starting the farm life...

scratchmaster8August 25, 2010

Hello all! I am originally from Mississippi but I currently live here in Hawaii and what I want to do is plan for my future. My end goal (I think) is to have a big farm back home in MS with a lot of land and a lot of animals. I want to raise my own food (animals, crops, cotton, veggies, etc.), grow my own trees (fruit trees, various exotic wood trees [pink ivory, mahogany, ebony, etc.]), build my own home, make my own clothes/soap etc. and basically live off the land with my family.

I have posted about my plans in other forums but I havenÂt received very much specific informative assistance so I thought IÂd post here since this seems like a forum packed with experts in this regard. I want to tackle this step-by-step. I think the first thing I need to do is purchase land back home in Mississippi. Can you all advise me here or refer me to a website or book that teaches one absolutely everything they need to know about purchasing land?

My initial thoughts are:

I need to purchase land as cheaply as possible anywhere in MS. (My family is in Jackson) The land should:

- be cleared and flat

- have a well on it

- have pond(s)/lake(s)/stream(s)/river(s)

- be super cheap

Am I missing anything above?

Questions I have:

A. how much land should I plan on purchasing?

As far as I know right now, I plan on having these specifically on my property:

animals -

chickens, pigs, goat, deer, goat, sheep, horses, rabbit, alpacas, llamas, turkey, cats, dogs, geese, ducks, quail, guinea fowl, cows/cattle, peacock, swan, bees, lamb, fish

trees - (this is some of them I plan on growing)

ebony, maple, chestnut, timber, oak, mahogany, bamboo, agarwood, pink ivory, koa, african blackwood, soapnut, rubber tree, beech, etc.

B. WhatÂs the criteria/checklist I use for the potential land I search to purchase?

So, my first thing is land. I was in the Navy for six years and then I got out to think about some things and possibly use my post 9/11 GI Bill. However, I plan on going back in either the reserves or active duty as early as next month. I have done my physical at the MEPS here at Pearl Harbour so IÂm just waiting for my reserves package to get approved. I plan on getting activated but if there isnÂt anything available then IÂm going to go ahead and just go active again. I was E5 (E6 promotable) when I got out two years ago so hopefully I should be making good money again and IÂll be able to start directly purchasing land with what I make. Please advise! :) :)

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Nice piece! I was looking for some inspiration for the piece Im to submit.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 8:03AM
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scratchmaster ... your land is the most important thing to start with ... not sure why you would want all of it cleared.

Assuming you are planning on buying land without a house on it, you'll want a house eventually. Mature trees are good for shade and shelter when planning where your house will be. Windbreaks are also very important.

And you can always use trees/wood down the road. Many animals, cows and horses do better when there are shade trees they can get under to get out of the sun.

I don't know how much land you should purchase either ... I have 20 acres with a 3/4 acre pond on it. Maybe look for 30 to 50 acres? I use the pond to water my gardens, I have a small nursery.

Some towns have a minimum acreage requirement depending on how many animals you want to keep.

I think you need to spend a lot of time in the area you might want to purchase in, see the lay of the land, the winds, the soil type, etc. Talk to local older farmers, get their advise.

Interesting choice of trees ... I'm not even sure what most of them are and will have to look them up. I have been adding trees and bushed, and trying to add to my windbreak around my house. Most of my existing trees were very mature, with nothing young added until I bought the place and started adding. My oldest maple tree behind the house is very old and probably won't last too many more years ... I'm going to really miss the shade my house gets from that tree when it's gone.

Just some thoughts to consider ...

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 1:16PM
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@jackjones - Thanks for the link. Although, Im not sure how earthworm farms fit into all this but maybe I can start up an earthworm farm while Im here in Hawaii. :)

@pamghatten - Thank you for the information. First off, check out the information that I have posted here in another forum just recently:

I posted on this forum and on the forum in the link above because I didnt know which one was going to be active and responsive to my situation. So, sorry about posting in two separate forums. Most of what I posted there in response the comments from the members there answer the questions/concerns you posted here. If something isnt covered there then please let me know and Ill clarify more here.

Since it seems like you are interested in wood trees and adding more to your property, I will share with you the full list of all the wood trees that I plan on growing for my future property:
white oak, moringa oleifera, coconut tree, neem, Palmyra palm (grow like coconut tree), bamboo, agarwood, pink ivory, koa, african blackwood, soapnut, rubber tree, snakewood, Lignum Vitae, Almendro, Brazilwood, Swietenia mahogani (cuban mahogany), Cocobolo (Dalbergia retusa), Mahogany Honduran, Monkey Puzzle, ramin, Brazilian Rosewood, teak, gaboon ebony, red sandalwood, red stinkwood, verawood, Kingwood, Macassar Ebony, Tulipwood, monkey pod, olive tree,

And this link explains the above woods, so you are not confused as to what they are:

And this is the company that you can purchase the seeds from:

Maybe you already have some experience with them? I am not sure how reputable they are but I was hoping you could clarify that or other members here or on the other forum maybe.

After you have read the reply I posted on the other forum, what are your thoughts? Please share them here. :) :)

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 8:16PM
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Hey scratchmaster ...

I read through your other threads ... sounds like you got good advice on them.

I'm a gardener, and grow, sell and hybidize daylilies ... when I first bought my farm I had grand plans for what I was going to do. I did many things wrong, bought a bunch of equipment that wasn't right, and animals ... after 13+ years, I have what I need and can handle. I also work off the farm full time ...40 -50 hours a week.

My eventual goal is to grow and hybridize only my own dalilies, not sell everyone elses ... and I want to eventually add solar panels to my barn roof and a personal wind mill in the back pasture.

So I think your plans are too grand to start out with ... but you won't really know what you can do/handle until you have actually bought some land, have a house and are living there. Start slow ... as you get comfortable with one aspect of your farm, build on that. If you try to do everything you planned at once, you could quickly become overwhelmed.

Find a good vetrinarian for your animals, find a good supplier for your growing needs ... work with as many local people as you can find. They are the backbone of your community, and a great help in times on questions or need.

Read lots, and start small ... good luck in all that you are doing ... currently in the navy and in the future.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 6:07PM
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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

40 acres makes a nice size farm if you want to raise livestock. It's not too much for 1 family to take care of.

If you have cows, most of the farm will be in pasture, which is easy to take care of.

I would think that a 1/4 acre of veggie garden would provide more than plenty for a family plus assorted friends.

Fruit trees. I have 25 and my son has 30 of them. I've got about 1/4 acre in fruit trees and my son has a fenced orchard that is 150 feet x 150 feet. It's more fruit than 1 family could ever eat and we have fruit all year round.

You'll want a berry patch, maybe 30ft x50 ft.

I suggest you look up the weather requirements for all the trees you want, because I don't think you are going to have much luck growing some of them in MS.

Don't go too cheap on the land. Scrub land might be cheap but you will work yourself to death trying to make anything grow on it. Good rich level soil with water is not going to be cheap, but it is a better economy to purchase good rich land.

Incidentally, this is an excellent time to purchase land in the USA. Bare land prices are way down there, because it is possible to purchase a house for less than it costs to build it... so the general public thinks "why buy bare land?" With no buyers for bare land, the price really drops.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 8:21PM
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I changed my plans around after mulling everything over once again. Not the first, probably wont be the last time, but its a progressive process. :)

@ pamghatten - Thank you for the advice! You are also in the Navy?

@ oregonwoodsmoke - I was thinking the same about the size of the land when you mentioned 40 acres BUT even though theyre not that cold, we do have winters in MS. Feeding hay for cows everyday throughout the winter will probably be plenty of work and getting the feed for it also. Maybe Ill add cows to my list eventually but too much work from what Ive read for an eventual DIY family. I will get good quality land though. Thats a good point.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2010 at 5:32AM
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Just one more comment about woods. I have been told that a house needs about 8 acres of woodland to continue producing firewood for wood stove heat in our NH winter. Hardwood, not pine, in MS on your land would be a free source of heating. In addition, as somebody said before, animals need the shade. On hot days our chickens way up here head for the cool edges of the woods. It will be even more appreciated in MS. I grew up in AL, and I remember those hot muggy days too well. The woods have plenty of bugs for eating, too. Also, the woods hide the chickens from hawks. Plenty of bugs for them to eat + plenty of shade + hidden from hawks = fantastic.

Baby steps is also a good idea. Your idea to start smaller is a smart one. It's freakin' hard work. We have about 1000 sq ft of vegetable area. I found out the hard way that NH soil is terribly acidic, so our garden this year was a bust. Spent last Friday carting 14 cubic yards of compost uphill to our terraced vegetable area. Had no idea it would be that hard or take ALL DAY. Things that sound like basic work always seem to take longer than you think. Baby steps, baby steps! We have a big garden and chickens. We're fine for now--I'm not taking any more baby steps for a while! As much as we've talked about being more self-sufficient, it's not possible for us without radical life changes.

The guy in this video is totally self-sufficient on one-fifth of an acre. Even makes his own auto fuel out of used cooking oil. Watch this and be amazed. It is possible!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2010 at 9:52PM
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Excellent excellent post, deanna! That guy in the link you posted is extremely inspiring! That gets my blood flowing just thinking about being able to do what he does!

About the tree situation though. Yeah, the woods can be good but I worry about predators hiding in them. In MS, we have such a diversity in wildlife. Bears, mountain lion, coyotes, foxes, wolves, snakes, and much more. I have to find a happy medium to keep them safe...

Also, I'd like to take the time to ask you all what are the best books on how to grow any plant. Specifically 1. fruits 2. vegetables 3. herbs 4. wood trees

I really don't care about ornamental flowers. Only plants with a purpose.

I understand that you might respond saying -> "well there isnt one book for how to grow everything but..." That type of response is fine and expected but please, if possible, list the best book for growing the widest range of plants. Something akin to -> "this book __ is the best for __ and this book is the best for __ etc. etc." Ill start this off first.

Ive read reviews about a couple of books but what Ive heard is that the best books for growing plants is:

for grains -
Homegrown Whole Grains: Grow, Harvest, and Cook Wheat, Barley, Oats, Rice, Corn and More

vegetables -
- "The No Work Garden Book" by Ruth Stout and/or
- Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners

herbs -
- The Complete Vegetable and Herb Gardener; a Guide to Growing Your Garden Organically. by Karan Davis Cutler

fruits -
Rodale's Garden Problem Solver: Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs by Jeff Ball
The Backyard Orchardist by Stella Otto

wood trees -
I dont know... Your expert recommendations?? :)

Ok, thats all I know of. Please let me know if my list is horribly wrong or whatever because I want to make sure that I am reading the absolute best books to learn how to grow any plant.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 3:50AM
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I was going to jump in and say that I had ordered seeds from B&T World Seeds but after looking through my records it was a different company. I have not had any problem ordering seeds internationally, it costs a bit to ship them but seed packets fit in small envelopes so it is cheaper than shipping a tree sapling.

I grow a lot unusual plants for fun - I have found that you can grow plenty of the more tropical things further north. I use a temporary greenhouse for winters but they rarely perform the same way. I mostly work with fruit trees so lumber trees might be different but I only occasionally get fruit and it rarely tastes the same as it did in the tropics. I think it is because plants that normally grow nearer to the equator are built for 12 hour days and 12 hour nights with little seasonal change. They kinda freak out when you move them north with long summer days and long winter nights. Daylength seems to be just as important as staying above freezing.

When I was in my 30's I tried what you are trying. The only way I could afford land was to buy dirt cheap land way out in the middle of nowhere. The distance from good roads and stores to buy supplies made it very difficult not to mention it was next to impossible to get anyone to come out and help me build the house. After 12 years I gave up and moved. Now I'm in my 50's and live on a couple of acres in a small pocket of agricultural land within the city limits. The property costs more but it was well worth it.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 9:52AM
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goodhors(z5 MI)

Wow! You certainly sound ambitious!! As has been mentioned, you will need to do the little stuff so the big things can take place. Physical labor takes much time! Your growing seasons can be quite demanding, and things MUST be done in time, on time, so the later results can happen. Like garden preparation, seeding or putting out plants. If you wait, the window is closing, results are not as good. There are times you just cannot do what needs doing on time. ESPECIALLY if you are alone, no family members to help.

My suggestion would be to check out the Master Gardener Program, see if there is a local branch that puts on classes. Taking their program really opened my eyes to doing things systematically, how so many things affect each other, regarding your final results. Locally, the MG works thru the State Extension Service, should be listed under State then Master Gardeners if you check. Your Land Grant University manages the Ag programs and farming related things. Hawaii is small, not sure who would be the University. You can learn as you wait to get your land.

I would second getting PRODUCTIVE land, rather than just cheap land. Even in small acreages, you can have flat and rolling, mixed areas. Heck we have wooded areas on our 14 acres! All the animals you name, will be grazing, they are BETTER animals with some exertion going up and down hilly ground.

How MUCH EXPERIENCE do you have with these animals and their care? Even with sheds, not barn with stalls, you will need to check them for injury, do regular upkeep work like hoof trimming, grooming, so you can make sure they don't have problems. For me, that means DAILY handling. You don't see cuts or soreness, if you don't lead the animal in to groom him and find problems. You need to really LOOK at them, not just a passing glance every day or so. The sheer varieties you name is overwhelming. I would have a difficult time keeping up with just animals, and no other work you have named!

You will need secure fencing to contain those animals. Some like the deer, may have special laws on upkeep, you don't know about. Here, they have needed TB testing yearly, with clean results so you can sell the extras.

Birds named may have issues with staying home and predators. Some just are not bright, hurt themselves, like Peacocks who fly into things. Swans can be NASTY, need to often be kept apart from smaller fowl so they don't kill them. Swan defending his area, can break your leg with a wing hit! Hawks are not picking on you, but do go for easy food sources like chickens. Shooting them will get you in BIG trouble. Buying and then losing birds is a huge money drain.

The wooley animals named will need shearing yearly, and a market to get rid of the wool. You could shear yourself, but it is hard with many animals. Cost money to hire shearing done for you. Are you going to buy special sheep that take the heat well? Not sure how well the Llama and Alpaca will do in such heat, even sheared. Market for selling babies, show animals is down, not as much demand now.

Each species has it's own demands for housing, feeding, vet care. That is a LOT of information just for one species! We got cattle last winter, the learning curve is SHARP, costs add up fast. Horses can be complicated, as can sheep. Feed is NOT interchangable! Goats are EXTREMELY creative, hard to keep penned if you have poor fences.

The trees sound quite interesting in their variety, will they survive in MS weather? Have to say Bamboo can be EXTREMELY invasive, take over your whole farm. Check the varieties you plan to purchase, make provisions for keeping it contained. I have seen some places where the bamboo has escaped, it just crowds everything else out FAST. Some kinds get tall as trees, kind of creepy walking thru such a woods. Just looks "wrong".

A tree plantation needs good fencing as well, our deer eat everything in cold seasons! Some of the trees named are slow growing, are they just for interest? You may not live long enough to see a return on wood sales.

You should develop a business plan type idea for your farm. Start with the long term things first, like tree planting. Yes they need fencing, maybe watering in dry times. Need to keep the ground mowed so trees are not crowded out. When they get bigger you could graze animals under them. Land needs a good well, maybe two, so you have water. Pond is nice, but not essential to start. You can always have one dug out. Pond could be a mosquito problem too, stagnant water if it is only filled from rainfall. My thinking here, is that with you in service or Reserves, you may not have TIME to do more than watch the trees grow when you are home.

Animals take LOTS of time. Reserves might get called up, then who cares for the livestock? Even dogs and cats have had problems finding homes if Military owners have to leave NEXT WEEK. Re-enlisting is not good for livestock. You could take huge losses if you needed to dump your animls. No mention of family who would stay home to care for the place on a daily basis, so probably better not to invest in livestock.

Having a dream place is wonderful, but jumping in whole hog, everything at once is poor planning. What will you do for regular income? Have to have cash money for some things, like taxes and gasoline. You will NEED farm equipment to run acreage, with or without animals.

I admire folks who are so self-sufficient, but it is exhausting. They work all day long, and it never gets any easier. Seems like they just get worn out before their time. We have horses, the heifer, get lambs in summer for 4-H and the freezer. Heifer is for sale, we got another horse so I need the grazing again. We are not fancy, but not patchwork either. Horses need daily handling, stalls cleaned, feeding with hay in winter. It adds up. Pastures need mowing to keep weeds down, improve grazing. I learned that in my Master Gardener class! My pastures are 1000% improved over "let the animals eat all the grass down" thinking. The horses graze now all summer, rotate the paddocks, no extra hay feeding even in dry August. Before, pasture was gone by July with no mowing. Cutting makes grasses grow MORE, grass is soft and edible, not dry and seedy. I now fertilize and disk the pasture, which improves grass growth too. Lambs have purchase price invested, grown on pasture grass, so meat is quite inexpensive. Daughter sells her 4-H animals, gets a good profit margin there for her school fund. Also did well with her Prospect Beef calf, though expenses were higher from us not knowing things to manage him better. Learning costs, but we didn't lose him like other beginner 4-H folks did with their calves! Lost money there, with dead calves. She still turned a profit, but not as good as the lamb investment/return project. Horses are just an expense, we enjoy them. Never make any money on them, just have great family times.

Heifer was another idea, going to raise a calf to eat or sell, keep the fields grazed. Not much to feed her. That project is going when she sells. I don't have room for a bull and SURE don't want to keep one. AI sounds easy, but is not actually true. A friend has a bull and is keeping her for us while she is bred. Husband found a filly while heifer was gone, purchased her. Now heifer needs selling or we will be overcrowded. Have to see how that goes. Heifer is a Dexter, small breed about 700#, stands about 36-44" tall. Ours is the taller model, 42". They are a bit easier on the land, less hoof weight tearing things up, less feed needed and smaller finished weight for steers. So steers are ready in about 12 months, not longer time of larger breeds. Dexters do need dehorning, though polled is available if you hunt for them. I won't have horned cattle because of the danger of getting impaled. She has been a nice heifer, and I would recommend the breed. Like any other cattle, you have to train them. If they are handled daily is best for keeping them tamed down. She leads, loads, ties, gets groomed, comes when called for nightly stalling. But handling takes time, which seems to be short if you have lots of work on a farm.

Your business plan will need money amounts for each project as you go along. Machinery investments. Old and used can work if you are mechanical, but maybe newer if you are not a fixer person. Learning mechanical skills could be something you do before getting the farm. College classes on that are easy to find.

We paid to have our fence installed. We have high tensile wire, which many folks hate. Our installer put it in according to the manufacturer specs, 8 strands for horses, insulated on 4 strands for electric fencer, springs for tension, driven posts with double braced posts at each corner, all gates 14ft wide. Fence has been EXCELLENT for many years. Paying for install, was cheaper than just buying posts and material for woven wire and our own labor!! I LOVE my fence, animals stay home, no one breaks in. I would certainly pay for high-tensile again. Upkeep is weed whacking to keep it clean for fencer, putting a staple back up now and again. Sure you can do things cheap, but you end up redoing later. Lots of 2-3-4 strand tensile around here and you hear about the damaged animals, how dangerous high tensile wire is!! Well they cheaped out and didn't do things to spec, so fence is NOT to blame, builder is. Animals WILL reach thru wide spaced wires, WILL walk thru non-electric fencing, and then the damage starts. Cheap construction usually cost you later.

You will need some sort of lockable building to keep tools, machines in. Check out costs for packages, garage or sheds are not too hard to assemble. But you need the costs to put down on your plan, to be prepared for when you reach that step.

Planning your steps will give you a better view of the big picture near the finish with house and living on the land. Working with just land, no animals, you would be able to walk away if called up. No rush decisions because you will be gone in a week. And you can start saving money, planning for loans if needed to continue each step. Time spend learning, is a great investment. We can relate our experiences, but unfortunately, some things you have to learn by doing. I don't know any apprentice programs for farmer start ups! Do you know any crafts that would provide cash? Some places crafts can sell well, others, not so much. Apprenticing with a master craftsman, could gain those skills for you.

Sorry this got so long, just hate to see folks beating their heads against the wall. Like me, with calf. "How hard can feeding a bottle baby be? EVERYONE does it, no problem daughter! I have fed bottle babies before (after being handed the bottle and returning it). We can do that". I was REALLY wrong there, should have been better prepared. Cost money to the Vet, worry, calf suffered for it. He came out OK, but it was needless because I could have gained knowledge ahead, not after buying.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 3:17PM
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@trianglejohn - Yeah, finding some land that is excellent and cheap is proving to be very difficult unfortunately.

@goodhors - I am thinking about doing that. I will be contacting them tomorrow to find out more information. Good suggestion! Heres the link just in case you were curious:

All the animals you name, will be grazing, they are BETTER animals with some exertion going up and down hilly ground.
Ok, Ill aim to get hilly wooded loamy soil acreage. :)

I have no experience with any farm animals. I plan on getting all or most of my experience via wwoofing type activites on the Big Island here.

What?! A Swan can break a grown mans leg with his wings? Holy mother! I did not know that. Im glad you brought that to my attention. Ill be sure to read more about them and post on Swan specific forums.

How do you take care of hawks then if you cant shoot them? (Although Im not sure anyone would know if you shoot a hawk when youre on your own land of over 30 acres but....)

Yes, I will be purchasing special sheep. They are Barbados Blackbelly and Dorper tropical hair sheep. There are alpacas and llamas listed for sale in the MS market bulletin so I presume they can be raised there.

Each species has it's own demands for housing, feeding, vet care. That is a LOT of information just for one species!
Yeah, as far as I know the absolute best books for learning everything there is to know about animals is the Storey series of animal specific books. I will be reading all of these regarding each specific animal I plan on having.

Some of the trees named are slow growing, are they just for interest? You may not live long enough to see a return on wood sales.
All of the wood trees will be grown solely for fun purposes. I know that I probably wont live long enough to reap their benefits but at least hopefully the kids will be able to utilize them.

Regarding me being in the Navy, yeah, I wont be pursuing this plan anytime soon as far as I know it. I just want to plan this thing out in as much extreme detail as possible. That saves me time in the future and also gives me a better idea of what exactly I need to learn experience-wise and how much money more-or-less I need to save to make my plans a reality.

I won't have horned cattle because of the danger of getting impaled.
Horned cattle impaling you or are you referring to them impaling other animals on your farm? I didnt know that this is such a big problem...

I don't know any apprentice programs for farmer start ups!
Ill use wwoofing and helpx for this. Check them out, they sound great!

Apprenticing with a master craftsman, could gain those skills for you.
Im looking into this too. Not having a ton of luck but Im trying to see how this works.

Great advice, always feel free to write as much as you want. More details/experiences/stories, etc. are always welcomed and appreciated! Thank you! :)

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 6:02AM
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Scratchmaster8 - I don't know about MS land but with the economy in the shape it's in right now is the time to buy if you can squeeze it into your plan. I doubt we will see mortgage interest rates and land prices this low again in our lifetimes.

At least narrow it down as to what type of land you think you'll be able to buy when you're ready, in the general area because the type of land determines which animals or crops you should grow. Like, if you want to live close to family members, what kind of crops are grown in those areas...

I've actually worked with most of the animals on your list. Some are easier to manage then others but each animal is an individual and some can be a problem no matter how big or small and whether they have horns or not. Llamas were one of the easiest I've ever had but they don't do much and in most cases they don't have wool or meat of any value. In my experience people don't sell their best animals. You'll have to go through a lot of horses to find the one that is the answer to all of your prayers - most of what's for sale are problem animals that are hard to work around or deal with. A lot of animals can hurt you if not kill you - keep that in mind when you're living way out in the sticks without ambulance service (I learned that the hard way which is why I now live just outside the city limits). Once you get settled and have a home to live in, get involved in local animal groups or clubs - you will meet people that will teach all you need to know and in most cases they will have scrap animals they will gladly give you for free. The animals themselves will never be the most expensive part of your enterprise - feeding and keeping them happy will be where the costs are. If you can build barns and pens to house anything then you can shift from one animal to another without much cost. A good barn system can house just about anything on your list.

There are people out there doing exactly what you are planning on doing. Some of them are wildly successful and others are struggling. You need to meet as many of them as possible and learn from them. You really need to meet the ones that will be in the area because the problems with rural life in the deep south is different then the problems in Alaska.

One of the biggest problems I had was having to do everything by myself. I was so remote that it was very hard to get friends or family to spend a weekend out there working - maybe it was the hard work part, maybe it was me! So if you can find someone to share this experience with, someone that wants to live the same kind of life you will have an easier time of it. Even if it isn't a wife or partner if you get to be friends with other people doing the same thing you'll find that they will help you and you can help them and it makes it all easier. My neighbors were only interested in cooking meth and raising pit bulls.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 10:14AM
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goodhors(z5 MI)

I would second getting your land as soon as possible. You can be making payments while still working in the service and have a lot of loan payed for when you finally have time to settle. You can rent the land for farming or grazing, long term. GET THE AGREEMENT IN A CONTRACT signed by both parties. Get exclusions, or regular fertilizing, mowing, written into the contract too. Perhaps a longer lease would get enough money to keep the taxes paid with a bit over for saving up.

Having the land in use, will prevent it being overgrown with more work for you on your return. Again, leasing is something you can check out while shopping for the land itself. Use a lawyer to make sure everything is free and clear, junk removed, you own mineral rights and water, no access over the land, the hidden details, before signing on the line.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 12:01PM
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sounds exciting and ambitious....we have six families all working together all related I might add, with 20 acres here 10 acres there I live on 5 myself. Between us all we raise Cattle, horses, goats, chickens, turkeys, hogs, ducks, geese, and breed dogs for pets and hunting. All of the heads of the families have full time jobs (not just the farm) some of the wifes work too when they can. It is almost too much somedays but worth the while.. We each grow veggie gardens and sell the excess, as we do with hay and corn. By the time all is said and done we break even each year with fixing barns older houses and equipment old or new will cost you thousands each year things just break. we all have property that was used as farm land before and my grandparents are on the farm that was originally pioneered 125 years ago by his grandad, getting good farm land is really important or nothing will grown for years! Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 11:46PM
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I have a 2 story concrete house on 5 acres in Florida. When I bought the house, I didn't pay too much attention to the "concrete house" part of the property. Due to the "thermal mass" effect, it gets hot in the house in the summer. I have set up raised beds next to the house in which I am growing stuff like moringa and other plants. The raised beds are made of bricks, of which I am using the thermal effect to protect tropical plants like moringa from cold. The cooling effect of shading on the house from the moringa trees isn't bad either.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 9:54AM
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It was indeed a great idea, before I have a city life it was really quite stressful until I decided to have a farm life, well in a farm simple things cold make you happy you don't have to live an a luxurious life to be contented.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 6:41PM
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You want it all & cheap good luck...

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 5:07PM
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