There's a television commercial for a bank on right now where an older couple has decided, now that their children have left home, that they want to own a farm. Yes! I've had that fantasy. I used to read Mother Earth News (I still browse their website occasionally). The thought of being independent and self-sufficient has an irresistable lure. The couple in the commercial, whose bank (of course) helped them achieve the dream, stand on an old-fashioned porch bottle bottle feeding an adorable piglet. It seems that marketing research by the bank's advertising partners has determined that others have my fantasy.
But . . . then there's the reality. I've been visiting the Mother Earth News website a little more often lately, probably subliminally inspired by the commercial. An article with the enticing title Start a one acre self-sufficient homestead drew me in. The authors of the article try to be realistic. Milking a cow can be a quick (8 minutes -- not when I am milking, I'm sure) and downright pleasant (with an easy-going cow). But the fact is, the job must be done every day, weekends and statutory holidays included. So unless you can make alternate arrangements, no going on vacation. But the recommended cute Jersey cow must be some compensation--those big brown eyes are so engaging.
Crop rotation is essential for a small homestead; your one acre is divided into geometric strips and it is important to keep the cow moving from strip to strip. And then there are the pigs and chickens. But overall the main problem for me would be that, judging by the treatment my dogs receive from me, I could never kill my cow, pigs or chickens nor even send them elsewhere for someone else to do the deed. My farm would become a home for retired livestock. This would require a second job, in addition to that of farmer, just to keep them supplied in feed and pay the vet bills.
Probably best to keep this one at the fantasy stage.