Win a copy of 5 Acres & a Dream this week in the Homestead forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Mike Haasl
  • James Freyr
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Kate Downham
  • Jay Angler
  • thomas rubino

!!! A Stupid Fantasy or a Calling? Please help!

 
Posts: 12
5
  • Likes 19
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is my first post here.  I turned 40 last year and have been doing some soul searching and the desire of having a farm grows deeper every day.  I've always said after I retire, I want to live out in the country but I'm realizing now that I don't want to wait until I retire.

A little about me - I was born and raised in Iran and moved to the States for college when I was 18.  After college I met my husband and got married.  We have a 4 yr old and live in the Pacific NW.

Grandparents were farmers in a small village in the NW mountains of Iran, but had to evacuate in the early 70's when my dad was a teenager due to religious persecution.  The Islamic clergy ordered burning the homes, farms and livestock of all non Muslim farmers, so they all left with only their clothes on their backs.

I grew up in the city and loved the stories my dad and grandparents used to tell about being farmers and how amazing it was and how they missed it.  I always dreamed about visiting their village maybe returning there to farm, but after the minorities were pushed out, famine hit the village and everyone left, so there's nothing left except ruins of old barns and houses and old unkept orchards that I've seen pictures of online.

I've always had a green thumb and friend and family bring me their dead plants to nurse back to health.  Also I enjoy rooting cuttings, growing trees from seeds and donating them, but I have no experience living on a farm.  My husband's uncle had a pecan orchard in Southern Georgia and also grew livestock and veggies for family use and growing up my husband used to help his uncle when he could.  


I brought up the desire of wanting to live on a farm, growing our own food and maybe running a CSA and quitting my job.  I also would love to home-school our child.  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.  But I don't think it's a fantasy, i believe it's my calling in life!  My husband suggested building a small green house in our backyard for me to grow things to get it out of my system basically, but I plan on signing up with a local Wwoof host to start learning how to run a farm on my days off.  

I have been looking at farms for sale all across the US for the last few months and if we sold everything, we could buy a farm for cash in a less expensive part of the country.  Then if we get solar panels installed and if the farm is on well water and septic tank, we could potentially become self sufficient and not stressed out about big living expenses as we get started.  

Anyone else on here in the same predicament?  spouse not on board? thinking it's a fantasy? Maybe grandparents and father mourning the farm life has made me subconsciously fantasize it?  I'm trying to figure it all out!
 
gardener
Posts: 6575
Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1212
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Likes 18
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Follow your dreams, they will not steer you wrong unless you allow that to happen.
I am sorry to hear that your spouse is not willing to support your dreams at this point in time. Perhaps once he realizes it is very real he will come around.

I can easily relate to your dreams. I grew up a military brat but spent many of my summers on my grandparents dairy farm, they were as self sufficient at the time as was possible since solar panels were not yet invented.
I now have my own farm, my wife, also grew up on a farm, so we have our "retirement home" more so we will stay active and thus not stagnant once we both retire.
My grandparents had a sign up in the kitchen near the back door that read "If I rest, I rust", I have had friends that retired and sat down, they were all dead within five years, that is not the way I plan to go to the spirit world.

Not long ago I told an elder who asked me, "what will you do when you stop your job?" I said "There will always be work to be done, taking care of the earth mother is a job that has no ending."
The elder smiled at me and said "that is why you have strong medicine, you are the medicine." I replied "we shall see."

The great one chose my mate for me, since I had failed at choosing three times.
Wolf and I are kindred spirits according to the elders, we will stand by each other so that each can fulfil their dreams, that is normal to us and so it is good.

Redhawk
 
master pollinator
Posts: 11650
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
865
cat forest garden fish trees chicken fiber arts wood heat greening the desert
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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.

https://urbanagnews.com/blog/exclusives/urban-ag-zonings-lessons-from-san-antonio/

Urban farming might be a transition to a "real farm" if the resources for buying a country place are not at hand right now.

 
pollinator
Posts: 2595
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
189
forest garden solar
  • Likes 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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.
 
Azita Williams
Posts: 12
5
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

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.

https://urbanagnews.com/blog/exclusives/urban-ag-zonings-lessons-from-san-antonio/

Urban farming might be a transition to a "real farm" if the resources for buying a country place are not at hand right now.



Good question.  I think both.  Growing things really feed my soul!  Also, I'd like to get away from city living, the traffic and congestion and also having to work a day job.  I'd love to focus on growing things full time and not have to work a job that takes my time and focus away from growing.
 
Azita Williams
Posts: 12
5
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

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.



I'd like to have another baby, but with both working parents child care for the first one was a struggle and expensive.  If we lived on a farm where we didn't have a mortgage I could raise the baby myself instead of living the baby in a stranger's care all day.  

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.
 
gardener
Posts: 1814
Location: Southern Illinois
323
transportation cat dog fungi trees building writing rocket stoves woodworking
  • Likes 12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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.

Eric
 
S Bengi
pollinator
Posts: 2595
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
189
forest garden solar
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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.
 
Azita Williams
Posts: 12
5
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

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.

Eric



Eric,

Thank you for exploring ideas with me.  That certainly is an option.  
In general, my husband warms up to ideas given enough time and I think as I peruse this more seriously and volunteer with local farms, he will come around.  I'm sure he won't quit his job to work on the farm, so keeping it small and manageable for myself with maybe seasonal help and volunteers is going to be the way to go.  As other's have suggested starting with 1 acre garden and maybe a small orchard.  I would like to have  chickens for fresh eggs, but still contemplating whether I could deal with a coyote or raccoon attack.
 
Azita Williams
Posts: 12
5
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

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.



This definitely is something to think about.  Being a mom to a baby and a young child will be a full time job and the adding farming for a beginner I'm sure will be challenging.
 
pollinator
Posts: 443
Location: San Diego, California
71
forest garden trees rabbit chicken food preservation building woodworking greening the desert
  • Likes 12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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
Posts: 12
5
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

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?



For sure!  We do have raised beds in the backyard that we grow herbs and tomatoes summertime.  He sure loves it, but I think he doesn't want to break his back doing heavy duty farm work!  but I'm sure he'll come around.  I can't be impulsive, it may take a few years to transition to farm living.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 752
Location: Denmark 57N
164
fungi foraging trees cooking food preservation
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you are thinking about growing intensive vegetables then don't go over half an acre for that for one person. and doing 20 CSA shares for one person would be a serious push. Do not underestimate how long harvest and washing/prep takes! Half an acre of intensive veg will have you working 40 hours weeks in the summer, certain top market farmers can make 45k off of an acre but they will be using 2 full time workers and other unpaid interns plus possible part time workers on harvest days.
If you go more mechanised you need more space but can do more with less people, but you still hit the bottleneck at harvest and packing. My parents in law farm around 10 acres of mixed vegetables all in row crops and use mechanical weeders on the tractors. 8 people full time.

I also have a market garden on a smaller (much) scale, my husband is also not behind it fully. he will help out on occasion, like my birthday or spreading plastic out that is basically impossible alone. I know I cannot do more than 1/2 acre as I am, with many years experience getting the weeds under control and getting more equipment I could probably go to an acre. and in the summer I have NO time for the rest of our land. even mowing the lawn/s is hard to squeeze in. We rent out the majority of it to a local farmer who plants grains. it keeps it in cultivation and fairly weed free.
 
Posts: 583
62
duck forest garden fish fungi trees food preservation bee woodworking
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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.


 
Tyler Ludens
master pollinator
Posts: 11650
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
865
cat forest garden fish trees chicken fiber arts wood heat greening the desert
  • Likes 11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

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!  
 
Azita Williams
Posts: 12
5
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

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!  



Tyler,

Thank you for your reply.  Yes, it is possible that he may not come around, so I am planning on starting small, a scale that I can handle by myself.  If he helps, great. If he doesn't that's OK too.  Hopefully my child will take an interest in farming and help out or maybe not!  
 
Posts: 1
Location: Tahlequah, Oklahoma
3
  • Likes 14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Azita,

I used to have the same dream.  I worked construction and lived in 16 different States; following the big jobs from powerhouses, to papermills, to Chemical Plants, to oil Refineries, to Car Plants, to State Prisons, to 'you name it.'  At about 42-years of age, I discovered I wasn't as young as I used to be and I made the decision to sell everything and move away from the big cities I had hated for the past 22-years.  I bought a small, 3 bedroom, brick Indian house, in Oklahoma, that had been foreclosed on and I lease 4 additional acres adjacent to it. (total of 5 acres).  I took up teaching school as a substitute teacher and went back to college to earn my Teaching Degree.  I quit working construction and taught a country school of about 200 kids from pre-K to 12th grade.  (That gave me summers off, to garden and to sell produce).

I grew up on a 210-acre farm, so 5 acres felt like a postage stamp at first, but as I get older (59-years) I start to realize that 5-acres is all a person really needs.  I have a drilled well with excellent water.  I have an outhouse in case we ever need it for power outages (which happens occasionally). I have a hog pen, a hen house full f laying hens, and a flock of Cotton Patch Geese.  I have an orchard, I have a hand planted berry patch, and a quarter-acre Certified Organic Garden.  We used to heat with wood only, but as we cleared more and more timber, we resorted to using mostly propane, because we wanted to keep plenty of shade trees.  

We grow enough produce in our organic garden to sell surplus at the Tahlequah Farmers' Market twice per week in the summertime.  We also supply 9 local restaurants with slicing tomatoes.  We used to supply Tahlequah City Hospital with all of their organic produce for cancer patients, but they changed owners and stopped buying from small farms.  Over the years, I have made enough money doing this to pay for two zero-turn John Deere riding mowers, a 2004 GMC farm truck, and a 2011 Massey Ferguson tractor, plus a Plasticulture Mulch Layer, a Bush hog 3 point tiller, and a brush hog for my tractor.  I have also built an on-site Farm Processing Kitchen, where we do all our canning and butchering. 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/

Sure, it's a lot of hard work, but what else are you going to do in life?  Life is hard all around, no matter where you live.  You've just gotta choose your own conditions.  Living in the country is a dream come true!  We live 12 miles from the nearest town and have a wonderful local country Church were only about a dozen people attend, but there is such peace here that we will never leave.  I say, "Follow your dream ..."
 
Posts: 87
Location: Kitsap Penninsula, WA
36
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Azita!
So glad you are here - thank you for posting and putting yourself out there - welcome!
I live on the Kitsap Peninsula - but before we had land, I was growing all sorts of stuff in suburban back yards. I am 40. I am a mom.  I have a wonderful husband who doesn't want to farm and here is what we did.
We started by just finding acreage. I knew I wanted to live in the country. I knew I wanted SPACE - to grow things, to stretch out, to create. Whatever. And I feel, everyday, so fortunate that we live in a (usually) safe place that I was able to do that. I can't imagine the heartache of your family. That generational loss follows us. We carry the scars of our ancestors. We also carry their hope and their abilities.
My man and I compromised - I would get my space if I could sweeten the pot for him and find a property that spoke to his needs - namely a separate dwelling for his music. We found it after lots of looking. Compromise worked and now, after 4 years, he cares for the livestock as much as I do - they have grown on him.
I started with a small garden, then created a larger staple food garden, then planted a small orchard and am now planting our food forest. We started with small flock of hens, which grew and grew until I now have 2 primary flocks and will probably need to start selling eggs because it's getting out of control. We also have rabbits for compost manure and ducks and guinea hens.  I also work off farm 3 days a week. I as well felt a really hard calling to do this work of growing food. It's almost out of my control - I just can't help thinking about it, and then doing it - in a backyard or on acreage. It's compulsive. As natural as breathing or blinking my eyes.
I may do this for money in the future and I have in the past - making and selling soap using our herbs. I have lot's of plans. But the slowness has helped. I start one new thing then do another and build as I go.
I have found that over time I do less things off farm and more things on farm. So in order to make space to parent the way I want to, I had to stop doing other things in that time - because I was giving so much of my other time to the farm and my job. So volunteering stopped (although I still work at my daughter's school 2 days a month), political causes and volunteering stopped, hanging out at friends house just to hang stopped. For me, that balance has helped make space to grow food. At the end of the day, there is only so much time so, for me, I found myself making those exchanges. And I haven't missed the old things I did with my time. It's been a transition away from consuming and more towards producing.
There is a great book called "If you lived here, you'd be home by now" by a guy named Christopher Ingraham. He relocated from Balitmore to Red Lake Falls, Minnesota to live a rural life. He brought his wife and twin boys with him.  He is a statistician with the Times and the book is filled with stats and figures about the benefits of living rurally and owning land. Not saying you should convince your Husband, but saying having some good hard facts to introduce to the conversation about transitioning always helps, right?
I homeschooled our daughter but only for a year. Living far away from things meant too much time in the car ferrying her to events and places to keep up her social ties with other kiddos, so she went back to public school. It's not the best, but for our family, it works. Or, at least, it will work until it doesn't!
Feel free to message me personally on here if you like. Take care!
 
Eric Hanson
gardener
Posts: 1814
Location: Southern Illinois
323
transportation cat dog fungi trees building writing rocket stoves woodworking
  • Likes 11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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.

Eric
 
Posts: 23
6
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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.

Some food for thought: even fantasies can help you reach your best self. For instance, I do fantasize about getting a tiny house, and have for several years. In practice, I doubt that I'd be happy in a tiny house. I love our current urban lifestyle, and my current house supports the things I love (art, gardening, building things, cooking and baking). And my husband doesn't care for a tiny house, and I believe this is a plan that both partners need to be 100% behind.

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.

But I still toy with those ideas. At this point in my life, I'm ok with the idea that the tiny house, homeschooling fantasy can be a part-time vacation from my real, messy but incredibly fulfilling life. We explore it on week-end outings and vacations.

And I can use that dream to motivate myself to simplify my house, get more involved in my kids' school life, find pockets of respite through the happy mayhem... without sacrificing the things that are too precious to abandon for making the fantasy real.
 
master steward
Posts: 3387
Location: West Tennessee
1171
cat purity trees books chicken food preservation cooking building homestead
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Azita, and welcome to Permies!

I believe you, and any person, can do whatever you set your mind to. I may not be in the same predicament as you as my wife is on board with homesteading and starting a small farm, and we have no children, but I did in my late 30’s (42 now) feel a calling to live an agrarian lifestyle. I had developed an awareness of time, and how fast time and the years were going by, and I took inventory of my life and what I had done and was doing, and I felt I was too much of a consumer and not enough of a producer. I felt like I had an unhealthy amount of consumption, making money just to buy stuff, and was not part of a solution. While I’ve been a gardener for 20+ years I felt like I hadn’t and wasn’t doing enough to help heal the earth. I needed purpose in life. When my time comes to go to the spirit world, I need to feel like I have lived at least a part of my life nurturing, stewarding, and healing some land, and that for me is in farming and husbandry.

My wife and I had chatted and dreamed of a homestead for years, and we talked more seriously one evening while watching some homesteaders on tv. We made a choice, a decision that this is what we both want to do with our lives, and we decided to do it now instead of waiting until the standard american retirement age of 65. We are healthy and able bodied now, and neither of us know what we will be able to do twenty and thirty years from now. We spent months looking at land online, and then sort of whimsically went to go look. We hadn’t set in our minds that we were out to buy, we just went to look. But looking for land is like going to the animal shelter to “just look” at kittens and puppies- desires pull at heartstrings. We put in an offer on a parcel which was rejected. But the excitement and that first weekend of looking at land got the ball rolling, and it was unstoppable. The next parcel of land we put an offer on was accepted. I thought it might fall apart, but closing day undid the moorings on our old life in the “city harbor” and we set sail for homesteading on a small farm. We closed on the land in 2017, build a log cabin, sold our old house and moved in 2019.

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.



Farming is work, but so is life. I can’t imagine a life that is a vacation; a sedentary lifestyle and days filled with idle time, how monotonous and boring that would be. It seems often that people lament at working, as if work by default is drudgery or some kind of rote employment. I find farming enjoyable, because it is my vocation, not my job. Perhaps your husband just needs some time to think about it from a positive angle, imagining the quality time outside under the sun with his wife, growing food, maybe raising some animals, creating independence, charting a course for your lives together, all while serenaded by songbirds and other wildlife, as opposed to thinking about it from a negative angle, with all the “work”, the difficulties and setbacks, which seem to be common cards that are dealt to everyones life, regardless of where and how they live.

As an experienced gardener, if you’re just starting off, I do not recommend a greenhouse to get started. It is a controlled environment and often requires more time and energy than growing the same plants outdoors. I believe you’re on the right track with trying some experiences to learn from others and try things out, like wwoofing for example. I’m not sure really how to advise on getting started financially other than carrying minimum or possibly no debt, if you guys can swing it without dumping 100% of your savings. My recommendation is to always keep a nest egg.

My other recommendation, if and when you get started with some land, is to take on/add one thing at a time. For example start a garden and raise some chickens in year one. Raising chicks takes a few minutes of time a couple times a day, but once they are feathered out and outside on their own, they just need food, water, and space to scratch around and live a happy life. Chickens are low maintenance and provide a resource in eggs and meat. Once becoming comfortable with the routine, add something else in year two. Maybe cows. Again, cows are low maintenance. Bees are low maintenance. I think homesteading and running a small farm can be fun when the work is balanced. Some farmers have found themselves in a situation of working 6am to 9pm seven days a week, and that is not the kind of farming I want to do. I want to have relaxing meals with my wife, and have time to read in the evenings.

I believe just getting started will open up your husbands mind. Farming sounds like it might be out of his comfort zone of what he is familiar with and it’s human nature to be unsure or even apprehensive of new things. If I may make one recommendation for him, it’s books. To read about other people doing the lifestyle that you want to pursue can help him form a picture in his mind and a better understanding of what is involved. Here are a few books on homesteading, written by the people actually living the life, that I think both of you will enjoy reading. (I own and have read all the books mentioned below, and they are delightful.)

https://permies.com/wiki/133426/Acres-Dream-Leigh-Tate
https://permies.com/wiki/121218/Independent-Farmstead-Shawn-Beth-Dougherty
https://permies.com/wiki/20901/Resilient-Farm-Homestead-Ben-Falk
https://permies.com/wiki/50180/Nourishing-Homestead-Ben-Penny-Hewitt
 
gardener
Posts: 950
282
personal care gear foraging hunting rabbit chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts medical herbs homestead
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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 we'd talked 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 also 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
Posts: 12
5
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

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.




Mick,

There isn't any available land close to where my husband works and everything within commutable distance with a house on it will cost a few million dollars. So, if we set out to do this, we have to relocate to a less expensive part of the country.  I don't know where that would be.  i don't mind cold winters, but rather not live in a hot climate like the south. If living in the south was an option for us, my husband's family own a ton of land that's been in the family for generations that they lease out to local farmers that we could farm on, but I can't imagine living in the Georgia heat and dealing with hurricanes. I'd like to be in the outskirts of a big metropolitan to have a market to sell to.  

My husband does not mind relocating. In fact we have talked about relocating due to increased cost of living.  e.g our property taxes in the last 8 yrs have doubled to nearly $11K a year!!!  He will find employment in any large metro as he works in a high demand industry.

We are in general very crafty and DIY people and not big consumers, but now and then I think we buy too much stuff for the little one.  We have been aspiring to live a minimalist lifestyle for years; no holiday, anniversary or BD gifts  and have asked family members not to gift us stuff either and gradually donating STUFF we don't need.  We repair things if they can be repaired and we make them if we can.  we both enjoy sewing, I enjoy brewing homemade drinks, picking, fermenting, etc  My husband does all the cooking because he finds it therapeutic after a day of work at the office. so to answer your question, we already live a minimalist life style and not much to give up.   My family calls me a hippie because I'm not into the extravagant lifestyle they live with their BMWs and designer everything and we often get teased at family gatherings for not wearing designer clothes or wearing the same clothes to different events!!!

If we didn't have student loans, we could comfortably live on my husband's income now.



 
Azita Williams
Posts: 12
5
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

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.

Eric



I've decided to take my husband up on the backyard greenhouse for this season.  We are also building 2 raised beds, nothing big, maybe 3'X5' each.  

I like your idea of putting down paper to control weeds, but are you not worried bout the chemicals in the paper and ink getting in the soil and ending up in your veggies?  Is there a safe chemical free paper instead of commercial paper.  I'm really not familiar with the chemicals used in a paper mill and print ink.  

Reading all the helpful comments on here, i'm going to start small maybe 1/4 acre and just a few chickens.  I reached out to a local CSA farm to volunteer.  it's a 50 acre city owned and operated organic CSA.  I'm sure I'll learn a ton volunteering with them.  
 
Azita Williams
Posts: 12
5
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

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.



Carla,

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.  
 
Carla Burke
gardener
Posts: 950
282
personal care gear foraging hunting rabbit chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts medical herbs homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Azita Williams wrote:
Carla,

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.  



I think you're right. Planning, loads of patience, creative problem solving... There's a permie saying, 'the problem is the solution'. So, something like; 'my problem is that for what I want to do,  I need a lot of land, so I'll have to move to the country, and there aren't jobs, there.' So, the solution could be, 'it in the country, I'll have the land to create the income I need.' By your response, it looks like you've already gotten this principle fairly well internalized! 😎😎😎
 
gardener
Posts: 503
Location: Piedmont 7a
162
hugelkultur trees woodworking
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think Carla illustrates very clearly the idea that it is the journey that’s at least as important as the destination. Enjoy the ride!
 
garden master
Posts: 1474
Location: Maine, zone 5
521
forest garden trees food preservation solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

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/



I can't wait to grow these this year Ron.  I read about them in the book "The Whole Okra" and ordered them after seeing your post here.  They sound great and I really appreciate the way you packed them up and included bonus seed gifts.  Hopefully some of the plants will do well up here in Maine!  (fingers crossed)  Thank you!!!
 
master steward
Posts: 11365
Location: Pacific Northwest
4825
hugelkultur kids cat duck forest garden foraging fiber arts sheep wood heat homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think starting a garden and just saving money on food will be a huge first step. Eating heatly is expensive, and if you grow all your berries and veggies, you'll be saving at least $100/month. And eating healthier, too!

What I would do in your situtuation is to run the numbers. Find out how much you'll save by growing your own food. Find out how much you'd save if you lived in the foothills or further out, rather than in the metro area. 11,000 in property taxes is a lot, and that shows that the mortgage payment is high! If you could get an acre out further from the city, you'd be probably spending half that amount on property taxes and mortgage. If you could grow more of your own food, you could potentially stay home, which would also mean no more childcare costs. Run the numbers!

If your husband can work uncommon hours, or work from home, you'll save a lot on gas and time in traffic. Driving to and from Seattle or Portland during rush hour(s) is horrible. But, it's not so bad if working nights or evenings. My husband works nights, and so has no traffic getting to and from the city.

I wouldn't try to be superwoman, but your goal is attainable! This year, get the greenhouse and garden beds going and save as much as you can. Show you can save money on groceries. Then next year, maybe you can uproot to an hour from the big city area to a few acres and start growing your own and being with your kid(s). It's not easy, but it was/is definetly worth it to me.

Speaking of homeschools, there's some really cool public homeschool co-ops in the Seattle area. I've heard good things about Sky Valley Education Center (you know it's gotta be cool when they're building a permaculture garden on campus!) and Edmund's Heights. It's a really great way to homeschool without having to buy cirriculum and having a community for the kids (and you!)
 
author & pollinator
Posts: 157
Location: Southeastern U.S.
59
goat cat forest garden foraging chicken food preservation medical herbs writing solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Azita, welcome to Permies! You have found a forum of kindred spirits. And such good advice and encouragements in this thread.

Trying to start out with a full-blown farm would be a huge undertaking with a steep learning curve. It is more challenging if one's spouse has different goals and vision, but your husband's suggestion gives you a good starting point. And it has the potential to grow into something more. Run with it! More than one spouse has been won over by the better taste and quality of homegrown fruits and vegetables.
 
Eric Hanson
gardener
Posts: 1814
Location: Southern Illinois
323
transportation cat dog fungi trees building writing rocket stoves woodworking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Azita,

I have to emphasize again that there is a lot of very good information to glean from this thread.

Regarding my paper, I am not concerned at all with ink chemicals.  All printer ink for years has been soy based.  I was concerned at first that there might be some chemical issue but I tried using it and it works great and I cannot see any problems.  My garden has only gotten better.

I think starting out with a greenhouse and 3 small beds is a great beginning.  I suspect that you will get quite a lot of food from those beds.  If you would like some input on how to really get those beds in amazing shape. I can help you there, but it is best to start at the beginning so if you want that help, start now .

If I can help at all, please don’t hesitate to ask,

Eric
 
pollinator
Posts: 126
Location: WNC 6b
18
kids foraging chicken
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Such great information! I just wanted to welcome you to permies Azita!
My dad grew up on a farm in Yemen. I saw you had family history in Iran. Anyway, I enjoy hearing from people of this area. It makes me smile

It is a dream, a dream that pulls and pushes into reality. We (husband, daughter and I) share this dream. We left Phoenix for the sticks 3 years ago. Thankfully we all share this dream.

Does your husband have favorite foods? Even though my hubby is an amazing supporter and farm hand, I focus mostly on growing their favorite foods. I'm not as picky, their joy helps bring my joy.
Daughter at 10 years old, is turning out to be a good farm hand too.

I often ponder this quote...
“Never give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” ~ Earl Nightingale

Happy growing.
 
Posts: 22
1
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Welcome. I am in a very similar situation. I already live in the country though. I have almost 2 acres of garden and 2 dozen chickens. My wife feels that I dedicate enough time to this, and doesnt feel I need to expand and work on a silvopasture of my 6 acres of wooded lot. I was raised in the city and have only found this calling in my last few years in the country. My only suggestion would be to start small and make your partner a believer. I recently made a fritatta from fresh eggs, tomatoes, spinach, and peppers. She swears that she has never had anything so good. She is slowly starting to realize the value of homegrown and fresh everything. Eventually I believe she will cave and agree to buy the adjoining property and start expanding. It is a very scary venture to try to take the leap and leave a good salary, so I understand her hesitation. I really believe if you start slow and prove the merits of that lifestyle your husband will come around.
 
Posts: 550
Location: Northern Maine, USA (zone 3b-4a)
46
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Welcome Azita. like others have said here, you don't need a large amount of land to grow esp. as a young mother right now.my father had a huge garden and fruit/ nut trees on his acre of land .  if you guys could purchase even a a few acres for now and just do what you can. when the kids are older then you can start to expand and follow your dreams. when i moved into my wifes house 6 years ago, she had 3/4 acre just growing grass. i couldn't stand seeing land wasted on grass so i started my own food forest. i have over 50 fruit, nut and mecinidal plants growing in rows 10ft apart. I'm still adding some more tress and bushes but now concentrating on filling in under the trees and bushes with fruiting ground covers and perennial edibles. i also have raised beds for veggies.  here in the north fruits and nuts are very expensive so it makes sense to grow your own. once all my plants are at full production and my freezers full, ill sell my extras at our local farmers market. ill admit, I'm looking for some cheap acreage right now to start a sour cherry, honey berry , hazelnut orchard in the future but it happens when it happens. my little piece of heaven on my wifes lawn keeps me content enough for now. keep following your dream. your husband will come along. once he sees how much enjoyment a small farm can be he may want to take on the extra work. its so rewarding growing your own food. my wife doesn't care for growing things but she helps harvest and cares for the chickens occasionally. i let her do what she's comfortable with. she loves the fresh legs and meat our chicks and ducks give us. she enjoys to lay out on a reclining beach chair in the food forest a sunny day. our property is ringed with large pine tress so its peaceful here. we don't see the neighbors when out in the yard.
 
Leigh Tate
author & pollinator
Posts: 157
Location: Southeastern U.S.
59
goat cat forest garden foraging chicken food preservation medical herbs writing solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Azita, I'd like to add that our homesteading activities made a wonderful basis for our homeschooling curriculum. For example, gardening, compost worm beds, beekeeping, and backyard chickens lend themselves to science. We joined a homeschool 4-H group and utilized a lot of free 4-H project materials to cover a wide range of science and practical skill topics, including forestry, gardening, sewing, cooking, food preservation, woodworking, electricity, etc. If we'd had animals then, we could have included a lot more. Writing for their project books covered composition. We got speech covered with 4-H presentations. Homesteading and homeschooling are an excellent fit.
 
pioneer
Posts: 39
Location: Shepherdstown, WV
8
homeschooling cattle kids dog duck rabbit chicken composting toilet food preservation wood heat homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm sorry I don't have time to read all the replies right this moment (outside is calling us to come back quickly) but this post really spoke to me when I saw it on the daily-ish! I didn't know that I dreamed of farming until we started down the path. My husband and I lived in NYC and grew herbs in a skylight and composted with worms in our 40 sq ft kitchen, then moved to an urban lot just outside the city when our oldest child was a toddler. We turned 50x100 foot lot with basically nothing but lawn to a nearly year-round food forest. We sold our house and bought an old RV and 8 acres. My husband didn't quit his job but started telecommuting and has reduced his hours as he has become more open to the farm and more involved each year. It has been hard but I wouldn't go back for anything! I'd be happy to talk to you if you'd like to.
 
Posts: 523
Location: Eastern Kansas
19
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I ALWAYS wanted to farm!

My husband is a city boy and wanted to STAY a city boy, and so he got a job in a SMALL city as that way we could live on a small parcel of land and commute. We bought a house on an acre of land that was close enough to his city job and then later we bought 5 acres outside of town.

Because he DID get a job in a small city, my husband simply followed a highway from his job to outside of town to what he thought was a reasonable commute, and that was where we bought the house on an acre of land.

Every morning he followed that highway to work, and I also took the highway to the job I got in a hospital.

So, you want to farm. Fine. That means that you will want to sell what you grow. Or, you can do child care and farm in your free time: child care providers can bring in a decent wage and then you can work your land in the evenings or on weekends. Because you have school debts you might still need your income for a while

So, if you want to sell what you grow you might get a job in a store for the practice in selling, or you can raise plants in your back yard and sell at a farmer's market on Saturdays, or whatever. At any rate it is almost spring: you might raise a fine garden in your yard for experience.

A farm is a business but a homestead is not. I am not certain: are you wanting to farm or to homestead?
 
pollinator
Posts: 234
Location: Dolan Springs, AZ 86441
31
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I want to say "Go for your dream!" Don't wait for retirement, because by then you will be much older and possibly not able to do the work. I wish I had started so much sooner.

You have a good plan, to work part-time with the WOOF organization. There is so much that you will need to know how to do in order to make a go of it. Make sure you have worked out a comprehensive budget. Everything will probably cost more than your estimate. Don't try to buy everything at once, but plan to start with the essentials and then add stuff as you actually need it and as you can afford it. Your picture book farm does not happen all at once. If you try to do that you will probably waste a lot of effort on stuff you didn't really need. Learn how to build and manage a farm on a budget.

Living off-grid is not easy. You are your own utility company, so you need to study up on how to design and maintain your solar power system and things like keeping your well in working order. You will also want to plan for a wind generator. If you have a running stream, you have the potential for generating water using a micro-hydro generator to generate power. Batteries will be a huge expense. The Lithium-ion batteries (like the Tesla Powerwall and others) are expensive but very efficient and long-lasting (but they can not be allowed to freeze). The cost for these is now comparable with the older lead-acid varieties, of similar capacity.

Your husband has a very good idea: to start small with a greenhouse/garden. There are techniques for vertical-gardening that can make it possible for you to practice marketing your excess produce at farmer's markets as you build your farming experience.

I recommend taking some classes that teach the Regenerative Agriculture model of farm production, which will allow you to grow organically using next to no added fertilizers or chemicals. I have listed some You-tube links to pasture-based Restorative Agriculture in the "Greening the Desert" forum on this site. A quick list would be Allen Savory Institute, Gabe Brown, Greg Judy, and Ray Archuleta and anything you can find by Dr. Christine Jones, (https://amazingcarbon.com/).

I hope these ideas, and the ideas of the others who replied to your post, help you make your dream become a reality!
 
Mark Kissinger
pollinator
Posts: 234
Location: Dolan Springs, AZ 86441
31
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

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.



I heard some good advice once that pointed out that some small acreage of poor land could be bought very cheaply, then you can build it up with restorative techniques and sell it, then repeat the process until you finally get to buying your "dreamland farm". This might be an alternative, or it might not work for you. Just a thought.
 
Mark Kissinger
pollinator
Posts: 234
Location: Dolan Springs, AZ 86441
31
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

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.  



One thought about homeschooling: You can always "homeschool" by making a plan of reading books or other academic projects that intensify and build upon what your child is learning in the public school. Provide a learning environment with a hands-on curriculum that might even contain some learning about how plants grow. Maybe you could also teach your child's friends about gardening and other agricultural subjects. A child's first teachers are always their parents.

The wwoofing experience will definitely give you a taste of what larger-scale farming is like. As a single farmer, you will probably need to incorporate wwoofer personnel to assist you at some point.
 
He's giving us the slip! Quick! Grab this tiny ad!
2020 Permaculture Design Course for Scientists and Engineers, June 14-27
https://permies.com/wiki/permaculture-design-course-2020
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!