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Hobby farmer
Old 06-21-2013, 10:42 AM   #41
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Hobby farmer

I have ten acres, 40 tree orchard, bees (neighbor puts them on my property), 2 acres of grapes (I make real bad wine, but it is fun), huge flower beds, nice small garden, raspberry patch and lots of other edible plants. I share a chicken flock with my parents down the road, we eat the eggs, but not the chickens.
IMHO the grapes are too much work for me, the fruit trees are fairly easy and are more fun. I sell the grapes to a local fruit stand and I drop off free apples/peaches/cherries, etc. at local businesses, and friend's houses. Any money does not even cover the sprays for the grapes or trees. It is just a hobby. My plants for family use only take up about 3 acres, the balance is rented by a local farmer. Even 3 acres is too much for two people to take care of if they are still working. It does keep you in shape though.
On top of it all, I like to heat with wood in the winter, so I split by hand. A good wood burner can turn into a real fun rewarding hobby. It also gives you great shoulders if your spouse is into that sort of thing.
Erik- not quite lazy as I want to be.
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:16 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by LazyErik View Post
I have ten acres, 40 tree orchard, bees (neighbor puts them on my property), 2 acres of grapes (I make real bad wine, but it is fun), huge flower beds, nice small garden, raspberry patch and lots of other edible plants.
Erik - welcome to the forum!
I envy your raspberry patch and seeing that you are not too far from me - what variety do you grow and how long did it take to bear fruit?
Several varieties I tried had been puny.
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:55 PM   #43
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This is my dream. to retire and have a a little bit of land to farm. I am currently growing veggies on the 26th floor balcony. Would love to have a big enough plot of land to grow all crops.
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Old 06-27-2013, 03:37 PM   #44
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We live on 72 acres; not yet retired. I've resisted adding "dependents" such as livestock because I want to travel the American West when I FIRE. So for now we just nurture deer, catfish, martins, toads, songbirds, worms, etc. I think once my travel jones is sated, we will stay on the farm and be pretty happy taking care of a bunch of animals.
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Old 06-27-2013, 04:12 PM   #45
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Gazingus, I think you have the right idea! Now that we have our irrigation finally set up to go to our fruit and nut trees, maybe we can plan to homestead sequentially too - go do fun stuff first. I just know I'm ready to put my feet up for a while. I'm tired.
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Old 06-27-2013, 04:53 PM   #46
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OP here. Thanks for all the replies. I loved reading through these. I am grateful for the recommendaations for smaller acreage. That seems reasonable and should provide more options for me closer to home. Also, while I like the idea of livestock, I think I will stick to a garden, orchard and any maintenance free wild critters that are naturally provided. I do hunt and fish but I am pretty sure that I would not like harvesting my own chickens, goats, or other animal that I would no doubt grows to like more as pets. I laughed with DW yesterday that I would end up with a goat retirement village rather than a farm! Also, while I do not travel much, I love the flexibility of being able to do so when the need or desire arises.

We decided to start small last month and grew bell peppers, jalapeņo peppers, cucumbers, spaghetti squash, strawberries, and cherry tomatoes in the mulch amongst our ornamentals. We are by no means living off the land but have so very much enjoyed just checking on these things each day.

Thanks again. I am still interested in any other low maintenance hobby farming ideas that would work on 3 to 10 acres.
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Old 06-27-2013, 06:41 PM   #47
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Funny you bring up a goat retirement village. That's exactly where we have ended up Let's see, there is Phaedra now going on 12, there is Meia with a well earned retirement after 25 kids or so and so on. I call it our Geriatric Jamboree.
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Old 06-30-2013, 07:42 AM   #48
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I am 5 years into my "hobby farm" experience. We have 2250 fruit trees (mostly peaches) and a large strawberry patch. I retired from my real job about 4 months ago. I was very excited and enthusiastic when I started out but I must admit it is starting to wear me down. This is my first year with any significant production from my peach crop. The orchard is 10 acres, we have about 35 acres total and someday we will probably inherit at least another 100 acres.
The best thing about fruit, is it is seasonal. Most of the work is done in 6 months. So you get a nice 6 month break. However, the 6 month season is hard work and the results are very unpredictable. A lot of hard work can go down the drain with just one day of bad weather. I am finding Mother Nature can be very brutal. We lost most of our strawberries to about 6 hard late frosts this year. We have a fairly decent peach crop on but it in serious jeopardy because of two weeks of unusually excessive rain.
My retirement plan was based on 3 sources of income, SS, 401k & savings, and some farm income. My back up plan is a part time job if the farm income goes south. So if I lose my peach crop there goes my 6 month break. Not counting my time I have invested about $100,000 in trees and equipment.
Yes, I would do it again, but I did think it would be easier and more enjoyable. Although, i wouldn't trade my worst day on the farm for my old job back. I do expect to feel alot better in two months when the season is over. There is a lot of risk and only moderate reward. If you don't have previous experience, think long and hard before attempting this, unless you have money to burn. I can't even imagine the work and dedication required if you have livestock. At least the trees can survive on their own for 6 months a year.
Make no mistake, it might start out as a hobby but it will only be successful if it becomes a "working" farm. And yes, I am also a member and enjoy tractor by net. Good luck and I sure hope it don't rain again today.
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Old 06-30-2013, 08:54 AM   #49
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Get this book. It will completely change your views on how much is enough
The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It: John Seymour: 9780756654504: Amazon.com: Books
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Old 07-01-2013, 07:31 AM   #50
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I have 10 acres. Built a house here about 8 years ago. I have about 100 chickens, a small garden, a few citrus trees. All fenced in pasture for a few horses, my dogs, and a couple of steers each year. I do make money with selling organic free range eggs. In fact I can't keep up with demand, but I really dont want to get more than what I have. Im able to grow some kind of vegetables 12 months out of the year. In fact one year I picked tomatoes on Christmas day.

I still work a part time job, but its very close by and flexible. I dont have any urges to travel; if I did, it would be very difficult. Its sort of a vacation here every day, always something fun to do. I spend a lot of time on the mower, but I really enjoy it. The farm is a lot of work, but I guess that depends on your definition of work or enjoyment. I really can't wait until I can retire fully and just stay home and "play".

All that being said, Im glad I didnt decide to buy more land at the time I bought this. I think I can handle this 10 acres for a long time, health willing. Any more would be a struggle. Across the street from me is a 200 acre cattle farm, the owner is over 80 years old, and he's out there every day moving cattle, or mowing on his big old tractor. My other neighbor is also in his 80's. He has 10 acres of hay, and it often outside mowing, or cutting up tree branches that have fallen. Thats one wonderful thing about living here, is that theres no wasted days. Every day you can get outside and do something.
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Old 07-01-2013, 09:03 AM   #51
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I also have many things that I really enjoy to do on the farm. I keep my orchard looking like a golf course so I mow a lot. And I also don't mind spraying with my air blast sprayer. However with 2250 trees I have had to do a lot of pruning and thinning. And after 500 or 600 trees that gets old. And to make it worse it really needs to get done within a defined time frame. Besides that I really don't have to work any long days. I am hoping that next year I will be able to hire some help for pruning.
The weather is the most frustrating part. I never paid much attention to weather before I started the orchard. Also, I can't believe how bad they are at forecasting the weather. You can watch the weather, but if you planned your day around their forecasts you would never get anything done. The worst thing about the weather is you have absolutely no control over it. In the fruit business you are one wind storm, frost, drought, hail storm, or flood away from disaster. Sometimes you get lucky and only experience limited versions of these calamities. (I forgot to mention insect infestations)
Anyway, to me it is still way better then working for a big corporation.
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Old 07-01-2013, 10:26 AM   #52
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I have 10 acres. Built a house here about 8 years ago. I have about 100 chickens, a small garden, a few citrus trees. All fenced in pasture for a few horses, my dogs, and a couple of steers each year. I do make money with selling organic free range eggs. In fact I can't keep up with demand, but I really dont want to get more than what I have. Im able to grow some kind of vegetables 12 months out of the year. In fact one year I picked tomatoes on Christmas day.

I still work a part time job, but its very close by and flexible. I dont have any urges to travel; if I did, it would be very difficult. Its sort of a vacation here every day, always something fun to do. I spend a lot of time on the mower, but I really enjoy it. The farm is a lot of work, but I guess that depends on your definition of work or enjoyment. I really can't wait until I can retire fully and just stay home and "play".

All that being said, Im glad I didnt decide to buy more land at the time I bought this. I think I can handle this 10 acres for a long time, health willing. Any more would be a struggle. Across the street from me is a 200 acre cattle farm, the owner is over 80 years old, and he's out there every day moving cattle, or mowing on his big old tractor. My other neighbor is also in his 80's. He has 10 acres of hay, and it often outside mowing, or cutting up tree branches that have fallen. Thats one wonderful thing about living here, is that theres no wasted days. Every day you can get outside and do something.
That sounds like heaven. Throw in a little hunting and fishing and who needs a "vacation"?
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Old 07-10-2013, 02:58 PM   #53
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Thought about it but have switched gears to learning how to forage in the Fed/State land that I am surrounded by. Lots of cool books and learning experiences to follow in mother natures garden. Especially considering no maintenance!!!!
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Old 07-10-2013, 03:14 PM   #54
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We have an old potato farm...70 acres... about 50 cropland and 20 woodland...a small house and garage..small pond and boarders a stream in back.
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