James Freyr wrote:
I knew the lifestyle that I wanted to live was going to be labor intensive, and I am ok with that. It seems to me many people imagine and idealize retirement as relaxing and enjoying leisure time and pleasurable activities, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. Seeing myself in my 70’s taking it easy in a hammock or on a boat with a drink in my hand, for examples, has no appeal. My desire for my life and also “retirement age” became, and still is, hard work every day, but for me it doesn’t feel like work anymore. I’m just doing things I love that make me happy. When I’m old, I want to still be getting up before dawn, and working outside, all day, growing healthy food and raising healthy, happy animals, living an agrarian lifestyle. I will be delighted if I keel over and die in my 90’s or older, outside under the warmth of the sun, serenaded by songbirds and the bellows of mooing cows, working in my garden.
David Baillie wrote:I did not see any bad mouthing in your posts. I understood from them that you would like to know an author's financial history before judging their advice. I get that but I think you would spend vast amounts of energy for very little reward. The western world is a culture of absolute silence on financial matters. We might brag about and flaunt affluence but We don't teach financial literacy and don't talk honestly about it sometimes even to ourselves. Build a good life, try to change what you can, teach others if they will listen, adopt what works, ignore the fools, have fun...
Tess Daniels wrote:As to how did the Nearings buy their land in Maine....Back when they did buy. land was so cheap that practically anyone who wanted to do what they were doing, could. They had some savings and Scott was a paid teacher before a pariah. Read their books for a general idea of how they started out. Then came the young happy helpers eager to learn and hang out. It goes on from there. I live near the homestead and the Colemans. The main point here is that in those days land was very cheap. That is why Maine was the place they chose. I also want to know the financial details of how someone gets their start in an enterprise.
Marly Hornik wrote:Well if this thread is about acknowledging that a lot of things are very wrong in our culture and our world...yup. Oddo you make a lot of good points, about people being sold on a farming fantasy in slick magazines and films. That is right on, and it's most unfortunate. I agree that honesty would be good. However, many people are motivated in an unconscious way by a desperate need for attention and validation. Often we are not able to separate from this longing when faced with an opportunity for fame or wealth, or just being known as the one who has the "correct" answers. So Hollywood worship reaches farms, carried on the wings of famous farm to table chefs building mega-millions farm and "education" centers, making movies and selling books to further enrich themselves.
Also your original post, if I took it personally, would be highly alienating to me. My family--husband, wife, 3 kids now aged 13, 10, and 6--plus an elder who we have adopted each other as family, we purchased 103 acres in the Hudson valley of NY, 90 minutes from midtown Manhattan, almost 6 years ago, when our youngest was an infant. My husband was born and raised in Brooklyn, in a house purchased by his great-grandfather for what would then have been a lower class immigrant amount. Due to family drama, when his parents died my husband was the only one of 4 siblings on the deed, and his solution was to sell the house and distribute the money as best he could figure. His father had been abusive to all of them, and his brother had been extremely abusive to him as well, so imagine what a challenge this was. He really did an amazing job. The house sold for $1.2 million. We used our part of this money to pay the $300,000 for our land, plus closing costs, in cash. The purchase price was "low" for the area because the house we purchased on the land was old and highly shabby/disgusting, so perhaps you would say we were "lucky."
I am home full time on our homestead, homeschooling our children, preparing food for our family to have good health, and developing our gardens with the help of our goat herd which is amazing at eating and deep mulching the vast stretches of poison ivy, mugwort and multiflora rose that blanket much of our land in the areas that were abandoned apple orchards. I am learning bit by bit how to make cheese here successfully, although unfortunately due to the ridiculous regulations I will never be able to sell it, same with the amazing quality milk we have an over abundance of. In fact, in NY at least, we will be hard pressed to earn income from our land and farm without putting our kids in school. My husband works more or less full time, he builds custom rat-rod trucks for people who want flashy toys and have the money to buy them.....I laid out a new garden last year and used plastic double tarps on the paths, because that's how I can deal with meeting my responsibilities. I definitely am thrilled every year to get trailer loads full of horse manure from a nearby stable that doesn't use medications with their horses.
I guess what I am trying to get at here is that nothing is so simple, so black and white, when it comes to money and choices. It is a good idea, in my mind, to make connections with your neighbors. It's a good idea to keep working towards your priorities and learning about how to achieve that given your parameters. It's a great idea to share what you learn, as it could help another person.
But to spend time and energy judging and criticizing how other people choose to present themselves, choose to learn, choose to fund their projects, or basically choose to live in this amazing and sacred creation....I just really believe that you have gifts and talents within you that would better serve you and all the people and the earth that you clearly love so much and want to help in some way.
Steve Mendez wrote:For years I've carried a 24 page 3" X 4.5" waterproof paper notebook in my shirt pocket. I'm in Aquaculture and wet conditions are the norm. Even when it's soaking wet, I can write in it with a pencil or an all-weather pen.
I think of these notebooks as my indelible memory. I'm on my 7th one now. They have made a great difference in how I operate my farm and they have definitely helped me make money.
Riteintherain.com item # 971FX-M.
A simple book that got me started on a profitable small farm/business is:
Small-Time Operator...How to Start Your own Small Business, Keep your Books, Pay Your Taxes, And Stay Out of Trouble! By Bernard Kamoroff, C.P.A.
Another book that gave me inspiration is:
Farmers of Forty Centuries....Organic Farming in China, Korea, and Japan. By F.H. King
William Bronson wrote:
I used to find my self landing on a certain racial supremacy website because of my googling of back to the land type subjects...
Yet another reason to appreciate Permies.
John Opincar wrote:
P.P.S: Full disclosure -- my Mom's carport roof which serves as her water source was ripped up and tossed 300 feet away as a front moved through night before last and then I spent literally half the day yesterday harvesting and processing vegetables out of the garden before the 7th hard freeze of the season here last night. Luckily, she has a lot of water in her tanks which are undamaged so I have some time to get it rebuilt. But that's one more item on the already incredibly long todo list.
Oddo Dassler wrote:"Who did you all believe before starting out?"
Brody Ekberg wrote:I’m very glad I found this post on here because I’ve been mentally battling similar concepts for months now. Glad I’m not alone!
“Quick” background: I’m 27 years old, live in upper Michigan and am married (no children yet). As a child, I was brainwashed into believing that debt was a part of this life and that if I wasn’t going to go to college, trade school was the ticket. College never interested me and so, instead of following my heart, I followed my brainwashed mind and advice given to me by generations past. Over the course of a couple years, I went from spending as much time in wilderness learning, exploring and experiencing new things to completing a trade school, moving, and starting a full time job at a utility company. I’ve been at this job for almost 6 years now, make excellent money and benefits compared to the majority of people that I know. I married my high school sweetheart (and her $50,000 student loan debt), took out $100,000 loan on a house and now have this seemingly massive debt hole nagging at me every day.
Due to chronic overthinking and worrying, I had a revelation (panic attack/breakdown/mental blowout) a few years ago that completely revolutionized my life. To sum it up, I realized we are all one, past and future do not exist, all we have is this present moment and we are here to embody love; nothing else matters.
This obviously clashed with my lifestyle in many ways. I had spent my life trying to be happy, doing what I was told, working for the future and was not enjoying it. I was tired, unhealthy and unhappy. After watching Food Inc, the Truth About Cancer and various documentaries and youtube videos, reading several books (Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway was probably the most profound and influential in my opinion), detoxing, correcting our diet and correcting nutritional deficiencies and digestive issues, I had a new found passion for life. I felt more alive than I knew possible, finally felt passionate about life and knew what I was here to do: spread love, teach others and be well. During my revelation (I feel this word fits the experience nicely), I had a vision of my wife and I in a luscious garden, surrounded by abundant food with smiles on our faces. I knew this was the ideal and that it was not only possible to create but felt like life was calling me to do it. I knew that if I was single, this would be quick and easy because I’m focused, easy to please and have low expectations. My wife likes to go places, spend money, do things and have fun. I knew that staying with her meant this process would be a lot slower and more difficult, but I willingly chose this path because I love her.
I used to think living sustainably meant needing lots of land, debt, machinery and back breaking work for little to no pay. I know now that sustainable is a direction, not an end point. Gaia’s Garden showed that people can and are making fantastic leaps in sustainability on tiny plots of land all over the world: A handful of raised beds in an inner city lot, rooftop and windowsill gardens, community gardens and orchards, school gardens and orchards. Many people are even able to have children, chickens, bees, a couple goats or sheep, large polyculture gardens, rain harvesting... all on an acre or two. This was what sparked me to buying a house/property. I wanted to create my vision, not only for my wife and I to be well and fulfilled, but to freely give knowledge, experience and good food!
Current situation: We took out a $90,000 loan on a 3 bedroom house with 2 1/2 acres to realize our dream. Half of the land is wooded and half is cleared with the house, garage and yard space. I spent the first year dreaming, drawing, planning, making gardens and putting up fencing. We have a loop driveway and I plan on filling the yard space with fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, chickens, vegetables, herbs, flowers, mushrooms and bees. I envision a short bus rolling in to drop off a handful of kids for a field trip where we experientially show them how to plant things, harvest things, eat things and teach them why this is important and how to do it without loads of money or land. To help them realize they can do so much with an acre or less by utilizing what resources are readily available. We have good soil and abundant resources, many of which are totally free and sustainable (wood, wood chips, leaves, sawdust, yard waste, water...).
My current struggle: My job is killing me. It is physically demanding, unsustainable, unsatisfying and leaves me feeling like I have no time to put towards realizing the dream. I’m away from home all day and when I get home its all catch up and compensation for being gone all day. I want to just live off faith, quit my job and get dirty actualizing my dream. If we lose it all, whatever, The dream will be the same somewhere else. My wife is not on the same page though, and so we’re trying to figure out how to pay bills, a mortgage and student loan debt without my current job. We’re quite seriously considering starting a fermented food business. Ive been fermenting for several years now, have some good products and have been told to start selling by many people. Plus there’s a niche for it and demand. Ideally, we would source organic produce as locally as possible and try to keep sales relatively local as well. We could do classes and workshops about fermentation as well. I could work from home and make my own hours. I even thought about taking in shredded paper and restaurant waste to start making and selling compost and also doing edible landscaping/sustainable garden design on the side for more income. This would be radically different than a biweekly paycheck! Part of me screams “do it” and another part says these are all just ways to make money for the sake of playing this damn game when I could just get down and dirty right now, laying it all on the line and living off faith alone. I know this is true, but would likely cost me my house, my credit, my marriage and my reputation. Sure, i could be a filthy, wandering, John the Baptist looking gardener but I doubt I would be as influential or happy as I would with my wife living from a relatively stable home teaching children and doing community programs in sustainability and whatnot. Call me impatient but I’m working on it. And sure, my generation is used to instant gratification, so feeling like I need to struggle for decades before things really seem to “come together” isn’t particularly appetizing, especially if my physical and mental health is being dedicated to working for profit while I’m in my prime. That leaves me with leftovers to put towards my passion at some future date that never seems to arrive. This body is meant to spread love and life, not grind out unnecessary mundane tasks for money and to be the fuel of a broken system.
I really feel like there are a good number of people in similar situations as this. So many people here are interested in gardening, wellness, and small farms but are stuck with large amounts of debt, a lack of encouragement and a lack of motivation. There seems to be a gap and I feel called to be the bridge over that gap. Sorry about rambling on. I don't have many opportunities to talk about these topics with like minded people in similar situations!