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I want to live on a farm!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Okay, so I have been thinking for a long while and started talking to the husband today and we want to live on a farm. We don't want to go completely off grid to start, but we want to live off the land, possibly have some cows for milking to sell milk/cheese/butter locally and grow veggies to sell. But we don't know how to do this. We live in Florida right now (we don't want to stay in Florida though) and as of right now we have crap credit and we live paycheck to paycheck. But a girl can dream right? I am thinking of declaring bankruptcy next year (we are 30 this year) to get rid of our debt. It's not much (about 15,000) but for people that don't earn much it is a lot. My husband is going to school this semester to become a jeweler and right now I am a stay at home mum (although I work very part time for some extra cash).

But I don't know where to begin. I wanted to start living more simply and frugally now. We live in a rather nice 1500sq ft house with a lovely big back yard. We have a gorgeous grapefruit tree and an area for some veggies. One obstacle is that we have a year old pup who is very naughty and likes to dig and ate all my basil a few months ago (she did have lovely breath though aftewards). I would love to have chickens, although my husband doesn't eat eggs, but my family would love them and the fertilizer would be great.

So, where is a good place to start?

post #2 of 8
I share your dream!

Do you read Mother Earth News? We get a lot of good ideas from that magazine!

I live in FL too and I have chickens and they have been really fun and easy, after the initial investment of the coop. You might be able to trade their eggs for something else from one of your neighbors, or even sell them if you family doesn't eat them all.

Maybe you could fence in a portion of your backyard and get some lettuce, greens, tomatoes, etc going this year and see if that helps you save money. It might help you to save money if you focus on your dream by talking about it often and surrounding yourself with visuals that remind you of it-- and then taking baby steps toward it (like getting one of those $50-limit bank credit cards that can help you build good credit, and collecting ideas and materials for a chicken coop design). It sounds like you're off to a good start with your big backyard-- I wish I had some more room to grow!
post #3 of 8
Working on the same dream here. See if your city allows backyard chickens, you may be able to keep like 2-5 hens, or even 2 dwarf goats maybe. Fence the garden or build a raised bed the dog and other possible animals might stay out of and practice growing veggies (for urban homesteading inspiration check out http://www.pathtofreedom.com , subtropical climate like you on a small city lot they grow literally tons of produce). Budget every penny, cut all costs possible, put aside a savings of a thousand for emergencies so you won't get any new debts, then pay down the debt much as you can every month (we're in about 15k too, down from 20k). After that, save up all you can toward your farm.
post #4 of 8
My suggestion is to start reading. Read everything you can get your hands on related to gardening, farming, livestock, land purchasing, organics, bees, etc. etc. etc. There are mountains of books out there on farming subjects! PLENTY to keep you reading for the years while you are saving up money. One thing I don't have any helpful advice at all on is how to sell the house you have now. As far as I understand, it's nearly impossible to sell houses in this economy & no one knows how long it will be til houses will sell again. So that part kinda sucks. But otherwise, Google "urban farming" or "urban homestead" & you'll find tons of info to get you started right where you are.

HERE is a link to the "farming community" on Amazon. It looks like there are 668 books on that list alone! Have fun!
post #5 of 8
I'd also recommend you look at Path to Freedom and read a lot, find out what you can do where you live. See what your municipality allows and just begin. Fence areas away from the pup to prevent trouble. If you think the basil was a mess, imagine what she could do with a chicken or 5. But reading and planning can help you avoid those troubles, and you'll want to acquire as many skills as you can in the meantime.

I was 33 when we moved to our place. I don't know whether it's a good idea to plan for bankruptcy. I guess I'd be concerned about how that could impact your ability to qualify for financing for that dream place when you do find it. It might be better to look for ways to increase your income while you live more frugally, and see how fast you can chip away at the debt. There is the possibility of consolidation in the future, which is something to consider.

No matter where you end up, or when you get there, knowing how to grow stuff and raise things is a great feeling. Flower beds are great places to add peppers, tomatoes and herbs.

I'd say, start digging--literally and figuratively. Open yourselves to opportunities as they present themselves, learn everything you can that's related to the lifestyle you want to live, and eventually, you'll get there, whether it's evolutionary or revolutionary.
post #6 of 8
I totally understand the desire to be immediately rid of your debt, but it's not like declaring bankruptcy is just a do-over financially. It has a lot of other repercussions.

If you owe 15K, why don't you make a plan to pay it off over seven years? That's not that much to attack each year.

It's your debt, you should own it, IMO. The finance forum can offer lots of good advice for getting out of debt.
post #7 of 8
I agree 100% with chinaKat! Yeah debt sucks, but claiming bankruptcy for $15,000 of debt is totally irresponsible. I think you should focus on paying off your debt, before you start investing money towards planting a garden or buying chickens. Pay off your debt, plant a garden, buy some chickens and go from there.
post #8 of 8
I say start living the life you want to live now, where you are.

I agree that bankruptcy doesn't seem like a good idea for you. Trust me, I know $15,000 is a lot, might as well be a million. But like others have said, you could get that paid off in 7 years or even less if you really work at it, and then you'll be ready for your new life with stellar credit and the ability to buy your farm.

Until then, live frugally NOW. Cut all non-essentials and focus that money on your debt and savings. Plant a garden so you know a thing or two when you get to your farm. Fence off your garden to keep the puppy out.

I don't really think gardening has to cost that much, especially when you consider the cost savings at the grocery store, so I'd start it this spring, and keep it simple and grow the things you spend the most money on at the store.
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