How to Get From City to Farm or Ranch and Live the Lifestyle You Want

small stockhouse with snow surrounding it

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Get From City to Farm – Read this if you are working toward moving from city or suburbs to rural living.

We will help you get from city to farm or ranch.

How to Get From City to Farm or Ranch

Getting There –Step 1–Answer the question:

Where do you see you and your family living in five years?

Every day, Internet search engines receive thousands of queries using phrases such as “how to move to the country” and “how to get to the ranch or farm.”

I have read countless forum posts by people from all economic walks of life and backgrounds wanting to move out to the country.

People are intrigued about the rural living lifestyle.

They see value in its positive benefits for their lives and their families’ futures.

It is something they want to pursue.

But many people don’t know how to make the move happen and Get From City to Farm.

It is daunting to think about such a major change.

Existing jobs, homes, families, and friends have entangled many people in a way that make such a change nearly impossible.

These are important considerations and a part of our normal social fabric that give life substance.

The good news though, is that they don’t have to be so daunting if you understand that this is not an event, but a process of change that culminates with the actual move.

It is very similar to moving to a new area for a new job.

Most of us don’t like change.

But as I have read the stories of so many people wanting to move, I see a common thread.

They want to move, but seem to always have reasons or excuses why they can’t.

I won’t judge the excuses.

But excuses and obstacles can get so big that they paralyze us, preventing us to take action.

It confuses our heart’s desire with all the logistical facts that speak against a move.

How to Move to the Country

If you are unable to get started, or find yourself treading water, ask yourself this question:

Where do I want to be living five years from now?

It’s a simple question that can be answered very simply.

It is a general question but an important one.

You and your family need to ultimately agree on a clear and understandable answer.

What is the answer?

On a beach?

In a foreign country?

In New York City?

But we do wish more communities and states adapted the booster seat laws NY.

Perhaps in the country?

Questions to Ask Before Moving to the Country

Do you find yourself dreaming of the rural and country life?

Does the desire come and go, or does it seem to stick around?

If it sticks around, you are probably on the track to a specific answer… move to the country, or start a farm or ranch.

Discuss this with your spouse.

It’s important to be in agreement about the ultimate destination of the family.

It is no small thing to move your family and start a new life.

If you see yourself staying where you are or on a beach or in a foreign land, that is great.

You can stop reading if you want, as these articles will not be going in that direction.

But if you see yourself living in a rural area, on a ranch or farm–living a new kind of life–then stay tuned for Step 2!
paint mare and foal

Strong Family Ties

Interview with the Strongs, another family with plans for a multi-generational farm.

They have lived in rural areas before and are patiently working toward the day they can move full time to the country again.

Tell us about your life in the country and the city.

Our three-generation family has always loved the rural life.

We moved several times and lived on small acreage in the past but never with self-sustainability as our focus.

We are a home schooled family and enjoyed raising chickens, goats, gardening, etc., as part of our lifestyle and curriculum.

Also, we owned and operated a small family business for more than 30 years and love and appreciate the dynamics of working closely with family.

Currently, we live in the city.

We are working toward selling our business so we can live and work full time on our 20 acres.

What drew you to move to a rural area?

We love the rural lifestyle but we are also preparing for what we see as uncertain times in the future.

We feel that rural areas will be safer and more self-sustaining.

What brought you to your particular area?

Although we are a close family we each are individuals with varied likes and dislikes, so when searching for an ideal homestead respect for one another’s preferences was a premium consideration.

For example, our patriarch, Louis, was raised in a fairly remote area with very harsh winters.

His deal-breaker was ‘no six-month, 40 degrees below zero winters!’

Our little granddaughter, Tasha, is musically inclined so an area that was reasonably close to music instruction and venues was a must.

After prioritizing the true deal-breakers from the just-preferences, we began our search for a happy-compromise property.

Through the grace of God, we found a lovely 20 acre parcel that is just waiting for our family to nurture and develop.

What kind of research did you do to find the right place for you?

We searched for countless hours online, talked with realtors, drove and looked at innumerable properties and asked many questions about various areas on forums (www.city-data.com/forum is a good one).

We carefully considered nearly every state before settling on the area and property that we purchased.

Although at times our quest for the right property seemed endless and frustrating, knowing that we had made a thorough search allowed us to make an informed decision with peace of mind.

How did you know when it was time to pursue a move?

We have lived ‘by-the-book’ our whole lives.

We started our family-run business more than 30 years ago and although our company continues to thrive even in this sluggish economy, there is a high price to pay for the fast-paced lifestyle that is required to operate our company.

Government regulations, high taxes, arbitrary industry demands, are difficult to navigate and still have time leftover to enjoy life and family.

So after factoring in the emotional and physical toll of running our business as well as what we feel is an unstable future for the economy, we decided that it was time to quit dreaming of a better life and sell our business to finance a new beginning.

Yes, it was a scary decision but staying the course and continuing with our old life seemed much more frightening and bleak.

We have since moved beyond the initial fears that can plague a major life-change decision and enthusiastically look forward to making our final move to a new life.

What challenges have you faced with your transition?

Selling our business and commercial property has proven difficult in these hard economic times; however, we have; a potential buyer interested so hope seems to be on the horizon.

In the meantime, we pray for contentment with our current life and the wisdom to utilize this period as a time to study and better equip ourselves for the new life that awaits us.

What changes will be easy to make?

We love life close to the land and have no desire to be immersed in today’s culture.

We are happiest when tending to gardening and critters, with jars simmering in the canner!

What tips would you give someone thinking about moving to a rural area?

Research, research, research, and, if you are a person or family of faith, PRAY.

Then, if it feels right to you, just do it – jump in.

You’ll never regret it.

Get From City to Farm

Trading Freeways for Country Roads
Trading Freeways for Country Roads

Trading Freeways for Country Roads

Meet Forrest and Deb, who made a move from Southern California to the Pacific Northwest over a decade ago—and have flourished in their new lifestyle.

Tell us about your prior city or suburban life—family, home, job?

We both grew up in Southern California, in the “Big City.”

Forrest drove literally 60k + miles per year on the job.

We both wanted out, to move to a small town and live a simpler life.

What drew you to move to a rural area?

We had decided that we didn’t like people – living in the “Big City” no one seems to care for anyone or anything.

Everyone is afraid to speak to anyone they didn’t know.

What brought you to this particular area?

We lived in Sandpoint, Idaho, for 12 years and loved it.

Unfortunately, with the economic climate of the past few years, we could no longer afford to live there.

Still interested in living in a small town in the Pacific Northwest, we looked around quite a bit before we settled on our new hometown in NE Washington State.

We like the feel of it. To us, it feels like what Sandpoint must have felt like 20 years ago.

It is still affordable.

Hopefully it will stay this way rather than growing so rapidly as Sandpoint did.

How long did you prepare for your move?

We generally don’t do a whole lot of preparation — just make a decision and jump.

In this case, we had tried twice before to move away from Southern California before we were able to make it work.

It took us over 10 years before we made it to Sandpoint.

prepare for your move
prepare for your move

What kind of research or preparing did you do?

Before moving to Sandpoint we had a number of heartfelt discussions about what we wanted out of life before deciding that we wanted to live a simpler life in a smaller town.

We researched small towns including buying a book on “micropolitans,” towns of between 25 and 100 thousand people.

We visited several possibilities on vacation with our four children.

One of those was Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

On a day trip, we visited Sandpoint.

As we crossed Long Bridge, Forrest said, “This is it.”

How did you know when it was time to make the move?

We knew from previous efforts that we had to pay off our California bills in order to survive on the lower wages that we could expect almost anywhere in the country.

Once we were able to do this, it was time to get from city to farm.

How did your family and friends react?

Our friends were supportive.

Some of our family members were negative, but Forrest’s parents soon followed us to Sandpoint.

What challenges did you face with your transition?

Our biggest immediate challenge was financial.

Forrest had developed pneumonia during the three-day drive up from Southern California and was unable to work in construction for several months after we moved.

Raising turkeys
Raising turkeys

We had a small savings account, but we had both expected to both get jobs upon our arrival.

The other big challenge was finding decent rental housing for our family, but this ended up being a blessing in disguise and helped us get established.

What changes were easy to make?

Driving fewer commuting miles.

Breathing cleaner air.

Liking people again.

People in small towns are not only willing to speak to someone they don’t know, they are also willing to joke around with them and help them out – who knew?

What tips would you give someone thinking about moving to a rural area?

Be sure that you are willing to accept it the way it is rather than trying to change it into something that you were accustomed to elsewhere.

Be ready and willing to accept help, and provide help to others when you can.

Dream of Homesteading

Dream of homesteading
Dream of homesteading

Today we have an inspiring story about a family that is documenting their journey on their own blog.

Here’s how the family’s new life has been unfolding.

It all started with a dream.

Not a hopeful, wishing sort of dream, but a vision in your sleep sort of dream.

The kind you’ll never forget, even years later.

In his dream, Papa saw an impression of our country’s future, laid out in the sky.

He was left with a feeling of urgency, that we must begin preparing our family for unstable times unless we wanted to be caught vulnerable when it counted the most.

With this beginning came a lot of deep thought, late night discussions, and research to help us decide what it was we were preparing for, and what steps we needed to take to be ready.

The winter after the dream occurred, Papa had a close call with unemployment when two major construction contracts with his employer’s company fell through due to the economy.

Because of God’s grace and his employer’s generosity he remained employed, but the incident reinforced our desire to prepare for a rainy day.

Dream of Homesteading
Dream of Homesteading

Result After Moving to the Country

Fast forward three years.

And we get from city to farm.

To make our first giant leap in preparing for an economic depression and/or a martial law situation, we purchased a rundown camper, fixed it up and moved it to family property to create a “bug out location.”

We used it as a camp and stored a few things there, but even though we knew we had reason to prepare for trouble, it still felt like a shock when Papa got the pink slip.

After five months of making do, we used our tax return to purchase a more comfortable camper, along with other homesteading supplies, and moved off-grid, leaving the mortgaged house behind.

Living in thirty-one feet

We’ve now been living here, on the land in a 31’ bunkhouse Dutchmen for 15 months.

We have been blessed with our fourth child and a new job (in that order) since we arrived.

However, while our original purpose in abandoning the house and moving out here was to get out of the system and survive, we have used the opportunity as best we can to reach our long-term goals.

Live well with our growing family, no matter the economic, political, or social times we live in.

Our homestead is still in development.

This year we are working on the outhouse and grey water leach field, next year we hope to break ground on our off-grid house, and a rainwater harvesting system but we have achieved a lot by trial and error, and a lot of determination.

We collect and use rain water, we made a compost toilet, we have a small vegetable garden and a decent medicinal herb garden, we raise backyard chickens for eggs, and most of our power comes from a solar panel.

We also managed to stick it out through a New England winter, which we weren’t sure we would be able to do until we were halfway through it.

homesteading gardening
homesteading gardening

Eight steps Moving to the Country

There are so many different things I could focus on that are a part of the story, but since the focus for this series is “getting there,” I’ll try to break down the steps we took, to give you some helpful ideas.

We asked permission from family members to park our campers on their land.

With step one approved, we began shopping for campers within our budget.

We also purchased an extra car battery, a solar panel, a water pump, a generator, and a few extra things to make it easier living off-grid.

We downsized our home, literally shutting off half the house, had a huge yard sale, and began packing up.

Moving day – after many of our belongings were moved to the original camper which became our storage building, we hauled the new camper to the land and moved in.

We spent the first couple of weeks learning how to use the propane, water, and electronics in our new living space, which we were able to do before Papa got a new job near the end of 2011 (this whole time he was still applying for jobs, with no luck).

Once we had the important stuff figured out, Papa began work on additional homestead projects – digging a well, creating a rainwater collection system, preparing the ground for gardens, building the chicken run (we brought the coop from the old house), building a tool shed, and installing a clothesline.

All this while the kids and I checked out our new local resources: the laundromat, library, general store, etc.

Becoming self-reliant

Gradually we became more confident and became less dependent on outside assistance, like gas for the generator, water for showers, etc.

We are still not self-sufficient, but with time we hope to become so as much as possible, relying on local resources for extra things we need.

Living this lifestyle is not easy – it has its trials – but the benefits are numerous:

Peaceful environment, free electricity, privacy from neighbors, ability to garden and have animals, and the prospect of an out of the way, self-sufficient, off-grid home, to support us no matter what the future holds.

homesteading made easy
homesteading made easy

What would you do differently if you had a second chance at making a go of rural living?

Kristy and Mike Athens moved to a rural property in 2003.

But six years later they found themselves back in the city.

Now they’re on track to make another move to another country home.

What will they do differently this time?

Here’s Kristy’s story:

Second Time Out: 5 Top Tips I Do Differently Next Time?

In 1999, my husband Mike and I bought a little house in Portland, Oregon.

As I mention in my book, Get Your Pitchfork On!, we lived “across the street from a nice neighborhood park.

We had fixed up the house and planted a garden.

Also, we planted fruit trees in the yard.

We trained hops to climb the garage.

This should have satisfied us.

We could take any of four different bus lines into Portland proper.

People picked up our refuse and took it somewhere else.

Water came to our house clean, and went away dirty.

Friends thought nothing of stopping by for a visit.

The grocery, post office, restaurant—even a movie theater—were all within walking distance.

Yet, we drove around the Columbia River Gorge every weekend and imagined life on one of the homesteads tucked off the road.

We decided to chuck the house, which we’d remodeled from the studs out, and the garden we’d build from scratch, and bought a mini-farm on seven acres in the Columbia River Gorge, in Washington State.

It was dreamy … for a while.

But contingencies we hadn’t planned on started popping up.

We couldn’t keep up with the maintenance that the land and buildings required.

Being a part of the local community

We had cut ourselves off from Portland’s economy in an effort to become part of the local community, and then couldn’t support ourselves.

I don’t really fit into mainstream society, so I often felt like a freak.

Sometimes I was even treated like one!

Plus, I got involved in small-town politics, for which I was not prepared, and did not fare well.

The 2009 recession dealt us a crushing blow; we sold our land and retreated to Portland.

We’re still licking our wounds, saving our money, and planning our next attempt at country living.

It’s given me time to consider what I’ll do differently next time:

Kristy’s top 5 Hacks Moving to the Country

Have a Job First

When we moved to Portland, Mike drove 140 miles round-trip to his job.

I was a freelance writer and editor so my physical location was less of an issue.

Working this way kept us isolated from the community.

When we tried to get local jobs, no one knew us so they wouldn’t hire us.

This time, we will attempt to do our job search from Portland and then move after one of us gets hired.

I can’t tell you whether this strategy will work yet.

If it had already I wouldn’t be writing about it from my desk here in Portland!

Rent, Then Buy is an easy way to Get From City to Farm

Buying land in an area you haven’t lived in is a little like marrying someone you haven’t met; a happy ending is possible but not super likely.

The next time out, we will rent in a town near the area we’re hoping to settle in, and make sure that we complement the flavor of the town before we commit.

We actually liked the Gorge quite a lot.

And once we’ve demonstrated that we want to be a part of the community, we will likely get advance, insider notice of property that comes up for sale.

When you are ready, we recommend checking out the USDA Loans here: Requirements for a USDA loan

Choose Land Carefully

Mike and I were fairly conscientious about this the first time, but we were also guilty of getting whipped up in the romance of acquisition and making compromises we shouldn’t have.

For one, we will never live on a state highway again—too loud, too dangerous, and too much extra snow at the top of the driveway from the plows.

We will pay more attention to micro-climates on a parcel.

We will take irrigation more seriously.

And, we will look for mature fruit trees.

I have planted baby trees in two places now, and want to finally reap what I’ve sown!

We will study zoning and local land-use policies.

Work on Diplomacy
Work on Diplomacy

Our dog, Phynn, was killed on the highway adjacent to our property.

Work on Diplomacy

Next time, I will wait a lot longer before I get involved in local politics.

I will pay closer attention to who is friends with whom, and who isn’t friends.

Also, I will learn who the big-deal families in town are, and who has married whom.

I will pick my battles carefully.

I will understand that no one cares what my education is and where I’m from; all they care about is how I plan to contribute to their community.

Get a Tractor
Get a Tractor

Get a Tractor

As I say in Get Your Pitchfork On!: “No matter how strapping a pair you are, you will not be able to keep up if you try to do everything with a pickup, a wheelbarrow and two shovels.”

Those compact tractors are expensive but necessary.

Period.

“Elbow grease” is no match for this much snow!

Return to Rural Small Farms, Hard Work, and Local Food

Rural Small Farms Boulder, Colorado is often in the news for being happy, healthy, and crazy about all things local—but not often does news coverage dive into policy efforts that underlie that hearty sheen.

One key: initiatives by the county government to support a local food system.

Boulder County leases approximately 25,000 acres to local farmers and ranchers in an effort to promote sustainable agriculture.

This acreage is part of approximately 90,000 acres of county-managed open space.

Having such local agricultural production capacity is remarkable in Colorado’s sprawling Front Range.

And heightened consumer interest in local foods has been a boon for local producers.

In addition to shaping consumer demands – the “all things local” craze also created new producer desires.

More people began envisioning lives as small-scale producers – a few acres of organic vegetables, a lavender farm, some goats.

Yet historically, most of the farmers and ranchers leasing county land operated at a large scale.

Niwot Farms, for example, is a natural beef operation with more than 1,000 head of cattle.

And according to Mary Young, a writer for The Blue Line, third generation Boulder County farmer Jules Van Thuyne, Jr. runs a 1,800-acre operation, with 950 acres leased from the county.

Yet the county sought a way to facilitate smaller scale-farming dreams.

And today, small producers (typically smaller than 20 acres) have access to public lands through recently developed regulations for a Growers’ Association model for agricultural leases.

Through the Association model, several producers work together on one larger parcel of land with access to shared resources, such as water, coordinated among members.

According to Adrian Card, Boulder County’s Colorado State University Extension Agent, the county currently has 3 Growers’ Associations encompassing 8 producers, with annual leases running $100/acre.

Hay Season on a Boulder Farm (courtesy of Let Ideas Compete via Flickr)

Growers’ Association producers include Ollin Farms, a family business committed to sustainable agriculture that operates a farmers’ market booth, on-farm dinners, summer youth camps and also offers shares in its “community supported agriculture” (CSA).

Organic produce, eggs, and honey can also be found at Hoot n’ Howl Farm, one of three farms which comprise the Gunbarrel Growers’ Association.

A key challenge of the program has been helping would-be farmers realistically consider the requirements of running a production business.

Boulder County’s Extension Office offers a variety of informative print material, as well as interactive listservs and business workshops.

The county also requires each member of a prospective GA have farming experience and/or direct mentorship and oversight from an experienced farmer.

Many local producers have developed close connections with community grocers and farmers’ markets.

Boulder’s top restaurants, including Frasca, Salt, and the Kitchen also foster close connections with local farmers and ranchers.

The Black Cat Farm Table Bistro has gone so far as to create their own organic 70 acre farm which supplies the restaurant, a farmers’ market booth, as well regular food deliveries for their membership-based community food share.

This strong connection between local restaurants and food producers – from vegetables to mushrooms to poultry — was noted in Boulder’s 2010 recognition as “America’s Foodiest Town” by Bon Appetit magazine.

Boulder County’s first Growers’ Association hit the ground in 2008 and the program is following a path of slow, careful growth.

According to Extension Agent Adrian Card, key is to ensure potential producers have a solid business plan based on realistic expectations.

A successful backyard garden isn’t sufficient to ensure larger-scale success.

Still, with its innovative policy setting and relatively strong local market, Boulder County offers a place where ambitious small-scale producers can pursue their farming dreams.

Would-be farmers must bring experience, determination and a willingness to work hard, but the Growers Association Model provides access to another central requirement – land.

Return to rural communities: Resilience over efficiency

Before moving, twelve years ago, to a village with a population of 1,230 deep in the Alps, Daniel and Johanna led a dual life in Zurich, Switzerland — accountants by day and members of a small theater troupe in the evenings and on weekends.

Living downtown in a city that consistently finds its way onto lists of cities with the highest cost of living, however, did not come cheap.

According to Daniel, “when Johanna became pregnant, we knew we couldn’t afford an apartment with enough space for all of us”.

On an earlier hiking vacation, they had passed through a small village and had stopped to visit the garden in the local cloister.

At the time, Daniel’s eye was caught by the adjacent lot overgrown with weeds.

As Johanna’s pregnancy advanced, Daniel thought again of the overgrown lot and bought a bus ticket back to the village.

“The garden was still there, but there was no one to clear the weeds from the next lot.

I talked with the owner of the land, applied for a government grant, and we moved into a nearby vacant farmhouse two months later.”

He soon cleared the land, planted peppermint and an array of other herbs, and within two years had the land certified organic and started producing his own line of herbal tea mixes.

Since then, he has operated a small one-room shop on the cloister grounds, expanded sales of tea and vegetables to a number of local fairs and markets, and started raising goats.

After giving birth, Johanna got a part-time job at the town’s nursery and started organizing a theater group at the local church.

At the time, it was a big change, but now I can’t imagine it any other way. When I was young, I always liked the idea of living in the countryside. It has been much simpler and much happier than I imagined.—Daniel

Urban-rural migrants lost in the flood of rural-urban migration

But why consider the story of Daniel and Johanna?

After all, statistics show that the largest migration in human history is currently underway as people move from the countryside to the urban centers.

According to current models, the future is cities — bigger, denser, more populous and more externally dependent on resources and energy than ever.

At a recent symposium, entitled Sustainable Urban Development: Challenges and Issues in Developing Countries and co-hosted by the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS) and the United Nations Center for Regional Development, it was pointed out that experts expect the number of people living in urban areas to grow from 3.4 billion to 6.3 billion by 2050, an 85% increase.

Speaking at this event, Ms. Aban Marker Kabraji, Asia Regional Director of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, pointed out that “while cities cover a mere 2% of land space worldwide, they consume a whopping 75% of the resources”.

The massive scale and the rapidity of this shift in human civilization have fostered broad generalizations of an inexorable movement of people from rural to urban areas.

Daniel and Johanna are not alone though — recent reports from Korea, for example, show that in 2011 there was a 158% increase in the number of households leaving cities to settle in rural areas.

One explanation given by Korea’s Agriculture Minister Suh Kyu-yong is that city dwellers are increasingly packing up and moving to the countryside “to seek a quieter life”.

Just as there are a number of commonly cited drivers of rural-urban migration, however, it likewise seems logical that the reasons for households moving in the other direction are more nuanced and differentiated.

Considering the fundamental changes in human civilization that are forecast for the coming decades, are these urban-rural migrants the proverbial canaries in the coal mine, or just exceptions to the prevailing rule?

And what role can these urban-rural migrants potentially play in supporting ecosystems and fostering resilience?

The important role of rural populations in preserving biodiversity

Humans can play a crucial role in maintaining and even increasing the biodiversity in their surroundings.

There are many places around the world in which people have interacted with their natural surroundings in a harmonious way for many generations, creating socio-ecological productions landscapes (SEPLs).

These dynamic mosaics of land usage and ecosystems/habitats provide sustainable livelihoods that are interlinked with local culture and community.

Terraced rice fields, for example, are home to a multitude of species, but depend on regular human maintenance.

A recent survey in Japan recorded a staggering 5,668 different species living in rice paddies.

On average, rice farmers in Japan are 66 years old, and the rapid depopulation of the country as a whole, and rural areas in particular, means that these biodiversity-rich SEPLs face abandonment and fundamental change.

A case study published by the Satoyama Initiative looked specifically at landscapes that had been abandoned around Machida City, a suburb of Tokyo.

After observing a steady drop in the numbers of plant and animal species, a project was set up under local management to restore the landscapes through human intervention and make full use of traditional knowledge.

In 1986 a baseline survey identified 591 different species in these areas, but by 2002, the landscapes had become home to 680 different species.

Likewise, forests left unattended — particularly planted monocultures — may grow denser as they age, leaving the forest floor without sunlight.

Those thinned and managed in a sustainable fashion, however, let in enough sunlight to feed lush undergrowth, which in turn fosters a wide range of different species.

Such SEPLs require people to stay on the land to manage it in a harmonious manner.

As such, there has been growing focus by urban planners, among others, on the impacts of this flow of people from rural to urban areas, while the SatoyamaInitiative and others look at how to maintain healthy communities and ecosystems in the face of ageing populations and a lack of successors.

Is specialization antithetical to resilience?

With resilience a key focus of the upcoming IUCN World Conservation Congress to be held in September 2012 in Korea, it is useful to consider the implications of people moving to and from cities.

Perhaps it is most informative to look first at systems that demonstrate a lack of resilience.

Coral reefs, for example, are characterized by dizzying levels of biodiversity, are visually stunning, and are recognized for the potential pharmaceutical value of their genetic diversity.

At the same time, many of the organisms living in these environments are tremendously specialized.

Individual clown fish species, for example, have co-evolved with anemones in a symbiotic relationship that leaves each highly dependent on the other for survival.

Considering the fundamental changes in human civilization that are forecast for the coming decades, are these urban-rural migrants the proverbial canaries in the coal mine, or just exceptions to the prevailing rule?

In a relatively static environment, such specialization has allowed these organisms to efficiently exploit niches within the ecosystem.

At the same time, it has rendered them highly susceptible to changes in their surroundings.

Mass bleaching of coral has been closely associated with unusually warm ocean temperatures and rising water levels, both of which have been predicted as outcomes of global climate change.

With coral literally providing the foundation of these ecosystems, and each organism within the system heavily dependent on the others, such events could cause the entire ecosystem to collapse.

Collectively, these specialized organisms therefore constitute an ecosystem with a low degree of resilience in the face of global climate change.

Scientists have predicted that global warming will spawn a host of extreme weather events, which will test the resilience of ecosystems across the world.

Couple this with the spread of invasive species, widespread habitat loss and ecosystem degradation, and the future looks grim for highly specialized organisms like the giant panda, which feeds almost exclusively on bamboo, or the five-needle Alberta pine, which relies entirely on a single species of bird for seed dispersal, the Clark’s Nutcracker.

On the other hand, organisms with less specific diets and a greater capacity to cope with fluctuations in temperature and weather patterns may flourish in the future as more specialized competitors for resources disappear.

Are rural communities inherently more resilient than cities?

Turning away from coral reefs for a moment and focusing again on cities, it has been noted that efficiency is one of the keys to economic growth.

Efficiency, in turn, has often been achieved through increased specialization.

Many urban residents have a small range of highly specialized skills such as accounting, legal advising, pediatrics, etc.

They exercise these skills in an efficient manner, and rely on other specialists to meet the fundamental needs of their daily lives.

In many cases, urban residents lack even the most basic skills associated with securing food and shelter, and are successful due to:

  1. Continued demand from society for their own area of specialty; and
  2. Availability of other specialists who can provide them with food and shelter.

The absence of either point would raise serious challenges for the individual.

It could therefore be argued that urban systems, filled with their highly specialized and externally dependent individual parts, lack resilience in the same way that a coral reef does.

Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, for example, more than 600,000 people left the capital Port-au-Prince in a mass exodus for the rural areas because food distribution networks had shut down and many people had lost any form of shelter.

Movement away from urban centers towards rural areas may come with an increase in resilience as specialization decreases and skill sets expand.

This does not have to be a dire conclusion, however.

For, while evolutionary processes have shaped the specialization within a coral reef, it is recent economic and social forces that have shaped urban specialization.

The giant panda cannot suddenly decide to diversify its diet, but people can always add to their skill sets.

Indeed it seems that the denser the community, the greater the pressure towards specialization.

On one end of the scale, Robinson Crusoe alone on his island was responsible for every aspect of his daily survival.

Further along the scale, a small group of pastorals in the Sahara may have some areas of individual expertise, but each member of the group remains responsible for a broad range of different actions.

At the other end of the scale are extremes like New York or Tokyo, where specialization has reached its zenith and it is possible to earn one’s livelihood solely from working as a pet therapist or wine taster.

In some cases, therefore, movement away from urban centers towards rural areas may come with an increase in resilience as specialization decreases and skill sets expand, as with Daniel as he moved away from the specificity of accounting and took on all aspects of starting an organic herb farm, raising livestock, and marketing his wares.

If estimates hold true and the global population expands to over 9 billion people by 2050, including over 6 billion urban inhabitants, this means that over two thirds of the world’s population could potentially be based in areas characterized by a lack of resilience.

In purely economic terms, cities may represent paragons of efficiency, but the trickles of people leaving for rural areas may reflect some element of a universal human consciousness that resilience rather than efficiency may be the best survival strategy over the long term.

Buying used equipment an essential part of sustainable farming

Buying used farming and construction equipment is a key part of sustainable farming.

When you choose to farm ecologically you are not only focusing on the profitability of your crops but you are also benefiting your environment by utilizing renewable resources to grow your food.

This enhances not only the lives of people you provide product to but also the farmers who work and live off the land.

A single farm can become a self-sufficient method of recycling when you consider how damaged crops and animal waste can become fertilizer.

Crop rotation nurtures the soil and rain water can even be used to water the plants.

Money and natural resources are saved to a great degree by using this method.

Purchasing used construction equipment is just another form of recycling (or reuse) that can take place on a farm.

Used construction equipment for a farm usually comes from previous users or suppliers that no longer wish to use the pieces because they have gotten older and their parts are harder to find.

This can be a nuisance for an operation that doesn’t have the time to stop and work on their equipment or try to find parts for it.

Farmers who know how to work on their own equipment and don’t mind doing a little looking around for parts won’t have a problem with used equipment.

Technology also often becomes outdated and manufacturers phase out certain pieces that don’t match up to the new and latest releases.

As the economy fluctuates and the construction equipment market changes certain pieces come and go.

As people buy new, the older equipment that still functions well needs a new home.

Unless a piece of equipment is labeled as being broken down it probably will function nicely after a small tune-up and inspection.

Sometimes a few small pieces are needed to make the engine run better but this often only costs a few dollars and can make a big difference over how much you would have saved on a brand new piece of construction equipment.

You can also make any modifications you need for your own farm and it’s often easier to do this on an older piece of equipment.

It’s not necessary to doubt the quality of a used piece of equipment in order to make sure you are running a self-sustaining farm.

Most sellers will encourage you to try out the equipment before purchasing and it’s never in their best interest to try and sell something that doesn’t work properly because a bad reputation could develop.

This could prevent future transactions from occurring so it’s not likely a bad piece would be sold.

Most details are stated upfront and many times a warranty is put into effect for at least 30-60 days.

This gives you enough time to take your new purchase home and try it out.

If any problems are going to arise they usually will within the first month or so.

Purchasing used equipment as a key part of sustainable farming allows for a reduction of energy costs and improvement in the environment.

New equipment doesn’t need to be made if there are older pieces being used and this saves on factory costs.

Raw materials won’t be consumed at high levels either.

Used construction equipment is a great way to go green on your farm and help not only yourself but others and the environment as well.

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Building DIY Hydroponic Systems

Building DIY Hydroponic Systems

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DIY Hydroponic Systems – By definition, hydroponics is a water culture method wherein the plant roots are totally immersed in a nutrient-rich and oxygenated solution instead of soil.

What’s even more encouraging for growers is that they can build DIY hydroponic systems which they can use to grow plants all year round.

There are six types of hydroponic systems.

We will explain each type and also discuss how you can combine different hydroponic systems, depending on your situation and needs.

An option is purchasing Best Hydroponics Equipment, Hydroponic kit (see here) or Hydroponic Systems (see here) that can be very economical way to get started.

DIY Hydroponic Systems

There are many reasons why hydroponics systems are becoming more popular among hardcore growers, garden enthusiasts, homemakers, and families who simply want to have more plants.

Perhaps the biggest advantage to hydroponics is that it can greatly increase plants’ growth and yield.

There is the potential for plants to mature up to 25 percent faster and produce 30 percent more than the same plants which are grown in soil.
Building DIY Hydroponic Systems

Advantages of hydroponics systems

Why is this so?

Plants have the potential to grow faster and bigger because they don’t need to work hard to get nutrients.

A hydroponics system provides the plants what it needs, so it can grow upstairs fast instead of expanding its root system downstairs.

Uses less water in hydroponic system

A hydroponic system uses less water than soil based plants.

Thus it can be said that a hydroponics system is also environment-friendly because there is a reduction in waste and pollution from soil runoff.

Can build hydroponic system in a small area

Another reason why hydroponics is highly popular these days is because it works well for growers who don’t have a backyard to plant.

Hydroponics can save a lot of space unlike in traditional soil gardening.

Home-based growers can pack their plants closer together.

In fact it is not uncommon to see plants grown in hydroponic systems in apartments and condos.

Challenges of hydroponics systems

Of course, there are also some drawbacks to hydroponics systems.

One is that it can be time consuming to set up a large scale hydroponics system.

If you aren’t the most experienced grower, you could end up ditching the system because of its intricacies.

Managing it is also time-consuming and challenging, as you need to closely watch and balance the pH and nutrient levels on a daily basis.

Perhaps the biggest risk you are taking just in case you try a hydroponic system is the potential to kill off your plants due to a pump failure.

Plants can die quickly in a water culture since the system can’t store water the way soil can.

A pump failure can cut off a fresh supply of water, and that would be enough to kill your plants and waste whatever progress you have made.

Hydroponic PVC Designs

Hydroponic Basics and Types of Hydroponics Systems

There are six types or methods of hydroponics systems.

Hydroponic Wick System
Water Culture
Ebb and Flow
Drip
Nutrient Film Technique
Aeroponic

Hydroponic system Wick

Wick is the easiest and lowest costing hydroponic method.

The idea is that a material like felt of wicking rope is surrounded by a growing medium such as perlite.

One end of the wick material is immersed in a nutrient-rich solution, which is then wicked to the roots of the plant.

Wick is best suited for growing small, non-fruiting plants such as herbs and lettuce.

However, it won’t work for large plants that need more water.

Water culture in a hydroponic system

Water culture is perhaps the most popular among home growers.

It is simple and inexpensive to build.

Also known as the reservoir method, this system has the roots of the plant suspended in a nutrient solution.

The latter is oxygenated by an aquarium air pump which prevents the roots of the plants from drowning.

Ebb and flow for a hydroponic system

The third type, ebb and flow, functions by flooding the growing area with a nutrient solution at certain intervals.

The solution then slowly drains back into the reservoir.

To ensure that the process repeats itself at specific intervals, a pump is hooked to the timer.

This allows the plants to get the right amount of nutrients at certain intervals.

This hydroponics system type is best suited for plants that are accustomed to dryness.
Hydroponic PVC Systems

Hydroponic system Drip

The fourth type, drip, is also quite simple.

There’s a tank of water where vital nutrients are added, creating a nutrient reservoir.

The water is then released to the plants individually through a network of tubes.

The problem with this system is that it is notorious for clogging due to the particles from nutrients.

Nutrient Film Technique NFT

In nutrient film technique or NFT, a continuous flow of nutrient solution runs over the roots.

The solution is slightly tilted, so that nutrients will flow with the force of gravity.

It is preferred by most growers because the roots of the plant are able to take in more oxygen from the air.

It can also facilitate a fast growth rate because the plants are able to get more oxygen, while the tips of the roots get the nutrient from the solution.

Aeroponics or hydroponic system

The aeroponics system is the most technologically advanced among the six hydroponics systems.

In fact scientists believe that this system will be the solution to man’s food shortage woes in the future.

In this system, the plants are suspended in the air and the roots hanging down below.

A tube pumps up the nutrient solution while another pump of higher pressure sprays the solution as a mist over the roots.

Building your own hydroponic system

When you do it yourself, you can choose from any of the six methods, or combine their principles in building your own hydroponic system.

One reason why DIY hydroponic systems are popular among do-it-yourselfers is that you don’t need to buy a lot of materials for this project.

In fact, you can have a DIY hydroponic system using recycled water bottles.

One note when choosing plastic water bottles is to watch out for the harder plastics. They are often number 7 plastics which you will want to avoid.

This is the plastic made from polycarbonate which is made from Bisphenol-A (also known as BPA) a hormone disruptor.

The best plastics for hydroponics are number 2 and number 5.

Hydroponic System Materials

For this project, you will need a plastic water bottle of any size, a cutting tool like a knife or razor blade, a marker, and a drill or awl.

You will also need a wicking material like a cotton yarn, a hydroponic nutrient solution, perlite, and duct tape.

Hydroponic system Procedure

Start by cutting the top of the bottle using a knife or razor blade at the part where the curve of the upper part of the bottle meets its straight sides.

Turn the upper portion of the bottle and insert it into the bottom, so that its lid is inside the bottle.

Using a marker, mark the point where the lid is. This would serve as the point of reference in adding nutrient solution.

Then drill a hole in the lid. The hold should be large enough for the wick material to pass through.

Then insert the material into the hole in the lid.

It must be long enough to reach the bottom of the bottle and with at least an inch or two remaining in the top.
Hydroponic PVC
Remove the top of the bottle and pour the hydroponic nutrient solution into the bottom part.

Refer to the mark you put on the side of the bottle.

Reinsert the upper portion of the bottle into the bottom, enabling the wick to fall into the nutrient rich solution.

Using the duct tape, secure the top of the bottle to the bottom.

Moisten the perlite with the nutrient solution before placing it on the top of the bottle.

String the wick through the perlite so that it can draw nutrients from the solution and into the perlite-filled top section.

Add the seedling in your hydroponic system

Then put a small seedling in the perlite.

The seedlings should get nutrients from the dampened perlite.

Once the nutrients have been absorbed, more nutrients will be drawn up from the wick.

Hydroponic Kits

You may also buy hydroponic kits if you aren’t fond of DIY.

These hydroponic kits have everything you need to get your home garden started.

There are also instructional manuals to guide you on how to set up the hydroponic system.

But you will still have to watch the systems closely unless you want your plants to die quickly.

While you obviously have to pay upfront for these hydroponic kits, it may well be worth the price if you want to make sure you get things right, and if you want to start right away.

Advantages of Hydroponic vs Soils

As mentioned earlier, hydroponic systems save space compared to traditional gardening.

But there are other advantages of hydroponic systems which make them ideal for home growers.

Save water in hydroponic system

One is that it can save water. Studies show that a hydroponic setup can save as much as 90 percent of water used in traditional soil gardening.

No weeds in a hydroponic system

Second, you don’t need to weed in hydroponics system.

Because there is no soil, there won’t be weeds in a hydroponics set-up.

You can spare yourself of the exhaustion you will get from weeding.
hydroponics roots trimmed

Hydroponic system: No pests and diseases

Plus, there are no pests and diseases to worry about.

Taking away soil from the equation also gets rid of soil-borne diseases that plague traditional gardening.

Hydroponic system Save time

Finally, you can save a lot of time.

You don’t have to water the plants, or weed like in a traditional garden.

Plus you don’t need to put pesticides and fertilizers.

These tasks that you have to do in soil-based gardening aren’t needed in hydroponics systems.

The idea of growing plants in a soil-less environment may sound impossible for the uninitiated.

That is until they learn what hydroponic systems are.

With all these benefits of hydroponics systems, you may want to give DIY hydroponic systems a try.

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Best Birdhouse Plans and Ideas

Birdhouses Plans amd Ideas

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Birdhouse Plans and Ideas – Do you love seeing birds fly in and out of your yard? For many homeowners, a birdhouse is a good addition to their yard as it provides a safe haven for their feathered friends.

It’s also a place for birds to raise their young.

Birdhouses, using or not using a birdhouse kit (see examples here) can also be a good do-it-yourself project; something that even a person with limited DIY skills can pull off with the best birdhouse plans.

A testament to how easy it is to put up your own birdhouse is the fact that there are many kid-friendly birdhouse plans available.

Yes, that’s right, even a grade schooler can build his or her own birdhouse given the right tools and instructions.

Building a birdhouse is a fun activity to do with your child.

Building a Raised Garden Bed Cheaply

Best Birdhouse Plans

Whatever design you intend to have for your birdhouse plan, there are several things to keep in mind.

Types of birds

Find out what bird species are in your area.

This is essential. Different areas and climates attract different types.

From there, think about the kind of birds you actually want to attract.

Perhaps you are hoping for colorful cardinals or fascinating hummingbirds.

Maybe you want to attract birds that eat mosquitoes.

Keep in mind the birds you want when you are considering how large or small to build your birdhouse.

Building your birdhouse accordingly will increase your chances that the birds you want will find your birdhouse.

Size of the birdhouse

Be sure the size of the house is appropriate for the type of birds you want.

The inside dimensions must also be large enough for the adult bird and the growing young.

Birdhouses Plans amd Ideas
Birdhouses Plans amd Ideas

The size of the entrance hole is equally important.

If it is too small, the bird won’t be able to get inside the birdhouse.

If it is too big, then there’s the risk that predatory birds and animals could get inside the birdhouse which could spell trouble for your feathered friends.

Birdhouse materials

As for the material, wood is the best.

It provides the best insulation.

Other materials such as plastic and metal may not be able to insulate the nest, which can make the eggs or young birds overheated in sunny weather or chilled in the cold.

Use galvanized nails which won’t rust.

If you choose to paint the birdhouse, use dull colors to easily blend in with the surroundings.

As fun as it is for a child to paint a birdhouse in their own creative way, keep in mind predators when you paint birdhouses and nest boxes with colors.

Building Birdhouses

Regardless of the style you come up for your birdhouse, you would want it made from materials that can stand up to the weather.

Wooden birdhouses

As mentioned earlier, wood is the best material for a birdhouse.

It’s natural and won’t overheat.

You can opt for cedar which is affordable, readily available at home improvement centers, and can last for years even when left outdoors.

Pinewood is another excellent option.

Birdhouse flooring

For most birds, the floor of the birdhouse should be at least 4 inches by four inches.

Bluebirds, meanwhile, need a slightly larger floor measuring five inches by five inches.

Birdhouse entrance hole

The entrance hole should be at least 1 ½ inches, which is of the right size for native birds to enter but small enough for European starlings and house sparrows to come in.

The entrance hole should be at last five inches above the floor of the birdhouse.

Birdhouse roof

The roof, meanwhile, should be over-sized.

It must extend over the house so that it can shed rainwater away from the entrance.

There is also the likelihood that rainwater will still find its way inside the nest box even with an overhanging roof.

So you should put drainage holes in the bottom of the birdhouse.

Along with narrow gaps under the roofline, these holes will also keep the birds comfortable during warm weather as air circulation should be good inside the nest box.

Hanging the birdhouse

Another important consideration in building a birdhouse is hanging it at the right height.

The general rule of thumb is that the birdhouse should be at least five feet above the ground.

It must also be placed several feet away from bushes where predators like cats can hide.

best birdhouse plans
Birdhouses Robins

The birdhouse should also have several food sources for its tenants.

It would be great if you place it in a yard with native flowers and shrubs that produce seeds and berries.

Or add plants in the garden that can attract insects which the adult bird and its hungry young can feed on.

Handmade Birdhouses

Novice and experienced woodworkers can also make their own handmade birdhouses.

The beauty of birdhouses is that you can use recycled or scrap lumber along with tools such as hammer, nails, and a drill (or cordless drill).

Building a birdhouse steps

Step 1 – Get a pinewood board that measures 18 inches in length and two shorter boards that are cut at an angle.

This would be for the roof that will have a downward angle, letting the rainwater to drain off.

Step 2 – Next, cut two pieces with identical lengths and attached these to the backboard using an air-powered nail gun.

Alternatively, you can use hammer and nails to attach the side pieces to the board.

Step 3 – After attaching the two sides to the board, attach the bottom part of the birdhouse using two nails.

This would secure the two sides to the bottom piece as well.

Step 4 – Once you attach the sides and bottom to the board, you will install the roof next. 

As mentioned earlier, it should be slightly wider than the body of the nest box so that the animals will be protected against the rain.

Step 5 – The final element of the birdhouse is the circular entry door.

An opening of 1 ½ inches in diameter should be enough for finches and bluebirds to get into.

It would also be small enough to prevent predators and hunters from entering.

Use a hole saw for this.

Birdhouse Kits

But if you’re really not confident with your carpentry and wood making skills then you can look for a birdhouse kit.

A birdhouse kit (many to choose from) has everything you need to build a nesting place for your feathery friends.

It includes the wood pieces as well as the tools you need like paint brush, nails, and glue.

Moreover, you will get detailed instructions on how to build the nest box.

In fact these birdhouse kits are very easy to build that there are models designed particularly for children as young as five years old!

What’s also good about buying a kit is if you like it, you can make others like it using it as a guide.

When shopping for a birdhouse kit, you must also look into the inclusions of the product.

One would be the mounting device as it is easier to mount the nest box if there is a bracket or hanger for pole mounting or hanging.

This would save you time and spare you of the hassle trying to figure out how to install a mountain hardware into the birdhouse.

Also, the birdhouse should have one side that opens.

This would give you two benefits.

One is that it will make it easier for you to access the interiors, which is important for cleaning out the birdhouse once the birds have left it completely.

Also, you can look at the inside the box whenever you want.

Birdhouse Ideas

There are many nest box ideas that you can look online for the birdhouse that you are planning.

You can go for the traditional box house with a slant roof, a round hole in the front, and peg perch.

This birdhouse design can house any kind of birds.

What makes it attractive to birds is the size of the hole, so you should cut a hole that is comfortable for the animal to get in.

A platform or open box is a simple to build birdhouse.

It’s a three-sided nest box that can be hung in the backyard, attracting birds to come and raise their young ones.

Then there are the decorative birdhouses that are used more for aesthetic purposes.

This type of birdhouse isn’t really designed to attract a particular type of bird.

While a decorative nesting place can enhance the look of a garden, it can also be infiltrated by unwanted species like rodents.

The birdhouse design may also be affected by the birds that frequent your backyard, or are rampant in your area.

For instance, a woodpecker would likely stay in a box that is filled with sawdust or wood chip.

The house for this type of bird also known as Northern Flicker should be placed high on the tree trunk, and placed in direct sunlight.

Doves, meanwhile, love to settle at birdhouses with twigs, weeds, and grass.

The nest box should also be placed high, at least seven feet from the ground.

It should be with partly open sides to attract doves.

It’s also not uncommon to see flinches.

This type of bird is common in cities and towns.

These birds aren’t picky when it comes to birdhouses, as they can settle in open platform designs as well as enclosed boxes.

But you should place some extra wood at the entrance or mounting on a pole to provide a safer and attractive nesting place for the flinches.

Wrens are probably the species that prefer to nestle in a place closer to the ground.

If this is the type of bird that mostly frequents your area, then you should construct a birdhouse that is less than 1 ¼ inches in diameter.

You will also have to consider if you want sparrows in the birdhouse.

If not, you may want to make it even smaller.

Best birdhouse plans

Indeed, a birdhouse is one great addition to your backyard.

Whether you intend to build your own or buy a birdhouse kit, you won’t regret putting one in your garden.

It’s a fun project and perfect for kids to help with.

Oftentimes park districts or nature centers offer a class to make your own birdhouse.

This is geared generally for children but adults can learn as well. 

Whichever birdhouse design and style you choose, the most important thing is it will provide for a safe space for the bird’s eggs and chicks as they grow.

In turn, you get to look forward to birdwatching.

Rural Living offers many kinds of greenhouse kits Chcek Prices, bird houses Check Prices Here, mini greenhouse kits.

Best Birdhouses for Birds and Nesting

Birdhouses for Birds and Nesting

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Birdhouses for Birds – Nestbox, from the name itself, is a man-made box or enclosure that is used as a place for animals, such as specific mammals and birds, for nesting.

Birdhouses for birds are different-sized nesting boxes typically made from wood, and sometimes metal.

These boxes are built to look like small houses, and are made creatively using different colors and embellishments.

These birdhouses (examples) are oftentimes found in gardens or outdoor spaces to attract and house different various types of birds.

Birdhouses for Birds and Nesting

Aside from that, it can also be used as decorative pieces that add extra charm to any space.

Strategically placed birdhouses can beautify various areas while giving birds a safe space to nest and interact with other species of their kind.

Birdhouses for Birds and Nesting
Birdhouses for Birds and Nesting

It can also help maintain or increase the population of bird species in a certain area.

Birdhouses can be made a different number of ways, depending on the kind of bird you’d like to attract.

Below are the different birdhouses most suitable for cardinals, finches, and robins.

Birdhouses for Cardinals

Cardinals are oftentimes characterized by their bright red plumage.

They are called as such because their color resembles the red robes donned by cardinals of the Catholic Church.

They are considered one of the most desirable “backyard” birds, because of the beautiful songs they sing and their vibrant colors that never fade or change.

These large birds are quite easy to attract as they do not migrate, and can be backyard visitors all-year-round, especially when you’ve got a reliable source of food, water, shelter and nesting areas available.

How to attract cardinals

To attract cardinals, one must know that they prefer shrubby areas and thick vegetation.

They have strong and thick bills that are best for eating large seeds such as sunflower and safflower types.

You can also attract them with cracked corn, peanuts, berries, and apple chunks placed in big and spacious feeders suitable for perching.

Also, it is best to steer them clear from reflective surfaces, as they are pretty aggressive, and can get very territorial especially during breeding season to the point that they will even attack their reflections when they see it.

Cardinals are not what you might consider cavity-nesters; they create open cup-sized nests made from various plant materials such as twigs, stems, bark strips and such.

Since cardinals are large birds, enclosed birdhouses will not be suitable for them.

They prefer open nesting areas that give them enough space to perch, build their nests, and freely move around.

You can do this by creating nesting platforms instead.

Nesting platforms are open on all sides, and is built with corner posts that allow roof support that can offer protection for the nesting cardinals.

It is best to mount or position these platforms on the ground or near walls where there is thick plant cover and shrubbery.

The ideal height of a wooden nesting platform, including the roof, would not exceed four feet from the ground up.

It is important to place nesting platforms for cardinals near areas where they can gather suitable materials for creating their nests.

Birdhouses for Finches
Birdhouses for Finches

Birdhouses for Finches

Finches are one of the most common birds that you will see in your backyard.

They are pretty sociable creatures that enjoy visiting well-stocked feeders (great feeders) and interacting with their kind.

Also known as “house finches”, these small birds are just about the size of sparrows.

Males are seen with red-orange chest marks, while females are usually plain and un-striped, with heavy streaks on the body.

It is best to attract finches with plant food.

They also enjoy eating some insects and feeding them to their young.

Their natural diet, however, consists of fruit and weed seed.

During winter, they get the seeds from winter berries.

How to attract finches

It is easy to attract finches with different types of food such as various birdseeds, fruits, crumbs, suet, and nectar to name a few.

Just also make sure that you provide a clean source of water, as well as the most suitable nesting areas for them.

When it comes to housing, finches prefer open spaces compared to the regular enclosed birdhouse.

They would much rather choose a nesting platform or basket-style shelter with an open top.

In building a finch birdhouse, always remember that these creatures are quite small.

The ideal dimensions for the birdhouse are as follows: 6 inches in width, 12.5 inches in height, and 8.5 inches deep.

It should also have an opening that is 1.5 inches wide, plus a predator guard that will protect these birds from unwanted visitors.

It is best to place these birdhouses or basket in a tree that’s at least 8 feet tall, giving the birds more space to enjoy around their nesting place.

Birdhouses for Robins
Birdhouses for Robins

Birdhouses for Robins

Robins are large songbirds that have round bodies as well as long legs and tails.

These birds are the largest among North American thrushes.

They are characterized by gray-brown plumage, with orange marks and dark-colored heads.

But among males and females, the latter has a paler head compared to its counterpart.

Just like cardinals, robins prefer open birdhouses.

They are not cavity-nesters so they prefer a nesting shelf or platform that is either open an all sides or has a three-sided enclosure.

It is important to mount these nesting shelves in a natural habitat that is abundant with trees and grass, that’s best for hunting earthworms.

For Robin birdhouses (check prices here) is it best to use dimensions measuring 6x6x8 inches.

Make sure it has an open front, with the color of the house preferably in earth tone.

Remembers birds’ basic needs

When creating birdhouses, it is important to remember the most basic needs of birds.

You must make sure that you know the behavior of the species you’d like to attract.

Prepare as much food and water, and place your nesting shelves and birdhouses in the most strategic of places.

This will vary depending on the type of bird you are trying to attract.

When building birdhouses for birds, it is best to use durable wood and corrosion-resistant screws, plates, and other materials as you will be placing these boxes outdoors, exposed to various elements and weather conditions.

Also make sure that these birdhouses are well-made and will be able to protect birds from predators.

Installing a predator guard is important as there are many other creatures lurking in forests and various natural habitats.

Keep Chickens Cool in the Summer Heat Hacks

Chicken standing

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Keep chickens cool, Depending on where you live and your climate, it can be difficult to raise chickens in the summer.

Imagine living in the dry southwest or the humid southeast.

Can you still safely raise chickens in the heat?

Yes!

Here’s how to keep chickens cool in the summer.

How to keep chickens cool

Here are top tips for keeping chickens in the blazing summer heat.

Keep in mind the UV rays, especially at higher altitudes.

The thermometer is not always an accurate measure of the heat index, especially with the direct sun.

Here are best tips for keeping chickens cool and safe.

Chicken’s food and drink – Water Your Chickens

Plenty of clean, cool water is essential.

Even if you have a water pump system, put out extra water for them in several easy-to-access shallow bowls.

Put in several ice cubes as well.

Keep the water bowls in the shade.

Chickens Love Frozen fruit

Chop strawberries, pineapple and bananas into small pieces and freeze them for a few hours.

You can try blueberries and cucumber as well.

Save your kids’ watermelon rinds.

Chill the rinds in the refrigerator, and then give them to your chickens for a cool treat.

Your chickens will love it.

Chicken’s shelter and environment – Chickens need Shade

They will need shade, even something temporary, as their Best Chicken Coops alone is not sufficient.

Supply them with shade in a well-ventilated area, even if it’s makeshift.

You can purchase a shade tent, a shade sail, or rig something with tarps or sheets.

Ventilate the coop

Consider a window that’s safe from predators and a fan.

Misting system

Depending on long the hot season is, it may be worth it to consider installing a misting system, even for a small area.

If you want something less expensive and less permanent, buy a misting attachment for your hose and prop it up for cool relief.

Clean the chicken coop

Bacteria multiples faster in the heat.

Keep your chickens clean, cool and comfortable.

How to keep chickens cool with hot summers and mild winters:

How Long Can Chickens Go Without Water

Kiddie pool to keep your chickens cool

Keep a small pool in the shade.

Fill it up with just an inch or two of water so the chickens stay safe.

Add ice cubes throughout the day.

The chickens will enjoy being able to come and go as they please.

Check in

Check on the chickens at least twice a day during extreme temperatures.

Be sure to watch for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stress in chickens.

Open air system

From the start, work to house your chickens in an open air system with an attached run.

It will be worth it.

You can provide ventilation and ongoing shade which are more important than an enclosure which provides warmth.

Tips for raising chickens for beginners

Tips for raising chickens for beginners
Tips for raising chickens for beginners

It is easy to raise chickens when you set things up correctly and properly from the start.

Here’s what to know about raising chickens.

House chickens as far away on your lot as you can as to avoid the noise and the smell

Be mindful of your neighbors.

They probably don’t want to see, hear or smell them either.

Decide how many eggs you want per day.

That will determine how many hens to buy.

How much space do you have?

You need to plan for one chicken per three square feet at a minimum.

Find out what predators live in your area, especially if you have a fenced in area for the chickens (Fence Installation Hacks for Putting Up Fencing).

Consider getting a livestock guardian animal.

Install a long PVC pipe and connect it inside the coop to their trough so you can fill their feed from the outside.

Cap it so you don’t attract critters.

Install a water pump system so you won’t have to always refill their water.

The chickens peck it to turn it access water.

Fencing is key. Use a wire tighter than chicken wire such as hardware cloth.

Depending on your predators, make sure the wire is at least 10″ underground as well.

Raccoons are a huge threat to chickens and can reach in with their paws to kill chickens through chicken wire.

Raccoons and other animals can dig down deep so be sure to put the fencing deep enough.

Consider a treadle feeder in order to keep rodents and wild birds from feeding on the chicken feed.

Will the chickens be free range

If they won’t be free range, the general rule of thumb is 3 – 4 square feet of coop space per hen and 10 feet of run space per hen.

Having enough space will help prevent the chickens from fighting.

Before you get chickens, it is a great idea to take care of someone else’s chickens for a few weeks.

They are easy but do take time and attention.

Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, I’ve never known anyone to own chickens.

But after moving to the Las Vegas area, it seemed commonplace.

Raising chickens can be fun but you must keep them safe.

We wanted to raise chickens but knew how to keep chickens cool in the summer heat was a concern.

These tips have kept our chickens safe and comfortable.

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Building DIY Hydroponic PVC System Using PVC

Hydroponic PVC

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Hydroponic PVC – Do you want to grow your own plants but you don’t have enough space in the backyard?

Do you live in a condo thus you don’t have any backyard to grow veggies?

Then you can build a hydroponic PVC system.

It is a clever way of growing plants on a small area without exerting much effort.

It can hang on a wall or a fence, meaning you don’t need to have a garden to pursue your hobby.

Hydroponics is a word derived from two Greek words.

Hydro means water while ponics is a word for hard labor.

Hydroponics actually goes along way back, as the ancient Egyptians and Aztecs were said to be familiar with the principles of growing plants in water enriched with nutrients.

There are lots of plants that you can grow in a hydroponic PVC system.

These include onions, spinach, chives, zucchini, arugula, yellow squash, lettuce, basil, and cucumbers.

You can also grow all types of cabbage, mint, broccoli, cilantro, peas, oregano, cauliflower, and green peas.

Other plants that you can nourish in a hydroponic PVC system are peppers, strawberries, chili, cherry tomatoes, parsley, and radishes.DIY hydroponic System

What are Hydroponic PVC Systems

Hydroponic PVC systems use the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe that is commonly used for household waste plumbing.

While there are other materials that can be used for a hydroponic system such as metal or plastic, PVC has become very popular among home gardeners because of its inherent advantages.

Advantages of Hydroponic System PVC

Arguably the most glaring advantage offered by PVC is affordability.

A hydroponics system based on metal or plastic can be very costly.

PVC, on the other hand, is very easy to put up because the low price of the material.

If you’re looking to create your own hydroponic system at home, you’ll be attracted to the low price of PVC that leaves you with enough space for error and tryouts.

Another advantage of PVC is its efficiency.

PVC pipes are lighter than other hydroponic system materials like steel.

It is also not toxic and soluble.

Plus, hydroponic gardening systems that make use of PVC pipes perform very well outdoors notwithstanding different weather conditions.

It’s perhaps the quality that sets PVC apart from other materials, which can break down over time due to constant exposure to rain.

PVC can withstand harsh elements, and won’t be a problem if taken indoors.

Disadvantages of PVC Hydroponic System

This is not to say that PVC doesn’t have its own share of disadvantages.

There are some downsides to having a PVC hydroponic system.

One is the tendency to cause contamination.

Plant roots can also get inside the PVC pipes.

However, these problems can be easily controlled.

For instance, the use of a water permeable fabric for coating the inside of the pipes can control the roots from getting inside the PVC pipes.

This should let water and nutrients to run through and stop the roots from getting to the inside of the pipes.

The other problem can be solved by thoroughly cleaning the pipe with a 1 percent sodium hypochlorite solution after a crop has been grown in it.

This involves mixing one part of bleach with nine parts of water.

Best Hydroponics Equipment
Best Hydroponics Equipment

Hydroponic PVC Designs

Should you decide to build a DIY hydroponic PVC garden, there are certain things that you will have to determine.

Do you want to build a horizontal garden on a table or floor, or mount a vertical one on a frame or wall?

The horizontal garden is slightly less difficult to put up because there’s no fear of the thing collapsing under the weight of the plants and water.

But if you have a limited space, the more viable option is the vertical garden.

In case you opt for a vertical design, you need to buy a large pump as it will have to work harder in pumping nutrient-filled water to the topmost part or layer of the garden.

Hydroponic methods

You’ll also have to decide on the hydroponic method.

There are two common choices here—ebb and flow and deep water culture.

Ebb and flow hydroponic systems allow water to flow through the pipes.

There’s a pump that runs for 15 minutes an hour, flooding the pipes with water filled with nutrients.

Once the pump is turned off, the nutrient solution goes back into the reservoir.

It simply duplicates the rain and drought cycle.

The other method, deep water culture, has the roots of the plants suspended directly in the nutrient solution.

The PVC pipes are filled with the solution.

Meanwhile the pots with plants are placed in holes that are drilled on the upper part of the pipe.

Lastly you need to determine the growth medium.

You can go for HydroClay pebbles that are very good in holding oxygen aside from providing excellent drainage.

You can also opt for Perlite and vermiculite which are ideal for roots needing more support.

Rockwool cubes, meanwhile, are ideal for starting seeds in the hydroponic system.

The size of your hydroponic PVC garden will also be influenced by the number of plants you intend to grow.

Generally speaking, you can allot six inches of PVC for every plant.

Hydroponic PVC Plans

Building a hydroponic PVC system is a DIYer’s dream because of tools and materials needed are often found in the household, or can be bought at a nearby home improvement store.

Moreover, setting up is quite simple.

The process requires cutting and connecting the PVC pipes, cutting holes, cleaning the system and controlling the water level in the pipes.

We’ll show you how to build a DIY hydroponic PVC system that measures 3 ½ feet x 8 feet, and capable of holding up to 36 plants that are up to six inches tall.

It can also hold up to 15 gallons of water, with its nutrient reservoir holding almost the same amount.

You’ll also need a hydroponic pump for this.

Building DIY Hydroponic Systems
Building DIY Hydroponic Systems

How to start DIY Hydroponics

Using a hack saw, start to cut four PVC pipes.

Each pipe should measure 7 feet and six inches long.

Then cut two six-inch pieces which will be used for the u-turns for the PVC elbows.

Clean the burrs from the pieces using a PVC primer.

Hold the pieces together for a few seconds when gluing them to avoid the pieces from popping back out.

The PVC pipe glue should be applied on the end of the pipe and the u-turns, covering 1 ½ inches on the end of the pipe.

Make holes for the plants

Once the u-turn pieces are dry, the next step is making holes for the plants.

Ideally, the system should be left to dry overnight before drilling holes.

This should make the process easier to accomplish, and ensure that the entire system won’t come apart while you drill the plant holes.

The plant holes should be at the top of the PVC pipe.

Measure 3 ½ inches from the elbow of the pipe, marking it with a dot.

Each long pipe which measures 7 feet six inches long should have nine dots, with a space of 10 inches in between.

After drilling the holes, clean the system again and flush it several times to ensure that it is safe from breaking.

You’ll also need disposable cups (16 oz) to make the netted pots.

Drill small holes on the sides and bottoms of the cups.

Make the holes small enough that no one can see them.

Install a dam hydroponic system

At the end of the system, install a dam hydroponic system to keep the water in the system as high as possible without causing any leakages.

The DIY dam can be a milk jug.

For this dam to be operative, look for a piece of thin plastic and a 4 inch piece of scrap PVC.

Trace out a circle on the plastic using the scrap PVC then cut it out.

Cut a side of the circle for the height of the water level that you would like to be maintained inside the pipes.

Then cut two slits that would give a flap which can be bended down so that the level of water can be fine-tuned.

Set up the system by filling it with water, and the dam filled with 1/3 water.

Turn on the hydroponic pump.

The amount of water going back into the system should be the same as what is being pumped into it.

Put the disposable cups into each hole, adding clay pellets to each cup.

Half of the pellets should sink in the water.

To complete the system, install a 1000 watt light.

Hydroponic PVC Kits

Of course, you can make your life easier by buying a hydroponic PVC kit.

But there are certain things that you have to consider when buying one.

The kit should have all the necessary items like grow lights, nutrients, fan, grow medium, and instructional guide.

Odor control is equally important.

Be sure to have a plan for odor control so your garden won’t be saturated in unpleasant scents.

Lastly, buy a kit with outstanding customer support so that you can have someone to turn to in case you find something wrong with the kit.

>>Hydroponic PVC Kits Here<<

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Guide to Miniature Cattle Breeds Small Modern Homesteading Farm

Belted Galloway Cattle Standing

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If you have a small farm, you want to maximize value. Miniature cattle breeds can help a great deal.

It’s important to consider choosing a cow from miniature cattle breeds instead of getting a full-size cow.

It’s a nice option in these times of rising food prices and concerns regarding food quality.

Many people raise miniature cows for meat.

Others raise them solely for fresh dairy products. This usually means getting a milk cow.

Many people consider miniature cattle breeds instead of smaller full-size cows. You will need less pasture and will have less milk to consume.

For these people, small-breed cattle may be a more viable alternative, even though the miniature cow costs more initially.

A good quality family milk cow may fetch a price in the $1,400 to $1,800 range.

Miniature cattle breeds ~ A small or miniature cow, on the other hand, can cost anywhere from $1,800 to $3,500.

Miniature Cattle Breeds ~ Size of Miniature Cows

These miniature cows can be classified in categories that depend on their height at the hip.

Midsize miniature cows measure from 42 to 48 inches at the hip.

Standard miniature cows range from 36 to 42 inches.

Micro-miniature cows are all less than 36 inches in height at the hip.

So generally, miniature cattle breeds range anywhere from 1/2 to 1/3 the size of normal cattle.

Why Miniature Cattle Breeds (Miniature Cows) Are the Perfect Animal for Modern Homesteading Farms and Ranches

These breeds can cost more because they actually offer several clear advantages:

Advantages of miniature cow breeds

They can produce just enough milk for your needs

In peak production, a normal-sized cow can offer 6 to 10 gallons of milk per day.

That may give you more problems for storage, and you may not really know what you should do with all that milk.

On the other hand, miniature cattle breeds can give you about 1 to 1.5 gallons per milking.

That should be enough to give you a few glasses of milk to drink, some butter and cheese per week, and even a little milk leftover for some neighbors.

You need just 1/2 – one acre of pasture for each animal

They’re about 25 – 30% more feed-efficient

Typically, you’ll only need a third of the standard amount of feed for each one.

Miniature Cattle Breeds are less work

You’ll haul less hay during the fall.

During the deep winter freeze, you’ll have to carry fewer buckets of water for your thirsty cows.

Since they eat less, they’ll produce less waste for you to have to cart away

Your best option is to divide the pasture to smaller sections, and then you can rotate the grazing pattern.

You can even tie your small-breed cattle to a tire to let the animal graze in a specific area.

Then you can just put the tire in another area afterwards.

They don’t require heavy-duty fencing

In many cases, you can simply use a single hot wire.

They’re ideal to raise for meat

If you butcher an entire miniature cow, you get just the right amount of meat for a small family.

A single tiny cow can feed a family of 4 people for months.

These miniature breeds convert expensive organic feed into choice cuts more efficiently than their standard-sized counterparts.

This is why demand for their meat is growing, with lots of upscale restaurants and gourmet markets looking to buy the lean and luscious meat from grass-fed mini roasts and steaks.

Showing miniature cattle

Many owners like to show their miniature cattle.

This is also a great way for children to become involved in the 4-H Club and in a state or county fair.

Best inexpensive products for miniature cattle breeds:

  1. Use a brush for a simple way to clean their coats and untangle their hair.
  2. Lead your miniature cow with an easy-to-fit cow halter.
  3. Show your miniature cow with a show stick.

More great things about miniature cattle breeds

Miniature breeds of cows don’t lend itself to numerous medical conditions

There is the condition that some call the “bulldog” gene, technically called chondrodysplasia.

This results in a physical deformity that often leads to the death of the cow, but this is extremely rare.

Also, you can do a blood test to check for this gene when you’re buying your miniature cow.

These smaller size cows only need minor adjustments in regards to their feeding and care

Their hay-feeding equipment and water tanks will just have to be a bit shorter than with full-size cows.

Mini cows as pets are great and very gentle

Owning one can be like having a gentle and huge dog except she gives you milk.

Animal therapy workers and petting zoo managers love miniature cows.

They’re cute and small and they have friendly dispositions—what’s not to like?

Caring for and tending to backyard animals, including mini cows, can be a great way to involve children.

There are many different types of responsibilities they can handle, depending on their age and maturity.

They would be accessible in a food shortage or crisis

Miniature cattle, like raising backyard chickens, will become invaluable should you ever be facing a food crisis.

Miniature Cattle Breeds

There are many books which explain miniature cattle.

Owning a reference book or two will help you as you prepare for raising these particular cows as well as help you when issues arise.

Breeds of miniature cattle for small farm or ranch:

Miniature Cattle Breeds Miniature Belted Galloway
Miniature Cattle Breeds Miniature Belted Galloway

Miniature Belted Galloway

The Belties, as the Miniature Belted Galloways are often called, are a very hardy breed.

They originated from the southwestern part of Scotland.

They have a double coat, with the coarse outer coat designed to repel water.

Their under coat is not so much hair as wool, and it’s to insulate the cow against the cold.

Belted Galloways tend to have a solid color but with a white belt around their midriff.

At maturity, their height at the most reaches 42 inches at the hip bone.

Facts about Belties

These Belties are a popular breed for small farms, as they offer several advantages:

They’re considered as the oldest naturally polled beef cattle in the world

This means they are by nature hornless, and that offers several key advantages.

The problem with horned cattle is that you’ll have to expend some effort (or pay for the labor) for de-horning or tipping the horns.

If you don’t, then they’ll pose a danger to you and to their handlers.

Galloways are also a proven commodity in terms of profits

Various tests over a 10-year period show that this breed use up the least amount of feed for every kilogram of weight gain they achieve.

These are the high feed conversion rates that make these Belties profitable every year.

One of the most crucial breed traits of all Galloways is that their beef quality is always excellent.

It’s lean, and yet it’s also well-marbled.

Due to the efficient protection offered by their double coat, their carcasses don’t have that additional layer of fat in the back that’s quite common to other breeds.

You’ll find that they dress out at about 60 to 62 percent of their live weight.

Their excellent hair coat also translates to lower feed costs during the winter

Scientists at Montana State University found that when beef cows have hair coat that is just an inch thicker than average, they will require 20% to 25% less digestible feed intake to maintain their body weight in the cold weather.

With the good double hair coat, they need less feed than usual to maintain their body condition.

Double hair coat is that it is able to shed water

Even in very cold weather, the rain hardly penetrates their coat.

These Belties can thrive all year long, and they only need minimal shelter from the summer heat to the winter cold.

Galloways are very docile which means that they’re easy to handle and care for

Miniature Belted Galloway facts

They also exhibit terrific foraging ability, and they’re not picky at all.

In fact, a Danish study found that compared to all the other breeds in the study the Galloway consumer many more different types of flora.

Since they can digest even less digestible types of flora, they can flourish even though the conditions are less than ideal.

They’re also known for their longevity and hardiness, as they are resistant to disease.

They also have high fertility rates, and calving is easy for them.

They also exhibit great mothering abilities for their calves.

Miniature Belted Galloways are easy to raise

These Galloways don’t really need all that much.

They should have access to clean fresh water, and there should be some pasture grass and good-quality hay. T

hat goes for some available mineral or salt block too.

For extreme weather, it may be nice if they have some shelter or shade to keep themselves more comfortable.

They will also need regular parasite control and vaccinations, for potential problems such as leptospirosis.

Over the last decade or so, the numbers of Miniature Belted Galloways have risen significantly, and so has the demand for them for small farms.

They do really well on small family farms.

Like so many miniature cattle breeds, they are completely adorable too.

Dexter Mini Cow
Dexter Mini Cow

Dexter Mini Cow

Modern Dexter miniature cows trace their ancestry to a 1750 herd of sturdy Irish mountain cattle that was assembled by an agent of Lord Hawarden.

His name was Mr. Dexter.

The cows in turn were descended from the small cattle of the Celts of ancient Ireland.

They were already called Dexter mini cows by 1845, and by then they looked pretty much like the Dexter cows of today.

A Dexter registry was established in Ireland in 1887, and in 1911 an American registry was established as well.

But the Dexters in North America were rare.

Today they’re still classified as “rare” in the American Livestock Breed Conservancy’s Conservation Priority List.

By raising Dexter cows, you can help preserve an endangered heritage livestock breed.

Facts about Dexters

Here are a few facts you need to know about Dexters:

Dexters are famed for their longevity and for their generally sweet dispositions

They can live for quite a while, with an average lifespan of about 17 to 18 years.

They have a powerful maternal instinct

Dexters will act as surrogate mothers, and they can look after 4 or more calves at the same time.

They’re well-known for easy calving.

But they often calve until they’re very old, and some have calved at 20 years old.

They can rear about 10 calves during their lifetime.

Mature bull can reach up to about 47 inches in height, and weigh more than 450 kilos

That’s still significantly smaller than your normal-sized cattle.

They are mostly black, although there are times when you may find one with a dun or dark red color.

Dexter cows are horned

The horns of the bulls tend to extend directly to each side.

They then curve forward and upward, and there’s some space between the 2 horns.

Generally, the horns are white in color, but the tips are black.

You should be able to stock more cattle per acre than with normal-sized cows

They’re very good at foraging for their own food.

In fact, they’re well-suited for areas with drought problems.

Dexters live on grass.

When grass is scarce, they can make do with hay.

Some owners tend to give them a bit of grain or a few concentrate pellets during milking time, as a sort of incentive.

Dexter cows also need a lot of water so they can maintain their milk production.

The water should be clean at all times.

If you’re keeping them as milking cows, they’ll just produce less milk when they get less food.

They’re at just ⅔ the size of a standard breed, and their need for food is proportionally less.

Dexters are regarded as dual-purpose cows

You can get them for their milk or for their meat.

This particular breed is justifiably renowned for their milk production.

Though they’re smaller, they can outstrip the milk output of their bigger counterparts.

Their average yield is about 10 liters a day, but they can produce as much as 20 liters of milk daily.

The milk is ideal for making cheese, with an average butterfat level of about 4 to 5 percent, with cream yields of a liter for every 5 liters.

More information about Dexters

These are very hardy animals, and you can keep and milk them outside if you need to.

But they do require shelter from extreme weather such as an open shed or a cowshed.

Dexter facts and tips for raising them

You should reserve your best pasture for your proven milk producers.

You can plant good herbal ley as pasture grass which can be good for worm control.

When you have rich pasture, you’ll have to reduce their grazing time so they don’t get more weight than they ought to.

When they get too big, they can produce less milk, and their size can lead to calving problems.

A standard rule of thumb is to limit their grazing on rich pasture to just 6 hours a day.

After that, you should lead them to their corral and feed them hay.

One minor problem for milking is that their teats can be small, so milking them by hand may pose a challenge.

You may want to invest in an electric milking machine especially when you have several Dexter cows to milk.

You can also raise Dexter cattle for their meat.

A 3-year old steer can reach up to 460 kilos. Because of their excellent foraging ability, their high feed conversion, and excellent meat-to-bone ratio, Dexter steer can reach 180 kilos in 14 months.

When you feed them grass, the meat is delicious: tender, lean, and fine-textured.

With grain feeding, which is not typically recommended because it is unnatural for them, the meat in the prime cuts are finely marbled, and it has a lighter color.

Miniature Zebu Cow
Miniature Zebu Cow

What’s great about Dexters

These really make for good small farm cattle, as they can be converted into good beef or you can continue to enjoy their healthy milk.

And they can also make great pets, although you’ll need to be concerned with the horns, especially around children.

Miniature Zebu Cow

In general, miniature cattle breeds have been bred by man by choosing the smallest cows from a larger breed.

But the Miniature Zebu is a true breed of miniature cattle, which means they’ve developed into a unique species all on their own.

They are among the oldest breed of cattle, and may trace back to as far as 6,000 BC.

Some document records place them in Sri Lanka and southern India by 3,000 BC.

The first zebu was imported into the US during the 1920s.

They were considered novelties in zoological gardens.

They’re becoming a bit more popular as more people learn about them, but they’re still quite rare in North America.

People in the United States call them Brahman cattle as well.

Facts about Zebu Cows also known as Brahman Cows

Zebus are popular because they look so cute that they’re almost like fawns.

People recognize them for their characteristically well-developed humps, which are very prominent on mature bulls.

They may have horns which can be in any shape and size.

Because of their appealing look and friendly disposition, Zebu cows aren’t normally bred for meat production.

They’re mostly for shows, junior rodeo events, and zoological gardens.

Others use them for their breeding farms.

You can raise them as pets, and you can even use them for milk.

A typical zebu cow can produce a gallon of milk a day, and it is very rich in butterfat.

They have sleek coats that are short and dense.

Their colors range from black, spotted, or red, to steel gray or nearly pure white.

In mature bulls, it’s common to see nearly all black in the neck, shoulders, and hump areas.

Zebus are measured at the withers, which is directly behind the hump.

Zebus don’t go past 42 inches in height; most are about 36 to 38 inches tall.

However, some adults may only reach up to 26 inches.

They can range in weight from 200 to 500 pounds.

Miniature Zebu cows carry their babies for 9 months like human mothers.

They calve easily and produce good milk.

They’re very protective of their babies, especially in the first few weeks.

The baby Zebus really look like fawns, and many human owners (and their children) find them adorable.

They’re about 16 to 18 inches tall and weigh about 18 to 22 pounds.

After just a few moments after their birth, they’re able to stand and walk around.

They can be as tame and as friendly as a family dog, especially if they’re bottle-raised.

More facts about Zebu Cows

You can easily halter-train small Zebus, and you can have your children walk them on a leash.

The breed is so docile and small that they’re considered safe for children and for the elderly.

Feeding them isn’t hard, although the food will depend greatly on your geographic location and the season.

They’ll accept hay during the winter months, and for the rest of the year they can live on good quality grass.

For grain, you can use cattle feed or a general purpose sweet feed.

To keep your zebu healthy, you’ll also need fresh water and salt blocks.

They do very well in warm weather, which is why many of the Zebus in the US are in Florida.

But they can also survive farther up north as long as you provide them adequate shelter during the colder months.

With proper care, they can live for as long as 20 to 25 years.

Their origins have made them immune to most tropical diseases.

The price of a registered miniature bull calf in Florida may range from $500 to $2,000.

A heifer calf can cost from $1,500 to 3,000. Full grown bulls and cows that have proven productive will cost more.

They can be very expensive if they have unusual characteristics, such as if they come from high quality bloodlines or if they’re very small.

miniature jersey cow
Miniature Jersey Mini-Cows

Jersey Mini-Cows

Jersey is a British island found in the English Channel, just off the French coast.

Because it’s an island, the cattle there were able to develop in relative isolation from other cattle breeds.

It’s one of the oldest dairy breeds, with pure bloodlines tracing back to almost 600 years.

These miniature cattle are famous for their high quality milk production, along with its generally friendly personality and lower maintenance cost due to its miniature status.

While the standard Jerseys today are bigger due to breeding programs, the miniature Jerseys at 3 years of age don’t go over 700 pounds on average and they don’t exceed a height of 42 inches at the hip.

Many are within the 36 to 40-inch range.

These are actually the original traits of the breed, and the standard Jerseys were bred to be larger to boost milk production.

Today, the mini Jersey is a rare breed.

Facts about Jersey Mini Cows

They can be very adorable, and that’s undeniable.

The color of their coat ranges from fawn to dark fawn, with some sporting splashes of white.

The cows tend to weigh about 600 to 650 pounds, while the bulls weigh in at about 800 pounds.

Because of their small stature, they don’t require as much acreage and barn space.

They also require less feed, as they only eat half as much as their bigger counterparts.

Their milk is very delicious and quite nutritious too.

They contain high butterfat and protein amounts.

They can produce about 2 to 4 gallons of milk a day.

If you’re getting a miniature cow, the point is to provide milk and that means you really have to check the udder.

It needs to be attached well, and the teats should be large enough that you can milk them easily.

They should also sport a straight spine, and stand firmly with legs long enough to support their body length and size.

More facts about Miniature Jersey Cow

While modern Jersey bulls are notoriously aggressive, that’s not usually the case with mini Jersey bulls.

This is especially true with bulls that have been bottle-fed from birth.

While they can be playful as calves, they can also be very gentle and sweet even when compared to their female calves.

They’re quieter and they don’t spook as easily.

But when they mature, it’s still a good idea to just handle him as you need to, but you can just leave him alone.

You can start handling him less when he reaches puberty, which for mini Jersey bulls is at 6 to 7 months.

The calves also don’t like the cold very much, especially when the temperature drops below 50.

So you should keep them warm with calf coats or even with heat lamps.

Keeping them warm in the winter months is crucial if you want to minimize the risk of stress-related diseases.

Just remember, with mini Jerseys you get the best milk for your family, and a cute and gentle pet besides.

Miniature Panda Cow
Miniature Panda Cow

Miniature Panda Cow

Now if you’re into truly rare miniature cows with a beauty that can’t be matched, you really ought to take a look at the Miniature Panda.

The first of its kind is the progeny of a miniature bull that is 75% Irish Dexter and 25% Belted Galloway bred to an exotic cow (“Happy Mountain” Cattle).

The result was a small heifer measuring just 14 inches tall at birth.

She has a white belt around her middle, along with the face of a panda, all white with black circles around the eyes.

Miniature Panda Cow is unique

There are only a few dozen of these miniature Panda cattle in the world, and they’re all celebrities in one way or another.

There is a pair of them featured at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington.

Sometimes the celebrity status can even get in the head of the Panda cattle.

According to one Washington owner, his Panda bull calf is never far from his mother, but he “struts” around the farm and other caves follow him around.

Miniature Herefords
Miniature Herefords

If you want a celebrity animal for your zoological garden or farm, you can’t go wrong with a miniature Panda cow.

They’re just that cute, lovable, and popular.

But you will have to spend lots of money to get one, or devise a breeding program yourself.

The cost of buying one may reach up to $30,000, but you’re getting instant fame and status.

Miniature Herefords

The standard Hereford cattle breed began in Herefordshire, England, about 250 years ago.

The breeding program for the miniature Hereford started in the late 1960s, but it was only in 1989 when breeding stock became available for sale.

They’re widely considered beef animals, although there are many other reasons why you may want to buy one.

You can buy them as a pet for your young children, or enter them in shows.

Some buy them because of the agricultural tax breaks they get to enjoy.

You can even just buy them as special tools to mow and fertilize your huge backyard.

Facts about Miniature Herefords

These make for wonderful pets.

They’re generally docile and have sweet-temperaments, especially when they’re already halter-trained.

Even the bulls are comparatively gentle compared to the bulls of other miniature breeds.

And the calves only weigh in at 30 to 60 pounds, so that even 5 or 6-year old kids can show them around.

They’re also very easy to care for, and they won’t cost you as much for upkeep.

They’re very hardy and they adapt well to all environments, so you cut back on veterinary bills.

They don’t need special food treats, they require less pasture space, they’re easier on your pasture and fence, and they produce less manure to haul away.

Mini Herefords are excellent food converters.

This means they don’t have to eat as much to produce weight gain for meat.

And their meat is more tender because of their shorter muscle length.

Standard cows need to develop muscle to carry 2,000 pounds in weight.

But the mini Herefords only weigh from 700 to 1,000 pounds, so they require less muscle.

They also offer a larger ribeye area of about 1.5 square inches for every 100 pounds of body weight.

Miniature Herefords – breeding

The breed is very fertile and can breed back rather quickly.

The heifers can breed at about 2 to 3 years.

The bulls can even start at an earlier age, as they can breed when they’re a year and a half years old.

After giving birth the mother is very nurturing, and she can also provide lots of milk for her calf.

You should find a reputable breeder if you’re considering buying a miniature Hereford.

It’s easy to make mistakes, such as paying show-quality prices for a cow when you just want a pet.

Others may pay top fees for a very small animal only to find out that she’s not small-framed genetically.

Just make sure you get the most suitable animal for your needs.

If you want them for the beef, then they’re able to provide better beef than just about any beef you can get in the supermarket.

If you want a pet, make sure that it’s docile and that you train it with a harness.

And if you want them for your own breeding program, you will need to research the pedigrees.

Now that you are learning so much about miniature cattle, be sure to learn about how a livestock guardian dog can help.

Miniture Lowline Angus
Miniture Lowline Angus

Lowline Angus

The Lowline Angus descended from the Angus cattle breed that was formed several hundred years ago from the black hornless cattle in the Angus and Aberdeen counties in Scotland.

Some would claim they are derived from Australia and are not considered ‘Mini Cattle’.

These spread worldwide during the 1800s, and soon thereafter, Black Angus started to dominate the US beef industry.

History of Lowline Angus

The Lowline Angus was actually created by accident.

They were the result of an Australian study which tried to determine if large or small animals were more efficient at converting grass into meat.

In this 1974 study, they used 85 Angus cows and divided them into 3 herds.

The High Line herd was defined by high yearling growth rates, and the Low Line herd had low yearling growth rates.

The third herd was the control with randomly selected animals.

Researchers found out at the end that the High and Low Line herds demonstrated about the same level of efficiency in converting grass to protein.

They were supposed to slaughter the Low Line herd, but it soon became evident that these smaller animals had far greater value than what was first thought.

After 15 years of selective breeding the Lowline Angus cattle breed was born.

They stabilized at about 30% smaller than their Highline counterparts, and that makes them one of the smallest beef cattle breeds in the world.

These animals were extremely docile.

They adapted to Australian conditions.

The researchers conducted a disposal sale in 1993, and introduced to the US in 1997.

More facts about Lowline Angus

On average, a purebred Lowline Angus calf weighs 42 pounds. A mature cow is 39 inches tall and weighs 800 pounds.

A mature bull reaches a height of 43 inches and 1200 pounds.

They’re ideal for intensive grazing conditions, and their feed requirements are considerably less than what their bigger counterparts need. They only need about a third of the stand cattle’s nutritional requirements.

You can raise about 54 breeding cows per 100 acres, compared to 33 for Angus and 38 for Wagyu.

Yet you can get an average of 154.3 retail pounds of product from your Lowline Angus.

That’s a lot compared to the 110 pounds per acre for the Angus and 83.1 pounds for the Wagyu.

Lowlines offer superior carcass traits, with 30% larger rib eye area per hundredweight and excellent marbling.

The cows calve with excellent ease, with a short gestation period of 271 days and afterwards they exhibit great mothering ability.

More great reasons to own Lowline Angus

They’re also naturally polled, so that means they’re naturally hornless and that’s a very advantageous trait.

They can live for as long as 12 to 25 years, as they’re easy to keep, and terrific foragers.

Lowline Angus can adapt to a wide variety of climates, from the hot and humid Deep South to the cold of Canada.

They do not test for the Anchondroplasia gene and the dwarfism gene.

Lowlines look great with their nice proportions, and they’re very easy to handle.

Miniature Texas Longhorns
Miniature Texas Longhorns

What the Lowline Angus represents is a chance for you to get a taste of delicious beef even if you do own a very small farm.

And if you want to make a business of it, it’s a great investment because they’re still rare and the demand for their beef is very high.

Miniature Texas Longhorns

If you’re in the US, you probably heard of the Texas Longhorn football team.

But you won’t ever forget the first time you see a Texas Longhorn in person, as their horns can grow as long as 7 feet from tip to tip.

They’re among the first cattle the Europeans brought to North America.

They’re a mix of breed from India and Iberia.

Yet despite their horns, the Texas longhorn is actually very gentle and even quite intelligent for their species.

And if you want the smaller and cuter version, you can go for the miniature Texas longhorns instead.

They began from a 1990 breeding program that downsized purebred, registered Texas Longhorns.

The process simply bred then smallest Texas Longhorns they had until the resulted in this miniature version.

Like their bigger counterparts, they have the horns, the general build, and the mild, tractable personality without any nervousness or aggressiveness.

Facts about Miniature Texas Longhorns

Technically, their horns must measure from tip to tip at least 50% their hip height, although it would of course be better if they horn measurement can actually reach the length of the height at the hip.

Miniature Texas Longhorn cows should be no more than 45 inches at the hip bone for you to classify them as “miniature,” although some purists insist that they should not exceed 42 inches in height. For bulls, the maximum is 48 inches.

They live for about 10 years and they can weigh from 350 to 800 pounds.

They’re diurnal active during the daytime), and they just need hay and grass.

You don’t buy these animals for their meat, even though people recognize the standard Texas longhorn lean beef for its low fat, cholesterol, and calories.

These minis are companion animals.

They are excellent show animals and pets.

They’re so small you don’t needs as much acreage, and because of their gentle temperament you don’t have to worry about them hurting your children.

Miniature Scottish Highland

Scottish miniature highland cattle
Miniature Scottish Highland

If all you know of the Scottish Highlands is what you got from watching Braveheart, then you should at least know that the Scots are tough because they had to be.

That’s especially true in the Highlands, where it’s so rugged that only the tough survive.

And that also true of their cattle.

The Highland breed has thrived ever since the 6th century AD, and they share the same traits with the miniature Scottish Highland breed.

The smaller miniatures don’t go past 42 inches in height, and a few can only reach up to 27 inches even after 3 years.

That makes them one of the cutest farm animals to have around, especially when combined with their characteristic long hair on top of their heads.

People admire the Highland breed for their distinctive looks, and when that look is in a miniature version the cuteness score is off the charts.

They’re just so adorable.

It’s why calves go for about $6,500 even, registered or not.

But they’re not purely just for decoration, and there are advantages to raising them in your small farm.

They exhibit all the major traits of their bigger counterparts.

The difference is they require less food and acreage, making them better suited for smaller farms.

Facts about Scottish Miniature Highland Cattle

Longevity, self, sufficiency, and hardiness are traits to portray them

You can raise them in any state in America and they’ll thrive, although for best results you should get your miniature Highland from a farm with a climate that’s similar to your own.

They have the famous double hair coat with the long, coarse outer layer and the soft wooly inner layer

This coat means that you won’t have any need for special and expensive shelters and barns.

This coat also means that they don’t need a heavy layer of fat to insulate themselves against the cold.

They marble naturally on lower food amounts and produce high quality, lean, and low fat cuts of beef.

The hair sheds out in the spring, and in the warmer climate they just don’t produce as much hair.

The Highland breed has been living with humans for hundreds upon hundreds of years, and they’re no problem at all

The early Scots would even keep them in their homes during the winter, with a woven wattle fence to keep the cattle and human areas separate inside.

They’re docile, calm. They do not spook easily. Despite their long horns, they’re very easy to work with.

More great things about Miniature Scottish Highlands

They calve easily, and calving difficulty like dystocia is very uncommon

They can produce well into their late teens, so you don’t need to replace the herd frequently.

Once they give birth, they protect and devoted themselves to their young.

They are excellent browsers

You can use them to clear brush lots and improve the grazing.

While they are dual purpose cattle which can offer both milk and meat, it is their beef which can really stand out

A study found that their beef is 24% more tender than commercial beef.

It also contains 4% less cholesterol, 17% more iron, and 7% more protein.

So if you’re into hobby farming or if you want a pet cow, the miniature Scottish Highland is a great choice.

They’re good-looking and unique, they’re very docile, and they can thrive beautifully in even harsh conditions.

Miniature Holstein Milk Cow
Miniature Holstein Milk Cow

Miniature Holstein Milk Cow

There’s a reason why Holstein Cows dominate the US milk production industry.

Can provide a lot more income than what their feed costs

Are very hardy and genetically sound

Adapt to a wide range of environmental conditions

Miniature cattle producing milk

Also, they can produce large amounts of milk.

In fact, Holsteins have held the world record for milk production for many years now.

One record holder in 2010 from Wisconsin produced 72,170 pounds of milk in a year.

That’s more than 8,660 gallons for the year.

Typically, they can give you as much as 9 gallons of milk per day.

And perhaps that may be too large an amount for you to handle.

So you may want to get a miniature Holstein instead.

Advantages of the Miniature Holstein

This smaller version offers the same benefits as its bigger counterparts, except that they don’t produce as much milk.

They can give you about 2 to 3 gallons of milk a day.

Standard lactation lasts about 305 days a year.

You can milk some 3 times a day, every day of the year.

The smaller Holstein also offers clear advantages over the standard-sized Holsteins.

They only measure in at 42 inches in height, unlike full-sized Holsteins that come in at 58 inches tall at the shoulder.

They eat less so they produce less manure, and they’re very easy to handle.

Since they’re small and very friendly, you can teach children all about taking care of a cow with your miniature Holstein.

They can learn to milk the cow and help feed it.

And you won’t have to worry about their disposition as they’re very gentle and easy to handle.

Guide to Miniature Cattle Breeds

Regardless of the breed you choose for your small farm, the advantages of the miniature cattle breeds cannot be denied.

Mini Cows for Sale

Interestingly, mini cows are up for grabs in different ranches in your area.

If you’re trying to look for one near your vicinity, you can simply just search in google or type in “cow ranch near me” and it will automatically show you different ranches available in near you.

Advantages of raising miniature cattle

They’re easier to handle than full-size cows.

They are safer for families with children.

Your fencing costs are much more minimal.

They do less damage to your pasture.

You also save money on feed, since they don’t eat as much.

They can provide some supplemental income, as well as meat or milk at more reasonable amounts that you can handle more easily.

Raising miniature cows make excellent 4-H projects for your kids.

Also, miniature cattle are just plain adorable!

Do your research.

A lot depends on where you buy your cows, so you really need to get them from reputable farms and ranches.

Inbreeding is always an issue, since these animals are relatively rare.

Consider getting miniature cattle for your small farm or ranch, no matter what the size. You can discover for yourself just how much joy and pleasure they can bring to your family.

When you are ready, you can consider at livestock guardian animal to protect your miniature cows as well.

When you carefully consider your area to know which breed to choose, you can easily learn the basics of caring for livestock, including miniature cattle breeds.

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Homestead House Plans and Designs That Are Captivating

Homestead House Plans

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Homestead House Plans and Designs ~ It is wonderful to experience life on a homestead.

You live life so much closer to nature in a healthier and natural way.

The happiness indexes are of the charts for people who make the initially difficult choice of homesteading.

The reason for this choice can be many.

Conduct a through and complete due diligence when buying rural farm, property or ranch.

Some people want to do it as an environmentally conscious decision, other want to do it because they feel their skill set is more suited to that type of living and still others chose to look at it as an adventure worth embarking on.

Homestead House Plans and Designs

It is necessary to have a proper homestead house plan before you take the decision to purchase a land as this will help you estimate not only how much land do you require but also what is the kind of land you are looking for.

Things to Plan for your Homestead

The homestead house plan should be made keeping in mind the particular skill sets you possess.

For example if you plan to make a living of your homestead primarily by gardening then your homestead should have an adequate amount of land that will allow you plant a large number of plants and vegetables and should be ideally be free of too many rocks and trees so that you do not have to waste too much of money on clearing the land for your garden.

Also, if you plan to rear livestock then adequate space for keeping the animals, feeding them and letting them roam free should be kept in mind.

You also may have to invest in a pole barn to house the livestock.

All of these things are important to keep in mind when the plan is being designed.

After the plan is designed then you should make sure that the construction is of a high quality and something that will weather the test of time.

You want this move to be permanent so skimping on building quality and material is not a good idea.

This will be your primary dwelling place and just because you have moved to a rural landscape does not mean that you should live without any luxury whatsoever.

Make sure that your living quarters have everything what you need and some things that will make your life easier and fun.

Legal Registration of Your Homestead

Legal registration of your homestead declares that this is your primary place of residence and protects it against foreclosure by the bank in certain situations.

The forms can be filled yourself although it is advisable to take the help of someone who is well versed in reading and explaining to you the finer points of the document.

Homestead Designs and Homestead House Plans
Homestead Designs

Make sure you do the due diligence before you decide to invest in your homestead and then follow all the legal guidelines while building the homestead as well as registering it to enjoy the protection offered to your homestead by the law.

Homestead Designs that are Captivating

When you own a house, you would probably want the best of designs to generate your dream home.

There is a growing popularity with homestead designs for modern homes that would operate with maximum efficiency.

It is not necessary to take up a home design or architectural course to appreciate strategic property designs for the desired homestead space.

Homestead houses can be very unique and captivating with the right designs to make each home very modern and contemporary or otherwise depending on the preference of its owner.

You may wish to have a laid back home with a cozy cottage design instead of a glass double story bungalow.

The vast countryside is excellent for homestead designs that offer style, luxury and comfort with energy efficiency and security features.

A dream country home is not impossible for those who plan well with smart savings and investments, although some meticulous research on homestead designs would translate the dream into reality.

It is important to understand the perimeters of building a homestead property with more than basic data and tools.

Each homeowner has vastly different expectations and preferences that may be influenced by a lot of other factors such as budget, time and family needs.

If you have big dreams of a captivating homestead, you would need to check out what is in the market to formulate what you want for your home.

Building Your Homestead

Every homestead is different with different building approaches and tools applied.

Although a detailed homestead plan is helpful with the range of designs that you may have prepared, it is possible that some parts of the blueprint may be tweaked or thrown out of the window even before construction takes place.

Hence, it is wise to take your time in identifying the best of homestead designs that would give you your dream home as it can be a costly activity building a home the way you want it.

The location is a primary factor for a successful homestead.

The blueprint for your homestead must be clear with the various components to be included; this refers to barns, garages, sheds, guest rooms or cottage, servants’ quarters and extra storage.

Some homestead owners would want a large garden, backyard, court, patio or porch.

A homestead design depends also on the functionality of the property to accommodate the living conditions of the occupants.

The best homestead designs for your dream home would be that from your heart instead of leaving it to the experts in the market.

These may offer some excellent ideas to generate an exquisite and luxurious home but the design may not satisfy you or fit your character and lifestyle.

Homestead Land

It is important to make good use of the total land for any homestead instead of letting the remaining land be left in ruins which would mar the overall look and feel of your homestead.

There should be a proper management of the land to ensure a positive outcome of your investment.

Modern technologies with the latest homestead design software are available to produce the best of designs to bring on the most captivating and beautiful home you can ask for.

There is a lot of research on homesteading for beginners and homestead house plans and designs.

Do your due diligence before determining if this is a lifestyle for you and your family.

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Modern Homesteading For Beginners Become Less Dependent

Homesteading for beginners

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homesteading for beginners – The world is changing at a rapid pace, and despite many advancements in the fields of science and technology, it appears that life is getting to be rather an expensive affair.

Homesteading for beginners aims to serve as part of a solution toward becoming more self-sustainable and less dependent on the external world, i.e. grocery stores and mass manufactured goods for daily living.

Modern Homesteading For Beginners

Homestead house plans and designs can enable you to envision what your new life might look like.

Homesteading in the past

Homesteading by definition is a term which was coined in the 1800’s to describe lifestyles which depended on the individual, or communities ability to fend for themselves by growing and rearing their own crops and livestock, and becoming self-sustainable via farmer’s markets and small scale businesses rather than large scale businesses.

Modern Homesteading today

In the modern time, homesteading for beginners holds the same meaning, the difference being that it is currently being promoted as a lifestyle best suited for individuals and small families rather than communities, as was the case earlier when communities were more close-knit.

Homesteading for beginners ideally involves understanding one’s needs, heating your home with an outdoor furnace, i.e. sustainability in different contexts.

These needs are divided into categories, which will then help someone who is new to the field decide as to how they should approach their new lifestyle choice.
One of the common needs would naturally be food; this is where homesteading for beginners takes a leaf out of an old book, that being of the old homesteading community of the 1800’s, who survived on both, small patches of garden on which they grew vegetables and fruit, and also larger patches where they grew crops such as wheat.

Ways of making a living by homesteading

However, homesteading for beginners need not be restricted to only food and drink, and the mandatory jams and pickles that appear to be a quintessential addition to the farmer’s markets, which are part of this self-sustaining lifestyle.

One can also consider other aspects of living, which are modified greatly in a cost-effective fashion as part of the lifestyle.

If you are short on space, you may consider a DIY Hydroponic System. A hydroponics system is a great way to grow produce.

A small example would be certain household items such as soap, shampoo and cleaning agents, which are usually purchased from a provision store.

Homesteading for beginners ensures that one makes these items at home, thus ensuring an economical and environment-friendly set of house products which cost little money and are equally, if not more effective than products that are mass manufactured and sold at department stores.

In context with the sustainability aspect of homesteading for beginners, many of those who have adapted to this lifestyle earn their living through the sale of their fresh products such as fruit, vegetables, seeds, and nuts, and also by selling homemade soaps, shampoos, cleaning agents, candles, and other items.

Learn what you need to start beekeeping for a wide variety of income streams.

It is common for small-scale industries to carry out similar activities, however, what sets the homesteading community apart is their farmer’s markets, which have grown in popularity worldwide due to their promise of pesticide and pollutant-free food and grain.

With a little research and practice, and careful research, it is possible for one to adapt to a lifestyle that involves homesteading and provides sustainability options.

Homestead Seeds
Homestead Seeds

Homestead Seeds

Nowadays there are so many options to buy seeds for your homestead.

There are literally catalogs flying everywhere as the season approaches.

A common mistake that newcomers to homesteading make is to plant everything in sight.

Experience will teach you that a careful selection of seeds to grow in the garden will increase the percentage of success considerably.

Homesteading Growing Season

This is probably the most important aspect for you to consider when you are whittling down the choices for different seeds.

Consider how long the growing season is.

There are certain varieties that require a much longer period of warm weather than might be available in your locality.

Sure, they look great in the catalog but there is no point if they are not feasible.

Similarly, the opposite may also be true when you are choosing the seeds.

There are certain crops like peas and lettuce that require a more moderate temperature over there life span.

Choose seeds that fit your climate zone is a wise way to go.

This can be a little tricky for newcomers although with a little research and maybe even some advice from other people in the area will help you narrow down the choices for your homestead seeds.

Things like the amount of rainfall in your location also affect the soil temperature.

Experience is truly the best teacher for the answers to such questions. Another good source is the seed supplier themselves.

They have usually been in the business long enough to know what variety of seeds is successful in what area.

But you can always DIY Hydroponic system and grow year round.

Check out our Hydroponic Supply Store here.

Homesteading Budget

It is easy to spend a large amount of money buying seeds.

All those little packs add up after all!

A useful trick to keep in mind is to try and find large sizes of seed packs.

These can be found online or the mail order sites for the particular company.

Some companies also help you out by sending you a larger size directly to your home.

This turns out to be much cheaper as seeds are much cheaper when bought in bulk.

Find a seed variety that you like and buy it in large quantities.

If you feel that that you do not need these many seeds then you can team up with family members or other friends and order your seeds together so that it turns out to be more economical for the lot of you.

Living Off The Land
Living Off The Land

Of course, you have to be careful and make sure that the seeds last in storage.

Certain crops like corn and onions do not store well.

Living of the land

Living of the land is not only for the adventurous but also for the many eco-friendly people out there.

There are a lot of people who dream of living off the land but have not had the courage or the drive to do so.

Living off the land is not complicated or difficult if we keep a few checklists in mind.

Once we have a rough list of things to keep in mind, the process which will follow will be simple.

Of course, one must do a thorough research before venturing forth.

Also speaking to people who have been successfully living off the land is a good option.

The first and foremost thing to keep in mind when living off the land is a positive frame of mind.

If this is in place, you can achieve anything.

Like any new venture, things may not be smooth in the beginning, but one has to overcome these minor hurdles and learn from the experience to strive ahead.

With a positive outlook, anything can be achieved!

Don’t let any early setbacks put you in a negative psyche.

Work around it and move toward your goal of living off the land.

Homesteading land

When living off the land, the first thing to look into is the land.

One must have a comfortable amount of land to live in and grow food to live on!

Also, the nature of soil should be checked properly to estimate the crops it will yield.

Water source

The presence and availability of water resource should be checked in advance.

This is of prime importance as water is required for not only drinking, but also carrying out daily chores such as washing and cleaning.

Hence, a lake, river or stream should be present nearby.

Apart from this, when acquiring land, it is important to investigate the safety of the neighborhood and surrounding areas.

Build your Homesteading House

After acquiring the land, the next step would be to build your home.

The design depends from individual to individual keeping in mind their own style.

Ideally, the structure should be simple yet functional and adhering to eco-friendly structure.

Energy sources

Energy should be generated from natural resources such as solar power, wind and hydro power.

This energy would be required mainly for cooking, lighting and heating purpose.

Power conversation is important when living off the land.

Minimal energy should be used for lighting during daylight as maximum advantage should be taken of the natural lighting.

Other Homesteading considerations

Additional factors to consider may be how close you will be to healthcare facilities and how close to an airport.

Living off the land may not be for the faint of heart, but it is an experience by itself.

To live with nature on a day to day basis and sustain yourself at the same time is a wonderful feeling which very few people get to practice.

Sustainable Living

Generally, a sustainable garden feeds just the people whose home or land it is attached to, but by slightly enlarging the project, one can create a small business.

The great thing about a micro garden is that it is sustainable, and a great way to teach children sustainability.

Experts suggest you need less water than with a conventional vegetable plot and can simply transfer rain water to the purpose of watering your plants.

Sustainable Micro Gardens

Many types of plants can be grown, including leafy green vegetables and root veggies like carrots.

Herbs are especially easy to grow.

All of these are highly nutritious and would be expensive to buy at a supermarket.

You might still have to supplement, but the savings would be enormous.

Another reason this method of gardening is sustainable is that gardeners are recommended to use soil and mulch created from what can be found locally.

Finally, if you are interested in organic gardening and getting away from GMO produce, creating a self-contained garden makes it even easier to prevent cross-contamination from nearby farms or neighboring gardens.

This includes the spread of weeds.

Reducing Waste

A big part of green living is learning how to be self-sufficient.

When you buy produce, no matter how high quality it is, there is usually packaging around it.

To be really green, one strives to get rid of packaging entirely.

Produce grown at home does not have to be bagged in plastic or paper.

Indoor, Outdoor

Because a micro garden can be set up on a patio or a deck, it can be an indoor or outdoor venture.

The trick appears to be fitting as many tables and buckets into a small area as possible, with just the essential space for moving between plants to care for and harvest them.

An indoor garden is completely feasible where weather is too inclement to maintain an outdoor system or when the growing season is very short.

Moreover, many people only have a balcony at their disposal because they live in an apartment.

If they can get enough sun onto their herbs and veggies, there is no reason to rely on the produce department of the local grocery store.

Urbanites can enter the green revolution.

Sustainable Businesses

Because a sustainable micro garden is typically an independent operation for the benefit of a family or household and is very small, raising a business from this practice seems unlikely.

Yet, add a few more boxes, expand the venture while remaining small, and you could have the beginnings of a green business.

Sell the excess produce you grow, even if there is only a little bit.

Local grocers sometimes buy goods from individuals with green thumbs.

A Green Consulting Business

Besides growing and selling herbs and lettuce, consumers with skills can work as consultants to other householders.

Those with high education, such as individuals holding project management degrees can be of great assistance in starting and maintaining a green business.

Experience is valuable. Hire yourself out as a teacher with the skill of turning a 4-foot-square brown brick terrace into green space.

Act as hired troubleshooter.

People will also pay to get a micro garden growing.

A one-off cost will be quickly justified as the pots flourish for seasons to come.

Many community groups need this kind of help but cannot afford to pay.

Become a volunteer consultant, or apply to organizations that provide funding for green management to low-income families who will make an effort to become self-sustaining if they know where to start.

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All About Homestead Legal Forms

All about homestead Legal Forms

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All About Homestead Legal Forms ~ Homesteading has been around for a really long time and its use has gone from meaning a free land program by the US government to living self sufficiently off the land.

Leading a homestead lifestyle requires a serious commitment on the individual’s part which may include a sizable investment of the land itself and a good design. Homestead Legal Forms

All about Homestead Legal Forms

All about homestead Legal Forms
All about homestead Legal Forms

Homestead Declaration

The awareness of the dangers of environment change and the realization that all of us should look to use as little resources as possible is one of the fueling forces behind this movement.

I am of course talking about the rise of homesteading across the nation.

As the concept of homesteading is spreading across the United States, more and more people are interested in acquiring the necessary skills that will let them live off the land in a wholesome and self reliant manner.

There are a number of online forums and websites that are run by enthusiasts like you and often a ton of valuable information is available out there.

There are certain legal things that you should be aware of before you take the plunge and move to your own homestead.

It is necessary to fill out a homestead declaration form specific to your state so that you are legally protected from certain situations.

The form is simple enough to fill and there are certain states where simply living at your homestead as a primary residence is enough for you to enjoy the same legal privileges.

However you still must fill out the form.

The government has limited the maximum cost of these forms including getting them notarized to a maximum of $25 so that it is easy for anyone and everyone to fill out these forms.

A homestead basically refers to a primary dwelling of any kind and includes houses, condos and even boats.

Once you are sure that you have filled out the form correctly then you have to submit it to the county clerk’s office after paying the small application fees.

Make sure you renew your homestead declaration form on time to continue to enjoy the legal privileges.

This is a simple yet essential step that you need to take care of before you invest time and energy in your homestead.

These regulations have been drafted for your own protection and even though they may seem like a chore, they are beneficial in the long run.

It is an important life decision for many people as they look to leave their old life behind and try and set up a self sustaining homestead for themselves.

It makes it all the more important that you set off on the correct foot with everything in place.

Homestead Legal Forms
Homestead Legal Forms

The homestead declaration form itself is available on the internet.

There may be small variations from state to state so make sure that you are downloading the correct one for you.

Homestead Legal Forms

It is wonderful to experience life on a homestead.

The happiness indexes are of the charts for people who make the initially difficult choice of homesteading.

The reason for this choice can be many.

Some people want to do it as an environmentally conscious decision, other want to do it because they feel their skill set is more suited to that type of living and still others chose to look at it as an adventure worth embarking on.

As the homesteading movement gathers momentum across the nation it is necessary that people be aware of their legal responsibilities with regard to their homestead.

There are certain legal things that you should be aware of before you take the plunge and move to your own homestead.

It is necessary to fill out a homestead declaration form specific to your state so that you are legally protected from certain situations.

The legal form is simple enough to fill and there are certain states where simply living at your homestead as a primary residence is enough for you to enjoy the same legal privileges.

However you still must fill out the homestead declaration form.

Legal registration of your homestead declares that this is your primary place of residence and protects it against foreclosure by the bank in certain situations.

The forms can be filled yourself although it is advisable to take the help of someone who is well versed in reading and explaining to you the finer points of the document.

It is an important life decision for many people as they look to leave their old life behind and try and set up a self sustaining homestead for themselves.

It makes it all the more important that you set off on the correct foot with all the legal nitty gritties in place.

The homestead declaration form itself is available on the internet.

There may be small variations from state to state so make sure that you are downloading the correct one for you.

A homestead basically refers to a primary dwelling of any kind and includes houses, condos and even boats.

Once you are sure that you have filled out the form correctly then you have to submit it to the county clerk’s office after paying the small application fees.

Make sure you renew your homestead declaration form on time to continue to enjoy the legal privileges.

Homestead Protection
Homestead Protection

This is a simple yet essential step that you need to take care of before you invest time and energy in your homestead.

These regulations have been drafted for your own protection and even though they may seem like a chore, they are beneficial in the long run.

Homestead protection

Homestead Protection by definition refers to a legal act that has been legislated in order to protect homesteads, or, personally owned residences, from creditors, property taxes, and any disputes, which may arise following the death of a homeowner spouse.

A number of states within the United States have separate state statutes, each of which offers varying benefits and challenges to the homeowner.

It is said that homestead protection laws take their roots from the economic depression in the 19th century, during which many residences were forcibly trespassed upon and taken over illegally when the owner was unable to bear the burden of taxation.

Some of the main features of the homestead protection or exemption laws include providing a widowed spouse with shelter, exemption from having to pay property taxes on a personally-owned home, the prevention of “forced sales” of a residence, and enables a tax-exempted homeowner to vote on property tax.

A primary limitation of homestead protection is that its benefits are limited to the state over which it has legal jurisdiction.

Another important limitation is that only one property belonging to an individual will be liable for homestead protection; therefore single or primary property owners will be most benefited, while those who have legal ownership over multiple properties will have to decide over which to call their primary property.

It is only this property, which will receive exemption under the Homestead Act; others will be taxable by law.

In some states, it is also mandatory for homeowners to file a claim for homestead protection personally, as it is not automatically managed.

Also in some states, the homestead protection will not apply to those properties, which have been abandoned by their legal homeowners.

In context with the states that are known to provide the most protection to homeowners, the states of South Dakota, Kansas, Iowa, Florida, Texas, and Oklahoma offer the broadest protection, i.e. they offer the highest value of property, which can be protected from taxation via the Homestead Act.

The state of California provides protection of up to $75,000 for single homeowners, $100,000 for married couples, and $175,000 for homeowners who are senior citizens i.e. older than 65, or those who are legally disabled.

The state of Texas on the other hand, does not have a dollar value limit on homeowner’s property and instead, grants an automatic exemption for homesteads not exceeding the area of 10 acres or 4.0 hectares within a municipality, 100 acres or 40 hectares for those in a rural homestead, and 200 acres or 81 hectares for a family.

As per the current law, there are three types of homesteads that are considered under the Homestead Act:

  1. Automatic Homestead
  2. Declared Homestead
  3. Homestead for Disabled or Elderly Persons.

The first offers automatic protection of up to $125,000 for homeowners and their family who must live in the home and consider it to be their primary residence in order to be eligible for this benefit.

The second refers to automatic protection of up to $500,000 for all owners; in order to receive this equity, homeowners must file a Declaration of Homestead with the Registry of Deeds.

The third refers to homeowners above the age of 62 or older, which includes those who are considered disabled.

SSI disability requirements must be met and the concerned person must filed a Declaration of Homestead with the Registry of Deeds; upon being considered eligible, the person receives up to $500,000 per owner or $1,000,000 for a couple.