Might be moving to a house on 10 acres! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 03-08-2012, 06:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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There's about a 95% chance that my husband will be getting his dream job (building/facilitating on/training on challenge courses).  This dream job will come with a house on 10 acres of land... which is just a dream situation all together.  We just sold our chickens to our neighbors so that we could show our house to sell (we will get many more once we move).  I know how to raise chickens and it's EASY.  I have 3 little ones... ages 6 and under.  I'm concerned about being able to do much with such little ones.  I would LOVE to have some goats and a large garden... I would eventually love to get some dairy cows as well.  Any other ideas?  Anyone else have small children and make this work?  I know that the owner of the company (who currently lives in the house/on the land) has many hens and roosters, has a HUGE garden (large enough that he has a tractor), he has raised goats and hogs.  He said we can have whatever animals we want.  But, his kids are in high school.  He has 2 boys.  It's a little different ;-).  I'm not exactly sure how much my hubby can help (the job will have an element of travel), so I need to only do what I can do without his help (my 6 year old can help some). 

 

Anyway... any advice? 

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#2 of 10 Old 03-08-2012, 09:38 AM
 
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No advice but good for you! 

 

Because you mentioned diary cows, you might want to check out the Chickens in the Road blog.  She is a (now) single lady with a small farm (goats, sheep, chickens, milk cows,etc.) and I just love her site.  She is really honest about the challenges, what works and why, what doesn't and why, etc.


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#3 of 10 Old 03-11-2012, 10:58 AM
 
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Hi, Mama!  Yay and Congrats.  We are in a similar situation, in that our "someday" dream of a farm looks like a real possibility suddenly and we are on the cusp of buying a beautiful 10 acre parcel....we have to figure out a house, too, though!

 

Anyway, this has come about so suddenly that my mind is spinning from having to think of so many things and so quickly.  I have been dreaming of our homestead for a long time, but I never envisioned 10 acres!  I want to do this so badly, but I have to carefully consider safety and my children.  I have 3 too, or will soon.  I can also tell you that I have been gardening on a smaller scale since my oldest was a baby and so I have some ideas about how to keep them safe while working in the garden...

 

In a word, it's fencing.  I lived on a couple of acres when my first was a toddler, and we had a small play yard fenced around the house and patio in the backyard.  And then my garden was (at first, anyway) just on the other side of that fence.   That worked really well, and we were close enough to see each other and talk.  Now I garden in just a smallish city backyard, so of course that's different, but our gardens are protected from the toddler and dog (and older son)  by individual fences that we made from wooden trellis sections (and 1x2s, i think it is).  It's not high and it's really convenient.  Our small yard is mostly filled with these gardens, so there is a lawnmower's width of path between and around them...this has been fun for ds in that he has pathways like roads for driving his ride-ons and running around.   I am kindof thinking of adapting this with the other idea and have a double fence around my gardens at the new place...I think this is a good way to protect the garden from deer, as well as giving the little ones a safe play space nearby but separate from the garden.  

 

I am planning to have long raised beds, i think, or some kind of square foot garden bed layout, near the house for the kitchen garden, and I am thinking of these with those fences. I am also thinking we will have long rows out back for beans, corn, melons, and etc.  I guess I am thinking those long rows won't need as much close tending and work from me!  Or if there is a safe fenced yard for the kids, then I will be free to go out there, and I could hear them, I am sure.  Or maybe I could have a bucket swing for the baby to watch me garden back there...  The chicken coop and yard will be just on the other side of the play yard, too, I think.  Although I am hoping the little boys can come with me to tend chickens?  I haven't had hens before.

 

It's a lot to think about!  I am worried about the creek and a high bridge over rocks!  But also thinking my boys will be trained to the dangers and able to roam free (not really little boys, though, of course; when they are older).  I am also thinking each boy (once they are roaming) will each have their dog who will always go with them.  I will like to hear others' ideas, too!


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#4 of 10 Old 03-11-2012, 11:05 AM
 
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I hope I didn't write way too much in my post above!  Please excuse me, if so!


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#5 of 10 Old 03-11-2012, 02:33 PM
 
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My advice is to start small and close to the house.  Live there for a while before you decide too much--the property will start to "speak to you" as you get to know it through the seasons, through many seasons.   It is very easy to move an entire barn if it exists on paper!

 

Start off with your chickens (easy to relocate a coop), get used to dealing with a larger flock, then add to that as work becomes easier for whatever reason.  

 

The same goes for the garden and orchard.  Don't spread yourself too wide right off.  Focus on the areas near the house, and work out from there as work gets easier.


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#6 of 10 Old 03-14-2012, 01:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

My advice is to start small and close to the house.  Live there for a while before you decide too much--the property will start to "speak to you" as you get to know it through the seasons, through many seasons.   It is very easy to move an entire barn if it exists on paper!

 

Start off with your chickens (easy to relocate a coop), get used to dealing with a larger flock, then add to that as work becomes easier for whatever reason.  

 

The same goes for the garden and orchard.  Don't spread yourself too wide right off.  Focus on the areas near the house, and work out from there as work gets easier.



x2

 

We just moved on to five acres a month ago and my girls are 5,4 and 2. My 5 loves helping me with the chickens, turkeys, guineas, and ducks. My 4 would rather go do her own thing. My 2 loves chasing the flock. I look forward to the day I can add to it, but right now the barns need serious renovation and the fencing needs to be pulled out and redone. This year I am focusing on flock and garden. When I go out to do things my girls come with me and so do the dogs. That is our best defense against anything out there. Our dogs are very protective.

 

If I were you and had all the resources in place for livestock I'd add a little at a time. If you start with a flock and a garden this year, then next year add some pigs or a cow. If things don't work out chickens are fairly easy to sell off or you could eat them. You can always give up on a garden. On the other hand if you got larger livestock and decide it was a bad idea, they are more of an investment and you may or not get your money back out of them.

 

The kids can help you with the garden. We made a lesson out of planting our seeds and experimented with what methods make them grow better, wrapped or not, how often to water. My 5 and 4 are really enjoying the gardening end and we don't even have the space for the garden picked out yet. My 5 started helping in my uncle's garden when she was 3, set her on a task to pull the weeds inbetween rows, she did very well.

 

Also don't expect to be able to work for long amounts of time outside. I'm lucky if we get a two hours stretch outside, which doesn't get a whole lot done, but every little bit helps.

 

HTH

 


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#7 of 10 Old 03-14-2012, 02:23 PM
 
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I wanted to add that just in the last year I've been able to get substantially more work done.  My girls are 7 and 5 and we are unschooling, so the shift is not because they are in school!  Just suddenly it seems as if they are so much more independent.  I try to do the things they can join in on if they want.  I'm glad for the shift and so is our vegetable garden.  This year, now that we are moving to our property, we are adding to out flock of hens (down to 2 old biddies here in town) and will probably add ducks, if not this year then next, once we get settled.  The time and energy will come, I promise!


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#8 of 10 Old 06-17-2012, 07:36 PM
 
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your oldest can feed and collect eggs on his own, once he learns how, my husband started when he was 4 and was doing it all on his own when he was 6, his mom had all the kids helping out in the garden by the time they were two, but with them being small the trips to the garden of course would be short, and many., and untill they know what is a weed or a plant you will lose some of the plants :).one year she had a idea of between every row of veggies she planted she would plant a row of herb of some sort or another,(not mint, it takes over) the younger kids would pick the herbs, and help her bundle them up for drying later and she did the veggies, that worked real well for her till they got older and could help with the veggies.

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#9 of 10 Old 06-23-2012, 11:31 AM
 
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I would add one thing to all the above advice - if you eat pork, and the current owner is wanting to give you pigs - take one or two. they are relatively easy to care for (feed & water them as you feed & water the chickens). They don't need much else, and you will essentially have just gotten yourself a TON of basically (minus feed cost!) meat.

 

Good luck on your adventure - we moved to 5 acres last fall, and have chickens, ducks, a 50x50 garden, planted a small orchard. It's a ton of work but there are 7 adults living here - the hardest thing is keeping the little kids (5 kids from 2-6) away from delicate plants, etc, and teaching the older kids (7 kids from 7-13) how to be truly helpful.
 


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#10 of 10 Old 06-23-2012, 07:23 PM
 
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Congratulations!

 

Definitely your top priority is going to be fencing. Safe fencing is a necessity and so so underrated.

If the acreage is brushy, consider using goats to maintain it (again, fence). If you're interested in goats and a dairy source, what about dairy goats? I hear good things about dwarf dairy goats, http://www.andda.org/ Supposed to be much easier to handle than cows, safer around small children (cows aren't really safe at all around little kids no matter how friendly she seems, all it takes is one good kick) and delicious milk... If you choose a cow, do get a Jersey. Best bet for a family milk cow.

 

Start small for sure. Draw out your plans, write about your plans, and then modify them a hundred times :D

 

Get yourself a good large dog (perhaps an Anatolian Shepherd? They do quite well in the heat and are capable of chasing anything off) and raise him up right. I see you're in Texas so I'm sure you're aware of the predators down there who would love a chicken, goat, or toddler for lunch (am I too grim? Sorry, I'm sort of morbid I think). 

 

Take it easy on the large livestock purchases in the beginning. Get established for a couple years before you decide to go big. Although I agree with the advice to go ahead and take the pigs. They are so easy to keep and very entertaining. Fence them well, they're pretty good at escaping. They will dig the hell out of any dirt they can get to. If you fence your garden you can use the pigs as plows in the fall. Sprinkle dried corn and let them get to it. They're great for turning compost piles too. Plus then none of your table scraps will ever go to waste again :)

 

If you haven't already, start a blog. People LOVE reading stories like yours and your kids will appreciate the preserved memories.

 

Your kids will grow as your farm grows. Right now they can't do too much but neither can you (after all it's only the beginning) so it balances out. As they get older and your family work force grows, you will be able to take on more tasks. Prevent burnout.

 

Good luck, how exciting!

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