Tyler Ludens wrote:Is it the living in the country that's appealing? Or the growing things? Because one can grow a lot in the city, depending on where it is. For instance, in the city where I live now for most of the week, it is legal to grow food anywhere in the city, as "residential market gardens" or, with a permit, "urban farms." HOAs are still able to restrict urban farming, but most parts of the city aren't HOAs. Less restrictive HOAs may be perfectly fine with market gardening if it doesn't detract from the appearance from the street, or bother the neighbors.
Urban farming might be a transition to a "real farm" if the resources for buying a country place are not at hand right now.
S Bengi wrote:Welcome Azita, very very few of us here are farmers, we do have have backyard garden. Backyards that is acres and acres.
Being a farmer and home schooling sounds very very hard. But home schooling while planting a couple hundred fruit trees over 2 or so years, sounds doable.
I would get a home garden/greenhouse going, where you produce more than enough food for yourself. Upgrade to 10ppl.
Don't be surprised that when you tell people that you are going to quit your job and start a new career, as an artist/farmer/laywer, people look at you roll their eyes and say, too whimsical. They are probably right but so what. We don't need everyone to be a drone. The earth needs more whimsical people. Just make sure your marriage and family will be okay.
If it was me I would say get a house on 4acre. Make 2 acres a personal homestead (that will take 4yrs). then after make the last 2 acres a CSA vegetable farm. Are you going to have another baby? Maybe start the official farm after that.
It sounds like your husband does mind if you start home and home school, while growing carrots and such, but he just doesn't want to have to muck out chicken coop, or break his back digging holes.
Just keep lines of communication open. If you are gone every single hour, every single weekend with your friends, having whimsical fun watching the game/yoga/farmering/being a uber driver, while he is stuck with the kid. It might cause some friction. He might want spend quality time with you and also get time to hangout with his own whimsical friends.
As a personal project it is very doable, just negotiate to make it happen.
Eric Hanson wrote:Azita,
For starters, I want to wish you the warmest of welcomes to Permies. I honestly believe there is no place like it on the Internet.
Secondly, I believe that you are in fact experiencing a true calling. It is most certainly not a stupid fantasy by any means. I, too, like so many others on this site was drawn here by seeking and searching for very similar dreams. I personally felt a need to own land so as to protect it from developing. So long as I breathe air and own the home, my 9 acres will remain wild.
But life seems to never tire of throwing convoluted and sometimes contradictory needs. I understand that you of course love your husband. I also understand your calling. Is there any room for compromise?
You say your dream is a farm, but could your dream be fulfilled, even partially by owning some acreage and starting with gardening? Maybe add in an orchard and/or a fruit patch? Only you can answer these questions. I am exploring ideas with you that might help you achieve your calling and still remain within the bounds of your family’s needs.
I could go on and on about how I was drawn to land, but this post is about you and your needs. If I can in any way be of any help, please don’t hesitate to ask.
S Bengi wrote:It is 10x harder to be a full time solo farmer with a baby and a young child.
It really is hard work to be a farmer selling 80 CSA. which means you probable had to grow 110CSA.
Moving out of the city to your own homestead sounds wonderful.
Maybe you can get jobs were you work a 3month to 6 month contract job during the winter. Collecting $30,000. And then the rest of the year you can do farming.
FYI: 2 acre seems to be the maximum amount of farm, that a very very seasoned farmer can handle by themselves. After that you have to call up the chemical companies, Monsanto, and big rigs. But with 20 acres, you could get your kid a pony, or have a 1 acre pond, Or subdivide the property when they kiddos get older. 20 acres will infact give you alot more options.
Dustin Rhodes wrote:I definitely believe you have the skills and talents to win over your husband with this amazing idea!
Go with the greenhouse as a starter, and show him (by your success) how valuable your skills can be to your family - grow your family's favorite foods, cook with it, snack with it, show him how fulfilling it can be to grow something out of nothing, how beautiful plants can be. teach your child(ren) to love getting dirty, love to help water the plants, pick the veggies right of the vine; show him the poetry and romance of farming before you even step one foot off your property.
Help him to fall in love with gardening, as you do; now you have a passionate partner in your venture, and a much happier, fulfilling future than ever before.
How do you think I got my farm future to become reality?
Azita Williams wrote:I think he doesn't want to break his back doing heavy duty farm work! but I'm sure he'll come around.
Tyler Ludens wrote:
Azita Williams wrote:I think he doesn't want to break his back doing heavy duty farm work! but I'm sure he'll come around.
Don't count on it. My husband is totally supportive of my efforts to grow stuff, but he has never, through over 20 years, come around to the idea of breaking his back doing heavy duty farm work, slaving away in the hot sun. He is in charge of chainsawing and preparing firewood, and operating the wood stove. But I have done most everything else, from digging and planting, to putting in fencing and building chicken houses, to slaughtering chickens. In my experience it is a mistake to expect someone to change. It is much more pragmatic to work with what the person is like now, and if they end up wanting to help, that's wonderful!
My husband tells me that I just have a fantasy and that running farm is a lot of work and he does not want to do it.
Mick Fisch wrote:Welcome to Permies! I wish you success in your efforts. I second the idea of not trying to farm 20 or 40 acres by yourself. You might have more success, be happier and have more time for your kids if you start smaller.
The difference between a fantasy and a calling is how much you are willing to sweat (not talk about sweating) for it and for how long. That and making a plan rather than a vague castle in the sky (the castle in the sky is great, the plan is the ladder to get there).
a few questions come to my mind:
1 Is there land around for a reasonable price close enough to your husbands job for him to commute? If there is, you have a pretty viable option because it will involve the least risk and least disruption to your lives. It will also put you close to possible markets for what you grow (the reason home grown eggs are cheaper in the country is because there are more homegrown eggs than buyers). You need both market and supply. Some parts of the country, the market is a long way away.
2 If there isn't land nearby, is your husband willing to relocate (and given his job field how easy is it for him to relocate and find employment that pays a living wage where you want to move to). I ask because the Pacific NW is a big area, and the Seattle area is crazy expensive!
3 What are you willing to give up? I mean, the stuff that you like about your current lifestyle. There will be things you miss. What do you expect to gain? Is it worth it to you? What would your husband miss? What would he gain? I've known a lot of women who were working mainly because their family wanted a lifestyle too expensive for the husbands salary alone. I was able to let and my wife stay at home with the 9 kids because we drove old cars, hit the garage sales and thrift stores and did without some things that the some others wouldn't. Is your husband ok with you being a stay at home mom? It puts a bigger responsibility on him, although I think a stay at home mom can save a lot of money too (less expensive wardrobe, cooking from scratch, minimal child care expenses, reduced driving, wear and tear on vehicles.) Several years ago I saw something that claimed that you would have spend about $100,000 a year to get the (non-sexual) services a stay at home mom provides. Personally, I generally go with "if momma's happy, everyone's happy" rule. I think a contented wife is worth a whole lot in most husbands minds.
I get enthusiastic quick. My wife has to mull over any idea I present for quite a while before she gets on board. Her automatic response to any new idea is 'NO' until she's examined it thoroughly. That usually is good as she balances me out. Just because your husband isn't on board yet, at least all the way, may be a good thing.
Eric Hanson wrote:Azita,
Having read through the numerous responses since my last, I think there is some very good information here.
For a moment I am going to specifically reference Skandi’s comment about the size of the garden. A full 1 acre garden is absolutely huge. When one makes a garden, one gets far more food per acre than a row cropped field, but it also takes much more labor per acre than a field.
My first garden ever was a mere 3’ x 20’ish garden along the side of my garage. I was absolutely stunned by how much actual food I got from that tiny patch land. I took exquisite care of every square inch of ground in that garden and was well rewarded for my efforts.
My second year gardening I still had the first plot in addition to a much larger second plot (about 15’x15’). Unfortunately the second plot was not nearly as productive as the first. I had soil problems (the “soil” was actually clay fill smoothed over mine tailings), one of which was a bizarre near total lack of phosphorus. The second garden required much more attention and I didn’t have the time to do it, nor the knowledge about how to make my gardening work easier.
Back to Skandi’s point, a 1 acre garden is absolutely huge, and if it is just you doing the work (and you can’t do it all day as you have a child to watch after and you want another so your time is limited). My thought is to start small. Think about something like a 25’x25’ garden. This is actually quite a large garden and will likely yield a great bounty for your family’s needs. Then consider the time and work involved and increase the garden plot as need or desire. My personal thoughts are that a half-acre garden is about near the limits of what one can realistically handle by oneself working on it full time. That’s a LOT of garden and might well give your family everything they need and still have an excess!
Another approach could be starting off with raised bed gardens. These take a little more work upfront, but if you fill it with the best garden soil/available it can become amazingly productive. I use this approach and it is a very nice fit for my needs. I get a very large yield from a tiny amount of land and being so tiny, I have much less maintenance work to do. My goal is to get 3 of these beds going and they will give me a very nice harvest with very little work (after initial setup).
I will give you my trick to avoid the need to weed. I am a teacher and as such I get a huge volume of paper each year. I used to recycle this in our recycle bins in our classrooms. Now I collect all the paper waste (3-4 page tests are great for this) and plant my garden. After things are planted and growing, I lay the tests down in between rows, then cover with woodchips or straw. I really don’t like weeding and the paper-barrier stops weeds in their tracks! But they will let water through and slowly decay over the season so by fall there is basically nothing left.
Azita, this has been a long post, but I just wanted to emphasize just how much food you can get from a small garden and how much work a 1 acre garden really is. I wish you the best of luck, and again feel free to ask if you have any questions.
Carla Burke wrote:So. Much. Invaluable information, here!!! Azita, welcome to permies! I hope we can help you realize your dreams. Ready for my novella?
I'm going to reiterate a few things, most likely, but you might (maybe) have a better situation than you think. The first thing I'd do, is break it all down, and see what you already have, that leans toward what you long for, then build on it. For example, you said you already have some raised beds, and your husband is good with getting you a greenhouse. If it were me, (and it was,a long time ago, minus the greenhouse offer), I'd start by making the most of every *cubic* inch of growing space available to me. Go vertical, wherever you can, to increase your yield, per square foot. You can do this by adding trellises in the raised beds, and adding shelves & hanging things from the support beams inside the greenhouse, as well as by your choices of crops, and plants. If you use shelves, for example, you can do a boatload of small, high-yield bush-type plants, in containers. Vining plants that might typically be left to roam, can be trained or tied to trellises. Either way, going up dramatically increases your 'going out' yield.
While you're working on that, start looking into that home schooling interest. I taught my kids for a total of 6 1/2 years. There are as many ways to home school, as there are families who do it. You don't have to be glued to the kitchen table. You could base your 'classroom' and curriculum in the garden, utilizing all the various aspects of the garden, to teach science, reading, math, history, writing, and even physical education.
The next thing is the biggie - compromise. Paired with patience. What are your husband's goals and dreams? Those count, too. There may be ways to mesh your combined dreams, if you look beyond the usual way if doing things. But, don't rush him. Don't push him. I married a 'city boy', who'd always dreamed of having a little vacation cabin, in the Colorado mountains, maybe with a little garden - for salad, lol. When we met (I was already 43, and knew what I wanted) 13yrs ago, we talked. A LOT. He knew, before our first date, that I wanted a small, self sufficient farm, with lots of critters. I knew he saw it as a pipedream. But, he had a cat, and he'd had a dog, so I knew he was great with animals. He had kids (4 & 9), and was great with them, and my kids (10 - living with me, 18, & 21 - grown & on their own) loved him. I knew we could make it work, somehow. But, he had no interest in a farm. At all. We were flat broke, and (because of their custody agreement) he couldn't leave the Chicago area, and that turned out to be a good thing, because it forced us to take everything extremely slow. I moved 450 miles, crossing 2 state lines, to be with him. That was my first concession. I had 'escaped' the Chicago area ten years earlier, and was already in a rural area, in Kentucky, when we met! Over the next 8yrs, we talked and the kids grew up. We shared dreams, and slowly, our dreams melded. We saw ways we could both have most of what we longed for. At the same time, we made plans, together, and worked through all the little things that felt so big, at the time. We ended up with a bunny, that my (then 14yr old) daughter rescued, and it showed him that cats and dogs weren't the only animals with fun personalities, and it cracked his previous ideas about what he might be ok having around. So, we got Guinea pigs, and he saw that the more different critters he came to be exposed to, on a regular basis, the more sentient he understood most animals really are.
When things finally opened up for us, financially and custody-wise, he still wasn't quite ready - but we were able to move into a somewhat bigger place, where I was able to start growing things, and that opened his heart to more. Finally, a couple years ago, everything fell into place, and we were ready to leave the Chicago area. I first hunted in CO, like weed tailed about, for years. But, things were much different there, by then, and we decided it wasn't for us after all. So, we shifted gears, did some research, and discovered Missouri would be a better fit. We found a place almost immediately, and closed on it, in October of '18. Once it all started happening, it happened FAST! So fast, it took us until mid-February of '19, to get completely moved, into our 29acre land, with a log home - and our lease still wasn't up, on our place back in the Chicago burbs. The plan was only chickens, and get the gardens started, the first year (2019), then reassess, the 2nd (2020), and maybe add ducks, and talk about a couple of goat does - but NO bucks. We agreed on that, without question - absolutely no bucks! Sadly, our beloved bunny, Lola, died just before Easter, last year. After months of grieving, and some careful consideration, we decided we'd get a pair of puppies, to fill the hole she'd left in our lives.
By the end of 2019, we'd had a garden that flooded out, a few times; bought 10 chicks, raised them almost to egg laying, taken in a foster chicken, and had a pair of local dogs massacre 5 of our then 11 girls, including the super sweet foster chicken; John built a forge in the big garage; I turned one of the garages into a small barn, we drove to the middle of Nebraska to buy 3 dual-purpose goats (including a very sweet buck!!!); found and drove to the middle of Kansas, to buy John's dream-pup (a 32lb, 8wk old Irish Wolfhound), and were happily anticipating going a couple hours away, to pick up my dream-pup (a 4.5lb 8wk old Cavalier), on 1/4/2020.
We still have to get that garden going. Hopefully, it won't flood out our crops again, this year. But, compromise, creative problem solving, patience, baby-steps, making sure he knew his dreams were as important to me... This was how I won my devout city-boy over.
P.s. Neither of us has any interest in back-breaking labor, and something I believe is wise to plan for, is the likelihood that at some point, often without warning, physical labor will be something of a problem, or even simply impossible. We plan everything to be as low-maintenance as possible, to give ourselves to highest chances of the longest term success. I'm going to be 56, this month, he's going to be 52, next month, and we are already both disabled - but, we're doing it.
Azita Williams wrote:
Thank you for sharing your wisdom and journey with me. One thing that is going to hold us back is our mountain of student loans. So that's something we have to be conscious of when making a big financial move. My husband has been in the public sector for 3 yrs now and if they keep the student oan forgiveness program alive for public sector employees, in 7 yrs his loans will be forgiven and he definitely wants to take advantage of that. Of course he can get another public sector job if we move.
The compromise we talk about is if we own acreage in the right zoning, he'd like to build a few tiny homes to airbnb and an event center and maybe a tree-house. But he definitely wants to work in his field.
I think it all can work out with right planning and patience.
Ron Cook wrote:Plus, I've developed my own variety of okra, called, "Heavy Hitter Okra." I sell seeds each winter through our at-home-farm-store. https://www.drycreekfarmstore.com/
Azita Williams wrote:
I agree with you, I don't need a big farm and a big operation to feed my soul. I'm thinking 20 acres where we'll have the option to do different things down the rd if we chose to, so that we don't have to move.
Kena Landry wrote:First of all, I command you for listening to your yearning and planning the steps to get there.
I think starting with a garden and wwoofing is a fantastic plan: it will help you sort out between what is a fantasy and what is your true calling.
Same thing for homeschooling: I love the idea of homeschooling, but the reality of my family is that it wouldn't work for us right now. My eldest - 8 - considers homeschooling a particularly cruel form of punishment, and her heart bleeds for the poor kids who are not allowed to go to school. And I have a meaningful career that really makes a difference in the world, and I'm not ready to sacrifice that.