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Old 06-11-2013, 07:50 PM   #21
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You will need a tractor and other equipment. Lots of advice and tips about tractors and rural living at this site.

TractorByNet.com | Compact Tractors | John Deere, Kubota, New Holland
Good recommendation. I've been a member of TractorByNet for many years now, it's a great site with a lot of useful information on tractors, farm equipment and "how to do stuff" in the country. And yes, you'll need a real tractor for 30 to 50 acres even if you just mow the fields. You'll also find out quickly that many folks at that site are more passionate about their tractors (and specific brands) than folks here are about their investment strategies. Whatever you do, I'd recommend getting one with a FEL (Front End Loader). I use mine so much I never take it off the machine.
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:01 PM   #22
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Durn...I wonder how many other TBN members haunt the ER forums? I guess that makes us SkinFlint TBNers since we save dryer sheets...
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:11 PM   #23
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Durn...I wonder how many other TBN members haunt the ER forums? I guess that makes us SkinFlint TBNers since we save dryer sheets...
TBN haunter here. I started the HF Tools that don't suck thread.
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:12 PM   #24
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Durn...I wonder how many other TBN members haunt the ER forums? I guess that makes us SkinFlint TBNers since we save dryer sheets...
Nice, can't wait to "tractor up" when we pull the trigger.
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Old 06-11-2013, 09:58 PM   #25
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Good recommendation. I've been a member of TractorByNet for many years now, it's a great site with a lot of useful information on tractors, farm equipment and "how to do stuff" in the country. And yes, you'll need a real tractor for 30 to 50 acres even if you just mow the fields. You'll also find out quickly that many folks at that site are more passionate about their tractors (and specific brands) than folks here are about their investment strategies. Whatever you do, I'd recommend getting one with a FEL (Front End Loader). I use mine so much I never take it off the machine.
+1 for TractorByNet.com forum. I don't have a tractor yet but when I ER that will be one of my purchases. I especially like the Rural Living and Projects forums. They have a similar App to the ER App so it is user friendly to read and keep up with.
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:16 PM   #26
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50 acres a hobby farm is not...that's a full time job! Heck, I only have 2 acres and it keeps me pretty busy...busier than I expected or wanted to be. Granted, when it is properly landscaped, setup, and planted, it won't be that much work. That said, my neighbor with 10 acres and 10-15 head of cattle and a dozen goats is out there toiling every day...hard...work...beyond...hobby.

Think this on thru very, very carefully.

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Old 06-12-2013, 07:44 AM   #27
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TBN haunter here. I started the HF Tools that don't suck thread.
Yes...You got a looooong thread going there! There's also a HF Tools thread that aren't worth anything, too! I am Redbug, over there. Ha!
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Old 06-12-2013, 08:39 AM   #28
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Durn...I wonder how many other TBN members haunt the ER forums? I guess that makes us SkinFlint TBNers since we save dryer sheets...

+1
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Old 06-12-2013, 08:42 AM   #29
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TBN haunter here. I started the HF Tools that don't suck thread.
I read that thread a while back when researching some HF tools.

Maybe we should have a sticky for other forums related to topics of interest.

Here's a favorite related to all things automotive, especially oil/filters

Bob Is The Oil Guy - Forums powered by UBB.threads™
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Old 06-12-2013, 10:50 AM   #30
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50 acres a hobby farm is not...that's a full time job! Heck, I only have 2 acres and it keeps me pretty busy...busier than I expected or wanted to be. Granted, when it is properly landscaped, setup, and planted, it won't be that much work. That said, my neighbor with 10 acres and 10-15 head of cattle and a dozen goats is out there toiling every day...hard...work...beyond...hobby.

Think this on thru very, very carefully.

R
Couldn't agree more!

I have a garden and I will spend on average each week at the grocery store (May to November) about $3 to $7 depending what "once in a while" things I need like dried beans, mayo, ketchup, tp, soap, I buy 1 loaf of bread a week. I am buying things I can't or don't grow. I buy a 25# of rice at the health food store every 5-6 months. I go to Trader Joe's about once every 4 months but that's a $90 to $120 trip again depending what I buy -if I didn't buy chocolate and cookies it'd be 1/3 less.

I cut back on the number of each variety of plants that I grow as I can't eat it all though I will give some away and freeze some, I also grow for winter storage and have a fair amount still, no canning too much work.

The garden IS a lot of work! If you retired why would you want to run a 30 acre farm even if you ONLY cultivated 3-5 acres? Better think this one over! If you want to work hard from sun up to sun down then go for it, frankly I retired to relax and the garden, while it is well worth it as I save a lot of money, is a lot of work.
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Old 06-12-2013, 12:06 PM   #31
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This can be a very expensive hobby....

My boss has 288 acres... about half is in timber, the other half is split between his living area and cattle...

He loses money big time on this... his land value has gone up a lot, but his cash flow is always negative...

It also is a lot of work... not something I would consider when retired....
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Old 06-12-2013, 01:12 PM   #32
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Awww heck. If you like doing it...it ain't work! I think all you guys sitting in your swivel chairs in offices without windows spoiled you...

I do look at "Bob is the Oil Guy", on occasion. We live in a small world.

Here's a good set of gardening forums I log into every day, just like TBN and here:
The Bayou Gardener - Index

Donald, (Bayou Gardener), also has a bunch of videos that are fun to watch. You can look at them on Utube. Here's a taste:


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Old 06-13-2013, 08:36 AM   #33
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Just reading through this thread as I didn't know about "hobby" farming. And, I also read about how much work a garden is and it brought back memories of childhood. I loved the summer time in Ohio but hated the hours and hours of weeding the garden.

This thread got me thinking about how interesting it might be to have a hydroponic garden. Not seen one in person but picked up on it a little through the internet. There are a couple commercial farms in our area and plan to visit one soon. I wonder what kind of investment it would take to start a little hydroponic garden? It might save a lot of weeding and all the ground preparation required to start a regular garden.
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Old 06-13-2013, 10:08 AM   #34
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Just reading through this thread as I didn't know about "hobby" farming. And, I also read about how much work a garden is and it brought back memories of childhood. I loved the summer time in Ohio but hated the hours and hours of weeding the garden.

This thread got me thinking about how interesting it might be to have a hydroponic garden. Not seen one in person but picked up on it a little through the internet. There are a couple commercial farms in our area and plan to visit one soon. I wonder what kind of investment it would take to start a little hydroponic garden? It might save a lot of weeding and all the ground preparation required to start a regular garden.
I think my parent referred to it as "putting food on the table" versus a hobby

I remember hating picking, then having to sit and shell the beans and peas. Then there was the canning...

Look into using raised beds. very little weeding, I build them out of 2x6 or 2x8s. Have tomatoes, squash, green beans, okra etc.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:23 PM   #35
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My grandparents had a "hobby" farm. Once you add livestock, the option to travel will virtually disappear. Animals can be particularly demanding. Without outside help, i.e., exceptionally good (experienced) neighbors or nearby family members, getting away for more than a couple of days will not occur. I spent many of my teen summers taking care of dairy cows, horses, pigs, sheep, rabbits, chickens and turkeys (memories that I will cherish forever, but I will not repeat as an "aging" adult). While the horses and sheep didn't require daily care, the rest did. There are no days off for weather or sickness. One of my friends tried his hand a raising cattle in retirement, at one time he had about 200 head. In the end, he lost money (not that hobbies are supposed to make money, but a farm can be a big investment). He discovered he made more money making hay or cutting hay for others. So now all the cows are gone and the tractor is all that remains. He enjoys the work that he does and can pursue any other activities on his own schedule. My humble recommendation would be to plant a large garden and see how that goes first. Sorry for being a little negative, but I remember a lot of hard work that went with the fun (I was a cowboy), but I always got to leave at the end of the summer.
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Old 06-20-2013, 01:42 PM   #36
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Wow, well I've got lots to say, how much time do you have?

Seriously, I am there right now. We bought 30 acres of land 5 1/2 years ago as a weekend place with the goal of retiring there (in 2017). We are on track to retire and the farm is still high on our list, but I am not sure I believe in the phrase "hobby farm". I think about any farm is a working farm. And it is a LOT of work. Fortunately for us, my DH and I enjoy physical work but there are still times we question whether we want to do this in retirement or not. It is a looming and much talked about subject lately.

We have planted pecan trees and fruit trees, as well as berries. My DH keeps bees (has about 10 hives). We had two cows that then gave birth but ended up selling all 4 back to our dairy friend. They are now grazing our property but we don't have to worry about them. The drought hit the year after we bought our place and the year we bought the cows we had trouble finding hay and it was very expensive. And our goal was to only graze them, after all we had 30 acres and only 2 cows. But we are not there during the week (we live in a major city an hour and a half away) to rotate them and it got to be too much, especially when we'd get a call at night that our cow was out (only happened once) We have read everything by Joel Salatin and many other authors as well. We raised meat chickens one spring and processed them ourselves (with the help of the internet and YouTube videos). We very much enjoy The Stockman Grass Farmer periodical and the quirkiness of Countryside magazine. I make soap and we have experimented with cheesemaking. We had a garden one year (the year I stayed to raise the chickens for 10 weeks) but it is unrealistic to have a garden when you aren't there all the time.

As for tractors, we have a smaller John Deere that I absolutely love. And yes, the front end loader stays on all the time. It is a dream. I love mowing the pastures down after the cows move to the next pasture. We also have a JD zero turn mower for the lawn. Both have been great purchases for us. It would be hard to have 30 acres and not have either a tractor or a finely tuned animal grazing system that takes care of the pastures for you.One thing about farm equipment though. It is not an "investment". It is a tool that depreciates over time. Don't let any sales person tell you otherwise. If you get too excited and buy too many toys, then those toys start dictating your time b/c then you feel you have to "justify" the purchase. So it's tempting to make dumb decisions about how you run your farm based on your equipment and not based on what YOU want to do with the farm in the first place.

We truly love the farm life. It is rewarding and a healthy lifestyle. However, if you have any animals at all you have to make plans for someone else to tend to them or you will never go on vacation. That is a real dilemma for us because we want to improve our land with rotational grazing techniques involving cattle and chickens at the very least but we'd like to try sheep in the mix. So the challenge is trying to figure out how to do all of this and be able to leave it behind to travel now and then so that retirement truly feels like a treat and the farm doesn't feel like a burden.

We have sometimes said that we think if we had to do it all over again, that we would get less than 15 acres. Maybe even 5. You can do a lot and create quite a bit of diversity on just 2 or 3 acres.

I don't want to discourage you. We do love our farm and we get so excited when we find out new things to try. It is a labor of love. And we love the idea of becoming more self-sufficient and growing healthy food. It is just a lot of physical work and long days, depending on what you do, how you do it, and how much land you have to work with. I think that besides reading about it that it would be helpful for you to actually spend some time on a farm and get a feel for what it would actually be like in "real life". Neither my DH or I are golfing types and we've never been prolific travelers so it fits into our needs and desires to be productive, stay physically active, and live a lifestyle more connected to
nature on a daily basis.

Good luck in your research.
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Old 06-20-2013, 05:37 PM   #37
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I would love to be a hobby farmer, but our 5 acres with no animals or crops is more than I can handle.
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:07 PM   #38
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I would love to be a hobby farmer, but our 5 acres with no animals or crops is more than I can handle.
I keep thinking if I had chickens, cows, etc..they'd outlive me. Even tho I'm not a vegetarian, I could not eat 'Henny Penny' or 'Buttercup'.
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:10 PM   #39
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We live on 30 acres. My wife boards around eight horses in addition to taking care of her own horses. We also have a steer, chickens, an alpaca, a pig, lots of cats, three dogs, four ducks and breed fainting goats. I started a 25 tree orchard two years ago. We also have strawberries and a small vineyard. It is almost a mini zoo at our place because I just remembered I forgot about the snake, rabbits, parakeet, cockatiel, Guinea pig and I'm sure some other animals.

One of the smartest things I ever did was enter into a deal with my wife before we moved onto the farm she wanted. She agreed that I would be the gentleman, and she would be the farmer when it comes to feeding and taking care of the animals. I don't think I have fed any animals since we moved onto the farm 13 years ago. I will take care of much of the other work but I didn't want to have to feed the animals before I headed to the office.

I think we are breaking even from a financial perspective if we don't take into account the cost of the farm or farm equipment. We enjoy our lifestyle. We have a lot of gatherings and picnics at our farm. We get a kick of seeing the excitement that children have when they get around animals and pets.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:09 PM   #40
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+1 My wife also takes care of the critters - mostly goats, a couple of horses and a few chickens. She also takes care of this old goat (moi) which works out just fine for all concerned.
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