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Old 01-31-2013, 01:25 AM
summitlb summitlb is offline
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okay so i want to start a homestead. build a small shack at first raise some animals and grow food.
animals for food and clothing
goats
rabbits
chicken
maybe sheep.

im not sure about the crops to plant since this will be done in the ochoco mountains in oregon. I want to be as self relient as possible. this is the research period before i go. i plan to move to the new land in about a year from now. just needing tips on what to build and how to set things up. I know I will need to bring in things from time to time but my retirement and disability will pay for those. and the skins probably would sell to someone. I am also going to be filming my experience out there the first year and possibly longer.
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:43 AM
Rdrasj Rdrasj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by summitlb View Post
okay so i want to start a homestead. build a small shack at first raise some animals and grow food.
animals for food and clothing
goats
rabbits
chicken
maybe sheep.

im not sure about the crops to plant since this will be done in the ochoco mountains in oregon. I want to be as self relient as possible. this is the research period before i go. i plan to move to the new land in about a year from now. just needing tips on what to build and how to set things up. I know I will need to bring in things from time to time but my retirement and disability will pay for those. and the skins probably would sell to someone. I am also going to be filming my experience out there the first year and possibly longer.
Is this a serious question?

I have to ask based on the vague description given. Research for a year? It would probably take three years for a serious effort just in research. Retirement better be a pretty penny because disability won't cover 10% of what its going to cost just in initial purchase of your animals, feed, fencing and pens, feeders and so on. If you also want to grow food you need to clear the land remove stones and roots get a good soil analysis amend it with materials needed for what your growing, you will also need to preserve and store all that food that is growing and being slaughtered.


Sorry that sounds so harsh, but its just not that easy.

Lets start simple


Do you have the land? If so how much? If not, how much can you afford to buy in the next 12 months?
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:28 AM
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My understanding is that a lot of people try it and quit shortly thereafter. It's a lot of manual work and $$$ for the initial set up. Most people don't like to do without modern conviences. I would at least have a well installed and maybe a septic system. That alone can be costly...
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:28 PM
srivkin srivkin is offline
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[QUOTE=summitlb;5181441]okay so i want to start a homestead. build a small shack at first raise some animals and grow food.
animals for food and clothing
goats
rabbits
chicken
maybe sheep.

First, find a mentor in area where you want to live and locate like mined folks who are trying the same. Next, find the land & look for land that has a spring rather than another source of water and land that will grow something. If you want livestock, then you must fence - predators out, goats, etc. in unless you have hundreds of acres. Consider a livestock guard dog such as a Maremma or you will loose all your livestock first day. Your shack is what ever the climate demands and remember the animals need secure housing also. In OR a spring will provide you with a "spring house" for food storage, besides unlimited water for live stock and gardens. We've been doing this for 40 years and if you lived nearby would be glad to be your "mentor", but find someone so you don't have to reinvent every wheel.
Its hard but don't give up....
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:25 PM
bookgrl.ph bookgrl.ph is offline
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I'm also looking to get into homesteading, but it will be a few years before we can get a house/property to work on. In the meantime, I'm working on other homesteading skills and reading whatever I can find. Anyway - what I keep seeing is the advice to start small. Don't expect to get it all up and running the first year. Research building methods, learn to bake bread and make soap, grow some herbs in the window maybe, acquire refernce books. Also consider that if you can handle a homestead you may be cut off from disability.
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:39 PM
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I am also trying to get myself to a point where i can start a homestead style home for my family. i agree that its a lot of work and its going to be slow going but if you have the land i think that is the biggest step. after that i think its just about adding one step at a time till one day your there. read growing a farmer by kurt timmermeister, i think his story is a perfect example of the only way to do it in our day and age without hitting the lottery.

still if you do anything with this goal please keep us updated, i for one am very interested in any progress you make
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:42 PM
mtnairkin mtnairkin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by summitlb View Post
okay so i want to start a homestead. build a small shack at first raise some animals and grow food.
animals for food and clothing
goats
rabbits
chicken
maybe sheep.

im not sure about the crops to plant since this will be done in the ochoco mountains in oregon. I want to be as self relient as possible. this is the research period before i go. i plan to move to the new land in about a year from now. just needing tips on what to build and how to set things up. I know I will need to bring in things from time to time but my retirement and disability will pay for those. and the skins probably would sell to someone. I am also going to be filming my experience out there the first year and possibly longer.

Is it just you or are other people involved? How modern must your home be (can you rough it, or need conveniences)? Any physical limitations? Regardless, chickens are a good first step.
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:46 PM
dT. dT. is offline
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Let me share with you some of our own thoughts, as we are also working through the logistics of moving our family and starting a homesteading lifestyle. So far, we are in the researching phase - praying, reading, asking questions, looking at land, researching different kinds of trees, berries, animals, pest control etc... These subjects are deep. Reading a book or 2 will not cut it.

We are now about to supplement this phase with some actual doing. We already have been maintaining a vegetable garden and some fruit trees. We've had some success and some failures with the garden (failures, actually, are times where you can learn quite a lot). Now is the time for failures, as when you are relying on the garden to feed you, failure can be quite catastrophic.

We live in the subs right now, but are planning to build a chicken coop and keep a few hens. This experience will be very valuable when we do move out to the country. I also found a mentor who will show me the ins and outs of goat keeping and milking. This will be invaluable, as we will need to start our homestead with at minimum a few goats for milk and enough hens for eggs. Those will be two places where I will have been able to supplement head knowledge with real 'doing' knowledge. This will help us when we do move.

That brings me to another subject. You need to document your plan. This is too much stuff to keep it all in your head. Bookmark and print out websites, cut magazine articles, and keep a running spreadsheet and document of your formal plan. In this document, you need to spell out every aspect of your plan - outline and detailed. In ours, we have a transition phase. This is a very important piece of our plan. It is when we live in our homestead, but are not true 'homesteaders'. This is where I am still working a job, albeit from home. We are still buying a lot of meat and produce from a co op or even the store. Crop failures wouldn't be catastrophic here, as we can simply . I can still make good money to pay for stuff like fencing and materials for barns, sheds etc...

I include that, because it is perhaps not in everyone's plan; however, it is an integral part of our plan. We are not farmers...yet. There will be many mistakes. I'm sure that how well we can produce food and how much building / and set up will cost will be things that we do not estimate properly. I am sure we will still like modern conveniences more than we'd like to think. Hence, we built this into our plan.

So definitely plan, and come up with something that works for you.
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:48 PM
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We started in 2005. Bought land, rented a dozer and excavator for a week to push back the forest a bit, started building a house, planted the first trees for our orchard the following spring.

Somewhere near the top of your "first things to do" list, is plant trees. They take a long time to mature.

Then shrubs and vines.

We have done: goats, sheep, rabbits, chickens, ducks, turkeys, pigs, bees. With each is a learning curve.
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:37 PM
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When I was a young woman I did it from the ground up as you are considering. Now I am in my 40s and find it easier to start with the basics and add on to a rural home. It is just a matter of what your body can take. Honestly I've known a lot of people with On Waldon Pond fantasies that couldn't hack it once they were they were in too deep to get out. Think it over carefully and make sure the fantasy is realistic.

That is not an insult to you. It is a wonderful life - calm, closer to God and peaceful (well most of the time) but it is hard work and if you are used to creature comforts it can be rough. I loved it and the only reason I gave it up was to buy my way out of a bad marriage by giving him half the sale price to go away. That said I can still remember breaking down and crying in a resturant bathroom because after a winter of washing clothes by hand in cold stream water the hot tap water felt so good.

In answer to the question these are the things that stick out in my memory:

1. Have at least 2 dogs because they work better as a team. Bears can kill one dog easily but the more you have the less issues there are.
2. Keep your food up - see above bear issue. Bears are beautiful to watch but not in camp. Ditto for the smaller critters.
3. Plan to build raised beds or do deep mulch if you are planting forest land. There are too many roots and weed seeds otherwise. I like 8" of straw on land cleared down to old leaf level. You can do a 50x50 area with 25 bales. It builds soil and kills weeds.
4. Always wear a pistol, carry 2 knives (don't have to be big but it is a PIA not to have one handy), keep some strong zip ties or strong cord on you. Walking back and forth to get things is too time consuming. Wear one of those fanny packs for a possibles bag.
5. Invest in good boots, gloves and socks. Get some moleskins (for blisters - google it) and Udder Cream (for chapped skin - again google it) You are your most important tool and you MUST keep yourself functional.
6. Electric fencing is better and cheaper than the other options if you clear an area for a small solar charger.
7. Don't clear land yourself run goats to clear and pigs to do your tilling and root removal. I will give details on that if you want just ask.
8. Watch out for snakes and spiders. Esp spiders. Black snakes are your friend. Carry a pillow case in your truck to bring them home off the road sides when you can find them.
9. Build a solar oven to do your cooking.
10. Keep your water source clean. This is a big one. That means do not S--- up hill of your spring. Build a spring box and keep an eye on it to look for run off issues.
11. Wave, smile at and talk to your neighbors. If you don't we notice and remember. You will never be local, neither will your kids but your grandkids might get that status.
12. Buy a good truck. Not a new truck a GOOD truck there is a difference. Something you don't mind beating the heck out of. Put a winch on it.
13. Block and tackel plus a come-a-long. Buy them. Use them. Save your back.
14. When felling a widow maker you can use cables and a come-a-long to control the fall of an otherwise unfellable tree. Learn how to PROPERLY use your chainsaw. Learn to sharpen your own chainsaw blades. Have a wedge and sledge for when your ax gets stuck while splitting wood. Learn to tell a tree with twisted wood by the bark they fall funny and can kill you. Watch the tree tops when felling trees because the leaves are like a sail and can make the tree do all sorts of things. Don't overcompensate for some male ego thing and buy more saw than you need. They get heavy and kick worse than a mule. Have a bow saw to cut your chainsaw out of a pinch because no matter how careful you are sooner or later it will happen.
15. All big jobs are just a bunch of small jobs. Learn to break chores down into simple tasks. Get books on old technology. I moved an entire cabin worth of logs using rollers made from saplings, a digging bar as a lever and a chain. I am a short woman and I had 3 kids and a useless husband at the time so it was just me. You CAN do anything if you have a basic understanding of simple physics and primative tools. Use your safety equipment when running a saw. READ the manual then memorize it. A cell phone is a wonderful thing if injured alone in the woods.
16. Soup kept cooking on a wood stove can go all winter without refrigeration. In winter you have all the outdoors for an refrigerator. Culture your milk with kefir or buttermilk culture to avoid it going bad without refrigeration. Do small batches and keep adding fresh milk to it when it is used up part of the way. You can culture it at room temps.
17. Camp in your land for a few weekends before buying it to see how much traffic it will get. I didn't and found out half the county had been using my road as a hook up spot. I got so tired of running off drunk men at gun point it made me nuts.
18. When choosing between goats and cows choose goats if you have less pasture and more brush. Keep males away from females or the milk will be nasty. Cows give a lot of milk and unless you make cheese it will be too much BUT if you have chickens and pigs it will fatten them right up. If you sour it first it does wonders for worms etc. Remember cows kick and knock the heck out of you with their heads. I've had them put me in a brace before because I got distracted. Learn about bloat before you have a dead cow in your yard and no idea what to do with it. For that matter accidentally kill a few goats before you move on to cows if you have not had them before. Removing the body is easier. Pigs bite and can kill you. Kill them before they are too mean. Pigs follow food far easier than they can be driven. Ditto for all other livestock. I like bands for neutering more than cutting because it is easier for someone new to it.
19. You need cats. There are mice all over the place and they all want to move into your nice warm home.
20. Be very careful with fire. I almost lost everything once because a neighbor was careless.
21. Build your place where you can get to it by truck. I didn't and I ended up hauling in a woodstove in a wheelbarrow. I shudder at the memory.
22. Get a library card and make friends at the local hardware and farm supply stores. Listen to the old timers they have forgotten more than you will ever know. Don't judge a man (or woman) by their cars, clothes or how educated they appear. Most of us look sort of rough and tend to sound country. I am a very literate woman but when I am with my friends at home I sound country as all get out. We don't go for fancy or showy. Don't disrespect women most of us can put you on your a--. Don't speak poorly to your elders. You will be judged and people will remember when you need help what your character said about you. Open doors for women with manure on their boots not just high school girls in short skirts.
23. Forget about privacy we will all know your business and talk about you. It is our version of reality tv and our way of keeping everyone in line. We know if you do wrong and we know when you need help and will act accordingly.
24. Paint all tools you want to keep with blaze orange spray paint. Otherwise you will lose them

That is all I can think of off hand but I will add more as I think of it... the most important parts are the ones about manners and judging people. If folks like you they will teach you the rest if you ask and listen.

Last edited by Mominator; 02-02-2013 at 09:35 AM..
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:37 AM
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Funny. My husband and I said the same thing about 10 years ago. It's nice to think that everything will magically happen "sometime in the next year," but in reality... that's never the way it happens.

First thing first - pay off your debts, if any. You DO NOT want to go into this hard lifestyle with the added burden of debt collectors hounding you and threatening to take away everything you've worked so hard for. Don't even think about buying land until you have your debt under control.

Second - stop talking about skills you'd like to have. Get them. Make it happen. You don't need land to garden. Start with buckets on the porch if you have to. Or find a friend who gardens and will either let you help or give you a section of theirs to work. There are community gardens popping up everywhere, and at a cost between free and $10/year, it's really not that tough of a decision. Want to get animals someday? Volunteer once a week on a farm that raises the type of animals you eventually want to raise in a similar method to how you would eventually like to raise them.

Third - Read, read, read, then read some more. Vague dreams and wishes have a very good chance of never coming true. Study your patootie off to figure out exactly what you want. You want chickens, right? Well... what kind? How many? What sort of coop are you going to build for them? Are you going to sell eggs or meat? Are you going to be a breeder? What sort of permits or certification do you need? It's not as easy as saying, "I want chickens someday." Then, poof! You get chickens. There's planning involved. There's knowledge involved. Start getting some of your proverbial ducks in a row or those chickens are going to remain just a vague dream.

Lastly, give yourself time. It's what I've been getting at this whole post. Nothing will happen in one year if you're like the majority of us. Take baby steps. It took my husband and I nearly 8 years to finally find land that we finally drooled over. Yeah, we could have settled, but we didn't. It took us a few years to pay off our debts, when we thought we could do it in one. We're now going on our second summer building our house. Stuff happens in life. Don't set unrealistic time restraints, especially if you don't even have the foggiest idea of exactly what you want yet.

Good luck.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:39 AM
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If I may make a reccomendation.The book back to basics will give you a lot of information on home steading from site placement of your home tanning hides to canning your crops and off grid power.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:47 AM
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Figure out EVERYTHING, then triple the time you THINK it will take to accomplish, whether getting onto a piece of land or digging a garden once you are there.

Have a back up plan. No harm in that, and it makes success easier. Why go stupid natural before you have to? Even the pioneer settlers who established footholds in most of America had backup plans -- or died -- and the plan may be a second job, power as needed, help from others, etc.

Then start doing it, because no matter how good a shape you are, it will not be enough to do the work you will have to do EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY once you set in for real. People not born into farm-type work don't develop the muscles and endurance (not to mention learning tricks of leverage, etc.) that come almost naturally when one is born into that sort of lifestyle.

Even a 100 pound ram will give you quite a run-around if you don't know how to handle animals. I'll not even speak to what a hog can do to a man... Farm kids learn that stuff from watching and experimenting at an early age. I was dealing with 1500# cows at age 6. No big deal to me, that was all I knew, but it was pretty funny watching my city kid friends even try to touch one. They always had way better aim than I did when we peed on the electric fence too...
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Old 02-04-2013, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by summitlb View Post
okay so i want to start a homestead. build a small shack at first raise some animals and grow food.
animals for food and clothing
goats
rabbits
chicken
maybe sheep.

im not sure about the crops to plant since this will be done in the ochoco mountains in oregon. I want to be as self relient as possible. this is the research period before i go. i plan to move to the new land in about a year from now. just needing tips on what to build and how to set things up. I know I will need to bring in things from time to time but my retirement and disability will pay for those. and the skins probably would sell to someone. I am also going to be filming my experience out there the first year and possibly longer.
Firstly: Get prepared mentally and physically. You are researching which is great. This life is not experienced through page strokes and mouse clicks. It is PHYSICAL! I am 35, former infantry, current firefighter and avid fitness guy. Daily work around the place can be tough. I use a tractor as much as I can and most days my back and shoulders still hurt! Always, Post hole digging, fence stretching, board nailing, bale tossing, feed bag dumping, water bucket toting, dirt shoveling, ditch digging, tree felling, log splitting, wood stacking, shed roof patching, and stall door fixing.
But there is, berry picking, jam licking, watermelon slurping, pond fishing, honey comb sucking, apple cider drinking, baby goat birthing, egg gathering, pot of beans cooking, cucumber pickling, wood stove burning, wife smooching, pork BBQ making, guitar playing, and squirrel hunting with my boy in the middle of a "school" day.
so.... what everyone suggested above. Also....
#1) Strong Barn- Can live in it and store equipment and protect animals. Give it the ability to add on to. (Put our 28x40 up for $6,000)
#2) Know your land - Will it even support agriculture? drain ok? How hard is it to put a fence post in?
#3) Wooded or brushy-go with goats. Milk goats, fiber goats, meat goats. All clearing machines.
#4) Cut wood now for next winter! (always wood to cut and season.)
#5) Purchase with a lifetime of use in mind. You will find you get what you pay for and you will always use it more then once, regardless what you think.
#6) Tractor with front-end loader OR better a Backhoe. Invaluable machine! can find a good used one for $5000-$10000.
#7) Fencing- your not just trying to keep animals in, you want to keep things out. Electric fence is OK but fragile. Medium to big animals can snap it. Field fence with barbed wire (inside and out) is stronger.
#8) Fence posts!! Strong corner posts make or brake your fencing. go 2 to 3 ft down, concrete, cross braced to next post 6 ft away. Cross bracing between posts every 100ft.

Enjoy.
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Old 02-04-2013, 06:03 PM
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Lets say that a person wanted to start a new farm, and wanted training and some method of doing this.

It would be nice if such a program existed. Where willing people could apprentice to an experienced farmer, and come out the other end owning his/her own farm.

Such programs do exist.

They have been discussed previously.

In this state there is a large network of Organic Farmers called MOFGA You can go to www.mofga.com to see their website.

They operate many different programs, one of which is an 'Apprenticeship program'. Many of the farms are open to hiring seasonal farm-hands [apprentices]. While marketing veggies I have been approached by college students to see if I was hiring apprentices.

Most apprentices are seasonal because they are college students, however among farmers there is a need for full-time year-around apprentices. The problem is that college breaks do not line-up well with when the farms need help.

Many of these Organic farms provide food and housing, and a small stipend to their apprentices.

Apprentices work the farms as well as take produce to Farmer's Markets where the produce is sold to the public.

Since most of these farmers rub-shoulders at the Farmer's Markets, they all get to know each other. So it is common to work at one farm for 6-months to a year, and then move to a different farm for a while.

At some point in this MOFGA declares the apprentice to be a 'journeyman', and will put the journeyman onto one of the MOFGA farms either as a Farm Manager for a year.

These are non-profit farms owned by MOFGA where you will be expected to earn enough to support yourself and pay taxes, without a mortgage. After operating that for a year it is published and the network tries to find a farm for you to purchase. Sometimes an elderly farmer will inherit his farm to you.

A friend of mine was one of the founders of MOFGA. He buys land, starts up a new farm, and trains apprentices. Most of the people who have apprenticed for him only do so for a short while. But if any wish to stay they are made a partner, and after a couple years an agreement is made where the new partners buy 100% ownership from him. He then finds a new piece of land and starts at the beginning formign a new farm. Right now he is on his third farm in this manner.

I would imagine that most states ought to have some form of Organics group like this.

A person who knows little about farming and who has no money, can get trained while earning cash, and can eventually purchase his own farm.

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Old 02-04-2013, 08:18 PM
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Something to think about.

Meat animals you get to eat once. Laying hens will give you en egg almost every day, and the eggs do not need refridgeration because you are not going to wash them.

Besides, you can keep them eaten down. An egg or two a day is easy to eat.

On the DOWN side, chickens need protection, especially at night. And, you will need to give them food when the bugs are scarce.
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:30 PM
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Someone mentioned having chickens in their suburban back yard.... here's the bad news; the neighbors will hate the noisy roosters, your grass will be gone in two months and then you'll be feeding them. If you're not careful, you'll have salmonella stew brewing in your back yard. That's why they are restricted from city living. When chicken droppings dry, some of it becomes airborne and can cause psittacosis, a very dangerous lung condition that can kill a person.

I wouldn't want a neighbor to have a coop if the wind was blowing in my direction all the time.

In the country, we always put the animals east of the house, so the west wind will always blow the microorganisms away from the house. Also, put the doors on the east side of the coops, dog houses, etc., so the wind doesn't blow in on the anilmals. A dog will stay a lot warmer if he doesn't have the rain and winter wind blowing in on him. He'll cry and yap all night if he isn't warm and dry. Plus, he appreciates the morning sun coming in through the opening. On windy days, barn doors are a lot easier to close on the east side of the building, too.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:09 PM
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Momintor,

Just wanted to say what an OUTSTANDING post!

OP, you said my "retirement and disability", which to me is not a show stopper, but you need to recognize the labor involved in your endevor.....I have a friend whom we have known for about 20 years. He is off the grid making a life for himself and a wife (she works outside the home), he has written a book about it (cant remember the title, but it is on Amazon), and he is young "ish" and heathy, and WOW what an endevor.......


I would encourage a "hybrid" situation where you could "ease" into the full blown lifestyle (or not) if you decide to "go there".......this would give you convience/options depending upon, health, weather, economics, etc....


This hybrid is sort of what we are doing. We are currently "lining up" for more agrarian pursuits, but we are close to jobs, electric, (water, natural gas, sewer, none of which we use) etc..... we are on the grid (no TV) and have young kids (school, Scouts, friends all are important), we have chickens, an orchard, looking at goats, and getting ready to ammend some acreage we have that is not woodlot. I have equipment here to do this (and some construction equipment), and hire my equip. out when needed. We have ALOT of flexability and choices. Our proximity to "town" has allowed ALOT (a whole LOT!) of opportunities that are just NOT present far far out in the country. Things like tons (1000's of tons) of free fill/aggregate/millings from local construction jobs (and LOTS of FREE use of there equipment when they are on other jobs, all of which has helped us personally and with storage of about 2 acres of improved "lot" for my business saving me tens of thousands $$), free manure from "townie" horse farms, the list is actually endless. We live off the cast off "fat" and waste of ALOT over the folks who are in proximity to us. After messing up my 3/4 mile driveway last winter the local water company and another construction co. brought me 120 ton of #3 gravel The list goes on and on......

Just some thoughts on looking for "middle ground" where it is less of a "leap"....The East is so different than the West in terms of density and such, but I just wanted to throw some ideas out there. The "trasition zones" around towns can be real "homeruns"..........East or West
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:13 AM
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Just a quick word about tractors. As mentioned above they are invaluable. Be sure to get an endloader bucket, and unless you are on dry level ground 4 wheel drive is the way to go. An other thing if possible get one that is bigger than you think you need. You will find that the horsepower doesn't matter so much (for most chores), it is the weight of your tractor that will often be the limiting factor to what you can do. Some of the older domestic tractors like those made in the early 80s were more heavily constructed though. I really don't have much knowledge of foreign made ones from that time period, though there are several good foreign made ones on the market today.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by summitlb View Post
okay so i want to start a homestead. build a small shack at first raise some animals and grow food.
You said you want to move, but do you already own the land? Or are you looking at buying?

The first thing I would do is to draw up a diagram of the land. How much land are you looking at using?

Is the land wooded, cleared or both?

For livestock I would start out with chickens, and go from there. Chickens are probably the easiest livestock to raise. Unlike cows or goats that can take months, or even years before they start to produce food, hens should start laying at around 5 months old.

Do you want an orchard? What kind of crops do you want to raise?

There is a difference between what you want and what you need.

What do you need to do, and what do you want to do?
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