No, we don't have a baler. We have tractors that my husband knows how to maintain. Which he is teaching the kids and I. We have a hay rake, and a wagon. We go out and after it dries and fork it onto the wagon the old fashion way, then we fork it into the shed. Yes, we have something of a charmed life when it comes to rain. We live in a desert, and if it weren't for the irrigation that we pay for if we use or don't, we wouldn't have the nice pasture that we have. Having lived back east, I do know that rain is an issue - kids made good money when I was young helping to get up the bales.
I guess the fact that we live in this area known for farming, we got our first dog, an Akbash/Akita mix for free, and the second, a Pyre/Maremma for $150. Had I not been afraid that the dog would just go home, I could have gotten another proven adult dog from my neighbor who does rescues. But her dogs see my dogs across the road, I wasn't convinced it would work, so I put out the money. No, we did not get the dogs the exact second we thought we wanted them. We did months of searching on Craig's List and had to travel a couple of hours to get them. Both were puppies, and yes I made a few mistakes with the first as he was the first dog I had. But I sure did a lot better than the people who abandoned or had their dogs taken from them that my neighbor gets. And, we read up on LSGD before we got them so that we had some idea of what to expect.
Yup, animals do get sick. But at least I can look up the most common illnesses ahead of time and have stuff on hand to help them. Even my kids know that - as part of taking their birds to the 4-H fair they have to bring a kit of medicines and ointments in case stuff happens. (Yes, it did, too. The goose tore her toenail off on my daughter's sleeve right before the auction. The bird was dripping blood, she had it all over her white shirt, she managed to hide it. Goose got cauterized later, because the public doesn't want to see blood on the animals at fair. Buyer got a different goose that wasn't limping.) And yes, we have had animals die. Even a vet can't always prevent that.
It is fine that you like your AC. Never said you couldn't. My husband likes AC too - when it is too hot. We just manage to keep it so that is not too hot. Just like I learned from my mother, who learned from her mother...and you get the point. A lot of the stuff we use today like AC and heat, can be done in other ways if people try. You don't want to try, hey, that is fine. Pay more for your electric. For me it comes down to being frugal, and I refuse to pay more.
Yep, some day the kids will move on. Then they won't be around to help. And I won't need as big of a garden as they won't be here to eat it. And my clothes line can be smaller and I will only need to do laundry once a week.
But the OP wanted to know what to do. Lots of people are shooting him down. But if he is so motivated to try, by golly, I will help him out in what ever ways I can. And I will help you out too, if you want. If you live on the west side of the Rockies, search the Yakima WA Craig's List for livestock guard dogs. Also look up the "Giant Nickle" online - both of these were how we got our dogs. Our dogs came from inside or near the Yakima Reservation, within a country block of each other.
No, things are not always rosey. But they are not always doom and gloom either. That is the point I am trying to make. Not all diets fit all people. Some people seem to do okay on high carb. Here, we know we don't. Not everyone can go back to nature, nor do they want to. That is fine. People should do what makes them happy, not shoot others down completely when it doesn't match conventional wisdom.