Beginner Homesteaders

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by WindSong Farm, Jul 13, 2005.

  1. WindSong Farm

    WindSong Farm Member

    Messages:
    22
    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2005
    Location:
    IL
    Hi!

    I've been lurking although I haven't posted here before and have really enjoyed reading your posts. I am in central IL and my fiance and I have just bought an old farm house with 5 acres, machine shed, and horse shelter. We won't move in for at least a year (until we get married) and plan to rent just the house in the meantime so we can work on the land.

    Can you guys give us any advice? I've been born and raised in the "farm world" and currently have goats and horses, but my fiance is a city kid through and through. Is 5 acres enough land for say, 7 goats, 2 horses and a cow? I would love to get certified organic and grass raise my critters, so if any of you have any info for me on that I would really appreicate it!

    I don't really know what I'm getting myself into, just wondering if anyone has anything that we really need to know, or that we need to read etc.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Ariel

    Ariel Active Member

    Messages:
    42
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2004
    Location:
    OK
    Before you rent to anyone, get references from the applicants and check them! Do a background check! I work for a firm that has over a hundred units and that is how they keep from being ripped off.

    ALso, set your rental rate high!. You will weed out some of the undesirables.

    Good luck
     

  3. littlebitfarm

    littlebitfarm Scotties rule! Supporter

    Messages:
    1,617
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2005
    Location:
    IL
    I'm also in central IL. 5 acres would be enough in April and May. June is iffy. July and Aug are too dry. If you get lucky Sept and half of Oct would be OK. Start feeding hay mid Oct until the beginning of April. Then there are years like this one. Dry, dry, dry!!! Buy your hay now while you have some choice and before the prices go way up.

    Personally I always try to keep 2 (or more) of any animal. The cow would be much happier with a buddy. JMHO

    Kathie
     
  4. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    594
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    centeral Okla. S of I-40, E of I-35
    As you get started and think of new questions ask them, big general questions are hard to cover, there is way more to know than you might expect. And how far off the deep end you go will affect the info you need too. Read a lot, most of what you need to know will be listed somewhere on this forum. Put a location on your profile too, the more details you give us the better we can help you. and WELCOME!!!!! to one of the finest quailty homesteading site on the web!
     
  5. BamaSuzy

    BamaSuzy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    I wouldn't rent out the house unless I just had too financially because everyone we know that has rental property is having problems....far too many folks don't respect others' property any more!

    I would use the time to fix up the house, be working on the outbuildings, etc.
     
  6. Jesus Saves

    Jesus Saves Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    389
    Joined:
    May 31, 2005
    Location:
    Il
    the two from central IL, whereabouts? I am near Decatur in central Il
     
  7. WindSong Farm

    WindSong Farm Member

    Messages:
    22
    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2005
    Location:
    IL
    Thanks for your replies and welcome! I'm sorry I haven't asked more specific questions, its really hard to think of what I should be asking until I'm in the middle of it. But I'll certainly be asking them when I think of them!! :)

    Thanks for the caution about renting. I am very hesitant to do it but finacially things would be pretty tight. Certainly do-able but tight. Not that that's bad.

    Yeh I know the animal-buddy thing lol; tried to keep just one horse a little while back and it about drove me nuts; the horse as well.

    So pasture raising animals all summer isn't really an option in IL? This place has a separate well for "farm purposes" so I've been wondering about irragation. Anyone do this? Or is this completely inpractical?

    As for specific location; I live 25 miles south of Champaign-Urbana. Not too far from Decatur!!

    Are you able to make enough off of 5 acres to make a go of it? I don't mean completely; my fiance doesn't want to be a farmer, but I would love to at least have it where it supports itself. I almost do at the moment by selling goats milk soaps, beeswax candles etc, but I don't own my own land either so my expenses aren't very high. I don't want to be rich, just not in debt.

    To be completely honest with you all I am pretty clueless! I want to learn as much as possible before I get myself totally into this though. I know a lot about animals, just nothing about keeping my own place. I'm working my way through college; eventually going to be a vet. I'm working a fulltime office job at the moment and I DON'T WANT TO BE DOING THIS THE REST OF MY LIFE!! sorry but it sucks.
     
  8. littlebitfarm

    littlebitfarm Scotties rule! Supporter

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2005
    Location:
    IL
    I'm an hour from Decatur and Champaign!

    You can pasture raise animals here. But 5 acres isn't enough ground for the critters you listed. I'd bet it isn't all pasture. Right? <G> Some of it is house and yard?

    I've got about 11 acres of pasture. Sometimes I let the horses graze the front yard and driveway too. This year I've put the cattle in the woodlot a couple times, trying to stretch the grazing out.

    In a good year I can run 5 mares with babies and a couple yearlings. This isn't a good year. Depends a lot on weather. I've got hay stored, so if I have to feed hay I can, but that certainly changes the cost of having livestock.

    Kathie