Don Jr. Waters writing on financial freedom

The farm I live on in rural Georgia dates back before the Civil War and is surrounded by 100-year-old pecan trees. When my grandfather bought it back in the 60s, it comprised several hundred acres. Today, my father and I farm the remaining 100 acres together…and we’re remodeling the five-bedroom plantation house I grew up in.

But unlike his experience of having to have an off-farm income which took him away from home, I have off-farm incomes that I can earn right here at home.

I tried living in the city for a while. I took a job in construction in Fresno, California. I was young and excited about moving away from home and seeing what the big city had to offer me.

But I missed the country air and the ability to roam freely in the woods and fields.  I really missed gardening, growing my own food, and working on the farm with my father. So, I started making plans to get back…and those plans involved creating other incomes.

My father, Don Sr, worked in a textile mill for more than 40 years. He drove 35 miles to work each day and still kept the farm going. He is 67 now and retired…from the job, but not from the farm.

So, I knew that having an alternative income is what makes the lifestyle possible.

The trees surrounding our land produce small but delicious pecans that are produced with no chemical fertilizers or insecticides. As a child, I would pick up these pecans and sell them at a local feed-and-seed store for pocket money. But as I grew into an adult, I realized that selling those pecans to a middleman was not such a wise move.

After looking online, I noticed that people were selling their farm-grown pecans on eBay and getting up to $10 a pound…while I had been selling them for only $1.50 to my local dealer. Setting up a seller account on eBay only took a few mins. Now, we ship pecans via the postal service, using boxes provided free by the USPS that hold up to 10 pounds of pecans.

We offer them through our online store on eBay, and they normally sell very quickly before the holiday season.

After realizing that selling items on eBay was highly profitable, I started selling things from around my home…books, cookware, and even old dress patterns.

Once I sold most of my unwanted items, I moved onto purchasing new and used items from local garage sales and thrift shops. I was very surprised that I could purchase items for less than a dollar and sell them for 10 times what I paid for them. I’ve just purchased 30 coffee mugs at my local Goodwill thrift shop for around 50 cents. Depending on the type of mug and the maker, these same cups will sell on eBay for between $5 and $20 dollars.

I also buy books for around 50 cents to $1 and sell them for as much as $35 dollars each. I buy mostly used college text books which bring more money.

My father was very happy that I returned to work with him on the farm. While we don’t live completely off the grid, we have raised our own chickens, rabbits, and cows over the years. We currently have several cows that we raise as a beef cattle operation, as well as chickens which we gather free range eggs from. My father manages the cattle while I focus on other income streams.

Together, we are remodeling the house – upgrading the bathrooms and replacing the rugs by installing hardwood floors.  We are also working on various small jobs to bring it back to a more original condition.

Living in the city, I did experience good things…but it just wasn’t the right environment for someone who loves living close to nature.

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