Originally Posted by Life is Good!
Add us in the list of 'incubator addict'. First hatch in bator (Brinsea mini) - set 7 eggs, got 5 live, 1 unfertile and 1 died about 17 days. We're hooked!
Hmmm, layers, meat birds, garden, canning, freezing, orchard, maple syrup making....thinking of adding honeybees this spring...wow. Once you start on this road of self-sufficiency, there really isn't anywhere to stop and say, ok, stop now! Once the kids are out of diapers - beware, your list of interests will grow and change! I know ours did significantly! (they started us down this chicken road...which started the whole slippery slope of what's possible!)
Over the years my life has had many chapters.
I have lived on the beach as a young kid. I fished every day in summer. When I was 14 my parents moved us to a sheep farm. I was in my element. I read every book I could find on animal husbandry. I dug my own vegetable garden. We raised cattle sheep pigs for sale. We had turkeys, geese ducks and chickens. I milked 2 gallons from a cow every morning before school.
Then I grew up.
I traveled the world. I have been to at least 36 countries and had amazing adventures. I have lived in big cities and small towns. I have had great financial gains and I have lost everything. I have rebuilt.
The most stabilizing influence in my life is my spectacular wife.She runs with my dreams but she keeps reality in the picture.
As we age, we are growing simpler. A self sufficient life is very appealing.
Mrs Oz has a passion about growing fruit trees. We have over thirty different tropical fruit trees on in our place in the Philippines - some I cannot name. The ones I know - Bananas (at least 7 types) papaya, avocado (2 types) mango (3 types) lemons limes calimansi (native lime) pomelo cherimoya breadfuit jackfruit durian rambutan lomboy chicos soursop sweetsop star apple mountain apple passion fruit coffee cacao and of course coconut. All are young but we have eaten mango and papaya already.
The salt winds are not great for veges but with work we can grow squash long beans bitter melon carrots green beans. I have yet to grow a decent tomato - the bugs are relentless - I have not given up though.
With just 2.5 acres, we cannot really grow enough large animals to eat except pigs. We can carry 4 goats - we will buy two more does on my next trip. I dream of making my own cheese and marketing it there. We will need 20 acres a few miles up into the mountains to do it. My Italian grandfather made his own salami in Sydney. I would love to give it a try and have read volumes on it.
I have toyed with getting bees but the bee breeds used here fail over their because of humidity and disease. Local bees relocate their hives too fast and you may lose the lot in a day. I am still researching. Still toying.
In three years our chickens will be well established and our fruit trees will be bountiful. We will also be ready to leave and live together as a family finally. Being self sufficient and with minimal income is fine for me - but Mrs Oz deserves as much time in season opera and theater tickets as she wants and our kids need to experience cultures and sights as well as having good educational opportunities.
Bernie and Analou are our third set of caretakers. They have been with us for a year now and are great. They see the vision. They have enjoyed the profit share from three harvests and don't plan on leaving. If they do, the place could implode. Its not easy finding truly reliable help.
We talk of buying 5 acres in San Diego county and setting up in this country as well.
Perhaps we can find a retired couple to live on it full time and do a caretaker for free rent deal.
When we retire, we would like to spend time in both counties - perhaps Australia as well.
Whatever happens, being self sufficient is going to be a reality.