The Farm of My Dreams

I have spent a couple years now thinking about my dream farm. What I will do, what I will grow, the animals I’ll keep and what I will do with the products of the farm, whether that be storing for personal use, or selling in various ways.

I know that farming is not a “do all the things all at once!”, but there is certainly the urge to do so. I physically couldn’t do all the things all at once anyways, so my own physical limitations would prevent me from doing that, not to mention financial. It would be costly, to say the least. Not to mention, the land itself, if not having been used for farming previously, and even if it has, would need to be cultivated for my plans.

So, to start, I would want at least 5 acres if I am going to have animals. That way, I can rotate the animals for grazing and have space to grow vegetables. I would want at least 3 cows, one to milk, one to eat and one to breed for future beef. I would want at least 2-5 sheep for wool and eating. And of course, chickens, because chickens are so great for food, pest control, crating (feathers) and manure. Chickens are essential. Goats and pigs are questionable. I would consider them if I had the space but they seem like specialty animals to me that are kind of a single use animal, thus, not quite as useful. While I like horses, there are none in my future.

I also want to use a portion of that acreage to grow a food source for the livestock. Barley, sugar beet, alfalfa, hays, those are all something I want to grow. The barley and sugar beets can be used for their byproducts. Barley can be turned into flour, grains for soups and stews, and even a mash for alcohol, and that mash can be then turned around and fed to the livestock. And yes, there are plans for a small distiller to make whiskey the way they do in Scotland, except without the peat. Sugar beets can be used to feed the livestock and make sugar. Put to use everything and make it into something useable. Make the farm more self-sustaining.

Vegetables are fairly self explanatory. Enough for me and enough to sell at a farmer’s market, local restaurants, things like that. I don’t expect a huge portion of my income to come from this, to be honest. This is mostly for me to survive on my own food.

Herbs are kind of the same, though I intent to use them in magical products, dried and bottled for cooks and people who want garden herbs, and to sell already growing plants in the spring at farmer’s markets, garden shops and fairs, and anywhere else that may want to carry them.

Flowers are more for companion planting, to keep pests away, to add back to the soil, and to maybe sell at farmer’s markets and local florists.

Between the chickens, cows, and sheep, as well as the plant matter, compost should be easy to make. So much so, I could probably sell my own mix! Or provide it to local small farmers who may not be able to have as much as me.

I also want to have bees. I have wanted to keep bees for ages. It would be wonderful to have a couple hives to pollinate my garden and harvest the honey to sell, use in tinctures, salves, and other things. That would be an amazing thing to access.

The sheep will provide wool. I would love to be able to sheer them myself, that way I can fully process the wool on my own. I would love to be able to process it, spin it into yarn, then have a dying plot in my farm for plants that are best for dying fabrics and wools. Then I can create a product that is solely bespoke. Again, this is not a money maker that will sustain me, but provide a supplement income and fulfill my love of creating. I can even sell the dried dyes for others to use in their crafts and creations.

Another thing I’d love to do is use my produce to create jams, jellies, fermented foods, canning and preserving to have and to sell. It is something that I’m hoping to have a great personal harvest now so I can learn how to can and preserve now instead of later. This is also something for supplemental income, selling at local shops, farmer’s markets, restaurants, and such.

As I write this, I realize that most of the income is supplemental, I guess. All of it to be combined as a singular main income. I’m okay with this. This means, if one season, something doesn’t do well, my whole economy is now scurrying to compensate. I have various outlets in which to make an income. Yes, that income is based off selling, but if I can have contracts set up with local restaurants and stores, then, there is less scurrying. There will also be enough for me and whoever is living with me/helping me, while still working on creating some economy. Of course, this also assumes that many of my expenses, such as water and electric are self-sustaining as well in the form of a well and solar.

It’s a plan that I go back to and think about often, particularly this time of year when I’m growing anxious to start my own growing adventures in my current limited space, dreaming of a moment when I could have more space to do more and be more involved with the process.

Maybe one day, this dream will become a reality in some degree. I wish I had this dream far earlier though.

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