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  #1  
Old 04/02/09, 12:59 PM
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Can you homestead in Maine?

Hubby and I found some land up in Maine that's reasonable and we were curious if it would be possible to homestead there. I figure we can build a greenhouse for our garden and be okay raising our goats, sheep, chickens, and rabbits with a good heat source. Any advice is greatly appreciated!
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  #2  
Old 04/02/09, 01:13 PM
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Beautiful country up in Maine. I love living in this area but sometimes the winters can be very long.

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  #3  
Old 04/02/09, 01:49 PM
 
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If you can homestead in Alaska, you can homestead in Maine. Homesteading is basically a state of mind anyway.

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  #4  
Old 04/02/09, 03:23 PM
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There are farms in Maine, even in the northernmost part of the state. Mostly potatoes, hay, and dairy farms, but also apple orchards. Yes, you can homestead in Maine -- you can homestead just about any place if you know how. IMO, Maine is a good place to homestead; it's probably where I'd be right now if my Grandmother hadn't asked me to return to Oregon to stay with her.

Kathleen

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  #5  
Old 04/02/09, 05:05 PM
 
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Anywhere you can put a roof over your head, you can homestead. Just don't confuse homesteading with making a living. It's really rare that anyone can make a living without some type of outside income. For the average homesteader, that means having a JOB. A problem with trying to homestead where you can afford the property is the lack of jobs in the area. Plentiful jobs (in ordinary times) drives up the cost of properties within driving distance. I don't mean to sound negative, but I hate to see people get less than they had antisipated. <> UNK

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  #6  
Old 04/02/09, 05:17 PM
 
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Maine is, in my opinion, a great place to homestead. And there are a lot of us homesteaders here. Our winters are long, cold and often snowy but are not really any worse than most of the other northern states.

Raising animals and gardening are really no more difficult than in other northern areas. Greenhouses are great but lots (probably most) do fine without them. In western Maine, where I live, our frost free growing season is generally from late May to late September. Most things grow well most years and on the years that are not so good for one thing, it's usually a great year for other things. For example if we have an unusually cool, wet summer, it might not be a great year for tomatoes but things like lettuce and broccoli might produce bumper crops.

What part of the state are you and your husband looking at? There are HT members from several parts of the state. Maybe we could give you some more specific info if we knew what part of the state you were interested in. In general though, Maine is a great place to live.

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  #7  
Old 04/02/09, 06:40 PM
 
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What part of Maine? We were trying to get started in Fort Fairfield ( Near Caribou) but Dh's job has brought us to Arkansas. We hope to go back up that was soon.

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  #8  
Old 04/03/09, 07:27 AM
 
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What Part of Maine are you looking at? We are in Franklin county. Yes you can homestead here.

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  #9  
Old 04/03/09, 07:33 AM
 
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Come on... Don't lie.

We all know that it's just too darn cold in Maine. So cold & damp that years ago they attached the barns to the houses so they wouldn't freeze doing chores. Well maybe you can stead if your a snowman..



P.S. It is a very nice state up there and yes it is possible if you can get by on the low wages. The cold also keeps out the riff raff.

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  #10  
Old 04/03/09, 09:03 AM
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Walter Jeffries and his family homestead in Maine and post here, as well as others. Just search or google for his name at Sugar Mountain Farm, West Topsham, Maine. ldc

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  #11  
Old 04/03/09, 09:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ldc View Post
Walter Jeffries and his family homestead in Maine and post here, as well as others. Just search or google for his name at Sugar Mountain Farm, West Topsham, Maine. ldc

I thought he was in VT?

Regardless, we're moving to the Bangor area this summer and will hopefully be giving it a go up there.
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  #12  
Old 04/03/09, 09:54 AM
 
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I recommend you reading any and all of Helen and Scott Nearing's books on homesteading. They lived in Maine for many years and are considered the homesteading teachers are our time..at least in my opinion. Good Luck !!

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  #13  
Old 04/03/09, 10:12 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helena View Post
I recommend you reading any and all of Helen and Scott Nearing's books on homesteading. They lived in Maine for many years and are considered the homesteading teachers are our time..at least in my opinion. Good Luck !!
Isn't Elliot Coleman from Maine too?

And Johnny's Selected Seeds is in Maine.

And this might be of interest to the original poster as well.

http://www.mofga.org/TheFair/tabid/135/Default.aspx
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  #14  
Old 04/03/09, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RemysMama07 View Post
Hubby and I found some land up in Maine that's reasonable and we were curious if it would be possible to homestead there. I figure we can build a greenhouse for our garden and be okay raising our goats, sheep, chickens, and rabbits with a good heat source. Any advice is greatly appreciated!
Nearly all land in Maine is private owned. Very little state owned land. So 'NO' you can not file a homestead in Maine.

You can however buy land. I have bought forest land for $300/acre and $900/acre. I have 42 acres of forest land that is river frontage. And 105 acres of forest that has no river access.

Our property taxes have been running around $1.05 per acre.

There are many people here in Maine, who farm and market their farm produce.

Behind our house:


A bit further:


At the river looking left:


looking straight:


looking right:




We have an apple orchard, this year I am planting nut trees.

We have raised beds with garlic and onions, strawberries, beans, tomatoes and various veggies.

We have two small greenhouses, and plan to build more.

We have goats, sheep, hogs, chickens, beehives.

We have 5 acres that produce fiddleheads.

We are currently collecting maple sap, cooking down syrup.

I have been a vendor at a local Organic Farmer's Market.

We also have a lot of CSAs.



MOFGA
http://www.mofga.org/

Is a huge resource, and a great fair each fall. Dozens of workshops teach all of the skills needed for farming.



FEDCO
http://www.fedcoseeds.com/

Is a great seed, tree, and tuber supplier. Many of the local organic farms Co-Op with them as suppliers of their seed and bareroots.



Come on up and look around
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  #15  
Old 04/03/09, 10:53 AM
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Fedco is in Maine, too, and so are many of their growers.

Kathleen

ETA: you beat me to it, ET1. Your place sure is beautiful!

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Last edited by Freeholder; 04/03/09 at 11:00 AM.
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  #16  
Old 04/03/09, 11:00 AM
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RemysMama07-

Quote:
...I figure we can build a greenhouse for our garden and
Only some crops need a greenhouse. Many folks do corn, tomatoes, and such fine outside.

We only use a greenhouse for early sprouting.



Quote:
... be okay raising our goats, sheep, chickens, and rabbits with a good heat source. Any advice is greatly appreciated![/COLOR][/B]
"A good heat source" for livestock?

Livestock are their own heat source.

Our goats and sheep are mostly outside. We have pens, built from loading pallets. 3 pallets form 3 sides, another pallet makes the roof. Very strong able to support 4 foot of snow load easily.

We live mostly beneath a thick forest canopy, so our goats and sheep are back within the forest. They get no wind that way.



What region of Maine are you looking at?
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  #17  
Old 04/03/09, 11:19 AM
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We're looking in Northern Maine, just south of Edmundston. My husband is wanting to build a log cabin once we move there, do the laws up there allow that? Are there a lot of permits needed? I've gotten spoiled here, there are no permits and you can do whatever you want as long as you pay your taxes. I'm getting excited, Maine sounds really nice.
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  #18  
Old 04/03/09, 11:26 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RemysMama07 View Post
I'm getting excited, Maine sounds really nice.
My observations, it's culturally a world of difference from the South, which is one of the reasons we are leaving where we are in eastern NC and moving up there.
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  #19  
Old 04/03/09, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RemysMama07 View Post
We're looking in Northern Maine, just south of Edmundston. My husband is wanting to build a log cabin once we move there, do the laws up there allow that? Are there a lot of permits needed? I've gotten spoiled here, there are no permits and you can do whatever you want as long as you pay your taxes. I'm getting excited, Maine sounds really nice.
Log cabins have a very low R value. They require annual maintenance as the logs shrink and the chinking falls out.

Our new home has an R of 60, at 2400 Sq Ft we use 3+ cords of wood a year for heat.

I would advise that you re-think the log cabin idea.

Would not do something cheaper?

Most of Maine [52%] is 'Unorganized Townships' {UT]. I live in a UT.

In UTs you only pay state property taxes. the state has one tax assessor.

Building permits are easy to get from the state. $75 gets a 5 year permit. that one permit can be used to build dozens of structures. So plan ahead of time.

Organized Towns have a mayor, selectmen, clerks, building inspectors, PDs, FDs, lots of folk on salary. All those salaries make taxes higher.

UTs have much lower taxes.
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  #20  
Old 04/03/09, 12:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Dwayne Barry View Post
Isn't Elliot Coleman from Maine too?

And Johnny's Selected Seeds is in Maine.

And this might be of interest to the original poster as well.

http://www.mofga.org/TheFair/tabid/135/Default.aspx

Yes, he is. In addition to companies already mentioned, Pinetree Garden Seeds is also here in Maine.
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  #21  
Old 04/03/09, 12:16 PM
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I have seen realtors with nice websites showing property asking far more than the local price for land.

If you are looking at any land selling for more than $1,000 per acre, I would suspect a scam.

Folks from away, may be used to seeing land prices that are higher. So they are easy prey for scams.

Now there is land in Maine that is being marketed for higher prices. And every now and again such transactions do happen. Folks come in from 'away' not knowing what local land prices are.

I paid $300 per acre for forest land that has easy access to freeway, power / phone / DSL available at the pavement.

I paid $900 per acre for land that has the river frontage.

There is one adjoining property that a realtor is currently listing for $2000 per acre, hoping that someone from 'away' will buy it thinking they are getting a deal.

I have another adjoining property that is for sale asking $300 per acre.

Just keep in mind that some folk who market land for a living want higher prices, to increase their profits.

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  #22  
Old 04/03/09, 02:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RemysMama07 View Post
Hubby and I found some land up in Maine that's reasonable and we were curious if it would be possible to homestead there. I figure we can build a greenhouse for our garden and be okay raising our goats, sheep, chickens, and rabbits with a good heat source. Any advice is greatly appreciated!
It would be a big help if one has a good job while getting started.
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  #23  
Old 04/03/09, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by edcopp View Post
It would be a big help if one has a good job while getting started.
I agree.

It has very little connection to today's current recession either. Maine has not had a strong economy since, since, well 1920.

A very depressed local economy, and it has been for decades.

If you come here, you really need to job lined-up, or your own self-employed business that you can move, or a pension.

I have a pension, and my Dw has a part-time job that transfered her to this area.
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  #24  
Old 04/03/09, 04:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ET1 SS View Post
I agree.



If you come here, you really need to job lined-up, or your own self-employed business that you can move, or a pension.
What I tell people wanting to move here is better bring your own money, not
many decent paying job opportunities north of Portland.
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  #25  
Old 04/03/09, 08:38 PM
 
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RemysMama,

You sound like a very intelligent person, so you've probably given serious consideration to this possibility. Here are my observations:

1. Have you ever been in Maine during the winter? It's brutally cold.

2. Have you ever been in Maine during the summer? The mosquitoes and black flies are plagues.

3. Have you ever lived in Northern culture? It's nothing at all like Southern culture.

4. Do you have any relatives in Maine? It's very difficult to leave parents, children, cousins, grandparents, close friends behind and move out of their lives.

5. Do you have children? What to do you want for them? Is that available in rural Maine?

As you might guess, I wouldn't leave Tennessee for Maine. I lived there for three years when I was in the Navy back in the early '60s. I made a concerted effort to blend into the culture away from the Navy. I found it to be interesting, but not something I'd want to commit my life to.

Good luck with your choice.

Tom in TN

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  #26  
Old 04/04/09, 11:09 PM
 
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I'm from exactly where you're thinking of moving and I'm there often, and while I'll say that yes, you can homestead there, you better come with lots of cash or a medical degree or teaching certificate if you plan to be employed. I know people who homestead on the St. John and a family that did it on an island in the Allagash, and they are some of the toughest people I know. The economy is very depressed right now, and while incomes don't rise like they do everywhere, costs (esp. fuel oil and gasoline [around $2.25/gallon right now]) do. Land's cheap but the higher costs of amenities and services WAY more than offsets that. The cost of groceries are off the charts. Potatoes are cheap, though..

All that said, I love the place. People are friendly once they know you're vested in the community. Anonymity or even simple privacy is impossible unless you're anti-social, so be prepared for that. And you better learn French, because you'll be missing out on two out of three words if you don't.

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  #27  
Old 04/06/09, 05:50 AM
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Originally Posted by ldc View Post
Walter Jeffries and his family homestead in Maine and post here, as well as others. Just search or google for his name at Sugar Mountain Farm, West Topsham, Maine. ldc
He's in Vermont.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom in TN View Post
RemysMama,

1. Have you ever been in Maine during the winter? It's brutally cold.
For a short period of time. It's seldom too cold to be outside enjoying the snow.
Quote:
2. Have you ever been in Maine during the summer? The mosquitoes and black flies are plagues.
They're temporary. By black flies are are usually gone by July. Maine Nature News (mine) has weekly black fly reports. Mosquitoes settle down during the heat of the day. Neither pest likes the wind so if there's a good breeze you get a break.

RemysMama, we farm in Maine. There isn't a vegetable we haven't been able to grow. We start some seeds inside and move them to a heated greenhouse to give them a head start. Otherwise, they might not ripen before frost. Tomatoes, peppers and squash that take more than 100 days are started this way to be on the safe side. I use high tunnels, low tunnels, hoop houses and greenhouses on my farm for season extension but it's not necessary to have these to feed yourself. We have apple and cherry trees. Wild harvesting is an option - blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and mushrooms come to mind quickly.
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  #28  
Old 04/06/09, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by ldc View Post
Walter Jeffries and his family homestead in Maine and post here, as well as others. Just search or google for his name at Sugar Mountain Farm, West Topsham, Maine. ldc
Walter Jeffries is in Vermont
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  #29  
Old 04/06/09, 07:27 AM
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If you want the log cabin look, build a normal home and put on log cabin siding, great R value and still gives the log look. I have family in Edmundston, and we are up that way quite a bit. Beautiful country but does have cold winters. I live in New Brunswick, and we grow large gardens, and we do not have any green houses to start then in.

It is a different life style up this way, lots of snow in the winter, cold temperatures, and long nights. But to walk out on a cold winter night and look up at the sky, see the stars that look close enough to touch. Hear trees crack from the cold. In the summer there are bugs, but you adept, wear a bug jacket if necessary. I have lived next door to Maine most of my life, went to a few different places, but ended up back home and this is where I will stay. I love it here!

Good luck with your move....

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  #30  
Old 04/06/09, 08:04 AM
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I was just thinking, there are home builders in this area who specialize in fairly modern homes where they have split logs and attached them as siding on the outside. So they 'look' like log homes, but have good insulation.

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