Things You Need To Know
1: Don’t Overspend
Most people, including us, will need to borrow money to purchase their land and/or home. Our lender told us we qualified for hundreds of thousands of dollars but we had no intention of borrowing that much. We borrowed the price of the land plus the cost to build the house and that’s it. We came in way below market value when the house is complete, so we start off with a tremendous amount of equity and our monthly payments are very reasonable. You may be tempted to go big, but remember the more you have to pay for a mortgage each month, the less you have to put into other areas of the farm.
2: Have A Goal
What would you like to do with your hobby farm? We wanted a small 3 bedroom 2 bath house with at least 5 acres. We ended up with 21 acres but that’s OK. We wanted to have 1 or 2 of each of the animals you see above in our banner. We know we have to feed and care for all of them so we may stop getting more animals if we feel overwhelmed at any point. We may or may not have a garden, but most likely we will. We are not doing this to make money, we do it because we enjoy it. If your goal is to make money, you really need to do your homework for your area. Article continues below…
3: Be Handy
If you cannot use basic hand and carpentry tools, you will have to pay other people to build and repair things for you. Buy yourself some hand tools and learn how to use them. It really isn’t that difficult and it will save you a ton of money in the long run. Watch YouTube videos… there is one or more on just about any subject you can imagine. Follow “This Old House” on YouTube, they have great videos, but don’t limit yourself to just them. Thousands of users share their expertise online just to help you be handy.
4: Start Small
Don’t try to build a 5 bedroom 5 bath house with a 4 car garage, 2 big barns, 3 horse pens, a goat pen, a pig pen, a chicken coop and fence in 100 acres. You will wear yourself out and become discouraged. Start by getting your house in order… you have to live there so make it like you want it. Next, start a small garden and get yourself a Farmer’s Almanac. That’s a handy little book right there. After you are comfortable with that, start building a chicken coop and/or a quail run. If you go about this in an orderly fashion and at a comfortable pace, you will end up with a 5 bedroom 5 bath house with a 4 car garage, 2 big barns, 3 horse pens, a goat pen, a pig pen, a chicken coop and 100 acres fenced in (if that’s what you want).
5: Know What You Are Doing
Read all the books you can about hobby farms and homesteading. Make sure the books you choose have great reviews so you know you will gain insight from them. Talk to other farmers! Even if they have large farms, they have significant knowledge that can help you. If you live near other small farmers, make friends with them. Visit local farmer’s markets and talk to the vendors to learn about growing things to market to the public. The more you study, the more you learn. The more you learn, the easier this will be and that’s the goal.
6: Be Flexible
Things rarely go as planned, so expect bumps in the road and be adaptable. Delays will happen, predators will take some of your livestock, thieves may steal some of your property, etc. Know that these things may happen and have a plan to deal with them and to try to prevent them. Don’t get mad at things you cannot change, accept the things that happen and calmly deal with them the best way you can. We are installing an 8 camera security system to keep an eye on things. Some will watch the house and garage, a few will keep an eye on the animals. The cool thing is we can view any of the cameras on our smartphones!
7: Have Fun!!
Above all else, you need to enjoy what you are doing. We love working on our own land, chickens are very entertaining and Pygmy goats are adorable. The grandkids love the farm and they are making memories that will last a lifetime. We built a swinging bridge across the creek that runs across our land and the kids love it… Cynthia, not so much. We have a small cave they are fascinated by, splashing in the creek is always fun, rolling down the hill in the back pasture never gets old. Do what you enjoy and enjoy what you are doing, and remember… Happiness is wanting what you have, not having what you want. May God bless you and your hobby farm.