In the Beginning

| 3/3/2015 3:25:00 PM

Tags: Chickens, Blueberries, Bees, Gardening, High Tunnel, Wood Splitting, Wood Stacking, Raised Beds, Jim Baker,

Jim BakerWhere, 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.

3/4/2015 8:23:34 AM

Jim, welcome to the GRIT blogging community. I'm the same age as you and pressing into Urban Farming of vacant lots purchased from the city I live in. I have two lots that I am developing into gardens as well as four raised beds in the back yard. I've been retired for nearly six years and wouldn't ever think of going back to the cubicle world again. I don't have any plans to generate income from my gardening efforts and after keeping the harvest that I want, the rest is given away. I just like growing vegetables. How much can one guy really eat anyway? ***** I'm looking forward to reading about your progress with developing the one acre of retirement homesteading.

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