Why I Chose Homesteading… NOT Farming


My first homesteading project was about the worst one I could have chosen. I was a cage-stage permaculturist—“cage-stage” meaning I had learned enough about it that I could talk the talk a bit, but so enthusiastic that I should have been locked in a cage for a few years to prevent me from arguing with people until reality and balance sank in. I selected as my first endeavor, not something simple...

Why I Chose Not to Farm (and Decided to Homestead)


My exploration of the possibility of farming began as many people’s do. I had grown up in the suburbs and hadn’t ever given much thought to where my food came from. But we became friends with some people who had a garden and chickens. Then someone recommended Wendell Berry and Joel Salatin’s You Can Farm. It wasn’t an immediate conversion, but I was definitely intrigued. This was about ten years...

Keys to Finding Free (or cheap) Resources for the Homestead


I was in the house the other day when my wife called and said that our neighbors were there and wanted to talk with me. We had gotten to know them a bit over the past few weeks. The husband runs a local company and he breeds horses as a hobby. When I got outside, they told me that their company was getting rid of a bunch of old stuff and that some of it might be useful for our homestead—old...

Powering the Homestead with a BCS Generator


We lost power in a thunderstorm last Wednesday and didn’t get it back until thisMonday. Much of my original motivation for getting into homesteading was disasterpreparedness. So it was particularly frustrating that we weren’t ready for this event.In my defense (it’s human nature, unfortunately, to always defend ourselves!), I haddone some things to be ready for such an event. Just a few days...

Crop Planning for Organic Vegetable Growers with Dan Brisebois – Part 5 of 5


Now that financial goals are set, crops selected, and seeds ordered, the next step is simple: follow through with the crop plan. After that, simply keep good records and analyze your crop profitability.  Crop Planning Step 8: Carry Out the Crop Plan Do the work!  Crop Planning Step 9: Keep Records As Allan Savory says in Holistic Management, the word “plan” is a 24-letter word:...

Crop Planning for Organic Vegetable Growers with Dan Brisebois – Part 4 of 5


After the initial planning for financial targets comes the field planning—crop choice, planting schedules, crop maps, and, finally, filling out seed orders for each crop.  Crop Planning Step 3: Make Field Planting Schedules  Two things to consider in this step are when and how much to plant.  When to plant. This is calculated by subtracting the days to maturity from your target...

Crop Planning for Organic Vegetable Growers with Dan Brisebois – Part 3 of 5


In the previous post, we examined the first of Dan Brisebois’s 11 steps for crop planning: setting goals. Today we’ll look at the second: developing a marketing plan. Crop Planning Step 2: Develop a Marketing Plan Your marketing plan will be based on your salary, budget, projected expenses, and financial goals. Since you’ll be aiming to meet your financial goals, it only makes sense to plan how...

Crop Planning for Organic Vegetable Growers with Dan Brisebois – Part 2 of 5


In the first post in this series with grower Dan Brisebois, we gave an overview of Ferme Tourne-Sol. Today we’ll examine the first of Dan’s 11 steps for effective crop planning. Before You Start  Dan can’t stress this enough: before you even consider beginning your own farming operation and growing for a living, get some training. Find a good farm with a system that works and learn the...

Crop Planning for Organic Vegetable Growers with Dan Brisebois – Part 1 of 5


In this blog series, we’ll be learning from farmer and Ferme Tourne-Sol co-owner Dan Brisebois about crop planning for organic vegetables. Hopefully, we’ll shed some light on how to increase productivity (and profit) with the use of a strategic plan, coupled with flexibility, to maximize our farms’ potential.  First of All, What Makes a Good Farmer?  Is it being able to grow multiple...

Raising Chickens and Children on the Homestead


My 10-year-old daughter came and found me in the house this morning, complaining that my 12-year-old daughter wasn’t letting her help feed and water the chickens. Not a bad problem to have, huh? I was over thirty years old before I met anyone who owned chickens. I think this is so interesting—how for hundreds of years, every generation of Meyers (Meijers, when they were in Holland) probably kept...

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