Any Retired Military Homesteaders Out There?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Steve, May 22, 2004.

  1. Steve

    Steve Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    West Central Illinois
    Due to several freak turn of events (loss of job, loss of home, major surgery, tornado) over the last couple years, my wife and I have decided to homestead and live strictly off my military pension. We are in the process of setting up our 7 acre homestead (formerly a cornfield). Between Tricare and a Tricare supplement we're set there. Our children are grown and we have no bills except for the mortgage.

    The septic and utilities are in, the double-wide has been set on one separately deeded acre, and we're partially moved in. The lawn, pasture and waterways have been seeded, the three bee colonys have been installed (one died off or swarmed), the 1/2 acre market garden is in, all the fruit trees and berry bushes are in nursery pots waiting to be planted, and as soon as I can get a chicken coop or chicken tractor built we'll be getting chickens.

    Any other retired military homesteaders out there? If so, how has it been going for you? What do you do to make the ends meet?
     
  2. limhyl

    limhyl Well-Known Member

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    May 2, 2004
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Steve,
    We are not there yet because my husband still has four years left to serve but this is definitely my goal. We hope to have at least 200K saved for the house and land by then and so we will be able to live off of his pension which will be about 3K per month. I have two children entering college between now and then and one toddler still at home but even so I think that amount of money will be fine if we have little or no mortgage payment if we live frugally. My major conern of course as we age is the medical part. Unfortunalty this limits our choice of land to within a resonable commute to a military hospital. I feel that's a small price to pay for full medical coverage for the rest of our lives (If the legislators keep their hands out of our benefits that is) :waa: . My husband may want to work part time as he will only be 44 when he retires, a bit young to check out entirely, but I don't him to have to work and I don't want to get stuck in a lifestyle that requires us to keep working. This is easier for me than for him as he tends to want "things" a lot more than I do. But slowly he is coming around. I want ten or so acres and want to be able to produce all of the things you mentioned, just be mostly self sufficient. I think we are in a unique and fortunate position as military retirees and it is just compensation for twenty or mores years in service to our great country.
     

  3. uyk7

    uyk7 Well-Known Member

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    E. SD
    "I feel that's a small price to pay for full medical coverage for the rest of our lives"

    What "full medical coverage"? If you live within 50 miles of a military treatment facility (MTF) then you can but Tri Care Prime: outside the 50 mile range you have standard Tri Care (which is still pretty good). The courts have already said that medical benefits for retirees are not guranteed. I haven't seen any Tri Care supplement insurance on the market: can you send me a web address for this?

    Steve, the best advice I can give is to try and start a homebased business before you get out. If you can get one started and bringing in a little money that would help a lot. Also, buy everything you need before you actually get out: it is easier to buy a few things at a time then to at one time.
     
  4. Pigeon Lady

    Pigeon Lady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sorry about all your set backs Steve, looks like you've had some tough times. Keep us all updated on how things work out for you.

    Just 20 months left for us if they will let him out. The way things are going I'm not holding my breath. He'll put in his paperwork after Christmas. He's in Iraq right now.

    We've decided to start looking for our place and I'm SO excited! We have a small homestead on 2 acres right now in NC. Goats, chickens, rabbits, pony and a garden. This has been our "practice" homestead. We've learned a lot from our mistakes!!

    I recently started raising white homing pigeons with a view to starting a White Bird Release business for weddings and funerals. I'm hoping that will bring in enough to allow Ken to only need to work part time. If nothing else it should buy groceries.

    The logistics of relocating "the farm" is going to take some planning but starting out with a "practice" place has really paid off and now we are ready to jump in "whole hog" with confidence.

    Keep us posted on your exploits and what worked and what didn't Steve.

    Good luck,

    P.L.
     
  5. What do you do to make the ends meet?

    Basically we do without a lot of things (found it easier to cut costs than increase income), but to tell you the truth we don't really miss the majority of those things anymore, go visit others that have been doing this for several years and learn from them.

    Here are some of the basics that I'd suggest; try to plan for interoperability in as many things as possible on the place (same size piping, clamps, valves, use screws & standard size lumber (don't cut it 39" but use 36" & 48" cuts, etc.) to build things so that things can be disassembled and remade/modified/reused more easily), plant things that produce year after year without replanting and/or are open pollinated so you can save seeds and reduce yearly seed costs, incoporate basic solar considerations to reduce heating and cooling bills, and become proficient with as much of the plumbing, electical, vet medicine, vehicle/tractor repair, etc. as possible to reduce costs, get a good set of tools, welder and torch set up and if you don't know how to use them, then take courses and learn to use them to build/repair things.
     
  6. Steve

    Steve Well-Known Member

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    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    West Central Illinois
    uyk7,
    I forgot to mention that I'm already out. I retired from the Air Force as an E-7 in 1995. We use Tricare Standard.

    You'll have to shop around for the Tricare Supplement policy that is best for you and your family. They are each a little different in some way. You will have to join a service organization (TROA, AMRA, American Legion, etc.) in order to buy into their group Tricare supplemental policy. We went with AMRA's insurance.

    Here's a link that might help:
    Tricare Supplemental Insurance
     
  7. uyk7

    uyk7 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Steve. I'll take a look.
     
  8. posifour11/

    posifour11/ Guest

    just joined the reserves myself in feb. although i am still at AIT, i hope to make it home to kansas soon to continue with my homestead (but, could be tilling up sand for all i know)