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Author Topic: Considering moving toward a "simpler life"  (Read 8638 times)

Offline iddee

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Re: Considering moving toward a "simpler life"
« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2012, 10:26:01 PM »
What happened to specialkayme? I thought he would keep this thread going.
"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"

*Shel Silverstein*

Offline Silverman

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Re: Considering moving toward a "simpler life"
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2012, 11:37:50 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....

Offline yockey5

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Re: Considering moving toward a "simpler life"
« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2012, 10:55:20 AM »
Silverman, where do you live?

Offline beyondthesidewalks

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Re: Considering moving toward a "simpler life"
« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2012, 03:25:55 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.

Offline beyondthesidewalks

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Re: Considering moving toward a "simpler life"
« Reply #24 on: March 18, 2012, 03:40:57 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.

Offline jaseemtp

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Re: Considering moving toward a "simpler life"
« Reply #25 on: March 18, 2012, 03:56:21 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.
"It's better to die upon your feet than to live upon your knees!" Zapata

Offline luvin honey

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Re: Considering moving toward a "simpler life"
« Reply #26 on: April 19, 2012, 08:28:35 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.  :)

>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!
The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson

Offline stella

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Re: Considering moving toward a "simpler life"
« Reply #27 on: May 09, 2012, 02:03:19 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.  :-D

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

“The hum of bees is the voice of the garden.” — Elizabeth Lawrence

Offline beyondthesidewalks

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Re: Considering moving toward a "simpler life"
« Reply #28 on: May 13, 2012, 03:32:48 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.

Offline djastram

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Re: Considering moving toward a "simpler life"
« Reply #29 on: January 13, 2013, 11:54:34 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.

Offline CynthiaM

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Re: Considering moving toward a "simpler life"
« Reply #30 on: January 25, 2013, 10:47:30 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  :-D

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

Offline luvin honey

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Re: Considering moving toward a "simpler life"
« Reply #31 on: January 30, 2013, 04:07:55 PM »
Totally agreeing with Cynthia--not simple but so enjoyable and rewarding :)

As one author wrote, "The joys of hard work are most often sung by those in clean shirts."
The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson

Offline JulieBaby

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Re: Considering moving toward a "simpler life"
« Reply #32 on: February 11, 2013, 01:11:36 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.

Offline Daniel Y

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Re: Considering moving toward a "simpler life"
« Reply #33 on: February 12, 2013, 09:47:21 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.

Offline Bee Happy

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Re: Considering moving toward a "simpler life"
« Reply #34 on: February 19, 2013, 02:02:21 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.
be happy and make others happy.

Offline FlowerPower99

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Re: Considering moving toward a "simpler life"
« Reply #35 on: February 19, 2013, 03:24:36 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.

Offline iddee

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Re: Considering moving toward a "simpler life"
« Reply #36 on: February 19, 2013, 09:51:50 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.
"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"

*Shel Silverstein*

Offline luvin honey

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Re: Considering moving toward a "simpler life"
« Reply #37 on: February 20, 2013, 05:14:42 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.
The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson

Offline FlowerPower99

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Re: Considering moving toward a "simpler life"
« Reply #38 on: February 22, 2013, 03:12:41 PM »
Thanks iddee, I will look into that

 

anything