Monday, June 13, 2011

Don't leave your boots out in the Rain

I broke the #1 rule of farming, and paid for it at 6am on Sunday morning with an 1" of rain in my boots. My first official day as a hobby farmer and 4 hours spent in the chicken coop with very wet feet!

This idea really extends to all areas of the hobby farm, don't pay later for a lazy decision now. I worked in horse barns for a couple years before my little ones came along, and you learn pretty quickly there is a lot of a value in investing in good tools.

Although farm tools can be very expensive at start-up, the math always works out at that a $35 metal manure fork is going to last years & years, where one of those $20 plastic forks will be replaced every year. Plus you've got to pay yourself for your time, even if you're not planning on making a profit, if you purchase good tools that can get your job done in 20 minutes instead of 30 every day, you're making it worth your while to invest the money.

If money is tight and you're looking for a cheaper option, try hitting up some garage sales or auctions for older tools. They are always built better, in fact my cultivator is more then 20 years old and works like a dream! Right now I'm looking for a handle to replace the one I snapped, because the 1 1/2" thick wood handle broke and the cultivator is still in great shape.

When you're shopping, don't be taken by gimmicky tools that claim they are going to make your work easier. The tried & true is absolute the best way to go. Look for tools that have lots of grip so you don't need to wear gloves in the summer. You also need something that is in good proportion to your body, both in weight and height. There is no point in hurting your back every day swinging a fork that is 20lbs to heavy for you.

If you're not sure what sort of tools your need for the animals you'd like to keep you can always ask the feed store guys, locals you know keep the same creatures, or try an online forum. In general you're going to need:

A muck shovel

A manure fork

A good tough wheel barrow with a no-flat tire (trust me on the no-flat part!)

A good corn broom


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