New here, and just getting started

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by madness, Dec 13, 2006.

  1. madness

    madness Well-Known Member

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    I just wanted to introduce myself to a group of people that I admire greatly. You guys don’t just talk about homesteading, most of you are actually doing it. I’ve been talking for about a year now and finally have a chance to get a little taste of the real thing. I’m two weeks into my new life and I couldn’t be more excited!

    I have a “city job” as a research physicist in a small (6 employees) company that works on alternative energy. I love this job and I love Austin despite the drawbacks of a city this size (and my entire family lives here). I couldn’t imagine leaving to move out in the country even though I really wanted to live a simpler, better life than I was in suburbia. After a year of saving money and looking as far as 2 hours away from work (thinking I would actually make that drive everyday!), I was getting a little distraught and thought I would never find a place. My father (whom I work with and look up to immensely) was trying to convince me to stay in town and just get a house with a big lot and make sure I really wanted to commit myself to this way of living. Not a bad idea really. Well, he took me to a neighborhood right behind the lab one day during lunch and lo and behold, there was a house for sale – they were literally putting up the sign as we drove by. Then I noticed the yard…1.3 acres!!! Now, remember that I’m talking about in the Austin city limits and within walking distance of the place I work. I was sold immediately. There would be plenty of land to “practice” on and I could keep my high paying job until I can afford to buy the dream farm out in the country!

    I “blame” this desire to live off the land on my parents. When I was born, they were growing all the vegetables my family of 5 could eat and raising dairy goats. They have transitioned back into a more “normal” lifestyle, though they still have a vegetable garden and they are thinking about getting some chickens again. They also brew biodiesel and get most of their energy from their solar cells.

    Sorry if this seems long and rambling, it’s just that I don’t have that much support from my friends – they all think I’m crazy. The first thing people say when I tell them about the size of my lot is: “I hope you have a riding lawn mower!” Then when I tell them that goats/chickens/sheep/whatever will keep it trimmed, they just sorta stare, not really sure if I’m joking or if I’m just plain weird.

    Here are my plans for the place (advice/comments/etc. welcome!). I live alone (unless I can find a roommate that is willing to help out) and still have a full time job, so I hope I can handle everything!
    •Big vegetable garden – enough for me and some for the rest of the family
    •Beehives – I’m thinking two? Just enough for pollinating the garden and a little honey
    •Chickens – maybe 10 so I have eggs for the family and neighbors
    •Dairy goats – I’ll probably wait a year or so to get these so that I can start settling in to everything – don’t want to be overwhelmed! Austin city codes are a bit weird on this one. I have to have animals that meet the published standards for miniature breeds. So, I could have a 600 pound miniature dairy cow, but I can't have a 120 pound full sized goat. Hmmm...well, nigerian dwarves are darn cute anyway, so I can live with it! ​

    I have a ton of ideas of other little things I’m going to do on the property. My dad and I are amateur blacksmiths and I want to set up a shop there. I also want to put in a rainwater collection system and solar cells (Austin rebates over ¾ of the price!). But first, I have to fence the property (to shield my nefarious activities from the neighbors) and get rid of the sculpted shag carpet in the house…

    Thanks for reading! Marissa
     
  2. Shepherd

    Shepherd Well-Known Member

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    Well welcome to the greatest forum around! There's a lot of knowledgable people here. Sounds like you've been raised in a homesteading environment to begin with so you're starting out with an advantage. Your parents sound like they're very wise.

    Start out slow and easy - one project at a time until you know you can handle it before moving onto another one. You don't want to get overwhelmed.

    Enjoy your new place!
     

  3. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    welcome and about one thing at a time do what i do start 4 things at a time when there done start 4 more i dont get overwhelmd very easy
     
  4. COSunflower

    COSunflower Country Girl Supporter

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    Hi Marissa!
    I am new here too and homestead on only 3/4 acre! I believe that homesteading is more in the mind and heart than in how much land you have. It's a way of living and I have read of people in apts. that live a headsteading life also. I've often thought that it must be a gene that we inherit from our ancestors - 3 of us 7 kids have it and we all live on different size places. I am the only one with animals - but the others grow gardens, can produce, compost, recycle, go organic etc. I'm sure that you will have success and many years of enjoyment from your 1.3 acres. My only suggestion is to go slow - don't rush into too much at once or it can lead to alot of discouragement. Think creatively and do your research - esp. with animals. Enjoy your HOMESTEAD!!!!! :)
     
  5. SignMaker

    SignMaker Well-Known Member

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    Way to go Marissa!

    Welcome to the "Country" Club!
     
  6. teresab

    teresab Well-Known Member

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    Marissa
    ...your ideas sound great and you sound very ambitious....go for it!!! A lot that size is a great way to tell if that is what you want to do. That might be all you need or you may LOVE it and want to go bigger.
    Don't let any weird looks or naysayers get you down..follow your heart and you'll have a great time. Remember there are plenty here to help if you need it.
     
  7. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    Welcome home, Marissa! Keep a journal and post it here in bits and pieces. That way, you can try out ideas on us first and can keep an accounting of your progress. Don't forget we need pics....lots and lots of pictures, okay? You'll be able to tend your garden on your lunch time! Just think....walk home, pick your salad stuff, and deadhead & weed between bites. I really envy you because it sounds like you have the best of both worlds.
     
  8. mamabear

    mamabear Well-Known Member

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    Welcome Marissa! Good for you and congratulations!!! :dance:
    hugs,
    mamabear
     
  9. MullersLaneFarm

    MullersLaneFarm Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to our world! If you ever have questions or just want to bounce ideas, post away! Paul & I have a small 'pictorial' page that covers some homesteading basics. Take a peek!

    Lessons in Homesteading
     
  10. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

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    Marissa, kudos to you for the wonderful introductory post. You're going to fit right in, I can tell!

    Chickens are a GREAT first animal. I read that advice here and followed it, and they were right. You'll be surprised how much personality they have, and how funny they are. Read up on chicken tractors, that might be something you'd rather utilize than a large run attached to a coop. I don't think you'll want to free range them for risk of upsetting your neighbors.

    Another good first animal is rabbits. They're harder to kill than chickens because they're so darn cute, though. Plus they don't lay eggs. But they're quiet!
     
  11. Shepherd

    Shepherd Well-Known Member

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    COSunflower - wanted to welcome you to the forum also!
     
  12. cowgirlone

    cowgirlone Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the forum Marissa! Lots of good folk here ready to visit with you. Also, if you're into reading, the archives are interesting. :)
     
  13. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Welcome!
    Your new place sounds WONDERFULL!

    On my 1 acre lot I have Christmas trees, fruit trees, blackberries, a bee hive, chickens, a garden, and a home-made greenhouse.

    Life is good!!!!!!!!!!
     
  14. madness

    madness Well-Known Member

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    Funny you mention killing, er maybe not funny…

    Anyway, I have constant arguments/discussions with my brother about what kind of animals I should raise. See, I’m a vegetarian. But it isn’t my fault - my parents raised me that way and I never got used to the taste and texture of meat (though I tried my hardest during my teenage years to “rebel” and eat it). So, my brother is always wondering what the practicality of raising certain animals for me would be. Animals that are raised only for their meat are out, but that still leaves a lot of choices. I’ve actually thought about angora rabbits since I knit. I’ll have to look into it more!

    Completely off topic, but I was reminded of it when mentioning my brother. The whole family went to rural central Mexico for Thanksgiving this year and while walking around in the fields one morning, we came up to a little herd of dairy goats. My brother took one look at a doe that was facing the other direction and exclaimed “Look at the balls on that thing!” Um, well, while the anatomy was rather impressive, I think it was designed for something quite different. He’s earned the nickname “City Boy” from that comment!
     
  15. Farmer Willy

    Farmer Willy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Welcome and congradulations. I hope you check out the alt. energy forum and maybe contribute some great ideas for the rest of us. If you need any advice on hillbilly Kentucky rednecks feel free to ask.
     
  16. BasicLiving

    BasicLiving Well-Known Member

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    Madness, it sounds like a really wonderful place! I'm happy for you. I'm pretty new here myself - we homestead on the weekends with hopes of doing it premanently in the near future. I believe homesteading is indeed a state of heart and mind.

    I've found this website invaluable and you have come to the right place to learn and to grow. Welcome!

    Penny
     
  17. EasyDay

    EasyDay Gimme a YAAAAY!

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    Hi, madness!
    Welcome to the forum.
    It sounds like you've put a lot of thought and research into what you want to accomplish. That's the best place to start. But, when it comes to small "easy" critters, don't let lack of knowledge stop you from jumping in. Food, water, and shelter are a given, but after that you'll learn as you go. And since your folks had animals, you probably already have the common sense for most things.

    We read every (insert animal name here) book on the market before we moved to the farm. Only to find out that not ONE of my (insert same animal here) read the same books we did! So we worked out the differences together... us and the critters.

    Plus, you'll find some VERY knowledgeable (some experts) here on these forums for any questions that come up.

    Again, welcome! Hope you enjoy it here as much as I've had.

    PS: I agree with turtlehead about raising rabbits. They're easy to care, don't take up much space, and are inexpensive to feed. Our doe has litters of 8-9 each time. After about 5-6 months, they reach 4-5 lbs. That's fast freezer meat if you like rabbit.