cost of homesteading?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by bancher, Apr 19, 2005.

  1. bancher

    bancher Member

    Messages:
    8
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    hi all. i have been reading here a while, and finally got up the nerve to post my question. :D

    my goal is to move from my massachusetts home to new mexico in ten years. i understand prices are different in different areas, and that things will change in 10 years, but i have to wonder if my goals are even remotely possible.

    i hope to have a few milking goats, maybe three. a couple of sheep, some chickens and ducks.

    could someone give me the rundown of things i have to consider when coming up with a budget for this? do these animals need shots like dogs do? i'm not sure how much feed will cost. what about permits for livestock? or does the land you buy make you either ok to have animals, or not? i would need to get our property ready, fo course, so that will be even more down the road.

    also, i have seen that some people live in the southern new mexico area, thats where we want to be, also. i have been trying to find information on homesteading in the desert areas, but am having trouble finding anything of help. can you have ducks? we would need to dig a pond? what about gardening and water restrictions?

    yep, i'm clueless, but thats why i am doing my research NOW, instead of after i have bought the land and the animals and tried my hand at veggies.

    thanks for such a cool site.
    jenny
     
  2. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    14,838
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Kansas
    Well, to start with, your income will drop when you move to New Mexico. That's OK, land prices will be cheaper as well.

    Also, the most affordable land WILL have something wrong with it. It would be wise to know what that something wrong is.

    For us, it took me years to find affordable land near where I live. I could not understand why I COULD afford the land, until the realtor mentioned that I could use a cistern for water, and that city water MIGHT be available in 3 years.

    No problem: I wanted an agricultural set-up. I guess I will just have to use the creek. :cool: The little year-round spring-fed creek that needs a bridge across it before I build, because the land near the road is too low to build on.

    But we are not ready to build yet, and I am starting bee hives, berries, and asparagus to sell. Farm now, build later. I go about once a week to take care of things and to put it a little bit more.

    For us, the land is just fine. For us, the drawbacks are not drawbacks at all. And we could actually afford it! :eek: The lack of potable water cut the price of the land almost in half.

    When you look at land, check for access, zoning restrictions, easements, the availability and cost of *WATER*, and builing restrictions. I am sure I have missed a few, but others will point out what I have missed.

    Because NM is a dry country, the animals will need more grazing ground than they would need in Mass. MUCH more! Assuming you graze: many folks keep their critters in an exercize pen and bring them all their food.

    For the livestock, you will need excellent fences for goats. Also, shelter. I THINK you might not need a barn in NM but I might be wrong. They probably WILL need shelter, by which I mean a wind break and a way to get out of the rain. A 3 sided shelter might be fine.

    You will need a place to store feed, also. A garage will do, a good shed, whatever.

    Some diseases are common in some areas: you must find out about vaccinations locally.

    Lastly, do you have a yard in MAss? Anything you do in your yard to practice will help. Sometimes things move rather quickly. Here in Kansas, my first building project was a 3' by 4' chicken house that was only 4' tall. Just big enough for the chickens.

    My SECOND building project was a 12' by 16' solar greenhouse. I am glad I built the chicken house first, it gave me some of the skills that I needed.

    So, *IF* you have a yard, plant something or build something. With skills comes confidence.
     

  3. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,891
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2003
    Location:
    New York
    Hi Jenny, and welcome. I think it's a very good idea to begin planning/researching now for your future homestead. I began planning 5 years early, but I already had many skills in country living so I was ahead in that respect.

    I know you didn't ask this question, but I would advise you to pursue a career in the medical field, now. (I'm thinking you are a young person.) That way no matter where you end up, you will always be employable, and earn decent money, because you will need it to get your place set up. The biggest shock to me was the start-up costs of fencing, buildings, drilling a well and having a septic installed, and purchasing equipment. Chickens and ducks are relatively inexpensive compared to their housing. If the winter temperatures get down to -10 degrees, you need good shelter for them. The mountains of New Mexico get pretty cold at night.

    I have a couple sheep, four goats, lots of poultry, a couple pet rabbits, and of course, dogs and cats. In the summer when the pasture is nice and green, my feed costs are well under $100 a month for everyone. I buy treats for winter, and hay, which brings the cost up for 7 months out of the year.

    I had a guy out recently to give me an estimate on a small pond, and it was $2500-$3000. I'm going to the Cooperative Extension to find out if they offer anything towards a pond that is to be used for irrigating a market garden. You don't know until you ask. I recently started with a couple of bee hives, and the start-up costs are nuts.

    I do all my vetting myself. You can buy vaccines and syringes at Tractor Supply Central, and from various farm/pet catalogs. Most farm animals need worming and some shots, and feet trimmed. You want to buy land that is zoned "agricultural". Who knows what kind of hoops you'll have to jump through in 10 years.

    I wold suggest you start doing as many simple things as you can now, to get the experience. Grow some vegetables. If you don't have a spot in your yard, use a few pots. Some urban areas offer garden plots for a very nominal fee. Great place to talk to people about gardening. Go to farmers markets and chat with growers (when it's slow, of course). They love to talk about their favorite varieties, etc.. Learn to can, starting with tomatoes and jams. Lots of info online. Get yourself a copy of Ball's Blue Book, it will tell you everything about getting started. You can pick it up at WalMart next to the canning jars, or order a copy online. It's only a few dollars.

    Do you have any relatives that farm or homestead? Perhaps you could find someone to take you in for a summer, and show you the ropes? Many organic growers offer apprentice programs, where you have housing and a small paycheck. You sure would learn a lot.

    Go to the Archives and read, read, read. Every question you could possibly have has been asked and answered at some point in time. If you haven't had a chance to check it out, you will be very pleased. Everyone hear is happy to help. We've all been where you are now, the planning stage. Good luck!
     
  4. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

    Messages:
    11,076
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2002
    Location:
    South Central Kansas
    I can't add much to what Terri gave, but would like to welcome you to the forums.

    I expect the goats would need one round of shots and then probably not even boosters. There may be a goat board that can answer further, I'm really not familiar with them.

    You are certainly preparing as you should, studying and doing your homework comes first.

    As far a budgeting, I would suggest you save as much as you can so that monthly payments may not be needed. As far as monthly feed costs for goats I can't answer that either since I'm not an owner.

    Best wishes and a long continued association with homesteadingtoday.
     
  5. bancher

    bancher Member

    Messages:
    8
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    thanks, terri!

    yep, we have a yard now, our own, not much, but it's something. i am planning my veggie garden now. it seems a little late- ok, a lot late!- cause its really warm here, for us. but i worry it will frost and kill everything. but, i am moving my flowers from where the previous owner had them, and planting my veggies there. a nice bright, flat spot in our small, sloping yard. i strung some string on sticks, to map it out and live with that while i decide what to plant, and move the flowers. its about 15'x 9'. maybe a little big for a first timer, but i dream big ;) .

    cant have any chickies where i am now, and i wouldnt want to, only to move away. but we are planning a potting shed for me and a cold frame. lots of big plans! boy, oh boy, i cant wait!

    i grew up on a small farm. we raised calves for a dairy farmer nearby. he wanted them to be hand-raised so they would be friendly. it was a great set up, and an awesome childhood for me! we had nubians and some sheep. chickies and a horrible rooster that hated me. (the feeling was mutual, i assure you!). so, in ten years, our kids will have grown, and we will finally be able to afford the 'other' mouths to feed!

    jenny
     
  6. bancher

    bancher Member

    Messages:
    8
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    hey, thanks, windy! is that your honest name, btw? i would have named one of my children windy, had he been a she!

    i'll have to find a goat board or something.

    it's funny the way people look at me like i have two heads when i mention i am planning a move to new mexico. they seem to think i want to move tomorrow or something. nope, i'm doing lots of reading about the area, trying to learn these new skills, figure out what my needs and wants are......

    it keeps me busy!
    jenny
     
  7. nodak3

    nodak3 Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,387
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2003
    I grew up in NM, and lived there nearly half my life all added up. We had irrigation rights near Farmington. Rights and water are two different things, but most years we did get ample water and had a nice orchard and huge garden and animals. The Jicarillas won a claim on the water and I am told it is even scarcer now. Southern NM is a different story--water is even more scarce, and in the Pecos River drainage you don't just use it--you are told what, when, where, and how much as Texas has a claim on the water. With what you want to do, if you have independent income you might look around the Tatum-Milnesand-Portales area. We homesteaded there about 4 years and loved it, but dh had an oilfield job also, and we had a good water well. Plan on buying the feed for your animals. In NM it pretty much takes a section or section and a half to support one cow calf unit. Back east, it takes an acre or two. You aren't planning cattle but that gives you an idea of the difference in carrying capacity. Another good area to consider is the Monument area. I love the Rockies and will probably never go back, but loved growing up in the Maljamar/Loco Hills area. If you can get a land use permit and find housing, it is a great area for just being out away from civilization. I would never try to raise animals or garden much there, as feed and water costs would be just too high. Roswell Daily Record and Farmington Daily Times are on line--I suggest reading them every day. The most important thing to remember is you cannot go there expecting to make the desert bloom. Too many people are coming out, planting lilacs and grass and just generally wasting too dang much water. If you come to the desert (NM, CO, AZ, NV) expect to cut your water use drastically, or do not come, please. Desert homesteading is definitely not self sufficiency. We truck in what we use (often including water). There are areas that are fertile and have decent irrigation, but land prices will be higher there. Now, all that said, it can be heaven on earth if you plan right. Start now researching and planning for an earthship with a large water gathering system. That way you can have a realistic amount of garden with sensible gray water reuse, and perhaps even a few animals. Without the expense of being on grid, you can do a lot more. I don't mean to discourage you--NM is heaven on earth to me. Just come prepared a realistic and respect the desert. And do not expect a lot of cheap water.
     
  8. bancher

    bancher Member

    Messages:
    8
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    hey, daisy, didnt see your post last time, sorry. thanks for the welcome and the good advice. i'll be in my late 40's when we move. not too sure what i want to do when i 'grow up', and, truthfully, nursing scares the crap out of me! but i will keep it in the back of my head, as i know its something that everyone needs!

    nodak, thanks for an insiders point of view. thats why i am doing the research now, cause i know it could be a cold shock to go to the desert expecting to do what we can in new england. i dont know why people dont *think* when they make a move like that! you cant expect to have grass :rolleyes: . i figure by the tme we are ready, financially, to move, we will also know for sure where we are to go and how we are going to do things.

    hubby is in the computer field, so we need to be fairly close to a city. right now he works connecticut, rhode island, mass, vermont, new hampshire AND maine! so, a city or two would be nice, he he. me? i just am a mom, and have been for 21 years. the kids are almost all grown and flew the nest, so i want to do the same!

    jenny
     
  9. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

    Messages:
    15,552
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Hi Bancher, We used to live (long ago) in the Boston area..husband in computer industry and I well remember how people would look at us as if we had something potentially contagious when we told them we wanted to move to Arizona. We thought that Boston area folks thought the world dropped off at the New York borders. Good luck and happy planning!
     
  10. BamaSuzy

    BamaSuzy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    951
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    I wouldn't wait ten years, I'd try to get on my own piece of land and start the homesteading lifestyle as soon as possible! I'd try to get the land paid for and be debt free as soon as possible as well.

    We would be fine on our little homestead except we took out a mortgage about ten years ago that we will still be paying on for about another 8 years.....

    So once you get your land free and clear NEVER EVER place another mortgage on it....because at least then you'll have somewhere to live....

    Also, my husband is a licensed electrician and handyman and I am a newspaper editor/reporter, both of us based at home. I also sell "farm fresh eggs from happy chickens" and we'll be selling goat milk soap and composted bunny poop this year....

    We already have a much bigger and better garden than in the past but there is so much more I'd like to do....but I am nearly 53 and husband is nearly 61.....So you need to start as young as you can!!!! best wishes!!!!
     
  11. bancher

    bancher Member

    Messages:
    8
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    hi there, suzy, and thanks for your input! i'm really hoping more like 5-7 years. hubby is thinking no sooner than 10 years :waa: . see, we have 2 sets of kids; mine and his. his youngest is 13 and lives with her mom. we would never see her should we move away sooner than 5 years, so thats not an option.

    my goal is to do all my research and buy some land before the 5 years are up, and then maybe he would be sick enough of his boss for my plans to come to be!

    jenny
     
  12. bancher

    bancher Member

    Messages:
    8
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    hi there, suzy, and thanks for your input! i'm really hoping more like 5-7 years. hubby is thinking no sooner than 10 years :waa: . see, we have 2 sets of kids; mine and his. his youngest is 13 and lives with her mom. we would never see her should we move away sooner than 5 years, so thats not an option.

    my goal is to do all my research and buy some land before the 5 years are up, and then maybe he would be sick enough of his boss for my plans to come to be!

    linda- yeah, thats what we are getting, those looks. BUT we also have all our families here, our parents our grandparents, and siblings and children. not only do i have our acquaintances to appease, but our families are whispering behind our backs about our 'mid life crisis'. oy!
    jenny
     
  13. bancher

    bancher Member

    Messages:
    8
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
  14. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    594
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    centeral Okla. S of I-40, E of I-35
    hello, and welcome to the forum. Your questions are really what this site was started for, to help others learn about homesteading as a way of life.
    So, is it possible? YES. It is hard sometimes but if you have it in your heart you can do what it takes. There was a thread a few weeks ago asking what was our best advice and I just couldn't pin down any single thing as "best" until just now, my best advice is, " roll with the punches" your best layed plans will be highjacked by something along the way, but if you allow yourself to accept it and get on with your life you will get there eventually......set backs and failures are OK, learn and get on to the next thing, so have a goal in mind but don't set the plan in stone, work around the hard spots, keep your eye on the prize.


    This is a great place to learn about EVERY aspect of homesteading there are so many different ways to get there. Depending on how much land you can get, I would buy as much as you can get paid off, as the saying goes, "they an't making no more" the better your options will be, I have 60 acres, 6 goats, 4 sheep, 3 horses, lots of chickens and ducks, had pigs and geese too, oh and have cats and rabbits. I freerange and don't buy food for my animals during warm months when the grass and trees are green, in winter we only buy 8 round bales for the whole lot, I do buy some pelleted feed as training treats or just for the fun of tossing it out top watch them eat, but we don't depend on it.

    There are shots for various animals, we do rabies, dog 1st then cats then everyone else, goats etc, as the money is on hand, westnile and tetanus for the horses. I use probiotics ALOT, and haven't given a CDT to my goats since the 1st year I got them, >>I am not recomending anyone else do that, I am just sharing what I am doing<< I have not used a chemical dewormer after the 1st year, and it is possible all of my animals may drop dead at any moment. I am in Okla. so my climate will naturally grow more food for my animals on a smaller piece of land than it would take in New Mexico.


    yes, the land you buy will matter if you can have animals and what kind, for several reasons, in town you will have to follow thier rules, out in the "country" where farms are expected you can do more and have more, if you have money for better land that grows more stuff easy you can feed more animals, if cheaper land is your goal you will have less free food growing, so you will have to buy food or buy a larger peice of land, how much water you will have will matter alot too, water cost money, rain catchment is ok some places and not others, ponds work someplaces and not others, land and water are the 2 most important things to buy.

    In most cases permits are needed to sell animals more than to have them, but if you want tigers or some other exotic you may need permits even far out in the wilderness. for just tradional farm type animals, most of the time no permits are needed in farming areas.

    Ducks don't have to have swimming water, they only have to have a water dish deep enough to wash their nostrals clean, and they will make it filthy every few hours. So, for water fowl in a dry area, I would like a deep, flushable trough so dirt can settle to the bottom to be cleaned out every so often.

    I know about some gardening helps for desert areas, for a garden you need wind breaks and low trenched beds, shade cloth roofs (like old sheets) over the beds helps too. These are importaint where the nights are cold as thermal blankets too. Also water jugs made of unglazed pottery with tall necks and large rounded bodies are set into the ground with good compost all around them, the seeds are planted right next to the pots where the soil is moist from the water leaking though the pot and small lid blocks evaporation, dirt and bugs from getting into the jugs. The roots grow as a mat all over the surface of the water jug and get the water they need that way, while the soil a few inches away is still dry. Heirloom plants that are matched to your climate are great to grow in desert areas. As you learn you will be shocked at how many things you can grow with very little water.

    Jenny, thank you for posting ! Questions like yours are why we are here!
    :D
     
  15. bancher

    bancher Member

    Messages:
    8
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    thumper- awesome information! thank you so much! i'm gonna have to paste all of these replies into my homestead notes.

    i'm so glad its not going to be impossible. but i'm certainly going to be doing a lot more homework!
    jenny