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  #1  
Old 01/07/17, 10:33 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: NC
Posts: 6
Hello from NC

I'm looking forward to asking questions and learning everything I can! I'm trying to move to the old family land, but lots of issues to deal with before it can happen. 5 acres, three houses, and a barn, and I lived in one of the houses when I was little. Right now it is two hours away from where I live, two houses are in serious disrepair, and the third is occupied by a family friend who looks after the place. Working on making some lifestyle changes now so they will be habit, sorting out major financial tangles, starting a business, commuting to another "regular" job, and wishing I had learned more when I was younger.
My husband and I may be living separately soon, so if I do move to the farm it will be on my own, and my daughter will be leaving for college this summer. My son is in his early twenties and still at home, thinking about going with me to the farm, but that's not a guarantee, so I may be doing this thing solo.
I know very little about gardening, next to nothing about animals, and the house situation scares me. Last time I stayed there the kerosene heater was all I had to heat with, pipes busted, mice have all but taken over, and it's so drafty your hair blows when it's windy outside. Currently no electricity, water is shut off til the pipes are fixed, and who knows what the mouse has gotten to. Shudder.
I'll have lots of beginner questions, and I plan on reading as much as I can! Any pointers along the way are greatly appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 01/08/17, 05:54 AM
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Welcome to the forum.

Can the family friend help with the repairs?
Good luck.
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  #3  
Old 01/08/17, 09:03 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2016
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I'm in the Piedmont region, just below the VA state line. Sounds like you've enough projects to last a while! I'm pretty knowledgeable about gardening in this part of the country, so let me know if I can be of some help sometime.
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  #4  
Old 01/08/17, 10:12 AM
Living the dream.
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Morganton, NC
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Welcome to the forum! Where in NC are you?
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  #5  
Old 01/08/17, 10:23 AM
motdaugrnds's Avatar
II Corinthians 5:7
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Virginia
Posts: 9,230
Welcome to this forum. You'll find many kind and helpful people here so don't hesitate to ask questions. Remember no question is silly! We all had to start learning one time or another.

You have a nice start even though it seems a bit frightening to you right now. You at least have some type of structures. That of course can also produce headaches as you have already noted. Five acres is a nice size for a woman alone to tend. Is that land well situated? By this I mean is any of it in a "flood zone"? Are those houses homes for snakes? (You mentioned mice; so where there is mice, snakes will often be found.) Does it have a lein against it? Is it zoned for agriculture? (I'm guessing the land "perks" in order for houses to already exist on it; but you might want to double check the septic system there.) Also check the well system, i.e. where will you get your water and is it healthy? Much of this can be learned by contacting your local agricultural department and local health department.

You mentioned you have no heating system. I found out the hard way a "kerosene" heater gave me severe migraines; so you might want to have a back up for yourself just in case it occurs to you too. (With only 5 acres, you may not want a wood stove; however, if you're considering some type of alternate fuel source, think of "diesel". It does not go bad like gasolene does.)

I am female too and have lived alone since mother died in 2008. Thus, you just might be facing some of what I've had to deal with as a woman homesteading by herself. Feel free to PM me if you ever want to talk. (I'm an open book when it comes to myself; however, I'm a private person where my friends are concerned. Never had any respect for gossiping about anyone!)

With this weather acting as strange as it is, I sure hope you will not have to make your move onto that acreage during bad weather. And if you get a chance and can get some pictures of what you will be having to deal with, you'll get more thorough responses from people in here. Best of luck to you.
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  #6  
Old 01/08/17, 11:19 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: NC
Posts: 6
Thanks for the great welcome! To answer a couple of questions, the family friend can do some things and is willing to help out, but he works a lot. The property is in the mountains, up near the northwest corner.
motdaugrnds, thanks so much for the offer of support, I truly appreciate it! The land is in a little valley, with a small pond sitting just above it, and when there are heavy rains it washes down right beside the main house. The basement floods, and I'm positive there is a huge mold problem. Everything I've ever stored there has a very strong musty moldy smell, even if I've stored it in the seemingly dry and sunny upstairs part of the house. The family friend heats with a wood stove mostly, and I've thought about having one, but that may be awhile off. No liens, just property taxes that need catching up. I guess it's zoned for agriculture? The pastures used to be rented out to other farmers for a few cows, and family friend had chickens and goats while his wife was still with him. She left and he only has two dogs now. Never saw a snake there my whole life, except black snakes once in awhile.
I'll see if I can't get a couple of pictures up.
I'm just happy to have other people to talk to! DH was never interested in the land/house, and it's been a lifelong goal for me to get back there. I was shocked after my dad passed away that my stepmom just gave it to us (my brother and me).
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  #7  
Old 01/08/17, 03:46 PM
Fire-Man's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 4,877
Quote:
Originally Posted by cgraham View Post
I'm looking forward to asking questions and learning everything I can! I'm trying to move to the old family land, but lots of issues to deal with before it can happen. 5 acres, three houses, and a barn, and I lived in one of the houses when I was little. Right now it is two hours away from where I live, two houses are in serious disrepair, and the third is occupied by a family friend who looks after the place. Working on making some lifestyle changes now so they will be habit, sorting out major financial tangles, starting a business, commuting to another "regular" job, and wishing I had learned more when I was younger.
My husband and I may be living separately soon, so if I do move to the farm it will be on my own, and my daughter will be leaving for college this summer. My son is in his early twenties and still at home, thinking about going with me to the farm, but that's not a guarantee, so I may be doing this thing solo.
I know very little about gardening, next to nothing about animals, and the house situation scares me. Last time I stayed there the kerosene heater was all I had to heat with, pipes busted, mice have all but taken over, and it's so drafty your hair blows when it's windy outside. Currently no electricity, water is shut off til the pipes are fixed, and who knows what the mouse has gotten to. Shudder.
I'll have lots of beginner questions, and I plan on reading as much as I can! Any pointers along the way are greatly appreciated.
Hello Cgraham. Welcome. I am across the NC/SC line and too share your last name if the forum name is your real name. For a matter of fact I have several family members that have your first initial and last name---even my daughter. Yours is probably a marital last name?? We would be glad to answer your questions----help you any way we can. If you want to discuss names/family/etc you can private message me. Welcome
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  #8  
Old 01/08/17, 03:50 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: NC
Posts: 6
Here are a couple of pictures, not the greatest, but the main house and the barn. I don't have good pics of the other two houses. This white one is the house I lived in over 40 years ago, built by my great grandparents. It seems there was a cabin on the property, and they added onto it. My grandfather did a lot of "remodeling", repairs, etc., that have caused lots of issues. It didn't have a bathroom or real kitchen until the 1950's. Actually, the kitchen used to be a porch that they just closed in.
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  #9  
Old 01/08/17, 05:30 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Central North Carolina
Posts: 139
Welcome,

I'm happy to answer your questions too. We live south of Winston Salem.
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  #10  
Old 01/08/17, 07:42 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: NC
Posts: 6
I'm wondering if my first to-do item would be to have the plumbing checked top to bottom. The pipes froze a year ago, so the water has been shut off since then but no repairs undertaken. There were plumbing problems before that, but I could have the water on. Now I don't even have electricity hooked up to the house, and not likely to for awhile yet. I'm working on some Dave Ramsey style debt reduction, and the $300 hook up fee just isn't in the budget. Would it even make sense to have someone come out and look at the plumbing yet? I have a feeling any sane person with plumbing experience would just shake their head and tell me to start saving up. There is a well, but until probably 1990 the house used spring water that my grandfather rigged pipes to. I think my dad had the well dug. I really wish he was still here so I could ask him things about the house. I mean, he grew up in it, and so did my grandfather. No one is left that knows anything about the house but my aunt, and she hasn't lived in it since she got married around 1960-ish.
One problem I'm sure I'll need to deal with is that my grandfather used pesticides every chance he got. I mean, he didn't know how awful it is, and he was a general manager of one of the very first Lowes hardware stores, so all the remodeling, repairing, and lawn "stuff" was available to him at cost.
I really think I'm going to end up taking the house apart, board by board, to get to the original parts. I would keep anything usable and then put it back together the way it ought to be. Might have to wait for the lottery winnings......
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  #11  
Old 01/08/17, 09:19 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: South Carolina
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Cgraham, your private message box is full----Gotta delete some----can not reply back to your last reply.
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  #12  
Old 01/08/17, 09:20 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 4,877
Quote:
Originally Posted by cgraham View Post
Here are a couple of pictures, not the greatest, but the main house and the barn. I don't have good pics of the other two houses. This white one is the house I lived in over 40 years ago, built by my great grandparents. It seems there was a cabin on the property, and they added onto it. My grandfather did a lot of "remodeling", repairs, etc., that have caused lots of issues. It didn't have a bathroom or real kitchen until the 1950's. Actually, the kitchen used to be a porch that they just closed in.
Looks Nice from the pic----I for sure would not tear it apart from what I see.
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  #13  
Old 01/08/17, 09:26 PM
motdaugrnds's Avatar
II Corinthians 5:7
 
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Location: Virginia
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The barn looks pretty good as it seems to be sitting up high enough not to be affected by the drainage from that pond you spoke of. If this is true, just walk around looking at its structure, taking pics when you can. (Back in those days the barns were often built more sturdy than the houses.) In fact, if your area does not "legally" prohibit your living in the barn, you might stay there to help you save money......and even do whatever repairs you want on the house.

The house looks fine from the outside; however, your talking about run-off water coming down into its basement, mold and even problems upstairs gives me shivers....You know you can get pretty ill from living in a house with mold....Were it mine and I truly wanted to keep the house, I'ld pay an "expert" to come out and check the house for mold issues. And since the water pipes froze once, they will again unless done differently, which can run into some $$.

On the other hand, if you really don't want to live in a large house and are able to take it down, you'll probably find some really nice lumber, maybe even enough to built yourself a small house. (Back when that house was built, they had better lumber.) I actually tore down an old school house to get lumber for my farm. I was in my 50s when I did that; so sure wouldn't do it now. Still if you're agile enough and have the time, it would save a lot of money. And you could re-build in such a way that any run-off water from that pond would not be a bother. All you need to take it down with would be a good sturdy extension ladder and two (not just one) crowbars with a hammer you can handle. (Some people use a saw to tear down structures; but I never needed one.) Be sure to have some "slats" to lay the good lumber you salvage on and a good tarp to cover it.

As for pesticides: Don't worry about them. When you get a chance, just have tons and tons of woodchips and mulch stacked on that acreage where it can be got at but not get in the way of your work. I forget where I read about it, but if I'm remembering correctly, putting down 8-16 inches of woodchips and leaving it undisturbed has a way of cleaning the soil of pesticides.

Is that pond on your acreage? Is it spring fed? Is it CLEAN? If so, you could use pipes to let gravity deliver that water to whatever structure you decide to build. (That may be what your grandfather did; and if so, just find those pipes.) If you've got a well, get some water out of it and send it out for analyses before drinking it.

It's an exciting time; so enjoy it. Don't rush either. Talk with the locals about it, especially those officials I mentioned above. And know "black snakes" are your friend. (I share my eggs with them. HeHe)
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  #14  
Old 01/09/17, 06:42 PM
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sorry about the bounced message! I didn't realize it just a few messages would be "full", lol, but I deleted some
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  #15  
Old 01/19/17, 07:30 PM
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If I go up to the property anytime soon I'll take some more pictures. What exactly should I try to get pics of? What would be helpful?
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