In August 2013 my husband and I found and purchased 7 perfect little acres aka The Poor Farm, about 20 minutes from our present home. It is surrounded by fields and sits a few miles away from the nearest town. It is rolling ground with several well established shade and fruit trees. On it sits a home that is over 150 years old and unlivable, a rickety shed, a totally collapsed old barn and a small well shed. It does have a well but we do not yet know how good it is. We will be tearing it down, probably by hand. It's all part of the big plan, the plan that will, if we are lucky, kill us.
What I mean by that is this...we hope this plot of land will be our very last home and if we die out there in the field with our animals, while chopping wood, while canning tomatoes, while stocking the big wood cook stove then yeah for us!
For the last 20 years, as a married couple, we have made our living and supported our children through farming and nursing. In 2012 we decided it was time to move ahead with our dreams to be full time homesteaders. Just the two of us very middle aged folk. I am 55 and Keith is 52. So we put our larger farm, our home for over two decades, up for sale. Now because the word "homesteader" is so overused, let me give you our definition as it applies to The Poor Farm.
We will build an earth covered home, doing the majority of the work ourselves and with friends and family. It will be created primarily from recycled and cast off materials. What people throw away will become our new decor. How chic, yes I know. While it is being built we will live in a trailer, or and RV or a remodeled barn that first must be bought and moved to the Poor Farm. We do not know what we will live in until South Pork Ranch is sold and we know how much cash we have left to "play" with.
We will keep 1 dairy cow, 1 steer, 2 feeder pigs, 2 dogs, 1 bee hive, 2 peacocks, 6 ducks, 1 horse, 25 broiler chickens and 50 laying hens. Thus we will be able to produce all our own meat and dairy products.
We will grow a very productive garden that will provide us with 100% of all our vegetable needs via eating them fresh or after preserving them.
We will heat our home with a rocket stove and with a wood cook stove.
We will slash all our daily living needs to the bare minimum (I have enough clothes to easily last a lifetime) so that we can survive on $15,000 or less a year, basically what we need to pay for property taxes and health care and the stuff we don't yet know how to grow like coffee and toilet paper.
We will generate the $15,000 income through the sales of any extra milk, honey, handcrafted soaps and meat. Income will also be made though my free lance writing. We will live without credit cards, without a mortgage, without any debt of any kind.
Each day we will focus on survival. What to grow, raise, cook, preserve in order to stay alive. And then in the afternoons and evenings we will enjoy the new life we have built by reading, writing, cooking and visiting with friends and families.
There will be no more vacations, no more eating out, no more crazy Christmas spending (all gifts will be homemade from materials the land provides us with). Instead our joys will come from the time we will have to be with family and friends...at least those brave enough to deal with our compost toilet.
At least that's The Plan, but we all know how plans can change.
P.S. We named it the Poor Farm because we literally took all our lives savings to purchase it, thus making us cash poor but rich in the beginning of a dream fulfilled.