My wife and I had an idea a while back. In its embryonic stage the idea was about raising Alpacas on a small piece of land, it has since matured into what I am typing today. I am breaking this post apart into the goals we want to accomplish, and what we need in order to accomplish this goal.
First, what do we want to do with this farm? Well, there is quite a lot. The original goal was two-fold- to live as independent a lifestyle as possible and to help as many people (and animals) as God made possible. Of the former, I wanted to build a home and work a piece of land that allowed us to provide much of our own food, live an eco-friendly lifestyle that minimized energy bills (not because I am an “enviro” nut but because I am cheap), and provided a certain level of independence from the outside world. Of the latter, I wanted to take any excess (beyond what we needed to eat) and give much to the families in local communities who went without- whether it be families who needed firewood, eggs, milk, etc.
But now I am getting ahead of myself. In the beginning we only wanted to raise alpacas, as they are a good investment and quite a huge hit with investors- whether it be selling the fur or the actual animal. From there we began to think about owning some milking goats, sheep, and chickens (as each could provide for certain needs of drink, clothing, and food).
In addition to those animals we would keep to fulfill our own needs, I have always wanted to run an animal rescue. I love dogs- and quite frankly, I wish I owned more than two of them right now. But we thought that the dog shelter in and of itself wasn’t enough. What if we used the shelter as a program where kids with behavioral problems could work with the animals- and take steps towards their own improvement? I have read wonderful things about such programs all across the nation that already exist and help those inside prisons. Something about dogs seems to bring out a hidden part of even the worst of us. Perhaps it is their unconditional love, I don’t know.
Furthermore, the farm would include fruit orchards and pecan groves. We would pick what we needed for the season and then allow local folks to come and take from the excess for a nominal fee. Because I would also like to- depending on where we end up- be very involved in the community, and open my land to those in the community for family activities- not to mention ministry activities.
The latest addition to these ideas was born while talking with some friends. Our friends church has three spare houses where missionaries who are in between mission trips come to rest and relax from the rigors of the mission field. We thought it would be nice to build several additional small houses to provide for such a need on our farm.
There is so much we want to do, and I know to some it seems idealistic and unachievable. However, the Lord has really put this idea on my heart and I see this as highly possible. I try to stay in prayer over it, waiting to see how God makes things unfold.
But what do we need to make this happen?
First, knowledge. My wife and I have already started reading up on raising livestock and farming. Although there is no Complete Idiot’s Guide to Building Your own Farm there are many books on the subject. We have broken this down into subjects that each are responsible for- subjects that fit into our own interests. I am handling the finances of purchasing land, corporate taxes, etc., while she is focusing on the livestock part.
Second, funds. I have done countless spread sheets to see how much we can save and how long this will take. All point toward about a five year saving period that will begin this coming August. If my calculations are correct, we will need to save about $115,000 (plus sell our current home) to begin this project. Although the jury is still out on which financial vehicle we will use for investing the money over the next 5 years. Any suggestions?
Third, land. We are looking for the right piece of land. At this point I don’t know if we want to purchase it early and try to find jobs in the area, or if we should settle down in an area and try to find land. I won’t be looking at a serious job until three to five years from now- when I complete my Ph.D. Although, I have faith, that if this is what the Lord wants us to do, things will fall into place- in a way that will amaze me no doubt. He’s done it before.
Fourth, a home. We acknowledge that we might have to live in a trailer for a few years as the land and asset purchase might eat up our funds. When we do build our house we will be building a Formworks’ designed home. Just visit the linked website and check out the amazing benefits to these homes. Even you are an “enviro” you will love them, or if you are just plain cheap (like me) you will love them! And for those of you too lazy to click on the link- you know who you are- here is the list of benefits:
- No major maintenance for more than 100 years;
- Little or no heating/cooling needed;
- 50 foot “free span” allows spacious Interior;
- Thin shell construction (four inches);
- 90% fewer pollutants & allergens than standard housing;
- Virtually impervious to moisture and insects;
- Tornado-proof, hurricane-proof, earthquake-proof;
- Estimated life span 200 to 1,000 years;
- Never been denied a building permit in any state
No more ant invasions or seeping moisture, count me in!
So what do you all think? I am a crazy dreamer, aren’t I? My head is often in the clouds. My wife is the one with her feet firmly planted in the ground. Together we make an excellent team. Doesn’t hurt that she is beautiful either.