I am new to this great site. I am very happy to have stumbled across it accidentally.
My husband and I are fairly self sufficient now but would like to be more self sufficient and enjoy more freedom and privacy than living on a small forested lot in rural Upstate NY will allow. We want to move to another place that is more friendly to our way of life and build an "off the grid" homestead.
I am wondering what the knowledgeable members of this site think are the best places to homestead from the following prospectives:
Land afford-ability and versatility (beauty is helpful too!)
Low Governmental interference/zoning/building codes/gun laws etc.
Distance from Metropolitan Areas (More is better)
I am looking forward to your responses.
What do you folks do for a living? Rural jobs out here are sometimes hard to find.
Kansas and Missouri have rolling hills and area of very cheap land. HOWEVER, it is cheap because jobs are hard to find in those areas.
The terrain is mostly rolling hills, except for Western Kansas which is VERY flat and dry. Summers are hot, winters are cold, and spring and fall are AWSOME! There is a fair amount of game for those who like to hunt. The air is clean and the people are more friendly than when I lived in California.
I am PREPARED to change a flat, but I haven't had to yet because someone has ALWAYS stopped to help. Sadly, with all of the stories we read in the paper I don't know how long it will continue. Already people will often not stop for a lone man.
Land prices in out of the way areas run around $800-$1000 an acre, and land near the cities run $5000 an acre if you hunt around a bit.
Land is cheap, there's jobs if you don't mind working, and the people are friendly. I've seen land around here go for 90 to 1000 an acre.
We bought some for 110 an acre. It's hilly pasture, but it's pretty and will support cows.
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
To respond to Terri's question:
As far as employment goes, my husband and I have several enterprises. My husband is a carpenter/cabinet maker and general fix-it kind of guy as well as a musician and DJ.
We also have a pig roaster and travel around cooking pigs and catering outdoor parties. I am a stay at home mom, computer geek, artist/craftsperson, ebay seller and general goddess of coupons and frugality. I come from a farming family but where I live it is impossible to grow anything and too close to other people to even have chickens (God forbid they should make any noise!)
I think that the skills that we have would pretty much transfer anywhere. Neither of us are formally employed and would like to keep it that way.Most of our belongings are tools and things we need to make money. We can live on very little, we just want to find a better place to do it. In NYS everything is regulated, taxed and retaxed.
We moved to southeast AZ 2 years ago. The town is 16 miles away. The jobs are scarce but the land is cheap. The government interference is minimal and you can raise any animals you wish. It is a agricultural area and about 100 miles from Tucson. We are only 50 miles from Mexico. Winters are cold and summers are hot. We are at 4,400 ft. Our particular town is quite windy and the only problem DH has with our area is the flies.
I'm sure most people feel that they live in probably the best area, but let me put in my two cents. I originally grew up in Upstate NY (burrrrr to cold) and moved to Florida for 25 years (whew...to hot).When I got married the 2nd time, we honeymooned in Gatlinburg, TN. Wow - absolutely beautiful country. We went to TN every chance we got as it was sooooo different from Florida. The people the mountains and the views are spectacular. East TN is absolutely gorgeous, but the land is more mountianous and prices are higher due to tourist attractions. We ended up with 20 acres in Middle Tennessee. Everyday we comment how wonderful it is here (been here 4 years now). We live 70 miles from either Chattanooga or Nashville (smack dab in the middle between them) and it takes 15 to 20 minutes to get to town which of course has a Super Walmart and Lowes. People here still do the 1 finger way when they pass you out on the road, whether they know you or not. Land prices are good and we live in the nursery capital of the world, so you know the soil is great for planting. Weather gets cold enough that it kills most of the bugs, but winters are usually mild ( a couple light snow falls a year). It's been just heaven for us.
Land in my area is about $3,000- $7000 an acre depending on whether its developed or not (road, well, power, phone, septic) and depending how close to town.
As an example, we just bought a 1020 sq. foot, two-bedroom, on 2.42 acres, with a pond, greenhouse, shed, chicken coop, fenced garden amd 40+ GPM well, for $71,000.
We have donkeys, chickens, a rabbit, dogs, and cats.
There are no building codes in our county, except for septic.
Guns are a way of life and the majority own at least one. All the prosecutors in our county are sportsmen and even if a normally law-abiding citizen were to screw up and get caught in violation of a gun law, they would likely not be prosecuted. Even if they were, their peers on the jury would likely not convict them.
Our particular area is about 70 miles from a city of about 35,000, with a sister city right next door of another 15,000. Going the other way gets you to the capital which is about 200,000 maybe. It's 200 miles away.
We can drive maybe 25 miles and be in a wilderness area.
Good-paying jobs are scarce, but I'm raising a family of five on $32,000, a year. Things would be easier if we did not have so much debt, even though what we have is manageable.
The norm is becoming people with pensions moving here and semi-retiring with a part-time job, although there are alot of people who just do what they can to live with odd jobs, etc.
The people are somewhat close-minded but there are always those wherever you go.
Our neighbors are great, Our dog bit there daughter the first day we were here and they took it very well and did not sue us. It was aminor bite that did not require any medical atention, but I thought I was a goner, but the neighbor grew up on a farm and was used to usually good dogs sometimes biting.
Homeschoolers are left alone.
Taxes are low, but the tax levies to keep up the schools are getting annoying.