Kentucky?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by WildernesFamily, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. WildernesFamily

    WildernesFamily Milk Maid

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    We're in Colorado, but looking to move out of state to homestead.. we're considering Kentucky (amongst other states.. so many choices! :stars: )

    How about the good, the bad and the ugly regarding homesteading in Kentucky? Also, what areas would you suggest if you're familiar with the area? And what areas to avoid?
     
  2. nogreaterjoy8

    nogreaterjoy8 Well-Known Member

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    We moved from central Wyoming to Metcalfe County KY, and lived there two years before heading back to high altitudes and cool temperatures. Warning - this is going to be long.........

    The pros: land is cheap (75 acre farm with barn and spring for less than $100K), you don't have to irrigate - God does that for you!, Anything and everything grows easily, You can feed many animals per acre on grazing alone, it is so poor that there are no building codes and you can pretty much do what you want on your property - including an outhouse, using your gray water, etc.

    The cons (and remember, I am comparing this to high altitude Wyoming!):

    HUMIDITY! It is unbeleivably humid there...in fact, the houses have mold creeping up the outsides and there are people who make a living pressure washing houses. I think if a cow stood still long enough, it would mold.

    You don't have to irrigate because it rains for weeks on end.......never stopping........which leads to MUD, MUD, and more MUD...a major problem when you have a DH farmer and 7 small children running in and out.

    BUGS - another major problem for me, but maybe you don't mind them. At our altitude, we have no fleas or cockroaches and very few other bugs. In KY you WILL have cockroaches occassionaly, and every other bug under the sun <shudder>. The snakes are rather abundant, too (found one sunning itself on my kitchen windowsill once - the neighbor a quarter mile away came running because he heard me screaming, LOL).

    Anything and everything does grow there, but I found that even though the plants grow huge and fast, they do not have as much flavor - I think they absorb too much water, but that is just my families opinion and your mileage may vary. A friendly warning - it it takes 25 okra plants to feed your family for a year in CO....do NOT plant that many in KY. We were begging people to come take the stuff......fed 5 families for a year and still have to plow a bunch under!

    While you can graze alot more animals per acre, there is also a lot more illness, from worms to breathing problems, because of the heat/humidity and dampness and the close quarters. Plan on higher vet bills and more maintenance medicines.

    While the lack of building codes is really nice in some ways - it also makes huge areas look like dumps and be very unhealthy (many of our neighbors for about ten miles did not have septic or outhouses - their home sewage drained out into open fields). The general filth bothered me. This does not apply to Amish/Mennonite communities - they are very clean.

    The roads are hazardous - very narrow and winding, which I was not used to and never did get used to driving on because the roads here are wide, flat, and you can see for miles.

    The people.....very different from what you meet out here. And I am not just sharing things that happened once or twice, or with one or two people - it seems to be a way of life, at least where we were. They are very nice, but they live on Indian Time (I don't know what else to call it, sorry if that offends anyone). If you call a plumber and he says he'll be there Tuesday, he might show up Wednesday, or he might show up next month...If your neighbor says he'll be by in the morning to borrow something, he might show up around four. And if you tell your neighbor you'll be over in the morning to help castrate their pigs - don't show up until after lunch, because if you do the western thing and show up before 7:00 you'll be waking them up (ask how we know this, LOL?) One lady said she would stop by around noon to drop off something I had ordered. I invited her for lunch, saying we eat at noon. She said, ok, but she might not be there because in KY, around noon means between 10 and 2!

    Also, the code of the west does not apply - I have never met a neighbor here who did not return a borrowed item promptly and in at least as good of condition as when he borrowed it, and usually brings a goody along as a thank you, too. There you will eventually have to beg for it back and it might be broken, or they may have lost it, and you will be told, "accidents happen - sorry about that." All of that drove me absolutely bonkers!

    However - when my DH got sick and was bedridden for a month, people I didn't even know showed up and did whatever they thought would help. In a pinch, they are definitely there for you. And none of this applies to the Amish or Mennonites - they are a whole different breed and if you can get to know them, you will be eternally blessed by it, but it is hard to get to know them unless you are close to their lifestyle I have been told (we wear dresses and headcoverings and such - others have told me they never were accepted).

    BUT....the biggest reason to NOT move to KY, in my opinion, is that they are implementing the real ID program, starting in 2006 when you get or renew your drivers license and it will be fully implemented by 2008........you get your very own little RFID card to carry in your wallet. UGH.

    Hope all that helped - feel free to ask if anything comes to mind.
     

  3. dennisjp

    dennisjp dennisjp

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    This isn't funny. I am in Virginia and want to move where you are at. I thought the pasture was greener over there on the other side of the hill. LOL.
     
  4. SFM in KY

    SFM in KY Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Another Montana native who has relocated to Kentucky.

    Nogreaterjoy8 said it all and said it very well, I think.

    The additional "pro" for me was that I raise horses/ponies of a breed and type that there was little market for in Montana and there is a good market for further east. Most of my ponies are not sold "locally" but there are getting to be a few more local sales and I'm so much closer to the real market, which is east coast that it is much better.

    After the first three years, I have not found that I have had more problems with health with the livestock. I DID have to learn all over again, practical "horsekeeping" ... it is very different here because of the differences in climate and grazing. I have to worm much more often. There are different diseases. Different things to vaccinate for. Different pasture conditions and feeds. But once I learned what worked, the last two years I've been pleased with the condition of my horses and overall, I think it is cheaper to feed them here than it was in Montana.

    I HATE the climate and hate the heat and humidity, hate being sticky most of the time, but survive it just like I did the years of 20-below zero weather and 3 feet of snow in Montana and Wyoming. My allergies and asthma are worse here and I prefer my poisonous snakes to RATTLE.

    It is impossible to find reliable part time help ... but that was a problem in Montana as well ... though you didn't have the problem of "oh, we'll be there" ... and just not showing up, which seems to be the way they deal with it here. There they would simply say they were too busy and couldn't. Here, I guess the idea is they think it isn't polite to say that, so they say they will but just don't.

    I'm not as "rural" as I was in Montana. I have Internet here, which I didn't there (long distance only) and in fact, at the last ranch where I was, I didn't have land line phone service, just cell phone service which was usable only by driving up to the top of the hill.

    So there are advantages ... and disadvantages. For me the advantages outweigh the disadvantages but I will always be homesick for the west.
     
  5. nogreaterjoy8

    nogreaterjoy8 Well-Known Member

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    We were dealing with cows (only have one horse)- and what you said is what I should have said. Instead of illnesses, I guess I should have said worms. The diseases we had to deal with in the cows were things you don't even get here, so it was all new to us and the expenses were almost tripled.

    I did not know I had asthma, and only knew I was allergic to cottonwood and dust. After moving there I ended up on Allegra, Advair, Singulair and Proventil ($450 per month!).......moved back here and am back off the meds. If you think you might have allergies or asthma - spend some time there first!

    When I used to tell people there that I prefer my snakes to rattle, they looked at me like I was nuts, LOL. Glad to know I am not alone!
     
  6. Madame

    Madame Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When I was in the Army, they called in Army time, when I was in Utah, they called it Mormon time - no matter what you call it, it describes folks that just aren't real punctual.
     
  7. nobrabbit

    nobrabbit Transplanted Tarheel

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    It's funny to me that the other posters have mentioned the heat and humidity here in KY as a bad thing. I'm from southeastern NC and I swear I have been cold since I moved to central KY 15 years ago. Seriously though, I have heard from other people that they think KY is humid but they must be from northern or high altitude states. I do love the 4 distinct seasons here, never had that in NC.

    Land is still pretty inexpensive depending on where you look in the state. The closer you get to the larger cities (Louisville, Lexington, northern KY) the prices go up. I am in Garrard County (20 or so miles from Lexington) and there are still tracts that go for $1000/acre. Compared to NC, the cost of living is extremely low here.

    People are great here, at least in my area. Our community is small, you can still go in to the Judge Exec. office and chat with him without having to empty your pockets or getting scanned. In our area, everyone is always willing to lend an extra hand or tool. We have been doing a lot of work on our place lately, fencing, etc. and our neighbors have helped tremendously.

    In fact, one of our older neighbors just came down the street with an orphaned calf to give to my husband because he has "too much on his plate right now to take the time to bottle feed". I love our area!
     
  8. WildernesFamily

    WildernesFamily Milk Maid

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    Thank you all for your responses.

    Nogreaterjoy8 - thank you for your candid response, my hubby chuckled his way through it :)

    My DH suffers from allergies, house dust mostly, and with CO being as dusty as it is.. whew, poor guy!

    Dennis - I don't think the pasture is greener here, quite the opposite with all the water rights etc. LOL! In some areas it's even illegal to catch and contain run-off water from your roof.

    Thank you again everyone... you've given us some good pros and cons to consider... oh, and BTW, growing up everyone referred to our family as being on "Kruger" time because my parents could very rarely get anywhere on time... possibly because there were 6 kids and 5 of them were girls ;).
     
  9. Boleyz

    Boleyz Prognosticator, Artist

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    Well, I'm a Ky transplant, and I'll have to differ with some of the other posters...

    Metcalf county sure sounds trashy. No codes, outhouses, bad roads, mold, Rain for weeks...I believe there are people in every state who are trashy. I'll bet even some places in the higher elevations have dumps. I think it's a little unfair to characterize the whole state by one little trashy place that one person happened to live.

    I've lived in both western and eastern Ky. I have real estate on each end of the State. My place in Western Ky is clean, dry and pleasant. I built a log cabin on my 15 acres there about 5 years ago. I haven't treated the logs at all and there is not one sign of mold or rot. The neighbors in Western KY are some of the finest people anywhere in the world, and they are industrious, hard-working, largely unionized, and most farm in some capacity "on the side" if not full-time. They will help, loan tools/equipment, watch your place, feed your stock if you're sick or injured, without even being asked. They'll open their homes to your kids and have a great sense of "Community". Funerals are well attended, and cars pull to the side of the road when they see an approaching funeral procession out of respect for the dead stranger in the hearse and the dead stranger's family. They laugh a lot, joke a lot, and will buy your dinner for you at the local diner if you happen to forget your wallet. If cows get out, the neighbors help to get them in.

    The people in Eastern Ky where I now live are fiercely independent and proud. They don't really CARE how they do things up north or anywhere else. Make a friend here in the hills and you've got a friend for life. People here in the mountains tend to be more clannish and although they're friendly to newcomers, you're a "newcomer" for many years. Again, I've never seen it rain for weeks (except on rare years like it does everywhere), I don't see rot except on places which are in low swamps and heavily shaded. It's a free country, live wherever ya want, but don't ever believe for a second that there is anyplace that doesn't have low-living people and trashy areas. That's just not the place shop for land....no matter what state it's in... :happy:
     
  10. SFM in KY

    SFM in KY Well-Known Member Supporter

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    After reading your post and re-reading mine, I realized it sounded very one-sided. In general I have never had a problem with the people, although those women in my age group (50s/ 60s) I seem to have little in common with. Even the farm wives seem to have no interest in the actual farm "business" ... which is what I am interested in, their interests seem to be limited in very traditional ways to house, garden, family, church. I have more in common with the men who actually run the farm, but that doesn't work very well either. I actually seem to have more in common for the most part with a younger generation.

    But I have never found the country/ farm people who have been here for years anything but gracious and helpful. Like most farm people everywhere, they are always busy and always behind, but if neighbors need help because of illness, injury or disaster (fire, flood, etc.) they find time to help.
     
  11. Boleyz

    Boleyz Prognosticator, Artist

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    The fact is that very few people assimilate well into other places and cultures. Ky. climate and culture is not like the high plains of Montana or the foothills of the rockies in Idaho.

    If you're willing to accept that some things will never be "Like Home", where you came from, you can assimilate into the new area pretty well. If you're unwilling to bend a little and try to understand the new culture, you will be miserable, and should return/stay in your original area.

    Kentuckians are Gracious people by and large. This is where I CHOSE to live and raise my family. We like our churches, our schools, and our Ky. Wildcat Basketball. We like the quiet beauty of our rugged mountains in the East, and the gently rolling farmland in the west. If your car breaks down on any county road anywhere that I've ever lived, not one, but MANY cars will stop to offer assistance.

    Again, if you're unwilling to assimilate into a new area, stay where you were raised and feel comfortable. Nobody can cook like your Mommy, so stay close and eat every meal at her house, then you'll be happy and won't have to savor the ways of others. :buds:
     
  12. menollyrj

    menollyrj Joy Supporter

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    We live in East TN, 10 minutes from KY & VA. I agree w/boleyz that the inhabitants tend to be clannish. I have lived here for 4 years, and I still have to tell people whose DIL I am. I have to explain which family I belong to or whose property we bought, or who our neighbors are. That said, the people are friendly (once you have explained your connections) and always willing to help. Yes, we run on slower time, because it is a slower place. So when I tell someone around lunchtime, they know I mean between 10 and 2. It is understood. Land is fairly inexpensive, but be careful in East TN and KY - much of the land is straight up. We have 12 acres but much of it is hillside and rocky. Cost of living is low, but jobs are not as high-paying. Education and medical fields are the surest bet, particularly nurses. I love it here, and can't imagine being anywhere else. That said, I grew up in MD, where the climate isn't all that different from here, so I can't compare KY with CO in that way... :shrug:

    -Joy
     
  13. nogreaterjoy8

    nogreaterjoy8 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry if I offended, Boleyz - certainly didn't intend to!

    Metcalfe county is the poorest county in the state, is what I was told - I never verified it, but that might explain the trashy areas. Our property taxes on 75 acres with a barn were $175 a year, if that helps.

    As for the people, I did state that the area we were in was that way - and I admit that DH and I are more type A personalities and the laid back ways drove me nuts, while mildly aggravating to him. Maybe because DH grew up farming and ranching, but we do not find ourselves constantly running behind and unable to be where we are supposed to be, etc - and we homeschool, in addition to all the animals and farming. That would be much too stressful of a life to suit us, and not at all the simpler life we crave. Yes, things come up now and then, but to live that way all the time was just not for us. And I found it very rude to say you would be somewhere or do something and never do it - that's not "life" that's lying....

    Looked back at my journal - we moved there on December 17th, 2003 and it was raining that day and rained every day until February 4th, when it took 2 days off, then rained for another 14 days straight. I am a person that needs light, and the gray days really took a toll on me - the mud, snakes, and bugs were just preferences, LOL, but I did need more sunshine.

    The original poster asked for the good, the bad, and the ugly - so I told what they were to us. I am REALLY sorry if I offended any Kentuckians, but it just was not the place for us and I shared why. I did say that when trouble came, everyone rallied round!

    What the other poster said about the women is very true - they are more traditional, which I fitted in just fine with. They even still have homemaker clubs, which I enjoyed alot. My MIL did not, because she is the type who wanted to hang out with the men at the coffee shop/feed stores and talk farming - no interest in quilting and such. :)

    I totally agree about the churches and I really liked living in a more conservative area. On the other hand, my step dad said he would never move there because it was so religious (he has long hair and still dresses like the 60's and felt excluded because of it, but I think it had more to do with the religious culture, which we loved)

    On the other hand - you might be very surprised to know that I grew up in Chicago until I was 11, then moved to Gary, Indiana and lived there until I was 22, when I moved to Wyoming.........We would probably have stayed in KY if it weren't for the toll it was taking on my breathing and finances ($450 a month for asthma medicine), but the Real ID thing would have done it for us anyway. It isn't a matter of assimillating, but of preference.

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned that Real ID thing, quite frankly. Is RFID a bigger no-no to us than most people?
     
  14. nogreaterjoy8

    nogreaterjoy8 Well-Known Member

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    BTW - my mommy was a hippie feminist. She never cooked.........a gourmet meal was spaghettios straight from the can, Kraft spaghetti box dinner, or Totinos pizzas, and we ate White Castles every weekend for dinner.

    My DH was appalled when we got married and he asked why I never cooked Turnips and I had to ask what a turnip was.........:D I had also never tasted brussel sprouts, asparagus, or any other veggie besides what came in tv dinners.........

    Shortly after that, we spent a couple weeks with his mother and I learned to cook all his favorites, ....especially the Mexican food, because he lived in Van Horn, TX (right near the border) until he was 14, then moved to Cody, Wyoming (put himself through flight training living and working in Arkansas and Southern Indiana and went to Bible school in Houston).........he can assimilate too, LOL.
     
  15. Boleyz

    Boleyz Prognosticator, Artist

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    I just thought folks were characterizing the Commonwealth of Ky. a little unfairly, and I wanted to offer my experience.

    :cowboy: By the way, the poorest county in Ky. is Owsley Co. according to the US census. The county I reside in, Clay Co. is ranked as the 6th poorest county in the whole USA. I dunno where Metcalf falls in the list. Besides, being poor ain't no excuse for being trashy.

    As far as the RFID thing, I'm new to the problem and only heard of it through this website a few months ago. I've got letters in to my representatives, and should be getting their responses any day now.
     
  16. SFM in KY

    SFM in KY Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Like Nogreaterjoy8 I did not mean my post to be offensive.

    I do think you are a bit defensive and in my case at least, definitely wrong, about my being unable or unwilling to assimilate into a new area. I lived 9 years in southern Nevada, moving there from my Montana home and while I certainly never got "into" the casino/ nightlife lifestyle there, I found many things to enjoy about the area and the people there.

    After Nevada, I spent nearly 5 years in Spain (first husband military) and while we lived in base housing, it was 15 miles from the base itself, in a Spanish community and by the time I'd been there 6 months I could communicate in Spanish and probably half my socializing was with Spanish nationals.

    My return to Montana after that was a matter of necessity, as was my relocation to Kentucky.

    My post was in response to the original poster who asked for "pros and cons" and I was simply stating what I liked and did not like about Kentucky.

    If someone asks me to give them the "pros and cons" of living in Wyoming or Montana ... I'm going to do the same thing ... ask me about a week of feeding 50 head of horses when the HIGH temperature is 10-below zero, not counting the windchill ... is that something everyone is going to choose to deal with? I don't think so.

    But I don't believe that the fact I say there are things about the Kentucky climate and area geography I don't like, or that I don't find some of the people particularly congenial (and why) is a reason get defensive. And I certainly don't think it rates comments such as "I should "go home" if I don't like living here."
     
  17. Boleyz

    Boleyz Prognosticator, Artist

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    When did I say that? I just said that no place is like home, and if ya can't get your mind around that FACT, then you should never leave home.

    As far as being "Defensive"...I like it here and said why I did. You don't and said why you didn't. What's the distinction? It's a free country and life is too short to live someplace ya don't like. That was my only point and I sincerely do believe that if ya don't like the place you live, thank God we at least still have the freedom to re-locate.
     
  18. Timeless Rogue

    Timeless Rogue Rogue User

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    Alrighty now ... let's not get another slug fest going here! There're a lot of good and not so good things about every place ... it all depends on what your experiences have been while you are there.

    Actually, this has been a timely thread for me ... I've been evaluating just where my next (and most likely final) place to settle is going to be and Kentucky was right there on the list. So thanks, folks, for all the input ... positive and negative. There's a lot to chew on ...
     
  19. HeadnHome

    HeadnHome Member

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    Amen.

    We've got our good and our bad here in Kentucky just like everywhere else. Having lived all over Kentucky I can attest to seeing and experiencing both. By all means, get out and visit all across the state -- it is very different from west to east (and north to south) both economically and geographically as well as culturally.

    Howsomever, if you suffer from allergies your gonna suffer now matter where you visit here in the "Sinus Valley." :rolleyes:
     
  20. Brighid1971

    Brighid1971 Well-Known Member

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    We can always turn this into a "why no one will move here to New Jersey" post... :duel: LOL!