We now have 50 acres...ideas?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by TEXKAT, Dec 21, 2004.

  1. TEXKAT

    TEXKAT Well-Known Member

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    Hello All -
    Ok, we did it...we bought 50 acres yesterday...signed the papers and got gate combo.
    It's northwest of San Antonio, Texas....at the base of the hill country. Lots of cedar, various types of oaks, and brush.
    Soil is black with lots of limestone...large and small.
    Lots of game...deer, hog, etc.

    We're having to drill a well and have the electric company run line/poles to our place....so it'll be several weeks before we're ready to move our manufactured homes up there. A house for me and DH and another for my mom. DH and I work full-time and know that our weekends will be full of the normal land maintenance.

    My question to all of you (oh wise ones) is what are the possibilities for this place? Not only self-sufficiantcy, but income possibilities too....just shoot out your ideas....brain storm...

    First of all, a garden....the soil is so rich....can't wait to start planting : )

    Ok, your turn ~ Thanks ~
     
  2. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Well, on MY land I have decided on Blackberries, Asparagus, and honey bees to start with.

    I don't know where in Texan you live, but in areas where Africanization is a concern, many beekeepers re-queen yearly to make certain that there is a healthy domestic queen at all times.

    Because, if the hive gets crowded or the queen gets old, the bought queen will leave with a swarm, and the replacement queen may produce babies that are not of pure blood. By replacing the queen every year, you keep your hive pure-bred domestic.
     

  3. Mudwoman

    Mudwoman Well-Known Member

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    Plant Pecan trees----do a sort of orchard. You will want to see what varieties do best in your area. We are originally from Texas, and you can get a lot of information from A & M Univ Extension Service. Takes Pecan Trees about 3 years to start producing, but an acre could provide quite a bit of income. Let people come and pick their own and charge by the pound.

    Plant some Christmas trees on part of the land and after about 5 years, you can start harvesting. You can do "cut your own". Another idea is to plant pumpkins-----same deal of come and get your own pumpkin thing. There was a small place in Flower Mound, TX that did pumpkins and the 2 weeks before Halloween, they had "get your own pumpkins" with hayrides and cider. They charged $10 per pumpkin to go out in their field and pick your own. Someone told me that they would have people come from all over for the experience and that they sold some 2000 pumpkins every year. The advantage was that the pumpkins were fresh and lasted a long time----and it was fun for the kids

    50 acres is a lot of land, and you might consider boarding horses on a limited basis. You don't have to have a fancy barn or stable. Just a 3 sided metal stall large enough for them to get under and out of the weather if they need to and good fencing. Check around. In Flower Mound, the guy across the road charged $80 per horse per month and the people paid for all expenses of feed and water in addition. So, basically, just for going out and feeding the horse, he got $80 per month for his time and effort.
     
  4. countrygurl

    countrygurl Well-Known Member

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    my 2 cents is what ever you build as far as farm structure make it
    changeable to your current needs. we have 2 pole barns first started out
    raising meat rabbits. after that venture used the pole barn with the hanging rabbits cage as chicken pens and took down some cages in 2 bays and wrap with chicken wire and made on the ground coops. use one pole barn into
    pens for calves. using one bay for temporay pen for 10 little pigglets as you can see your needs are always chaning and your structure needs to change with very little additional expense

    good luck and congrads on you new place
     
  5. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    WOW!
    That is some gorgeous land in that area. I used to live in Corpus Christi, but went camping fairly often in the hill country. Lots of ticks and scorpions etc tho.
    I think I would go for pastured poultry and make sure it is organic. Some organic produce along with it too. Figs do really well down there. You can ask premium prices from some of those folks in San Antone that prefer organic groceries. I'd get the pecans in the ground asap, but they won't bear for a long time. You will want something else in the meantime. And don't forget the melons and tomatoes!
     
  6. 2horses

    2horses I'm a silly filly!! Supporter

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    In the beautiful Hill Country of Texas!
    Would love to turn my 2 acres in Houston into 50 in the hill country <sigh>. The pecan trees are a great idea, and a bonus is they get you an Ag exemption. I plan to one day have the horse boarding facility myself - a big barn and covered arena, in-house trainer - the works! You might try meat goats too.

    Good luck with your new place, and keep us posted on the details of your progress! You know we want to hear all about the well, the electric, moving the homes in, etc. etc.... we're like your online diary!!

    Pam :cool:
     
  7. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    Horse boarding might be a good idea, but there are a number of drawbacks. First, you need good fencing for horses, stuff they can't get hurt in. No barbed wire, and be careful what kind of woven wire you get. No high tensile, either -- if a horse runs into that stuff full tilt it's like they've been run through a cheese slicer.

    Second, you need insurance. If you are boarding a horse worth several thousand dollars, and it gets hurt or sick, even if it isn't your fault you could end up getting blamed for it. And if the owner gets hurt, or a visitor they bring with them, you could get sued.

    Third, some people lose interest and stop paying their board bills, and then you are stuck with a horse. That happens more often than you would expect.

    It takes a special kind of person to deal with all these things and more.

    Now, as to what I would suggest: if you and DH are going to be working full-time, you don't want something like a market garden. That would take too much time in your situation. The pecan trees sound good, or any other tree-type thing. Pastured stock such as steers or meat goats would probably work for you, also, if you have good fencing.

    Kathleen
     
  8. TEXKAT

    TEXKAT Well-Known Member

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    I knew y'all would come up with some good ideas : )

    I really like the pumpkin and Christmas tree idea...Pecans sounds good too...Would love to have blackberries (have to check out if they'll do good in our area though)....ummmm figs....and yes, whatever we do it'll be organic....

    As far as barns/structures....that's a good point....we won't be ready to build anything (time and money) at first, but I'm glad you brought that up....definately need to think of the big picture too....maybe start small with the intent of adding on later.

    What about the limestone?

    Cedar trees?
     
  9. desnri

    desnri Well-Known Member

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    I don't know much about the limestone, but, cedar trees are a wonderful money maker. We live in East Texas and have lots of cedar on the property. We'll be investing in a chipper/shredder for a cost of about $400 so we can make cedar mulch. We've already invested in woodworking tools so we can start making furniture.

    I think the pecan trees are a great idea and if you are going to grow your own veggies, why not have a weekend produce stand. Tomatoes and melons are big sellers. Here in East Texas, we can grow peaches. I'm not sure about the San Antonio area.

    And don't forget to add chickens. People love farm fresh eggs.
     
  10. Ole Man Legrand

    Ole Man Legrand Well-Known Member

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    For an income try boarding horses sure works for me. If you were interested I could help you write a contract. We put Hi Tensile springs in each line of our fence 5 strands with a 9 joule fence charger connected to each line. Only do full board, that way every one gets feed at the same time. There must be a lot of people in San Antonio that want to board horses.
     
  11. Milking Mom

    Milking Mom COTTON EYED DOES

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    You can contact the FSA (Farm Service Agency) in your County to see what they might be able to help you with. I am not sure it if is all over Texas or just our County, but if you have 10 acres or more the FSA will help you with ag related expenses such as establishing pasture, putting in a pond, erosion problems, etc... Most cases they pay 75% of the cost of doing the project, but if you qualify (and you would have to get with them on what qualifies and what doesn't) it goes up to 90%. Catfish farming is BIG business in Texas now days also.
     
  12. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    We own 78 acres in AZ and only use about one acre each for a garden and pasture. Our biggest seller this year were tomatoes, melons (3 kinds), cukes (3 kinds), summer squash (4 kinds), beans, peas. The corn was lots of trouble and not worth the effort. So were blackeyed peas. Okra was a good seller and trouble free. Strawberries were easy to grow and multiply every year to make new plants. Haven't tried flowers but would like to. Also lettuce can be grown in summer if you cover it with remay for protection from the sun. Gourds are good too but start early. Peanuts grew good last year. Bell peppers were good growers but need shade. Build a greenhouse to start your plants in. What a big difference in doing that this year. The Christmas tree business sounds good but they require lots of water. Not worth the time and expense for us. We did sell farm fresh eggs (brown eggs) for $2 a dozen. At the market in Tucson you could get $2.50. We also sold goat's milk for pet use only. Good luck and let us know if you have a good year. Oh, don't use horse manure; we had a weed patch.