Homestead/small farm: Where to start?
I just found this forum and I hope it is a good place to ask these questions.
I currently live in town, and am thinking about trading up to a larger piece of property in a more rural zone.
I have always felt that I would be at home managing a small farm, but I'm not sure what to raise. I've always been good with animals, so I'm thinking maybe poultry, sheep/goats, something like that. I am a single female, 37 years old, healthy, no kids, and I work full time. Basically, I want something that is relatively simple to raise that doesn't require a lot of specialized equipment or that is extremely labor-intensive, so I can run it myself if needed.
As far as things of the plant variety, is there a crop that can be raised for profit on a small farm, just for people who do not have a green thumb? I have tried keeping a garden and just couldn't keep up with weeding and maintenance. I seem to be very good at raising weeds, ivy, and privet trees. Is there any type of fruit/nut tree, vegetable, herb, grain, etc. that sort of... grows itself and isn't particularly needy? This is all relative, of course... for example, I imagine sage would be less labor-intensive than saffron.
I'd be willing to devote more time to a crop if it allows me enough profit to quit my day job.
I am a dog groomer by trade and, ideally, would like to run my grooming business on the property as well. That way I think I could better tend to things.
I keep thinking back to animals. Rabbit? Alpaca? Emu? Bees? I have had a small backyard flock of chickens for several years now that seem to be easy keepers and provide me with an bumper crop of eggs.
I live in the Northern Sacramento valley of California. Our area is renowned as prime agricultural land. Almonds, walnuts, olives, rice, all kinds of crops grow extremely well.
I eagerly await your ideas and suggestions!
"Freestep Farms" .... I like the way that sounds.