14 Acres what would you do?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by fitwind, Sep 26, 2006.

  1. fitwind

    fitwind Well-Known Member

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    One year ago I purchased are dream place it took all the money we had but we did it. I had so many plans for the place but without the money backing us it has been real hard. We have got a pretty good sized garden but without a tiller it was a digging and clearing it out by hand. We have put up some fencing and built a couple of shelters for our chickens and ducks.Unfortunatly most of our land is not being used it is now full of 6ft to 8ft weeds no money for a brush hog or tractor yet. We decided to spend the money we had saved on cental air and a wood stove for comfort to hot and cold to be without. We are going to be putting most of our money away in savings to pay off the house in 4 yrs. I would love to start trying to do some things with the land it seems like such a waste not using it(afraid of trees growing) it is all open field except are tree lines on the edge of the property all of it is fenced except the south end . Does anybody have any suggestions for me. I am always reading what wonderful things you people do. I will only have about 200.00 to 300.00 a month to spend trying to utilize this land. I was hoping on trying to make a little extra money with it.My whole thought process was thrown off when things didn't work the way I wanted it ( Im a stupid city girl with big dreams :rolleyes: ). I love my new life out in the country there was a little culture shock but I,m over that and just want to make a great place for my little girl to grow up.What would you do to make some extra money with the land (Im not afraid of working hard love it :) )?Would you get some livestock if so what kind? I am open to all ideas you have .
     
  2. Country Doc

    Country Doc Well-Known Member

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    I vote a few goats to keep it clean. There are alot of people here that know more about goats than I. Also a couple of calves is an idea. Something to keep the brush down. Goats eat more brush, cows grass. Cows are easier to fence in.
     

  3. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    yes goats. they are a pain to fence, but they'll do the job.
     
  4. Michael W. Smith

    Michael W. Smith Well-Known Member

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    Well, you could get calves next year and let them eat those fields and sell them in late fall before winter sets in and you have to start feeding grain. However the cost of started cows is usually high. You could buy some bottle calves from the sale barn, but the risk with them is higher but cheaper.

    Not sure how well the cows will keep different weeds and brush kept down.
    Goats will keep the weeds and brush down for sure, but what kind of fencing do you have - they are great at escaping?

    You could buy started goat kids in the Spring as well and let them feast to their hearts content and sell them before winter - provided you have good fence.
     
  5. gypsymama

    gypsymama Well-Known Member

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    Why don't you ask around and find a local farmer willing to rent the fields from you? That way you can keep the weeds under control while you are waiting to use it yourself. He may even till up a garden for you,

    Come time to use it, it exchange for rent, he could plow, disc, or reseed it for you.

    Or if the field is good for hay, you could have someone come and bale it for a small fee. Again, it keeps the weeds down if that's what you want.
     
  6. fitwind

    fitwind Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking of goats but what kind? I am in the process of putting up fencing a combination 4ft high fence and electric fencing as added protection.Cows are expensive at what age do I buy and how much would I pay?
     
  7. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    get some meat goats and let them help clear the land. maybe the spring is a good time for that. sell all but breeding stock in the winter. they will help to clear the tangle for you. i was going to do that this year but i waited too long.

    clear out small areas you can manage until then. if you clear too much with no way to maintain it, it will grow back again. cutting trees is a good fall and winter chore. take advantage of the cool weather. cut anything over two or three inches for firewood (if you use it). hardwoods like hawthorn and locust make good fence posts. cedar can be used for fence posts too or for walls on raised beds.

    start compost piles and put small brush and weeds etc. in them. eventually you can use it for the garden. maybe make one "good" compost pile that will compost quickly. put no brush in that one.

    that is all i have to offer now...back to my own tangle, lol.
     
  8. fitwind

    fitwind Well-Known Member

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    What kind of meat goats? Boer crosses or purbred? Or a different breed?
     
  9. topside1

    topside1 Retired Coastie Supporter

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    Wow, 6-8 foot weeds!!! First off I would hire a person to bushog ($300) the pasture during the winter and start fresh in the spring with animals. Another primitive method would be to drag a heavy post/short telephone pole around the field, once again during the winter with your vehicle. If you don't do something soon trees will begin to overtake the pasture and create more problems. Please don't look to goats to cure your problems, their big eaters but your fields sound overwhelming. Goats and cattle can maintain your field once it's been mowed. Even with grazing/browsing animals you will still need the pasture mowing annually. Do plenty of reading before you jump into raising animals, they are far from maintenance free $$$$. Tennessee John
     
  10. ceresone

    ceresone Well-Known Member Supporter

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    guess i'm still different-- i'd do like Ruth Stout, where you want a garden? smash those weeds down, put cardboard or paper over it, it all rots down into green fertilizer, pile all the weeds you can cut on top of it-- by spring, you'll be astonished at the soft fertile dirt under it, just dig a hole right thru whatever you've put over the dirt--and plant! hard to do the whole 14 acres this way ( you could, if you wanted,) but at least you'll have your garden plot ready!
    and for all the nay-sayers, i KNOW it can be done.
     
  11. MullersLaneFarm

    MullersLaneFarm Well-Known Member

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    cross breeds would be fine - boer lineage would be a plus.
     
  12. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    I have so much advice I could fill three books.

    But for this tiny message .... do you have a truck? do you have stones or logs? fresh logs? old, rotten logs?

    How about one of these: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scythe

    I would start building raised bed gardens right on top of the weeds. In fact, make all the weeds and twigs and rotten logs and whatever be the innards of your raised beds.

    Can you get square bales of moldy alfalfa to the property? Like a few tons? Usually, people will let you have them for free.

    Do you have any fruit trees?

    Do you have any creeks or springs?

    Do you know what permaculture is?
     
  13. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the good life! Buying the land and house is the cheap and easy part. Finding the time and money to just maintain it, forget about improving it, is the hard part, especially if you didn't retire already with a pension and benefits. Animals are another large expense, the cost of the animal is minimal compared to fencing, housing and feed.
    What did you really expect to do on your land?
     
  14. fitwind

    fitwind Well-Known Member

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    Have already got my garden area done pulled out by hand and dug up and had a so-so garden this year. Good as can be expected first year and hardly any rainfall. :Bawling: But I loved the work.
     
  15. arbutus

    arbutus Well-Known Member

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    When the list of things to do seems overwhelming, pick the thing that needs to be done first and do it.

    Medical bills, the fact that I refuse to compromise on saving for a rainy day and retirement, and long hours at work have made it difficult to accomplish many of my wishes around my 5 acres. Like you, my garden was hand dug. I only worry about an acre of yard which includes the house, barn, chicken coop, garden, and orchard that I planted, that's enough. There was a small area of pasture on my land, but it was getting overgrown when I bought the place, and now it has lots of brambles for rabbits which I can shoot in season. I have 3.5 acres of woods - firewood gets cut in the winter after deer season is done, and gets split by hand because I can't justify spending $1200 on a splitter. Oh - the house is a fixer upper too, and that gets worked on when the sun goes down.
     
  16. tallpaul

    tallpaul Well-Known Member

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    I would talk to some lcal farmers and see if they want to let you help them in exchange for the brush hogging or lease a bit of land to them to offset taxes etc while you figure out what to do. They may even take you under thier wing....
     
  17. Corky

    Corky Well-Known Member

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    We had the same problem when we moved here 11 years ago.
    I didn't even think to try to rent it out to a neighbor or let them run cattle on it for exchange, like brushhogging it.
    I should have done that because the neighbor really wanted to use it and he does have a brushhog.
    Instead we let most of it grow up while trying to clean up the area closer to the house. It was very hard work and if we got busy it got away from us very fast.
    We finally got a couple of goats. Later we got a donkey to guard them. It took them several years to make much of a dent by themselves.
    We still had to do much of it ourselves but they helped keep it in check.
    After several years and more goats we began to worry more about not having enough brush for the animals and sold a lot of them off.

    If you are stressed for money please talk to your neighbors and see if they might be interested in renting it. It won't bring in much money as it is too small an area but you won't be paying feed and vet bills for animals you can't afford yet and your place will get in shape fast.
     
  18. mom4jesus

    mom4jesus Member

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    I vote for getting some calves. They are fairly easy to put in a fence and they will eat all of the weeds down in your fields. We have a steep hill in the front that grows out of control. It is too steep to get the tractor on and we turn the cows out there to eat it down every so often. They really keep the place from looking so bad. Then you can sell them and maybe put a little meat in the freezer. They don't take as much work as the goats. We have had goats before also and I love them but I am the only one. You have to keep their hooves trimmed and worm them at the very least every three months.
     
  19. bob clark

    bob clark A man's man

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    If you are near me i will come over and mow it for you.

    if you are not in southern Iowa I bet there are folks close to you that will help you out.
     
  20. Beltane

    Beltane Enjoying Four Seasons

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    I guess I would try to find a local farmer to mow it for you. Maybe you'll have to pay him the first time...but could the same farmer mow it for hay next year? Perhaps you could offer your land to a farmer with cows, goats, or sheep? I donno....goats sound good but you'll have to come up with the materials for a shelter and fencing.... :shrug:

    I certainly wouldn't get down on yourself...YOU ARE PLANNING ON PAYING OFF YOUR HOUSE IN FOUR YEARS!! Now that's impressive. Good job!! :dance: