So...in March of 2018 We bought a 32 acre fallow dirt pit really cheap. The plan was to observe it for a year and then develop our homestead/farm. Then life happened and plans were delayed. Finally it is happening. The driveway is being finished over the next 2 weeks and I will move to the farm in April. About 12 acres are wooded and 20 are open to lightly wooded. There are 3 ponds and 2 creeks. It is off the grid and as long as we do not hook up to any utilities, there are no building codes.
We have 7.3 KW of used solar panels and 2 Tesla Battery modules for 10.6KW of storage. We plan to catch rainwater and hand drill a well. We have a hoop house frame and 85 polycarb panels for greenhouses. We plan to develop a dual purpose chicken, raise dorper sheep for meat and milk, and have an aquaponics system with tilapia and koi. Hugelkulturs will be needed as we have to build our own soil and we plan to grow lots of veggies. Fruit orchards, a food forest, and mushroom production are also planned. There are many native and invasive species present, many of them useful and desirable, some not so much
She is my scarred beauty and she called to me the first time we looked at her. I could feel that she was healing and wanted to bloom profusely, but needed help to do so. So I will give her my love and attention and make her into what she is longing to be.
We want to use this to show our community and conventional farmers how to take a degraded piece of land and turn it into a profitable farm. We want to build a tribe of like minded partners on the farm. The farm should provide most of the community's food needs and living will be free other than a few hours a week devoted to community projects. How happy and productive could people be if they were free of the stresses of modern life and could experiment and build their dreams?
We want to educate the children about where their food should come from and how it should be produced and taste. Think farm tasting tours, a farm to table restaurant, farm b&b stays, and a wellness center with massage therapy and herbalist consultation, with herbal remedies made on site and available to customers. A custom forge that makes knives and other tools, and teaching primitive and survival skills through weekend camps.
There are so many possibilities I am almost too excited to sit still!!! This will not happen overnight, but I plan to be eating lamb from my farm next year for Passover.
We are open to discussion, critiques, questions, and visits.
So...this past week has been productive. Progress has been made on the driveway despite our bipolar weather, and 10 living and 5 deceased Chickasaw plums were cut loose of a vine thicket. There are more to be set free. I have seen them online for $20 plus shipping, so in 4 hours I saved $200+, got plenty of exercise, and gained 10 native plums in bloom that are already landrace. Not bad for an afternoon's work. Now to get time to save the rest
Then i got a little crazy I think. I ordered 4 bee nucs and put a deposit down on 20 dorper/katahdin cross sheep. 2 have lambs and some are bred and some wont be ready to breed until fall. The sheep and bees both come in May. I got great deals on both, so it puts us ahead of the financial curve, but puts an enormous amount of time pressure on us to getter done. Good news is i have presold 2 lambs for fall. And about 10 lbs of cheese when I get there.
We have decided to add the other rv to the farm for living space for helpers/partners/wwoofers. We could sooo use some help. We both need an assistant. I run 2 businesses and could add a few more with the right help. It will come when it is time...everything else has. Our vibe will attract our tribe.
There is a lot of stuff ready and getting ripe for harvest. Wisteria is blooming now for jelly, pine pollen is ready now, loquats will be ready next month along with blackberries, and blueberries will be ready in June. I have my cottage industry license so I can sell all the cookies, cakes, pies, jams, jellies, etc that I can make. I have all the equipment and a large supply of jars etc. My products are unique in our market in that none use granulated sugar. I use mostly honey and am experimenting with monkfruit and some other natural sweeteners that would be suitable for diabetics. That is a HUGE market that needs tapping. Providing people with healthy food that tastes great and is accessible is a definite need in the south, probably lots of places.
Today is my Sabbath so I rest. Tomorrow I will go at it again hard. This time i will be harvesting pine pollen because it will be gone in a few days and it sells for $10/oz, so it is the most profitable thing atm. I have enough pollen available to probably harvest 100 lbs. I might get 5 by myself. Half will be kept for our use so (5 x 16 x10)/2...still not bad for a days work.
John C Daley Thank you very much! I read the whole thread but have not had a chance to look at the links and such yet. We definitely intend to use rainwater catchment. We will use IBC tanks because they are available and cheap. We can always upgrade our tanks later. Our average rainfall is 60+ inches per year, so most years this will be plenty. One of our springs comes up from the ground, so we want to tap that as a backup water source and for micro hydro. We will not be digging an expensive well but more like a hand dug recirculating artesian well. That probably makes no sense but he knows what he is talking about lol. I have looked into water testing and it is expensive...almost $70 per test. I think we will get a home test kit for a couple of hundred that will test our water several times and be less expensive per sample and give us the ability to have the results more quickly. If you have a suggestion on which test kit might be best or anything else that would help us I am very interested.
Maybe poly tanks are cheaper there...here you are looking at .72 to $1.50 per gallon for storage. And it appears the closest tanks are in Texas, so they have to be shipped in. We will keep an eye out for bigger tanks but right now its just not feasible.
Got to go visit my sheep last week. Weather has been crap most days so not gotten much done but we did buy a good used animal trailer and a good used tractor with a front end loader. We have lots of earthwork to do so a FEL was a must and the other tractor did not have one. Now we can run the pto generator with one and haul with the other if needed. He can finish the driveway when the weather clears. I can finally move the camper and the RV out and start living my dream. Soon. Very soon. It needs to be soon...the waiting is agony.
It occurred to me that listing our skill sets and knowledge base might be helpful. We are both computer savvy, and part of my paying job is done online. I do taxes, resumes, data entry, and lots of other stuff. I am also an herbalist working on developing some unique wellness products and skin care. Customers love my elderberry syrup and my salve. I have gardening and food preservationexperience as does he. His former career was as a helicopter mechanic, he can fix or rig up almost anything, and has a very analytical mind. We have a huge library of books on a large range of subjects, a lot are specific to homesteading, herbalism, diy, etc, etc. We intend to obtain a portable sawmill of some sort to process wood from our land to use for building. We both need an apprentice/assistant to help us get things done. We have a lot to teach and learn with the right people.
Never give up, Never give up, Never give up!!!
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