My 5 Acres

“There’s a wholesomeness about it that I never could explain
Once you breathe this air you love it and you long for it again;
There’s a tie you can’t discern in the splendor of the sky.
It’s just home to you forever and I’ll just tell you why.”

 Paragraph taken from A Letter Home – by my Great Grandmother Lillie Olson – 1912

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I can hardly believe it. I feel like I’ve been talking about this for so long that it almost felt too far from my reach.

My dream is finally coming true.

5 ACRES.

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We purchased 5 beautiful acres in the country and I couldn’t be happier. There are full water rights. There are no covenants. The land is flat, beautiful and ready for creating my little farm paradise.

Shall I tell you a little bit more about this land? Okay, I will then. Since you asked. 🙂

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The land all used to be farm-land and then a man sold it all off into 5-10 acre parcels. On my little road I will have 4 neighbors, each with 5 acres too.  The soil definitely feels a lot better than my current soil which is sand. I think it has some dead organic materials and possibly even some clay. I should probably get it tested. One thing I know though is that the soil should be good because even without watering for a year there are some amazing flowering cactus plants growing with purple flowers. That’s a good sign right?

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I think it has a great view. Meaning not many people around. Ha! And I do get a small view of the blue mountains on clear days.

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My sister Beth took these pictures for me. We had lots of fun walking the land together.

My land borders along a canal, which at first I was a bit nervous about. I mean, kids and a canal? But after getting to walk along the canal with my sister I realized that I can go on nice long beautiful walks or runs with this by my house. And it is sure to bring a few frogs and other critters for my kids to make memories with.

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Speaking of playing around… do you ever do this and wish you were really that skinny? Ahem. Neither do I….

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Indeed we saw ducks and even a muskrat swimming in the water. Country livin’!!!

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I also noticed coyote tracks on my land. That will be trouble for my chickens. I will need to prepare myself a lot more for predators living out here in the country.

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Some days I feel so excited that my heart can’t stop beating and my stomach has butterflies. My mind reels with what is to come. I can envision myself after a hard days work sitting on my back porch enjoying the sunset with my family. That feeling of freedom and joy. I can’t wait.

However, there have also been many days that I sit and wonder if I can actually do this. If I am going to succeed at running a small farm. If I can handle the time commitment. If I can handle the financial requirements. If I can handle being patient and not having everything for my dream happen all at once. If I can handle a big garden and even acres of growing food. And most importantly if I can handle killing my animals for food. I still have yet to butcher an animal.

I tell you I am absolutely TERRIFIED some days!

I mean, what if I fail at this? What if I put my family through stress, hard work and moving and I am not able to handle it all? What if I stink at being a self-sufficient homesteader? What if I fail?

But you know what they say….

If your dreams don't scare you they aren't big enough meme

And this is one big ole’ dream.

We are planning on building our house on the property with a well and septic. Hoping to get into the new house before Christmas.

Then it’s really go time!

Got any advice for this homesteading beginner?

I am trying to figure out what to do first on my land after my house gets built. Start with an orchard? Backyard grass? Garden? Animals? Bees? Pasture? And what kind of irrigation… flood or sprinklers? So many choices!  Got any recommendations for homestead planning? Best books? Any and all advice is welcome. Oh and please remind me to slow down…my mind is going 90 miles an hour!

62 Comments

My 5 Acres was last modified: May 14th, 2015 by Karrie

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Comments

  1. I’m so happy for you Karrie! It’s going to be a great adventure for you and your family. I really like the book, The Encyclopedia of Country Living.

    • Thank you so much Christy! I do own that book, just need to dust it off an re-read it again. 🙂 It is full of great stuff.

    • I absolutely know how you feel living in the country. My husband and I live on 10 acres. I cannot imagine living anywhere else.

  2. I am so thrilled for you, Karrie! Coming from a big city I can remember how excited I was to get my current home, which is on 3 acres, not as big as yours, but still enough land to make me happy. I hope you get everything you dream of, and that your chickens stay safe!

  3. Beyond excited for you! We will be coming to see it again soon. That’s wonderful that Bethany came to visit you.
    Hope you’re still planning a visit here in June.
    If you want to contact my mom about fencing in animals, she’ll have good advice. Plus my dad will most likely have gardening tips, especially on larger gardens and organic gardening.
    God bless. You and your family are in our prayers.

  4. Are you moving to eastern Washington? Those “amazing flowering cactus plants growing with purple flowers” are thistles and they are a noxious weed and need to go! Good luck!

  5. Diane W says:

    We did the same thing twice. Bought land and built. It was tough for awhile but hang in there. Weve been on our place 20 years now. Slowly weve made our little 7 acres a farm. If you want fruit trees, watch craigslist. Weve got many of ours for 5.00 ea. And if at all possible, buy a tractor. My hubby did and we can do about anything. I raise chickens but dont butcher em. We sell them at a local auction after theyre bout done laying. Weve gotten over 8.00 ea. I love being out on our own with no covenents and can do whatever whenever. Im a total betty homemaker and love just being a mom and gramma….

    • Diane W says:

      A very very good gardening book that weve used for years is ‘The Joy of Gardening’ by Dick Raymond. good stuff in it.

      • Diane W says:

        And….one last thing, you probably will have to make sure your chicken pen has wire over the top to keep hawks, coyotes and raccoons out. Weve had many animals climb over the fence. Make it tall enough to stand it so you can clean it out and retrieve things.

        • Good idea. Will do. I was hoping also to have a chicken tunnel or an open area for them to free range (fenced in of course – I don’t want chicken poo on my back porch).

    • That just makes my heart happy to hear Diane. 🙂 What kind of tractor do you recommend for 5 acres? I love that tip about craigslist, I will start watching now.

      • Diane W says:

        My hubby did a research on tractors. We bought a Branson 3510i. In a long run, it’ll save you money on hiring help on all kinds of projects. From clearing snow to garden tilling to hauling firewood. I think ours is used almost daily. And hubby taught all of our boys how to operate it. Also, if you find fruit trees, you can hill them in until you figure out where you want em.

  6. Congratulations on your getting your dream. All the best to you and your family. I’m planning to move to the country in 3 years myself. I’m just cleaning up my FICO score, paying a few debts, and seriously starting my savings. I own in the suburbs, and am tired of having neighbors on top of me. I want 6-8 archers too. But with no one in sight. It’s not that i don’t like people. I do, but tired of hearing motorcycles and kids screaming all the time. I just want a nice little house, nothing fancy. So my odyssey begins. Again, all the best!

    • 3 years will hopefully go nice and quick for you. Sending encouragement your way! I know what you mean about the view..LOL. City life is okay and all but I love feeling free and not hearing so much noise.

  7. Congratulations Karrie, and may every success attend your new adventure. You might enjoy the 1822 classic “Cottage Economy” by William Cobbett. Cobbett’s wit and “bulldog curmudeonliness”make his little book a delightful read. He was, you might say, the Founding Father of English self-sufficiency— sort of the Karrie of his day! Best of luck, and may many blessings flow from your farm.

  8. Sharon Russell says:

    I love what you are doing and am so envious 🙂 Can’t wait to read about your experiences as they come about. I left the city ( SF Bay Area) 20 years ago this fall – was intending on taking back Grandad’s place – only to find everything sold off, burned down and planted to corn. So instead I re-married and now we have a place in town, which is small enough ( and our 3 lots large enough) that I don’t feel crowded. I still have the dream though, of someday…someday…

    The best of luck to you! (And any farm store will have books you can pick up to guide your steps….)

  9. Esther Schlechte says:

    Karrie, I know it can be intimidating stepping into something you are not familiar with, but just like with anything else, through trial and error you will get there! I grew up on a farm and I know that it gave me a determination in life.
    We built our own buildings, had a fruit orchard, a very large garden and raised and buttered our own animals. Get to know your neighbors and pick their brains for ideas and knowledge of farming. Ask them to help you with butchering, canning, building outbuildings, where to put a garden and fruit trees, etc. Other seasoned farmers can be an invaluable resource!

  10. Stephanie says:

    So happy for you! Its so wonderful to see your dreams come true! A small bit of advice, if you want fruit trees, get them first as they take the longest to be eatablished. Secondly, if you want your chickens free range, dogs help. Perhaps a livestock guatdian dog. I have 4 big dogs, none of them grew up on a farm (I only get rescue dogs, usually older ones) and they all are awrsome around my chickens and ducks! Plus I have never lost any of my birds to predators. Good luck on your new venture!

  11. Above all, be patient. Rome was not built in a day. We have been on our 9 acres and it is still a work in progress. If this is someplace you see yourself living in 20 years, then small steps will reap large rewards. For example, when we finished building the house (mostly ourselves over 9 months), my grandfather called to tell me he had a house warming present for me. It was a Japanese cherry tree in a one gallon pot. The stem was about as thick as a pencil. He was QUITE frugal…LOL. That tree is now 15′ tall and HOW I WISH I HAD PLANTED MANY MORE THAT SIZE AT THE SAME TIME. If you are going to plant berries like raspberries and black berries, start small (but think BIG). Map out the garden with room for expansion. Five canes of Meeker raspberries from Raintree seemed like a very small start but now there are two 40′ rows in year two! I’m sure (if you are like me) that there will come a time that you will feel overworked and exhausted…wondering “what was I thinking?” Take time to watch the sunrise…or sit around a fire pit at night listening to the frogs and crickets, etc. Good luck on your adventure.

  12. Margaret says:

    Congratulations! I’m very happy for you. Live your dream!

  13. Sarah G says:

    You go girl! My husband and I grew up on farms and knew we wanted our kids to do the same. We both lived in town when we were in college, and I couldn’t imagine going back to the concrete jungle. My advice to you is to take your time. Start small and work your way up. It’s the journey, not just the destination. Invest in the doing things the right way, and follow your heart! Good luck!!

  14. Frank Klus says:

    Try to live for the moment and enjoy everything you are going to do. You will only down that road once.

  15. First off Congratulations on your dream coming into reality! I love this website extremely creative and Love the freezer section. This is my first year doing a large scale garden i sense I was very overwhelmed much like yourself, so i started with Perennials mostly fruit & herb plants that you know you will use but take a few years to establish. Then if you have the “mustard” move on to food that is super easy to grow like salad greens which will save a ton of money very quickly. Also another must in the beginning year is to find free or very low cost matierals (compost, mulch, straw) and start stock piling those resources, making friends with the local tree companies by hooking them up with some cookies or a couple freezer meals should do the trick! Best of luck, I can’t wait to start seeing gardening combined with cooking on this website! You would attract a very large audience!

  16. I have always lived in the country in a small community other than when I moved away to go to college. Of course we have neighbors but most everyone has 1-4 acre parcels. Lots of fresh mountain air and beautiful sunrises and sunsets. No comaprison to living in the city. I am very happy to be a country bumpkin!! 🙂 NIce big garden, saskatoon and chokecherries and lots of herbs. Wonderful

    Good luck and congratulations on your new journey.

  17. Congratulations on your land puchase and plans.
    We had a new old time wind driven windmill erected over the existing well. We took out the electric pump. Now, we can get wind power to pump water out for the garden. Adding hoses to irrigate helps. It is now ready for off grid.
    We have rural water that was already in when we bought the place. We use that for inside the house.
    It costs about $56 per month and more if it was used on the garden.

  18. Hi Karrie, congratulations on your great adventure! I am very excited for you.
    It will be exhausting and wonderful all at the same time. A great “old school” book to read is: Five Acres and independence by M.G. Kains (a practical guide to the selection and management of the small farm). It is really a pretty thorough guide to managing a small farm. It was given to me by a great friend and is loaded with good information. Enjoy! I grew up on a 14 acre farm and while there is alot of planning and work to do there is nothing like the clean air, cold clean well water and quiet nights. Kids learn so much growing up on a farm about work and responsibility and compassion. You’ll love it!

  19. So happy for you! Your enthusiasm makes me feel serious joy as I’m living my dream too! I’m about a year ahead of you, with fruit trees in the ground and a nice garden going on (nobody will ever need THIS MUCH SQUASH) but your plans are much more ambitious than mine. I mean to say, you’re going full-on self sufficient, where I am still visiting the market and probably always will. Thing is…I don’t think I’ll ever be able to raise animals to eat. As much as I would LOVE to eat free range chicken and grass fed beef, I just make pets of everything! I can’t help it! Maybe I’ll get …harder? with age. My granny was tough…but…I even feel sorry for the animals under the plastic. I just can’t do it, cap’n. Maybe watching YOU will help ME! I’ll certainly be hoping for tips on how to keep chickens safe. I do intend to get a chicken house up and running but we, too, have coyotes, as well as foxes, hawks, snakes, and a whole bunch of other hungry critters that would love to pinch a chicken or it’s eggs. I’m rambling…CONGRATS! You’re terrific and you deserve this! AND YOU CAN DO IT! ALL OF IT! 🙂

  20. We just built on 6 acres and its been an education with ditches failing and having to be rebuilt that was a sad 9k. And if you chose to flood make sure your land is laser leveled. We paid some one to grade our pasture and it doesn’t flood properly. And if you have septic you can’t flood irrigate near your house or it will overflow. Unless you set up dikes.

    • Oh my, didn’t think of that. I will have septic so maybe flood irrigation is out. I will have to look into this more. Thanks so much for sharing!

  21. re ecca says:

    Lol, I always love hearing another lady”dirt junkie” like myself talk about her passion! : ) unfortunately in today’s climate we are a rare breed becoming rarer everyday,as more and more farm land gets converted into subdivisions with houses built 10 feet apart. I pity those folks who haven’t watched a sunset from across their pond or caught the morning antics of well rested bunnies looking for some fun. My best advice is even before u build is get to know ur land it has a personality all its own. It, like all living things has its moods. Grab a pair of rubber boots and head out in the next rain storm and learn the pattern that is created when the water flows across the ground it will provide invaluable knowledge on where to build a home ,the barn the best garden spot, and will save you the angst endured by a yard full or angry,wet chickens who’s hen house is in the waterway flow when it rains! If ur planning to go no pesticides only organics this is important to know as the waterway makes it’s own course across the land not only of your land but your neighbors and you’ll want to keep your gardens away from tainted runoff. Good luck in your endeavor s ,hold dear to the land you have been fortunate enough to have been entrusted with the care of for it can become the backbone of your family for generations to come.

    • Thanks! It doesn’t rain too often around in my area – but I will for sure take your advice. Can I just say how much I looooove your comment! 🙂

  22. Melissa says:

    Hi Karrie! So very excited to see that you got your property! My only advice would be to really look at your wish list and draw/plan it out from an areal perspective so you can really utilize that whole chunk 🙂 I am sure you will have all sorts of ideas! I’m currently planning a two sided berry trellis. When looking what I buy at the store and twin toddlers to feed who love them, they are the most expensive thing I buy! But really the reason I am commenting other to congratulate you is I was watching a show this morning that had the coolest chicken idea I’ve ever seen and you were the first person I thought of. Check out Crown Ranch (I believe it is in washington state) They have a solar chicken train… I’ve never seen such a thing but it keeps the bugs down and grass fertilized as it slowly moves around the yard. It’s hilarious and so clever!

  23. CONGRATS! We lived in a 6,000 square foot house in town but my boys could not ride a bike, adventure very far, or go out if the neighbors were out. We opted for a 1800 square foot house on some land! (Just like you) We will never regret our decision. You won’t regret having space to do the things you love to do. Our boys (all three!) love every minute of having space outdoors and for some room to be kids. We have ducks, but will be getting chickens soon. My boys love every recipe of yours I have made for them. They love the homemade “everything”. The EGG NOG French toast was a hit and recipe asked for MANY times at the holidays:) All the make ahead freezer meals are loved by many MOMs in our area. If you would like to travel and “present” Happy Money Saver” we would love to have you…..

  24. Hi Karrie, I’m so excited for you. You are doing something I have wanted to do all of my adult life. I am looking for property where I live but it is very expensive. While I am saving I am putting my 1/4 acre yard to good use with garden boxes filled with everything you can think of to have a fresh salad. I make homemade salsa every year which unfortunately never make it to canning, my family eats it faster than I can make it. I have boxes with squash and just about everything else you can think of. I planted an apple tree last year and I am planted grapes this year. I wish now I would have planted those years ago. This year I’m venturing into a small chicken flock. I’ve only had them for 4 weeks and I love it already. If my weather would ever cooperate they’ll be running around in their runs soon. I don’t have a lot to worry about other than hawks but I’m using tunnels and portables runs to keep them happy. I hope you find joy and happiness in everything you do. that is what it is all about, right? Best wishes

    • Thank you so much! I love that you are using the space you have, like I did the past 5-6 years living in town. Oh you have chickens…I miss my chickens. Had to send them away since I am moving…more on that to come. Thanks again for your comment.

  25. Donna Vincent says:

    Just found your site….looking for pectin-free strawberry jam recipe. My first year making Strawberry jam in my country home. I moved to my 4 1/2 acres last August, from the greater Boston area to rural Maine, with a record breaking cold winter. It was a tough one, as we had to put in our heat system ourselves. I can’t say I was comfortable all the time, but I LOVE being here in the country. The garden is in. The new chickens will be introduced to the older ones (my son lived here for three years before us) and property is really coming together in this workable spring whether. the 200 yr old farmhouse not so much, but I still love it and wouldn’t change it for anything. So enjoyable here. Good luck with yours and your dreams.

  26. Enjoy it! We bought five acres of bare land in the country years ago. Built a nice house and eventually out buildings for animals. We raised meat and egg chickens, pigs, and beef. Had a huge garden and fruit trees. We lived there for 16 wonderful years until our children grew up and were on their own. It was a great way to raise a family. Many happy memories.

  27. Ashley Shaw says:

    We purchase our 5 acres a few years ago. We had chicken. If I can pass along anything I have learned it is these couple things. Raccoons love to kill chickens, some times not even to eat. If keeping your chickens in an enclosed pen, use small hole chicken wire with the coop away from all side (keep it square in the middle). Raccoons would reach there hands in at night and grab the chicken head and pull it off leaving the dead chicken body inside and head outside. We did get dogs and that kept the raccoons away. We then decided to let them be free range. Unfortunately we found our dogs love to case chickens. Most flew the coop to get away from being chased. One of my dogs even ate a chicken and once they eat a chicken, you can’t break them of the habit.

  28. Christina says:

    I don’t have personal experience with chickens, but the best idea I saw for chickens was a 10×10 (or maybe 12×12, probably depends on the number of chickens you want to have) enclosure that was also covered on top (but only about 2 feet high). The sides and top were all covered with some type of wire and there was a way to hitch it to a tractor. So each day the farmer hooked it up and pulled it to the new spot of pasture for the chickens to poke around and eat the bugs, etc. I’m not sure if the chickens just walked along with the enclosure as he pulled it or what. I know that part of it was fully covered (maybe some metal roofing material on the sides and top with a door that slid up and down so he could just pull up the side that opened into the wired area to let them out in the morning) that way the chickens had full protection from animals and the elements at night. Using this moveable coop, he fertilized a new part of his pasture each day and the chickens were “free range” without having their run of your porch for a pooping stoop!

  29. Kerrie, we too are starting our dream on our own patch of land. We have a written list of plans: year one, year two, year three: one step at a time. The plan is rewritten each year. My husband has made an offer on a used tractor and is planning a small barn raising for September (5 or 6 guys 3 or 4 days) and blast me a cheese cave into one of the hillsides to age the cheese I will be making this winter. This spring we will plant 2 filbert trees, begin planting raspberries and black berries along the perimeter fence (long term project). The wild critters (bear, antelope, deer, elk and, whatever else) can have all the berries they want … on that side of the fence; we’ll harvest berries on this side of the fence; all the way around the property. My husband and our son promised to build me an outdoor brick oven come Spring as well. Our land is anything but flat so I want earth sheltered green houses that follow the contour of the hillside with a southern exposure. Year 2: a corn patch for use in distilling fuel for the tractor. Year 3: the livestock. A milk cow , 3 or 4 head of cattle for meat, some chickens, 3 or 4 alpaca for fleece (my daughter spins, I knit).
    For irrigation, may I suggest looking into drip irrigation? It uses less water and there is so much less water lost to evaporation.

  30. Christina says:

    That is so cool. Research straw-like-clay construction for your home…

  31. Hi there, just found your blog and it is awesome! I’ve never lived in the city but can only imagine how you were itching to move! Congratulations on your parcel of land…there is nothing better than growing and raising your own food for your family…there is something very nostalgic about it! There are 2 books that I have that are fantastic : “Back to Basics” and “Homesteading”, both written by Abigail Gehring…I think you might find them very useful! Good luck on your future endeavors!

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