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Hi,
I was wondering what is your homesteading story. How did you start out? How much money did it take? What would you have done differently?
-thehoffs
 

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I guess each of us has our own homesteading story..some more thought out than most..and we hadn't thought ours out much at all !! Back 30 years ago we lived a very comfortable life in surburbia. New car, nice house, girls in private school 2 dogs and a cat. I was a stay at home Mom and my husband had a good paying job. We just got tired of the "things" that were happening The schools, neighbors and we loved the country as we had camped some with our little tent. We took a trip to the mountains of north central PA during bear season one year and went again in the summer and then put our house up for sale. No job..no money to talk about. We thought our home had sold and the day of settlement the deal fell through with the u haul truck packed with car and kids ready to go !! We had rented a house in a small village in the mountains and were anxious to start a new life. We left the house to the real estate to rent and try to sell but this again was during a recession and houses weren't selling well..sound familiar ?? But off we went, with a $1000 in our pockets, no job and we loved it !! Eventually the house did sell for much much less in dollars but we were able to put that money towards our now homestead and have never regretted it. Husband found a job within a month, found a MENS magazine, met other young couples who had chickens and goats and thought it would be "fun" to do the same. And we have been having "fun" ever since !!:icecream: We did have some very, very hard times money ways. The only vehicle we ended up with in a year from moving was an old truck and we actually drove it with a screw driver on the column for the gear shift and had only 2nd and 3rd gear to boot !! But we managed. What would we have done differently. Well..I certainly would have still pulled up roots and headed north..best move we ever did..would have done it years sooner as our girls were 11 and 13 years old at the time. Would have liked them to have experienced more of country life, 4 H etc than they had. Never had much money even today it is slim pickens' at times..but I would have tried harder not to have had a mortgage, any debt at all. If it had only been the 2 of us we could have lived in a tent but we felt with two growing girls we needed a home with electric and indoor plumbing at least..Choices are made sometimes out of "now" needs and aren't the wisest but you do what you need to do at that time. More money would have been nice and would have bought much more land with the money. Buy land..they stopped making it..and it is safer than the stock market, as we all know. I eventually went back to school and became a nurse after the girls left home..but it is a job not a career for me. Thankful I have work always but a career in forestry would have been my dream job. Now that hubby has retired and I work a couple days of week there is still plenty to do in this old farm house. Work never ends on a homestead just as on a farm. We grow most of our own veggies, raise goats for milk and cheese and chickens for meat and eggs. My advice to anyone is...just go for it !! If you wait and plan and plan the years will pass you buy and you will be ready for the old folks home before you know it. If things don't work out you can always move back "home" and begin again. But I know once you get a taste of country independent lifestyle you won't do that. Of course, you need to plan to some point but don't allow that to stop you to follow your dream...!! :)
 

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Oh my! Memory lane can be so pleasant, even with all the dust, potholes and mud in the winter. I got a gutfull of nosey neighbors, indignant bosses, noise, pollution, and all the other pleasantries of suburbia back in the summer of 76. I laid out a very careful plan, loaded up the kids, three horses, a great dane and headed out to find a homestead. I think I had about 100 bucks in my pocket and a credit card with about a 500 dollar limit on it. That got me as far as northern Indiana, where I had to stop and find a job and wound up spending that miserable winter snowed in. come spring I headed south to KY and found just about everything a feller could want in life other than money. Its in short supply here but thats ok, its socially acceptable to be poor here. I took a shot at buying 110 acre place in the backwoods, two miles from the nearest thing resembling a road, over a mile to the nearest neighbor, a good neighbor about 70 years old and an absolute treasure chest of good information. It took me only about a year to lose that place, but kept on trying. Its now 30 years, several dogs, two wives several kids, and three homesteads later but I have a pretty good setup. My Yvonne and I are now in the finishing stages of our log home on 37 acres (all paid for) several miles from a small town, creek, woods, pasture, hayfield, pond, small herd of cattle, and good neighbors. Well, mostly good neighbors anyway. What would I change? not a thing, my life has been a grand adventure, good times, bad times, and hard times, a lot of great people along the way and a few knotheads, but I wouldnt change a minute of it. :) Well, I spose I coulda gotten by without that time the ex leveled off at me with the shotgun. ;)
 

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There was no planning at all here we looked at a place that my then girlfriend hated,I bought it she's now my wife and still hates it,haha,so we've bought a different place up near my family a 150+ year old two story log home with barns and grainery,my grandpa knew the family that built the place,one of thier relatives still lives down the road.
 

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Our story isn't so glamorous. I was raised on a homestead in the 70's in New Hampshire, and there was never any question but that I was going to be a homesteader.
When DH and I married, we rented a home on an organic farm. That was a terrible experience. So, we bought some raw land and camped out on it every weekend while we worked on it and built on it. Now, we live on it and homestead it full time. We'd never live any other way.
As for how much it cost, we put down $400.00 on the land and made monthly payments on a land contract. We then got a builder's loan onto which we put all $6000.00 of our savings. (We didn't have to put anything down, but our goal was to have our home paid off as soon as possible). Once the home was completed, we rolled it into a conventional mortgage. We bought fencing materials as we could afford it as the home was being built and fenced off pasture land. We had all the trees that were cleared off the building site milled into lumber that went into our barn. We cleared off the garden spot, pulled out and ground out stumps, and plowed it up. By the time we moved in, we had a homestead ready to go for an investment of less than $10,000 in cash that we paid out over a year period. We're still working on paying that mortgage off, and think we can do it in another 5 years. We have a tri-level home on 21 acres of pasture and woods. We're now working on putting in a farm pond.
 

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Don't consider myself a true homesteader, yet...as we don't live full time at our place...but, I've dreamed about having a place out for the past 40 years. I've always liked hunting, fishing, trapping and gardening. I lived in a small cabin built during the depression on ten acres when I first got out of college. I paid $12,000 for that place, and lived there during the great blizzard of 77 in Ohio. No running water, and heated with wood. Got married to a gal who seemed to like the place until my daughter was born, and then wouldn't have anything to do with the place. We moved to a ghetto. I hated living there...and actually had three teenagers come up to me, one putting a gun to my head. Swat team down the street the day we moved in. Drug dealer with 100+ customers a day right across the street. Wife beater next door while his two kids aged 4 and 3 sat in their underwear on the curb by themselves at 11:30 at night. Our house was broken into while we were there...My sister in law and her husband woke up to see three guys standing over their bed at four in the morning, they lived right around the corner. I was walking my oldest daughter when some punk stopped at a stop sign and when he took off, spun his tires so that broken glass, rocks and gravel spewed all over my little daughter. I had to sell my cabin so I could afford to move out of the hell hole I had settled for. That marriage disintegrated, and I eventually became caught up after the financial mess I was left with after the divorce. My second wife, and I rented two garden plots from our local community. (Both were 30 x 40) and cost $35 each per season to rent. We grew beans, peas, corn, squash, tomatoes, broccoli, Swiss chard, cabbage, etc. She and I enjoyed the outdoors and took our kids camping every chance we got. I started rekindling my dream of having a place out. For 15 years, I looked up property in the newspaper. I'd visit rural pieces of land for sale. Once the internet became widespread, I could see lots of places where I could see myself one day becoming a homesteader. After about 15 years, my wife finally said, "Go ahead and buy a place..." (I wore her down). We bought 15 acres in eastern Ohio...about 10 acres cleared and the remainder in woods. We built a modest log home on it. We have planted around 50 trees on the property since a year ago. We had a big garden this year, and will expand it next year. We have put in raspberries, blueberries, apples, and peaches, grapes. We gather hickory and walnuts. We burn wood that is downed. We have fenced in about 1/2 an acre for our dogs to get to run without fear of marauding big dogs and coyotes. We fish and hunt to reap some of nature's bounty right there. I'm going to take a course in keeping bees this winter, and will hopefully start a hive or two next year. Down the road, I could see us living there full time and having, chickens, rabbits, a few meat goats, and night crawlers. We have brewed our own beer in the past, and I'd like to get back into that and learn how to make wine. So I guess I won't consider myself a true homesteader until I'm there full time, but we are in our happy place...that is what is important.
 
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First I don't trust the food supply .When my wife cans them green beans I know what is in them. This spot of land has no easements at all on it no water lines ,power poles or gas lines don't want them either :nono: Lots of my jobs has been working for me that way it don't seem like i'm selling my life by the hour as much What i would of done diffrent is would of saved my money when i was younger Hate to think it but i believe time will come when you will have to sit home and guard your garden .Hope i'm wrong :shrug:
 

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Hi thehoffs,

We wrote about how we started, not published, sure had fun writing, first chapter of twenty, is about your questions. Well the whole book is specifically about your questions.

About the first Chapter,
  • Leave the city in one minute and fall in love with the back-to-the-land movement the next.
  • You will learn to throw caution to the wind when you take a vacation;
  • you can live better there, and find out what you really want.
  • Meet people that will instantly change your life and guide you to what you really want,
  • and meet a man who fell seven stories and lived.
  • How we buy 160 acres for $3,000 and seal the deal with a handshake.
  • Be healthy and strong: you will decide if you “would you rather chop-wood or pay PG&E?”
  • Thrilling and clear is the way to live life: like Thoreau and other Masters of life.
  • And you will find out how to keep the love growing within your family.
  • Independent wealth is yours for the taking – you will see how to get more than enough money to live in the woods – by renting-out your house.
  • Finally in this chapter you will understand International money movement across the border.
  • Are you ready to leave?

If interested, you can read first chapter, no charge here, http://www.abceltd.com/pics/Web/Book/Chapter 1 Deciding to Leave.pdf

Enjoy,

Alex
 
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