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Ten Acres Is Enough

Post in 'The Green Room' started by jebatty, Aug 15, 2009.

  1. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    SE Iowa - I don't think that people moving out necessarily demand more services and infrastructure or have much control over what happens when they do move out. Some things are inevitable - if more people move to a given location (with kids) the school system needs more money and the standard thing to do is jack up property taxes. The people themselves didn't ask for that, just happens. As for services and infrastructure - those things just follow population density. If developers or merchants think there's money to be made, they'll move along. For the most part, there's little that can be done to reverse those trends.

    I agree with you on imagining life 50 years ago (really, I'd like to go back before the entitlement programs we now have, before our country was the world police, before there was a Federal income tax, ....)

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  2. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Pass that pipe right along baby, I can only imagine what we are going to see in the next 50.
  3. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    The next few decades will indeed be interesting. SEIowa - you're right that the original point of this post was about getting back to basics, or something like that, right? I think we'll all be doing more of that in the future out of necessity and it may not be all bad.
  4. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    Someday I'll be a farmer, working the land
    I wish I was a farmer, to work with my hands
    'Cause it's been too long a ride, too high the fare
    Well, I built an-climbed a mountain
    But it wasn't there
    And I been lookin' all around looked everywhere
    Well, I built and climbed a mountain
    But it wasn't there
    It isn't there, dum ta dum
    It isn't here, it isn't there, nor anywhere

    -Melanie Safka
  5. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Pretty amazing that this thread, started in August 2009, has had more than 6200 views and more than 150 replies. We have a strong yearning for a more simple life, connected and in harmony with the natural world. Perhaps more of us will act on our yearning and better connect both with Nature and with each other. I don't think this requires us to go back in time. Rather, it might require us to recognize that we live in a larger reality of connectedness with, rather than separateness from, all the elements of creation.
  6. BucksCoBernie

    BucksCoBernie New Member

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    Well its hard to find information on Edmund Morris (1804-1874) but I happened to find that his farm was in Burlington, NJ. He is buried at the Friends Burial Grounds on High St in Burlington City (I think). As far as where exactly his farm was/is I am not sure. Im going to do some digging around and see if I can nail down the location. My real estate office is in Burlington Twp, NJ. I own a rental house about 2 blocks from the Burial Grounds. It's exciting to find out how close geographically I am to the people in the book. Once I find the farm's location I'll take some pictures of the area and post them on this thread. There are a few small farms in the area but a lot of the area has been built up.

    If anyone comes across any info that may be handy to my quest please share it.
  7. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    REALITY CECK #736- You can't find the farm because there was no farm. He was a journalist, not a farmer.
    http://www.jstor.org/pss/3742723

    It's the same today. The people who make money on small farms are those promoting the notions.
    The famous farmers of today are Wendel Berry, Gene Logsdon, Joel Salatin, Gail Damerow, etc..
    They all make their money selling romance stories of farming.
  8. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I dunno Edmund Morris from Morris the cat, but people from all professions had farms at one time. Some were "gentleman farmers", others had it as supplemental income, some continued the farms passed to them from their family, etc. Senators and congressmen, doctors, lawyers, etc- all seemed to have a farm if they lived where they could have one.
  9. BucksCoBernie

    BucksCoBernie New Member

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    From what I've read the book is an autobiography which means it is not fiction. Also Edmund Morris did move from Philly to Burlington. He was the editor of the Burlington Gazette. His name also appears on some of the NJ farming history websites which makes me believe that he did have a small farm in the mid-1800's.
  10. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    I've got an extremely fruitful, healthy, self supporting farm for sale
    which anyone would love. Feel free to PM me.
    (Many magazine articles available concerning the greatness of this little farm and it was
    once voted Most Beautiful Farm in the County.)
  11. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    Kenny - post some pics of your farm - sounds nice.
  12. potter

    potter Feeling the Heat

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    Kenny- I may not be remembering right, but didn't you say you had a stone house? You don't have one of those cool old 'pebble' stone houses up by Rochester?
    Some of those are really beautiful...
  13. SE Iowa

    SE Iowa New Member

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    Not to inflame or argue, because I'd like to think we would have similar views on at least this subject, but....this is exactly my point. My kids are receiving a good education now. Why would more kids mean more property taxes? Shouldn't the tax RATE stay the same? If the economics of scale is true, tax rates should go down. What often happens is that as the schools grow they also add programs. The same is true for the rural development that follows these people. People move out to the "country" but still want the drive-up starbucks, mcdonalds,paved country roads, 24 grocery etc that they had in the cities. So true, the businesses follow to give people what they want, but isn't that what they are trying to escape? Then the business owners lobby their local government officials to improve access and infrastructure so that these people can get in to buy more of their $5 latte's.

    My whole point was that 50 years ago, out parents were able to make it without 24 hour everything, and quite arguably, they might have been more content with the peaceful lifestyle. That is supported by this blog in which we all can agree that we want a more simple lifestyle. I feel that the key here is to resist the American temptation to have your cake and eat it too. You might find that the old saying "things do not bring happiness" is TRUE.
  14. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    SE Iowa - I think we probaby agree - I dont' think you're arguing with me at all. My point was that the folks who move out don't, themselves, act directly to raise taxes. I agree 100% with your point about simplifying everything.

    Regarding schools, the economies of scale works up to the carrying capacity of the school. Before we moved up to the Akron-Cleveland area, we lived in Delaware county Ohio, which was (and still may be) the fastest growing county in the state. The taxes on our 2400 square foot house on 0.20 acres (standard cookie-cutter "McMansion" wannbe house) were a little over $3k a year when we moved in which was in 2002. We left in 2005 by which time the property taxes were about to go to $4800 per year. At the present time they are just over $6k a year and the house value has declined back to around the price we paid for it. All of the increases were due to the growth in the school system - went beyond the carrying capacity of the existing buildings and they had to build lots of new buildings. Nobody asked for it to happen, it just did. In retrospect, the lesson learned is to move to an area with a near flat, or maybe slightly positive, growth rate. As an aside, what really ticks me off if the percentage of my propety taxes that go to the school system at all - we home school and I think we, and retired folks or anybody who is not taking advantage of a service, should get some form of tax credit.

    You're right though - 50 years ago, people somehow existed without instant-everything, were significantly more self-sufficient, and I'd like to think were a happier bunch. Go back even further and you might have experienced the true joy of owning your own property without property taxes hanging over your head, not being viewed as weird for heating with wood and growing/preserving your own food, and actually being forced to learn to do things like learn to play an instrument rather than a computerized "hero" version of doing so.
  15. BucksCoBernie

    BucksCoBernie New Member

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    Here's your reality check.

    I just received an email from the honey brook farm in Burlington Co. The Morris farm did exist in Burlington City NJ. I am surprised because Burlington City is one of the oldest towns in the country...goes back to William Penn days. I thought for sure the farm would of been located in what is not considered Burlington Twp. Here's the email I received:

    "Hi Bernie:

    His farm was in a section of Burlington City called the London Bridge section. He is buried in the Friends' cemetery, behind the meeting house in Burlington City.

    Hope this helps! Sherry"

    Im still trying to figure out the exact spot.
  16. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Well done Bernie, the dream lives.
  17. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    I don't know anything about this Morris fellow, but if he's anything like Joel Salatin or Gene Logsdon he was a genuine farmer with new ideas that he proved successful to himself on his own farm and then went and wrote about it. Both Salatin and Logsdon are the real deal. Logsdon did write for a larger portion of his career, but knows his stuff. Salatin was operating a successful and profitable farm using organic methods, pasturing beef and hogs, and running chicken tractors long before it was the in/green thing to do. If those guys can make extra income writing about their success and transition to the role of spokesman, then I say more power to them.

    PS - you guys might like another Ohioan (like Logsdon) named Louis Bromfield - look up Malabar Farm. Great books.
  18. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    Don't be fools.
    Where do you get this stuff?
    Any of you taken bread with any of your heroes,
    visited their farms, emulated their systems?
    Do that for ten years and and you wouldn't speak on their behalf anymore.
    Long live your dream.
    Just don't invest in it.


    Joel Salatin is singly responsible for ruining too many good peoples dreams.
    Don't be another sucker.
    Check the facts, not just the glossy photos and inspiring script.
    You will not survive selling six sides of beef, 100 chickens, 4 sides of pork, and 50 dozen eggs every year.
    Nor do you have Salatins incredible, rare, and questionable marketing skills.
    How to Make $20,000 in Six Months raising a few chickens? Yeah right. How to get rich quick nonsense.
    Meet him at a bulshiz conference and ask him the hard questions, he always disappears.

    Your hero's were publishers, writers, editors, full timers with a hobby.

    NOTE: Fight for your dream and continue to believe it but I speak the truth for those who can understand it.

    There's tons more bulslit at ATTRA and other sites who keep their jobs by promoting the promoters (lots of salatin and other gurus.)

    Did I tell you about the "on farm" meeting I went to, set up by a farm agency one time? There were 14 people who showed up and other than the landowner, I was the only farmer. The rest were other "agency" people who's job it is to support one another's bulchit.
    Wake up everyone.
  19. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    Just wanna say I've enjoyed following this thread & it's great to see how many others share my feelings about becoming a little more self-sufficient & connected to nature, and a little less connected to "stuff". Or however you wa to put it.

    Kinda hijacking here, but this thread is all-over the place so:

    [quote author="timfromohio" date="1265928584"] As an aside, what really ticks me off is the percentage of my propety taxes that go to the school system at all - we home school and I think we, and retired folks or anybody who is not taking advantage of a service, should get some form of tax credit. quote]
    Problem is that IF more well-off folks take the tax-credit & spend it on private education, the public school system has less funding, become a 2'nd tier system, so more kids flee to private school, even less $ for the public schools.... until we have only those with no other option sending their kids to terrible schools where they have little chance to succeed.
    I understand not wanting to pay for services you're not using, but IMO the whole point of having Public schools (ie. cost shared by everyone) is to avoid a class system where some kids can't get ahead because they can't afford decent education. School funding by property taxes isn't a great method IMO, but I don't see how having more people opt-out would help.
  20. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    I haven't tried Salatin's system, but have read some of his stuff and his math adds up based on what he says he charges, the time he says he spends, and the prices that the same products (eggs, bulk pastured beef, pastured pork, chicken) go for where we live. He also has just the right setup for his local market and had a huge advantage in that he had no mortgage, nor took on any additional debt, going into his endeavor. That one is huge in my mind - not having any debt. His farm was part of a multi-generational family vision - his father worked an off-farm job and "played farmer" on an off as a hobby. This enabled Joel Salatin to start his operation small scale, debt-free, and grow it without incurring additional debt. Also, his timeline adds up. There was a time period before his book publications that he must have been doing something for money - he claims that he was farming, and I guess I believe him. Plus, I've seen him on video gut a chicken - even if all the rest of his speel is nonsense, man can that guy gut a chicken fast!

    Logsdon did indeed make the bulk of his living off the farm, through his writing - but he wrote about what he did and tried out on his own place, so I respect him for that. He tried lots of neat stuff, wrote about it, and people bought his books. Maybe I'm completely naive and what he was trying wasn't all that original (in terms of differnt ideas about crop rotations, ways to plant corn, etc.) but then in my mind all of the "real farmers" who "knew" that stuff already are just ticked at him b/c they figured "why didn't we write about it" and cash in.

    I think that a lot of farmers (and I'm not saying that you are one of them at all Kenny - I've just read extensive criticism of Salatin before) and just ticked that they got suckered into the big industrialized system, took on enormous amounts of debt, are raising poultry on contract for Tyson and have lost all control, etc. and are just PO about it and jealous that there appears to be a guy who is critical of the ways they are doing things and is himself successful.
  21. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    You really need to do it Tim. Soon. Time to dirty your fingernails and live your own life.

    I love sharing my knowledge and experience but I don't beg no one to listen.

    I'm gone........
  22. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    midwestcoast - the problem with public eduation is the same problem with any government run anything - it's completely devoid of efficiency, common sense, and just grows and consumes more and more without any positive results. I'll use the state of New York as an example since there are quite a few NY's here - according to what I've read, the percentage of the state budget going to public eduation has continued to rise in spite of a flat (or slightly negative according to one article?) growth rate over the past several years. It's something outrageous like 15% of the budget. I'm hopeful that if credits were available a bit of free market magic might take place and quality might improve - kind of like it did with the Post Office - they used to have a virtual monopoly on mailing things, right? then came FedEx, UPS, Airborn Express, etc. - what happened, UPS Priority Mail is now a legitimate player in the market - competition forced them to up their game. From a selfish, and somewhat libertarian standpoint, my first priority is my family (as is the case for everybody). The bottom line is that if you add up federal income tax, state income tax, local income tax, gas tax, food tax, property tax, sales tax, vehicle registration fees, etc. I wind up working for over 5 months out of the year before I start earning money for my family! That's messed up.
  23. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    Kenny - apologies if offended you, honestly didn't mean to. Please don't misunderstand me though. My dream is not to live a Salatin-esque existence. I think Salatin, Logsdon, etc. have neat ideas and am trying some in my backyard on a small scale. If I want to like them, that's my opinion. If you want to say they're not realistic, that's your opinion and I would certinaly put more stock in yours over mine since I'm trying their ideas out for fun and the benefit of my family, not trying to make a living off of them. But there's no need not to contribute any more to the thread, especially since you appear to be the only geniune farmer amongst those commenting. Plus, you can't leave yet since you haven't yet posted pics of your farm!

    My original input here was on the desire to have some more property, ponder how many acres one might need to be self-sufficient, and bemoan the fact that it's hard to find even a few acres close to employment or employment out where there are affordable acres. While it's fun to fantasize about living endless Saturday's, I'm quite content to get my fingernails dirty only on the weekend and am indeed living my own life.
  24. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Glad to see that we want to keep this on track; it's good for all of us. The thread captures a dream, more or less realizable, but worthy none-the-less. Even more important is that many of us actually have made parts of the dream a reality for us, and strive to a greater realization. Many roles need to be served by many facets of life to make life work. My wife and I continue on the pursuit of our dream, we talked about this on our 2 mile walk this morning on a country, snowy road, at 4F above 0, crystal clear sky, not even a whisper of a breeze, complete peace, and we thought -- there is no better place to be right now except right here.
  25. SE Iowa

    SE Iowa New Member

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    I'm a real farmer with a day-job in town. 430 acres of corn and beans + some small hay patches. Finishing 44 calves and have 15 chickens (my sons' "livestock business"). We understand that the writing is on the wall for commodity production at this SMALL scale level, especially the livestock thing.

    Ending my previous rant and on to the next....

    I wanted to get the opinion from you guys on an idea I had. We were thinking about buying some high quality, small-scaled butchering equipment. My idea is to raise small amounts of low-investment livestock (primarily pigs and then later chickens) in a chemical/hormone-free and "free range" manor. Sort of like what they did 50 years ago. We would pre-market the animals (i.e. we have just farrowed 10 piglets to be finished by this date) via the internet. Note, we live 20 minutes from the Univ of Iowa. My not-fully developed idea is to allow people to participate in the processing (not the slaughter though) of "their" animal. This will allow them to understand where the food comes from and know that it was taken care of all along the way. I would charge only for the animal with the understanding being that it would be more per pound to make up for the processing fees. We do this same sort of thing when we process deer except obviously, no one pays for the animal we just work together.

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