How to start Homesteading? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 05-16-2008, 02:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband and I have talked about converting to a simpler way of life for almost as long as I can remember. In recent years we have discussed more and more about making this dream a reality. We are recoginizing that we may have an upcoming opportunity to do so. My greatgrandmother owns what used to be a self sustaining farm from the 30's to the 80's when her husband died. Since then the barn has been torn down & land has been sold off to the point of only having 7 acres of pasture/garden land and two homes ( her first two bedroom home & her second 4 bedroom home). She is 93 years old and at a point where she will soon mentally no longer to stay in her home. That being said we have the option of renting or purchasing the property from her. The benefit to renting is that if we find that this is not for us we can "bail" alot faster than if we purchased. Of course the idea of purchasing comes with the obvious benefit of not throwing $ on rent (for the record our rent would only be $500 for everything). Also we know that we want laying chickens which I am familiar with and a milk cow or goat which I have no idea about. How much do cows and goats normally run? What is the work to sustain these animals. The farm is on well water with a septic tank and central heat. What else should I factor into making my decision? Thanks!

wife to an amazing man and mom to my 5 amazing children sd (16), sd (13), d (5), son (2), & caboose d born 11/15/09 and two goats but they don't have anything for that
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#2 of 12 Old 05-16-2008, 02:13 PM
 
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man, you have a sweet deal!
I would suggest getting the facilities set up before any cows come home
when you are ready for cows checkout the 4h or ffa fairs and get a good looking one from one of the kids. Same for chickens etc. I have no idea on prices, you could call your local 4h/ffa and ask them.

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#3 of 12 Old 05-16-2008, 04:56 PM
 
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...but keep in mind that the inital price of the animal is NOTHING compared to what you'll spend on feeding it, and caring for it. Growing up, I always wanted a horse, and I'd be all excited when I'd find one for say $500, but then my dad would remind me of the extra hay and feed, and time spent caring for and cleaning it. And if you're not set up, you'll need shelter for it, a water source, somewhere to store feed, fencing...and someone able to do all of this. As well as be able to care for it when something is wrong, and be able to tell when something is wrong. I would spend some time around cows (or goats, although I'm mostly speaking about cows here, because that's what I have experience with) first to see what you're in for, if it's something that's totally new to you.
I'm in Canada, so the price info I have probably isn't too relevant to you! I really don't mean to sound negative at all, just trying to give you an idea of what to expect. I'd be happy to help out more if you'd like!

Melanie

P.S. It sounds like you've got a wonderful opportunity though, so I would certainly give it a try (can you rent for a few months, and then decide to buy if you're enjoying it?)! Do you have any experience with homesteading or farming from before? If it's totally new to you, and you jump in feet first, you'll find it's a HUGE adjustment! Good luck!

Mel
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#4 of 12 Old 05-16-2008, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Homesteading I have no exerience with, country living yes. I actually grew up 1/4 mile from my great grandmother's home on what used to be her property. We have a small country store about a mile down the road that sells everything from gas to greeting cards to baby booties & is smaller than most peoples houses today. That being said I am obviously familiar with the land, the locals, and a much slower lifestyle. However I am also used to getting my eggs & milk from the store. I guess any advice or things you wish someone had told you before you got started type of things are what I'm looking for.

wife to an amazing man and mom to my 5 amazing children sd (16), sd (13), d (5), son (2), & caboose d born 11/15/09 and two goats but they don't have anything for that
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#5 of 12 Old 05-17-2008, 11:05 PM
 
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I would say for starters to take the amount of time and work you think you will put into this endeavor, and double it! I would take a good hard look at what you would be getting. Does the house need work that you would have to do? Estimate the costs, and then a bunch more. Does the land already have good fencing, water supply, electricity for the barn (is ther a barn?), stuff like that. Read up and talk to people about any ani,als you hope to have. Find a place to try out the care if you can (I think in that area 4-h has been as much for me as my kids). Be clear about the time frame of raising chicks to getting eggs, for example.

"bailing" might be difficult for you after you have put in a lot of effort to start homesteading. it's really a life-not a hobby you can easily walk away from. Good luck.
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#6 of 12 Old 05-19-2008, 11:51 AM
 
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I want to come back here when I have time to write, but for now, I have to put up the horses for breakfast and the farrier, pick blackberries in the fence row, kill some tallows (invasive trees), stoke the fire to get rid of a bunch of dead wood, clean up the house for the extension guy that is coming.....

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#7 of 12 Old 05-19-2008, 12:29 PM
 
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Let's see...how to start homesteading.

It sounds like moving onto the land is a great start. Is this land somewhere where, if you decided to bail, you could still live there but not do so much homesteading? As in, still get to work, is it a place you'd like to live, etc.?

How to start homesteading really depends on the land. Ours was forest so it involved a lot of things like clearing trees for driveway, house, garden, etc.

Taking baby steps is great. We started with a small garden and we expand each year. We first got chickens, then ducks, then goats. Each was a slightly different/harder kind of animal to adjust to. We paid 200 for our milking mama and 40 for her kids. She is an amazing goat. Around here, that is a high price but I have seen registered kids selling for several hundred dollars online before. The shed to house all the animals so far has cost 62 dollars because we built it out of free pallets the lumber store leaves out for people. The fencing was part work trade plus 89 for the 6 foot high stuff.

There are lots of ways to go about things and lots of places to start, I guess it all depends on what you want, how much time/energy/money you have, and what is reasonable to expect with all that.

Good luck and please keep us updated.
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#8 of 12 Old 05-19-2008, 01:52 PM
 
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I'm back in for a moment, but still have to run....gotta go to town for some electrical parts, chicken feed, have a bridle repaired.

DH wants to reply, but he has to fix a leak on the well, run some electric in the barn, organize the workshop, take some stray dogs to the no-kill shelter.....


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Worried about your baby's head shape? PM me for craniosynostosis info!
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#9 of 12 Old 05-19-2008, 02:47 PM
 
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: we hope to start homesteading in a couple years buit i know nothing aout it or how to start!!

Waldorf mama to Autumn DD 9/05 and my Spring DD 4/08 Winter baby due 2/11
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#10 of 12 Old 05-19-2008, 03:15 PM
 
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I'm a city dweller (for now) but I spent the first 17 years of my life on a horse farm. We had a monster garden, ducks, cats and dogs, that kind of thing. Here are some things that I feel like you should know

1. Meet lots of friends. Bailing hay in august by yourself sucks.
2. Wear lots of sunscreen
3. Make a broad plan that leaves room for growth and 'holy $hit' moments
4. Learn to do things for yourself, If there is something that you can't do, try to learn or remove it from you life.

humm, thats all that was on the top of my head. Be sure to keep us updated!

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#11 of 12 Old 05-19-2008, 03:24 PM
 
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To add to Kriket's list:

Learn to think on your feet and adapt. A 'real' homesteader is someone who looks at a length of hose, a watering can, and a trash bin and says, "Hey, I can make a solar shower out of that!"

Don't put all of your eggs--literally or figuratively, in one basket. Only large scale farmers have the luxury of doing so. Especially if you want to make enough money to be somewhat self-sustainable, be diverse. If a coyote gets into your chicken coop, you've still got honey in the beehive. If the bees die you still have your dairy goat or cow. If the dairy animal gets sick you still have your hog/beef cow.

Homesteading Mama to homeschoolin' kiddos London (10) ; Alexander (8) :; Holden (5) :; and Sergei born at home 8/18/08
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#12 of 12 Old 08-02-2008, 04:06 PM
 
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