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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All!

I'm looking for suggestions and seriously debated which forum would be appropriate. My decision was made when the "work at home" group seemed to have more time to establish their endeavors than I feel we do. My husband is retired and I will be in about 8 years. We are looking for ways to make our homestead of 5 acres (field, no trees) support the inevitable taxes and insurance, and would appreciate ideas. Our house is quite small and since I work full-time at the moment, my time is limited, especially when garden season arrives (we live in mid-Ohio). We moved out of town to this beautiful place only 5 years ago and are still developing the property so creativity is a plus with this topic. Yes, I realize this is a very open-ended question and that is intentional so that your thoughts are not directed or boxed-in. This group has a wonderful tendency to branch in all directions!

Thank you in advance.
 

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One side of the equation is income, the other is spending. I chose over the years to attack that latter part. For example, we have no water/sewer bill since we have a spring on the place and a septic system. Not to say there aren't occasional costs, but no regular (and ever increasing) bill.

I installed enough solar so that we have no bill and actually run a credit most months (offsetting the months we don't). Currently they owe us 500 bucks.

I built a tower for internet that is used by a local ISP...they pay us enough yearly to cover the property taxes (also ever increasing apparently) plus provide us a free connection (income + not spending in that area).

We raise much of our own food, all our meats, home process them all. Save money plus much better food.

We cut all our wood off the place that heats the house, so zero spent in heating. (yes, there are some costs associated with it, but far less than buying fuels)

I do 99% of any repairs around here. The Maytag repairman is sure getting his sleep.

I just bought a digital outdoor antennae....came today in fact. If it works out well, Dish, and their recent price increase, is $60/mo that won't go out of our income stream.

Took some money out of savings that was earning very little interest and bought a couple acres with a small rental on it that now provides 3 times the interest income + some good tax deductions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Part of a realistic answer depends on your (and your husband's) interests your skills, and your equipment for whatever. Give us a little more info, please.
Our interests are simple such as woodworking and cooking. The income level will soon be social security only and our savings went to purchase the land on which we built our small home. Equipment is minimal at this time which is actually helping us stay fit since we do so much without the help of machines. The suggestions made by TnAndy are fantastic but I'm fairly certain we wouldn't have enough time left to pay off such investments. We are on a 2-year plan to completely be debt free and I'd love to stay that way! So, that being said, I have about 8 years left of my current external income with which to prepare for our retirement. We have electricity, heat with a wood stove, a standard water well/pump. Should we consider small livestock, or grow lavender, or buy a van to be an Amish-driver? Ideas, Ideas, Ideas! ...or even pitfalls…
 

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Question for TnAndy ........ Approx how large is your solar panel system to supply all of your power needs? Approx. how many square feet of panels?

Five acres isn't enough ground to farm or raise enough livestock that will generate income. Best bet for making money on the home place would probably be doing some type of service in a shop on the property; welding, sharpening, repair work, auto detailing, crafts or food that you could sell, etc., etc.

Nothing wrong with working a part time job in retirement to generate a little extra income either.
 

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Not sure what you meant by external income, but if it is good for 8 years, and you'll be debt free in 2, then the other six could go toward saving what you'd been using to get debt free.
I think the best bet is to make sure you do as much for yourself as you can, then don't have to pay for those products or services. Garden, do as many repairs as you can yourself, make less trips to town or wherever...shop only what you need maybe once a month, and buy in bulk. Maybe you can also barter some things with neighbors/friends/relatives, so if someone raises their own meat, you could barter veggies or fruits for some meat. whatever you don't pay out means you need less coming in.
 

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Question for TnAndy ........ Approx how large is your solar panel system to supply all of your power needs? Approx. how many square feet of panels?
Never really figured it by sqft. Watt wise, it's 11,000 watts. First 20 panels installed were 175w each, I think they ran around 36" x 54" (13.5sqft each) x 20 panels = 270sqft. Next 30 were 250w each, they ran around 39x66 (21.45sqft) x 30 = 643 sqft, so combined, around 913sqft.

Photo at some stage: There is another array of 8 panels behind the lower 8 you can't see, and since this was taken, I've come out the left with 10 more 250w to the ground mounted array.



And to be clear, it does not supply all our needs, but we have no bill because the power company pays a premium for solar infeed that cancels the rest of the bill.
 

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Should we consider small livestock, or grow lavender, or buy a van to be an Amish-driver? Ideas, Ideas, Ideas! ...or even pitfalls…

Going to depend on your interests, and what will sell in your area. Clearly "Amish-driver" must be a local opportunity as I've never heard of it.

I believe the Dept of Agriculture still has money available for building green houses. You could start with a small one (say 20x40) and grow fresh greens for sale to local restaurants/farmer's market. If that goes well, and suits you, scale up to whatever time you want to spend doing it. You could start with small covered ground beds quite cheaply. World of YouTube videos on the subject. Key is to develop you market before you get too heavy in the growing side. (growing is easy, selling is the trick)


We grow an awful lot of food (for us) in our little homemade 3 season 20x36 house, and it doesn't have to be built as fancy with the concrete floor and raised beds. (that was for us personally to be able to keep gardening a long time into old age)
 

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If your husband enjoys wood working he can build "stuff" and sell it. I build yard swings, I have a simple plan that is comfortable. I sell them just word of mouth. I do some wood turning, pens and other small projects, get a catalog from pennstateind.com There are plenty of ideas in there that should give you both some help. Bird houses sell very well around here, NEGA. Adirondack chairs is going to be my new "line" this spring. There is a whole world of things that people want and need, they just don't know it yet. Go SELL it to them! I built a set of shelves for a friend of mine who did not like the way HE finished them I took them to the fleamarket with me and sold them the first thing. The best advice I can give anyone who is going to retire is: Get everything done that you can BEFORE you retire cause you won't have time after you retire. Good luck on getting out of debt and saving all you can. Dsmythe
 

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Do what you would like to do anyway.
In my case I am landscaping with edible stuff.
Sugar maples every 50 near the fence line.
Paw paws and persimmon
Pears plums and millinery strategically placed in the yard
I favor native and rarer perennials.
Can anybody think of a fruit productive Evergreen?
 

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O I have about 8 years left of my current external income with which to prepare for our retirement. We have electricity, heat with a wood stove, a standard water well/pump. Should we consider small livestock, or grow lavender, or buy a van to be an Amish-driver? Ideas, Ideas, Ideas! ...or even pitfalls…
No frills advice here- Start adapting to living on retirement income now. You can evolve from the learning/informational stage just as an urban dweller would as they prepare a move into the country.
If you earn 60k and you'll be retiring on half that, start socking that half away now. 8 years x 30k is still 240k above and beyond.
When you finally drop your time card in the slot for the last time, you won't have to transition, you'll already be there and the additional revenue streams won't be so life or death in importance.
 

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I just watched a video on pinyon, Unless it is order of magnitude more productive in domestication I dont think it would pay its way .
But at least I know why they are so expensive at the trading post.
 
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