Our story (or "They're coming to take me away haahaa")

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by MikeJoel, Mar 31, 2005.

  1. MikeJoel

    MikeJoel Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2005
    Let me first introduce myself, I am the oldest son of the family (of originally 5 older sisters, I have one younger brother). Two of my sisters have their own families.

    We purchased land back in the 80s up in Maine when I was a kid but never had enough money to do anything up there. My sister, brother and I would take trips up to do little things that we could do. About 2 years ago a well was put in.

    Well we purchased a house about 4 years ago (I know "thought you couldn't afford it", the owner financed it). We have pretty much sold the house with a very small profit.

    This profit has allowed us to place trailers and electricity up there with money left over to get started on septic and some other items like animals and such.

    We are scheduled to leave here, PA, on april 19th.

    So the basic idea is we are moving up to the land, 48 acres, and starting from almost nothing. Sounds crazy I know but the choice was to either try now or pretty much forget it and sell, probably to a rich neighbor that has wanted the land but is only willing to pay much less than what it was purchased for.

    We aren't taking much either. Getting rid of the dryers since electricity up there is double what it is here. No electric stoves are going either, all the trailers have gas stoves but we plan to eventually change to wood stoves for cooking.
    Heating will be done by wood, including water.

    Our main goal the first year is to get electricity, water and we hope septic done and we HOPE to at least have a small garden providing some food. Chickens are planned since those are the cheapest and easiest to raise with possibly a cow (not sure).

    Since our budget is so small we of course will be doing it all for ourselves, well we will have to have gravel and such hauled in for use but you get the idea.
    We will run the plumbing, electric and septic. I have an overall knowledge of these things and the guy who did the septic plan was pretty encouraging that we could do it ourselves.

    The main things worrying me are the electric and septic (septic probably more since it looks more expensive than we had planned). But we either do it or we live without it, or give up and move (hopefully not). The electric wasn't worrying me that much until I started talking to some people on here ;) lol.

    It is very much the modern day pioneers, heading north instead of west. Haha wonder if PBS would like to come :)

    Sounds crazy I know but it is either now or probably never.

  2. FolioMark

    FolioMark In Remembrance

    May 10, 2002
    illinois but i have a homestead building in missou
    Well Mike sounds like you are about to start on a great adventure, but you have many advantages over me when I started. You're younger, have energetic family members to help and you arent in a wheelchair. I'm still working on my homestead, but I and Jon have built most of our own house and done a pretty good job if I do say so. Ive never done any septic work but dont sweat the electric too much. Im assuming all you are going to do is wire the trailers and any structures on the place. Usually the power company will have to bring in the main power line to a pole and meter on your property. They wont let you do that on your own. And before you do that, you will have to have someone install the necessary breaker boxes and main lines into the structures. Even in the boonies of Maine, this probably has to be done by a licensed electrician. Shop around a bit and you can probably find someone who wont charge you an arm and a leg. I paid about 300 dollars for the breaker box, breakers, shutoffs and heavy wire and for the old electrician, who came and did the installation for me. It took him about 3 hours time and just as he finished up, the guy from the power company arrived to check it out and hook up the main power line. By suppertime, we had our first electric light and our stove was hooked up. We are lucky, electricity is relatively cheap in our part of Missouri. If you get a good book on Basic Wiring you should have no trouble with anything else. Just take your time and be CAREFUL. make sure the power is off. You might want someone with a bit of know how to give you a good hands on lesson in hooking into the breaker box.
    I wish you lots of luck and hope it all works out for you. You might consider goats instead of a cow. They are cheap to keep, will help clear the brush and relatively easy to take care for and unless you need a lot of milk, a better deal than a cow. let me suggest that someone keep a day to day journal of your activities and a running total of your expenses. And I mean everything you buy that is remotely related to the cost of setting up your homestead. I found that list a great way at the end of the first year to see just where the money had gone and where I might have overspent or should have spent more. Good luck and let us know how things progress.

  3. SpiritoftheWind

    SpiritoftheWind Member

    Mar 23, 2005
    If you aren't going to have a big family, try a composting toilet. There isn't as much sticker shock and a lot less maintenance. Just look at my problems on my Septic Woes thread. If I was in a better situation, I'd switch to a composting toilet and just run a greywater system out for the kitchen sink and the shower.
  4. Goose

    Goose Migratory Waterfowl

    May 10, 2002
    Emmet County, MI
  5. sancraft

    sancraft Well-Known Member

    Jun 7, 2002
    You don't sound crazy to me. I'm a 41 yr.old single mom of 2 teen girls. The only thing we've ever built it a chicken coop and put it together wrong 3 times (youngest dd had to tell us how to do it LOL). I'm hopefully getting a building loan to do the work, but it will be a small loan. Most of the work, we will have to do ourselves. Have fun in ME and take lots of pictures to share. Oh and welcome to the family. :)
  6. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2004
    You don't sound crazy to me, either. You sound like a family intelligent enough to do things debt-free, even if that isn't the easiest way to do it. And intelligent enough to plan carefully, and make a realistic assessment of what you can and can't do with the resources at hand! Go for it!

  7. Chas in Me

    Chas in Me Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    Around here someplace
    Welcome to Maine. I wish you good luck. In Maine, a person can wire his own house, but you need a pro to examine it before the power company will hook up. Don't bury any connections until it inspected.
    Old trailers had aluminum wire. Check for that. That wire is bad news. If you find a pro, ask him to check it out before you do anything.
    Spring is coming up here. Don't be discouraged. Learn about "bug dope". Pick some fiddleheads, catch some trout and have the finest meal on God's green earth.
  8. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

    Oct 12, 2003
    i don't say this often, but it sounds like a pretty good plan. :) and ditto the composting toilet. consider forgoing the fancy electric one and check this out. once people get past the "ick" factor, it is really very efficient. no flies, no odor, and all that free fertilizer!!


    it's the whole book, free online for those that can't afford it.:)
  9. PonderosaQ

    PonderosaQ Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 12, 2004
    SW VA
    Only folks coming to take you away are those of us on this forum. We're coming to make sure you get there and no-one disuades you.You're no crazier than the rest of us. Go for it. I just spent over a year, here , without my husband and significant medical problems, getting our place going.

    I wish you the very best of luck. When you get that far if you have any electrical questions pm me. My husband is an electrician!

  10. kppop

    kppop Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2004
    Sounds awesome to me! Make sure you keep us updated and post pictures if you can. Best of luck to you and you're right..if you don't do it now you won't do it ever!! Some the best things are done on a wing and a prayer!

  11. almostthere

    almostthere Well-Known Member

    Nov 9, 2003
    Good luck, it sounds like you have a real good idea of what you want. I am jealous. :eek: but I will try to contain it :haha: .

    And, for the leading line in your post, I was still in diapers when it was released but heard it as a teenager and my friends thought I was nuts, But I love that song. I used to stay up late just so I could hear it, it was only on really late at night. So, I'll be really embarressed if this song doesnt have anything to do with it. :haha:

    But I still really love that song, for no good reason.

    They're coming to take me away, ha-haaa,
    They're coming to take me away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa.
    To the happy home. With trees and flowers and chirping birds and basket
    weavers who sit and smile and twiddle their thumbs and toes and they're
    coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!!
  12. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    Sounds to me like you have things pretty well thought out and most importantly NO DEBT. If you can work hard, work smart and are reasonably intelligent there isn't very much you can't accomplish.

    Good luck and a big heartfelt congratulations on beginning your adventure.
  13. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 20, 2004
    I like MJ's plans, and hope he keeps us updated & such around here. :)

    For the others, he has had several long threads here already on the water system design & electrical plans, you might wish to search a bit for more info.

    As to _the_ composting toilet some of you mention, I believe this deal involves around 20 people living in 4-7 trailers, so it is a bit of an undertaking, I don't think a one-holer will quite do. :)

    As to the electrical setup, MJ is getting a power hookup from some strange company that appears to dump off a live 100 amp main breaker box & walk away, & he plans to do _all_ the wiring from the main disconnect to his own plans, and does not plan to have it inspected. I believe that is a bit more than he should tackle by himself considering his plan. I'm probably _the_ negative nellie on the electrical thread! Hope MJ doesn't mind my input, and that is all it is - some conversation. :)

    But I do not mean to be against this whole setup. It sounds like a wonderful adventure. The dificulty will be getting that many relatives to work together instead of working apart. Many families can do it, and many can not. I hope to read a lot more about this one, and hope MJ takes my comments for just the gentle conversation they are. Thanks for this thread, MJ. I have really enjoyed all your comments & openness with your plans, and have learned a lot form your threads. I hope that continues.

  14. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

    Feb 10, 2004
    So Cal Mtns
    My thoughts exactly.Enjoy the great adventure.

  15. chrisnev

    chrisnev Well-Known Member

    Sep 3, 2004
    Northern Maine
    Hey..Come on up!!! You are going to love it..I am originally from Boston and we moved to northern Maine about 13 yrs ago..and I love it we have a small farm,and are raising our two kids here. My husband is born here and cant understand all the great things that he taked for granted. Leaving your car running while you grab some groceries,knowing the tellers all by name,we have a large lake right in the middle of town,oh my there are so many pluses. What part of Maine are you moving to? I know you will really get into it once your here...Chris