Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Planning For The Farm

When I made the decision to move out to the country,
I knew this would be a major change in my life.
I am literally going from city living to country.

But not without giving it a good plan.  A realistic budget.
A layout of what I would like to see on this farm.  Picking and choosing.
I will be living on my own on this farm, so it is a farm for one.
This is actually a key aspect of my planning, would love a big country spread, but must be practical. 
I have the kids, and they will help when they come home on weekends and holidays,
but for the most part, I'm a one woman farmer.
I simply can not take on more than I can handle.

Even though I love the idea of a small parcel of land in the country,
how do I know I will even like it, living with no city conveniences?
Well I don't, but it is not going to defer me, but I have thought of this scenario of course.
I have always lived in the city, but we are a horsey family. I am comfortable around barns.
I would say I have more of a city + horse lifestyle, than a country living lifestyle.
So it will be interesting.

I made the decision over a year ago to put into action, search for a small farmette to purchase.
Still looking actively.
I know I wanted a pretty farmhouse and a few horses.  But it didn't really go beyond that.

A year later, with lots of reading, research and planning, I have added ideas and wants to this small farm.
Major additions to my original plan.
I break it down into section.
Again,  I farm for one.  This scenario is key when I make plans for the farm and how I want to run it.

These sections are broken down as such:

*house maintenance
Do not want a fixer-upper.  Don't mind a painting facelift here and there,
but am trying to avoided major renos expenses to the house.
If I can, try to purchase as much furniture and appliance now so I don't have the expense when I move.

  *Creating a self-sufficient homestead
Number one priority.
Wood burning stove.  Well stocked supply of food.  Small count of livestock.  Backup generator.
Pretty simple and achievable.
My version of self-sufficient living is basically being organized.  Inside the house and outside on the farm.
My farm will not be an off the grid layout. More like a preparation layout as such.
One summer when we lived in our small town house our hydro went out for three days.
I was not prepared for it at all.  We did not live comfortably those three days.
I look at this past Christmas when a freak snow storm hits hundreds of thousands of people,
no hydro.  No heat.  An interruption in their lives.
So I focus on, for this small farm of mine, to be as prepared in the event of a power outage.
I look at preparation for at least a three day power outage.

Ideally I would like a fireplace or wood burning stove.  This will not be the main source of heat, but rather a back-up.
I live in a harsh winter climate, so I address this issue.
If my new house does not have a fireplace, then there is the cost of adding one.
As with all wood stoves, there is maintenance.  So each Fall I will have to either hire someone
 to clean the pipes or do them myself.  I will more than likely hire a professional to come out for this maintenance.
So I add this expense to my budget.
Backup generator.  Very expensive, but it is in the budget to purchase.

Stack up on canned goods.  I started this practice about a year and think it is the best thing I have done.
 Like having my own mini store!
Just started stacking up on frozen food.


Livestock.  A few chickens and possibly a milking cow.
I have been looking into small-breed milk cows.  Perfect for a small homestead.
I do not have much info on these milking cows yet, but something I will look into.
Can I house them in with the horses, or do they need their own separate housing?
Unfortunately I know zero about cows.  Chickens for that matter as well.
Should be very, very interesting to see how the livestock pan out!

*chicken coop
If the new farm does not have one, I have to look at the cost of building one.
I am studying and working on building one myself - with the help of my son....thank you Coleman!
Of all the farms I have toured, only one had a chicken coop.
At this time, only planning on having a few chickens.  Don't need that many eggs!
There will be the maintenance costs and feed expenses.

*outbuilding for the horses
 Goes without saying, we are horsey people.
Lots of labour with these beasts.  Veterinarian expenses.
Maintenance and equipment.
I still play with the idea of offering boarding services.  
Nice extra income and would only offer one or two stalls to keep the labour down.

*kitchen and flower gardens
The fun part of the farm.
What size will the kitchen garden be?  Big enough for 1.5 people. Myself and my two kids.
Even though the kids do not live with me, I will send them home with stuff from the garden, frozen and fresh.
In the event they want to grow their own veggies at the farm, then we can expand,
but at this point I think of a garden big enough for one person, plus a little extra for the kids.
Will be freezing most of the harvest or canning them.
Would like to look at a few fruit trees.
And of course perennial gardens, with a few annuals beds.

Because I don't have the farm yet, I do not have an accurate budget plan in place.
I really don't know what to expect as far as what I will need money for.
So I continue to get ideas and cost factors for what I would initially like to start off with.
 If they change when I move into the farm, then they change.  I will deal with at that time.
Somethings might come later than sooner.
If I can't afford chickens and a chicken coop, they I will simply stack up on eggs when I go into town for supplies. Same with milk.
For now it is all about the planning, saving, budgeting and preparation.



  1. I love your plans. I bet there are lots of examples of chicken coops on Pinterest. Catalogs sell them, but they cost way more than it would cost to build.

  2. Diane - it seems that you have really thought all this out well...I hope that you get to see your dream come true very soon - until then, I found something while I was out thrifting that I would love to send to you - can you send me your address privately? Also, my best friend is the wife of a dairy farmer and a dairy educator here in our area, I'm sure she would be able to provide you with some information if you need it to find a suitable milking cow.

    Cheryl @ The Creative Me and My McG

  3. Your plan sound fantastic... I love the way you are following your dream... I'm sure it will work out as you have so much thought into it.... Lots of luck on finding your farmette... Hugs May x x

  4. Sounds like you are ready to make a huge change in your life and it also sounds like you are thinking it all through and are knowledgeable about where you are headed. It is great that you are in pursuit of your dream and I hope you get everything you are working towards.
    Patty at Home and Lifestyle Design

  5. You've already thought of so many things. I want a wood stove in the living-room as well, but iif I want a good one, it's very expensive, so I'll wait rather than buying a cheap one I'l regret buying later. I also want a chicken coop... But as a subsititute, I have ireegular hours, so I'm waiting to have a permanent position as I think it'll be easier to take care of the ladies then!

  6. Oh Diane, your plans are just fantastic! A dream of mine! I have learned so much from you on organizing, planning and budgeting. Xo Jen

  7. I love your idea of offering livery - I think it wouldn't require so much work, would be lucrative and very rewarding! A great use of stable space!