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Old 09-05-2013, 06:42 PM   #1
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Default planning a homestead, suggestions?

My wife and I are looking at moving out of our small city into the country. We'd be building our own house (I'm in construction so no issue), and want to start raising our own chickens/cow/pigs and have a greenhouse to grow year round. Our goal is to be quasi self sufficient.

Anybody else already there? Any ideas? Pitfalls to avoid? Resources to read/tap into? Any suggestions welcome!

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Old 09-07-2013, 02:53 PM   #2
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Make sure you get a decent sized woodlot. A productive ten acre hardwood lot should supply enough firewood each year for a normal well insulated home.

bosco

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Old 09-11-2013, 12:23 PM   #3
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Chickens & rabbits. Once you get the populations established, you'll have fresh eggs every day & plenty of lowfat meat to eat. Supplement their feed with kitchen & garden scraps. If you let the chickens run loose, they'll eat bugs, lizards & small snakes all day long. Bunny droppings make great garden fert & if you build a bin under the cages, you can compost it right there & farm worms in it; worms LOVE it! Use the worms for fishing, or feed 'em to chickens, sell 'em for bait, add 'em to your compost piles. Compost everything you can & add it to the garden.
Regards, GF.

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Old 09-11-2013, 12:47 PM   #4
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You may also want to try a food forest. You plant it once and harvest each and every year no planting no weeding. I'm also a huge fan of earth shelters and earth bermed houses. Rain water collection for grey water use. I have also heard good things about the rocket mass heater which runs on wood scraps. Mike Oehler has a book on earth shelter solar greenhouses he keeps rabbits in the bottom and they heat the green house in the winter. He grows veggies until January February in Idaho with out heat. This website has a ton of info permies.com. This has been a dream of mine for a while. When we get out of the army our plan is to do a homestead.

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Old 09-11-2013, 12:52 PM   #5
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Good luck man! We just moved in to a 6.5 acre property with an old old farm house. We're planning a garden for next year and have considered rabbits for meat. A friend of ours is doing this so we'll get their opinion after a year or so.

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Old 09-11-2013, 01:11 PM   #6
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You live in Canada, so therefore it's going to require a ton of extra work to be self efficient. we have a short growing season and long winters. which means you need to store a ton of food to make it from late fall until spring.

chickens are pretty easy to keep. my neighbour brings in 75 chickens for meat each year and also has 12 chickens for eggs. the egg birds free range all year (except winter) and he feeds the meat birds grain. he will usually sell 20-30 birds to pay for the ones he keeps. excellent tasting birds.

not sure exactly where in Alberta you are moving too, but i wouldn't bother raising rabbits. You likely have so many rabbits running wild you could easily snare them. i'm in Ontario and set 10 snares up and everyday i catch 1-2 rabbits with minimal work, during the winter months only. i set snares in about a 3-4 acre area and keep rotating. take 4-5 from one section and move to another. i have about 150 acres i can snare.

i wouldn't do the beef/pork thing right off that get go. i would get everything else in order. that is a big task in my opinion.

Good luck in your new venture!!

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Old 09-11-2013, 01:57 PM   #7
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Get some good books and good support. Check out backwoodshome.com, they also have a magazine. Warning: They are pretty Libertarian and have a lot of gun stuff, but the other stuff is worth wading through it if you don't agree with their views on other things. There is one lady who writes an article and a blog as well as a Q&A column who is great. Here and her husband are pretty self sufficent and live in Northern MN so a lot of her stuff will be relatable in terms of short season for you. Her name is Jackie Clay and she has some great books too. Lastly a book that is great is called Self Sufficiency by John Seymor. He is in England so you'd have to adapt some things, but he has a well thought out system.

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Old 09-12-2013, 09:43 AM   #8
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Homesteading in Alberta, I'd seriously look into earth sheltered homes. You might want to invest in a wind generator, solar too, but in winter, the wind will blow when the sun doesn't shine. Deep cycle batteries & electric heat for a backup to your primary heat.

You could also use your greenhouse to heat your home, there are many designs for this. You might think about combining a bit of aquaculture with your greenhouse, plenty of designs out there for that too. It would be nice to use a net to get fresh fish to go with those fresh veggies in January, and never even have to put your coat on to do it.

I'd also plant plenty of apple trees. Obviously you get to eat/ferment the apples, but they'll also attract deer; applsauce is a tasty condiment with venison. I'd plant some honeyberries too, taste a lot like blueberries & hardy down to -20*F, packed with vitamin C & antioxidants.

Just my 2 cents worth. Good luck on living the dream!
Regards, GF.

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Old 09-12-2013, 12:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gratus fermentatio View Post
Homesteading in Alberta, I'd seriously look into earth sheltered homes. You might want to invest in a wind generator, solar too, but in winter, the wind will blow when the sun doesn't shine. Deep cycle batteries & electric heat for a backup to your primary heat.

You could also use your greenhouse to heat your home, there are many designs for this. You might think about combining a bit of aquaculture with your greenhouse, plenty of designs out there for that too. It would be nice to use a net to get fresh fish to go with those fresh veggies in January, and never even have to put your coat on to do it.

I'd also plant plenty of apple trees. Obviously you get to eat/ferment the apples, but they'll also attract deer; applsauce is a tasty condiment with venison. I'd plant some honeyberries too, taste a lot like blueberries & hardy down to -20*F, packed with vitamin C & antioxidants.

Just my 2 cents worth. Good luck on living the dream!
Regards, GF.
I would also grow some rhubarb and atkins cherries. If you can find it the st croix grape does well here, it is supposedly hardy to -40C. there is a person on edmonton kijiji who usually sells them for $5 a vine if I remember correctly. You can use as a table grape and it also makes a decent wine
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Old 09-12-2013, 08:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbauer013 View Post
Get some good books and good support. Check out backwoodshome.com, they also have a magazine. Warning: They are pretty Libertarian and have a lot of gun stuff, but the other stuff is worth wading through it if you don't agree with their views on other things. There is one lady who writes an article and a blog as well as a Q&A column who is great. Here and her husband are pretty self sufficent and live in Northern MN so a lot of her stuff will be relatable in terms of short season for you. Her name is Jackie Clay and she has some great books too. Lastly a book that is great is called Self Sufficiency by John Seymor. He is in England so you'd have to adapt some things, but he has a well thought out system.
I would think you would want a gun if you are homesteading
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