One of the many reasons I wanted to live off-grid was so I could live a life where money wasn’t so important. Where simply living outweighed the pressures of society.
I got there, I did that, I now live a very minimal lifestyle and rather than feeling I am missing out I feel abundant in every way, every single day.
One major way of being able to live this way is to get the quinta/farm/smallholding/homestead to pay for itself. This means I want to be able to feed the animals for free or have them generate enough income to feed themselves, or they save more money than it costs to feed and shelter them.
Animals on the quinta, unless you have a magic pot of money, have to perform a role, they have to earn their keep. Or, if you want pets then the other animals need to cover their costs so at least the quinta breaks even. You cant have ‘the dream’ and not be broke and burnt out otherwise.
Last week a pair of goats joined the flock here and they are so cute and tame already, but they perform a very important role and were acquired (swapped for ferments) for this reason.
Here is what’s happening with this grand idea of at least breaking even on the quinta so far…
Goats: (pictured below) Are going to drastically reduce the costs of strimming the land almost constantly and getting a tractor in to do the same once or twice a year. They will also produce babies (they are a mating pair) and I will be able to collect a small amount of raw milk from them.
Chickens: The sale of their eggs easily (and more) pays for their food and leaves enough for us to consume eggs for free too. I am also growing a lot of their food now too and farming meal worms for their protein, so their costs are very low and the generate income.
Quails: Are amazing nourishing game meat that can save money on meals &/or can be sold. The eggs are a novelty for many and sell well too. And they breed a bit like rabbits!
Cat: Eats the mice and moles that try to eat the garden produce whilst its in the garden and in storage, so she easily earns her keep/food.
Dogs: Dogs are really just pets, they do scare away predators and thieves from the animals, but mainly they are wonderful fluffy money-pits (unless you have hunting dogs). But I estimate (although I have not done the exact calculations) that the income earned or saved by the other animals just about covers the dogs too.
Everything works as one here on the quinta. Well that’s the plan! I am constantly researching ways to make this smallholding work like they used to. Animals produce food and compost to make more food. We also produce humanure (from the compost toilet) which also eventually produces food. The quinta basically feds itself. Needing very little from outside. And, what is needed is swapped/traded with other smallholdings doing something similar.
Nothing need go to waste and costs are being reduced constantly rather than going up.
Its a work in progress but its so rewarding and not only that but it feels so right. Like this is the way we should be living and the things we should be doing. Going back to basics, going back to more traditional ways of living with a much deeper connection with the land, animals, food, ourselves and our communities.
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