The Perfect homestead

Anza, CA(Zone 8b)

Hi everybody-
Since nobody's posted since Friday I was hoping to get something going here,

Not living on a farm myself, I have the picture post card idea of what the perfect farm looks like, but I know most of you guys and gals are already there, so I was wondering if there was a top 5 things that you consider absolutely essential to the perfect working farm or ranch. My DH and I are planning to retire in a few years, so we are looking now, but besides a few obvious things like flat land and plenty of water, (and no flying bugs if possible) we don't really have a particular area in mind. Any suggestions?

Maybe some pics of some of your idyllic homesteads?

Hope nobody is suffering in the nasty winter weather-


Paris, TN(Zone 6b)

Ummm, I think flying bugs are everywhere in the US...LOL! Especially in the garden, where they are wanted as pollinators :)

Water source on site (spring and well preferably)
Good quality topsoil at a good depth with at least 7 acres, 2.5 tillable, 1 acre for house area and remainder woods for woodlot
South - southeast exposure
At least 1/2 mile distance from any neighbor
Internet access at high speed if you are any distance from a major city, so you can order things in bulk :) (and for me, so I can work from home!)

My ideal homestead is still in my head, but where we are renting meets all of those requirements, so maybe we'll be able to buy it in a few years. We lack a basement, a spring house, a root cellar and outbuildings, but otherwise it's lovely here and I can't wait to see what Spring brings.

Here's the barn we have shared access to, although our needs are secondary to the owners of course. But our cat loves it :)

Thumbnail by Hineni
Anza, CA(Zone 8b)

Hi Hineni-
I have been reading about your move, and sometimes I get so jealous of your chance to live out there in the 'boonies'!

Yes, DH may have to accept that bugs are a fact of life, but the higher the altitude, the fewer, and no mosquitos is kind of a must for him, I think. I'm not sure how we are going to do the whole homesteading thing and avoid flies in the house, but he hates them with a passion! I am going to experiment here is some diatomaceous earth, and see if that puts a dent in the fly population from our pot belly pig and pygmy goat. If it works well, there's hope!

Thanks for your response, and I agree a basement or root cellar is pretty important if I'm going to try long term food storage. I hadn't thought about the necessity of a wood supply on the property, but you are right-in the long run that would be a very good idea. I'm still trying to figure out how much acreage is enough to raise a few cows-some for us, some to sell the beef. I know it really depends on the quality/quantity of the grass, but I think also being able to rotate the pastures is important. And a garden big enough to feed a couple of people, but not so big it becomes a waste.

Thanks for the pic, too,


Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

DH is definitely going to have to get used to bugs! LOL Country=bugs. That's why we don't have to sexual facilitators for our squashes and melons... had a friend in CA who couldn't get those veggies, I visited and honest to gawd there were no bugs there. No bugs... no pollinators... no squash or melons. I handed my friend a camel hair paint brush and told her to go make whoopie with the watermelon. LOL

Wood on the property isn't necessary if you have land near a national forest. I have no trees at all on my property, but a wood cutting permit is $5 and the forest is 5 miles up the road.

Anybody else ever have certain bugs pester them when they are using power tools outside? Seems like there's nothing like a circular saw to draw what I think are bot flies to buzzing around my head...

Paris, TN(Zone 6b)

What Jay says is true about cutting permits being cheap for national parks and whatnot, but here it is mostly pine, which is not what I want to burn :) Your estimation is correct, that the amount of acreage you'll need to raise cows is dependent upon your quality of soil and what kind of pasture you can raise. We were going down that road to have a cow/calf pair for milk and meat, but DH put the kebosh on it due to the long term costs since we rent. Maybe later, when we finally have a place of our own. I agree with the rotational grazing too; I think you could do all that you want on 5 acres if you were very experienced, more like 10 for noobs like me...haha!

Jay, I don't run power tools, so I don't know about bot flies and circ saws :) All I know is I surely had a mess of flies this past summer for about a week, nearly drove me batty. There was a horse and a pot bellied pig on the acreage, but they didn't live down by the house. Not sure what caused it; I had to buy flypaper for the first time in my life...teehee!

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Oh, there you go again Hi... everything you want on 5 acres... where it's cows per acre. LOL Out here and where Anza is located, we're acres per cow... so everything you want on 50 acres here, probably 100 acres where Anza is. LOL

I know on my place, the flies are born in the manure pile, which isn't by the house, and 'vacation' in our house. Ugh! I got buzzed by one at the dinner table last night, so they winter here, too. =o( I put up those add-water fly traps down in the barn, and it made a big difference. Too dusty around here for the sticky sort to work for long. I long for a manure spreader.

Most of our wood is pine or spruce, but if we take a short drive we can get pinon and juniper, which burns hotter. So we do a mix to regulate the heat. There's a good article on fire building in the Oct/Nov Mother Earth News. We've tried it and are complete converts. The article has a lot of info on how to regulate temps with different woods and diameters, too.

18* here this am...

Clarkson, KY

The soft woods will burn very well and much more slowly if you age them for a year and a half instead of just 6 mos to a year. Was told that by a wood cutter, confirmed by chimney sweep. Been true for us. But you gotta age it.

Anza, CA(Zone 8b)

I believe eucalyptus is one of the hardest woods around, and a fast grower. I don't know if it will grow in all zones, but I think if I get the option I will try to create my own 'stand' of firewood with that.

I have this horrible feeling that the economy is going to dump long before I'm ready! But even if we have to start 'too late' hopefully we will be able to catch up and be ok.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I think most of us posting on these forums would agree on the imminent danger of the economy crumbling.

We all have improvements we need to make to better prepare. Where do you think you are lacking?

Clarkson, KY

I got a good taste of what I'm lacking in the recent ice storm... A few more ideas etc for getting ready...

Anza, CA(Zone 8b)

Thanks for the link, grownut, that was fun and informative reading! I didn't know that about pre frozen meat not being can-able, that would be very frustrating to learn the hard way! And I guess the Amish have a good system going for keeping the barns warm, but I'm thinking it must get pretty messy!

Podster- My DH has been working on a survival kit, buying books and reading up on all the little things that are easy to forget. But we haven't put it to the test yet. I have a little Tuff Shed that has a wood stove and electric run to it for lights, where I go to have my 'quiet times' or work on my jig saw puzzles. One of these days we keep saying we will go out there and live for a day or two on just what is in the survival kit, to see if we can do it.

But what I really want is to get a real garden in, and have a few cows, chickens, etc, but I don't have the useable space for that. Right now if nothing else I guess I need to get some canned goods stocked up, and make real use of our new dehydrator. It's so easy to say "well, nothing that serious is really going to happen" and let time get away.

Here's a pic of my little room, but its taken from too far away to be much use.

Thumbnail by gardenza

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