Which way do we go George...?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by GREEN_ALIEN, Dec 19, 2004.

  1. GREEN_ALIEN

    GREEN_ALIEN Sunny, Wet, Tornadoey SD!

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    Ok folks, here is my current head scratcher. We have one of the two following options available and they both have pros and cons. Maybe you can halp us decide...

    We have been fortunate enough to put away an ok nest egg over the years and we figure if we keep the animals to a minimum, basically for our own use only, and we grow a garden we can live on the farm for about 10 years or so with no outside income needed. This is not a grand existence either, we are talking electricity, fuel, feed, food and insurance no trips to the islands for sure. Sure there will always be a bit left over for sale or trade but not enough to call an income.

    The second choice is to dump the nest egg into new equipment, livestock, gardens, orchards, feed, wells etc... and try to generate an income from this over the next 10 years?? 10 Years is the key number here because that is when all the years of hard work payoff in the form of a 401K.

    Me - go for it!
    DW - not go for it (of course)!

    Ideas.

    GA
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Take it slow and find where your income can come from. That way you at least know where your standing until you learn the ins and outs of a very differnet lifestyle. OK I'm assuming it would be a very differnet lifestyle.
     

  3. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    There are some variables that would need to be addressed here before you make any decisions. First of all, what is your physical health like? Are you up to the hard labor of a farm?

    Second, what local markets do you have? How tied down are you willing to be? If your local regs allow for it, if there's a market, and you don't mind being tied down, the most income would come from selling raw goat milk to local customers. It would cost a bit to get the milking facilities set up, which is all that stops me from doing this right now. Pastured poultry doesn't require a huge investment in anything, especially if you start small (and you'll need to, so you can build up a customer base), but it does have quick returns and no need to keep the critters over the winter. It's also really easy to sell the product. There are so many options -- have you read everything available on the subject? I would start with Joel Salatin's You Can Farm, and go from there. Also Ken Scharabok's book on How To Earn Extra Money In the Country (he's here on this board; just post a request and he'll e-mail the book to you free -- and it is excellent).

    The one thing I *wouldn't* do is just sit and twiddle my thumbs while waiting for the 401K to kick in. What if something happens and it isn't available when you expect it to be? You'll be out of money and no way to make more.

    Kathleen
     
  4. GREEN_ALIEN

    GREEN_ALIEN Sunny, Wet, Tornadoey SD!

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    Thanks guys. I guess I should have added some more info... I have done this before ie grew up farming, owned a farm of my own etc but alas I met a yuppie gal and ended up in the city ***YUCK*** and then got stuck here for the 11 years. We are officially unstuck now and at least one of us knows what to do/expect etc... lol. She will figure it out in her own time after she cuts those dang nails off.

    I have been thinking poultry as a way to go as it is a cheap in and out project. Also kicking around pigs> I could afford to overwinter about 10 sows and a boar which would give me plenty of weaners, feeders and butchers to sell...??? What does anyone think of overwintering pigs?? I see good and bad in it. We would have to add a building to do so but that is in the plan anyhow.

    I would like to do the whole goat thing but too many regs with the milk etc.. and if I am going to keep a critter for meat it may as well be a steer (personal enjoyment). I am looking for a Highland breeder so I can get a few cow calf pairs... if anyone is in WA and have Highlands call, write, email.

    GA
     
  5. havenberryfarm

    havenberryfarm Well-Known Member

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    I am not all that experienced, but I would vote for the chickens. They don't require expensive housing. The regs about eggs are not as strict as goat milk regs, and if you incubate some of your own eggs you can grow your flock in a hurry! Also, they are easy to order in large numbers if you don't want to over-winter a meat flock. Chickens are easy to care for and they are not likely to cause injury to your wife. Chances are good that a sweet little hen can win her over too! :)
     
  6. Kshobbit

    Kshobbit Well-Known Member

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    They used to call raising pigs the "morgage payer". but the price of pork has gone up and down like a yoyo. There are people around here that raised pigs for years and then lost everything when the price of pigs just hit rock bottom.
    I raised two free runts that year and fed them lots of goat milk. I could have bought ready to butcher pigs for less than it took to raise those two. You can't make a living selling for less than the cost of the feed.
    There is always a market for farm fresh eggs and even a growing one for farm fresh fryers. You might want to check to see if that would work for you.
    I am getting ready to retire and can see I need to cut down on the amount of critters I am feeding. Good luck.
     
  7. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    in light of the world as it is...
    take the cash buy the land&tools you need to live and work from there...
    turn on tune in drop out.... lol

    get it while the dollar is trill worth a dollar.... and for that matter while you still have a 401!
     
  8. diane

    diane Well-Known Member

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    "We have been fortunate enough to put away an ok nest egg over the years and we figure if we keep the animals to a minimum, basically for our own use only, and we grow a garden we can live on the farm for about 10 years or so with no outside income needed. This is not a grand existence either, we are talking electricity, fuel, feed, food and insurance no trips to the islands for sure. Sure there will always be a bit left over for sale or trade but not enough to call an income"

    I would think that this would be a wonderful option!! Who needs grand existence?? Once you are actually THERE you most likely will find some sideline income opportunities. That is what we have found. Start small....produce for yourself and find what you love best and grow in that area.
     
  9. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    <Steve Miller guitar riff>
    Go on, take the money and run!!! Woo-hoo-hoo!

    Dude, if my DH and I had this opportunity, I'd be out of here faster than doo through a goose!

    You know what you're doing, your expectations are reasonable, no one can tell what tomorrow may bring... You can stay warm and snug trapped in the city cocoon, or you can make a break for it.

    Maybe your DW will feel more comfortable if you show her, on paper, how all this will work out? Projections of the value of your 401K (now, stop laughing, you guys!), etc., may help your cause.

    I'll be praying for your decision. This is one of those "measure twice, cut once" things. As long as you're sure you're sure, AND it won't wreck your marriage, go for it!