Proposing a Christian Homestead Community . . . but

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Freeholder, Apr 10, 2006.

  1. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    NOT A COMMUNE!!!

    I would like to keep this thread strictly for people who are seriously interested in a Christian homestead community -- with private ownership of land, and not a commune! However, keeping a bit of land community-owned for use for public buildings or a park does not make a commune (otherwise every town, city, and state in America is a commune!).

    First of all, the religious factor. I think this will be open to any mainline Bible-believing Christian faith, but no cults (Mormons, JW, and so on -- you guys can make your own community -- be glad to be neighbors with you!). We could either do as I suggested on another thread and have a community hall with scheduled services for different denominations, or house churches, or just attend regular churches in the greater community.

    We need to take time to properly and legally organize the whole shooting match BEFORE looking for land. It's fun to look, dream, and drool a bit, but getting in a big hurry could cause major headaches and financial loss that none of us can afford. I think next year would be soon enough to get serious about buying land. People used to form into Companies for the purpose of a group purchase of land to settle together -- the Pilgrims were a Company (of like faith, by the way). Anybody a lawyer, or have one in the family?

    There was a thread on Countryside Families about 'crunchy mamas', a term I'd never heard before, but I guess I am one, more or less. I'm interested in permaculture and in PLANNING a community so it WORKS! This may be a legacy of thirty-five years of designing homes -- you can't just throw up a house with random rooms here and there and expect it to work well, be efficient, or be attractive. It has to be planned carefully. I think the same thing applies to a community. I really like the model of an ancient European or English village, built long before the automobile was invented. I think the automobile has largely destroyed the feeling of 'community' in this country. I'd like to see every home within walking distance of 'downtown' (which in this case would consist of a village green for community get-togethers and ball games, etc., a community hall, and perhaps some smaller lots for people who can't afford more or can't work more. Also it would be a good place if someone wanted to open a shop of some kind -- barber shop, beauty parlor, blacksmith, craft/gift shop, etc.). I'd like to see a good assortment of people with different skills and interests. And I'd like to see the whole thing done with concern for the overall attractiveness of the community, and the overall health and well-being of the community. (No factory farms!) Also planned in should be things like fuel-efficiency, and maintaining a perpetual supply of firewood for future use as oil prices get higher and less affordable. These are all features that are quite common in European villages -- and have nothing to do with becoming a commune!

    I'm open to different locations, with some caveats. For one thing, a good supply of good water is critical -- but on the other hand, there are methods of catching rainwater that can make even true desert viable. Local laws favorable to homeschooling, weapons carry (I don't, but we may need to in future), graywater systems and composting toilets, unconventional construction methods, and so on, will be important. Low property taxes are, in my opinion, CRITICAL! Also, as time goes on and fuel prices go up, it may become more difficult to move to a place that's a long distance away from where you currently live. I'd like to see how many people are interested in this idea, and then if there are enough perhaps we could divide into regional groups. By the way, please feel free to re-post this message on other homesteading and Christian forums. The more people who see it, the better.

    If anyone is interested in what I'm talking about, please e-mail me. We can start a yahoo-groups list for staying in touch and organizing the whole thing. I'm quite serious about doing this, it's something that's been on my mind for a long time. And, I'm going to have to buy some land soon, or my daughter and I will be homeless when my grandmother dies -- been there, done that, don't want to go there again! So I'm for real on this. Just not rich -- by myself, I might be able to buy an acre or two in Northern Maine, and that's about it (not the worst place in the world to live, though!).

    Kathleen freeholder45@yahoo.com
     
  2. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    In the Old Testament, there is a story about assigning the building and maintenance of the town wall in sections to each group that lived there. If your idea pans out, you might want to have the community fenced in for safetiy like they did. Also, you will have to be careful with the wording of the bylaws so it does not offend the government, but firm enough so people who are not of like mind can not buy into it.
     

  3. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I don't know exactly how that could be worded but it would be a good idea.

    As far as the fencing, I dunno. Think about how the government treated those people in Waco (who may have been wacko, but it didn't sound like they were actually doing any harm to anyone). I hesitate to do anything that would make government types think we were some kind of dangerous cult.

    Kathleen
     
  4. Obser

    Obser "Mobile Homesteaders"

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    BlueJuniperFarm, Thank You for opening this thread.
     
  5. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    You're welcome, Obser! Like I said, stay friends, but have separate buying groups!

    Kathleen
     
  6. Dutchie

    Dutchie Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You may want to contact Andrew at Barker Hill and Boxwoods (who is a member here as well). Both have been talking about a similar idea for quite a while now and you may be able to all team up.
     
  7. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    If I see this property again I am going to Die! it is not going to be there when we get this off the ground next year so please stop!
     
  8. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    I am tentatively interested (depending on what kind of rules/restrictions we come up with)As long as the place was all purchased with cash and we all owned are parcels e.c.t. in being a part of this Christian planned community. I enjoy the villages here in Europe and how they preserve wood lots and farm land Incase anyone did not know I will be a small diverse famer with 20-40 acres on the outside of town LOL! If I wanted to be part of a community of people that were like where I live now convicted child molestor was a neighbor till he moved away a few months ago.Trailer living Neighbors who are living there rich and free at the grace of a friend burn all garbage and it chokes me up.Worst part we have a cycling center in my county. I would stay where I am.Also although I have much in common with the amish and mennonites I do believe in Self defense/community defense and I only want to be a part of a community that is like minded. Also one that will never give in to NAIS or chipping/ tattooing people and will die or be jailed first. Strong statement there hope ya"ll dont kick my family out of your community before we have even met...LOL Yup I would say we will be at the top of the threads for a year working out the details e.c.t. before we could purchase.LOL
     
  9. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    If you know how to get in touch with them, could you let them know? I'd appreciate this being spread around -- I know a lot of people are interested in this type of thing, but at any given moment only a small percentage are going to actually be ready to commit to it, so we need to find them.

    I've got to get off the computer and go do some 'real' work now!

    Kathleen
     
  10. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    Hey this is real work to your laying the foundations for a better life for all of us. I know what you mean though I am starting to get eye strain and it is late here.
     
  11. cindyc

    cindyc Well-Known Member

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    also tentatively interested. I guess all of the stuff I have posted before about my interest in community was lost in the "great crash". Anyway, staying in the conversation at the moment.

    Cindyc.
     
  12. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    ALL the private homes in Kosovo have clay brick o rmud brick walls around them with gardens, orchards/chickens inside. And often cows/goats in the barn in the winter
     
  13. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    Somebody brought something up on one of the other 'community' threads, and I'm going to address it here rather than there.

    I became a Christian when I was seventeen (32 years ago) and have, because of moving quite a bit, been in a lot of different churches over the years. So, yes, I am well aware that there are a lot of people using the name 'Christian' who are not good neighbor material. There are a lot of 'non-Christians' who are good neighbor material. That's not what this is about. It's about having the most basic, important, fundamental thing in our lives in common with our community. It's about having a common foundation (God's Word is what all real Christians base their faith and their lives on). It's about having freedom to worship as we please, and to discuss the Lord with one another, without having to worry about someone else putting their nose in the air and butting in with, "Well, I'm a pagan!" As if we care. And yes, I've had that happen. I have to add, it doesn't sound any better when someone says, "Well, I'm a Christian!" in that nasty, arrogant manner, either!

    So, like I said, different groups for different folks.

    As to what I have in mind for this group, well, basically just a small village and surrounding homesteads/farms with people who have something in common (Christians), and are able to interact peaceably and fairly with one another. I think if you did a study of those ancient European villages I keep mentioning, you'd find that they do have some 'rules of conduct', if only by long tradition. Some of those may affect the common use of the local woodlands or pasture; some may have to do with morals (your-word-is-your-bond-or-your-reputation-is-shot kind of thing). It would be pretty hard for any group of people to live together without some rules of conduct. As Christians we take our rules of conduct from the Bible (or ought to, since that is the source of Christianity).

    I don't have too many suggestions for covenants -- like most people, I don't really want someone else telling me what I can and can't do with my place. For instance, I grew up without a lawn (on a homestead in the interior of Alaska), and don't really care too much about putting all that work and money into maintaining a mini-golf-course in my front yard. I don't mind if other folks want one, but I sure don't want to be forced to have one on my own property.

    I don't want regulations about house size or materials, either (other than any the larger community might already have in place -- hopefully we can find a location with a minimum of those). But I do want to make sure nobody buys into this and then puts in a huge factory or CAFO (Confinement Animal Feeding Operation).

    And I also would like to be sure that I never end up living in the middle of, or next door to, a subdivision of the sort you see going up around almost any sizeable town or city. Tiny little lots with big ticky-tacky boxes simulating homes, no gardens or livestock allowed . . . I don't think anyone here wants to end up living next to one of those, or we wouldn't be thinking about doing a community buy of land in the first place. People need to have the right to sell their land, of course, but it would be darned inconsiderate for someone to get in on this sort of community and then in a few years decide to sell their acreage to a developer and subject the rest of the homesteading community to living next to an urbanite subdivision. I think there ought to be some kind of covenant restriction on selling, that the rest of the community get first crack, or have to approve of the buyer, or something, just to ensure that we don't get neighbors of the sort we don't at all want. I certainly wouldn't be unreasonable about approving new buyers, but we ought to have the right to ensure that it stays the kind of community we originally intended it to be.

    Anyone else have any ideas? I'd hate to restrict the number of animals someone can own on their own place, but on the other hand people ought to be sensible about it. Where we live now, people are allowed up to two horses or cows per acre, or four goats or sheep. I have more goats than I'm supposed to! But I think two horses or cows per acre is too many -- the lots also have houses and yards on them, so the paddocks are never the whole acre, and most of them are just dirt. And four sheep or goats is too few in most climates. With decent precipitation and soils, an acre of land can support six of the smaller livestock. But the only restriction I really want to see about livestock is to keep out the huge factory farms. If someone wants to put up a rabbitry (as somebody mentioned) that should be fine. If someone wants to raise hogs, or breed chickens and have several roosters, it isn't going to bother me -- as long as they are considerate of their neighbors! That's all I ask for!

    I think what I'm trying to get at is BALANCE! Some people go way overboard with things, and it becomes a hazard and a nuisance to everyone around them. The suburban developments have gone overboard on one side of the scale (complete sterility -- few gardens, no farm animals at all), but some of us homesteaders go too far in the other direction. So we just need to be sensible and considerate of others.

    I'm going to stop and start another post because if you put too much in one message things start to get lost.

    Kathleen
     
  14. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    I agree with just about all of this. Though dont hold me to that I am beyond sleepy! Now your part about building restrictions I will tell you this I will not tolerate ANY so we had better find a place that has no larger "city" zoning if you want me on board Roses TN property fit the bill I think though I bet it will be gone in a year. Hope and Pray their will be others at that time. Who knows maybe we will pull it all together in time...... What you say about animals makes sense. as well as selling restrictions e.c.t. as you state them. As for my self all my animals will be fenced in you all know good fences make good neighbors I am sure. If one of you had a pig you could not keep at home and it was destroying my garden I would expect you to make bacon out of him or bring him to the sunday potluck for a roast and I would do the same if one of my pigs was doing that to you.Also no one has addressed my concerns on Self/community defense I dont want to join a pacifist community. My wife and i dont have a tv at home we sing Christian songs in the eve whie she plays the ukelele. I strongly believe in self defense though and am wasting my time on this thread if you dont though I have a lot of mennonite friends and will respect you just the same.I would not want to be a part of a community that will not defend themselves
     
  15. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    Off to bed with you, jnap! LOL!!

    Yes, I believe in self-defense. If you read all of my posts, you'll see that one of my concerns is making sure our location allows us to legally carry weapons. I don't carry anything now, but am pretty certain that we'll need to at some point in the future. I don't believe in starting a fight, am a very peaceful person for the most part, but I do believe in the right to defend one's home and family.

    On the other hand (well, maybe right now it's not 'the other hand' but someday it might be, if that makes any sense at all!), I also believe that God expects us to obey the laws of the land (as long as they don't directly contradict God) even when they aren't favorable to us, and do it with a good attitude. I'm thinking of Daniel (made a eunuch but served a succession of foreign kings faithfully); Esther (swallowed up into the harem of a nasty and dangerous king who was not of her faith); Joseph (served Potiphar, in jail, and Pharoah faithfully even though they were foreigners), and so on. So I'm not looking to join any militia groups, or anything like that. I'll accept the rule of whoever God puts over me, and try to keep a good attitude about it even if they aren't good people.

    Well, I got a few things done earlier, now back to work!

    Kathleen
     
  16. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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  17. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Rose -- that looks like it could be useful! I just recently read a book (from the library, and I can't remember the name right now) that was about creating urban intentional communities, and I thought it had some good ideas in it, too.

    Kathleen
     
  18. QBVII

    QBVII Well-Known Member

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    I'm in. TN is do-able.
     
  19. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    Okay, I've got a yahoogroups site up and running for us! It's called Christian Homesteaders Village and it's at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/christianhomesteadersvillage/

    I've put one message in there already, and hope anyone who is seriously interested will join. And please, again, spread the word. I know there are lots of homesteader forums and Christian forums -- help get the word out! It will take quite a few interested people to make this work, because for every ten who initially show interest, I'll be surprised if more than one actually makes a commitment to join us.

    I've made it a private group -- you'll have to talk to me in order to join. That was to keep out the people who just want to cause problems.

    Kathleen
     
  20. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    Thanks I read about then a long time ago they are way to Commune for me.