city slicker turned country-help

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Icare4animals, Mar 21, 2005.

  1. Icare4animals

    Icare4animals Member

    Mar 21, 2005
    please help me I grew up in the suburbs and got married to afarm boy 3 years ago we recently moved to his families historic plantation 100 acres which is a non working old tobacco farm i am scared to death i have no country sense..any books,advise any thing to help 22 no kids and animal experience there are 2 houses on the property one ready to move in(remdeled log cabin)and one non electric non water main house and one old barn with chicken coop and rabbit cages 2 tobacco barn poor soil quality help
  2. Caitedid

    Caitedid The Prairie Plate Supporter

    Jun 1, 2004
    NE Iowa
    Hey-I'm reading "Barnyard in your Backyard", which seems pretty full of useful stuff for beginners. I really think the best thing you can do is to get to know your neighbors ASAP. I would guess that there are other people in your area who have been in the same position. Hope that helps some. Congratulations on your big move! :)

  3. Tater'sPa

    Tater'sPa Well-Known Member

    Jun 27, 2002
    I'm sure there are a lot of books that may help but much information is right here in the forums. This place is full of seasoned pros of homesteading and farming.
    Just pick a spot and start's all right here!
    BTW, what part of the state are y'all in?
  4. jack_c-ville

    jack_c-ville Well-Known Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    What exactly do you need to know? Are you trying to get this up and running again as a working, profitable farm?


  5. Icare4animals

    Icare4animals Member

    Mar 21, 2005
    we are in the guilford/randolph county line central part of state randleman dam flood plane
  6. Icare4animals

    Icare4animals Member

    Mar 21, 2005
    naw My husband is in construction and im a vet tech so profit is not a consern but I am very clueless of the country ways(lifestyle,manners,etc) We will be moving into the remodeled house but I dont know how to deal with the wildlife,plantlife or human life in the area its all very foreign..i took 4-h in school and got the domestic animal field covered but i was told that power goes out every winter storm for 2 weeks and wells dry up every summer i am freaking out!
  7. Missouri Bound

    Missouri Bound New Member

    Feb 6, 2005
    Currently SC
    I think the bible of homesteading is Carla Emory's Encyclopedia of Country Living. It's a bit pricey at $30 but is huge and I think worth every penny. In the newest edition (ninth I think) she offers references to other books and websites that will cover a subject in more depth than she does sometimes.

    Good luck to you and remember to be flexible because sometimes the best plans get turned upside down in practice. Just go with the flow and make adjustments when you have to.

  8. Wolf mom

    Wolf mom Well-Known Member

    Mar 8, 2005
    Appalachian Foothills
    You're on the right track! These forums are great, I don't feel alone or lost. Your library is as good as the computer. Don't freek out - enjoy! I always have candles around, (with matches near). It's a nice diversion from electricity. No water? Maybe you should think of a holding tank... Living the country way, far from town is a little like playing chess - you have to think three moves ahead. You are aleady blessed with so much land and a home to move into. Take your time, smell the roses, or plant some and above all, have fun doing it!
  9. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

    May 26, 2004
    yeah Carla's book is your best starting place, heck i have had this is my second copy, and i need to get another, its falling apart, lost the cover....

    its everything you need ...from basic animal care to how to do just about whatever is going to need doing

    the next book i reccomend, bacause its part of our homesteading philosophy is making your small farm profitable, by ron macher

    these two books will help you out a lot, any homesteader knows to really make it work you have to buy and sell, and making your small farm profitable is a good stepping stone, not all the ideas will work for you, and a lot of the ideas out there arent in this book , but it will keep your head straight

    then make it a point to read at least 5 threads on this board a couple times a week , you need to keep learnign, and finding out what others are doing that works or didnt will help you become more savvy, theres always something new to try ,

    get the bell canning guide this year when it comes out , look for old countryside mags if you can find them , old mother earth news and organic gardening too, if that fits in with your ideals
    go to the farmers markets, find the thrift stores in your area, see if theres other things that will pique your interest

    lets see what else,
    go to the store, get thee to walmart, buy up about a dozen notebooks,

    start one for your garden , one for each type of animal youre growing/ raising/breeding, and one for household,
    use them like journals , and keep them out on the table, so you remeber to use them regularly!!!!!!!

    for exampl I keep journals for our animals, and one for my houhold stuff starting back from thursday they read:::::


    3/17 buyer came and picked up slaughter pigs today , paid balance of 110, for each pig, total sale price of pigs 250, each
    moved our feeder boys to the electric fence, Bacon stung himself good on the snout and the little guy got it on the ear, they seem to respect the electric fence ,yeah!
    momma pig still looks ready to burst, but shes got another week to go.
    Sun , Bruce said momma pig was bred on the 8th of december, which makes her farrowing date 3/30 poor girl has a ways to wait


    Honey bred, 28 days to kindle ,
    fri 18th , Gypsy kindled 8 kits, all alive, she pulled hair too(yeah)
    Sat.Hubby bought 5 lop bunnies, supposed to be all female, bred
    picked up the rented bunnies from photographer, she paid balance of $100.00 for her rental fee, all looked well, next time though need to give them more feed,only about 2 cups feed left in the bucket,they got mixed up too, have to re sex and seperate
    Sun. Lop bunnies are 3 males, 2 females
    started seperating NZW rabbits, got interrupted, milk buyers, then more friends visted aft. will do tomm.
    Mon sold lop bunny buck , $7.00 plus wooden cage $20.00, that means cost of lop bunnies has been recouped+ $7.00 profit saving grace , EASTER! next year have more bunnies ready for sale !


    Fri. Greta Kidded twins, tough birth the boy was sideways, after internal i couldnt turn him, born DOA, twin girl , though small seems healthy, maybe 4 lbs, very little, pretty chamoise doeling,
    Sat took Cessna and Buckling to photogs for thier pictures with the bunnies and DD, great now Cessna will think she deserves star treatment :D
    Sunday, sold $7.25 milk.

    fri. hens still not laying like we would like, its spring should be getting egg a day, i think they are older than owner said, stewpot?
    Sat. neal got small banty rooster free at auction , hes cute, but why a banty.
    Sun , banty rooster pecking at chicks 5 have bloody tails,treated with furb. oint. killed rooster and cleaned him, decision made on hens too, so killed the 5 we bought ,cleaned and cooked 2 of them ,tough old birds other 3 in the freezer

    my household one is more of a personal journal, like who came for dinner, what i made, how it turned out , etc.
    plus if we buy anything for the house, groceries, new appliance, meat grinder, etc. or i try a new recipe , be it for cheese or sausage or soap or even real food ....
    like today i made pound cake, and on a whim i had about 1/2 C of chocolate chips leftover from another recipe, well itossedthem on top thinking they would melt in , nope , they burned instead, oh well, i took off the burned choc, and into the pig bucket it goes, they will like it

    these notebooks become invaluable after a while , like, hey last time so and so kindled kits was she on time or a day late,
    how many doe kids has this buck produced in the past year,
    how much feed money have i spent on this pig from birth to sale date, did i make a profit?
    time to clean out the rabbit barn whos on the poop waiting list ?( yes i have a waiting list for rabbit poop)

    etc etc....
  10. luvrulz

    luvrulz Well-Known Member Supporter

    Feb 3, 2005
    You might check out a couple of magazines at your local library....

    Mother Earth News or Countryside both have some informativie articles in them as well as other helpful recipes and recommendations!

    Good luck and congratulations!
  11. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2004
    In a way it's like moving to a foreign country, where you don't speak the language, isn't it? I've done it, the other way around, country to city, so I know what you are going through. After a while you will acclimatize, though, and then you'll be able to look back and laugh at how nervous you were to start with!

    Your neighbors are just people, like you are. If you get a chance to meet them, smile and say hi, talk about the weather and so on. One trick to staying on good terms with your neighbors is to make sure your animals, children, manure piles, etc., never encroach onto the neighbor's property (yes, good fences DO make good neighbors!!). Keep your dogs home. Too many city people move to the country and think they can just let their dogs run, then when the local farmers have to shoot the dogs because they've been running stock, the city people want to sue the farmers!!

    Even in the city you could be without electricity at times. Did you have any way of coping with power outages there? You'll want to make sure you have lighting (candles, oil lamps, battery lights, a generator), some way of heating the house in winter and of cooking -- a wood stove is probably your best bet for both, and it will also heat water. You should also have some stored water and/or a hand pump on the well. You can put a hand pump on the well and still use the electric pump most of the time; the hand pump will just sit there and wait until you really need it. Plan to keep at least a couple of weeks worth of food on hand at all times. It isn't wise to let your pantry get too low, even if you still lived in the city. It doesn't take much of a disruption to empty the store shelves, with their just-in-time delivery systems -- think of all the trouble people had after the hurricanes last year in Florida.

    There is an advice thread going here that you should read, and even print out for future reference. There are many years of solid experience tied up in those posts, and it's much better to learn from other people's mistakes than to make your own!

    If you and your husband do decide to start doing some farming, read Joel Salatin's book, You Can Farm. (Actually, read any of his books you can get ahold of!) Carla Emery's book is excellent -- that one is a must-have. Do a lot of internet research, read lots of books, get on here and ask lots of questions, and get to know your neighbors. There must be one or two old-timers among them who can help you find your farm-legs! :)

  12. Rick

    Rick Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    Here is a link to the thread Kathleen spoke of:

    It is indeed chock full of 20-20 lessons. It is currently 3 pages long. Just read page 1, click the back button, then click the little 2 and so on.

    There is also a sub-group here for computer questions, in case you need help navigating the boards.
  13. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    May 9, 2002
    So get your well dug a little deeper, and buy a generator (Honda) Enjoy the quiet, garden if you must, buy chickens at the very least. Forgive your neighbors fast and expect them to smile pretty when you screw up. 100 acres is a nice sized piece of this planet, you're too lucky for words. Appreciate that luck has a price and it will pull the respect it needs out of you whether you like it or not. Country living is ten times easier than city living but takes time to learn, it rewards those who make the effort even if it seems to be laughing the whole time. Oh and once you're fed up with chickens get some sheep and visit the sheep forum. (shameless plug for the best homesteading animal going!)
  14. boxwoods

    boxwoods Well-Known Member

    Oct 6, 2003
    Central New York
    First thing to learn is to not step on the rattlesnakes
  15. Phantomfyre

    Phantomfyre Black Cat Farm Supporter

    Jul 1, 2004
    N. Illinois
    First off, you are VERY lucky! SMILE, take a deep breath, and RELAX. This is something you will get used to doing in the country. :D

    Slow down. Take time to smell the roses - literally. Watch the birds, the wildlife, the wildflowers, the tractors crawling S-L-O-W-L-Y down the road. Smile again.

    Respect the earth. Try to avoid chemicals and other things that disturb the natural flow of things. If you do a little homework, you will find ways to kill off noxious weeds and control pests that won't poison your well water or kill off unintended critters/plants.

    Respect your neighbors. Be friendly, smile and wave when they pass by, keep your animals at home, stay off their propertly unless you have permission. They should be expected to do the same.

    You have a lovely-sized bit of earth. Remember to enjoy it! At least periodically, pick a nice day and walk the property, explore it, enjoy it, learn about it. Find the patch of wild blackberries, learn where the fox's den is, and discover that old, long-forgotten garden that somebody planted 100 years ago and forgot about, but that has somehow survived to send up daffodils and burst golden with forsythia every spring.

    Plant something. A tree, a single flower or tomato plant. It will give you roots in your new home - literally. ;)

    Ask questions of the locals, your neighbors, and here. Listen and learn. Enjoy.

    Keep smiling.

  16. Nette

    Nette Well-Known Member Supporter

    Aug 17, 2003
    You mentioned advice about country ways/manners...If you want to fit in with the neighbors, don't call the family tobacco farm a "plantation." Even if it is historic, that doesn't really come across well. That's a dead give-away that you're an outsider. :)

    Here's another vote for Carla Emery's book. I refer to it all the time.

    (Tobacco farmer's wife)
  17. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 6, 2003
    Another vote for Carla's book: I'm on my second copy! If it's not in there, chances are good you don't need to know about it!

    These forums are great, too. Countryside Magazine and Backwoods Magazine are also most excellent!

    If you want a little lighthearted diversion about a couple of city-slickers who went "country" I recommend Fifty Acres and a Poodle. It's sweet, may actually give you some insight, and can be picked up on Amazon for a little more than a song. But you may want to go check out your local library where you may well meet some local people. :)

    Richest blessings on your adventure!!

  18. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    I'd say ya hit the jackpot.

    A few things to remember.

    One thing to remember is that as the newcomer words that should never pass your lips are "where I lived before we did this or we did that." There is no quicker way to annoy the locals is to come in and try to tell them what's what.

    Farmers work long hours especially during harvest and planting time. Tractors may run 24/7 for a few weeks.

    Be careful about farm machinery on the roads.

    Chickens and cattle make noise.

    Livestock smell. Get use to the aromas of nature. (factory confinements are exceptions)

    People in the country carry firearms. Do not be alarmed. They are just simple tools. You will hear gunshots. The crips aren't doing a drive-by so don't call the law. Many(most) country folks shoot for recreation.

    During hunting season you might see dead deer in trucks and strung up on tree in folks front yards. Don't get offended. If you are keep it to yourself.

    Not all roads are paved and we don't particularly want them paved.

    Farmers use and spray chemicals and fertilizers. They use them as sparingly as possible (they cost money-lots of money) and they use them in a safe manner. They will not hurt you or cause your kids to be born with extra appendages or chromosomes.

    Don't let your pet animals run at large. They damage wildlife more than you think. Keep your dogs off other people's property. Dogs who chase deer or harass stock get shot.

    Try not to make unnecessary noise and be a good neighbor. Don't get your kid a ATV or motorcycle with a loud muffler and let him ride around sunup to sundown.

    There isn't a government service for this and a program for that. We can't afford it nor do we want it.

    Don't try to change the county government, school system or other organizations. Don't spout off in the paper or other public venue about how backward all the hicks, hillbillies, hayseeds and rednecks are.

    We like the way things are for the most part and don't kindly to folks coming in and telling us what's what and how we are backward hicks, hillbillies, hayseeds and rednecks.

    Just a few guidelines to get you started.

    Country folks are for the most part generous and kind folks but some things newcomers do rub us the wrong way. Just mind your manners and you will be part of the community in no time. A smile and friendly hello will do wonders in getting you there.

    As for being scared - don't be. Ain't a thing to be scared of out in the sticks. Far less than what there is in the city. You do need to take some additional responsibility for yourself however. You will be quite aways from fire and ambulance. Keep a good first aid kit and know how to use it. Make sure you have fire extinguishers and plan for emergencies. Nothing may ever happen where you need the police but be aware that it may take them quite some time to get to you. Until then you are responsible for your own protection. Like they told me, in the unlikely event someone breaks into your home all the sheriff will be good for is to take the reports and call the coroner. Who gets the toe tag is up to you.

    You are taking the first steps on a wonderful adventure. I've lived in metro areas, suburbia and small towns but nothing beats living on your own land in the country. It can be challenging and frustrating at times but the rewards are indescribable. Watching a pink sunrise peeking through the trees is a acceptable trade off for not getting pizza delivered. Also you have something extra special. Family land. Land that goes back generations. That is extremely special and YOU are a part of that now! It is your history now too! His, and now your, family's sweat, tears and in many cases blood is in that land. It may have been fought for and bled for land. Learn its history and it will draw you even closer to it.

    You are going to be a part off something very special. Congratulations.
  19. hengal

    hengal Well-Known Member

    Mar 7, 2005
    North Central Indiana
    How wonderful for you!!!! Oh - I hope you grow to love the country life!! I would recommend suscribing to Country Woman magazine Hobby Farms Magazine and maybe Mother Earth News. All have very informative articles and examples of how others live and manage country life. I love them all. Good luck and HAVE FUN!!!
  20. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

    Aug 18, 2004
    SE PA, zone 6b
    I highly recommend all the books by Gene Logsdon, especially Contrary Farmer, The Contrary Farmer's Garden (that doesn't sound right, but it's near) All Flesh is Grass. Other books are Lasagna Gardening, by Pat Lanza, Weedless Gardening by Lee Reich, all books by Joel Salatin, Andy Lee.

    I, too, recommend Carla's Encyclopedia.

    Most of all, just relax, listen a lot, hang out at the feed store, just enjoy that property. All land can be improved one way or another. Learn about composting for the garden, and composting in the field. The above books will be a big help.