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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So, if you could take what you know today; how would you start HT'ing if you could start over?
Here's some scenario elements - let's say a couple in their 30's , no children, living in the burbs. Only debt is the mortgage with some equity. Not farm-raised. Your goal is a 5 year plan toward personal sustainability in a rural location.

What are the big targets you would set and in what order?
Would you seek out particular formal education in an up & coming area (solar, Ag, ?). Buy/Build?

(added, I should have said this isn't us. We started this later, as empty nesters. I'm asking because we know several young couples interested but flummoxed about where to start, what should come first, etc. I want to encourage young folks to follow this dream with some help to avoid mistakes.)
 

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I would start with the basics.

Water
Pasture
Woodlot

Then, the nut trees and fruit trees.
And, THEN sheds and out buildings and livestock shelters and fencing.

I've always purchased my animal feed and hay. More and more, that stresses me out. A pond (in addition to the well) would be planned for in the beginning too.

A daily routine of animal care takes up a lot of time that might be better spent on initial projects.

Pasture and hay are the basis of so much meat/milk. I worry about our suppliers if the economy shuts down...gas, tractor repairs, etc.
 

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Determine what area you'd like, then do your research into property costs. I'd look to buying an existing place, as the cost of septic and well can vary wildly. Also, in most cases you can't build new for what it would cost to buy existing. If you're not handy enough to do some major repairs, you probably shouldn't be looking to homesteading.

Have a considerable slush fund set aside from your known costs - down payment/repairs/buildings/equipment/etc. Surprises are plentiful, and you'll need it.

I'd start reading everything specific to the animals you might want, and trees/bushes/vegetables you would plant. Once you've decided on an area, check the local ag agent for any advice specific to your area.

Take it slow, and good luck!
 

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Pick an area with low property taxes. It will probably have a state income tax. But if you have a low income, you income taxes will be low. You always have to pay property taxes until you get old when most states give a break or let you defer them. So I would have moved 30 miles further north to Oklahoma from Texas.
 

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Everything I bought I would by better ,cheep is forever!

land on a highway for sales.
land with lots of outbuildings and a good barn
No house is fine I would want to build my own.
Part of the purchase would be contingent on a GREAT fence.
Purebred stock heirloom plants .perennial's a priority.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Great input folks, thanks. I'm sharing this with as many young folks asking questions about HT'ing as I can. Since we came to this as empty nesters and are new to this, I thought gathering your experienced input was smarter than just sharing our own limited experiences. Good info all around.
 

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Would buy more land and try very hard not to go into debt. If we had no children with us...would and could live in a very simple cheap housing. Old trailer,winter tent or put up a cheap cabin. Being in "cold' country...this would be a challenge..But, without children you could live very basic..Buy land..for they stopped making it...
 

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Everything takes longer, costs more and is harder than I understood. I would start off with a decent tractor, rototiller or plow, better fencing, sheds or barns. And someone who wasn't interested in starting LOTS of things but not in keeping them up.
 

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If I knew then what I know now, I would do it all exactly the same including the marriage that ended in divorce because all the steps both good and bad got me to where I am doing it the way I do it and doing my time through all those good and bad times added to my knowledge while I burned off the time to getting single again and eventually back to the one from 35 years ago that makes life good for me and I can handle in my life to the degree I am comfortable with and she understands and accepts me as what I am and can handle me in her life to the level of comfort she prefers as we enjoy our own houses and interests also.

Best part for me doing it primarily on my own is some years I don't have to put in a garden here because one years yield of a full kitchen garden often stocks my pantry and hers for two years but even during years when I may forego a complete garden and concentrate more on my tinkering and horse trading, I put in a couple tomato and pepper plants for fresh eating and winter wine making with the wild grapes I harvest here and at her house each season.

What we have may not work for others but it works for us and neither of us is interested in messing up a good relationship and two good lifestyle choices with marriage or one roof . Our "dogtrot housing option with 10 mile wide breezeway " suits us both :)
 
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