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Old 03-13-2011, 06:21 PM   #1
CoolWool
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Anyone out there have a "mini-farm?"
I'm a city girl but husband grew up around animals (horses, chickens) and lately - we've really been noodling around with the idea of building outside the city and having a veggie garden and a few animals (chickens, goats, LLAMA!!, and horses). We're not taking this lightly. In fact, it would be a couple years before we could even move out of the city. So I'm going to plant a veggie garden in my backyard and see how successful I am at it. I'm just wondering if anyone else has ever experienced this kind of DIY lifestyle and how crazy/rewarding it is.
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Old 03-14-2011, 04:39 PM   #2
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CoolWool, Of course go ahead with your veggie garden. My favorite thing about summer is going out and picking a nice tomato and some greens for dinner plus other stuff. There's nothing like raising your own produce. I only have a one third acre lot but you don't need that much for a garden.

I usually grab a cherry tomato for a nice wet snack while I work in the yard plus I raise a few pumpkins so my grandkids can come and put their initial on a favorite that they can pick when it's time. Kinda fun.

Now the animals are another story. That's a real can of worms depending on your area. So many caveats, I can't list them here.

I'm in the Midwest too. You haven't said what city or area you live in. I don't usually give out info either. (I'd hate to find old, spurned lovers standing at my door:<) I'd be happy to send a PM to really explain how careful you must be if you plan to buy land (probably you want modest sized acreage) and build your dream house.

I tried to do that years ago and never bought my 5 acre paradise, however, I received a very high degree in realty-ese education only because I studied and investigated everything from perc tests on land and zoning requirements which are even worse today.

I'm not trying to discourage you but there are so many things for you to be aware of because of the large expense involved.
I hate to see dreams smashed for lack of knowledge.
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Old 03-14-2011, 06:24 PM   #3
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I dream of this as a possibility as well. I would love the "off-the-grid" lifestyle, and have been a long-time gardener. I don't want much as far as acreage is concerned. But I would love enough for fruit/nut orchard, veggie garden, beehive(s) and maybe a few chickens.

My biggest concern is a source of pure water. If you have the ability to source water, you can deviate it around your property to water all your plants/animals for you.

I have looked into something called "permaculture" which is a holistic approach to sustainable small scale agriculture (one family, up to a small community).

See, now you went ahead and started something by bringing up this topic!
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:18 PM   #4
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YUp....Been here 20 years now.....Cleared the land, built the dome,ourselves and generate our own energy with Solar and WInd.....
Go for it...Don't wait!! I love the lifestyle and having my horses with me all day...wandering around 80 acres.....
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Old 03-15-2011, 12:11 AM   #5
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Yep... lots to think about. "offthegrid" - - Nice nic!

Wellslip - I'm in Illinois. Zone 5. What kinds of things did you run into while looking for land? We're actually considering retiring to Missouri in about 13 years and land seems to be cheaper (and more wooded) there. But I could be wrong. Just been doing some research online. A lot of the "where" depends on which state will have the best care for our son when we're gone. (He's going to need a lot of quality care for the disabled, and Illinois SUCKS for that.) So right now, we're looking for something to tide us over - - I'm thinking 10 acres. And a comfy house, small barn. Then later the animals.

We're in our early 40's and wonder if we might be a little old to start doing this (in 3 years I'll be 46). But I'm thinking if we keep it small... and take baby steps, we should be able to make it work.

Moni - you're brave for wanting bees. I'd be too chicken to handle them!
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Old 03-17-2011, 01:14 PM   #6
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We don't have a small "farm," but we do have the plant side of it (garden and planted fields). In fact, we just put up a greenhouse for starting our own plants and maybe over-wintering a few things.

I love the idea of living "off the grid," but I find it extremely challenging in my dry dry dry part of Texas. If I could find a way to produce water from, oh, I don't know, wind? dirt? something, I'd feel much happier with life.

Right now, we are waiting for prices on wind turbines and/or solar panels to go down. Of course, with production costs rising due to oil prices, this might not be very wise.

I think you can "start" farming whenever you want to--there's no age limit attached to it. Just do your research, start small, and add as you can.

I would love love LOVE to do something to get us off the grid and be self-sustainable! Right now, though, we're not able to move forward with those plans.

By the way, be sure to look into green options you can build into your home (I'm sure that's something you're already doing, though).
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Old 03-17-2011, 07:16 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by CoolWool View Post
Moni - you're brave for wanting bees. I'd be too chicken to handle them!
Not me!! The bees are for hubby to handle! I'm a chicken, too! LOL!

We're extremely late bloomers, too. I'm 50, hubby's 52. I've been begging to do this for YEARS. We just can't afford to "retire" (give up a consistent income - his job! because he manages a small retail location, it is located in a metropolitan area. )
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Old 03-24-2011, 02:05 PM   #8
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Both my mama and I live in Long Beach, CA (Los Angeles County). I personally live in a 1 BR 2-floor apartment, so I can't have a garden or farm (besides my artichoke plant growing outside my door), but my mama has successfully raised 2 chickens in her backyard, who now produce 1 egg each per day, plus a rather large vegetable garden. She's been quite successful, and she's actually cut down her grocery costs by quite a large margin.
So even if you live in the city, I'd have to say that it's worth it. Granted, she has a very large backyard where my step-dad built a chicken coop, so just consider space before committing....make sure your goats and llamas will have a warm, sheltered place to hang out if you're going to have them in your backyard.
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Old 03-25-2011, 03:58 PM   #9
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Check your town's laws before you invest in a chicken coop in your back yard. I know some areas do allow it, but others don't. Still, chickens are nice (roosters can be mean, though), and they eat all sorts of food scraps.

My parents had wanted to have a mini farm (fruit tress was their dream) before they were married. Life took them in a different direction, but now they have 5 hilly acres as their retirement property/project. They don't really farm the land (except for my mom's herbs, and the dead trees my dad cuts up), but they truly LOVE living there. I think they would consider doing some small scale farming if (1) they didn't have such a large deeer population, and (2) if there were a lot of family close by to share the fruits of their garden with. They are also very much aware that they can't handle the sort of work load that they could when they were in their 20s or 40s.
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Old 03-25-2011, 05:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Right now, we are waiting for prices on wind turbines and/or solar panels to go down. Of course, with production costs rising due to oil prices,
Build your own windmill! It cost us about $300 in magnets,wire and wood. Hubby took a course and then he build ours. The tower was used for $200. There is a great website to buy and assemble them yourself!! These guys are great!!

http://www.otherpower.com/
http://www.forcefieldmagnets.com/cat...hp?cPath=22_30

For solar panels, we get a bulk load of them and this decreases the cost/panel. Don't wait!!
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