Advice on Land Use

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Tango, Apr 7, 2006.

  1. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    When I purchased my 50 acres, I also purchased 32 across the road on a hill. I then divided it with a cousin who is building on his side of the parcel. I was going to select cut it then clear cut some parts and fence and seed it with the timber money to put my small herd of cows over there and get them out of this side where my horses are and I live. After mounting medical bills frm my surgery and a complete dissappointment with the select cutting (I was told the timber is only good for pulp because it is rotten :( :confused: ) I can only clear cut and I'll need to clear cut a significant portion to get the money to seed, fence, and finish my fireplace, which I deperately need finished before next winter. I spent $1200 heating with propane this winter in my unfinished house and can't afford that waste again. Meaning I'll be clear-cutting all sixteen acres which are hilly. Anyway, to bore you further (but I need your help) since I won't have the select cutting timber money and I need to get the fireplace finished which, conservatively will be an additional $2,000, I have to clear cut all of it despite my dislike of the idea. Have I mentioned that I need to sell my small herd of cows so I can finish paying the remaining medical bills for my surgery? :( I am only keeping my pregnant Jersey. So after I clear cut, seed, and fence these sixteen acres, what can I do with them? I don't want to put my goats over there since we have coyotes and my LGD is only 5 months old. I could rotate my horses over there ocassionally but having only three of them and so much land on this side of the road, I would rather have them clipping the grass here. Any ideas on what to do with it? I want to seed and fence it with the proceeds soI can use it eventually and doubt I'll have the money any time soon to fence it if I don't do it now. Don't know if I'll have money to buy more bottle calves to raise, seems like calves are going up in price here. Any advice? I really need my fireplace finished and this is about the only way it will get done before winter. Oh I guess I could leave it alone for a while, which doesn't sound too bad, but in my current economic crisis, I sure would like for it to be producing something for me. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Boleyz

    Boleyz Prognosticator, Artist

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    Sounds to me like it's a bigger liability than asset to ya. See if your kinfolks over there want to buy it from you. If you're sick, and in need of cash to finish your house, I'd sell it in a second, or else go to the bank and borrow against it, providing I had the ability to repay a loan.

    Unload it...you can always find another place later if you need more pasture.
     

  3. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    I just bought it - to sell it now would be a mistake imo. I wouldn't make anything off the sale, might lose money since the timber is no good and I wouldn't conceal that fact to a buyer. If I do sell it, it will be in 20 years or so :) I just want to use it for now.
     
  4. Ken in Maine

    Ken in Maine Well-Known Member

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    I would talk with the billing dept. at the hospital where you had the surgery. They WILL work out a payment plan. If you are intent on selling the cows then I would take that money and use it for your other projects. Treat the hospital bill just like any other debt and make a payment arrangement. You don't have to destroy yourself financially to pay the hospital.
     
  5. Boleyz

    Boleyz Prognosticator, Artist

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    Usually standing timber can be used for something other than pulpwood, unless it's very small diameter stuff. If you've got any Oak, Hickory, Maple or other hardwoods in large sizes, you might check with some of the local Mennonites (If you've got some in your area). Sometimes they have a custom furniture place nearby and will pay you for individual trees, if they're of good quality.

    Also, get another regular timber-cutter to look your place over and give you his thoughts. A second opinion can't hurt, and the first guy may be trying to bilk you out of timber by offering pulpwood prices. It's been done before. There are crooks in ANY business.
     
  6. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Ken, the hopsital and I have settled for 30% of the total bill paid in cash immediately (there goes everything I was going to use to help finish my house but that's okay, I would rather pay it this way and be done with it) and the surgeon was paid for in advance for a 25% discount. I've paid one of two er visits and have the anesthesiologist left and misc. bills that keep coming in (pathology report came in yesterday's mail). I was going to be paying those with the cows but you are right I can appeal to them and pay little by little as I can. If I keep the cows, I will have those bills looming but will have something to do with my land :) I just didn't want to be facing each day with those debts... but maybe something will give me a break and I can pay them off soon.
     
  7. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    The thought had entered my mind since they contacted a clear cutter for me. I'll get a second opinion thanks Boleyz :)
     
  8. WindowOrMirror

    WindowOrMirror ..where do YOU look? Supporter

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    Sounds like you're a great planner and this is really disappointing to you (it would be to me too).

    Couple of questions:

    1) Is your medical condition (now) such that you can do a lot of work yourself?
    2) How will you fence?

    Thoughts:

    A. Get a friend / neighbor / local to help YOU build the fireplace - from local stone
    B. Get a used woodstove instead, and install a Type 1A chimney
    C. Fence with used posts (I use 4-8 year ginseng posts - white cedar here)

    If you can find a way to build the fireplace with local help (sometimes cheap, esp. Mennonites) without selling the timber, then you can select cut the deadwood (standing) and burn it yet this winter... saving you fuel costs. But cut - and split - it soon! ;-)

    Anyhow... it sounds like you have already done a lot of thinking on this... keep one last thing in mind, clearcutting does not leave a handy "field" that can be seeded. Getting stumps out takes a LOT of doing... and many acres takes many times "lots of doing".

    R
     
  9. Ken in Maine

    Ken in Maine Well-Known Member

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    My concern would be that ... yes you have paid off that hospital bill in full BUT your house isn't finished... your land isn't finished.. your livestock is sold. What happens if you need another surgery or something else happens.. You have nothing to fall back onto... Just my opinion but I would finish the house FIRST.. before anything else. That way if something does happen you have that to fall back to.. You can always get some type of equity loan.

    My wife and I are both on disability and we have hospital bills BUT we make payment arrangements. The hospitals are used to getting payments. It can be as little as $25.00 per month in some cases but make it EVERY month.

    Manage your finances don't roll over to them. You need to live a functional life and that takes money. It is nice to be debt free but many times it is not reasonable to be debt free.
     
  10. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Red Devil, once I recover, I will be good to go again, God willing. I do most of everything by myself and enjoy it. I had a hysterectomy last week and am in bed (and online) for the most part of the next 3 weeks- the staying in bed is much more painful than the surgery. I had forgotten all about the bulldozer work I would have to do after the clear-cutting :( oops. More money. I would like to put field fence up, which would be safer on a hill for livestock than barbed wire, I think but also am looking at high tensile wire. I am going to cut my own posts from cedar which was cut last year and leftover trees from the cutting. I've already lowered my expectation for the fireplace considerably but some of the material was purchased last year, like the insert and the flue liners and bricks. I might be able to sell those and think of a different type fireplace though. Had given that a lot of thought before and was asking about it in this forum. My biggest problem is that I am building -impaired. Fencing is no problem since I have a bit of experience with it already but I can't build anything. I can help only.
     
  11. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    My DD has been hospitalized 4 times in 4 years (asthma, tonsilectomy, pneumonia. Her dad is supposed to pay 50% but nver pays any. So I send them $20 on each account each month. When one gets paid off, I'll spit its $20 among those remaining due. Even their payment arrangement plan may have been more than my income would stretch to, so I send what I can afford. It may take awhile, but I'm getting it paid.

    Using a wood stove with the dead trees for fuel sounds like a good idea. Or maybe you could fix up an outdoor furnace system?
     
  12. AngieM2

    AngieM2 Big Front Porch advocate

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    what about renting the cleared land to someone that need pasture, or a field to grow something in. Either straight rent to them, or share crop?

    Just a thought.

    Angie
     
  13. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    The plan was to finish the house on a cash basis in 5-7 years. The only really immediate deficiency is heating. We are off grid and can survive on 365 watts in solar panels and the generator. It makes life simple :) If I land in the hspital again, even though I dont see why I would, I will have to seek outside employment for a while - no doubt about it. My son is now 18 and is seeking full timeemployment. There's nothing left in the bank at this point and any other obstacle could be a catastrophe. That is why it is important to me to use what I have to its utmost. I need cash flow coming in. I do have a back up plan which I will do my darndest to bring to fruition in the next six months but with my luck so far I am not counting only on it.

    You're right of course. It is giving me some anxiety but it is not the end of the world.
     
  14. makeitdolou

    makeitdolou Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Angie - maybe lease the land for now so you have cash coming in but you still have ownership. What if you let some heritage pigs pasture in that woodlot and sell them in the fall? Bartering one of your cows for work on the fireplace? Maybe if you posted on the barter board with a list of what you have available to trade, someone might be able to work a deal with you.
    The best of luck, Tango.
    Rosie
     
  15. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    I'm so sory to hear of your dd's medical challenges Jan :( That's a tough one. I forgot to mention that an er visit for my son last year when he had health insurance was rejected and I just got those bills, $1400, last week (when it rains it pours :bash: ) They will be getting what I can send from my tight $350 month income.

    The problem- I think it is a problem, don't know for sure- with my fireplace is that a 4 x 4 hole was cut out in the log wall to accomodate a brick fireplace. I am completely unsure of how or if a woodstove can be put there now or if a woodstove in the long run would be cheaper than a brick and stone fireplace. I already have the insert and some other parts so I am already onmy way to on etype of fireplace. If I could only find someone who could build it for me for a decent price...

    Angie that is an excellent idea. Thanks, I will defintiely keep that in mind :)
     
  16. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Hey Rosie, thanks for your ideas. It is ironic that just last week I was buying heritage pigs and had to back out of the deal when this all hit the fan (I needed a 2nd surgery for internal bleeding so I got two bills for two surgeries instead of the one which I had planned for). I love pigs and you've given me another good idea if I could afford the fencing somehow.... I've advertised on the barter board for work before but I don't think anyone with the needed skills lives close enough to make it feasible for them. Ive also asked all my neighbors but so far haven't come up with anyone I can afford- it seems fireplaces are more of a luxury item around here- hard to comprehend that. In a rural community like mine, it is mind boggling how much dependance there is on electricity. Ideally our Homesteading Today community should be able to provide these barters, I think- we're just too spread apart right now.
     
  17. APPway

    APPway Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You are saying a fireplace and it sounds like it is a regular size fire place beings it is a 4x4 space. I don't know what size your house is but for heating a home a fireplace is not the best they are pretty to look at and snuggle close to but for heating most of the heat goes out of the chimmney. What I would do is try and sell the Fireplace bricks and insert and keep the flues if they are up to code for wood stove. I would put in a wood stove and heat with that depending on the size of your house it can heat the whole house with alot less effort and less wood. They are alot cheaper than a fire place and there are many sizes availble. Even a wood cook stove would heat the house better than a plain fireplace. Don't know what cookstoves sell for in the states but here they run from 50.00 to 300.00 for used and for wood stoves for heating they run 100 to 500 depending on size and age.
    Just a suggestion

    APPway
     
  18. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    Could any of the timber be used for fencing?
     
  19. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Appway, what do I do about the hole in the wall? My house is two stories and about 1680 sq. ft. the footprint is 32 x 28 and the space above the fireplace is open.

    Jan, I am hoping to scrounge for the posts from all that timebr, absolutely. Can't wait to heal and get out there.
     
  20. APPway

    APPway Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would reframe the hole and insulate it and cover it up ie: wallboard inside and siding outside that is still alot cheaper than the fireplace.
    We also live in a 2 story farm house built in 1890's it has been up dated some but the stairwells and the attic still have some of the original news paper insulation with the dates on them. also has natural gas in it which is turned on only 4 months out of the year and the bill still runs $1600.00 t0 $1800.00 for the 4 months of heat. Have to have it on or the cystern in the celler would freeze and thats our water supply for the house. The cystern in the barn I keep a tank heater in and still have to break Ice in the winter. Have a fire place and yes it keeps the living room and sitting room about 48f to 50f but not the rest of the house. A wood stove is in the process for here also and can't wait.

    I still would say wood stove over fireplace as that is what willl heat the house alot better.

    APPway