The Poor Farm

In August 2013 my husband and I found and purchased 7 perfect little acres aka The Poor Farm, about 20 minutes from our present home. It is surrounded by fields and sits a few miles away from the nearest town. It is rolling ground with several well established shade and fruit trees. On it sits a home that is over 150 years old and unlivable, a rickety shed, a totally collapsed old barn and a small well shed. It does have a well but we do not yet know how good it is. We will be tearing it down, probably by hand. It's all part of the big plan, the plan that will, if we are lucky, kill us.

What I mean by that is this...we hope this plot of land will be our very last home and if we die out there in the field with our animals, while chopping wood, while canning tomatoes, while stocking the big wood cook stove then yeah for us!

For the last 20 years, as a married couple, we have made our living and supported our children through farming and nursing. In 2012 we decided it was time to move ahead with our dreams to be full time homesteaders. Just the two of us very middle aged folk. I am 55 and Keith is 52. So we put our larger farm, our home for over two decades, up for sale. Now because the word "homesteader" is so overused, let me give you our definition as it applies to The Poor Farm.

We will build an earth covered home, doing the majority of the work ourselves and with friends and family. It will be created primarily from recycled and cast off materials. What people throw away will become our new decor. How chic, yes I know. While it is being built we will live in a trailer, or and RV or a remodeled barn that first must be bought and moved to the Poor Farm. We do not know what we will live in until South Pork Ranch is sold and we know how much cash we have left to "play" with.

We will keep 1 dairy cow, 1 steer, 2 feeder pigs, 2 dogs, 1 bee hive, 2 peacocks, 6 ducks, 1 horse, 25 broiler chickens and 50 laying hens. Thus we will be able to produce all our own meat and dairy products.

We will grow a very productive garden that will provide us with 100% of all our vegetable needs via eating them fresh or after preserving them.

We will heat our home with a rocket stove and with a wood cook stove.

We will slash all our daily living needs to the bare minimum (I have enough clothes to easily last a lifetime) so that we can survive on $15,000 or less a year, basically what we need to pay for property taxes and health care and the stuff we don't yet know how to grow like coffee and toilet paper.

We will generate the $15,000 income through the sales of any extra milk, honey, handcrafted soaps and meat. Income will also be made though my free lance writing. We will live without credit cards, without a mortgage, without any debt of any kind.

Each day we will focus on survival. What to grow, raise, cook, preserve in order to stay alive. And then in the afternoons and evenings we will enjoy the new life we have built by reading, writing, cooking and visiting with friends and families.

There will be no more vacations, no more eating out, no more crazy Christmas spending (all gifts will be homemade from materials the land provides us with). Instead our joys will come from the time we will have to be with family and friends...at least those brave enough to deal with our compost toilet.

At least that's The Plan, but we all know how plans can change.







P.S. We named it the Poor Farm because we literally took all our lives savings to purchase it, thus making us cash poor but rich in the beginning of a dream fulfilled.

12 comments:

  1. Wow! This is amazing! You guys are truly inspiring, and I wish you all the best. May your farm be poor only in name!

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    1. Give us five years on the Poor Farm and if we are still alive THEN you can be inspired :)

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  2. This is what I want to be able to do one day. Hopefully when the mortgage is paid off on this place we can slow down and just live here, earn what we need for taxes and survive on what we grow. A long way off at the moment with our super large morgage but it's a step in the right direction.
    Good luck!

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    1. We understand Kev. If we don't sell our current farm this Poor Farm idea will take a bit longer to accomplish. A whole lot longer actually

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  3. You're talking my language nad have just described my dream! 5 acres with a couple of Dexter cows, chooks, ducks, a sheep or 2 perhaps and an earthship or other such eco house that harvests all our power and water requirements. It's a big ol dream but worth working towards I feel. Currently we have 1/2 an acre, 2 goats, 2 lambs, several chooks and ducks, 3 kids under 6 and a normal house we're doing up to become as eco as we can. Lots of veggies, plans for a permaculture inspired orchard/food forest and lots of big dreams to fill our tiny little rural town homestead. :) Oh and we home educate too. I look forward to seeing where the Poor Farm leads and how it all develops. :)

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    1. It really is just one step after another little hippy. One step after another.

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  4. I really do applaud you and your dream and I expect that you will be amazingly successful!

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  5. We are there now. We grow all food either outside or aquaponically in a large greenhouse. We raise cattle and chickens. We trade for our dairy from friends. We have a wood fired oven outside that's wonderful also a solar oven. The only problem with your plan is there is very LITTLE free time. It's constant. Chores never end, animals need tending, produce needs searching thru to pick off bugs. We are totally organic. I cook,clean,garden,water,feed animals,etc. everyday. Down time is precious so I really enjoy moments of quiet in the garden listening to the sounds of nature. I love my life and went from 12 hour work days to retirement at 62. I'm now 65, 25 lbs. lighter, more energetic, and much happier. Wouldn't trade it for anything.

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  6. I noticed you mentioned one of your purchased necessities was toilet paper, I moved into a pond house they told me it could not handle paper waste, so I bought a bidet from Amazon, $50. I would never go back to smearing that stuff on my bottom again! Clean, warm water and no more discomfort, ever! Of course, I buy Viva towels to dry, but another way could be used.

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  7. how are y'all doing? Sounds, perfect, I would like to buy some soap . I'll go to that page.

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