Thursday, January 12, 2017

Farm Maintenance...The Poor Farm Budget 2017

Horses muddy paddock in front of property

I hate the farm at this time of year. Ugly. Super ugly. Bleak. Especially with the crap weather we've had this winter. so far. Rain. Snow. Ice, Freeze. Thaw. Freeze. Mud, Sleet. Fog. WIND WIND WIND. All of that, in fact, we've had just over the last 6 days. Mother Earth, make up your flippin' mind.

View from Cow Milking Shed
My Writing Studio in a bleak landscape.
Poe and Plath would approve.

It affects our ability to work outside,  our old wood buildings, our fences, and our mental attitude,  It's tough on animals too, but I'll address that in the livestock section of the budget coming in a future post. Today I'll focus on our budget of just $50 month ( $600/year) for farm maintenance. This includes: fencing, building repair, pasture upkeep, and landscaping.  Keep in mind the following: my husband is capable of doing most anything, woodworking, basic electrical and plumbing, fencing, etc. That saves us a ton of cash alone. We also have three sons who possess similar skills plus mechanical and small engine know-how and they all live close by. To add some icing to our self-sufficient maintenance cake, Keith throws away very little in the way of materials. 

This can at times be an irritant to me, as I think we save too much, but there have been many times we've  needed a particular bolt, piece of wood, certain size hinge, and Keith was able to root around in his "inventory" and unearth the item for use. He even saves nails from old wood before we burn it. He is a man of great patience, whereas I am a woman who can be a big pain in the ass. Lucky him. Thus, for the sake of marital bliss, I have shifted my goal of getting rid of junk to a more reasonable organizing and efficient storage of "junk", which many times, is not junk at all. 

This past summer, one of my sisters gifted us with all the fencing materials from their property (they sold their horse) which will now meet our fencing needs for at least the next five years. Our immediate needs are tons of gravel for our drive and parking areas, mulch for our walkways around the Looney Bin, relocating some of our fencing for improved animal pastures, garden enclosures, shoring up of our current feed shed until we can build a new one, trash tire removal and landscaping for soil erosion issues. 

Fortunately, our kids gifted us with several gift cards this Christmas for home building stores like Menards. (They know not to buy their mother bubble bath :0 ) This will help us purchase the items not found in our piles of inventory and allow us to stay within our budget. We hope. So tell me, how do you deal with maintenance on your farm or homestead? Do you plan ahead or wing it as you go? What takes up the majority of your resources? Do you barter for repair services? Spill it people. 

A final picture of our current weather,  proving winter also has a beautiful side,
 if we pause long enough to recognize it. 


  1. My husband is very handy as well, so he does 90% of the work around here. He saves things as well, but maybe not to the same extent as yours. He is always filled with pride and joy when he is able to find some part which he has kept for five years and now it is needed for a project! -Jenn

    1. Over the years I've learned more about fixing outdoor things, "cross-training" we used to call it in nursing, and I have my own tool box and drill but my hubbie is so much faster at doing it than I am so I often defer to him. he on the other hand is perfectly capable of making us dinner but it takes him longer to plan it out whereas I can make it up as I go. So we do tend to gravitate towards the chores that come easiest to us.

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  2. Oh I know about the junk hoarding, there was always a big pile of metal under the willow tree and tins and boxes of bits in the shed and when you live on acres out of town the sheds can be epic.
    I am with you on the dismal, damp and muddy milking shed, the trick is to have it higher than the surrounding ground, maybe you could use some of the old tyres to make a base and fill and cover them to keep the inside floor area dry.

    1. Many a good comment about tire use and we do have some plans for them. In Illinois you can keep less than 50 tires on your property without the EPA snooping about. If less than 250 you need a "Storage permit" and have to keep them covered from weather. If more than 250 you need the same permit but must pay a fee of $100 every year AND THEN if you want to build something with your tires you must apply for a BUD or Benefit Use Determination Permit.

      With government having their nose in everything it's no wonder they have no time to defend us from our enemies, as was their original job.

  3. Last summer when we had tree trimmers in our area my husband stopped and asked them what they did with the wood chips. After they told him they usually took it back to their facility and sold it he left our phone number and address with them anyway in case they wanted a place in the area to dump it. He apparently missed their phone call and we were surprised when we arrived at our farm to find they had delivered a full truck load of mulch. We found many good uses for it. Here is a website where you can sing up to have free mulch delivered if they are in your area and need a place to dump it.!/requestersignup

  4. We had a saying in the military that just might describe your lifestyle - we've done so much for so long with so little, we can do anything with nothing forever.

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