We did it. We're doing it. We will no longer be urban homesteaders. We will be farmers. We bought a small 5-acre farm in north central Florida. We close on it in just a couple weeks. We're very excited. We're very scared (at least I am). Mickey doesn't seem to be scared, but he doesn't overthink things like I do. Then again, maybe he didn't notice we signed the contract because he hasn't yet brought home a moving box to start packing. Hmmmm. I need to think on that more.
It's beautiful. The farm, I mean. It's in an unincorporated part of Lake City (Suwannee County), close enough to 3 or 4 highways that we can get anywhere we need rather quickly, yet it still takes a 1-lane dirt road and possibly a 4-wheel drive vehicle to get to the property. I'll be using an alternate route (2-lane dirt road) to get to the house as I don't back up well (at all) and I'd be scared to death to be halfway down the road with a vehicle coming from the other direction. And it's surrounded by 3 rivers, the Chattahoochee, Ichetucknee, and Suwannee (I think there's song about this, isn't there?), so we've decided to call the farm "3 Rivers Farm." Aren't we original? Well, actually we must have been because there wasn't another farm with this name in the state, so we grabbed it.
|Quick picture of the property and some pear trees.|
The property already has a pear orchard on it, a rather neglected pear orchard, that is. But that's okay because that means it hasn't had a lot of chemicals dumped on it in recent years. Plans of course swirl through my head like sugar plums, but there are the necessities first. The backyard has to be fenced in for the dogs. A deck has to be built so that the dogs can get to the fenced-in backyard on their own. That means a ramp as my dainty little dachschunds don't navigate steps well (at all), and I don't want to be lifting 3 dogs up and down all day long. The back door leading out to the new deck needs to be widened as in French doors (preferred) or sliding glass door so that we can get our newly rehabbed antique stove in the house (I'm not going without it), and all carpeting has to be replaced with some sort of new floor (I'm not a carpet person and youngest dog thinks that all carpet is a big wee-wee pad). And all this has to be done before we can move in! This might not be difficult if one is moving somewhere within an hour driving distance, but this is 5-1/2 hours away so getting there to get things done is going to be on the tough side. We'll make it happen, though. I think an air mattress is in order.
Then there are the farm plans, those ideas that have been swirling through my head morning, noon, and night since we saw the property the very first time. Clearly, we have a crop to start with. The pears. I don't even know what kind of pears they are or what kind of care they need, but I guess I'll find out soon enough. I think our second "crop" will be eggs. We can order chicks as soon as we get there so that we can put the larger flock of chickens out to pasture on our intended first vegetable beds, giving the beds a good boost of healthy fertilizer. If we take care of the soil, everything else will fall into place. And I'm making rather quick inroads into the local food/farming community. I think this may be more important than knowing what types of pears are on the property at this point, though it's going to drive me nuts till I know. I'm hoping for more than 1 variety, of course.
So more farm plans. We need a barn. We need an area to wash and pack produce (I'm thinking the back porch for starters). We need to design and build a large portable coop for the larger flock of chickens. We need a shed of some sorts for all the tools. We need farming equipment - not tons, just the basics to get us going (some sort of tilling instrument, a seeder, electric fencing for the chickens and other livestock - hoping to get some Nubian goats for milk, cheese, and soap). Goodness, we need a lot. I know if we take it slow and work on 1 thing at a time, we're going to get there. Especially if I don't overthink it.