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Small farmers/homesteaders?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Badfish740, Jan 30, 2009.

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  1. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    How many folks here are small farmers/homesteaders in the sense that you make a small living off of a small piece of land either part time or full time? We're hoping that within 10-15 years we'll be able to purchase 15-20 acres to raise some sheep, turkeys, and maybe some Christmas trees/vegetables. I'd also sell firewood if I can get some wooded land. I'd just like to hear from some folks who are living off of their land and their experiences. We'll start off part time, keeping our day jobs and going with less labor intensive ventures until I can retire and work the farm full time, so I'm definitely interested in hearing from "part time" (even though that's never entirely true) farmers.

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  2. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    You can make good money with Christmas trees after 7 years of start up. Livestock/poultry is tough if you buy corn etc. I don't know where your from but a lot of farmers from VT will buy hay from down here...it's cash money and kind of a minimum investment, farm wise, to get started and profitable. Maybe with real hard work you can get self sufficient and even pay your taxes but having extra cash in your pocket is another thing.
  3. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    Ask away.
  4. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    We're really not looking to make money, but rather be self sufficient and keep our taxes low. We've always wanted to live on a large piece of land, hunt our own deer, cut our own firewood, catch fish from our own stream/pond, etc...but we live in New Jersey-land of high property taxes and land values. Most of the folks here either inherit family farms (if they don't sell to developers for millions) or are independently wealthy and just buy up large tracts for a "life in the country." My wife and I are civil servants. We don't make lots of money but we do ok and will hopefully have good pensions in 20 years (we're in our mid 20s), so we're never going to have a couple of million to spend on 50 acres in the woods. However, we hope to be able to sell our current home at a decent profit one day (we bought a fixer-upper cheap and are doing a LOT of improvements ourselves) and be able to purchase a home on 10-15 acres. We also have always wanted to raise our kids on a farm, teach them responsibility and good work ethic by caring for and raising livestock. As far as livestock we're looking into Icelandic sheep as they're extremely hardy and will tolerate being left alone during the day while we're at work. We're also looking into heritage turkeys which are close to wild turkeys and becoming in demand these days as opposed to Butterballs and the like. We'd also probably dedicate a couple of acres to a "market garden" for fruits and vegetables.
  5. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    Jeez, I don't know where to start. Heritage turkeys are beautiful but you won't sell many to meat eaters. You may find a market with collectors and FFA kids. The most noticeable difference in taste, of any animal you raise, will be a turkey. You may consider the big commercial ones (broad breasted bronze, etc.) if you're looking for meat. I don't know about sheep. A lot of this NAIS stuff screwing everything up. Thank your PETA supporters for the uncommon suffering going on of too many animals. I don't want to get started but it ain't all wine and roses.
    Be self sufficient. How many sheep does a family need? You'll need to be able to care for and harvest a couple pigs every year and if you have grazing for sheep, you need to raise a calf. Meat is expensive! Everybody raises fruits and veggies and almost gives them away.
    I gotta stop already but happy to answer questions and give opinions.
  6. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    While you got me thinking about turkeys, don't ever forget this as it's not widely known; Poults have a very high mortality rate. Keep your brooder somewhere where the ambient temperature is steady. If it gets cold at night and warm during the day, they won't do well at all. I kept mine in the basement of a two story barn that had two foot thick stone walls so the temp was fairly steady. A basement would work fine. It sounds simple but every year people put them in the shed and get enough to account for all the ones they'll lose. If you want to raise critters, you have a responsibility to do the best job you can to honor them before you eat them.
  7. jdemaris

    jdemaris New Member

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    We've had animals ( fainting and dairy goats, sheep, chickens), raised and sold sweet corn and potatoes, sold firewood, sold hay, make and sell maple syrup every year, etc. Been doing it here for 30 years where we live. Got a little over 100 acres here and another 100 in other areas. But, make a profit? No. I'm in a dairy farming area, but most of the farms are dying out, especially the small ones. Only ones barely staying above water are the huge ones. Years ago, I was able to trade favors, goods, and labor with other farmers - but that support group no longer exists.

    If anybody tells you they're making enough to live off their land, look closely and be a bit skeptical. There are other positive things on the subject besides money. But. if money is your goal, I doubt you're going to do it.

    The only people I know of that have come close to ever making anything at small scale farming, cashed in on some sort of fad of niche when the time was right. Boer goats is one. A breeding pair used to be worth $50,000. Now, maybe $500. Emus, same sort of thing. Some people made money for awhile convincing others to raise them, and then selling them stock. Peanut potatoes is another. Organic certified beef is another. These things come and go quickly. If something really takes hold, and a solid demand is created, some big company will do it cheaper and put the small guys out of business.

    It gets harder all the time. Every year there are new regulations on keeping and selling farm animals. I can't even sell a goat at auction anymore without paperwork and a paper trail. Feed is extremely expensive. So is fertilizer and seed. Taxes on land are high, and getting even higher all the time. Fuel, tractors, labor, etc. In our case, we own everything and don't owe a penny anywhere. I fix all our equipment (cars, trucks, and tractors) and also do all building repairs and construction - i.e. we never pay anybody to do anything except for a doctor once in awhile. For someone starting out, borrowing money, maybe a mortgage, etc. ? I can't imagine it.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about it. My wife and I love animals and wouldn't want to live any other way. It was also great for all my kids. But, to make money at it? Let me know when you find the secret. If you want to do it because you want that lifesytle, and maybe some added security of having your own food stores, etc. then you're on the right track.
    We owe nothing. Have all our own firewood, have solar electric, have a year's worth of food on hand, etc. But, we still have to pay a lot of taxes, health insurance, buy fuel and repair parts, etc.

    Best bet, put on a straw hat, learn high German, and try to sneak into an Amish community. They are having their own problems right now, but I envy the support they give one another. They don't go it alone.
  8. mainstation

    mainstation Feeling the Heat

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    Jdemaris-- hit the nail on the head.
    Between my land, (4 acres), my fathers (15acres) and my inlaws(10 acres) we are subsistent at best in Veggies and beef. We pasture 4 Fall calves, usually Hereford, each year and in the Fall put them in the freezer. Everyone in the family gets a 1/2 of beef, and share the labour on the fencing upkeep. We collectively grow almost an acre of veggies--- fresh and root, which helps in the Winter time when $$ are tight. Potatoes, onions, squash, cabbage.
    We do our own pasta sauce with homegrown Tomatoes and Chilli Sauce, pickles, leeks, peach jam and strawberry jam.
    Learn to make preserves and canning...now becoming a lost art. You won't make any $$ but you will save yourself $$ from buying and you will know where it came from.
    In the 90's I use to summer 20-30 fall calves on rented land , and profit on the gain, now I don't even bother, Cattle prices per 100/weight are in most cases are down anywhere from 10 cents to 25 cents per pound.
    Don't quit your dayjobs, though a penny saved is a penny earned.

    caninfo@homecanning.com
  9. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    "It isn't how much you make but how much you save."
  10. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    All good advice guys thanks-I just want to stress that we don't think we're going to get rich (or do anymore than cover our expenses) nor is that really our aim, so we know that going in. I do appreciate the warnings though. As I said, we're just looking for a way to be able to afford a "homestead" for ourselves instead of a McMansion in a suburb somewhere. It's a long way off but that's why I'm thinking about it now.
  11. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    BIGFISH- You always mention the money aspect of it. Here's my take on that; Save every stinkin penny you make, everyone, and pay cash for your little piece of heaven and you'll be where you want to be. Too many people spend too much money on the glossy magazines that glorify their dreams when they should be learning carpentry, mechanics, and welding. It wouldn't hurt at your age to pick up a second job and you don't really need a cell phone. :coolhmm:
  12. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    I hear you louder and clearer than you think I do. To start, I'm AT my second job right now ;) I drive a Zamboni Sunday mornings at a local hockey rink-been working six days a week for three years now. I've got the carpentry, mechanics, and welding thing down too. I got my first construction job with my second cousin at age 13 and worked my way from block mover to framer by age 14. I bought a '77 Toyota Land Cruiser with paper route money at age 15 and by the time I turned 17 I had it running right :) My stick welding isn't pretty but it works. We bought our first home six months ago and got to work. New paint, trim, doors, refinished hardwood, etc...all myself. We don't eat beef-just venison seasoned with a little lead. I guess it seems like I'm preoccupied with money but the fact of the matter is we live in New Jersey. The property taxes on our home (2 bedroom/1 bath/.25 acre) are $6700 a year. You can imagine what they would be if I lived in the same house on 20 acres. Farm assessment will help, but it's not going to solve the problem. Let's say the taxes (with farm assessment) are $15K a year. I just want to be able to cover that-no more, no less. As for paying for the land in cash...well...this is New Jersey. And no, we're not leaving. We may go to Pennsylvania but even though we want our own land we value family more than anything and they're all here. The moral of the story is startup costs are a b----. My goal is to be mostly self sufficient (off grid, grow/produce/hunt our own food, etc...) but it takes $$$ to get us there. We'll see how it goes.
  13. jdemaris

    jdemaris New Member

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    I agree. Many people could take the money they spend on a few year's worth of vacations and "toys" and own a 20-30 acre farmstead, with house outright - i.e. pay cash for it.

    I'm not preaching here, just stating a few facts. I know people (including my MIT PhD brother) who make 200K plus per year and claim they're broke and can't buy anything. To the converse, I know many who have jobs at 30K - 40K and do very well.

    I also have to warn that owning outright - isn't exactly the dictionary-definition of ownership. The first farmstead I bought in 1979 had a $120 per month mortage payment for 10 years. I paid it off in 5 and was miserable until I did. Taxes were $700 per year. Now? That same property, now owned as a vacation getaway by some city people, has a $3200 tax bill every year, i.e. $266 per month JUST for taxes. Then there's house/property insurance that can easily add another $50 per month. Even if you own land with no buildings, you're asking for trouble unless you have insurance. Somebody sneaks in and breaks their neck in an ATV or snowmobile crash, and you the property owner gets sued.

    If you want to buy a place, try to envision the entire picture, and . . . there's a lot to know. Climate, all taxes, work availability, farm-friendly area or not, building and zoning regulations, etc. Is the area even property -rights friendly? Yeah, sounds silly - but some areas protect ownership rights and don't allow friviouous takings by emminent domain. Other areas PROMOTE it. There is an awful lot to know. It's easy to get used to one area of the country, and think certain aspects of living apply all over the US - but they do not. Some areas have extremely high fuel taxes. Some areas charge personal property taxes - even on old farm tractors or antique cars and trucks. Some areas tax your cash savings principle, e.g. CDs and Money Market accounts. Some areas have almost Nazi-style building regulations. Some areas are absolutely anti-farming. Some areas have lousy ground water. Some areas have high-acid soil and you can't hardly grow a thing without buying tons of lime every few years.

    I've lived in the northeast my entire life (New York and Vermont) - so I'm not really up on all that goes on out west, down south, etc. I have two sons living in Colorado though, and was kind of amazed how regulated things are there. I say that since I constantly here that New York, my home state, is the worst. No, it's not. John Denver also said Colorado was the best.

    Let me give just a few small anecdotal examples of possible pitfalls. I recently almost bought a bunch of woods and farmland in northern Michigan, just below the Mac bridge. I was ready to close on a 60 acre piece of farm-land - cash deal. Closing was contingent on a few things I wrote into the purchase contract - e.g. no lease encumberances, must have ability to build a barn, etc. Then - after meeting with the head of the county code enforcement dept - was told that no buildings of any sort allowed unless a complete residential home is built first. Keep in mind this was in a rural farming area, very remote. Not in a city. What was their reason and mindset? I was told that county planners were afraid city people would buy properties for vacation uses, sneak in "pole barns", and then . . . fix them up to live in. So, had I bought the land - I would not have been allowed to stick a barn on it - unless I was willing to build a house first.

    I could tell you many stories about potential homesteaders wanting to build small rural homes and not being allowed due to new residential building codes. People buying farm lands and not being allowed to have animals. People buying land only to have it partially siezed by eminent domain (including me).

    Do your research. Think out your present lifestyle, and the one you wish to have. Think about what your everyday life would entail and how it fits in certain areas. If you have skills in the building, wiring, plumbing trades - make sure you'll be allowed to use them . . . or buy something private enough where you won't get caught. And yes, some regs are rediculous and I have no problem with violating them. Laws and regs are made by men and woman - not some supreme being somewhere. As a result, some are just plain stupid as are some people.

    Right now, prices on many rural properties are finally coming back down to where they ought to be - except for here in central New York where property values are still stable.

    My general buying advice? Don't even consider trying to build from scatch. Buy an old but solid home and property and that way, get grandfathered in as far as many building regs go. I'll add that there are many foreclosures on the market at great prices. I just bought two properties in Northern Michigan, side by side. A very solid ranch-house with drilled well, new septic, twin garage and also two large pole barns on 5 acres and paid $32K for it. Also bought the adjacent 33 acres of woods and ag. fields for 52K. so, that's $84,000 for a pretty decent house, several barns, and 38 acres of woods and farm land. Not a bad deal for a fairly pricey area in Michigan.
    Nearest two citys are 15 and 20 miles distant. Also recently bought 33 acres of dense maple/oak hardwoods here in New York for $18,000.
  14. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    I have to admit, I'm getting a little discouraged by the fact that apparently I'm seen as some sort of money obsessed compulsive spender...so I decided to show you what I'm up against here: Just for the hell of it I searched up properties between 10 and 20 acres in my home county (Hunterdon, New Jersey) and found the cheapest to be $400K with a simple ranch on 12 acres and the most expensive a huge brand new home on 19 acres for $1.1 million. My best hope is probably a fixer-upper house on 18-20 acres that I can snag for $500K. Oh and just FYI the property taxes on the $400K house on 12 acres are $9000 a year-that's WITH the farm assessment!
  15. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    This is the best discussion I've ever been in concerning the realities of small farming. Don't be sensitive about any of it!
    Nobody is calling you a "money obsessed compulsive spender."
    You brought up money and it was addressed.
    Now you show why it's such a concern.
    Maybe you have to make the hard choice of living your life or living with family.
    Don't take any of this personal. Just throwing out thoughts and ideas.
    I visited my folks in San Diego a couple years ago and I was in their back yard doing steaks. The yard was no more than 20' x 60', probably smaller, with a couple of empty raised beds, an orange tree, and a grapefruit tree. I thought to myself how good I could take care of that little space.
    I asked an old Amish fella one time why he only grew one acre of corn and the rest of his fields were empty. He had the best corn around and was out hoeing in it everyday. He said it was all he could do good.
    Too many people live a life of misery trying to accomplish goals that are simply out of their reach.
    It's okay to lower one's aspirations.
    I hope I give you good stuff to think about.
    Church is over for now-
    Go In Peace-

    Father Chaos :coolsmile:
  16. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    Eh...perhaps that was too strong of a term. I just don't want to appear as shallow or dim is all.

    It's a tough choice.

    I hear ya. It's just a drive that I've always had. My mom was a city kid, but my dad grew up on a 2 acre piece that my grandparents did sort of a "market garden" on. They had both grown up on moderate sized (100+ acres) farms in South Jersey that their families lost in the Depression. Maybe that's what it is. In any event I'll figure it out-all the advice here is much appreciated and will be well heeded I assure you. Hearth.com has yet to steer me wrong.
  17. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    You a sensible lad. You'll figure it out.
    More considerations; Raising a real good crop takes loads of time to learn, add animal husbandry, woodlot management, business, marketing, maintenance, and let's not forget the wife and kids, and you have a lifetime of learning. That's great but again, not profitable. I'm the most experienced poor guy I know and too old and beat up to utilize it.
    My philosophy is geared more towards agriculture than agribusiness. I busted my ass learning how to do the best I possibly could and produced some incredible products. Living in one of the poorest counties in the country was the straw that broke the camels back. There was not enough time to produce and do the traveling market thing, though it was a lot of fun and a rich learning experience as we tried.
    Now if I was in Jersey, I think I'd be searching out Chef Ramsey, Wolfgang Puc (?), and it wouldn't be hard to make a VERY, VERY GOOD living off a couple acres growing specialty crops for one or two of them guys.
    Take some courses in Sales. I think every young person should. It's incredible what there is to know and what they teach nowadays.
    There's only one way to make money, sell something. Maybe you could sell the atmosphere of your homestead to the city folks.
    Tons of opportunities if you're in the right place. You may indeed want to stay in Jersey.
    I need a nap-
    Nite,nite-
  18. jdemaris

    jdemaris New Member

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    I know a little about New Jersey. I grew up in Cresskill. A little borough seven miles from the George Washington bridge and NYC, and about 10 miles south of the "upstate" NY border. Used to be a little truck-farming community. My great-grandparents had a business in Brooklyn New York in the 1800s and bought the New Jersey land "across the river" as a rural vacation property. In the 1800s, New York sent its huge amount of daily horse manure across to New Jersey where it worked well as fertilizer for farming. My parents bought a small home in another spot in Cresskill, and a 75' X 100' plot of land for $8000 just after WWII. Last year, that $8000 house sold for $350,000. That's why I moved out of NJ in the early 70s. At that time, I was making what was considered good money at 20K a year. A run down fixer-upper house with no land in northern NJ was $100K at that time.

    Right now, I have a cousin in Hunterdon County NY. Also a sister-in-law in Belle Mead in Somerset County, NJ. The latter lives in a new huge house built in what was farm land just a few years ago. I think they paid $600K for it.

    Things change; some things are relative, and some are not. For me? In the early 70s, I was making 20K and could not buy a house with land in New Jersey. So, I moved to rural New York and bought my first home and land for $12,000 in Otsego County - near Cooperstown. Also had to take a job at $14,000 a year as the head mechanic for a John Deere dealership. Less money and had more kids. But, cut all my own wood, grew much of our own food, fixed everything myself, and became a full-time scrounge. Still am. My first four kids all got full scholarships to go to college that they would not have gotten in an urban area.

    For you now? I'm not qualified to give advice to you. I know, for sure, if it was me I'd get out quick. I will say though, it's tough to figure where to go and what areas aren't going to change fast. I left NY once and moved to a more rural area in the "Northeast Kingdom" of Vermont, 20 miles south of the Canadian border. Got there just as it was changing fast and losing its wild character. So, I went back to New York and here I am. This was a rural farming community when I moved here, but no more. I'm 60 years old, still have one little kid who's five years old - and trying to plan another move to another rural area. Not sure where. I have another farm in northern Michigan and we've considered moving there, although I'd rather move more north in the eastern Michigan UP. Not much work there though, and my 12 years-younger wife needs a job to get us health insurance while I do my self-employment things.
  19. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    I can't sleep yet.
    You want to make a lot of money? Start a non-profit educational farm/homestead if you enjoy teaching and sharing.
    Maybe you could hook up with Heiffer International. They're stationed in Little Rock but I think they have an office in NYC. Bill Gates just gave them a 40 million dollar grant!
    The more I think about it, you have a lot of great opportunities where you're at.
    Do some searches on small farms and soon enough your head will really start reeling.
    I envy you and wish I could start over at your age.
    Have fun with it-
    Ken
  20. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Drive the country-side and locate a few small farmers and go and talk to them. If you're still interested and think you can make a go of it, offer to work for them for free or for maybe a little bit of the crops, etc., in exchange for your services so you can see how it really works.

    Dream big but dreaming will always and only be a dream without a plan: who, what, when, where and how, with a time line on every step. And 10-15 years to fruition is a long time, so better have 1 or more backup plans. Look what's happened just in the last year. What might happen down the way?

    Best advice is what's said already, live minimally and save for the future. Without savings, your options just about disappear.
  21. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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  22. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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  23. cgeiger

    cgeiger New Member

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    My wife and I started a small homestead for exactly the reasons you describe Badfish. I grew up in the country and all though I never had a farm of my own back then, I lived in and around them - loving the work ethic, the feeling of satisfaction, the closeness with nature. It is for those very reasons, that we sought long and hard to find a nice home in a nice community - a community just nice enough to keep my property value but just "loose" enough to let me homestead. Although we only own 3 acres and have been getting started slowly, we now keep around 30 laying hens - selling the extra eggs, 10 turkeys per year and 75 broilers per year for our own personal consumption. We sell what we don't need but I'll agree 110% with the previous posters - we have never made money and probably never will ;) Although we thought we might when we began it's not now why we do it.

    We do it so our children will learn what so many others haven't - a decent work ethic. Getting up early before school to feed the poultry and closing them in again at night. Helping out with slaughter and packaging. Weeding the garden, hauling firewood - I could go on and on and on. Even though we have more than enough money to not HAVE to do any of this, we do it as frugally as we can because we WANT to. We believe the skills you learn on a working farm(ette) are seldom taught anywhere else. Perhaps even more, we love the pure enjoyment of seeing extremely healthy poultry gleaming with brilliant colors waltzing around their run; we love to hear the turkeys "gobble, gobble" and see their blue heads and long beards (at least on the tom's). Tomatoes, corn and beans from your garden (even if it is an acre, lol) are always fresher eaten while you walk between the rows than something you buy at the local big box store.

    Like you, we eat venison well seasoned with lead and my daughters love to come "see" them while I dress them. We handle all the cleaning and butchering ourselves and enjoy the fruit of our labor year round. I believe bullets are about a quarter so that's probably your biggest return on investment, lol. Oh and we grow a variety of fruit and do our best to grow some beans and corn and such. The deer are such a big problem here and summers can be long and dry. So we don't always yield a good harvest but we enjoy the process!

    I guess what I'm trying to say is what you've been saying all along - don't do it to make money or save money - you won't. Feed prices, fertilizers, pesticides, maintenance, startup costs, YOUR TIME, etc., etc., etc. will cost you waaaayyy more than what you can make trying to sell the fruits of your labor. Do it for the personal enjoyment and satisfaction it will bring. Do it because you'll know where it came from and, if you did your job right, it will taste better and look better too! Do it for the skills you and your family will learn.

    You won't regret it! :)
  24. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    Blue Ridge you hit the nail on the head. That's what I'm talking about! Right now I grow a little bit of this and a little bit and a little bit of that but don't have enough to freeze/can and get us through the year. I have to drive to get my free firewood wherever I can scrounge it, and sit on top of five other guys on public hunting land during buck week. Knowing that I had an ample supply of firewood, venison, eggs, poultry, and vegetables right out my back door would be a good feeling.
  25. Ugly

    Ugly New Member

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    Central Ontario Canada
    We ran a medium size farm all the time I was growing up (dairy and beef) and my Dad was a proud farmer, but I went and ruined it by getting a degree and working as an Information Technology executive. Can you say "burn out and retire at 40"?

    Now I'm back home and in my second year of overhauling the family holdings. The nice thing about having the farm there is that while it's not my focus at the moment, there's enough bush for wood and enough fields for whatever. I'm not going to engage in labor intensive things like large scale livestock holding, but I planted an acre of spuds and two acres of cash crops last year and started showing my kid what his Dad can do when he's not coming home with a tie hanging down his dress shirt. He bitched and moaned pretty heavy about the hoing and weeding but when I hauled him into town to sell his organic produce and he had enough cash for anything an eight year old can dream of he was converted. All he can talk about is carrot yields and what he wants to plant in the spring. My Dad is pleased as punch of course and gives me that "I told you so look" Dad's have given sons since they invented the fine art of procreation. I'll put in some silage next year and raise a couple pigs for the smoker.

    My kid had never spent any time in the bush so I borrowed a nag from the neighbour and hitched her up to skid enough wood out for the winter (without tearing the bush all to hell with a 4wd tractor or a skidder). At the moment, we're living in what was my cottage (I'm keeping it but will likely rent it as it's just too noisiy on the lake in the summer) and getting ready to build again on one of the empty lots. Specific plans I have all center around energy independance right now through the use of wood for heating and stationary applications. I've been kicking around the idea of building a large enough still to run all our vehicles but I'm not settled on that one as sugar beats etc take a lot of care. Frankly with hay selling for what it is (high) it's easier to sell the hay and buy what you need. Yeah you still need to fertilize, but there's very little to do beyond waiting for it to mature and getting it cut and bailed while you stare at the sky near sundown to make sure the weather will go your way.

    I'd say the best feeling that comes from all this is simply the feeling of independance in being able to become self sufficient and knowing that that guy standing at the crossroads was waiting for his wife to pick him up for lunch and that he was definitely NOT selling crack to the middle school kids.

    Whatever your bent, when you have property, you have options.

    Regards,
    Ugly
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