homesteading in ME

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by livefree, Feb 10, 2005.

  1. livefree

    livefree Active Member

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    we can't find any affordable land in Western MA so we are looking in ME. we have never been there nor know anybody who could give advice/info..how are the land use rules?are the state officals hard to talk to?what is average cost of a well? cost of a septic system? anyone homeschooling? do you deal with local school or state officals? any advice would be much apreciated. we would like to know as much as we can before we get there..we will be moving there in the next 4 months, no delay our house here is already sold! Thank You
     
  2. Mary in Minnesota

    Mary in Minnesota Now in NY

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  3. seanpecor

    seanpecor Member

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    Maine has much harder winters and construction materials and methods are more expensive because of this. You need more insulation, pipelines well below the frost line which means 4 feet down, a stronger roof capable of bearing tons of snow, and so on. If you love snow and the wilds absent mountain living then there may be no better place than the wilds of Maine. At least in the USA. I've been through New Brunswick (my mother was born on Burnt Church reservation on the eastern side of NB somewhat near Prince Edward Island) and you can get some mighty affordable and breathtaking land in NB, but NB weather is even harder at times than ME weather. Remember, winter is the longest season in ME, snow can come as early as October and end as late as the end of April. From 40-110 inches of snow from southern to northern ME, and between 20-60 days of sub-zero temperatures. Then, you want to do your research on your home site because spring thaw, when it finally does arrive, can cause significant flooding. If all of this excites you, then ME is going to be wonderful! If you've only visited in July, and don't like long and hard winters, then you may have the wrong impression of the state. Just some thoughts.

    You'll be needing some heavy snowmoving equipment too, during a squall it's not uncommon to go to bed, and wake up in the AM with snow built up nearly to the top of your door. That might mean something as simple as a pick up truck with a plow, or if you're really moving out into the sticks, a compact utility tractor with a loader :)

    Sean.
     
  4. sdrew

    sdrew Well-Known Member

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    I think SeanPecor wants to keep people out of Maine !!!!! I've lived here all my life, and he may be stretching the truth a little there (ALOT)!!!! :haha: I'm in southern Maine, and we rarely get snow in november, and it's usually gone by mid-March at the latest. Northern Maine is a different story though, the temps are colder, and they do get more snow,... but that's WAY up north. Move to central Maine and get the benefits of cheaper land/housing, and moderate winters. Maine is a beautiful state. Not that I disagree with SeanPecor,... I'd like to keep it a secret that Maine is a great place to live (except we're over-run with liberals, argh).
     
  5. ASM

    ASM Well-Known Member

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    Northern Maine
    We moved from Central Mass to Northern Maine 15 months ago. We were able to sell our home down there and buy a 17 acre farm outright. Our home needs work but being debt free is tremendous. We LOVE it up here. The winter before we moved up here was a tough one I've heard. This one we are in now and last year were comparable to Mass except for the times of extreme cold and wind both then and now. I know we haven't lived through a harsh northern Maine winter yet but aren't afraid of one either.
    Up here the pay is not that good though there are a few companies that pay very well.
    We homeschool and I found the first year frustrating as far as dealing with the state. Though the laws are better than in Mass they are different and take some adjusting. You can find the law by going to the Maine.gov and looking up education. The one in charge of the Board of Ed. is very easy to deal with.
    Feel free to e-mail me if you like. I can ask dh to help with questions I don't know the answers to. Annette
     
  6. ASM

    ASM Well-Known Member

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    Forgot to mention that if you go to homeschoolersofmaine.org
    you'll find lots of information too. Annette
     
  7. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    I think northern and southern Maine are two different worlds! But we're also looking closely at ME as a retirement alternative to the very expensive and equally cold and inhospitable climate of Vermont.

    I would, however, take a very close look at ME's development trends... just as I would advise anyone looking seriously at VT to do. The last thing you want to do is find your little piece of heaven, only to discover 5 years after the apple trees are in and really starting to produce that there is a huge development going in because the ski resort down the road is really kicking butt.

    Rather like what we're living through right now :-(
     
  8. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Move to an unorganized township and your taxes will be much cheaper. You have to be filthy rich or practically poor to afford or skirt the tax burden in Maine!

    It snowed 16 inches in the past two days, stuck the plow truck twice, shovelled way too much...is it SPRING yet???...never mind the mud and bugs...

    Homeschooling is easy I filled out one paper from maine.gov/education mailed it to the Dept. of ed. and one to local school superintendent...thats it! I don't belong to any group...like to do my own thing and tend to have definate opinions about people(this is true of most folks in MAine)....Morrison you can attest to that!!! ;)

    We keep goats, 3 gardens, pick fiddleheads and berries. We do alot of canning and freezing and hunting and more and more farming. Hunting license fees have become so high in Maine that it costs $33 to shoot a turkey and you only get one. So we raised a calf on goat milk and bought 200lbs of potatoes when they were $5 for 50#. Fishing is useless but fun...not supposed to eat fish more than once a month due to mercury.

    You will also find the land use regulation comm. on the maine.gov website.

    What I dont recommend is coming to Maine to keep up with the Jones', because times can get rough fast and its nice to have a small cushion when pipes freeze in the winter, or any number of things that happen with help from Mother Nature....be prepared always!

    You'll need 4wd, shotgun, rifle, chainsaw, warm clothes, rubber boots, bug spray, a strong back, and a sense of humor....the last two being critical.

    Northern Maine is much cheaper....just north of Bangor will give you good job options but a little more pricey.
     
  9. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    Mpillow has that right as far as relocating to rural (northern) New England: bring 4wd (or all wheel drive, our Subaru will go through anything), a .22 for shooting larger animals, a shotgun to defend the chickens with, a butchering kit, a tractor with a blade for moving snow (add impliments as needed), a chainsaw (big), a log splitter is a REALLY nice thing to have, boots, work gloves, a strong back, and a sense of humor... but one of the things that will make your rural transition nicer is...

    Cash.

    As much as you can carry. The more you can conserve the more options you'll have coming on down the line.
     
  10. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Dont laugh but we got a come a long and second vac sealer as presents at Christmas from our parents. Very handy for butchering 500lb calf or larger moose if you get picked in the lottery.

    We have a 3/4 ton truck and a subaru wagon. A utility trailer is also handy for wood/hay hauling. We also have a portable barn we built to slide onto the trailer 5.5 by 13 feet to transport goats and summer pasture at my folks place or at our cabin in the mountains.

    Cash is nice but we have just been very careful...we have never made over $40,000 a year in the 12 years we've been together, no inheritance either and we have 3 kids. Very little consumer debt was key. We own 30 acres outright in Lexington, a cabin on 5 acres in the mountains and owe less than what most people pay for a new truck on our house on 6-7acres. Our vehicles are paid for bought used (1-2yr old) now 6yo. We do most all construction ourselves as well as systems-heat, water, and septic by close friend. Our house is now nearly 3 times larger than when originally purchased. We heat with wood bought tree length....my kids started stacking wood at very young ages and planting gardens, and feeding goats....yet they still find time to be NAUGHTY! ;)

    My husband could do even better moneywise if he'd give up the tobacco and beer :haha: But hey it was the drink of choice in Colonial times?! :eek:

    I am having the darndest time getting him to hookup my baby sized wood cookstove.... :yeeha: (need to crack my whip)
     
  11. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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  12. Chas in Me

    Chas in Me Well-Known Member

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    I read all these posts. You got some good advice. I think what you need most is the willingness to get along with what this place has to offer. Be a giver, not a taker.
    Just come on up and make your way. Not much different than other places; it's just that the locals like to think it is.
     
  13. Ken in Maine

    Ken in Maine Well-Known Member

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    Lexington Maine... Hey Melissa.. when did you move?

    Ken.
     
  14. RenieB

    RenieB Well-Known Member

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    I moved to Maine in 1969 from Boston area. We had some terrible winters those first years here. In 1978 I moved back to MA for a few months and we had that terrible snow storm and were house bound for a week. I moved back to Maine were they know how to move the snow and have places to put it. Through the years we have had a lot less snow here in Central Maine than they have had in Mass. We just had a big storm two days ago that reminded us of when we first moved up here. The wages are lower here than in Mass but that is the price we pay for living here. I went back to college and got a degree in Nursing and that took care of the wage problem. In the part of Maine I live in the town has a lot of rules and regulations about what you can and can't do on your own property which is a pain. But in some other towns it is not as bad. All in all I have never regretted my move to Maine. My dh is a mainer by birth and he would never think of moving away from here.

    RenieB
     
  15. ASM

    ASM Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Northern Maine
    Aroostook county is Northern Maine. Land cost can run from 200 to 2000 dollars an acre. There are "farms" available, Check real estate web sites. BUT real estate up here moves slow, houses may sit empty for awhile. If your planing to build new, follow the codes of Mass and add more insulation ( ie- a layer of 2" blue styrofoam board) and put on a metal roof. It is possible to get a 50 acre farm ,4 bedroom house, barn for $100,000 or less and your taxes might be around $1000 a year.
    Since real estate moves slow it is very possible to rent a house.
    Land use....There are homesteaders,offgriders,tree farmers,ranchers,dairy farmers,potato farmers (of course),backwoodsmen who come into town 1 or 2 times a year, and people who live in Allagash. So --- short off building a nuclear power plant, grow or hunt what you want.
    Water well cost.... shovels cost around $15-20
    Septic cost.......Shovel x2 or 3, you might break one
    State officials...like everywhere else they know there field and thats it
    Last bit of advice...... GO FOR IT!!!! Pack the U-haul get on 95 and head north.
     
  16. livefree

    livefree Active Member

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    Dec 13, 2004
    Location:
    ME
    sorry for not responding sooner but i have been away since Friday.. Thank you for all the great advice and encouragement. we will be moving to ME within 5 months. our house is already sold and we only have a 6 month lease... the only problem is trying to pick an area in ME to focus on. we have a great sense of humor and are not afraid of bad weather or hard work