In the Beginning

Reader Contribution by Jim Baker
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Where, how or why does an older guy (67) who doesn’t even know what a blog is start blogging? About farming or living independently or myriad other things that only those in the life even know what I am talking about. So let me talk to those who are just starting out, be you 21 or 71.

I have a one-acre parcel of land in the county, thank goodness, and in the middle of North Carolina. And I am retired, although those words these days mean something considerably different than it did 40 years ago. And since I cannot live on Social Security alone, and I do not want to just sit and vegetate as a retired old codger, my one acre is becoming as self-sufficient as one man can make it.

A wood-burning stove was purchased on Craig’s List for a lot less than a new one, and free firewood is listed every day. I have taken to driving everywhere with my chainsaw and fuel in my truck, just in case I see something someplace I can get for that very best of prices – free.

And as I split, I am stacking a couple of different ways just to see what work best. I have done the American style of neatly stacked rows, have two of the round stacks that I read about in one of the magazines, and then there is the “just stack it in a pyramid as you split it” stack. That one right now is gaining favor, although my next pyramid will have me tossing the splits onto a platform made of used pallets just to keep the wood off the ground. As the pallets rot, which they will eventually, they will be tossed into the compost areas.

Fortunately for me, my short-term and my long-term goals coincide with each other – living on less, being healthier, being as decently off the grid as I can mange, and not being solely dependent on outside sources for food, warmth or shelter. The plans are to have my own chickens, already bought and due the first week of April. I made contact with folks who are selling grassfed beef and pasture-raised hogs, and I have purchased a half of each. I am looking at a roadside stand in my little slice of heaven. Eventually there will be bees, blueberries, grapes (solely for my own use), high tunnels, an open garden, and the hens, of course.

I am working on a homemade hot tub using a stock tank for the tub, a solar-powered dehydrator, and I have in hand the plans for a solar oven. I have the space for a small worm farm (sell fish bait?), and I hope to possibly turn my front yard (small yet too close to the road for food crops) into an area for daylilies or other things such as that (iris come to mind) to raise and sell.

Ambitious? Maybe. Like many today, I am looking at whatever I can manage to do to create a self-sufficient life and create a supplemental income at the same time. I am looking at going to the community college and taking a welding class, not to be a welder in some factory or for some company, but to make simple welded items like bird feeder hangers and things like that.

Keep reading The One-Acre Farm. As the chickens, the bees, the high tunnels and everything else comes into play, I will add my experiences, good, bad and ugly, as they happen, Right now, I need to go check out what I think is a frozen pipe in my not-so-great basement, which come warmer weather I hope to convert to a root cellar if I can.

Until next time.


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