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Living on 6.5 Acres, and making it work for our family of 8


Forum: Large Families

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  • 1 Post By Kristina

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  #1  
June 11th, 2012, 09:38 AM
Babymakes8's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Ohio
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Ok, Farmerswife asked for a separate thread, and I'll answer questions as much as I can, but I'm basically a stay at home farming/homesteading wife and mother of 6.

To keep costs down, we make as much as we can for ourself.

Like soaps. Laundry soap for now, but I recently acquired goats and am working on learning to make goats milk soap for my family to bathe with. Currently I buy my soaps from another lady who makes a whole line of bath products with goats milk, including lotions.

We are raising bees - and should get our first honey harvest this year.

We plant a large garden, and can as much of it as possible, plus we sell the surplus at a farmers market to supplement income.

We have goats, as I mentioned, and I milk the Momma and we (the kids and I) drink that milk. (My husband will drink it occassionaly, but he's stuck on cows milk, so we're thinking about getting a milk cow, too.) I raise chickens for eggs, meat, to show (4H), and I have a few fancy breeds that I sell hatching eggs from (and at a higher cost than eating eggs). We have a young bull calf we're raising out to butcher.

We use the barter system when we are able to as well. Right now, I'm needing to bake two pecan pies that I'm trading for some graphic design work so we will have a farm logo.

I do have a blog, but I don't always post to it....

Evening Star Farm

I don't think I've posted there at all this month yet lol

I also bake - a lot. Cookies and pies. I sell these at a local Auction every Monday, and at our local Farmer's Market. Again, this supplements our income, and allows us to do a few extra fun things with the kids. I usually sell out each week. It's getting harder to keep up. I need one of those double in the wall ovens

And that's about it. I'll post my laundry soap recipe in a bit - I have both a liquid and a powdered recipe - we prefer the powdered.
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  #2  
June 11th, 2012, 11:09 AM
Farmers-wife's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Where do you live? How did you start?
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  #3  
June 11th, 2012, 11:31 AM
Babymakes8's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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We live in Ohio.

We've always planted a garden, even when we lived in TN on a postage stamp yard. I got my first flock of chickens in 2008.

Most of our farm business has been built up by word of mouth. Started out of necessity after my husband suffered a back injury that resulted in surgery, and he wasn't able to get work.
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  #4  
June 11th, 2012, 11:42 AM
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We are a homesteading family also. We have just obtained our vendors license to sell at the local farmers market! We do many of the same things you mention. We have bartered for a tremendous amount of goods and services this year. It's amazing.

Where in Ohio are you? We moved from Northwest OH to Southeaster MI a little over a year ago.
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~Lisa, homebirthing, homeschooling , homesteading mama and student midwife. Married to my beloved for 20 years, raising a big brood of children on a little farm in Southern Michigan.

Mama to:
Nick, 19
Abby, 17
Gabe, 15
Isaac, 13
Mary-Kate, 12
Sam, 11
Henry, 10
Molly, 8
Mark, 7
Greta, 5
Cecilia, 4
Josephine, 2
Evie, born 12.31.13
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  #5  
June 11th, 2012, 12:20 PM
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Wow, I feel very lazy after reading all that.
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  #6  
June 11th, 2012, 12:58 PM
Babymakes8's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoyfulChaosMama View Post
We are a homesteading family also. We have just obtained our vendors license to sell at the local farmers market! We do many of the same things you mention. We have bartered for a tremendous amount of goods and services this year. It's amazing.

Where in Ohio are you? We moved from Northwest OH to Southeaster MI a little over a year ago.
We are on the Eastern side, about 20 minutes from WVA and 45 min from Pittsburgh PA. We've actually been considering moving, and have looked at small farms in Michigan LOL but we really like our small place here.

I am super blessed in that we are not required here to have a vendors license to sell at Farmer's Market. I do have to have a permit to sell farm fresh eggs at the Farmer's Market. No permit is required to sell them from my home, though.

Also, I do what is called NPIP testing on my flock every year. This allows me to ship live chicks and chickens and eggs throughout the country. This week, I am shipping a batch of bantam chicken eggs to Alaska.
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  #7  
June 12th, 2012, 06:57 AM
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Thats awsome we just started really getting into homesteading last year, we live on 2 acres and have about 18 raise beds we just fenced it in this year because the chickens got into it last year. We planted lots of pickles, tomatos and squash, and some beans, spinach, lettuce, peas, beets, carrots and pumpkins. We went with the heirloom seeds so we can save them and not have to buy them next year. I also bought 3 apple trees and one cherry tree.
We started with 12 female Rhode Island Reds last year and added buff orpingtons and some rainbow layers for the eggs and bought some buff orpington males for meat its almost butchering time and I am wondering how that is going to go. I think we are going to do some more meat birds in late summer so that we can butcher them just before winter. I also bought 6 black silkies because they are so cute I love them. They are supposed to be excellent mothers and I plan on putting other eggs underneath them for them to foster. I think we are going to get an incubator too and start hatching them ourselves and selling the surplus.
We have thought about getting a milking goat but haven't yet and next year we are raising 2 pigs.
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Last edited by Kristina; June 12th, 2012 at 06:58 AM. Reason: mistakes
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  #8  
June 16th, 2012, 04:39 PM
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We moved across country to try to start homesteading, it hasn't worked out very well for us at all. We were so eager and willing to put in the work, but totally lacked experience and we were unprepared for how very, very expensive it can be to live "simply". Three years into our great experiment we found out that the family we looked up to as mentors were actually hundreds of thousands' of dollars in credit card debt and not actually living self-sufficiently at all. This was debt that racked up in four years, after telling us that their farm and family of 10 was kept going on only a couple hundred bucks a month. That was a huge blow to us personally and since then we've kind of given up. We still have a few animals, but don't know if we'll be able to keep them through next winter. My hat's off to anybody that makes it work. But somebody else said it isn't for everybody, and I've come to know that is absolutely right.
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  #9  
June 16th, 2012, 05:07 PM
Babymakes8's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Kristina, I have 4 incubators, and I usually start setting eggs to hatch in January, to get a jump start on the spring market around here LOL Silkies make EXCELLENT mothers! The Silkie hens go broody at the drop of a hat!

jhmomofmany, I am so sorry your experience went that way! We started with 2 things - the chickens and the garden. We're six years into this, and we only add one new thing each year. The first year we started with the chickens and the garden. ANY homesteading project you want to be involed in has set up costs. We only get what we can afford to, and pay with cash. Always. We have no credit cards.

Bees have, IMO, the fastest return. LOL. It takes about $500 to get started in bees the first year. We were blessed in that 1) my mom's bees swarmed and she offered us the swarm for free which = savings of about $125-$150 (cost of a nuc or bee package) and 2) a dear friend of ours had a brand new hive they were not using that they gifted to us, including all the tools needed to work with the bees.

The first year, you do not get honey. This is our second year, and we just got our first harvest of honey. Our costs this year for the bees have been about $300 - that's buying more boxes and frames, bee suits, a honey strainer, gloves, and jars for packaging the honey.

Bees require the least amount of work, over any other homesteading project. You do not have to feed them, unless you're in a dearth (no flowers) and then you just mix sugar water for them. They don't need to be checked all the time, and you're probably only going to have honey to harvest once in the fall.

Chickens are the most expensive, and messiest project, IMO. They consume way too much feed, need waterers refilled multiple times in a day, and really keep you confined to the farm (chore wise). Plus, even the tightest coop doesn't always keep them safe from predators - and replacing birds that became Mr. Fox's dinner gets expensive, too!

Cattle are not that difficult, unless you're raising a dairy herd. Raising a few head of beef is easy peasy, just some good strong fencing and posts, and a grassy pasture and a full water trough. They do not HAVE to have grain, though some people do like to grain feed their beef. A 3 sided shelter is nice for them to get out of the elements if they choose to.

Goats have no respect for fencing, aren't that expensive to keep, but will eat everything (as my rosebush that belonged to my MIL is proof of). Goat's milk has great uses, like for cheeses and soaps and just to drink!

Don't ask me about pigs. We have a couple pot bellies, but they're leaving asap, and other than that, we don't raise them.
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  #10  
June 16th, 2012, 05:16 PM
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I despise honey...thats being nice, HATE honey is a better word for it as for bee's my 19 year old would have a heart attack. lol

We aren't really homesteading but we do have chickens. I don't find them that expensive. They do like to eat though and the amount of water they drink is amazing. But over all a few bags of food a month and they are content.

I have a small/medium garden, it's taken some time to get it right cause our soil sucks but this year I hope to do even better. Then their are friends who always over plant so I get from them also.

I can't do cattle unless it's a milk cow. I can not eat what we raise, not even our chickens. I can feed it to the kids but if I have looked into it's eye's it becomes a pet so we have thought of getting a milk cow...problem solved.
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  #11  
June 16th, 2012, 05:32 PM
Babymakes8's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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We have a strict rule - we don't eat what we name. And we do not do any butchering ourselves. It all goes out.

I should revise the chicken part of my post to say "my chicken project was expensive" because I didn't raise egg layers, and I had almost 200 chickens at one time, and was going through a ton (literally) of food a month. I was tired of spending $400 a month on chicken/poultry feed. We're down to 30 chickens now, and I'm only going though about 100 lbs of feed a month now. Less if I was able to free range, but with our recent coon and coyote issues, that's not an option right now.
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  #12  
June 16th, 2012, 06:28 PM
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I have 30 hens too and we go through about 100lbs./month, which I think is very reasonable.

JMJmom - I am SO sorry to hear it didn't work out. We researched and very prayerfully considered heading your way a few years ago, but in the end, we wanted to keep our local community. Are all of the families struggling up there?
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~Lisa, homebirthing, homeschooling , homesteading mama and student midwife. Married to my beloved for 20 years, raising a big brood of children on a little farm in Southern Michigan.

Mama to:
Nick, 19
Abby, 17
Gabe, 15
Isaac, 13
Mary-Kate, 12
Sam, 11
Henry, 10
Molly, 8
Mark, 7
Greta, 5
Cecilia, 4
Josephine, 2
Evie, born 12.31.13
Baby due in July!
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  #13  
June 16th, 2012, 06:50 PM
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I only have 10 and they give us enough egg's but I want more so that I can have egg's for my family and my MIL since she lives in the 'city' and can't have chickens.
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  #14  
June 16th, 2012, 07:08 PM
KrazE's Avatar ShutTheFrontDoor
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Last edited by KrazE; July 9th, 2012 at 10:59 PM.
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  #15  
June 16th, 2012, 08:54 PM
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we have a huge rabbit population, they were eating my lil garden I planted last year
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