Return to the Farm Life Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
The Want and The Reality of my 4 acres.

Posted by mac_of_maine Maine (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 4, 11 at 23:14

I have 4 acres in Searsport ME, they are wooded. Maples and oaks and some pines. It sits 4 straight back. I would love to cut the back end and plant it for a pasture. My dream? To have a few Large Black hogs, chickens and if my daughter has her way honey bees. I would breed and raise the pigs for sale, eggs etc. I dont need this to make me rich, just pay for their keep. I would fence it in and let them have a couple acres. I would build and prep the area for a '12 spring begining. I wont be living on the property till that summer if at all. I will be 3 min from the area and will be there often. I would like to build a small cabin/office.. Something like a working office. A place I would need to be.

I want to return to my roots, I grew up working on farms, but not living. I want to do what I can to make a small difference. I cant change the world, but I can work on me.

What suggestions or advice can you offer this fella? Im all for recycling and have access to a ton of oak pallets, old barn wood etc. Hell, I'll dig bricks from houses long gone!

Thanks for letting me put my thoughts down.
Mac


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: The Want and The Reality of my 4 acres.

>I would love to cut the back end and plant it for a pasture. My dream?<

4 acres is really not enough land for pasture, your neighbors might not like you anymore, you need to cut too much of nature down what needed hundreds of year to establish. If it was me, let most of it as
it is and perhaps grow some small animals like chickens etc.
It's better to have a wooded area for bees also. Oak and Maples can be a good pollen source. You still can have a large garden, I'm in the
same boat, have almost 6 acres and have put in hundreds more trees.
We have to think and bring nature back as much as we can.
My neighbor when he moved in, he bull dosed all the willow down in
he's ...around 7acres, was mostly all low ground... but later he regret it. Can you imagine, this much willow gone for our native bees!!

Konrad


 o
RE: The Want and The Reality of my 4 acres.

The entire 4 acres are trees, 30 yrs ago it was a field. The property is on a slow street, my neighbor to the left has horses, to the right, she is only here on vacation. When I say pasture, an acre and a half cut to grow grass, etc for a couple pigs isnt too bad. Ive seen them raised in worse! Besides, this is Maine.. We've got trees.


 o
RE: The Want and The Reality of my 4 acres.

Well yea sure, you need some space to move around, some small
animals is nice, your neighbor has horses, they eat 24-7 and can get expensive.


 o
RE: The Want and The Reality of my 4 acres.

Im not looking to keep any horses, im looking for a little homesteading.. Just enough for my family and our friends. A nice garden that helps feed what we keep, working with the set up. I see a lot of trellis work, hanging baskets and good, clean compost! I know the chickens will be happy.

I have a few plans in place. It can be done.


 o
RE: The Want and The Reality of my 4 acres.

There is a lot you can do with 4 acres.

We had pigs long ago to tell the truth I wouldn't let them roam on a full acre if I had only 4. The rutting & landscape damage wouldn't be worth it. I'd let them till my garden, but othewise they would be secured behind an adequate sized pen, and fed leftover's from the homesteading projects with purchased feed as needed. Chances are the pigs would eat the chickens, eventually if not right off the bat.

I'd buy some goats and/or a mini cow & have them clear the brush before chopping the trees for firewood (added value). I'd feed the extra milk to the pigs. I'd free range the chickens or build an outdoor avery. I'll bet they will love those nasty black flies!! Extra eggs not used in the home feed the pigs, unless you can get a decent customer base given many neighbors may have their own chickens.

Electric fencing is your friend, and if strung appropriately can save your animals from predation. Know what predators you have, I'm assuming bear, wolf, coyote, possum, raccoon, weasle, fox, and hawk. Build your fences & shelters right the first time, or you will be doing it again. Cross fence either initially or as you grow. This cuts down on stomach worms, disease transmission, and lets the pastures rest & rejuvinate.

I'd build a greenhouse, at least 10x20, partially underground to help stabilize temps, and allow room for the hens to winter over inside. They will add heat and help extend your growing season, plus fertizizer within easy reach. Extra veggies & scraps go to the hens & pigs.

When the time comes to cut the trees, do so strategically so you keep key areas shaded, during the hottest part of the day, build your shelters & fence your pastures using this shade to your advantage.

The best advice I have for you is always allow for expansion. Don't build yourself into a corner, and anything you build, build it so it can be used for other things should you outgrow the original intention.

Google homesteading on small acreage-there are several references that come up that may help guide you.

Have fun with your acreage, and sorry for rambling.

Brendasue


 o
RE: The Want and The Reality of my 4 acres.

Some good advise here, I like the idea with a greenhouse parcially underground, how much under?...3 foot? what kind of walls?
I have a small greenhouse here at home for over 20 years but in need
of repair or new, I always wanted to build one on the acreage.

My 6 acres was about half in small poplar trees, dense bush and only one small spruce growing when purchased over 20 years ago, I have now got rid of some and planted various other trees, making a mixed forest, still working on it, I have a small nursery and sell some trees, grafted apple, plum, and pear, also have cherry, oak, linden, spruce etc. I needed allot for my own, have now a good size orchard...all grown from seeds. Also have honey bees, large veggie garden. I'm in the process of putting in a root cellar. I don't live there, perhaps I build some day, for now it's a place to go to and spend quality time in summer after work and weekends...labor of love. I know all about animals...I'm from a farm too, since I don't live here I can't have animals, I don't mind really, this way I can get away without worries, tending a large orchard, trees & bees fulfills my needs indeed!

Konrad


 o
RE: The Want and The Reality of my 4 acres.

The back wall of our greenhouse is 4' into a hill. Slopes downward towards the front wall, which is approx 2' underground. You could go 4' on all sides, just dig a hole & retain the wall.

The walls of ours are concrete blocks, I believe 3'x3'x6', called maffia blocks & can be purchased fairly cheap. Moving them can be an issue without equipment, so you may need to find other wall material if you don't have access to equipment.

We have a regular garden also but have really enjoyed getting strawberries in April & the space to start seedlings for the garden. Here in the Northeast we get produce about 10 months out of the year, the rest of the months it just stores the carrots in the ground(barrels) until we eat them.

Brendasue


 o
RE: The Want and The Reality of my 4 acres.

Great!...thank you Brenda


 o
RE: The Want and The Reality of my 4 acres.

I plan on using the endless pallets that are at my disposal. They are the heavy duty type and they work well. My compost bin is 8 yrs old and it was built with them. They will make for good sheds, coops and whatever else I need.

I do want to raise a pig on the area that will end up being either the garden or the field. I've got my mind set on that.

The green house will take some thought.
Mac


 o
RE: The Want and The Reality of my 4 acres.

Having raised pigs several times now, I have come to the conclusion that it is good for the pigs to range, and bad for the range. They compact the soil to the point where only the toughest of weeds, trees, and grasses will grow. You will jump on a stout spade or fork and watch it dig in a few inches if you are lucky. And that is on sandy loam soil. The land will take decades to recover. I still raise a few pigs, but now I bring the food to them, and give them plenty of light, fresh air, deep bedding, sod, greens, and so on. They are happy and my land is better off for it.


 o
RE: The Want and The Reality of my 4 acres.

Good for you, Mac!

It is always exciting during the planning stages of a new project, and your excitement shows in your e-mails.

The wood pallet fences can indeed work, and personally I think they look beautiful if installed evenly,etc. I've seen several pictures online & I really love the look, all the better for you if you have access to them easily.

Knowing you have your heart set on using them to contain pigs, my only comment is, remember pigs eat meat. This means that anything that moves (chickens, cats, even your kids or neighbors kids) are fair game when the mood hits them. This can be unexpected. As a child I had 3 attack me-if it wasn't for my doberman at the time, I doubt I would be here today. She took the damage meant for me so I could escape (she lived).

Please, please, especially since you are not living on the property, make sure your finished pig pasture/pen (whatever you decide to go with) has the foresight that pigs root, and can easily root under a fence, and they can reach hundreds of pounds and easily take out a couple of poles holding the pallets up.

It's better to be forewarned than surprised I always say.

Kudos to you and I wish you the very best in your homesteading adventure.

Brendasue


 o
RE: The Want and The Reality of my 4 acres.

The large blacks have a very nice personality, I looked into those for that purpose. But the pig or pigs (2@ the most) will be more contained then pallet fences. I have a friend who installs dog fences and we are looking into that.

The chickens will be in pens that are completely fenced, even the top. They will be let out as I am there and come back at the end of the day. They wont be out and about if im not there.

My grandfather always swore by pigs as his tillers.. And all the research I have done with rotating etc has given me a bit of confidence on properly using them as tlllers. So I guess w e will find out! There is nothing for them to destroy, in fact, the area I would want them would need a bush hog to settle.. So why not get some pork chops out of it?!

Tis the beauty of trial and error.
Mac


 o
RE: The Want and The Reality of my 4 acres.

When I was searching around the Internet I had found once an article of pastured hogs where the guy said they took the trees down for him also first killing them with rooting and eventually falling over sure would be cheaper than a bulldozer

I know a few people that rotate there garden on a four year schedule with hogs also


 o
RE: The Want and The Reality of my 4 acres.

There you go Mac...didn't you want to get rid of trees?..LOL


 o
RE: The Want and The Reality of my 4 acres.

I don't know much about hogs but I imagine they can be messy and tough to deal with. Chickens, on the other hand, are relatively easy and provide you with some eggs, maybe some meat if you're interested, and rocket fuel compost for the garden. I wouldn't go overboard on the number of chickens. I suppose if you want to sell a significant amount of eggs, then a couple dozen good egg-laying hens would be enough. Roosters will definitely piss off your neighbors.

If it were me, I'd start with the chickens and a good-sized garden (you have the land for an opulent garden!) and then work you're way up to more labor-intensive livestock.


 o
RE: The Want and The Reality of my 4 acres.

Konrad, the entire 4 acres are trees.. If I dont remove some, I have no light for a garden. Its thick with trees. The ones I'm looking to remove are junk.. It was a field 35yrs ago. Im looking to manage the property, not clear cut it and pave over it.

Well I have spoken to a local business about getting their used pallets to build several things on the property. I will be up in mid april to get started on the site. Im thinking a 14x22 building, a shed, chicken coops and an area for the pigs. I will also be setting up the compost area. Sounds like I have some work to do.

Now I have to keep my eyes open for all the extras I will need! The free for the taking in the Uncle Henrys magazine will be a gold mine for me.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Farm Life Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here