go homesteading for vacation?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by wapiti, Nov 22, 2005.

  1. wapiti

    wapiti Member

    Feb 3, 2005
    Would those of you still stuck in the city consider taking a vacation to a working homestead?

    Would you sleep in a small cabin that does not have all the comforts of home? Go poo in an outhouse, haul and heat your own water? Help prepare community meals?

    Would you enjoy gathering eggs, milking a cow, working in a garden or slaughtering and processing animals if need be? Would you like to can food and make soap?

    You would get breaks to go horse back riding, fishing, mushroom hunting, critter hunting, etc...

    Would you go in the middle of winter to test youself and see if you can hack it as a homesteader?

    A little background;

    My wife and I moved to Portland Oregon seven years ago from North Idaho for those high paying city jobs. We were too young to understand what the old folks meant by quality of life. In Idaho I made $11 per hour and my wife made $6.25.. Now we make $29 and $16.50 respectivley but our souls are dying here!

    We have a plan to move back in 4 years and are thinking of all the alternative ways to make money. I have an open job offer for $18 per hour waiting for me and I think we'll be out of debt in three years and have about 100K in the bank when we go.

    I did a little searching and could not find a real ranch or homestead that offered a REAL experience?

    What could someone charge for the real thing?

    I would take a vacation like this If I hadn't grown up this way. Back then it was just called country not homesteading.

    Thanks in advance for any input!

  2. moldy

    moldy Well-Known Member

    Mar 4, 2004
    I think that is an awesome idea! I am still in the "dreaming" stage and would like to have the experience before sinking in a lot of money. Although I would prefer indoor plumbing and spending some time in a house with alternative construction and energy sources (straw bale, SIP, underground with solar, wind, or geothermal systems). Perhaps it would be a way for some of the other posters to bring in a little extra cash to their homestead.

  3. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

    Aug 18, 2004
    SE PA, zone 6b
    Rats! My computer ate my response! Will try again.

    There is a directory of Farm and Ranch vacations. They range from very elaborate dude ranches to working farms. You could get the directory and send for some info from those who are doing something like you propose. They may even be willing to chat on the phone.

    I took a course in running a bed and breakfast. You should be advised that the average occupancy rate is 35%. This is NOT a big moneymaker.

    Were I planning a farmstead, I would and did read every book I could find on the subject. I would then make a plan for the sequence of the projects that I wanted to do. If I were to go to a farm, I would try to go to one where lots of experience was available. For instance the authors of the books. Joel Salatin has a lot of good sense in managing his farm. So does Andy Lee, Gene Logsdon, Eliot Coleman. Salatin even has a video and a DVD you can get from Acres, USA.

    The idea is to have a number of profit points to depend upon, not just one. For each, you need a market. You can't sell solid gold ingots without the market.

    I'm not saying you cannot do this--just that you need real facts on which to make your decisions. Good luck on your endeavor.
  4. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 11, 2002
    Talk to your local farm agent. There is a name for this and I can't think of what it is. There is a farm outside Gettysburg that does this. All the scout troops from Philly and Washington, DC go there because farm life is as foreign to them as going on a safari. They do just as you suggest. What I can't figure out is the liability--must be huge.

    I've heard what people do is have things going all year round. A corn maze in the fall. A stand with apples, cider, pumpkins. In the spring: a petting zoo and nursery plants for sale.

    I think there are a lot of families who would like to have their kids learn what it's like to live on a farm. In Idaho, maybe you could tie it in to the local history--how the pioneers lived/ate/housed themselves and how the native Americans lived/ate/housed themselves. Think of simple crafts they could take home (corn dolls, beaded belts, etc...)

    Well--should be getting ready for Thanksgiving. I'll try to think of that word so you can google it. We just had a symposium here on this...
  5. greenacresusa

    greenacresusa Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2005
    We're planning to do the same things you talked about except it will be on our own land. We plan to buy land this coming spring. Then instead of going on vacation to the area and staying in motels we'll be staying on our land in a barn/cabin we'll have there and slowly work up to adding water/septic/electic to the cabin. In the meantime it will be a camping vacation each time w/o the above utilities until we get each in. Then when we retire, sell the house here, and build a house on the land the barn/cabin will become a guest house. It will be so great to vacation on our own land and work it each time. To wake up, make some coffee, and kick back for a few minutes to enjoy the sights/smells/and the wind in our hair :)
  6. ajaxlucy

    ajaxlucy Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jul 17, 2004
  7. germanbini

    germanbini germanbini

    Jan 3, 2005
    I love this idea; we've stayed at a particular bed and breakfast twice because of it's "farm" atmosphere of having the eggs to gather and the sheep in the yard. If there was an even more homesteading "farmstay" place to go to, it would be a great adventure.

    You can advertise it also with people who enjoy reenacting, or who want to find out how things were done in their great-grandparent's time, etc.
  8. mom2girls

    mom2girls mom2girls

    Oct 24, 2005
    I think that is a great idea! I know people that do WOOFING (I did not spell that right, but that is what it sounds like) They go and stay on a farm for room and board and work for them. Personally I would not pay to work a farm, but I would love to go and help out, or take over while the farmming family vacations themselves. Sounds like fun.
  9. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

    Feb 19, 2004

  10. via media

    via media Tub-thumper

    Jun 3, 2005
    Two quick ideas:

    1. Ask "city folk" what they think of your idea - a homesteading forum might be a little biased (although I'm sure we will have fantastic ideas and helpful hints)

    2. You might want to offer a variety of levels. For example, some people may enjoy staying on a farm and gathering eggs but would pay extra for a cabin with running water.

    Good luck with everything!

  11. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

    Oct 29, 2002
    We are putting in 2 cabins (log homes) on our farm that will be vacation rentals. The homesites are prepared (Well is in, septic,electric and homesite is levelled) but we are still figuring out exactly what we want for layout and construction.

    We are emphasizing the lakes (We have 2) for fishing, several miles of trails through our woods. The trails are suitable for cross country skiing, hiking, and horseback riding. We have barn space and will have fenced in pasture/corrals for horses.

    We don't plan on emphasizing farm activities but when we have chickens, if someone wants to collect eggs I'm not going to say no. Same goes for shoveling manure <G>.

  12. Evan Fryman

    Evan Fryman Well-Known Member

    Jul 5, 2003
    Oregon, Coos Bay
    I would LOVE to be able to go on a Vacation on a Homestead !
    BUT there's ONE BIG problem...........,
    They would have big trouble trying to get me to LEAVE ! LOLOLOLOL
  13. donsgal

    donsgal Nohoa Homestead

    May 2, 2005
    SW Missouri near Branson (Cape Fair)
    Do a google search on "agrotourism". Not only are people doing this, but there is government money out there to help.

    I think that it is a good idea but "most" people (who are not already homesteading), probably would draw the line at pooing in an outhouse. Providing a few luxuries would ensure a wider customer base for you.