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8 acres becomes 258 acres

Over the past 6 weeks my husband and I have been working hard to secure finance for another property, and today we found out that it had settled and its now ours!

The property is 258 acres in Kumbia, which is near Kingaroy and about 30 min from where we live now in Nanango.  The property has no house, just good fencing, a hay shed, nice solid stock yards, five dams and four divined bore sites.  The property comprises of about 60 acres of cultivation, with about half of the remainder selectively cleared and contoured, and the rest with natural vegetation cover.

Many of you will wonder why we need 258 A when we already had 8 A.  There are two reasons.  Firstly we have been buying a lot of supplement feed recently and we felt that we would never be entirely self-sufficient with the number of animals that we want to keep on only 8 A.  We really need about 20-50 A, but a block that size is hard to find, and most are not good quality country, just the bad bits chopped of a larger farm to make a little money.  Also, with 20-50 A, the work to maintain the property is close to the work required for 200+ A, but the land isn't enough to generate an income, and it is our dream to one day in the distant future be able to"retire" from office work to farm together full-time.  So we thought we may as well buy a decent size property and see what we could achieve.  This way we never have to worry about running out of food or water for our animals, and we should be able to make a little extra money as well.

We plan at first to fatten beef cattle steers, buying a mob of 20-30 from the stock yards and selling them 9-12 months later when they are nice and big.  Eventually we will build a house up there and sell our little 8 acre property.  Then we can get into more intensive farming activities such as pasture fed chickens in tractors and mob-stocking the cattle (a la Joel Salatin).  We feel quite confident that we can make this work given our experience with animals on our 8 acres, but it is a little scary knowing that we will be raising larger numbers of animals for profit, so it will be important that our experiments with organic production methods do work as that will allow us to keep costs low (rather than buying chemicals).  Until we have built up the business, we will both continue to work full-time off the farm.

Our choice of property may seem strange to some people, in fact this property was on the market for 2 years before we made an offer.  We think that people were put off my the amount of vegetation on the property and the current restrictions in Queensland on clearing vegetation.  Indeed, we will need a permit to clear anything, except to make a house yard or for fencing, but that suits us.  We see the vegetation as free fence posts, firewood, shade for the cattle and fertility for the rest of the property.  I think the ratios are about what Peter Andrews recommends (one third trees, one third grazing and one third cropping), so its the perfect block from our point of view!

In preparation for taking on this challenge we have both read Joel Salatin's book "You can farm", which has some great advice for wannabe farmers such as ourselves.  He says that farmers complain that they can't earn a living, and the same is true in our area.  Joel agrees that conventional farming methods are not successful and that to make money you have to think differently.  I think we are ready to do that and I really hope that we will be able to both work on the farm together one day.

I've also been trying to get into some permaculture books, because I think we can really benefit from applying permaculture principles on this property.

So now I have a blog identity crisis!  Is it 8 acres, 258 acres or 266 acres?   I don't want to change the blog name at the moment, so I guess I'll be posting about both properties for now, if I have time.  But I can assure you that there will be many interesting posts to come as we are on a steep learning curve!

The following are some photos of our new property taken by real estate agents over the past 2 years or so, as we haven't had time to take our own yet..... there's none of the trees as they weren't a major selling point for anyone except us apparently!

cattle (not our's) by one of the dams

some of the cleared grazing areas

more grazing

and more grazing

the hay shed

the stock yards (nice and solid)

the view
cultivation area ploughed

cultivation area planted

Comments

  1. Congratulations. how very exciting. Looking forward to hearing details of success on all the acres!

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  2. Congatulations! I like the name "8+258=266 acres", maybe that will help?

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  3. Oh wow congratulations. Such an exciting time for you. I'm looking forward to seeing the improvements you make to your new place.

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  4. Most exciting news - congratulations and best wishes on what is sure to be a big adventure.

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  5. That is so exciting! Congratulations... looks gorgeous & sounds ideal... hard work, but potential.

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  6. Congratulations, we also just purchased 152 acres on the way to Mt Perry near gin gin back in December, and are undertaking the same journey as yourselves, perhaps we can motivate each other....lol....

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  7. How about 8 acres and a dream? Eight sounds like a lot but when you start talking hay and winter forage, it isn't enough. I grew up about 50 miles from Salatin but have never gone over there to take the tour of his place, I think he charges for a tour now since people started taking up his time wanting to look at everything. A guy down the road was trying to follow his method but went broke doing it when the economy died but it is a good system.

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  8. That is very exciting news! We are now aware that the 3.5 acres that we have are not enough for all my crazy animal plans. I look forward to hearing all about it.

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  9. I have to say that gives me hope. We are looking for about 5 acres but nothing over here is that small. It's all tiny or 1-200 acres. We were hoping to go halves with another couple but most of the blocks the council won't let you build more than one house... so we're still working on ideas.

    And as to your blog name - well, one way or another there's an '8' in your new number... right? And '8' was where you began so I don't think you have to automatically change the blog title... maybe you could put a sub-header underneath...

    '8 acres'
    (in the beginning, now xxx acres)

    or

    '8 Acres'
    began the dream

    something like that (although I am sure much better lol).

    Good luck and I look very much to hearing how it goes because we're on the same track as you, just a little further behind (ok a lot behind but ykwim)).

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  10. How exciting. I would have bought the property on the views alone!! Can't wait to see how you both go on this new adventure.

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  11. The new property looks very promising and I am looking forward to hearing your journey through this blog. Whatever you decide, I'd love to see the photos remain as they remind me of our farm, although we are more "hobby" than anything serious. Good luck. Joy

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  12. Congratulations Liz, What a fabulous property and that sounds like a great plan and I'm sure you'll make it work. You seem very organised with what you have achieved so far. Good on you!

    Could you not have a name like - Farmer Liz and the Big, Big Farm?
    Pretty much sums it up!

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  13. wow congratulations! I read about Joel Salatin's farming techniques in Michael Pollans book, and it sounded so right. I know it sounds scary but you look as though you have already done a lot of research and your heart is in it and that is what counts.

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  14. Well done! I'm so excited for you guys.

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  15. Oh yay yay yay! This is sooo exciting. Way bigger than I was expecting when you mentioned you were making an offer on another place. I like Clint's suggestion for a blog name.

    I can't wait to read more about this new property. You're one step closer to going off-grid.

    Speaking of which, Paul has been reading up on peak oil and now he's thinking we need to buy land too. Yay! Maybe one day I'll be following in your footsteps. I'll be so glad for all the resources you've put on this site when I do.

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  16. Thanks everyone for the kind comments and enthusiasm! We are so excited and a bit nervous about the enormity of what's ahead. I really wish that everyone who wants to follow this lifestyle will find the opportunity somehow. Stay tuned....

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  17. That is so exciting. We would love to do something like that and be able to work together too. Its a big step but I think you have gone the right way about it by starting with the 8 and then expanding. I can't wait to see what the future holds for you, I wish you all the best. The new property looks absolutely amazing!!

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  18. I think if you believe it will happen. That's how we ended up on 5 acres to begin with, LOL.

    Of course it's going to be a lot of hard work, but you guys are no strangers to that. I think 20 acres is a minimum if you want to start raising cattle, for the very reasons you said - feed.

    Nice sized property and I hope many of your dreams for it, come true. :)

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  19. Your new property looks awsome. I reaaly like the trees and old loading shute and the whole look of the farm. I think it will be perfect for a pasture based farm and for growing your own hay and some grains for your animals. I like to see how farmers do things in foreign lands, so I look forward to following your blog. Good luck with the new property.

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Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

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