You don't know what you don't know
When G and I were thinking about buying a farm, I realized I knew NOTHING about rural living. Even more challenging, I wanted the farm to raise and harvest our own food. This included a full garden, 12 layers, 50 meat chickens, 2 pigs, a dairy cow and her calf for meat. Oh, and maybe bees. The property we were hoping for (which we eventually bought:) had apple trees, pear trees, and maple trees that had been tapped for syrup. When we started researching things, we started developing a list of questions. The answers to those questions inevitably led to more questions. My goal is to have the answers to these questions documented somewhere...you know, to help the next person who wants to transplant to the country.
Things I have googled about homesteading,…
What are the options for cow, pig, and chicken processing?
What are the regulations for selling the meat?
Can I sell rendered tallow?
How about pet food?
What goes in pet food?
What are the ratios of proteins, grains, veggies in pet food?
What breeds/sizes etc require different ratios?
What about cats?
How do you protect your soil from pesticide run off from surrounding fields?
How long do pesticides stay in the air?
How are the crops around our homestead sprayed? What chemical and what method?
What kind of grass/cover provides ultimate nutrients for cows/pigs?
How much milk does a dairy cow give if its calf is allowed to nurse until naturally weaned?
Options for impregnating a cow? Pig? What are multi purpose breeds of cows? Beef AND Dairy.
How much do cows eat?
What do cows eat?
What about pigs?
How are livestock transported to processing?
How big of a trailer?
What kind of vehicle can accommodate said trailer?
How much will a full size cow weigh?
How about two pigs?
How to home pasteurize milk?
How to make butter? Cream? Cheeses?
How much space does each animal need?
How much straw do the pigs and cows need to stay comfy?
How many eggs do layers produce?
What is a straight run in regards to chickens?
What breeds of dogs do different jobs on the farm?
What’s the best way to keep the chickens safe from hawks and other predators?
What are local sources of hay/oats for the cow?
What kind of brewer’s byproducts are usable?
How do you store hay/oats/grains?
How much honey do bees make?
What is involved in bee keeping?
What are the regulations for selling honey?
What kinds of flowers should be planted for the bees?
How much is a generator?
What are the options?
Fencing? Holy cow, who knew there were so many ways to enclose livestock?
What are distiller’s grains?
Can distiller’s grains come from byproducts from our local brewery? Or does it have to be from ethanol production?
Does anything need to be done with the grains before being fed?
How much do you feed?
Large animal vets in my area? How much does a large animal vet charge?
What are potential health concerns to watch for in pigs and cows?
What is the best pasture rotation?
How do you even start to look for a cow?
How about pigs?
Chicken hatcheries with good reviews?
Organic feed for chickens?
How is feed different for meat chickens and layers?
How is feed different for milking cow and terminal cow?
Are there foods that enhance the taste of meat?
Can you raise one turkey?
What do they eat? What is the cost to raise a turkey to slaughter?