land and laws?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by lvg4him, Oct 14, 2005.

  1. lvg4him

    lvg4him Member

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    Is there a web site or book or some sort of collection that goes by state and talks about how the land is there and the laws. Like for example, we are looking to buy some land, but have no idea what to look for. We know we want some trees, and good soil. But as I am reading more about homesteading, I am realizing that there is different types of land good for different things. And also that there are different laws (like I never realized there were laws against collecting rainwater!).

    It would be so great for the beginning homesteader to have a refrence which talks about the different states, the temperatures, the growing seasons, the laws and different things a homesteader should consider when buying land.

    Also, I would love if someone could share any words of wisdom about what to look for and where to look (state and city). What kind of laws should we check out and where do we find that information? Anyything else we should consider??

    Also, I worry about having a wooded area and the possibility to ticks. And I would really love to have some sort of water (like a river running through it or something) that we could play in, but worry about the diseases that come with still water like ponds - is there anything to that?). Thanks for any words on this too.

    Thanks.
     
  2. ace admirer

    ace admirer Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Can't help you on the legal stuff. but i can tell you south of the mason-dixon there are ticks,,,several different species to choose from. some are large, some are so small you have trouble seeing them....you can't have a natural enviroment with out ticks. and the flying blood sucking bugs...so large that they stretch the top string of a barbed wire fence...bunches of snakes....all kinds....but the good thing about the snakes is that they keep down the number of mice and rats......the rats don't get me started on the rats...lets see.....field mice, house mice, field rats. then the grain rats...boy so big you could mistake them for an opossum,,,boy, i tell you, i hate the opposums more than the snakes or the rats...they have needle like teeth...boy,, you set a rat trap and catch an opossum...makes them mad....then you gotta decide if you're going to shoot it and blow a hole in the bottom of you pan cabinet or if you going to get your welding gloves and just let the poor thing loose....hope you have some welding gloves or if you're chicken, just some rat shot to put in your rifle....hope you're not afraid of firearms....you're going to need them to bring down the blood sucking flying insects when they try to take your dog off. the scarest is the sound a racoon makes when its mating...sounds like a child screaming..not like the screaming sound a screech owl makes, that sounds like a screaming woman, that i'm used to, but the screaming child sound, thats unnerving...that one made me put away the 22 with rat shot and reach for the L1A1 with 20 round box magizine of 308 ammo. even then i was wishing i had dirty harry for backup. wait till a bob cat gets cornered under your house by your dog... you have to shoot one of them so someone gets relief..(actually thats an old joke by a fertilizer saleman, you dog will not last long against the bob cat)...reminds me about the snakes....my wife doesn't mind the snakes as long as she can see them....but when she finds a snake skin in the foundation wall of the house....then she has a hard time sleeping for thinking about the snake in the house....but like i said, you don't have to worry about the mice. thinking about it,,, i guess the ticks are the worst...its hard to shoot them...well,,,you have to be a pretty good shot if your do.....just kidding, what you have to do is spray your shoes, socks, and pants with 23 % deet...its gotta be deet, ticks around here snort the other stuff to get a buzz. oh yeah, forgot about the chiggers. now there's a sneaky little,,little,,,well i guess they are some type of mite. tinny little red devils that burrow down into your skin...itch like the devil, i guess the deet might keep them away...

    what i'm trying to tell you is that you can fight the legal stuff, but you will always loose against mother nature....a lot of us own land,,,none of us are the masters of it. i save the story about the skunk for a latter time...i think i've already laid it on kinda thick...everyone have a good weekend.
     

  3. Danaus29

    Danaus29 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Growing season and temperature info can be found on the USDA zone map site. Local extension offices also have great info and more specified to local area. Zoning and sanitation offices are the best place to check for local zoning codes. We are not permitted to have cisterns here, talk about a waste of good water not to mention the possibility of reducing runoff and flooding downstream. (hey, if everyone had and used a cistern there wouldn't be so much stormwater runoff) Of course local regulations are subject to change. The local govt is currently considering selling us out to land grubbers and developers. If they want to give me fair market that's one thing but by the time they get done regulating and restructuring my little piece of heaven won't be worth squat. Except to a developer (this is a lovely area of Franklin county and soon to be very valuable because it is in the Darby watershed and almost in the metro-park system)

    You have more of a chance getting diseases from a running sewage ditch than your pond. Just don't drink the water.
     
  4. Ruby

    Ruby Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Where do you live where you can't have a cistern? Do you live in the country? I didn't know there were places where you couldn't catch rain water.
     
  5. Coloradosteader

    Coloradosteader Active Member

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    You can't legally collect rainwater in the state of Colorado. But many do it including me. Stupid law when applied to small farm or homestaed owners.




    Coloradosteader
     
  6. palani

    palani Well-Known Member

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    Coloradosteader

    So if it rains and you happen to have a petdish outdoors you are now a criminal?

    How about if you are dehydrating on the dessert and a rain cloud happens overhead. You spread a tarp to collect some rain to survive and now can be charged?

    Does this law also apply to rainwater that collects as snow?
     
  7. Danaus29

    Danaus29 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Ruby, yep, there are lots of places where cisterns and using rainwater are illegal. Cisterns are prohibited in all of Franklin County Ohio. Rain barrels for watering plants are even illegal in some of the developements. Also, anyplace where a city might want to expand the powers that be don't want you to use rainwater for indoor water because you might run that into their sewer systems which is also illegal. They are currently installing a central sewer system here and the county officials had fits because (the only way they can bill you for output is to measure your inflow) hubby put in a 1" water line and refused to use their 5/8" meter. "The one inch meter isn't as accurate at low flows!" If I really wanted to cheat them I'ld just run a bypass around the friggin' meter. Geez, like I'm going to leave the water on at a trickle all day. I still have a well so I have to pay to pump, filter, and soften that water. Not to mention the possibility of the well going dry. (has never happened here but with all the new housing going in it may happen) And the stupid thing is I can't run the softener water into the sewer system so all that salty untreated water is still running into a protected National Scenic River. Probably won't be long before they force us into city water. Then the house and a 1/2 acre vacant, buildable, already sewer tapped lot will be for sale.
     
  8. Arborethic

    Arborethic Well-Known Member

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    First, don't sweat the ticks...I've been living with them in harmony for over 50 years. You can control them, upon your body and within your home. But if you want to homestead, then you've got to learn how to contend with them just as you do with Coyotes, Bears, and Copperheads. If that scares you, then keep your apartment.

    Check with the Realtor in your area, especially the ones that specialize in farm, ranch, lake, and rural property. They can provide some amazing resources.
     
  9. Pony

    Pony STILL not Alice Supporter

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    No matter where you decide to settle, make sure that there are absolutely NO EASEMENTS across your land. Or alongside your land. Or anywhere NEAR your land.

    Nothing can take more pleasure from your life than battling people who think they are above the law, that they can block easements, and who will think nothing of blasting music on outdoor loudspeakers, damaging your tractors, poisoning your corn cribs, shooting out your windows, or trying to kill your dog.

    My life's lesson:

    NO EASEMENTS


    Pony!
     
  10. Ruby

    Ruby Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Being illegal to catch rain water in Colorado, is that state wide or each county have it's own laws.
     
  11. kenuchelover

    kenuchelover Well-Known Member

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    There are websites for everything nowadays, I just ran a fast google search using the keywords state & law & "land use", and immediately turned up hits like the following:

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/topics/land_use.html Cornell website with links covering ALL aspects of federal land law, some links to state specific issues.

    http://www.law.fsu.edu/journals/landuse/ Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law (mostly seems to cover Florida & the Atlantic coast), this is free access & has a search function.

    http://www.landuselawinpa.com/ Pennsylvania land use law library website.

    So I'd suggest you start with the Cornell Federal land law site, and run a more specific search involving using the names of states you're interested in as keywords.

    Temperatures & growing seasons are EASILY available, many large seed catalogs even include climate zone maps. Google search for this, or go to http://www.usna.usda.gov/Hardzone/ushzmap.html for a clickable (down to county level!) plant hardiness zone map.

    Soil & such is secondary, you need to pick your climate first. Once you decide what type of climate you want (enjoy hard winters & rugged scenery? Want to irrigate crops & enjoy X-mas in shorts & T-shirt? Want a 4 season climate, lots of trees, but fairly mild winters?) THEN you've automatically narrowed down to just certain states. After that, look into land prices, the local economy, etc (online real estate websites like United County, etc, will at the least give you ballpark figures on how pricy or cheap land is, most also include photos of properties they're selling...... which lets you get an idea of what the countryside looks like.)

    Once you've pinned down the area closer, call up Ag extension offices & the like & ASK THEM stuff. They'll tell you what everybody is using their land for, what CAN be grown there, how good the soil is, etc. And.... you can get FREE COUNTY SOIL SURVEYS! (Call county Ag extension, if they don't have copies they'll direct you to someone like the local soil conservation office that does). (Most soil curveys are free if you show up & ask for a copy, many offices will even mail them to you for free, a few are online or available on CD. Some colleges with Ag or soil science programs keep library copies of soil surveys for their state & maybe elsewhere)

    Soil surveys allow you to HUNT land, they tell you what types of soil can be used for what (often give specific crop data for each soil type), including building suitability, etc. They have maps telling you soil distributions (usually down to ~1 acre resolution) for that county. When hunting land, use soil surveys combined with online topographic & satellite photo maps..... you can learn surface topography, soil composition, and recent plant cover & structural presence without setting foot from your house! This will avoid wasted travel by telling you roughly how suitable something is without having to visit lemons (these maps also reveal nearby hazards & undesireables like hog farms, coal strip mines, railroads in the middle of the property, etc). Ah, there are also websites plotting toxic waste sites, if you look.

    Woods are no problem if properly managed. You can use goats to clear out the underbrush & drastically reduce the tick level. Keeping dogs (border collies, german shephards, etc) that will chase deer also helps, as does good fencing. And you CAN spray for ticks, if you're really paranoid about it & don't mind the environmental poison aspect. (Ticks are all over, north and south, grass or brush..... it's just that they're more common in warmer but non-arid climates & brushier areas).

    Still water is only a problem if you've got lots of organic material (manure, etc) in it & no natural ecology to clean it up. Stock a pond with fish & crawdads & slack water species of mussel, and you'll have a CLEAN healthy resource rather than a hazard. (I'm a fish farmer, believe me on this one!)

    You can use the internet to search info about counties of interest (racial strife? drug problem? Ethnic & religious composition?). Hunt churches & civic groups & local Chambers of Commerce, call them up & ask them questions about the area.

    I'd be happy to suggest places (had LOTS of fun hunting my own land), but you'd need to tell me what you're looking for. Retirement? Living off the grid? Close enough to a city to commute? Farm? Ranch? Raise emu & exotic veggies?