Want to start again

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Elizabeth1, Sep 20, 2006.

  1. Elizabeth1

    Elizabeth1 Active Member

    Messages:
    41
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2003
    Location:
    Alabama
    It has been awhile since I posted so here goes with a little about me. My husband and I own 100 acres, that used to belong to his grandparents. what I would like to do is to live more off the land like they used to.

    We have had a fish pond build on it and have alot of trees. But what I would like is to raise as much as I can to eat. Plus have chickens, goats, beas, rabbits and anything else.

    where would be a good place to start? Right now we both work full time but I hope within the next 2 years to be back at home full time. We also have our house and have started a small cabin near the fish pond. Elizabeth
     
  2. kitaye

    kitaye Well-Known Member

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    1,184
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Location:
    Canada - Zone 5
    Start small and work your way up. While you are both working full time you can put in a garden and get a few chickens. Learn how to can or freeze your produce. After you are home you can add cows or goats to the mix and learn how to preserve the meat and milk.
     

  3. rwinsouthla

    rwinsouthla Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Oct 23, 2005
    Location:
    South Louisiana
    Welcome back. Good threads here and there so if you get an idea, search for the topic and read up.

    I second Kitaye's comments. Start small. If I was in your position, I would get me a couple of 25 foot long rows in a garden and plant some veggies. As you get the hang of it, add some length or number of rows. Pretty soon you'll find you KNOW what grows well, what you like, and how much you need. I started with 3 25 foot rows and ended up with 15 and have lengthened them to 35 foot. Still not enough but it puts a dent with two good growing seasons.

    As far as livestock, you have a super source with the pond. Alabama is probably in the top 3-4 for catfish producers due to good weather and long growing season. With some good thinking, you can harvest enough out of an acre pond for about 6-7 people to have catfish 3-4 times a week.

    Other livestock, I'd check seriously into goats (both for dairy and meat), rabbits because they are small, easily cleaned, chickens/geese. Just remember, chickens can be free ranged but hawks and owls get 'em too. My druthers are rabbits because the manure is easily handled and can go directly on the garden without composting.

    If you must have beef, barter up. Probably 40# of catfish and 10 lb of rabbit should get you a side of beef, not cut up.

    This list alone will keep you busy for probably 5-10 years getting everything right. As for the job, go ahead and quit your job and let the hubby work. You'll find lots of folks on here that have and don't regret it.

    Good luck and stick around.
     
  4. greenhart

    greenhart Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2002
    Location:
    South Central Kentucky
    I would look for some fruit trees to get started. Find out which ones grows and produce good in your neck of the woods. also check out small fruits such as grapes and berries. Good luck
     
  5. silvergirl

    silvergirl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    201
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    Location:
    NC
    Square foot gardening (see the book by that name in your local library) may be the way to go for you - it is supposed to be the most efficient small gardening format (DH and I agree), is easily expanded and the plots can be fit with cold frames very easily to extend the growing season.

    Chickens are easy to care for and just need shelter, water, and feed available - if they are young, they would need a heat lamp this time of year... free ranging them makes their care a little easier... Buff Orpingtons are good all round birds and will set on their eggs, too, otherwise get some silkies or other bantam hens to do the setting for the bigger birds... we have Rhode Island Reds - another good general purpose bird for egg production and the stew pot, but not a good setter!

    Rabbits are also a geat beginner project and only need care morning and evenings - checking food and water...four doe and one jack will give you enough meat to feed a family of four in a year. They need wire cages, and nest boxes to have their young - and you can keep them in an old garden shed or barn or even in the garage! They need shelter that is free of drafts... and you can plant directly in their manure, so that is great for the garden.

    Caring for a goat or two is a little more work - but well worth the effort when you are ready. I was milking Sadie, and raising up her kid Matt, while working full time and it was a bit demanding but do-able... also had the chickens and the rabbits at the same time...

    We haven't worked with bees yet - they need knowledgeable care - and need to be started early in the spring, from what I hear... lots of newbies lose their hives, I've heard, to disease and other problems... somethign to wait on, I think, until you are home and able to take some beekeepping classes from your local association, and find an experienced beekeeper who can work with you a little to establish your hives...

    Good Luck
    Silvergirl
     
  6. suzyhomemaker09

    suzyhomemaker09 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,020
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2004
    Location:
    SW Missouri
    We are trying to be more self sufficient also...all of the above suggestions are great....
    We have goats...both for dairy and meat...all sorts of poultry..geese,ducks,chickens,quail, and even an emu ( boy what a character it turned out to be :) ) We have bees as well ( just 3 hives now..hoping to get more going in the spring) Check to see if there are any bee clubs or groups in your area...you will find tons of information and help from these. Our local club offers free beginner classes each year and the old timers there are such a wealth of information. There are lots of knowledgeable folks here in the beekeeping forum as well.
    Gardening is my shortcoming...I just can't ever seem to get it together there...well to be fair to myself there have been lots of extenuating circumstances there.
     
  7. michiganfarmer

    michiganfarmer Max Supporter

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    Oct 15, 2005
    Location:
    Near Traverse City Michigan
    I think the first thing to do after you decide what animals you want is get barns, and feed storage facilities built. Tractors, or work horses, are ging to almost be a necessity, and getting some animal feed crops planted before you get your animals. These are some things that I didnt do, and they are creating some headaches
     
  8. Queen Bee

    Queen Bee Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Apr 6, 2004
    Location:
    NC
    When we first decided, we wanted to live on the farm-I gathered information about everything I could--made lists of what we liked/disliked and hated (Don't waste time, money and energy on plants that you don't love)....Then -I began to purchase and plant fruit trees, grapevines, berry bushes--knowing it would be a few yrs. before they matured and beared fruit. Then, again I gathered as much information as possible on Honeybees. I joined the local beekeepers club and two yrs later I purchased two beehive-The garden, vineyard and orchard improved 200% !! It's been 7yrs and I have 10hives. And had almost 500 --1lb jars of honey this yr.! We have removed miles of old fenceing and torn down/cleaned up a doz. old rotting buildings.. It's been much slower than we ever thought but both of us work full time and we do not live on the farm YET! Good luck.. QB
     
  9. Elizabeth1

    Elizabeth1 Active Member

    Messages:
    41
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2003
    Location:
    Alabama
    Thanks for all the information. I am going to have to go slow with everything right now. I am doing a lot of reading and studing on different animals, like goats rabbits, and reading on gardening including Carla Emery's book. I think that I will probraly(sp) start getting ready for a garden next year, we used to have goats and chickens so I can clean up where they were keep and that should make a good garden. Then I hope to buy a canner to help put up the bounty. Thank you for in and all info that you can give me. Elizabeth 1