Creator or Consumer?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by TerriA, Oct 18, 2005.

  1. TerriA

    TerriA Well-Known Member

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    I mentioned in another thread that I am planning to attend nursing school. But I didn't really give my reasons for even thinking of going in that direction. Since my family and most of my friends are NOT "homesteading types" I come here in hoping to get a rational viewpoint.

    In a nutshell, here is my situation...

    I am 47, been raising children for close to 30 years. Youngest is 17 and a high school senior so I am about to lost my "job" <G>. Not a moment too soon I might add since she has been the biggest challenge of the five!

    I am married to a self employed building contractor. We live on 26 acres with 16 of it being a hilly pasture. We currently rent so dh is not into renovation/insulation of buildings since he believes we would just be wasting our money. For the last 10+ years since we have been married, he cleared about $1000/mo net profit according to our income taxes. I don't know how we have managed it but we have no debt and live frugally. He is getting tired of contracting (believe it or not, mainly the book work and regulations... not to mention climbing roofs, etc.). He makes less than 1/4 than the other local contractors and refuses to raise prices, do his billing the way his CPA advises, etc. He has not been able to keep reliable help since he doesn't pay regularly either so he is mostly a one man operation that takes longer than most to get projects done.

    I have always wanted to be in the healthcare field since I was a child. The "homesteading" mindset hit me really hard in the late 90's so we moved out here. We pay VERY little rent... the house my dh bought several years before I met him is sitting vacant in town with it torn apart due to renovations started (and never finished) by dh. We had it rented the first year we moved here but after the tenants tore it all up, bailed on paying rent the last 3 months, etc, I think he is afraid of finishing it up to rent to someone else.. in the meantime, that "income producing property" is just sitting there empty. Pipes froze up last winter since he was too cheap to turn on the heat so he had to fix the plumbing last spring and has since just let it languish.

    Bottom line is this...

    I am NOT feeling financially secure at ALL. I have no health insurance. He has no life insurance (hm.. he does but his benefits are paid to his brothers). <G>
    We live on enough acres to raise a huge garden, several critters for meat, etc. However I am the only one who cares how they are taken care of. And I am overwhelmed. The barns need painting and some of the siding needs to be replaced on one of them (bunny barn).

    We have a few buff orpingtons but they are "egg eaters" and in order to break them of eating the eggs, I need to be able to keep them in the coop- however, dh refuses to buy them any feed at all so I have to let them out to freerange and they end up laying anywhere and then eat the eggs. (I would like them to use the coop and put a few "hot pepper" eggs out there along with oyster shell, water and feed- and keep those randy dandy roosters out while the gals settle in and stop eating, start laying and becoming worth their weight in eggs again).

    I have one saanen/alpine dairy goat that has needed to be taken to the "buck" a few miles away.. however, dh uses the pick up to work (which is just beyond that farm) and he refuses to take her.. and it is getting "late" in the season.

    I have some bunnies.. mostly angoras for my fiber.. and they are "show quality". It took me all summer to get the best quality I could find so I can raise and sell replacement breeding/show stock to other angora breeders. (Total of 10 so they are not that many). I also have a set of 8 younger buff orpingtons (hatched late June) in one of the pens in the bunny barn that I am keeping in there until I know if they are hens/roosters and I might end up just letting them stay in there for the winter...

    Ok.. back to the school issue again... I am having the very hardest time figuring out what to do. I would really LOVE to be able to stay here on the acreage and become a "creator/producer". However, I am not getting much support from anyone (would actually do better on my own I think.....) and raise my own veggies, get a cow, etc. Problem is the lack of money for purchase of stock and of course, feed (though we do have tons of baled brome hay from the pasture).

    The other side of me is aching for a more secure future... and getting a LPN (Licensed Practical Nursing) degree would give me some skills necessary to be able to get a job that would be a few steps up from working at Walmart or something. Would take me 13 months of driving an hour each way for 4 days a week. We can barely swing that but it would be in the knowledge that the investment in time and gas, tuition, etc would be made up for within a year.
    (Consumer mode then...after getting a job, with the commute I would have, I doubt I would have the energy and stamina to stay here and be a producer on any scale.. the dream of critters would have to be put away.) I would then have the financial stability, with a reliable paycheck coming in, probably health benefits, too.

    It is getting on later in life... and I don't have a whole lot of time to mess around any more. Have even considered leaving dh, (have him move back to the mess in town), me stay here, work part time and sell my excess things on ebay, etc. I have tried to work in the past but dh then stops paying for groceries, my gas, etc and forces me to put the money into those things instead of animals and feed expenses. I am frustrated, can you tell?

    Sorry this was sooo long and I am sorry if it sounds like I am whining when I am really NOT as much as I would like honest opinions from people who are or plan on living in the country. You all know the economy... and my "goal" the last few years has been to become as self sufficient as possible. I bake from scratch, spin wool, sew, etc... not skills really needed in town as much as out here... so I am swinging back and forth between two lifestyles.... I wish I were younger so I could do both, but the reality is I simply can not do it all at this time. I need to figure where my focus should be.....

    So the question remains.. should I become a "Creator" or a "Consumer"?

    Thank you for reading

    Terri
     
  2. GrannyG

    GrannyG Well-Known Member

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    Hi Terri,
    I think you should go for it ! It will take you one year to earn your degree and you will definitely find work anywhere you want to work, and being in a rural area, home health is always available. I started as an aide, then med aide, then activity directory, and worked my way up to nurse. My deceased husband, God rest his soul, encouraged me to get more education in case anything ever happened to him. He helped me so much, I sometimes wonder if it was a premonition of times to come. I got my license, and it was hard work. I never missed a day of school so it took one year. We were married for 17 years when he lost his life on our anniversary in a freak accident. I had no where to go except back to a little town where we had planned to retire to,(he was 20 days away from retirement) and managed to find work right away. I hope you will go to school. You will need to be accepted into a school, so be sure to get that application in. Our hearts mend, and I remarried 8 years later, and still work some at nursing. I am just too old anymore for 12 hour shifts. I can help my neighbors, and those around me who need care still, and keep my license current.Good luck to you. GO FOR
    IT ! I'll be here to help you with questions, I promise.
     

  3. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ................Terri , I think your analysis of the job market is correct . Both the medical field and computers will continue to need qualified people to fill their job openings . Plus , highly trained medical jobs cannot be outsourced as much as administrators would like to reduce their overall labor costs . You expressed a desire to develop a business plan to generate more revenue from your farm ! I must say from JUST what I have read that your DH seems to be much more of an Impediment than a source of inspiration and creative idea's . Further , reading betWeen the lines I detected a certain level of frustration with his Lack of cooperation to help you improve the Income and Profitability of your farm . He doesn't seem to be much help at all eXcept what HE wants to do . Maybe I'm misinterpretating your thoughts but I don't think so . Whatever you DO is going to be thru your own singular effort and creativity so Nursing school seems to be the best choice . Forge ahead and do the best you can cause DH seems to be void of any interest in helping you'll get ahead . fordy... :confused:
     
  4. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You've been dependent on him for too long. :bash: Since his tax return shows that you are living below the poverty level, apply for government grants. There are also private monies available. Be wary of the government grants for "misplaced homemakers". These "careers" prepare you to be a nurses aid, cashier, and other positions that no longer pay a living wage. If you haven't been to the college offices, do so before Halloween. They will be happy to steer you in the right direction. Personally, I think once you get your LPN you should work while studying for your RN. Being on your feet all day will be physically hard, so think about pushing paper after you get experience on the floor. You can also work in an office rather than a hospital, which may be physically easier.

    If possible, think about selling your animals so that you will not have that burden on your shoulders. You can buy more bunnies and goats when you are financially stable. As for the hens, corn and oats are cheap. Buy a fifty pound bag of each and feed the hens in the evening. Don't ask permission, just do it. Keep the chickens cooped up all night and let them out about eight or nine in the morning. You should find a couple of eggs. Leave them there, but mark with a crayon (bright blue X is good). The next day, take the X eggs, and mark the other others. After a while they should start laying in the nest even without the bait eggs. Butcher the roosters. All they do is stress the hens. I'd like to do in my RIR rooster, but my husband likes him too much.

    I wish you well. It's hard to be married to someone who sabatoges (sp) your efforts. Been there done that.
     
  5. Wolf mom

    Wolf mom Well-Known Member

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    Although my daughter is getting out of nursing, she's using it as her foundation to get her Master's in Public Health. What is great, is that Nurses are so needed! You can work a couple days, evenings or nights or full time if you want. There are so many different fields within nursing: from hospital to office to school, etc.

    It sounds like getting a degree that's usable when needed is the best for you in your circumstances.

    I wish I had something like that to fall back on... Go For IT!
     
  6. TerriA

    TerriA Well-Known Member

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    You are correct, Fordy.. I AM frustrated beyond belief from a lack of "help" from my dh... especially since when I met him and thereafter he kept telling me he missed living on the farm as he used to as a child... he loves his tractor (baled the hay) but other than that, is useless in chores.

    I have to run now but will be back later... dh just got home and for obvious reasons don't want him to see this!
    Terri
     
  7. TNHermit

    TNHermit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I applaud your desire to go to school but I also emphisize (sp) with your husband. I am in the same business as he is and I probably operate a little like he does. Except there is only me and I quit putting up with a lot of crap.. He may be just tired of being beat up. Not by the work but, as you said all the regulations. the attitude of people and all the other collateral stuff. He may need to find out that what he is doing is getting him someplace. he may be just burnt out. I know a lot of guys are age that are. Sometimes it seems like even the little projects turn into a major deal for no reason at all. Only you can know if he is just lazy or he has lost something. MAybe you can go to school and help him in someway to get his desire back. Not that you can do much by catering to him because most of it is up to him. Maybe if you go to school he will begin to take over doing what you can't . All I know is burnout is tough. If that is what it is.
     
  8. Ahne Homestead

    Ahne Homestead Well-Known Member

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    Terri
    I have entered that time in my life (mid life) where I spend allot of time thinking of what I have acomplished and what I would like to, before I die. May I suggest since you are at a cross road that you pretend you are at the end of life looking back. Thinking of what was most important in life and also the regrets of what you wish you would have done. Maybe you will see more clearly which one of your choices is more important to you.

    You mentioned how your husband seems to not want to help you with your homesteading-farming dreams, and makes you use your income when you have a job on the eccentials of living. Is it possable your husband is very stressed out about making ends meet? That he sees your income as relief to this heavy burden? and he sees the animals as making things worse not a help? I would set down with him and talk to him about your dreams and how important they are to you. Never assume he knows. Ask him what is going on with him. Ask him what his dreams are-were. Maybe the two of you could help each other with accomplishing those dreams. Carl
     
  9. Helena

    Helena Well-Known Member

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    I really believe that every women should be able to pay the rent or the mortgage on her home..if something happens to her husband. I went to LPN school when I was 35. Not because I wanted a career but because I knew that I could always get a job to support myself if..heaven forbid..something happened to my husbands life. I have done just about everything from hospital nurse, doctors office to visiting nurse in the mountains of Pa and private duty. Have never not been offered a position to any job I went to apply for. So...go for it. I have to say that after being out of school for many years and initially being a stenographer out of high school and working with ATT way back in the 60's I had no knowledge of nursing at all. It is a hard job..long hours..holidays..ungrateful administration and yes patients too but there is also a lot of very nice people and the self confidence of knowing you can always support yourself. It was a hard year for me when in LPN school and I studied hard..every night..hours and hours. But I made it. Husband is and was very supportive. Now I work per diem..by choice..but can always work more and homestead with him too. Sometimes husbands aren't supportive for some reason. But go for the nursing test and see if there are loans or grants that will help pay for schooling and just might give you some extra money to get around and buy books, uniforms etc. Whenever you do something to "better" yourself it is never wrong. Keep your responsiblities at home low if your husband is not going to help you with them but don't totally consume yourself with school either..life goes on. I wish you the very best...and I know you can do it !!
     
  10. rzrubek

    rzrubek Flying Z

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    Don't stop with the LPN either, go on and get your RN as soon as you can.
     
  11. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    i agree. when i was left as a single parent to three small children, i went to RN school. it took me 4 years to get a 2 year degree, but it has been the smartest thing i have ever done in my life. nursing is not for everyone, but i recommend it to anyone. for me it was the fastest way to get a job where i could support my children and not have to depend on anyone else. an LPN degree is not necessary to get your RN, you can go straight to RN school, and the pay is double, if not more. however, the LPN program is faster (even tho you don't have a college degree at the end) and many places will pay for you to get more education.
     
  12. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Honey get that degree, make some money and then hire a boy to help with some of the chores. Your husband may not feel the same way about critters that you do. Marriage is give and take--even if someone decides it's not for them. Perhaps you should revamp and see if there is an easier way to set things up for you to do yourself. That would be a good thread. I know that I'm looking at ways to set things up so they will be easier when we are older.
     
  13. Madame

    Madame Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Get the degree. Otherwise, if something should happen to dh (accidental injury, death, divorce) you'll be in bad shape. All adults (with the exception of those who are physically or mentally incapable) should be capable of supporting themselves. Having the skill provides more choices.

    DH sounds controlling, but it may be that he's burned out and tired of paying all the bills. Once you get your degree, go to work full time. Either split the bills 50-50, or see if he would like to go to school and pick up a new skill so he could get into a different field. Certainly, with 2 incomes, you are both going to be better able to cope with financial disasters (like the poor folks who fled Hurricane Katrina are now facing) than anyone with a single income.

    With 2 incomes there is less financial stress,which can ease stress in other areas. As another poster said, you can hire someone to take care of the animals. Personally, I'd keep the rabbits and sell the rest (if they aren't in the beloved pet category) and just hang in there as you pursue your career.
     
  14. Mutti

    Mutti Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Having been an LPN for over 30 years I say go for it. You'll always be able to find a job. If I had it to do over again I'd have done the RN thing but actually,down here in rural MO most of the jobs are for LPN's anyhow. Desperate need and you can pretty much work any shifts you want. I work 3-12 hr shifts over the weekend and am home at the farm 4 days a week. Do travel about 3 hrs. to where my daughter works as make almost $8 more an hour! I can work as much/little as I want if unexpected expenses pop up. Health insurance and a 401 K,too. Worth it to me as retirement is coming up. There are many state grants for nursing school; most of the nurses I know down here went to school on one. Some even cover your gas/lunches,etc so be sure and look into this. My friend even got new tires for her car so she could make it to class. My DH has health problems so it is comforting to me to know I can support myself and keep the farm. Generally classes fill up quickly,there are reading/math tests to take, personel references to get and some states require that you are a CNA before LPN school as they don't cover all the basic bedmaking stuff anymore. Good luck. DEE
     
  15. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

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    I agree... go to school. Around here, you can get a RN in two years....I'd shoot for that. LPNs aren't even hired around here anymore.

    Am I the only one that saw the red flag, though?? Why is his brother his life insurance beneficiary?? He has children and a wife, for gosh sakes!! Who should be his first priority??

    My ex (notice.... EX?) was the same way. If I got a job, he made it miserable on me until I quit. Very controling. Luckily, after he left, I was able to go back to school and get a job.

    You NEED to have a job. He isn't going to support you, or your dreams. You need to be able to care for yourself.

    And maybe I'm all wrong. Hope so.

    But I'd go to school anyway.