Must Haves & Tips

mossy_bottom_farm

A list of things you “must have” to run a homestead, farmstead, hobby farm, etc. that I’ve collected from forum posts.  Not everyone needs everything, like electricity in the barn, but it’s something to consider.

Clean water!  Nothing else matters if you have no access to water.

  • Shelter – anything that will keep you out of the elements, keep you warm, and protect your family and food (check your county ordinances before making a final decision).
    • RV or travel trailer
    • Yurt
    • Tiny house
    • Mansion
  • Good sun exposure for gardening, growing livestock feed, solar power, and general good health.
  • Heat – wood stove, pellet stove, or central heating *radiant heat
    • Supply of wood if using wood stove
  • Truck
  •  Tractor
    • Not just for gardening
    • Don’t wait to buy your tractor
    • Auger
    • Backhoe
    • Front end loader
  • 4 wheeler with a dump bed
    • Moon Buggy by Bobcat, has fork bucket and rake attachment (front) and back is mini tilt tray in the back
  • Redundancy – “two is one, and one is none”. Buy extra of anything you’d be in a hole if the ONE you have breaks down.
    • A potential for income without too much investment
      • Forest
      • Rent pasture or fields to other farmers
      • 2nd house for rental or Air BnB
    • Access to internet (really depends on the person, but necessary to teach children about the modern world)
    • Security
      • Dogs
      • Fence
      • Security cameras (needed in some areas)
    • Fencing
      • “High tensile is wonderful”, easy to fix once set up
    • Garden
      • Good soil or ability to bring in good soil
          • Send soil samples to your local ag extension or soil conservation office to be tested. Saves time and money trying to figure out how to improve your soil.

         

      • Compost
      •  
      • Irrigation
      •  
      • Hoses
      •  
      • Fence
      •  
      • Seeds
      •  
      • Tiller
      •  
      • Bees
      •  
      • Fruit trees
      •  
      • Hand tools – shovel, Japanese weed knife, clippers
      •  
      • Shovel, hoe, etc
      •  
      • Garden cart
      •  
      • Harvesting baskets or bins
      •  
      • Market Garden
        • Wash station
        • Cold room
        • Packaging
        • Grow trays
        • Large Harvesting Bins
      • Preserving equipment
        • Pressure canner
        • Waterbath canner
        • Canning jars – lots and lots of canning jars with lids and seals
        • Reference books, like the Ball canning book
        • Dehydrator
      • Printed books on any and all skills needed to live off the land and away from modern facilities
        • Gardening
        • Homeopathy (medical)
        • Foraging
        • Mechanics (cars, tractors, chainsaw, etc)
        • Livestock
      • Livestock
        • Housing to protect from inclement weather
        • Fences
          • Some say Red Brand Fencing is worth the price
          • Don’t buy cheap fencing, you’ll have to repair/replace too often
          • 4 strands of hot wire, not just 2 (6 for goats – 4 at the bottom)
        • Food sources
        • Water source
          • Preferably at the barn/pasture so you don’t have to carry it
          • Hoses
        • Animal husbandry books
        • First-aid kit specific to your livestock choices. First-aid kit in the barn for yourself, too.
        • Dogs (keep predators away)
          • Extra leads and leashes
        • Weapons (predators the dogs don’t deter)
        • Barn should have electricity and water
          • Design livestock facilities so you don’t have to go in with the animals to feed them
          • If you harvest your own meat
        • Good butchering knife
        • Good skinning knife
        • Bone saw
        • Vacuum sealer
        • Meat grinder
        • Scalding pot
      • Tools & Equipment
        • Better to have good tools for building or repairing structures than just basic items
        • Chainsaw
          • Stihl has been suggested
        • Mechanical tools
        • Corded and Cordless drill, screwdriver
        • Lots of buckets in different sizes: 5 gallon, 2 gallon, and 1 gallon. Even a 1/2 gallon comes in handy
        • Strong wire cutters
        • Ax
        • Ropes
        • WD-40
        • Wheelbarrow (not just for the garden)
          • Some people prefer the 4-wheel wheelbarrow over the 3-wheel
        • Sledgehammer
        • Tape
          • Electrical tape
          • Duct tape
          • Duck tape
          • Painters tape
      • First-Aid kit – people
        • Basic knowledge
        • Basic medications
        • Basic wound care
        • Detailed quick reference books for emergencies
        • Homeopathic reference books and supplies
      • First-Aid kit – animals
        • Basic knowledge
        • Basic medications
        • Basic wound care
        • Detailed quick reference books for emergencies
        • Homeopathic reference books and supplies
      • Skills – have or ability to learn quickly
        • Strong work ethics
        • Gardening
        • Animal care
        • Building
        • Mechanics
        • Construction

      TIPS

      • Be patient
      • Be adaptable
      • Think beyond Now
      • Try to avoid easements.  Whether the easement is for a neighbor to cross your property, you to cross a neighbor’s property, or for the utility company to access their towers, things can go south quick and there isn’t much you can do about it when someone else has a legal right to be on your property (or visa versa).
      • If you buy raw land, live on it at least a year (four full seasons) before placing the outbuildings.  Know the sun, shade, water, and wind patterns and how they’ll affect your life once the buildings and gardens are in place.
      • Don’t expect everything to get done as quickly as you want
      • Drainage and wind flow – get it right
        • If you think you will ever possibly maybe want power or water anywhere other than in your house (and barn), run the lines. It’s much harder to run the lines after the fact.
      • Don’t pretend to know everything about anything. People will see through the lie. Also, people love teaching what they know, so let your neighbors share their experiences.
      • There are no temporary buildings, they just become permanent, poorly built buildings
      • Planting fruit trees should be at the top of the to-do list, right after you build deer-fencing around the orchard and garden.
      • Build it stronger than you think it needs to be, regardless of what it is. Dog house, chicken coop, barn, house…
      • Caulk cracks as you build. You’ll never find most of them again.
      • Build fences, animal enclosures, and have supplies before you buy the animals!
      • Meet your neighbors before you buy!
      • Give an inch take a mile… be careful what you let the neighbors do on the fence line just because you want to be nice. It’s easier give permission at a later date than to take it away after the fact.
      • Build gates 6-8” higher than you think they should be. Mud and snow build up in the winter.
      • Get rid of any preconceived notions of how your house and buildings should look from the street / neighbors.
      • Redirect rain water toward the garden, not down the driveway
      • Research fruit trees before you buy. Disease resistance and bloom time are important.
      • Govt grants can tie you to the government in ways you don’t want
      • Goats (and other livestock, really)
        • Get them young (weaned) so you can train them easier
        • Train to not jump on you and not butting
        • Leash/lead train them
        • Faux milking from day one
        • Teach “vet stand” – stand quietly while you run your hands everywhere, open mouths, lift feet, etc
      • Best breeds for meat rabbits
        • Silver Fox
        • New Zealands
        • Californians
        • Standard Chinchillas

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