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Author Topic: Considering moving toward a "simpler life"  (Read 7935 times)
specialkayme
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« on: January 15, 2012, 02:58:45 PM »

My wife and I have been toying with the idea of heading back toward a more rural lifestyle. The idea of growing most of our own food appeals to both of us, and since we moved onto two acres of land it makes heading in that direction a little more possible and a little less theoretical. If my wife had her way, we'd have a dozen chickens and three milking cows today, and I'd be the one taking care of all of them.  rolleyes

I'm an attorney, and my wife will soon be enrolling in massage therapy school. Neither of us have the ability to devote 60+ hours a week to living off the land. So instead, I was toying with the idea of heading in that direction, slowly and progressively, over the next few years. I was wondering if anyone on here has any experience doing that. Here is generally what I thought we would do.

1. Spring of first year: Start off with a small (8'x4') vegetable garden. Stock it with items we use most often already, with the idea of cutting down on living costs somewhat.
2. Fall of first year: take the remaining vegetables that we have grown and haven't used and can them. Being able to can (or jar) our vegetables will really make this closer to a 'year round plan', rather than a vegetable garden.
3. Year two: repeat the first year, only with two or three small vegetable gardens, improving on what we did wrong the year before. Additionally, plant a few apple trees and blackberry/raspberry/blueberry bushes to be used in the future.
4. Year three: Obtain a few chickens, and one duck. Consider growing grains. Repeat the successes of years one and two, and learn from the failures.
5. Year four: expand the chicken coop, if necessary. Repeat the successes of years one through three, and learn from the failures.
6. Year five: reassess our situation, contemplating the usage of goats and/or a cow.

My goal would be to try something new in odd years, and build on the knowledge in even years.

Obviously on two acres of land we won't be able to feed ourselves, but the idea is to become a little less dependent on the market and to become a little more self sufficient.

Anyone with experience in this area that would like to critique?
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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2012, 03:21:51 PM »

one thought on the cow....if there are only two of you, consider a mini-milker.  a full size cow will give you way more milk than you can use.  even a mini can give you up to 3 gallons a day at peak.  other advantage to the mini breeds are that you can keep more on smaller acrage, and the mini beef will give you a nice bit of meat without it being to much. 

not a huge fan of goats personally, but that's just me  smiley

canning is good.  consider a dehydrator also. 

chickens are great value.  they are relatively cheap to feed and reproduce and you get not only meat from the bird, but the eggs.  rabbits also. 

small acreage is hard because you really can't grow enough for you and your animals, but if you think small and plan carefully, you can do well cost wise.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2012, 03:32:54 PM »

Canning taste best, but never over look the deep freezer for foods.   Also, if time is short, network around to get people to pick you goods on halves.   Plant way too much and get people without land to work it for you.   Also what you can not use or have time to put up, sale.   We sell blueberries all summer, you pick, put the money on the porch, don't bother us operation.   Same with the bottles of honey.    We place the veggies that we can not use on the porch with everything else.   If it is a couple days old, free or pay us what you wish.   Not much labor on our part since we work all the time.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2012, 08:45:29 PM »

Chickens are low maintenance.  If you put out a feeder that holds a bit and a waterer that holds a bit (and has a heater so it doesn't freeze) you can actually leave for the weekend.  Milkers are high maintenance.  You have to milk them twice a day, rain or shine, no matter what.  Unless you have some like minded neighbors who would be happy to milk them for the milk or some other trade, its very limiting on your life otherwise.  It's a real crimp on your social life to have to leave early to get home to milk the cow, who will, of course be very cranky if you aren't right on time.

Bees are also low maintenance.  You can spend a lot or a little time.  They aren't tied to a particular time of day and really don't care if you don't show up at all.  Smiley

>Obviously on two acres of land we won't be able to feed ourselves

I wouldn't say that, if you really are intent on feeding your selves, I'll bet it CAN be done on two acres, but that doesn't mean you have to do that...

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iddee
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« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2012, 09:37:33 PM »

Start with a small garden and canning. You can often find neighbors with gardens who are quite generous. We canned 18 pints of greens last week from a neighbor's garden. I agree with MB. A cow is too intensive. You will find that she requires imediate attention every time you plan to do something.

No fun thinking about drinking the milk as you are washing the udder after she has laid with it in her own excrement.
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« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2012, 11:12:13 PM »

Due to my oldest son having all sorts of complications with infant formula, I finally tried goats milk on him and it worked wonders. I had a French Alpine that would produce a gallon a day. I still have all my SS milking equipment just in case I ever decide to do it again. Time wise, it really didnt take that long. From putting her on the stand to finish (I hand milked) maybe 20 minutes at the most. What we didnt drink, we made cheese out of it, banana pudding, the best ice cream, etc. I would still drink it if I had it. To me it tasted a lot better than cow. A goat would be more bang for your buck than a cow. Far less input for a pretty good output.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2012, 06:56:01 AM »

Timewise, milking isn't so much of an issue, but look at it this way.  You usually milk twice a day, you have a job, so it's scheduled around that.  You try to keep it the same everyday so let's say it's before you leave for work, at 6:00 am and you sometimes have to work late so you milk last thing at night at 9:00 pm.  You go to a party and you get into a good conversation, but you have to leave by 8:00 to get home in time to milk at 9:00... if you don't you have a very upset animal with a very full udder...  that's not counting when you want to go visit your grandkids or your parents for the weekend...

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2012, 10:08:05 AM »

Seeing as you have 2 acres I would think bigger and accelerate your garden plan. Maybe start with a 8' x 16". It won't take much more time than your 4' x 8' area will and you will have 4 times the space. I keep up with a 20' x 32' vegetable garden with just a couple of hours a week devoted to it.

Don't forget the herbs, home gardening is all about putting flavor first.

Don

 
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lenape13
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« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2012, 10:23:39 AM »

Pam and I have been working toward this for a couple of years.  Right now, she's down to 11 chickens, which provide more than enough eggs for us.  She sells the excess to family and friends.  (She had 40, but it was just too much for her to keep up with.)  My bees give her all the honey she needs, and a nice little income on the side.  Fruit trees keep getting added each spring.  I've been transplanting berry bushes each year to make it easier for Pam to harvest.  Seems she doesn't like fighting her way through all the briars and brambles and prefers the bushes in nice, straight rows.  The grape arbors also keep expanding yearly.  This spring I plan to root some blueberry cuttings from the best producing bushes and at least double our supply.  The soil here is poor, so any gardening is done in raised beds, which also make maintenance easier.  All this on 1.5 acres.  It can be done, it just takes some planning.
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deknow
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« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2012, 05:02:56 PM »

...I'd also go with the bigger garden (if you haven't, you should read any book by ruth stout...they are all essentially the same....mulch mulch mulch), and add chickens ASAP.

We have 6....in a city lot (a 3 family house) with a bunch of bees.  We are urban enough that there aren't many predators, so the chickens roam the neighborhood (often getting their pictures taken on cell phones).  They were pretty ok in a 4x8 coop with an upstairs roosting and nesting area...could probably keep hens comfortably in a 4x8, and could probably find enough scrap wood around to build one.

They really aren't much work, and if you have an easy way to harvest eggs (like a door from the outside), you can probably find a neighbor who will grab them if you are not going to be around (less work than milking a cow).

Setting up a small garden, a good work area for canning (or a deep freeze), and a few chickens is a good ways towards your goal!  (and not that much work)
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specialkayme
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« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2012, 05:43:33 PM »

Thanks to everyone for the replies. They are very helpful.

Perhaps I should expand a little on why I came to the conclusion and plan that I did, and it may change some of the suggestions (although perhaps not).

As I stated earlier, I'm an attorney. I don't have the luxury of daily time, or weekend predictability. It isn't uncommon for me to work from 7 a.m. till 8 or 9 p.m. If I have to work a weekend, I usually don't know until Friday, if I'm lucky. In the coming years things will get more flexible, but being the low man on the totem pole, you don't get to make those decisions. For those reasons, I would prefer to start (at least the first year or two) with low maintenance items. The remainder of the chores will likely fall on my wife. While I love her to death, she does have some limitations. She grew up in a city in Europe, and she knows little to nothing about rural lifestyle. If it was all up to me, I'd probably stick with the bees alone and buy the rest of my food. I like the idea of a simpler life, but due to student loans and other various bills, I've got to pay it off so working is a requirement. She has agreed to take the bulk of the work on the homestead. So keeping that in mind:

Garden - last year I built her a small garden. I told her she could plant anything she want, and we went and picked out some seeds. She chose a boat load of strawberry plants, grapes, black berries, and watermelons. The watermelon got so large that it turned the rest of the garden into a bramble. A snake was once found in there, and my wife wasn't seen in it again. Smiley At least until I killed the watermelon plant. I reminded her that she could have as many strawberries as she wanted (she's a big fan) but the majority of them just rotted on the ground. She never touched the grapes, and the blackberries were my treat when I came home from work. We discussed why I'm reluctant to do a garden again, if she isn't going to help, and she promised she would be better. For that reason I would like to start small, to build responsibility. A 4'x8' bed would be large enough to let her plant what she likes, but not so large as to consider it daunting. If I built one four times as large, and spent the money on a fence & plants only to have them die, I would not be a happy camper.

Chickens - my wife has never had a pet . . . until our golden retriever two years ago. She's an animal lover, but not really too good about keeping them. For that reason, I'd like to show her the responsibility of plants before I dive into the chicken area. I agree chickens today would be more beneficial than in two years, but an alive chicken two years ago is better than a dead one today Smiley

Cow - 100% behind everything you guys mentioned. I'm not a fan of the cow idea. But it's my wife's dream. Dairy products are very big in her country, and many of them arn't available in the states. She would like to be able to try various fresh dairy products, and she really likes cows (not that I can question it, I'm a big fan of a bug, lol). If she want's it, and really wants it, she can take care of the garden and chickens to show that she's used to a schedule. We can take it from there. That's why it's on the five year mark, not sooner. I think once she has chickens, dogs, a garden, a job, and a family, her goals may be different.

Its nice to see that so many others have done similar things. I was weary that I'd get a bunch of puzzled responses, or worse.
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« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2012, 06:56:09 PM »

on the cow thing, look and see if there is a co-op or someone around who has a milk cow and to much milk.  you may be able to help out/buy a share and not have the whole cow for yourself.  that way,  she learns what's involved and still gets the product.  she may find that crawling under something big and smelly that likes to crap often and wetly, will not be her thing.

learn what grows well in your area and try some smaller sets of those things.  if you have limited space, things like watermelon and squash take some planning.  other things like onions, carrots, broccoli, etc. can be planted in much smaller patches densely, and you get lots of product for your work.

critters and digging around in the dirt, go hand in hand.  she'll have to learn to deal with it.  again, you may find someone around who can teach her what she needs to worry about and what is harmless.  handling a snake gets most people over their fear pretty quickly....and knowing which are poisonous and which are not, is not to hard. 

gardening successfully takes some experimentation and some work, but it need not be overwhelming if you have a good plan before you start.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2012, 09:24:25 PM »

Chickens are great.  I fed mine twice this summer.   Have not put them up since March.   They spent most of the time hanging out with my puppy in his run.   They eat anything.    Goats with feathers.   Eggs everyday.    With the garden, don't overlook vegetables.  Beans, peas, squash, okra, , tomatoes, in the summer and greens, cabbage, broccoli  in the cooler weather.   Strawberries are a lot of work if you do not lay down plastic (or like) under them.   And you can not let them sit when ripe.  I find that the bushy tail tree rats eat my corn so I plant the corn in rows seen at the house for target practice on the buggers.   
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iddee
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« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2012, 09:25:45 PM »

specialkayme, I think you and wife should ride down some saturday or sunday and see me. I can introduce you and her to chickens, rabbits, canning, freezing, drying, sewing, and a host of other "country" living. It's much better to visit and talk than spend money and watch things die.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2012, 09:54:13 PM »

ooh, don't pass up that offer!  iddee is a great teacher.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2012, 10:23:11 PM »

Check out this video.

http://www.wimp.com/livingland/
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LoriMNnice
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« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2012, 07:29:23 PM »

I have chickens and if I were you I would just make a big coop and not bother with expansions. It will save you time trouble and money. I would not just have one duck two would be better they like to have other ducks as company. I have six ducks

I started with a big garden and kept it that way

I had goats with the intent of milk and making other products but found with 2 little children and just me to milk the goats and take care of the goats it was just to much of a hassle and here in MN in winter it was hard to bundle up my children and take them to the goat barn and listen to them whine etc. and leaving them alone in the house was just asking for trouble. I will get goats again when my children get older. Also if you get smaller goats you can actualy get by with milking once a day.

I won't consider a cow, to expensive to feed, vet costs for AI etc.(I grew up on a dairy farm) also you might want to factor in where the cow will graze and how you will maintain that area. They are herd animals and will need comapny like another cow or goat something like that.

Start getting canning jars in the off season cheaper that way.

You can make things as complicated or as simple as you want, I try to make things simple and easy for example I don't have time to weed my big garden nor do I want to spend hours weeding it so I put straw down and it keeps out the weeds and I am fine with it looking that way and not 100% weed free, I do things like that.

I enjoy my life here on my little farm and hope I get to keep it this way Smiley
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« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2012, 09:21:13 PM »

I'm not going to tell you what you should or should not do as far as gardening and livestock. There are more opinions out there than stars in the sky.

This is what I have found gives me the centering I need.

Eight years ago we sold everything we had of any monetary value. A house in the city, a cabin in the mountains, and a rental property were the big ticket items. That gave us the opportunity to chase our dreams. We moved to Nebraska without a place to live, a job to earn a leaving, or or any idea of what would come next. We learned a great lesson that the lighter we travel the easier it was to reach our goal.

We purchased some land and I started to build our home. Probably the most ambitious project I ever took on. There were many days that I questioned my judgment. My wife found work and supported our family. We lived very thriftily.

Now I have everything that we need. I am a very rich man, not financially but the wealth I have far exceeds what I perceived just 10 years ago as important and what then drove me. I have great health, a roof over my head and we have modest jobs that support the lifestyle that we love.

We have a garden that is 50’ X 100’ which provides a great portion of the food we eat on a daily basis. More than half of the meat we eat is harvested from or property.

The only thing we can control is our choices, that is what defines who we are and who we will become.

I neither miss the material things we had or the lifestyle we left behind, this is the best part of my life and am truly richer for what I no longer desire.

Enjoy what you have and figure out what you truly want. Then go for it!

Time is the enemy. Live for today with no regrets!
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Lone
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« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2012, 08:12:58 AM »

Quote
critters and digging around in the dirt, go hand in hand.  she'll have to learn to deal with it.  again, you may find someone around who can teach her what she needs to worry about and what is harmless.  handling a snake gets most people over their fear pretty quickly....and knowing which are poisonous and which are not, is not to hard. 


SpecialK,  I think this will be a VERY useful tool for your wife in determining what is poisonous or not.

 http://isthispoisono.us/


Glad to help,

Lone

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Country Heart
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« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2012, 07:05:40 PM »

Check out this video.

http://www.wimp.com/livingland/


Enjoyed the video.  It's amazing what you can do on just a small plot of land.
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iddee
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« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2012, 09:26:01 PM »

What happened to specialkayme? I thought he would keep this thread going.
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« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2012, 10:37:50 PM »


Obviously on two acres of land we won't be able to feed ourselves, but the idea is to become a little less dependent on the market and to become a little more self sufficient.

Anyone with experience in this area that would like to critique?

Get on it.. go for it, just do it... its the best way to live..

You can do just fine on 2 acres for feeding yourself in that climate zone..
in UK 200 years ago..., most people lived on that much ground and fed the entire family from there...
we are in 2B and for the most part buy only staples.. like cigarettes  cuz we are not growing our own tobacco yet..., we brew our wine.., and grind our flour.. and  have to buy dairy when not milking our Minicows.. Dexters in specific..

if you can build a fence that can hold water, you can keep in goats and sheep..they are ok I guess.. but I prefer beef to goat meat...I can buy lamb cheaper than raising it myself.

Go Mittelieder garden method with raised beds.. on the web its food for everyone dot org...
.. get the chickens sooner than later.. use chicken tractors and put them over the area you want for a garden.. they'll kill the weeds and grasses, fertilize the ground.. and make it easier to dig up..,

invest in as large a garden tractor as you can find over 20hp... with all the bells and whistles and attachments...... front end loader on that is essential to save your back, if not that, then a 8HP BCS rear tine rototiller or check Alibaba website for Farm Walking Tractor

google
 GX85B Gasoline Walking Tractor Power Tiller Cultivator With Trailer, that is a similar good choice for small holding..made in china.. not much like that made in North America... BCS is about all there is..

 .. plant potatoes in all freshly broke ground for the first year, ... invest heavily in berry bushes, raspberries, blueberries etc.... minimal maintenance, good vitamin source, great jams......Buy a monster pressure canner, propane turkey roaster ( for the burner and stainless pot) and an Excaliber food dehydrator ASAP...you will love having those..( I hope your wife is on board with all this... its a lot of hard work for the wife.. maybe a couple daughters would help out and learn at the same time.. )

I'm investing in bees because we have the wooden ware here from a previous owner and are surrounded by a thousand acres of alfalfa pastures...

Feel free to PM me.. I've got 5 years on the farm here, with years of preparation and study before we moved here....
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« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2012, 09:55:20 AM »

Silverman, where do you live?
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« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2012, 02:25:55 AM »

We've been milking a family cow for 10 years.  Before that we milked goats for several years.  Wanting to get into raising our own beef, we bought three bottle baby heifers from a local dairy.  They were of unknown origin so the dairy didn't want to raise them in case they had been sired by a beef breed bull.  At the time we didn't have the money to get into the cattle game so we bought the bottle calves and raised them on goats milk.  This worked extremely well and the calves turned into full grown cows that were mated to a friends Brangus bull.  The best looking milk cow of the bunch was named Fudge.  When we bought her whe was a brown color.  As she matured she turned black with silver on the insides of her rear legs, a classic Jersey cross trait.  We knew her dam was a holstien, so Fudge was a Jersey/Holstein cross.  Her first calf was a bull with an extremely wide head.  He was alive at birth but didn't do well and died.  So we had this dairy breed cow that had just lost her calf and her udder was full of milk.  The obvious thing to do was break her to milking.  This wasn't a new thing to me.  My mothers family has been milking Holstiens in the northern part of the Netherlands since before recorded history.  I've been around dairy cattle all my life.  So that's  how we got into the cow milking habit and eventually dropped the goats milk, cows milk being much more versatile.
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« Reply #24 on: March 18, 2012, 02:40:57 AM »

It changes your life when you start milking anything.  It ties you down to your animal and a milking schedule.  There are some things you can do to ease that schedule.  If the cow keeps her calf, you can let the calf nurse on her all day or night and then lock up the calf the other half of the 24 hour cycle.  So if you let the calf have her all night (this is the best because then you don't hear them calling eachother all night until they get used to the arrangement) then lock up the calf all day, you can milk the cow in the evening and not the morning.  After a cow has been milking about 4-6 months it is quite easy to work her down to milking once a day.  Normal practice is to milk the cow for 6 months and then dry her up to grow the calf in her while she is dry.  To do this you let her run with a bull after she starts milking.  The bull will breed her the first time she goes into heat.  The calf gestates for 9 months so this makes a nice 1 year cycle, provided your cow successfully mates.  It is also possible to not mate your cow and keep milking her.  The farther you get from the birth of her calf the less likely she is to get pregnant.  I know of cows being milked at least 3 years before calving again.  The problem with this approach is that the milk has less and less cream in it and the cow gives less and less milk as time rolls on.  It is always feast or famine on the milk front.  You either have too much or cannot sell all that you have left over.  We have found new ways to use up milk by getting chickens to eat it.

Hope some of this info helps.  Feel free to ask questions if you want.  I'll be happy to help.
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jaseemtp
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« Reply #25 on: March 18, 2012, 02:56:21 AM »

Do not forget about rabbits as a meat source. I have recently watched a video called backyard food production. The woman on there is fantastic and I can not recommend it enough.
Good luck with the progress, one other suggestion is a podcast called the survival podcast with a guy named jack sperico. He has a lot of useful information on gardening and raising animals for food.
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« Reply #26 on: April 19, 2012, 07:28:35 PM »

Chickens are low maintenance.  If you put out a feeder that holds a bit and a waterer that holds a bit (and has a heater so it doesn't freeze) you can actually leave for the weekend.  Milkers are high maintenance.  You have to milk them twice a day, rain or shine, no matter what.  Unless you have some like minded neighbors who would be happy to milk them for the milk or some other trade, its very limiting on your life otherwise.  It's a real crimp on your social life to have to leave early to get home to milk the cow, who will, of course be very cranky if you aren't right on time.

Bees are also low maintenance.  You can spend a lot or a little time.  They aren't tied to a particular time of day and really don't care if you don't show up at all.  Smiley

>Obviously on two acres of land we won't be able to feed ourselves

I wouldn't say that, if you really are intent on feeding your selves, I'll bet it CAN be done on two acres, but that doesn't mean you have to do that...

I agree about the chickens. Super, super easy. Ducks even easier.

We feed 50+ families vegetables for 20-32 weeks of every year in central WI on 1 acre of land. You can do a LOT of food on 2 acres of land used wisely and well.

Silverman gives great suggestions!
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The pedigree of honey
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« Reply #27 on: May 09, 2012, 01:03:19 PM »

This can be done! I have been moving the same direction slowly. First guineas, then laying hens, then meat chickens, then turkeys ,then bees. Learn to can. Learn to grow. Learn to forage!  Nature offers a lot. I only have a smallish yard in a rural neighborhood but its amazing what can be done in a small space. Last fall I could hardly close my chest freezer. It is not a stretch to say there wasnt room to slip in a piece of paper. And that was before deer hunting season. There is a real sense of reward to providing yourself with homegrown food. Yesterday I canned 4 batches of rhubarb jam. Lined them up on the counter, sighed a content sigh, and smiled to myself. Then ate a whole warm jar with a spoon.  grin

For Mothers Day Im asking for a pressure canner so I can put up my wild turkey meat. Anyone know of a good one?

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« Reply #28 on: May 13, 2012, 02:32:48 PM »

I think ours is a presto.  The best ones IMO are those that don't have a gasket but several clamps around the lid that hold it on tight.  Gaskets wear out.  The ones without gaskets can go in your will.
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« Reply #29 on: January 13, 2013, 10:54:34 AM »

What a great post! I dream about this kind of life, and have enjoyed reading from the contributors.

Any updates from anyone?

DJ
South Dakota, USA.
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« Reply #30 on: January 25, 2013, 09:47:30 AM »

Well, I don't think farming is a simple way to live, smiling, but boy, it is worth every moment spent outside.  I think of how I go to the larder, the freezer, the fridge and take out things that I have processed for us.  Food that I have grown.  This includes meat.  I do not have the area to grow livestock for the freezer, but know farmers that grow things locally and these things I purchase.  The chickens, well, yes, we raise the extra cockerels to the age of about 24 weeks old (heritage breed chickens take much longer than the meat birds, as said, about  6 months) to fill out to make a wonderful meat bird.  We raise buff orpingtons and cochins.  At 24 weeks of age, that meat is yummy, having lived a very long and happy life, full of the great greens and bugs of the world around us, as they free range, the meat takes on wonderful flavour.  Cooked properly (I would call it properly), that cockerel (and even the older fellows that are not used for breeding anymore) have the most incredible taste.  They taste like how chicken should taste.  And it is good.  Slow cooked, whole, in the oven for about 2 hours, at 250 degrees, then at 350 degrees for half an hour for nice browning, you got a bird that has meat that literally falls off the bones.  The copious amount of eggs, which have the deepest colour of yellow, to orange, are something that I bear with pride, as I present this to ourselves and others that use our eggs.  One day, honey again, as my bee colonies again build up, but for now, only have the honey that I saved from years ago, back on the coast in our old life, it is precious and I have been very stingy with it  grin

I would say to anyone, try to grow your own, whatever that might be, be it flora or fauna.  You pretty much have control over what you put into the food that graces your table.  Wishes for a most wonderful and awesome day for us all, Cindi
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luvin honey
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« Reply #31 on: January 30, 2013, 03:07:55 PM »

Totally agreeing with Cynthia--not simple but so enjoyable and rewarding Smiley

As one author wrote, "The joys of hard work are most often sung by those in clean shirts."
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The pedigree of honey
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JulieBaby
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« Reply #32 on: February 11, 2013, 12:11:36 PM »

Sounds like a well-thought plan. I wonder if it might be good to go ahead and plant some fruit trees this spring, though, so that they will be producing well for you in a few years.
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Daniel Y
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« Reply #33 on: February 12, 2013, 08:47:21 AM »

Put in the trees asap. take your land and section it into 4 areas that are full garden size. plant two sections to some sort of grazable forage. Allow to grow enough for grazing in one section. add a cow. either one for beef or milk whichever you prefer. You can garden where ever you like this year.

Year two. cow is moved to second grazing section and a third is planted. a pig is placed in section where cow was grazing. Garden is in the remaining section.

Third year you rotate cow and pig and plant another section for grazing. section where you had cow first year is now fertile tilled garden and you can do some serious gardening now.

You continue to rotate from growing a pasture. to a cow grazing to a pig rooting to a garden with these 4 sections.

Just one method among many. Chickens free range the entire thing.
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Bee Happy
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« Reply #34 on: February 19, 2013, 01:02:21 AM »

I hear "surplus milk" and all I can think is "mozzarella" (and other cheeses.) I've never made any, but that won't stop me trying it sometime.
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« Reply #35 on: February 19, 2013, 02:24:36 PM »

Milkers are high maintenance.  You have to milk them twice a day, rain or shine, no matter what.  Unless you have some like minded neighbors who would be happy to milk them for the milk or some other trade, its very limiting on your life otherwise.  It's a real crimp on your social life to have to leave early to get home to milk the cow, who will, of course be very cranky if you aren't right on time.

Is it the same for Goats? Never raised live stock so I really don't know.


Something else to consider having that hardly takes us space is Mushrooms like Shiitake. It's very low maintenance.
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iddee
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« Reply #36 on: February 19, 2013, 08:51:50 PM »

Yes, FP99, goats, too. Google mastitus. Goats and cows are susceptible and it is very easy for an animal to get. Dirty udder, dirty hands milking, bruise, uneven milking schedule, etc. can cause and onset.
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luvin honey
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« Reply #37 on: February 20, 2013, 04:14:42 PM »

Yeah, I have to say I'm not even tempted to move into our own dairy animals. Chickens and pigs--easy. Dairy--not so much.
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The pedigree of honey
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FlowerPower99
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« Reply #38 on: February 22, 2013, 02:12:41 PM »

Thanks iddee, I will look into that
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