These little animals are sooo cute.
But are you sure about raising beef, or other small animals or milk cows that need your attention seven days a week with your new Maine hobby farm? Growing acres and acres of christmas trees is intense at harvest prior to the holiday too. Worrying about the weather being cold enough three days in a row to avoid spillage and other factors. No...what else..can you do that won't tie you down but still give you a sense of being a productive farmer? Grow potatoes and go into commercial farming in a big way? No...no to much invested in time and money for equipment, etc. Not you at this stage of your life.
Making a living...not a big living but a respectable living on the Maine farm, working the soil.
Want some weekends to do something other than animals too in case you want to take off for a few days. Not wanting to do vegatables only and truck farming as there are already enough other local road side stands. Hmmmm... Hey, hey, hey.. how about dry beans? Good old yellow eyes, pea beans, soldier or jacob cattle dry beans? Okay...if you have a simple corn planter...(saw one in Uncle Henrys sell buy swap guide for $300 recently) and you change the plates for the seed to bean set up cheaply. Old M Farmall tractor or vintage John Deere model is plenty bigger enough to pull a planter. You'll need some cultivators and hoes to hill the soil. Beans are not that aggresive against weeds. A shot of nitrogen to give them a boost too in addition to the 40 to 50 pounds you put on during planting or to side dress them during the summer growing season may be required too. Have to worry about blight so stay out of the field if it is wet. And a wet fall harvest is the only other big headache. If dry beans get wet...oh oh they swell like the ones you put out to soak over Friday night in water for the Saturday night bean ritual.
You'll need a set of pullers for harvesting and to decide if you bring the beans in their husks/stocks into a fixed place harvester or thrasher or wind row and bring a harvester thru the fields. You don't step out and buy brand new..you do your home work. You can talk to alot of bean farmers in the Kennebec and Penobscot Counties of Maine...and you'll need some silos or storage that will be well ventilated to keep the beans from heating up at harvest when they are first put into storage. Moisture in these facilities should not be over 15% or so either. A grading table to pick out the half ones and little rocks that make it to this part of the process from the field needed too. Or you can get an automated grader but if you are looking to keep the kids busy, and doing most of the work without a lot of money being spent to automate, you can grade them into a large galvanized cans from a table you sit on both sides up to grade. Then pack them in two pound bags and heat seal them. Or sell them bulk to a special line or organic markets you set up to display them all polished and attractive in a big maine made cedar barrel. You'll have to think of a logo, a combination of colors, find an economical way to get the plastic bags made.
As a kid, we grew dry beans. It was an easy crop to plant, havest and without a slug of money on the line in start up costs. The other neat thing is if you don't sell them all this year, they don't go bad as long as you keep them dry, ready to peddle next year. We would pack the two pound bags and head out to sell them to every little store along the highway, coming home when the truck was empty. We sold them along the road side too in a vegetable stand. Potatoes, strawberries all eventually go bad in time. Grew those too. But beans can last thru seasons. Not a need for major heating..tuff little vegatable and we eat the musical fruit Wednesday and Saturday nights.
Not sure if that is a New England tradition or Canadian ritual where Houlton is right on the New Brunswick border, but beans are great for breakfast too! Add some brown bread, home made potato salad, the red dye number three hot dogs that will kill you but are so good...hey...let's eat. Lots of bean varieties to consider and different states have various markets / taste buds for other types like black, kidney, navy and pinto.
Read more on a synopsis of being a Bean Farmer here at this thorough site on growing dry beans. Some call it eating like a hobo...and my dad would say.."Son, the West was won on a can of beans" with cowboys cooking them over an open fire while herding grazing cattle. Lots of protein but they can make you "verbal" in a non verbal sort of way if you get my drift. Read more on Maine farm listings and get to get a super recipe to make them. Ask me! Check the Maine Agricultural Center for more on beans and other vegatables where they say demand for organic good food is up!