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I need help getting started with my farmstead

 
Posts: 4
Location: Southeastern Michigan
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  Hey, all.  I've recently re-acquired a family property and have big dreams for the land.  But I have no money/time to do much of anything with it.  I'm currently doing long haul trucking just to make the property payments and feel like I'm getting nowhere fast.  The property is 32 acres with lots of woods, and lots of potential.  My goal is ultimately self sufficiency.  I'm divorced, and my sons have moved away with no desire to move back to the "frigid North" "EVER" lol.  It's nice here in southeast Michigan/growing zone 5b/6a.  I have no idea what they're talking about.  I have a well, but no electricity.  A 30x30 garage, and a chicken coop with 20 chickens which my brother walks a 1/4 mile at least twice a day to take care of while I'm away.  Which is always.  I'm home maybe once every 12 weeks or so,  home being my brother's house for now.  I'm currently buying the property on land contract with a balloon in a couple years(yikes!).

  Goals for the property:

A log home up to 1,000sq (my bro built me a mill and I have lots of big cottonwoods/poplar I want to get rid of.)  :)
The garage would become a wood shop
A new barn for horses, feed storage, etc
A smithy
Another chicken coop
Lots of animals(chickens, quail, ducks, goats, sheep, pigs, horses, alpaca, etc.)
A large walipini.  I'm thinking 24x100
An aquaculture setup big enough for everyone involved to eat fish every week
A HUGE geo dome southern climate greenhouse.
About 5 acres dedicated to permaculture "fruit tree forest".
A couple acres for growing grains.
A small store for selling my produce/products? Maybe a co-op market?
A 4 acre lake!
An observatory!
A communal bath house.
A few cabins for friends and family to stay in from time to time.
and on and on.

 I know... crazy, right?  Too much for me?  Nah!  I just need help.  I like help.  HELP!
You'd probably call me a slow learner for anything not hands on.  I don't know if I"d be any good at teaching in depth, but would love for others to come and learn/teach.  Maybe some local learning establishment could set up/learn/ teach here?  I'm open to almost anything.

 I love the idea of community.  I don't know if I'd be into SKiP but anything short of that is definitely a possibility.
Perhaps I could dedicate an area for "the help" to build or park a small home(s).

 I want to be there now.  Doing my thing.  Not out here doing someone else's thing.  :(  

 Can you help me?  Where do I start?


 
pollinator
Posts: 1437
Location: Bendigo , Australia
90
dog gear plumbing earthworks bee building homestead
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Your dream is a pretty good start.
I have found writing down time lines works.
So I record when project may be complete, then I list from shortest to longest.
Then I determine what length of time, each step may actually take, assuming I need to save money, materilas, permits etc.
And set those up on a chart.

From there I can se what I need to start right now, and what I can leave for a while.

Example, unless they are cheap I dont need to buy windows before I lay the foundations.
I need to prepare the ground for the forest
I need to determine which fencing to do first and what materials I need
Etc, Etc
I hope thats a start for you
 
Dan Mackey
Posts: 4
Location: Southeastern Michigan
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Yeah, John.   The timeline writeup is a good idea, thanks...not one of my strong suits, but I'll definitely give it a go.   The real problem is actually time and money.   I know I should be more patient and keep on keep'n on, it just gets depressing being a cog in the system.  I'm not getting any younger(I'm 55), and would like to see the end result before the next century rolls around! lol  OK, maybe not the end result because I think permaculture and farm life is kind of a fluid thing, which is good.  Just hoping for more fruit than labor before too long.  Oh, and I don't really feel like life on the farm is labor in the bad sense.  It's definitely a labor of love for me.  Anyways, I'll definitely see what I can write up.  Maybe seeing it that way will give me some incentive.  We'll see.
 
pollinator
Posts: 406
Location: Vermont, USA
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Wow!  Lots of goals!  What a dream.  I have dreams like that, somewhat, and I'm 67.  But I have a few acres and big gardens, second year in.  

I might have missed it, but do you have gardening experience?  Logging?  Building?  Do you have any heavy equipment for clearing the woods?  (Except for gardening, I don't have any of those, so I modify my dream to account for that.  But I'm old compared to you!)

I think I might decide what I will need to (1) live there, (2) pay the balloon payment, (3) get going on self-sufficiency.  For me, this would mean creating some sort of shelter, with a composting toilet and a gray water plan.  I would make a plan to save money for the big $$ payment, or figure out how to earn more.  Finally (and soon), I would try to get some perennials and fruit trees started - how great if they are already there, working for you, when you are able to live on the land!  Perhaps planting (or just over-spreading seed) of some sort of cover crop in an area where you would hope to start a garden, to begin to get the soil ready.

I guess I could sum it up by saying you can look at your list, and then set some priorities!  Hah!  I could have said the whole thing quickly!
 
John C Daley
pollinator
Posts: 1437
Location: Bendigo , Australia
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Dont worry about you age lad, I am 70 years young, I still race motorcycles, think big and build hot rods for fun.

Is it possible when you are away to start the notebook?

Also, I take it a wood shop is a place that sells wood?

Have to determined what area of land is required for each project and roughly where that area will be located?
keep you mind and ideas a bit fluid so things can be adjusted to suit.
When you are driving do you make your own lunch or buy it each day? You may save a lot of money.
If you take a coffee maker that too will save heaps of cash.
Why not build an office in the garage and sleep etc in that when you are home, then you can wonder around and plan stuff.

A small solar system secondhand may be worth a look at, or a generator and a solar battery.
Maybe buy your brother a pushbike and a basket!
 
Dan Mackey
Posts: 4
Location: Southeastern Michigan
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 @Anne   Yes, I have done some gardening, felling trees for firewood, and I did home remodeling for a few years.  I already have a cleared area of about 6 acres and another 10 that just needs brush/small trees removed.  I've got an old John Deere 60 for plowing and stump pulling among other things but it's a difficult machine to use for a lot of things that I'd need it for.  As for my big dreams, I've spent about 4 years now planning and scheming and studying.  I hope to have all that I've dreamed up come to pass, but I feel it's gonna be difficult at best with my current financial situation.  
 Thanks for the encouragement.  I needed that today.

 @John  Wow, racing motorcycles!  A little too cautious to do something like that.  I've never been a fan of adrenaline, makes me feel ill.  The hotrods I can handle.  Yeah, the notebook won't be a problem, just the thought process.  By wood shop a mean for woodworking.  Making furniture, or what ever other bric-a-brac I can market.  It's a good wintertime hobby that should turn a nice profit.  I've wittled down my spending on the road to only making my own food- no fast food for me.  But my entertainment is another matter.  Television, internet and audio books are NOT cheap!  And my brother on a bike, lol!  I can't see that happening.  He was telling me just today he wants to move my chickens to his place.  
 Again, thanks for the encouragement.  Lots of things for me to think about now.
 
Anne Pratt
pollinator
Posts: 406
Location: Vermont, USA
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You've been dreaming this dream a long time!

Just wanted to add:  our local library lends audio books.  I think it's mostly downloadable, not actual CDs or something.  Remember casettes?
 
John C Daley
pollinator
Posts: 1437
Location: Bendigo , Australia
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I get books from op shops etc, anywhere they are sold secondhand.
Maybe a wireless instead oif a TV means you can tinker and while away time?
 
master pollinator
Posts: 3055
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
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Have you tried out LibreVox?

A giant selection of books recorded by volunteers and all free to listen to. All books are in the public domain, the copyright has expired. As the books are read by volunteers, the quality of the audio is variable.  If your first on is awful, try again. Most are decent quality, few unlistenable. Did I mention free?

The Count of Monte Cristo will keep you busy for 54 hours. The movie barely touched on the subject of revenge, in comparison.
 
pollinator
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Location: Denmark 57N
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A log home up to 1,000sq (my bro built me a mill and I have lots of big cottonwoods/poplar I want to get rid of.)  :)
The garage would become a wood shop
A new barn for horses, feed storage, etc
A smithy
Another chicken coop
Lots of animals(chickens, quail, ducks, goats, sheep, pigs, horses, alpaca, etc.)
A large walipini.  I'm thinking 24x100
An aquaculture setup big enough for everyone involved to eat fish every week
A HUGE geo dome southern climate greenhouse.  
A couple acres for growing grains.
A small store for selling my produce/products? Maybe a co-op market?
A 4 acre lake!
An observatory!
A communal bath house.
A few cabins for friends and family to stay in from time to time.
and on and on.

Where to start on that list, Money is going to be the big thing, do you have lots or will it need to be done in parts? The biggest item and the one that's going to make the most mess is the lake. so decide where, get permission to have it and then decide where all the spoil from digging it will go. and there will be a huge amount of that. The machinery needs to be able to get in and out as well.
I would start by marking out the lake and access roads round the property to cabin sites, mark out parking for your sales booth and anything else, and then clearing the land for your grains and gardens, cover those in cover crops until you are ready to plant but start the soil improving and weed reduction now.
 
Dan Mackey
Posts: 4
Location: Southeastern Michigan
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 Thanks for all the book ideas guys.

 Skandi, all good points.  And yes, I am ambitious about all the work to be done.  It's my happy place you might say.  I LOVE seeing the productive fruits of my labor.  I already know exactly where the lake will be, and all the structures I want to build as well.   What are some good cover crops?  Getting machinery in and out won't be a problem, just getting machinery will be.  I think I should start buying lottery tickets!  
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