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New in New England

1166 Views 7 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Christine
Hello everyone!

Is there anyone here who is homesteading in New Hampshire?

I recently moved from my home in Northern California, where my husband and I were developing a beautiful homestead. We had 33 acres in a secluded valley, with a pond, a garden, an orchard, a barn with goats, and some chickens. I was very happy there.

My husband died last spring and the place was too big for me to take care of by myself. I decided to sell it and come to Massachusetts where I have family. I am interested in buying a few country acres in NH and putting together something small that I can take care of myself.

It's been tough to leave home and to be in a new place where I don't know anyone. I miss Michael and I miss my garden, goats, and the chicks I was raising. I am staying with my daughter and son-in-law in a small town near Concord, MA. It's a lovely place but I miss the wide open spaces, the quiet, the wildlife, and the absence of streetlights.

I thought I could continue to run my husband's business after he died but many things went wrong that I did not forsee, because of the way that he did things. As I was packing up, selling and giving away my things, and getting ready to move, I had a car accident that nearly killed me. I haven't worked in months during my recovery. I had a little money from a moving sale that I had before I moved out here. Now that's almost gone.

It has been a difficult turn of events for me. I've been married all my life and I've never been on my own before now. I have to begin anew, and figure out where to go from here. I don't mind doing whatever I need to do, but it's hard to think clearly through the shock of all this happening at once.

I will have some money from the sale of my California property, but I don't want to spend it on living expenses. I want to be able to buy a new home with it, and have some left over for emergencies. I can't really buy something until I have a steady income that can support it. I am working on salvaging our business, but it's slow. I am thinking of looking for a job in town to tide me over.

In my real estate search I came across a tiny cabin on a few acres in a remote area of NH. It was so small - maybe 300 sq ft - that my first question was, where's the bathroom? Just joking! We had sawdust toilets in our last place so I'm no stranger to how to live simply.

Anyway - the price was very low, around $35, 000. I thought about buying this place because the land is beautiful and I could afford to keep it while I work out the rest of my life here. I could go there on weekends for rest and inspiration. When I start making money again, I can start working on it, putting in a garden and whatever else I need.

I could really use some friends to talk to and to give me some feedback. Back home, I am different than my friends. They expect me to find a life in suburbia, like they have, but I don't want that. Even though they are well meaning, their advice doesn't mean much because they don't understand why I would want to live sustainably and free. They think I'm wierd because I milk goats and drink the milk, to illustrate my meaning.

I'm not looking for someone to solve my problems. A conversation would be nice. I might pick up on some points that I'm not taking into account because I'm still in shock. What say you, fellow homesteaders?

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You have come to the right place for talk and inspiration. Welcome. Please do feel free to ask about whatever you want to know. Sometimes th epeople here can be a little crusty, but I have no doubts you will find new friends fast here.

Quite so, most people have no interest in homesteading. Not only are viewed skeptically, but I have noticed that most folk that live in the 'burbs get almost panicky when out in the bush away from all he trappings of civilization. I've seen that repeatedly with workers I've hired over the years. They come, they see, they run into themselves, and run back to the city.

I am sad to hear of your losses and setbacks in life. I wish you the very best and hope all improves soon.

I am located in N. Calif. Our loss is Hew Hampshire's gain.

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Dear Christine,

While I am not a homesteader in the truest sense of the word, I do live in New England (Massachusetts). We have a small town lot and raise a garden, can, dry and freeze most of what we eat, heat with wood and used to have chickens (they've all gone to that great chicken coop in the sky AKA my freezer). My husband and I also have a camp in Vermont that we visit as often as possible. We also live as simply as possible.

Because I don't have any sage advice for you, I can only say I am truly sorry you've lost your husband. I can't imagine how you must be feeling. I'll just take this oppunity to welcome you to this forum and to New England. Feel free to e-mail me if you'd like. I am a good listener.
Dear Bearkiller and Trevillians,

Thank you so much for your very nice notes. I really appreciated hearing from you. I'll write you back when I have a moment.

Hi Christine,
welcome to New England! I'm sorry it's not happy times for you, and I hope you will adjust soon. Besides all your other problems, it might also be quite a culture shock for you coming to New England from California. In case you'e wondering, people here are really nicer than they seem! ;)

We live in Northern Mass, not really homesteading, but have a few chickens and goats.
the cabin you found sounds like a good deal, but if I were you, I'd wait a bit and get to know the area a little. I think it would also be a good idea to experience another winter here, this winter we didn't have much snow, but you need to think about how you're going to get to your cabin if there is 4 ft of snow on the ground.
What town are you in, btw?
Dear folks,

It was so sweet of you to post such welcoming replies! It made me feel really good. Yes, I have thought of how I would get to my cabin/house in the snow. This is my first winter here and I found out how much work it is to keep a short driveway clear of snow. That's a really good point though - one that could make or break a person. Homesteaders are so cool that way. They think of the most practical things that someone else might overlook.

There's a show on tv that's about yuppie american families who visit a developing country for a week or two. Have you seen it? Last week it was this family from New Jersey, a couple and two teenage kids. They lived with a family in Kenya, on the desert, for 9 days. You would not believe how the kids cried and yelled at their parents, and how angry the mom got. It was like watching a movie, they were so unreal. I laughed at how out of touch they were about where their food comes from and what a precious resource water is. The Kenyan family never heard of bathing. They've never seen that much water at one time. They saw photos of the American family in their swimming pool at home and they wondered how they could swim in the sky, because the water was so blue.

I laughed, but really, I notice more and more how many people are out of touch with life, with where food comes from, and their lack of respect for things like water and clean air.

I have been thinking along the same lines that you suggested, kozca, which is, wait a while and take a look around before I buy anything. I realized I'm not in a hurry, and, if I buy a house, I have to be able to maintain it. I'm just getting my business back on the map. I'm going to stay where I am for now, and work on my business until it's solid. That will be a help to my daughter and son-in-law as well, because I can share the mortgage payments while they get on their feet financially. My daughter hasn't worked in a while, because of the accident. It looks like we are helping each other.

I'm in Chelmsford, MA, which is just ten miles south of Nashua and the NH border. Where are you? I plan on taking some weekend jaunts when spring comes, just to explore the countryside. I'm looking forward to joining a spinning guild and finding a quilter's group.

Thank you again for writing to me.
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Christine, I am currently living in Ohio, but I grew up on a homestead in Wolfeboro N.H. (Gorgeous place, but no way I could afford to live there today!)
The weather in New Hampshire can be difficult to deal with, but the trade off is the breathtaking vistas and many faceted countryside.

While I'm saddened by your loss and your run of bad luck, please know that happier times are always ahead. You seem to have the grit and determination to make a great new start. I wish you the best and invite you to ask of and share with any and all of us. We will learn from each other.
Hello Dona,

Thank you for your note. I am learning some very useful stuff from people who live or have lived in NH. I'm so glad I posted my letter on the forum.

I'm going to take my time and look for just the right place. I want to be close to my family in Mass as well as my family in upstate NY.

I really appreciate all the responses I got from my post. Thanks everyone. I feel much better already. It makes such a difference to know that I have friendly and supportive people around me. It gives me that little extra inspiration on days when I feel overwhelmed by what I'm faced with.

Blessings to you,
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