The daily micro farm report

overcast and 75 today afternoon showers. It’s warm and humid here in the Pacific northwest.  Today we started breeding up the rabbits. In about a week all three will be bred. Two months from now hope fully  we will have 15 to 20 or more fryers ready for the freezer. I built nest boxes for all three of the does today .

brand new bunny boxes

    The boxes are 9.5 x 11 x 18 long with a top on the back half for mom to get away from the kids when she needs to.

view number 2

I finished cleaning up the green house sight reclaiming it back from the grass and weeds now I need to start framing it up

cleaned up green house site

 the front will be a lot of recycled  glass doors framed in on the south side Ive been saving for a now clear to me project ;) .

storm door, french door, and sliding glass doors

 

 One of my helpers on the farm is working on a project  cleaning up the pig pen of grass and weeds

using goat power to clear out the pig pen

  The pen is 16 x 32 plenty for two hog’s to be happy the pen is built of 16 ft cattle panels and lined with rail road ties. The secret to keeping these bulldozers in the pen is give them what they want. Plenty of food and water a place to get out of the sun and a buddy to hang out with.

pig pen is 16 x 32

  When they get done in about 5 months that pen will be completely rotated and manured and not a weed in site . Well that’s about all for now I need to get things put away before it rains anymore.

An acre !! just what am I getting myself into ?

Ok I know I said I wanted to farm an acre the other day but I thought it was not that much space. In fact when I originally thought this up I wondered if I could really fit every thing in that space. Well let me tell you my wife and I did some measuring and as it turns out an acre is HUGE ! So I looked up some info on the subject and here is what I found.  

A football field (including the two end zones) is 360 feet long and 160 feet wide for a total of 57,600 square feet. When you take away the two 30-foot-long end zones at each end, the field is 48,000 square feet, making an acre about 91% of the field.

An acre, which is a common measurement of land area, is equal to 43,560 square feet. So that being said if you want to see what that looks like go over to your local school or stadium and get a feel for what an acre looks like.

Now the good news is an acre is HUGE  that is some what of a relief because as I said earlier I was not sure if I could fit every thing in that I wanted to. As it turns out there is plenty of room one square acre is 220 ft x 220 sq ft more or less and that is more than enough room for a half-acre of pasture an orchard with apple , pear, plum , cherry and peach trees. I can plant all the garden I can keep up with and still have plenty of room for my house a large shop/garage a yard around the house and plenty of room for a barn.

I will put in a big pig pen with a shade house ,chicken coop with room for the ducks and geese  and a couple of bee hives. I will need room in the barn for a milking parlor and storage for hay and grains with some stalls for the cow and her calf and the goats. I might want a few sheep again and I already have some rabbits.

The sheep can graze in the orchard they will not chew on the trees unlike the goats that will kill them in short order. the chickens ,ducks and geese can roam the pastures and orchard but no chickens in the garden if you want any veggies or strawberries. Geese eat grass mostly and the ducks will help out with bugs they really like slugs.

Goats have to be behind well-built fencing or on a tether if not you won’t have anything left anywhere ! I use them to mow the grass and weeds all over the farm they really like weeds like thistle a nasty bugger to get rid of.  

today was hot worked in the garden a little and on fencing then measuring out spaces for pens and pastures . I put butthead the pigmy goat in the future pig pen to mow out the weeds a little she went to work immediately on the project it is 16 ft x 32 ft in size right next to the veggie garden so I can throw leftovers in there all summer. 

 Well that’s all for now just getting a grip on how much space I have to work with. Plenty to grow all we need and extra to sell at the farmers market and to the neighbors, should have no trouble making an extra 10 to 12 k per year or more with the surplus eggs, milk , fruit , veggies , plant starts, off spring of the live stalk and meat.  ;)  

Great day on the home stead ;)

I got up this morning partly cloudy partly sunny. went down grabbed a cup of coffee and made a veggie omelette. Out the door I went and into the garden for the day. there are many projects in and around the garden. Probably the biggest project is rebuilding the green house It was crushed 2 years ago in winter. That year we got 8 ft of snow way more than my lite frame plastic panel 10×20 building could take.

Just cleaning up the site for the rebuild mowing weeding in and around the foundation and planning the new and improved space.

mother nature wastes no time taking over

 Then there are fencing repairs and chores keeping live stock in and wild life out of areas of the garden and pasture. Getting ready for some new additions  looking at a jersey cow maybe with a calf . I am designing a one acre self sufficient micro farm to produce food for my family and income as well. This will be an experiment to see if it can be done .There will be chickens of course and ducks and geese for eggs and meat. A couple of pigs they need a buddy ;)

half of the acre will be grass pasture and the other half gardens and orchard. I have had all of this before over the last 25 plus years of living in the county but not in this planned and finite space. the cow will produce a calf each year and much-needed milk and manure for the gardens.

the pigs will also produce manure for the gardens and drink milk and eat garden waste they will help till the garden and pasture as I rotate them around. There will be chops bacon and roast oh and sausage too.  The chickens ,ducks and geese will work in the garden and pasture scratching for bugs and eating grass and weeds they will be on the fertilization committee as well. There will  be baby birds and eggs galore. I will probably have to play hide and seek for the eggs .

You can produce a tremendous amount of fruit and veggies on a half acre it will be a lot of work to keep up but the work has multiple benefits and rewards. The work will keep me outside in the fresh air and sunshine much of the day. the excercise will be good healthy movement at a steady pace . and the fresh organic food will be the icing on the cake, not to mention the savings  on the food bill .

I have had a satisfying day cleaning up the garden mowing, weeding, fencing, organizing supplys. you would think  my  ADD comes in handy running from one thing to the next a little here and a little there. Farming is a jack of all trades operation what with all the variety of tasks animal husbandry , horticulture, carpentry, mechanic ect…  ;) The sun was great and the breeze kept me cool most of the day while I kept at my chores on this little project and the next. After mowing I fed the rabbits a double hand full of fresh mown grass.

tomorrow is looking like another great day supposed to be hotter so I’ll need to get an early start maybe I’ll start framing up the front wall of the new green house and get the pig pen ready.

How small an income can you thrive on ??

I was recently visiting a friend in Gig Harbor and we were talking about people in other country’s and how little money they make annually. The conversation turned to home and how little we actually live on when you really get to thinking about it . If you look at our lives inside our lives we really don’t need that much money to thrive. Let me explain. My wife and I were realizing if you take away all the debt we were supporting house payments ,credit cards , car loans, various auto payments for sat t.v., gym memberships , cell phones ect… What do we have left ?

Well you work all week come home and so you buy gas and groceries pay the power bill go do something fun on the weekend to treat your self after a long week at WORK and that’s about it right ?  Most weeks anyway so what are you really spending ? Not much . The rest is just supporting debt !

WELL what if we were not paying a big fat house payment we were never there that much anyway what with work, commuting, out playing on the weekends we just eat sleep and watch a little t.v there at night. Do we really need car payments ? well I guess we do just to move back and forth to work and park all day there then park in the drive way all nite REALLY !! How did we get duped into that ?

So on went the conversation what if we down sized and pay cash for those big ticket items ? More expensive  cars and houses need more expensive repairs and maintenance and more expensive insurance.  I f you have  these things you worry about some one stealing them . But your cost of living drops drastically if you own them out right .

Okay I’m ranting a little, maybe a lot but bare with me  I am driving to a point in my rambling ;)  We found many conversations later  that getting out from under the debt of big ticket items and all the consumer debt we could live on a fraction of the current income we were currently living on . like less than 30k a year ! Not just live on it THRIVE on it ! We also found out it would not take but a fraction of the time to earn it like 2 or 3 months !

 Wow , so we got to work selling off the stuff we owned and paying off the things we would keep and down sizing to a smaller dwelling ( 300 sq ft ) paid for a used R V and we can park it any where (almost) for free or very little .  We now have semi retired ( mostly) and in our fourtys, kids are grown , the grand kids are arriving and we have the time to enjoy them.     

The point is, I guess, any one that really wants to can do this . It wasnt easy, we are still working on it. I’ll be frank it was painful but the trade-off was freedom , freedom from debt freedom from THINGS and freedom from wage slavery .

Let me hit this home. Evey day I wake up when I do , no alarm. When I get up I decide what I want to wear that day . I ask myself what do you want to do today? Today I’m taking my grandson to the zoop that is what he calls the zoo( he’s 3) . I don’t wear a watch , it doesn’t matter any more. My time is mine, can you live on less that 30k a year  and do whatever you want ? that depends on what you want. If I need more I can create the income doing projects that I like when and where I want to because it’s my choice not my obligation. I think I’ll take a walk now it’s raining lightly and a little foggy then, off to the ZOOP. ;)

tiny refridgerator for tiny living

So I want to show you what is available in all aspects of micro living for comfort and style as well as real practical everyday items made in scale for small space living . I have found and am still finding just how well you can live in a small space with all the creacthure comforts at a fraction of the cost and space that has become the normal standard of living in the U. S .  That same standard that keeps most of us working the majority of our lives to maintain with out the time to actually enjoy it. Watch the video.

Gas prices no problem only $3.00 a week !?!

The new family sedan / cargo vehicle ;)

125 cc motor bikes are the work horse of southeast Asia $3.00 U.S. will get you a full tank and you can ride these little Honda bikes all week on that ! You can bring the whole family ( I’ve seen up to 6 riding on these) or a very large cargo load on these little bikes. For about $150.00 a month you can rent them there or $1100.00 will buy you one. Notice the driver has to wear a helmet I’ts the law in Thailand  where a U. S. citizen can live comfortably 0n $500.00 a month and lavishly on $1200.00 per month.

For around $46 k you can buy a newly built 3 bed 2 bath house !! REALLY. Or an Apt 3 min walk from the beach for $300.00 per month  ! Food and health care are also dirt cheap. You  may want to look into living there you could retire right now If you wanted to move there and live well on practically nothing. Check it out at    http://retirecheap.asia/index.htm I just found this site an can hardly belive it my self.

Investing in securities….Food securities the best investment.

I think food is the best investment/hedge on the future for a number of reasons . First off I don’t plan on not eating any time soon. ;) next prices keep going up . How about health benefits of fresh organic food . The security of knowing where it comes from and how it’s grown.

the big fern is the asparagus patch

Any time I can plant something in the ground that produces year after year without much help from me I feel more sense of wealth than money in the bank . A nice fruit orchard and some grapes 3 varieties one for eating one for juicing and the other for wine.

New grape vines on the south side of the well house

 I can always sell extra produce and plants by cuttings and dividing my perennials and root stalks like chives,apples,grapes,plums,raspberrys and on and on. Oh and herbs ;)

plum and crabapple trees the crabs help polinate the other apple trees

   These trees are about 7 years old and are in good production plums fresh Italian and for prunes crab apples for the birds and pollinators to the regular apple trees. An added bonus is they are also a great ornamental.

Horseradish watch out !!

  I took a horseradish root from the store and planted it in the ground a few years ago and it gets bigger every year. dig it up divide it and replant for more.

more additions chives, tomatoes, onions, celery, lemon basil, romane lettuce and acorn squash

Here a mixture of annuals and perennials live together adding taste, texture, and aromas as well as food thru out the year. Seven new varieties of apple some early some mid and some late season should give us a better chance at a crop what ever the weather .

long eared chickens will out produce a cow in meat production

 These guys will fill the freezer with great high protein low-fat meat all year-long at a very economical price and taste great …just like chicken  really.

Solar assisted living , it gives you options.

I have some off grid ability one of them is solar power . I have four panels on the roof totaling 370 watts. The panels are connected to an inverter charger system and feed four 6 volt golf cart batteries for storage.  I can draw power from the storage batteries to power both 12 volt and 110 volt powered lights and appliances . There is even enough power to use the microwave . I have 12 volt lighting all through my living space and compact flourescent bulbs in my 110 lights.  There are 110 outlets to power things like a T.V. or power tools ect…

 I have a power monitoring station that lets me know what’s going on with my solar system. The station gives me the vital statistics , amps of power available in the batteries,watts of power coming from the panels. I can monitor usage and adjust it according to what is available at the time. On cloudy days or at night I am using more power than the panels make . On sunny days I’m cranking in 19 t0 20 volts of free energy from  the good ol SUN ;)

 Operating on solar power makes you very concious about your power use and that is a good thing if it runs low you won’t have enough to get by so you have to pay attention . Limited power is like our limited resources on this planet in real time  don’t over use or abuse it and you will do well . Conservation can be fun and educational I found I  really only need a fraction of what I thought I needed when I really became mindful of what I was using .

Cost of systems vary depending on components but for my system it was around $ 3000.00. You can start small and add-on as you have the funds that is one of the nice things about this type of power generating equipment .  Quiet , renewable, independent power from the sun and portable too.

life in about 300 sq ft . It’s finite !

Can you imagine life in 300 sq ft ? Some may think impossible others may say no problem. I am the latter. I not only find it adequate but voluminous, not just for one but for two.  Part of the reason is the space is well-defined and thought out.  This gives it a roomy feel even with 3,4 or  5 people in that space it does not have a closed in or crowded feel. It’s a great space light, bright and airy easy to keep clean and with central heat/ air, climate control is easy and inexpensive.

The kitchen is compact but not crowded . I really like the gas range for cooking and tons of cabinets for storage. there is a double sink with a separate spigot for filtered water. The bath room is surprisingly roomy im a big guy and no problem having enough room in the shower and even a separate potty room . The dining room seats 4 comfortably . Compact, efficient ,organized certainly come to mind when you think of such a small space but not crowded, cramped and cluttered.

 The bed room has a great deal of closet and drawer space enough for two. With a queen size bed and enough room for dressing and getting in and out of bed you don’t really need any more space.  The living room has a sofa sleeper for guest and a couple of swivel rocker recliners on the opposite side. The living room also boast a large t.v., stereo with surround sound and a gas fire-place to take the chill off and create some ambiance.   

out side this cozy cottage is a large  enclosed patio area and some additional storage space. The landscape and views are breath takeing with almost a 360 view.  I don’t miss being in a larger space it just seems like a waste to keep up with now. and you can only occupie a few square feet at any one given time anyway.

 There is no room for a lot of extras so I’m not out shopping for stuff to collect and stuff in here. My cost of living is greatly reduced and I don’t need much so I don’t spend much time earning money. I have lots of time every day to do as I wish I can ride my bike ,garden play with my grand kids and help others.  I highly advocate living in small spaces if it will allow you time to enjoy life and have experiences.