My wife Brigid and I started a small hobby farm we call Phase 3 Farm in 2009. Since that time, we have slowly worked to improve the support structures needed to provide a sustainable living for us as we move into our retirement years. We believe that growing our own food not only reduces the cost of living, but also contributes significantly to our health by producing organic vegetables and providing a regular source of physical activity. We love the seasonality of living the country, the peace and quiet (okay, hunting season is noisy), and having our own year-round stream.
Currently, we have a fenced area 50 feet on a side where we have 17 raised beds. We rotate crops on 14 of these beds, while three are reserved for asparagus, herbs, and strawberries. We grow a wide variety of vegetables including tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, cabbages, broccoli, peppers, onions, garlic, and many others. We also have a small fruit orchard that provides pears and peaches - and maybe apples some day.
Our biggest project to day has been building our own, custom built home. It has a 1200 sq-ft foot print which is super insulated and heated with a dual fuel furnace (wood and propane). It has a root cellar under the mud room that allows us to store our garden produce for the winter. Most of the living facilities are on the first floor. The walk-in attic is all storage. The basement includes Mark's business office. We did much of the work ourselves, assisted by contractors (Creative Construction) and friends (Dale Rubin). While it's a lot of work to build your own home, it's also very satisfying.