Q: A question….how is the place where your keeping the animals? Meaning is it warm enough for them?
A: The animals are currently located in an old boat house that has been converted into a barn. The chickens have a separate area from the rabbits and are caged in with chicken wire, but they both share the same “space”. The barn is 10×20 and we used foam insulation on the walls to provide an extra barrier. We also used some plastic sheeting to “tent” the area so that the warm air would not just go straight up to the roof. I purchased a small heater and the temperature stays at a balmy 40*, just enough to keep the water bottles from freezing. The chickens huddle together for warmth and the rabbits have a nice winter coat to help keep them warm. I chose “cold weather” chicken breeds that are better adapted to our Minnesota climate (Buff Orpington and Silver Laced Wyandotte). The boat house isn’t the best place for them because there are a lot of cracks for cold air to get in and the walls are thin plywood, but it worked in a pinch. Next summer I will look for a better option.
Q: So I have been wondering. Your closing on the house so you will get some $$$ from that.. and I am sure you have some savings or something… but when those things run out… How do you plan to buy things? Barter? Trade?…… lol, late night black ops missions..? Just curious….
A: This seems to be the most popular question. Most “city folk” just can’t understand how cheap it is to get by when you don’t have utility bills and a mortgage to worry about! When I was budgeting in the cities these two areas were 87% of my expenses.
For an income I will be working part-time doing odd jobs for the local resorts and selling some homemade goods. I’ve got a good deal with the land owner and will be working around the property to “pay” for the land I’m staying on. I have ZERO utility bills once I’m in the tipi: heating with wood (no gas bill), solar power (no electric bill), water comes from a well (no water bill), composting toilet (no sewer bill), local dump (no garbage bill). tipi for a home (no mortgage).
I’m growing/raising the majority of my own food… I eat mostly beans, rice, rabbit,chicken, eggs, bread, fresh and canned vegetables/fruit. In the summer I am putting in a greenhouse so that I will have fresh produce over the winter and I will also have a root cellar for storage for next years harvest. I’m also growing grains this summer so I can mill my own flour. I will have to buy sugar until the bees start producing honey, which will take a year. I’m tapping maple trees in March and will harvest wild rice from the local lakes. Once I get through the first year I will know roughly what I will need to make during the summer to keep things going… Right now the rough estimate is about $200.00/month: animal feed, gas, cell phone bill and a few odds and ends and some food I can’t grow myself… but I’m sure I’ve forgot to include something 🙂 I’ll have a better fell for things around this time next year! I have back-up plans in place in case things don’t work out!