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Thread: Homestead flow

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2020
    Feedback Score

    Homestead flow

    We have been "boots on the ground" at our homestead for almost 22 years now. Some of our homesteading projects were started even before that- ponds, orchard, etc. As I've talked about before, those things take a good while to get established so should be the first things one should do when establishing a homestead.

    I'm not "renovating" if you will, our homestead.

    Last year I bulldozed about 50 older fruit trees. All but the pears had stopped producing and were largely just overgrown and taking up space.

    When these were originally planted late 90's and early 2000's I did not have a tractor to mow with. Nor did I give a lot of thought to having easily mow-able spaces.

    Replanting with a smaller number of trees and a much wide spacing both in rows and also between the trees themselves. So even when these new ones are big I will be able to run the tractor with bush hog between the rows and save some time.

    I decided not to replant any grapes. Still have a ton of them in other spots. They overgrow their areas, pull down fences and are muscadines which aren't the most palatable as it is. We used to make a lot of grape juice out of them, and may have time in the future for that again, but no time for that for now.

    When your young or tight on cash- or as was my case BOTH- when you start your homestead you often times plan things with the intent and (then) ability to take care of it with manual labor. Later you often find work, family obligations keep you from these things and the corners you cut to save cash back then or when it wasn't a "big deal" to turn over a large plot of garden by hand. This leads to neglect. Certainly did in my case. As work got busier (X3 businesses) and we also got wrapped up in taking care of older family members, homestead projects took a back burner. There were several years where we didn't even plant a garden- something that we would have laughed at back in 2000-2010 probably saying "that will never happen."

    The upside to more work is usually more cash flow, which can be helpful to a homestead. But then there is also that time factor. Now you got the money to buy those extra 5KW of solar, but you don't have time to install the panels. Maybe you buy the materials while money is good and do the install while work is slower? That has worked for me at times.

    Placement of structures and equipment for ease of use and maintenance is important as well.

    Pic didn't load, sorry..
    Most of our solar panels can be washed and serviced from the ground. Those that are on roofs are on low angle roofs.

    I have a friend that built in our area, he built a steep roof and it's a 2 story. Then he decided to put his panels on his roof. Now he's a few years older, a lot less bolder and panels pretty much have to be washed here after pollen season ends in the spring. He's regretting the placement of his panels.

    What about animals?

    We had cows at our range property for several years. Then last year AFTER investing another couple thousand on fencing upgrades, they decide the grass IS greener everywhere but here. They were getting out constantly. We had already thinned the herd, but the cattle drives to get half a dozen heifers back in became a major time investment we didn't have as extended family members were in bad health. We brought all the cows to the auction and didn't look back. Timing was perfect as just a few weeks later we got 100% involved with medical issues with some older family members. Chasing cows during that time period wouldn't have been an option.

    Nothing lasts forever...

    The fruit trees stop producing and die. Wood fencing supports need to be replaced or upgraded to T posts (see above time/youth comments).

    This is all stuff you want to be doing less and less of when your truly older. That extra $150. you put into better materials for a project now could mean greatly extending the time necessary for replacement later.

    We replaced an aging porch made with standard PT 1x6 decking with Trex boards. Looks better and should last a helluva lot longer.

    Doing some renovations on several wood structure homes the last few years made me realize the value of building with masonry. Originally we did this for some additional fireproofing, ballistic protection and overall longevity. Now after seeing long term rot in some "standard" building concepts structures I am very glad we have some structures that will last.

    What are you doing to plan for getting older around the homestead and in general making things "flow" easier?
    Last edited by Lowdown3; 06-21-21 at 08:53.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Feedback Score
    4 (100%)
    It takes cash flow, but investing in a modern tractor with front end loader, hydrostat drive, and detachable backhoe has made my routine tasks like bushhogging take 1/3 of the time it used to. And some tasks take 1/20th of the time it would have required if done manually. Bike building Bridges with cross ties, grading slopes, trimming Creek and pond Banks etc

    Like you learned, when planting allow for easy bushhog mowing, which can be a pretty significant constraint.

    Creeks and ponds require extra work to keep clear of brush.

    And yep, I have a once beautiful 4 board fence with PT posts which needs replacing.


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