Need advice

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Animal, Sep 24, 2004.

  1. Animal

    Animal Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Nov 19, 2003
    Location:
    Illinois
    Been doing some thinking lately and have decided to stick it out here in Illinois. I have been wanting to move but the wife likes it here and we have been married to long for me to argue over it.

    We live in a town of 5,000 and I am going to start looking for a minimum of 3-5 acres. Our house here will be paid for within a year so I was planning on getting the ground and start building in the spring. We like the looks of cordwood homes and my neighbor has a tree trimming service so I can get all of the wood that I want for free. I have been collecting tools and odd things for a few years now for the idea of homesteading. I even decided to keep my dodge powerwagon to help get me started.

    My short term goals are to get the property, start clearing and improving in the spring, start an apple and pear orchard, maybe dig for a small pond (neighbor also has a backhoe) and start collecting materials for the house. I want to buy within 20 miles of our house here so that I can work the land often. I want to be able to move onto the property within 2 years.

    I would like to be able to have some goats for meat as well as milk, some rabbits and some chickens for meat and eggs. We plan to garden at least 1 acre. I welcome all advice and criticism. I have wanted to do this for a long time and if my wife wants to stay in Illinois, I at least want to be in the country.

    Thanks to you all.
     
  2. Tracy Rimmer

    Tracy Rimmer CF, Classroom & Books Mod Supporter

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    Read, read, read and read some more. John Jeavons, Mel Bartholomew, Five Acres and Independence by M G Kains, anything by the Nearings, anything by the Storey's, and to put a cherry on top, read Walden by Thoreau.

    And keep that relationship with your neighbor of the free wood nicely cultivated with frequent free help and free food from your orchard/goats/chickens... a source of free cut wood for your cordwood home? Wow -- wish I had that!

    Tracy
     

  3. FolioMark

    FolioMark In Remembrance

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    Location:
    illinois but i have a homestead building in missou
    Sounds like you got a great plan going but much will depend on where you are in Illinois. If you are in central illinois like me, small 3-5 acre holdings are hard to come by and not cheap. Thats one of the reasons we bought our piece of heaven in Missouri. WE couldnt have afforded it anywhere near our home in Champaign.
    Read all the books that were mentioned and then read some more. Talk to people at fairs and auctions and in small towns. They will be a font of information and might give you some leads on available properties as well. Keep collecting those goodies and practicing your skills. Buy the land as soon as you can and start with small improvements and tasks. good luck with it. :)
     
  4. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    AR
    good luck and when you get around to diggin a pond know what your doing to many people dig a hole and call it a pond dont work that way know the lay of your land
     
  5. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Huh.

    We are pretty much doing the same thing.

    We bought land last summer with a down payment and low monthly payments. We will not be able to afford to build a place there for a few years, but it was 20 minutes away and affordable.

    One REASON it was affordable is because there won't be city water available for 3 years. And, my husband much prefers city water to well water. That's OK, like I said it will be a few years before we consider building.

    I put in 3 dozen test plants or so, and lost nearly all of them to cutworms. I will keep that in mind when I plant in earnest.

    The asparagus did well, as did a bee hive that I moved out. I intend to have a lot more of both of them next summer. Both are a good long-distance project: checking them weekly is enough.

    If you want a place that is more in the country, consider the land close to the interstates. You can go a long ways out in a VERY short amount of time, and the interstates are cleared first when it snows. Our land is about 3 miles off of the interstate, on a gravel road.

    I found out early that real estate ads can be misleading, by the way. The REALTORS did not lie to us, but those ads..... :rolleyes:

    A place on a rolling hillside with 2 ponds comes to mind. We went and we saw it. Oh, my. :eek:

    It was a STEEP hillside with 2 intermittant ponds to keep the water from washing over the road. The culvert under the road was 5' tall. It STANK, too.

    Strangely enough, the land that we eventually bought was BETTER than the description, as it has a tiny spring-fed creek. It runs pretty much year round, and it amuses the kids as well as watering the bees. I suppose it was left out of the description because it means a culvert is needed before a house can be built. No matter: I LIKE a creek. :haha:

    Best of all, My 5.5 acres is zoned agricultural. That means that I can raise what I want and sell it on-site if I want. Most cities will limit a person to 2 beehives. But, since I am zoned for agriculture and the land is outside of city limits, I can keep as many hives as I think will not annoy the neighbors. This year I have one hive: I hope to have 8 by next fall. I figure 4 hives on one side of the creek and 4 hives on the other side of the creek will be about right. If I put 8 hives in one tiny area there will be too many bees in one spot to please me. I

    That's Ok, I have enough land to spread them out enough so that they should not be annoying.

    Good luck with your land-hunting! :yeeha:
     
  6. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    Ky
    found out the hard way that planting your orchard without yet living there is a good way to feed deer. They like the bark! If you do, you might invest in a hunting liscence. When I lived in illinois there weren't "varmit-crop damage control rules"
     
  7. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    George is right. Heck, even living here I made some mistakes.

    If you plant trees that are tasty to deer, net or fence them now. Pines and hollies are usually safe to leave on their own. If you plant fruit, be sure to fence or net them as deer will either eat or rub their antlers on them. I got a great lesson from a cherry tree sapling. Wow, was it mangled! I found the antlres under it though, so considered it a sacrifice and learned and changed how I planted.

    Do you have some property in mind?
     
  8. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    One huge advantage I have found about living in small Illinois towns is that you get the real estate deals no one else ever hears about. My farm was never listed, the owner approached us and asked if we wanted to buy it. I've had many people offer me "deals", but they aren't parcels I really want to buy, even though the terms are quite nice.

    If I look up properties listed on the internet in this area, I laugh. They will never in a million years get those prices! If you are "in" with the community, you have half the battle won!

    Makes it easier to get things done too. It I need something done, I just start asking around and the grapevine brings capable people to my door. Same if I am looking for equipment or livestock.

    I do agree that small parcels are hard to find. You might have better luck looking for 40+ acres. Get some tillable and let it pay for itself.

    Jena
     
  9. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

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    SE PA, zone 6b
    Most cities will limit a person to 2 beehives. But, since I am zoned for agriculture and the land is outside of city limits, I can keep as many hives as I think will not annoy the neighbors. This year I have one hive: I hope to have 8 by next fall. I figure 4 hives on one side of the creek and 4 hives on the other side of the creek will be about right. If I put 8 hives in one tiny area there will be too many bees in one spot to please me. I

    That's Ok, I have enough land to spread them out enough so that they should not be annoying.

    Have you read the book by Sue Hubbell about raising bees? It's wonderful!!

    Sandi
     
  10. RenieB

    RenieB Well-Known Member

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    May 12, 2002
    I have to agree that you need to read and read. It is nice that there others that have experience to pass on to us and there are plenty here that can over advice. We moved here over 30 years ago. We only have a little over a couple of acres but for our needs it has been fine. I was city born and raised and all my life I longed to live in the counrty. When we moved here in rural Maine our friends thought we were crazy. We have had chickens, goats, and pigs and I read everything I could on thier care before we got them. We lived about 10 yrs in a mobile home and then built our dream home a log home and we decided on wood heat. I had never used a wood stove so you can be sure I read about them so we new the proper way to install them and use them. Now, I am the one to start the fires as I have it all down to a science and when dh can't get a fire going it is up to me so I do it right off now. I never knew how to care for a vegetable garden so I read up on that before starting. A great source of free booklets and information is the University extension services. They have info on everything to do with homesteading and I wouldn't be surprised if they have information on cord wood homes. I got a lot of info from them and I take my pressure canner to them to have the gauge checked. All free can't beat that.
    Wishing your the best.

    RenieB
     
  11. Animal

    Animal Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    111
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2003
    Location:
    Illinois
    Thanks everyone. I really appreciate all of the comments.

    FolioMark,
    We are south of Effingham in Flora. I have been checking around and was told that I can still get land for about $1,000/acre.

    Mtman,
    I have talked with several people in the area that have nice ponds and the are willing to help when I do ours.

    Terri & Jena,
    I am going to try to stay away from realtors. We have lived here for 7 years now and I have made many a few friends who live in the country and will let me know if any neighbors are selling land. I would love to see steep land here. All I see is beans and corn.

    I would love to get close to 40 acres but I'm trying to get away from making payments each month. My ideal property is 40 acres with at least 30 wooded. The kids want to learn to hunt and they don't mind eating what is brought home. They also love to garden so I would like a garden that would produce enough for us to put up and have some extra to sell at market for the kids to make some money.

    Thanks again. I will more than likely be picking peoples brains through out this whole process.
     
  12. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    May 9, 2004
    Location:
    Zone 8a, AZ
    Greetings from Montana! I dont have any land buying advice for you but wanted to wish you well on your new venture. I waited till all of my kids were grown and I had retired from police work in a big city to go live my dream. All of my life i wanted a small farm on top of a mountain and IT WAS WORTH THE WAIT!!!! I hope you are as happy with your decision as I was. Kathleen