I would love....

Glen Burnie, MD(Zone 7a)

to have a farm one day. Farms in this area are just not affordable. My garden gets bigger every year. I often think of the days on both of my grandparents' farms. I'd like to have a pond deep enough for a row boat and stock it with my own fish; have some chickens; cows to rais for meat' and a HUGE veggie garden. Oh and a large greenhouse. I am so in awe of you guys having your own farms. I'm working towards that day with hubby. I hope that day comes before I am too old to enjoy it. If anyone has piks of your farms, can you post them? I'd love to see them.

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Ok, I wouldn't call what we do "farming" by anyone's wild imagination, but it amuses us :-)
Here's a picture of one of my baby apple trees in my orchard - my FIVE tree orchard!

Thumbnail by kmom246
Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

And my favorite tree planting team, DH and Big Blue. You might notice that everything is sand. The trees are actually heavily mulched - but the mulch gets covered in sand, too.

Why are we pretending to farm in the middle of the Nevada desert? Well, in CA an acre of farm land goes for just over a million dollars. Litterally. It's much cheaper to buy land in the desert, but there are some trade offs! Like it's 107 today :-)

Keep hold of the dream - took DH and I 18 years before we got our plot. And, while I'm over 40 and short (and pretty wimpy, too), Big Blue and I can do just about anything the men folk do. Maybe slower, and maybe make the men folk and the neighbors laugh at this city born & bred girl, but I can do it. Keep dreaming. And every day, do something small to prepare yourself - read an article on goats, putter in the garden, send for "junk mail" on electric fences, etc. It will do three things - by the time you get your bit of land, you'll have a good idea of what you want; each day that you consciously do some little thing towards your goal, it will implant it more firmly into your subconscious and lead you to really do something towards your goal; and, by the time you do get your bit of land, you will have a little bit of an idea of what you need to know and a lot of an idea about how little you DO know :-) So keep the dream alive! Good luck!

PS Now, some of the other folks here have REAL farms. Browse around - many of them have pictures of their places here and there on this forum :-)

Thumbnail by kmom246
Glen Burnie, MD(Zone 7a)

Thanks, kmom! I will do just that. I dream of my farm each time I go into my garden. Farm land here in Maryland is just about the same as farm land in California....so we have to wait until my stepson goes to college and then we can move out of this crowded, expensive area.

I like your tractor.

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Ah yes, Kmom, nice tractor. Auger and bucket, make both ends work.

Noobie, like Kmom says, keep reading. Save pictures from old magazines, keep files on fences and buildings, animals, gardening, orchard, etc. Learn how to make and use compost, do canning, freezing, and drying of your produce. If you ask at your local feed store you might find some older folks who could use some hands-on help, and you would learn by doing and make friends and help them too. Research the areas you think you would like, check weather patterns, land prices, future developments. Take trips to these areas to see if you really like it, one in the summer and another in winter. Things like this will tell you a lot. You want to be sure for instance that you are not considering a property that is downwind from the local stockyard, feedlot, sewage treatment plant, or chemical factory, or that in a few years it will be cut in two by a new highway.

Here is a picture of our place in the spring, the only time it is green.

This message was edited Aug 5, 2006 11:17 AM

Thumbnail by MaryE
Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Better picture, after the trees had some leaves.

Thumbnail by MaryE
Glen Burnie, MD(Zone 7a)

Oh Mary! Your place is SO beautiful. What an inspiration that site is. If I woke up to that every morning, things would be so alright, even more so than they are now.

Thank you for sharing......

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Glad you enjoyed it, now it is turning brownish yellow because everything is drying up. Irrigation water is off for the year and we are having 90+ almost every day and no rain probably until about October. Our annual precip is under 10 inches. Oh, and low humidity too, around 15%. I can hang clothes on the line in the evening and they are dry in the morning before the sun even hits them.

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Our humidity is running in the single digits right now. People have to be careful because they can't "feel" themselves sweating, so they don't realize how much fluids they are loosing. If I were to hang laundry (assuming I DID laundry!), it would be covered in sand in under a minute here! We are pretty much covering everything in 3/4 base rock, plants and mulch in the "living areas" and letting Mother Nature cover the sand in sage and tumbleweed everywhere else (except for the fire break, which is compacted and almost like concrete), but some of our neighbors (and they could be 5 miles away) don't understand "erosion control", and so we get nice, lovely dust/sand storms from time to time :-) But boy what I wouldn't give, sometimes, for a little bit of green like what you have, MaryE, even if it didn't stay the whole year!

Oh, another thing I did/still do while un-patiently waiting to get a bit of my very own sand was to make lists and lists and lists. Like a list of all things chicken that I might need, how much they cost and what I might acquire now, save up for or find a cheaper way to do/make. Concurrent with that, I subscribed to Backyard Poultry and Hobby Farms (because, seriously, what I do can't be called farming in any real sense of the word, but I do enjoy my delusions!) and did extensive breed research in books and on the 'net. Then I read every book I could get on the subject. So this fall, I'm going to badger DH until he builds my hen house, and then through the winter, every pay day that has over time on it, I'm going to get one thing that I need (or buy the stuff to make one thing that I need), so that by spring (mid to late May around here), I will be all set to welcome 25 Silver Laced Wayandottes into my home. (Hey, anyone in NV, I'll have about half available as started pullets about a week or two later! No way I am prepared to take care of 25 or so! )

By the way, read everything Bad Seed asks about - she is a few steps ahead of me in the process of "moving to the farm", and the responses she has gotten have been very helpful to me -- and at the very least, reading those posts are extremely entertaining (Bad Seed, I just can't help it - your life is so much more - uh, adventuresome - than mine! :-)

Hang in there. There are days when you think it is impossible, or that it will take forever. The accomplishment then becomes so much sweeter and appreciated when you arrive at that new spot in your life. I am so blessed and so greatful that even killing a tree or fighting rabbit wars is a wonderous thing (we'll see how I fee about rabbits another year or two down the road - so far they've gone from cute to target practice!). Take care. Karla

Prophetstown, IL(Zone 5a)

My place isn't really a 'farm' - it's a bit more than 5 acres in the country - far from everything. 10 years ago I was determined to escape Chicago and searched for two years until I found my place. I commuted for several years back and forth but it was worth it. I've a big orchard, pastures, gardens, a greenhouse, flock of chickens, 3 goats, 2 dogs, 1 husband and a home that's paid for. I highly recommend doing what it takes to have land with some room around you. There's just something about having your own dirt. Here's a link to my flickr photo site with a few photos


Good Luck on your search!


Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Wow, Catherine, you have a green thumb! Beautiful gardens!

Houston, United States(Zone 9b)


DH and I can totally relate! We dream of living off the land, having enough for our needs and just a lil' more to sell that we can grow organically. I dream of having a couple sheep, a couple pigmy goats (their cute!), a few longhorns, maybe a jersey, a few pigs and lots of chickens! We're in our 20's but DH has always wanted to just work the land. His family at one time owned 14,000 acres between 6 brothers up in Indiana/Ohio area, they were so prominent there were towns and a county named for them! So sad to say when the old-fashioned farmers died off the family just wanted the money for the land and no one owns a stitch there today. Always best to buy land when you can and hold onto it. I think when we buy (hoping for up to 50 acres....more if money allowed) and create a will to include the land it won't go to our kids if they just want the money, I'd donate it as a santuary so no one can build on it! =) What a sweet dream...and we think of ours every day to.

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Totally beautiful, Catherine... I am in the middle of the commute business, myself, right now - 122 miles round trip into Reno. Which, in terms of time and agravation is actually a shorter commute than what I did in the San Francisco Bay Area. Can't believe I'm driving 20 miles more a day, but have cut my commute by about 6 to 8 hours a week. Last week I was on business travel in the SF Bay Area and it took me 2 hours to go 35 miles to get from the office to the airport. I was so happy when I finally turned down that dirt road to our place. Yes, it is sooooo worth it - even if we have sand and everything is pretty much a nice desert tan color! (hey, in 100 years we'll have a wonderful forest!)

TirNaNog - 50 acres - I DO believe in the more is always better catagory of hording land, but I'd be afraid of having to care for 50 acres. This lot of barely 5 keeps me very well amused! In theory, we could possibly live off the land here if DH or I gave up our jobs and our 600 mile a week commutes, but I don't have that much nerve any more. Maybe I'm just getting too old and comfy :-) This year, in an attempt to see something GREEN, we did resort to a little miracle grow, but we much prefer organic and sustainable, and even this year, made headway in that direction. By 2008 we hope to be 100 % organic, even for ornamentals. I wish we had done this when the kids were younger, but at least we lived in a little ag town, then (it's a booming suburb of 40,000 now, uhg!). Having the town grow up around us from 4 to 40 thousand in 10 years was sure incentive for us to leave when the middle one finished high school, though! Now we're back in a dinky town and loving it, even though this isn't quite the ag belt of the San Joaquin. Still, nearly everyone here has a few chickens, several people have a few cows or a few pigs, and everyone has cordoned off a little space where they do battle with Mother Nature for some home grown veggies. I miss seeing miles of sweet corn and 100,000s of acres of white-faced black cows and their calves in the spring, but some day soon, I will have my own sweet corn and maybe a few goats, and the acre behind the house will be/is my very own "ag belt". As it is, the orchard is in (3 apple trees, a peach, a nectarine), and though I swear I'd keep the orchard tiny so that I could work it all by myself, I've been thinking, crab apples and asian pears...the land really DOES get in your blood (or the sand invades the veins?). Good luck!

Catherine, may I ask, how many trees do you have in your orchard? And how many man/woman hours a year does it take for you to care for it? Now that I have irrigation to my 5 semi-dwarf trees, I've noticed my labor dramatically dropped, so I am becoming, as my DH says, "delusional again", and think I can take care of a 100 tree orchard all by myself :-)

By the way, noobiegardener, I'm closer to 50 than 40 these days. I am now in better shape than I have been in 20 something years (hmmm, 20 something years ago I gave birth to my first child, and it was all down hill from there, wonder if there is a connection! :-) Walking in sand, climbing in and out of the tractor, pulling the chain to raise and lower the door to the metal building, hauling 5 gallon buckets of water around, laying PVC pipe, pulling romex (electrical wiring) - who needs a gym? I also try and take a "perimeter walk" with Mauly (the dog) every day. I've lost 10 lbs and now weigh less than when I was in high school! So if you don't get started "early on", don't worry - life is constantly re-inventing yourself and pushing your own limits. If an over 40 sit-on-your-bottom computer geek can do this, you will certainly be able to rise to the challenge when your turn comes. (I love motrin and hot baths for achey muscles - and home made lavender soap to raise the spirits and erase the sweat! Maybe next year the lavender buds will even be from my own garden!)

Good luck! Enjoy! Many blessings on the adventure!

Prophetstown, IL(Zone 5a)

Thanks Mary and KMom - the gardens are my santuary.

KMom - I know just what you mean about the commute. I did 125 miles each way to Chicago but it took me longer to go from one end of the city to the other than it did to drive the bulk of the way home.

My orchard is mainly apples -- I lost my remaining peach tree in a storm a few weeks ago. I have 16 trees total now (apple, pear, plum). I don't spray so it takes care of itself mostly. I have so much fruit this year I don't know what I'll do with it. I admire your desert farming determination - and that tractor - swoon. I've an old Ford 8N with a bucket that gets a workout here. And I'm almost to the big 50 so it's a race to see how long the old bones will last, lol.

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