Going into Homesteading?

hedwig(QLD Brisbane)February 18, 2008

Hi all, I'm glad that I have found this forum (Gardenweb is a bit of a jungle).

I would like to have some advice for a "would be " home steading family.

We are in Australia and the home market is still good. If we would, say, sell our house next year, we would hopefully get a good price and would have to mortgage only a part of our dream farm. That means between $ 50 and 150000 (AUS$)

But the financial point is really one of my biggest concern.

We would have to find and pay a farm without knowing if one of us could get a job out there. The mortgages we would have to pay right in the time when maybe there is no job for several month and you have to move and you have to buy lots of things for the farm.

We both don't have a farm or gardener background and we would lack greatly experience. I have a good vegetable garden running and we have chickens that's all.

My intention would be paying the bills and the rest of the living costs from the farm as well (not really homesteading), but I think that there is such a great difference if you have to market your harvest or you eat it yourself (our cucumber don't tend to be straight and every egg has a different size)

So I would like to know, what were your experiences? How did you patch all these (money) gaps? Do you still need jobs to make ends meet? And how much did you invest AFTER buying the farm?

As we have two little ones a move must be a really sound thing.

Thanks for any advice!

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My best advice to you, from my meager experience, is to change your order of operations. That is, if employment is necessary to keep the kids secure while you go through your learning curve, then do that part first. Search for gainful work that falls a commutable distance from lots of fertile rural land. (Easier said than done, I do know, but that's what you're looking for!) After a job is secure, /then/ sell your current home and, if need be, rent a nearby place to live while you look for a homestead to buy. (I assume from your post you couldn't commute to your current job from anywhere sufficiently rural?) Even if you are wildly successful at farming, the mortgage bank won't take your vegetables if you can't find a job. And if you aren't wildly successful from the start, with a job you can still eat.

I've heard stories from so many happy homesteaders who just dropped their jobs and went to "live off the land"... but they always seem to have LOTS of financial or material assistance from family and/or friends. For instance I know people who were willed their farm by their late parents, and they are continually shocked at the different implications my fiance and I face in doing this with a 100% mortgage. They always seem to forget the part about the *free house* when telling others how wonderful homesteading is. It *is* wonderful, but much more so when you can afford to keep doing it, and that can be hard! :)

Three more thoughts... we found our perfect place in August, just before it gets too cold here to grow anything. Getting anything self-sufficient up and running takes time to grow if nothing else, and probably years to put up a good emergency stock in a root cellar... so DO have enough money on hand to survive a year or two if you try this without having a job first.

Check out the local tax implications of agriculture where you live. Some places give farmers-by-trade better breaks than farmers-by-choice, and that might make a big difference in what you decide to do.

I also highly reccommend reading up on home improvement information if you are not already very handy with plumbing, electrical, carpentry, etc. Figuring out how to fix the myriad of break-downs on your own can be what makes or breaks a budget.

Best of luck to you, whatever you do!


    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 3:56PM
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presmudjo(z9 Osceola FL)

Jane has given excellent advice. Homesteading or farming, where ever you may be can be rewarding, but is very difficult if you are trying to make a living on a small farm. Research, research, research. Where you are planning on looking for the farm, does it have local markets to sell veggies? Maybe local resturants also. Are you only planning on veggies? Do you plan on other things like animals too? I admire you for starting to fulfill a dream. Start saving every penny you can. A penny saved is still a penny earned. One cup of coffee at a store is worth how much in the piggy bank? It really can add up. Don't jump too fast, but follow your dream. Look at the economy around where you are planning to go, even a small paying job can be enough to pay the bills. So you don't get new clothes all the time, so what. Needle and thread will repair wonders. Order out should mean, I was in the yard and asked what are we having for dinner and are we eating outside or inside! I don't know Australia, but, I hope I helped. Keep asking, and you can only learn!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 10:27PM
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