May 14, 2012 at 11:11 pm #256969beckoeMember
I hope I haven’t posted this twice, I thought I posted it but it disappeared! I hope someone here can give me some advice.
At the moment I’m renting a little house on a tiny block of land, just myself and my 19 month old son, with not much space for a proper garden. I live pretty simply, and have been growing vegies in containers, and have a small worm farm for composting and fertiliser, all I have room for. I would love to have space for my toddler to run around, with trees, big vegie garden, fruit trees, chickens, and a couple of milking goats. All that is impossible here! Good points about this place are I don’t need a car, can walk to the shops and everything I need, am close to a great park and library.
I am lucky enough to have some savings in the bank, enough for a house deposit, and I think I may have found a place. It is about 10km out of town, so I would need a car. I would just buy a cheap one so I won’t need to get a loan. It’s on an acre of land and surrounded by vineyards. The land around here seems to be very fertile, vineyards and orchards are everywhere. So my plans of lots of different fruit trees and veggie garden could be possible there. I have a home business, so I would keep that going. I would like to also have a go at making goats milk yoghurt and cheese to save on grocery costs.
Questions I have are
1. would one acre be enough land for two goats, six or seven chickens, big veggie patch and fruit trees etc? I think there are a lot of trees on the property, they look like gum trees I think. Would goats live among trees if I fenced that part off?
2. What should I look for when inspecting the property? I am going to see it tomorrow, having only driven past it I have no real idea of the layout of the property. The real estate description in the ad is ‘livebale’ and they are known to talk things up a bit, and by looking at the few pics online, I’m expecting a real dump. I don’t mind that as I have renovated before (not alone though) but I do know how to do minor things like painting and wall tiling.
3. There are no fences, is it expensive to get simple fencing put in?
and 3. Should I be worried about taking on this lifestyle as a single mama of a toddler? Financially it looks good, repayments will be about $65 less than my rent a week (!) but I’m having doubts about being alone out of town, even though it’s not really that far..
thanks in advance 🙂May 14, 2012 at 11:50 pm #524236willowoffgoodMember
Goats will ringbark the trees and are hard to contain. I used to have a nanny goat & kid, and I loved them, milked her every day, she was quite a character but quite often she escaped and caused havoc everywhere she went (on neighbours propertys too!). You will need good fencing. We are currently in the process of building on a 5.4 acre block but hoping to leave the majority of it in natural bushland. But you can do heaps on 1 acre, you wouldnt need any more or it would be too much to look after! We are going to do cheap fencing on our land with logs and wire. I would suggest that you start by taking one step at a time (especially with a toddler!) otherwise it will be too much for you. But start small and just keep going….one step at a time! Good luck, hope it all works out for you. 🙂May 14, 2012 at 11:58 pm #524237lmd80Member
Hi, we are on an acre and a half and have done some fencing, if you are paying someone, it is expensive. We fenced half the perimetre for nearly $8000 and that was the cheapest quote and not exactly awesome fencing but enough to keep chooks in. You could easily have that many chooks and more. And plenty of room for fruit and veg. We live just under 10kms out of town and it isn’t a big deal but then I also travel 40 mins each way to work so Im used to driving alot. My 2 year old loves all the land, loves gardening and loves the chooks and dogs. I think it is a great way for a little one to live and they like helping. Even if it is more hassle then help :laugh:May 15, 2012 at 12:21 am #524238beckoeMember
Thanks Willowoffgood, I didn’t know that goats would ringbark trees! I remember a couple of years ago some goats stayed with us temporarily, and they did get up to a lot of mischief. Hopefully I will have a secure place for them, somewhere they won’t be able to get out of.
lmd80 – $8000 for fencing! wow, that’s so much more than I was expecting. Fingers crossed the property turns out to be fenced at the back. My little one also loves ‘helping’ in my container garden, moving dirt, watering, feeding the worms etc, very funny sometimes. I agree, I think it would be wonderful for kids to grow up with animals 🙂May 15, 2012 at 1:34 am #524239SnoopyMember
If you will be surrounded by vineyards and orchards, you’ll need to make sure your fencing is up to scratch before chickens or goats are added. Your neighbours will not take kindly to your goats chewing on their vine or trees (goats are browsers more so than grazers), nor will they appreciate the chooks scratching all the dirt away from their plant’s roots.
Materials for basic wire fencing will still cost you a couple of thousand even if you have a go at doing it yourself.May 15, 2012 at 5:44 pm #524240lmd80Member
Yep the fencing took me by surprise too! Even more so the quote for the gate being the same price?! Needless to say we still have no gate and are looking at doing this ourselves! Big uphill driveway is causing problems! We would like a solar hook up for it to be auto… I had plans for fancier fencing but couldn’t justify the cost just for a fence! Instead I will pretty ours up with eatables :cheer:May 15, 2012 at 10:02 pm #524241mauziMember
Hi beckoe, Sounds like an exciting adventure for you coming up. I could not recommend more having some land around for kids to explore and grow up and I always think even a run down house that is yours is better than dead money renting, so hope it all goes well for you.
Not wanting to put a dampner on your ideas but having a dairy goat stud for a lot of years I would not advise having goats on 1 acre. The feed will be expensive as well because you would not grow sufficient food for them on that amount of land. Unless you have excellent fencing you will have problems with the goats getting into your orchard and other areas (not to mention they may also enjoy your neighbours orchards as well :D:) One of the main issues you will have on that amount of land are animal health issues, particularly relating to worms (which goats are very suseptible to) as you would not have sufficient space to rotate your paddocks and leave enough time to spell areas sufficiently to stop build up of parasties in your pasture area. If you decide to go ahead with goats, and can fence sufficiently you could add verticle fodder hedges to help with the food and health issues. I have a fair bit on goats on my website that may also help you.
One acre will certainly keep you busy with a todler to care for as well and you can grow loads of veges, fruit and herbs as well …so wishing you luck and love to hear how you get on.May 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm #524242MetuMember
I’m going to give you the experience from a friend of mine, who is a single parent of two school age children. She also worked part time. Now by my standards she had a lovely garden on an acre, the house was already built, the fencing and driveway were already established too. But my friend often told me, it was very difficult keeping up with the needs of her large yard and being a single parent.
We have 5 acres here, but we only really work one acre around the house. We’re still putting in driveways, fencing and garden beds. There was a time druing the floods last year I was separated from my husband because the highway was cut and he couldn’t get through. It was hard maintaining those responsibilities by myself, whilst also taking care of a child by myself.
Now that I’ve said all that, I’m not saying “don’t do it” because I think people are also very individual. I think life can be difficult as a single parent, period, and some people enjoy working on the land more than others. So I don’t think you wouldn’t be able to do it, just bare in mind that it will be increasingly difficult the more land you have. I also think owning a car adds a whole other level of responsibility to your life, much like a child does. It needs regular feeds, proper housing and regular maintenance if it’s to stay healthy.
Again though, some people like to use cars more than others (I’m a car person myself) but others seem to get by on public transport or walking without the expense of a car. You will have to spend more to have a car and you will have to spend more on acreage. Those are two givens I’m afraid. In many ways, we pay less than if we rented in town ourselves, but we also have the 100% financil burden of keeping that system operating. As we don’t have the luxury of public fascilities at minimal cost, we have the full blown expense of independence on the land and how we get to shopping, supplies, medical fascilities, schools, libraries, etc.
In many ways I think you are lucky where you are, if you can manage without a car, in other ways I think you will enjoy the experience of acreage and having something to call your own. But you probably need to ask yourself all those unpleasant questions before you make the move though. Like ask yourself, what if my car broke down and I couldn’t drive the kids to school – do they have access to a school bus? Or, what if I got a run of unexpected bills, do I have enough things I can forgo without cutting into necessities (ie: getting the car tyres changed when they become a safety issue).
Having land is awesome, but if you ultimately cannot afford it or your kids start missing out on you, because you’re trying to manage a property on your own, then it starts to look less appealing. This isn’t a question someone else can answer on your behalf, but what is it you can manage? Are you struggling to manage already? If so, how will moving impact those existing issues? I personally thought moving to land would fix a lot of my problems, but I only discovered they got exchanged for different ones, LOL. I thought the pay-off would be the lifestyle, but then I realised I didn’t stop struggling, they just got exchanged for entirely new struggles. :laugh:
We’ve been here 5 years and we still haven’t gotten our dream milk goats. It’s not that we’re not determined, life just got in the way of our best laid plans, LOL. We actually moved while our daughter wasn’t of school age. We thought we could manage with one car when she started (my daughter could catch the bus) and my husband could use the car for work. I was on my dream property, so I figured I didn’t need a car for personal use. But then our daughter had issues riding on the bus with other kids, and then there were the days she got sick and I needed to collect her from school. Of course my doctor’s appointments didn’t always meet up with my husband’s ever changing work committments.
So we ended up having to get another loan (on top of the existing mortgage) to get a second car. Funds got diverted to managing our regular life responsibilities, not our want of goats, and that has been the ongoing struggle ever since – what do we forgo in order to afford what we want for the property. I’m not trying to talk you out of it, I’m saying this is what you’ll have to deal with too. Make the decision where you are, based on a realistic perception of what you have and what you won’t have access to where you hope to move. If you think you can manage the swap (and it is entirely possible) make sure you enjoy the experience for what it is. It won’t be easy but it will be what you want (if that’s what you want). 🙂May 17, 2012 at 8:36 pm #524243KarmaMember
You always seem to get it right when you add to a thread, giving both sides of the coin. Great advice there, we live on one acre, love it but it can be time consuming but then again we are a couple and both love getting out in the yard, commencing new projects and getting our hands dirty. I have two grown ups (in their 20’s) kids, we moved here when they were in the last couple of years of high school so I had to do a lot of driving as we didn’t want to change schools for that short time.
Beckoe, Weigh up all the pros and cons and what ever decision you make stick with it, you can accomplish anything you want if you put your mind to it.
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