, it’s just as unlikely you’ll come across an acre that is a perfect square.  Why you ask?  Well, if we were sitting in the barnyard and I could draw a sketch in the dirt with a stick I’m sure I could make it all pretty clear for you;  it connects to why Greenland looks to be as large as these United States on one of those old National Geographic wall maps.  And, it has to do with the fact that as 40 and 80 acre tracts are split up they are divided to make sense on the ground, not on paper.

Back to your privacy and seclusion . . . as you get out and start looking at property in Northern Wisconsin there will be more to privacy than just the size of the land.  There are hills, roads and woods to think about.  What’s going to be more secluded (for whatever it is you’re going to be doing up north):  one level acre of field on a four lane superhighway or a 1/4 acre of hardwoods and pines at the end of a little dead-end road?

Good luck with your land,
Farmer Smith

P.S. For just a little more info about the size of an acre, and a nice drawing of how an acre compares to a football field take a look at Wikipedia.

Farm Smith

Farm Smith

Dead Vet’s Vette

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

Dear Farmer Smith:

I have a friend of a friend of a friend who found a lake lot that a little old lady just wanted to get rid of it and didn’t know what it was worth. How do I find a real estate deal like this?

Sincerely, Ben Robbed

Dear Ben,

Kind of reminds me of that old urban myth about the Dead Vet’s Vette. You know that old tale about the old lady whose son was killed in Vietnam and years later sold his mint Corvette for $50 because she only saw it as an old ‘63Chevy?

First of all, whenever a story begins with ‘A friend of a friend . . .’ it is a myth. We want to believe the story because it sounds like we’re only one person away from such a fortuitous event happening to us. Second, the key word is myth. If you’re waiting for some sort of miraculous deal on property someday you’ll look back and wonder why you just didn’t go out and find some property that fits your needs at a fair price. Life’s not getting any longer. Last, please don’t tell me that you’re the type of scoundrel that would take advantage of some little old lady or any other person for that matter. Would you really enjoy the property with that weighing on your moral conscience?

Good luck on the property search,
Farmer Smith

P.S. My nephew, an honest to goodness computer geek, found this here link on his telephone:

P.P.S Can you imagine such a thing? A telephone that goes on the internet? I remember when if you needed to get information from the telephone you just picked up the phone and listened to old Ethel Fleming gossip to Doris Kramer on the party line!

Why Can’t I Find Wisconsin Lake Property Close to Home?

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008


Dear Farmer Smith,



How come it’s so hard to find a large lake that I can run my boat on that’s not way up north?


Thanks in advance, Will Waterski


Dear Will,


It’s been good while since I sat in that little one room schoolhouse that I went to, but let me pull out some basic arithmetic on you.  80% of Wisconsin’s lakes are in the northern part of the state; and, of Wisconsin’s 15,000 lakes, 13,000 are less than fifty surface acres, therefore no-wake lakes.  If I divide the numerator of boatable lakes by the denominator of southern Wisconsin lakes that leaves you with only about 400 lakes that are “not way up north”.


But, you’d better act fast, there’re well over three million people in Chicago and Milwaukee alone, and more than a couple of’em are also looking for lake property


See you on the lake, Farmer Smith


Why can’t I find a few acres sitting all alone?

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

Dear Farmer Smith,

I want just a few acres surrounded by national forest.  How do I find property like this?

Thanks, I.M. Urban

Dear I.M.,

Yup, a few acres surrounded by national forest would be nice; no neighbors, no roads, no electric, no telephone, none of this newfangled internet.  But, unless a few acres means a more expensive 40 acres, 80 acres, or more, it’s not gonna happen.

One hundred and fifty years ago when the first government surveyors came through these parts they weren’t in the habit of cornering off a little bitty five acre tract for some guy that hadn’t even been born yet.  Those early surveyors used compasses and chains to section off square miles, 640 acres.  People could buy, or homestead, 40 and 80 acre and larger tracts; sixteen forties in a square mile.

If you’re used to living in the city a few neighbors ain’t gonna bother you.  Heck, you can all share the cost of running in a road and some power for the missus’ blow dryer.

See ya up north, Farmer Smith

Farmer Smith

Why can’t I find some cheap land to buy from some farmer?

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

Dear Farmer Smith,

Why can’t I find some cheap land to buy from some farmer?

Sincerely, Buck Hunter

Dear Buck,

I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me about buying some of my land, and for cheap.  First of all, this land has been in my family for years and I’m kind of partial to it.  And, the land is where I make a little money to pay the bills for the fuel, the seed, equipment and taxes.  If I’m lucky I have a little bit left over to buy something nice for the missus.  If I sell a little piece to you I still have the same overhead with less land to make money on.

Besides, why in the world would you want to build your up north getaway in the same open field where I run my tractors and equipment before dawn and often into the night?  Wait until you get a whiff of the manure spreader in action!

Good hunting, Farmer Smith

Farmer Smith