The Pluses & Minuses

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Many people living on a few acres could be considered successful, if peace and quiet were one of the only considerations. A "Better Environment" to raise children would also be considered a benefit to country living. Many issues arise from the romantic notions of working the farm. People invest much time and money, only to find out that they either have made mistakes or the time necessary puts too high a demand on their current lifestyle. Many beginners purchase new equipment, plant the wrong crops and do not understand the make-up of the property they have purchased. An example is the difference between total acreage and usable acreage.

What follows is very important and should not be taken lightly. Starting a small business offers rewards and challenges that attract thousands of new potential homesteaders/farmers each year. Owning a business for many entrepreneurs is the American dream that allows them the opportunity to be their own boss, earn money for themselves, work flexible hours, work at home, and work at something they enjoy. However, with the rewards, come the challenges and more than 50 percent of all new businesses fail in the first five years of existence. Most businessmen and bankers agree that the main reasons for the high failure rate is the lack of experience, business and financial planning, and management skills. Those taking on a new business venture must begin by developing sound business and marketing plans to guide them through the initial start-up years. They must possess and display strong management skills and have the ability to convince potential lenders to finance their business venture. They will need to research the type of business they intend to start, the feasibility of starting the business, the best locations to ensure a successful outcome, and more.

All of the mistakes and problems are way to vast to discuss, so we will concentrate on due diligence and coping with the unexpected. Due diligence is the preparatory work done before any purchases or decisions are made. This is important and wise. Many unforeseen things can come to light and this will save you much time, aggravation and money. There is no steadfast way to perform due diligence. The course of action we recommend is to read literature on the types of farming you wish to do first. Once you become familiar with the information, start to visit and talk to farmers who have been successful with the specifics of your farm project. Start small, buy used or rent equipment. Start with fewer animals and smaller feed lots and/or vegetable plantings.

No matter how much homework you do, problems will arise and coping with them in an effective manner is extremely important. These problems could be weather related, nuisance animals or insects, disease or a family issue or crisis. The most effective way is to prepare. Have a game plan in place for these unforeseen issues. Working your way through them is made a whole lot easier when you can deal with them swiftly and effectively.

Consider the trade-off when moving from a suburban area to a rural town. Many of the services that you have become accustomed to, will no longer be as readily available. Yes, you will leave behind congestion, noise, crime and concrete. But remember, nothing is perfect. You will receive the benefits of peace & quiet, homegrown food, fresh air and open space to enjoy. It will require a big adjustment and potentially one or more family members will not be able to make that adjustment. This can quickly dampen the enthusiasm of other family members. A good practice, if possible, is not to move right away but rather use the farm for weekends and vacations to gauge how each family member is relating to the rural setting. It is also a good idea to spend time there doing chores in all four seasons. What you do in June is completely different when that same chore is being performed in mid January.

Living on a Few Acres

A Homesteader's Guide

  • Living in the Country
  • The Tradeoffs
  • Realities
  • Change of Lifestyle
  • Family Satisfaction
  • Selecting Location
  • Finding What you Want
  • Pulling the Trigger
  • Remodeling House
  • Building New House
  • Out Buildings
  • Landscaping
  • Land Improvement
  • Water
  • Power
  • Tips
  • Orchards
  • Grapes
  • Berries
  • Vegetables
  • Nut Trees
  • Ornamental Plants
  • Wild Plant Harvesting
  • Herbs
  • Hay
  • Grains
  • Year Round Greenhouse
  • Growing Organic
  • Christmas Trees
  • Naturalized Plots
  • Woodlots
  • Farm Stand
  • Pigs
  • Goats
  • Chickens
  • Gamebirds
  • Sheep
  • Alpaca/Llama
  • Cattle
  • Emu, Ostrich & Rhea
  • Honeybees
  • Mason Bees
  • Earthworms
  • Compost
  • Mulch
  • Wildbirds
  • Insects
  • Cheese
  • Yogurts
  • Butter
  • Breads
  • Preparing Meats
  • Beer & Wine
  • Clothing & Household Goods
  • Canning
  • Freezing
  • Drying
  • Root Cellar
  • Tractors & Implements
  • Hand Tools
  • Storage Tools
  • Harvest Kitchen
  • Splitting the Wood
  • Putting the Garden to Bed
  • Sealing the House
  • Winter Chores

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