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Suggestions appreciated for new homesteader... Options
andydufresne
#1 Posted : Sunday, October 05, 2003 6:18:48 PM
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First thing I''d do is get the commercial license. THEN look at other things. I am new to beekeeping but I think if you are going to do it you should do it now. Try to find some colonies that are already established but need to be sold. I have bought two and agreed to buy 2 more by the end of the month from a fellow that likes growing and dividing them.

If you start now you still won''t harvest honey till next fall. BUT fresh from the farm honey does fetch a pretty good price around here. I intend to market mine via the Internet as well as here and make the labels with the logo for my fruit farm...I expect IT to be up and running and paying me in 10 years. it''s my retirement plan.

If you have some cleared land then plant a garden with something that you can sell there. If you can make a "greenhouse" type covering you might be able to get a jump on other farmers in the area. CHECK THE MOTHER ARCHIVES for plans for things that allow you to get a jump on things in the spring.

The Internet is a wonderful resource for things such as this.
skruzich
#2 Posted : Sunday, October 05, 2003 6:46:07 PM
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Honey around here gets 8 bucks a pound i think. It isn''t easy to get marketed if there are other honey producers in the area.
I have however found a work from home type job in the computer field. Its a computer field service tech, mostly replacing parts and installing Operating systems and installing new systems and migrating data over most of it is service work servicing computers like from Dell, Best buy ect ect. They don''t have a whole lot of work at this time but will probably have plenty in the near future since they are growing fast. Also you can get between 15 - 25 bucks an hour.
As far as crafts selling, I live in a town that its primary industry is tourism and they have on average a festival a month. I have tried to get in and sell there, but they have made it so expensive that the locals cannot get into the festivals. I think the smallest booth is 500 bucks per festival. Most of what comes in are professional flea marketeers.
i make wood items, toys, gunracks, folding seats, ect and sell only a few a year. Everyone around here sells gourds and grapevine baskets and such.
As for ducks and geese I wouldn''t know how that would fare.
I have however found a way here from my house to make a buck. there are 10 houses on this one well here, and i charge 25 bucks a month for water. I also offer them garbage pickup once a week for 25 bucks a month, and trash removal on a per removal charge.
I am planning on putting in blueberries (fastest thing in fruit) to sell. It takes 2 years for them to produce, and 3 - 4 years to produce enough to market. You might figure on 25 -50 bushes to start with. I would plant 25 this year, 25 next year and 25 the third year and you will start making profit on the third year and then more profit the fourth and fifth years.
might even have a pick your own farm after 5 or 6 years depending on how many bushes plant. The blueberries will eventually become trees.

Cutting wood and selling it is another money maker, you can get 80 bucks a cord for pine and around 150 bucks a cord for hardwoods.
ttyl
steve
Terri
#3 Posted : Thursday, October 09, 2003 3:55:19 AM
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I am getting started in bees.

Out here, honey in farmers markets go for about $3 a pound. This is not one of the better honey producing areas, each hive will only produce about 70 pounds of honey. A few parts of the country will produce 150 pounds. While it would be hard to make a LIVING off of honey, you can make a good return per hive to pad out the sales on the net.

Perhaps you could sell honey on the net, also? It will help move anything the Farmers Market doesn''t sell, and you won''t have to spend an entire day a week selling, either.
skruzich
#4 Posted : Thursday, October 09, 2003 4:13:34 AM
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YOu have to be careful with selling on the net, you probably have to comply with individual state laws concerning honey production. I am finding that there are pesticide/rodentcide permits you have to get if your bees happen to be in a area where it is used. Grrrr government back into regulating it.
I know that I paid the other day 8 dollars for a 1 qt jar of honey. A gallon sells for 28 bucks. I am surprised you get honey over there for 3 bucks. Round here this year honey is expected to go up to 15 bucks a pound due to the abundance of rain. It caused a 20% reduction in the honey production this year.
I too am thinking it isn''t too awful expensive to build a hive, and I think that I could build several and within a couple years have enough to suppliment my income. Best part is that its a cash operation.
steve
michaels
#5 Posted : Thursday, October 09, 2003 5:11:55 AM
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Coming back to the origional thread, find a copy of Storeys. Good for someone starting out. And pay a visit to our Librums web site, lots of good information there. Our store sells the Readers Digest back to the land volume also, but expensive. Check the local library.

1) keeping bees and selling the honey

Not enough income. Majere tried that. But on the other side of the spectrum, it really helps with everything else, for pollenizing. Today, we have a ''wild'' hive for about every five acres. Always a buzzer around. I like it. I did not know that bees helped with so many natural trees here.

2) growing figs and/or blueberries and/or muscadine grapes to sell at the farmers market

Farmers markets were also a lost cause. One of the reasons Majere started the ''store'' on the highway was that once we got to the market, we could not compete. Further, most of the sales at such markets are to the larger quantity buyers, and we would not have the quantities wanted. I would suggest you find a simular store and simply talk to them.

Other Amish and Mennonite communities have given up on farmers markets, and started having announced auctions. Check around, if you have a simular product, you would make more money that way.

3) keeping chickens or ducks (I can handle feeding every day ) and selling the eggs

That works. Eggs are very popular at the store. Duck and geese eggs even more so, for size reasons. We have chefs drive out from DC, fifty miles, to get as many as they can. At Easter last year we made a killing. Actually, Majere suggested we start waterglassing and blowing out now last month. And another tip, the biggest seller was the ''word in the egg'' ones, ''Happy Easter'' being the most common. I don''t know the trick, but I think it is in the Dicks, or Henleys.

4) keeping angora (?) rabbits and selling the hair

Also done here, but if the hair is not processed, nobody local would touch it. Such processing is labor intensive, or costly machinery. On the other hand, tanned pelts are also very popular, but I would wonder if you want to spend that time with the tanning process. White rabbits are especially wanted, as they can be dyed any color. Another thought to you, rabbit meat is very popular with the chefs. I, since coming here, have enjoyed many a rabbit pie.

5) growing gourds, drying them and either selling them to crafters or decorating them myself and selling them at craft shows

There I will have to profess ignorance. I know Majere''s Goodwife has tried that with some success, but as birdhouses, dippers, etc. I note that she has not done so lately.

If you want to keep the trees, get goats. Majere swears by them. I have to admit I am impressed also. Simply stake one out, and they will eat everything but the trees, but trim the bottoms up of those also. To include poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. And kudzu, there is no more kudzu here. And then there is also the milk and related.

Have you visited your county extension agent? They keep tabs on local products, etc.

On books, we are also looking into and building on ebooks, we have a LOT of pre 1912 back to the land type volumes, and ''formula'' books from the turn of the century, and I would not mind comparing notes with you there. Our main problem is being ripped off. Majere released two in the past, and both times, in less than a week, the content had been ripped and on sell, on eBay. We are presently researching the various protection schemes available, but no ''right'' answer yet. Majere does have a degree in computer science, was ASP (Association of Shareware Professionals) with several products, so it is possible that in the future he may write his own. What venue of books?

Michael.
RBrow
#6 Posted : Thursday, October 09, 2003 4:16:15 PM
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I noticed that you mentioned keeping angora rabbits and that you are in SC in your post. The Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair begins near Hendersonville, NC October 24. There are workshops and numerous people there that you can talk to about raising rabbits and other animals for fiber. I''ve attached the url.
http://main.nc.us/saff/
If you can attend, you''ll probably pick up some useful information there.
Dorene
#7 Posted : Friday, October 10, 2003 12:16:33 AM
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Don''t forget along with keeping bees you not only get the honey, you also get the beeswax. A friend of mine''s husband raises bees and I think that she said he sometimes gets more for the wax than the honey. She had wanted to make candles, but we couldn''t find out how to bleach the wax. I came across an old book of formulas that told me how to do it. You have to slice the blocks thinly and then leave them setting in the sun aon tarp for about four and half weeks. If there is any yellow left, you melt it down and repeat the process. He sold the wax before we got around to making the candles. Of course this same book told me that I could preserve an egg for up to two years by dipping it in parafin the same day it was laid. Hhhmmmm.....
michaels
#8 Posted : Friday, October 10, 2003 1:36:33 AM
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Dorene,

Wax dipping a fresh egg is true, but six months. We use the wax long before we sell it. A LOT of candles.

If you like ''formula'' books, pay us a visit here at the Librum. Url below.

Michael.
skruzich
#9 Posted : Friday, October 10, 2003 2:47:09 PM
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I have been reading where it takes 7 pounds of honey for them to make 1 pound of wax. Thats why it is so expensive.
Beeswax is one of the best things to use for making things with wood and giving them a finish.
steve
cherterr
#10 Posted : Monday, October 13, 2003 5:00:19 PM
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Hey.. if you want National Rabbit Show Winners of English ANgoras.. email me! BUT beware!!!!! Lots of work involved!!! These are MUTANT wool producers!! HOWEVER, you need fewer rabbits to get the job done. I got an entire LARGE zip lock baggie off one doe every three months. A good site to visit for info on ENgilsh Angoras is http://home.pacbell.net/bettychu/. (That''s where I got mine.. and PAY I did!!:):) But worth it!!
doula
#11 Posted : Wednesday, October 15, 2003 8:39:33 PM
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Some people in my area have set up a worm composting operation, they sell the castings as fertilizer and the worms to other people starting composting. We have a small worm composter for our needs and it pretty low-maintenance. Just one more suggestion for you to look into...
barbarake
#12 Posted : Thursday, October 16, 2003 3:49:38 AM
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Thanks everyone - lots of good ideas here. It''s funny that the last poster mentioned worm composting - I''ve been looking into that also.

I agree that the commercial license should come first. Chuck (my ex-husband) will pay me $100 for each trip (they generally take a full day). One or two of them a week will help a lot. Luckily I''m strong enough to handle the 55-gallon barrels. He''s thrilled because he only has one other person that has the right license (it''s hazardous material) and she can''t handle the big barrels. So that''s number one.

I liked the beekeeping idea because it doesn''t require a lot of time. Honey goes for about $8.00/qt. here. It''ll never be a big moneymaker but I just like the idea.

Cutting trees is not really an option. Not many people here have wood stoves (everything is gas) and I see ads every day in the paper for free firewood - you just have to cut it down.

I was considering the geese for their eggs. Some people do craft projects with them, especially the bigger eggs. That''s definitely a ''probable''.

Thanks RBrow for alerting me to the fair in Hendersonville. I''ll definitely try to get there this weekend.

I know nothing about ebooks. (Well, I''ve heard of them but that''s about it ) I deal with traditional books, mainly fiction. I have about 4,000 in inventory and sell on Amazon. I have a bunch of rarer ones that need to go on ebay (when I have the time). Right now I''m selling some paperback lots on ebay - just to get them out of the house. I have excellent feedback on both ebay and Amazon and I think that that helps a lot (because I''m obviously not a huge seller).

And thanks for the link to the angora site - I''ll definitely check it out. I was thinking more along the lines of selling the wool to spinners on ebay. I''m definitely not interested in tanning the skins nor in providing meat commercially (although I like a good rabbit stew every once in a while).

Actually, regarding ebooks, I had the opportunity to chat with John Ringo - a Science Fiction author (and a heck of a nice guy) - about the future of ebooks. He publishes through Baen and they''re trying to push it. But I don''t know - maybe I''m just old-fashioned but I simply don''t see the appeal of books you read on the computer.
skruzich
#13 Posted : Thursday, October 16, 2003 4:04:48 AM
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As far as books on the computer, I would rather have them on CDrom myself, I read faster on computer. It is also easier to take my books with me when i go somewhere if they are on cd.
I buy all of my technical books on cd because i can do search and find real fast.
So Cdrom books are really in demand, the publishers are petrified of that idea though.

steve
barbarake
#14 Posted : Thursday, October 16, 2003 2:12:07 PM
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You have a good point that reference material on CDs work well - the ''search'' feature really helps. I''d love to get the cds of back issues that MEN is putting out - but they won''t work on Windows 95 (which is what my computer has).

(I can''t help but think it''s faintly ironic that a magazine such as MEN doesn''t allow for people who still use older computers. I''ve never updated my computer because I never saw a need. It works fine. And - as a bonus - most recent viruses don''t affect Windows 95.)

Steve - you''re right, most publishers *are* petrified of ebooks and books on cds. I can''t really blame them. Too many people have this idea that it''s perfectly ok to copy these things and pass them around - it has to cut into sales. Also, a traditional book has a certain ''lifetime'' - they don''t last forever. When a copy wears out, the owner has to buy another one. The same is not true with ebooks/cds. Do you think car manufacturers would sell cars that never needed to be replaced and could be simply copied at will?? I don''t think so - it would kill the market.
RBrow
#15 Posted : Thursday, October 16, 2003 5:24:13 PM
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Barbarake,

You said in one of your posts that you would try to get to Hendersonville this weekend for the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair.
This fair starts October 24, not October 17.
michaels
#16 Posted : Thursday, October 16, 2003 11:02:20 PM
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Barbarake,

Anything in your collection that would interest a mennonite library that looks for pre-1912 to digitize?

Michael.
skruzich
#17 Posted : Friday, October 17, 2003 12:35:52 AM
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Actually Barbara, I don''t completely agree on the copying cutting that deep into sales. We see some sharing of music cds over the net, primarily due to the music industries, raising prices needlessly. All we ever heard was how it cut into their profits, but what we didn''t hear is how much profit they did make when people downloaded songs then bought the cd with the on it.
The answer from the music industry was to file lawsuits and pass costs on to the customer and then they raised prices again. wellllll 1 music manufacturer recently decided to drop the prices of cds down to 9 bucks, and guess what, it boosted sales unbelievably.

Books haven''t stopped copying. People copy them all the time. I copy books at the library all the time when i need information. There is apparantly a law or agreement that allows me to do it at the library.
Cd''s do not last forever, they actually wear out pretty quick with use. What will happen with publishers is that they might find out that it will backfire on them as their prices increase. I cannot see spending 100 - 200 bucks for a school textbook. That is a obscene price. I can see however selling the cd, (they put thebooks on cd before they print) and a licencing arrangement. 20 bucks for a textbook on cd, No cost for the publisher, easy to carry.
Where cd ripping hurts someone is people like Majere and Michael who sell their work on cd. They don''t make a whole lot on it as it is, but any copying will hurt them badly.
Anyway, I am not making issue of it, just was pointing out that the copying has improved profites alot of the time.
steve
barbarake
#18 Posted : Sunday, October 19, 2003 4:48:44 AM
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"All we ever heard was how it cut into their profits, but what we didn''t hear is how much profit they did make when people downloaded songs then bought the cd with the on it."

Music sales have been in a dismal slump, with industrywide sales down 31 percent in the past three years.

Universal is the music company that is lowering it''s wholesale prices. They started the last week in Sept. with cds from Sting and Ludacris. No sales numbers have come out yet.

Yes, people can currently copy a book. But it''s not easy. You have to go to the library and then stand at a copying machine for however long it takes. Copying an electronic file is easy - look at song-swapping.

Personally, I agree that cd prices are too high. But it''s my choice to buy or not - so I don''t buy. No problem. I do not copy them, I simply do without.
barbarake
#19 Posted : Sunday, October 19, 2003 4:48:44 AM
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...Well, I don't know if 'homesteader' is the right word but what the heck. Here's my situation...

I was laid off from my (computer analyst) job in January. I sell books online and will start selling on ebay after I move. I am presently restoring a house I moved to 8.5 acres of woods that I already owned. After I'm done, I should be able to sell my current house and end up with no mortgage and a paid-off three-year-old minivan.

I have two boys - ages 13 & 14 - that are a joy but obviously have to be taken into consideration.

I don't want to clear off the woods - there are deer and wild turkey there that I would hate to displace.

I'm looking for things I can do from home to make money but that don't require 'X' amount of time every day (i.e. milking a cow ). I've thought about...

1) keeping bees and selling the honey
2) growing figs and/or blueberries and/or muscadine grapes to sell at the farmers market
3) keeping chickens or ducks (I can handle feeding every day ) and selling the eggs
4) keeping angora (?) rabbits and selling the hair
5) growing gourds, drying them and either selling them to crafters or decorating them myself and selling them at craft shows
6) getting a commercial driver's license because my ex-husband (we're good friends) will pay me to make some delivery runs for him (hazardous material). He'll even pay for me to get the license because he considers it a good backup in case someone is sick.

Does anyone else have any suggestions or ideas?? Any pros/cons?? Anyone done anything similar??

There are no computer jobs in the area (everything is going overseas). So there's really no way I'll get another good-paying job in the tech field. I don't really want to go back to school. I would probably be able to get some sort of office job but I'd really rather stay away from a 9-to-5 job. I don't mind being poor - I'm thrifty by nature and don't have any expensive habits.

I plan on heating the house with a woodstove (winters are pretty mild here in SC). I want to reduce my expenses as much as possible. Luckily I'm in excellent health but catastrophic health insurance is still over $200/month (that will be my biggest bill).

Any comments would be appreciated, esp. any ideas to make money using the woods that doesn't involve cutting the trees down. There are some beautiful trees there - beech trees over 5 feet in diameter - simply gorgeous.
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