Hard work and accomplishment are the flagstones of a man’s desire for work. The difficulty lies in what you end up doing to your mind and body. I learned the hard way that a body can only take so much. Working 70 hour weeks as a math teacher in middle school, my body shut down and the chemicals in it broke me down. Where I didn’t have a real problem working those long hours before because I loved working with my kids in the classroom, this time it was stressful.
I have yet to find out if your body and by extension, your mind ever recovers from a physical crash. I have to pursue work that is now non-stressful. If possible, I will seek work that does not tax my body and mind for long periods of time. The perfect job is one that I can work, nap, work, nap, and then work again.
Work for Myself as a Small Farmer
The only way to meet all the goals is to work for myself again. But I can’t do it like I did when I had a furniture store years before. The hours were grueling. I can’t do that again. So I am looking for alternatives, but definitely not Multilevel Marketing. Please do not send me advertisements on how I can make a ton of money with MLM. I have some ideas already.
What Kind of Farming?
It is my intention to raise food. Yes, becoming a farmer. Sounds like I am a glutton for punishment. Farmers work long, hard hours and their return is minimal compared to the work they do. That is why I do not want to plant 2,000 acres with a tractor. That many acres is expensive. I plan on trying my hand on becoming an urban farmer and/or using aquaponics. Starting in this blog it is my intention to compare the small farmer’s aquaponics system with those of the urban farmer.
I am the type of person who no longer believes the “This is going to make you a ton of money!” claim. I have to prove it for myself. I am moving to Missouri, the “Show me” state, so I guess I will fit right in. Since I was retired, notice the past tense, I have been doing a lot of research on aquaponics. Murray Hallam at www.murrayhallam.com is an excellent source for further information on aquaponics.
Auquaponics is a method where you grow natural food in a semi controlled environment. The system is designed where you could take it off the grid if necessary. Eventually, that is my goal. However, starting out, I will test the viability of aquaponics by either converting a garage into a greenhouse or building a greenhouse myself.
Aquaponics uses a fish tank, full of fish, to create the fertilized water that is pumped into bins that don’t use dirt to grow the plants. There are three ways I will experiment with to compare what works and what doesn’t. I will film and report on my progress along the way. This way you will see if the hype is true or not.
Urban farming takes a small piece of land either in or connected to an urban area. It takes an area of 1/3 acre or more and plants indiscriminate plants, those with more than one crop or continuous production. The 1/3 acre can be a combination of multiple yards leased or bartered from different home owners.
There are claims of earning around $85,000 net from the 1/3 acre. This includes having full-time and part-time employees. The best resource I have found for these is www.theurbanfarmer.co/.
The combination of both aquaponics and urban farming is what I am most likely to use. This along with a pleasure garden that provides for my personal family that includes items that do not have a wide appreciation, but still add a nice variety to attack my taste-buds.
Having to Bite the Bullet
As I am building this Mecca of productivity, I may find for myself that I will have to take a low stress, reliable hours, job to get some cash flow. I know the key lines for the low stress jobs, “Welcome to Wally’s World,” or “Would you like to make that a large!” Let’s face it there will be a period of time where I have to set everything up before I can even plant. I am starting with winter plants too. I have never done winter plants before.
Read my blogs on aquaponics, urban farming, and personal gardening coming out soon. Or watch my videos as I decide what in the world I am going to do. Learn through my successes and failures. Life is greater if we learn from other people’s mistakes and not our own. Let this sucker make the mistakes for you.
Life is great!
Greg Brown is a father to three grown men, black belt in Karate, and has served 12 years as both an enlisted man and officer in the Marine Corps. He is also a businessman, teacher, author, pastor, semiretired, person as well as the Associate Editor of The Manly Blog.