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Post by Lanichiii on Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:10 pm

My wife and I are hoping to move back to Kansas within the next two years and start a homestead where we can raise our two children in line with God's teachings. We have grand plans for homesteading on paper, but as far as I can tell most homesteading is done on grass or dirt or some such:clown: . Thus, we're trying to learn as much as we can now and start small.

Currently my wife gardens and raises chickens in our small, suburban backyard as well as homeschools our kids. I would help out more but I'm currently in Afghanistan. My main contribution at this point is trying to gain as much knowledge as I can, which is one of the reasons I'm posting here.

So, any advice for aspiring homesteaders (even if it's just pointing out useful threads) would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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Post by Guest on Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:21 pm

You mentioned being in Afghanistan and forgive me if I am making a wrong assumption but - bless you for your service.

The only other advice I can offer is when you select land, please be very careful where you do it. I am on a couple of forums and the one thing I see a whole lot of is complaints about neighbors or the local government causing tremendous headaches for people who try to have livestock or do other homesteading type activities. I know for many people 20-30 acres sounds like a perfect little hideaway, but the reality is if you are somewhere where the plots are all about that size then you will have lots of neighbors and you will likely be close enough to a town for that to potentially cause issues.

We are fortunate enough to be 10 miles from a tiny town of 400 and 30 miles from towns of 30,000 and the only houses I can see on the horizon belong to family. I always appreciated that fact, but even more so as I read all the messes that other homesteaders have to deal with.

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Post by PATRICE IN IL on Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:37 am

Welcome to the group, glad to have you join us. Smile Let me also add my thanks for your service.

My piece of advise is to start small with the animals----only 1 or 2 breeds until you get the hang of caring for them. Be advised feed costs are expensive and only going higher. Make sure what you raise will give back in return what you put out in feed costs. I have 2 older laying hens that still provide eggs but not cost efficiently. The reason I haven't sent them to the stew pots is the manure, it makes wonderful fertilizer.
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Post by 12acrehome on Wed Aug 14, 2013 5:28 am

Thank you for your service SIR.

Advice, I likely could write a book. Nothing original, just some gems handed down from a man who grew up on a small farm in the 1920's, and other things gleened from books and hard knocks.

When my Dear Wife and I set out to find our perfect plot of land we had two goals. We wanted a home we could grow old together in, and enough land to qualify for farm status. The farm status gets you a lower per acre tax burden, and you can also have the mineral rights that are still attached to the land deeded to you. In some states water rights do not automatically go with the land, not even farm ground. Timber rights will net you two sales during an average lifetime, these can be used to clear a mortgage.

In Ky the farm status starts at 10 acres, I knew I could not properly tend to more than 20 acres and still work off the homestead to maintain our income. The words of my grandfather still echo through my head...

Never take on more land than you can give your full attention

Take care of your animals and the land that feeds them, and they will take care of you

A deed is just a piece of paper, God owns the land, and everything that comes from it and walks on it, we are just here to tend to it.


I also recommend you read a few books.

5 Acres and Independence, and Born Again Dirt. I have just finished born again dirt and found it very helpful in clearing some of the cobwebs about how God expects farmers and homesteaders to treat His creation.

5 Acres has been in my collection for 4 or 5 years now and includes chapters on tree grafting, seed starting, transplanting, food preservation, hot beds, cold frames, etc. I use it as a reference manual.

Best of luck on your chosen path, we have found happiness and security. I wish the same to you.

_________________
Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
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Post by 12acrehome on Wed Aug 14, 2013 5:36 am

Oh, and one more tid bit, avoid debt as much as possible. Saving up for something makes working for it much more pleasant than working to pay the bank.

I love the title of this post, we call our place "The Wannabe a Mini-Farm"

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Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
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Post by Farmfresh on Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:59 am

Welcome to our way of life.

Remember homesteading is just that a way of life. I like to say it is not WHERE you live instead it is HOW you live.

I think my favorite beginner book would have to be The Have-More Plan. It was written in the mid-40's with the returning GI in mind. Still a good place to start today.

I agree with start small.
* Find your location first and give it some time. Get a feel for the patterns of the sun, the lay of the land and what you really need as a family.
* There IS such a thing as too much. Doing too much is overwhelming.
* Most people will encourage you to plant an orchard as a first step, but I say wait a bit. Find out what you really need and want.
* Do a bit of gardening. Raised beds and Square Foot Gardening methods are beginner best.
* Get a few chickens, under a dozen at first. A good hen can lay 280 eggs a year. How many do you need?
* Take some time and focus on a few things. Get that well under control before adding more.
* Learn how to preserve the harvest. Freezing, canning, dehydrating, fermenting all are very valuable homestead skills. You can learn on foods that you have purchased.
* Find a Farmers Market near you and make friends with the farmers. Ask questions and really learn all you can.

We started playing this homestead game in the early 80's. It is a life that I have loved.
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Post by Lanichiii on Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:47 pm

Thanks all for your advice. That gives me a few more books to add to my library as well as some ideas to help plan. I know in Kansas anything less than 25 acres is considered a hobby farm and has some significant restrictions on number of animals per acre (which make sense for cows but not so much for chickens or pygmy goats). I remember Luke 11:10 and keep asking and seeking for the right piece of land.

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Post by Sonshine on Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:14 pm

Welcome to our little corner of the world. So far you've gotten some good advice. I don't have much to add other than to read all you can. Maybe read through some of the various sections on this forum. You never did mention if you were military or working as a contractor. DH is USAF. I noticed you mentioned pygmy goats and chickens. We raise chickens and Nigerian Dwarf goats. We had pygmies originally, but I prefer the dwarfs because they are great for milk.

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He who cultivates his land will have plenty of food,
but from idle pursuits a man has his fill of poverty
Proverbs 28:19[b]
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Post by Guest on Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:15 am

Good luck and welcome.

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Post by Lanichiii on Thu Aug 15, 2013 1:17 am

I am military (I wish I were making the money contractors make). I get out in a little under 2 years. We have between now and then to save money and practice what skills we can. I'm planning on trying my hand at bees next summer. It might be a disaster, but unless I destroy the hive itself I shouldn't lose too much money and the experience will be good.

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Post by 12acrehome on Thu Aug 15, 2013 1:54 am

two years will pass quickly, the bees will be a fun experience (hopefully)

_________________
Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
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Post by Sonshine on Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:57 am

My DH will be retiring in 2 years too. One of the things I have learned is to try different ways of doing things and choose the one that works best for you. For instance, we tried doing raised beds our first year gardening here and it was a disaster. I've seen some people do great with raised beds though. Also, we started our with African Pygmy goats, but now only raise Nigerian Dwarfs. We don't raise them for meat, only dairy, and the ND's are dairy goats. They're a little smaller than the pygmies we started with, so it's easier for me to handle them, and I love their personalities.

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He who cultivates his land will have plenty of food,
but from idle pursuits a man has his fill of poverty
Proverbs 28:19[b]
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