Ramblings...Decisions...Decisions...

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Jagger, Jun 22, 2004.

  1. Jagger

    Jagger Well-Known Member

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    Hello to all,
    I wrote a very long post last night, but it was lost do to a computer malfunction. Oh well...
    I hope you and yours are in good health and spirits.
    I am well as the rest of the family. The wife is having some morning sickness. The baby is due in January. We are very excitied about the newest addition to our family. The wife and I have been discussing a few things these past days. We have one of two scenerios that we are considering. I'll try to be unbiased in each situation, but it won't be easy.

    Scenerio 1-

    We have found a realtor in N.Arkansas(ozarks). He has several tracts of land for sale w/terms. From 3-20 acres all wooded mountain land. Some with ponds, some with creek frontage, some with springs. Most of these parcels have electricity availble and is close at hand. Some have access to county water. Terms are from $100-$300 down, w/ $100-$300 a month payments.Depending on which parcel. We haven't narrowed it down, but there are several parcels that we like. These parcels may or may not have driveways some may have a building site cleared. There are no building on any of these parcels.

    Scenerio 2-

    We have found 10 acres of wooded land in S.C. Kentucky. There is a single room cabin w/sleeping loft. The building is only 3 years old. From the pictures of the inside and out it is in very good condition. There is approximately 1/2 acre cleared maybe a little more. The cabin sits in this clearing. There is an outhouse. There is no well or electricity. The electric is over a mile away and would be very costly to install. There is no surface water(pond,creek,etc.) The cabin comes furnished with wood stove, triple walled stove pipe, propane cook stove w/oven. Basic household furnishings. This property is availible on terms. With $1000 down and a monthly payment of $165 a month.

    I have several different feelings on both, but i'll try to keep it short. I like the second one best. It may be more money(down payment) but there is a place to live when we pull up in the driveway. On the other hand i feel i could take the same $1000 and use $300 for a down payment and use the $700 extra to build a cabin. Or buy one of those pre-fab sheds at lowes or something. I then start to think about the time of year. It will be a couple weeks at the least before we left. So it will be going on August. If i have to build a place for us to winter in, it will occupy all of my time. If we take the Kentucky property i can concentrate on food production. I realize it will be late in the growing season, but i should be able to get a decent crop of a few veggies before the frost sets in. I will also have time to set up cold frames, a small greenhouse etc.. I will also have time to build a chicken coop/run. As well as working on fencing in area for the goats.I will need time to set up a rain water catchment system. I will need time to lay up firewood for the winter season. I will also need to scout my trap line for the comming season. I will need to have time to erect a fur shed. I will need time to constuct storage areas for food. Proably 55 gal. plastic barrels buried in the ground and covered with straw. If we choose the Arkansas property i will have very little time to do these things. As compared to the ready made Kentucky property. The only things that dishearten me about Scenerio 2 is the availibilty of water/power. I guess we can change our way of thinking, about living off-grid. I will need to become more accustomed to 12 volt power. I would like to get into solar at some point, even on a limited basis. The water hauling thing kinda stinks, but i can have a well drilled at some point. Even without power i could install a hand pump. I do kinda like not having availible utilities because i will never have a bill come to my door. I'm sure we can manage. I beleive a low wage job can be had in either scenerio. I will only need a small amount of income to survive. I want the land to eventually pay for itself as well as pay me. I have lots of ways of making money on the side. I plan on expanding in my fur garment and buckskin making endevors. I have had many request these past few months, i even have gotton a few deposites. It's going to be a busy winter. I also have a few people wanting me to do more taxidermy mounts for them, i like this and will continue in it. There is also the travel involved. The Kentucky is like 500 miles closer than Arkansas, it is not really a deciding factor but it does need to be taken into consideration.

    I know the answer is starring me in the face. I was just curious to hear your alls feedback. What do you think. I am anxious to read your replies. Maybe i left something out? I am still half asleep this morning. If i can clarify something just let me know. Well its 0700 time to get ready for work. All have a good day. I'll catch ya on the flipside.

    Be Good
    Jagger
     
  2. JulieNC

    JulieNC Well-Known Member

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    I don't live off the grid, nor do I have any real desire to do so, so take what I say with a grain of salt. :)

    I can see how the property with the cabin is much more appealing in the short term. However, this is a long term decision with long term consequences. Being off the grid is no small matter. Some find it liberating, while others find it a burden.

    I'd be tempted to find the right property then put up a small shelter for the winter. Much of the work you're talking about isn't all that terrible. We erected the shell of our greenhouse in a day, and pretty much finished it off in a total of three days (including the shell). We had power tools, which really speeds things up. On the other hand, you won't have easy access to power tools on the Kentucky property (absent a generator), which will make building things a bit slower. Plus, you'll probably be scavanging for materials, which may hold things up a bit.

    I don't know that there are any easy answers, but I do know that choosing to live off grid is a huge decision.

    To see if the Arkansas property is viable, I'd ask how much it would cost to get electric. Just because it's there doesn't mean that it's immediately available at no cost. Same with water. I expect that you'll find the property with power initially more expensive, but in the long term you may be happier with easy access to power. After all, down the road you can always choose not to use it and live off grid; however, you can't do the reverse with the Kentucky property.

    Just my opinion, though. Like I said, I don't have any desire to live off grid, so I'm no doubt biased.
     

  3. Mudwoman

    Mudwoman Well-Known Member

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    My first thought is that neither of these properties meet your needs and you should consider further looking. Both have some good points, but the bad points of each are a really big deal and when you find the right property you will understand that point.

    Housing. With a baby on the way, what 2 adults could endure is different than what should be endured with an infant. Property 1 has no housing and property 2 has only temporary housing for someone living there full time and with a baby. I don't know what your financial situation is, but have you priced building materials lately? $700 wouldn't even begin to put a roof on some poles. DH and I can tell you from experience that it takes 4 times as long and 2-3 times as much money as you ever thought.

    Power is a big deal!!!! If you don't have electricity, you are going to at least need a generator as there are just some things that you need power for. Cha-ching, cha-ching.

    Water is a big deal!!!! Hauling water is going to get old in a hurry----especially if there is snow or ice on the ground. You need to have the money in the bank if the property doesn't already have a well on it so that you can have one drilled.

    Winters in Ky and N. AR can get really ugly and cold. We live in AR and raised beds are a must. So is a lot of tree clearing. You will have to have some type of fence to keep all the critters out or you won't have any food for you. Our neighbor has killed 20 raccoons and has not gotten to enjoy a single strawberry as they have managed to eat every darn one of the ripe ones. After 3 years he is finally getting the message that he has to fence in his garden. Just something to think about as fencing still takes money. So does the dirt to fill the raised beds.

    Keep looking. Don't be in too big of a hurry. This is a way of life and must be considered carefully. You have a little one on the way, and that baby must be considered also. Try living where you are without running water or power. Do you really think you want to do that for a year or 2? Only you can decide.

    There is a saying that if you can imagine it, you can make it happen. Imagine the property that you want and for the price you can afford and then believe that you will find it. You will. Pick your land with the same careful consideration that you and your wife selected each other.
     
  4. Shygal

    Shygal Unreality star Supporter

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    I read a lot of "I will....I want....I can..." in there, what does your wife have to say about it?
    I dont think I would like to be pregnant and expecting a baby in January, without a nearby source of water at least.

    The KY one seems nice but what if one day you WANT power? Its not readily available. And where are you going to haul water from? There is no surface water to use, where is the water going to come from?
    Hauling water in the middle of winter in the middle of nowhere is really going to get old fast. At least the Ozarks properties have water on some, and a nearby electric if you decide to get it. You cant rely on rainwater to keep you going.

    Living without power is a lot easier than living without a supply of water.
     
  5. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

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    1. Listen to Shygal
    2. Wait until you can save up more than a thousand bucks for this move because $700 won't even buy the materials to build a shed.
     
  6. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Get the land first. The 1/2 acre is too small. Have access the the grid, you may want to sell sometime in the future. When you get the land contact me. I have a small camper that you will have to install new tires on. It is in the hills of NC and you can have it for the moving. With a bit of fixin it should see you thru the winter with no problems.
     
  7. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Ask your wife. Which does SHE prefer? It will be all that she can handle to have a child and a baby in a ready to go home, which means that she will be able to do nothing about gardens and such, AND it means that she will need water at her fingertips.

    Also, you MUST! be able to get to town with a sick child, and/or a woman in labor. Access is more important at this stage than electricity. She might be able to have a baby at home, but what if there is a problem? at this point, access is vital.

    Also, jobs are notoriously hard to find in that area. It might be wise to put out your application and go with where you find work. I know that gardens and hunting will feed you, but so will a paycheck. And, you WILL have land and tax payments.

    Water can likely be bought from the water company and be hauled in the back of your vehiicle on the way home from work.
     
  8. Amy Jo

    Amy Jo Well-Known Member

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    Coming from a woman... I'd rather do without electricity than without water. But the realist in me says... baby needs a bath, bottles need sterilizing, dishes need done, need hot water, the well needs a pump, and I need contact with more than just a needy baby and my husband, who is only there after work. Gotta call my mom on mother's day and Christmas.

    Guess I'm an "on-grid" kinda girl. ;)
     
  9. Snowdancer

    Snowdancer Well-Known Member

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    If you bought the land without a house in AR, couldn't you tow the camper/travel trailer you've got on the barter board to live in?? From the description you provided, it sounds like it would work quite well until you could build something. It's 18' right? That should be big enough to haul most of your belongings and once you're there and unloaded you'd have a place to rest your head. A generator would give you electric service they're fairly easy to hook up to travel trailers.
    We towed our trailer from Michigan to California so it can be done and works great as a handy Uhaul instead of renting one. The cost of gas wouldn't be as much towing it as renting a Uhaul.
    I think you would get more value out of it than the $800 you're asking.

    We; hubby, me and a 2 yr old lived in a 10' camper without electric for 7 mos. We enjoyed out time and lack of amenities. Of course we were in CA so the weather was only a factor for heat, not cold or snow.

    Good Luck,
    Kathy
     
  10. doohap

    doohap Another American Patriot

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    Hi Jagger,

    Sorry to interrupt here, but you're talking about living off the grid in one breath, then about purchasing a pre-fab building from one of the major corporate-based home-building-supply stores in the next breath.

    Besides the ironic contradiction in your mindset, have you priced the pre-fab buildings lately? A small tool shed will cost you the $1,000 you spoke of. Those cute little "liveable" structures they set outside their stores are in the double-digit thousands (without the "options" you'll see installed on the display models such as windows, vents, stairs, etc ... ). It's really outrageous. My husband and I just had a 24' x 36' metal frame pole barn constructed with metal walls and roof. One "bay" of that section, 12' x 24' has a concrete floor, windows, door and insulation. (We've put a window air-conditioner in that room.) The other two bays are open on one side. It's a sturdy structure that withstood hurricane force winds over the memorial day weekend ... did'nt even groan.

    Anyway, the point is, we paid just under $6,000 for that. Not quite as "cute" as those tiny little "Lowes" buildings, but a great deal, considering that we can stay comfortably in the room when we visit our land. If we wanted we could have insulated and enclosed the whole structure for only a bit more. A 24' x 36' enclosed, insulated structure would be livable for your family.

    There would not be room in any of these small "pre-fab" structures for a couple and a newborn infant, that is unless you are dead serious about living a life as would be lived by rural, farmer, pioneer-type people of the late eighteen-, early nineteen-hundreds. A lack of electricity is surmountable if you have a somewhat mild climate in the summer and access to heat in the winter, but easy access to water is an inextricable necessity for infant care, not to mention the watering needs of animals and gardens. There's no way to say it but as others have said ... HAULING WATER GETS OLD FAST!

    Take your time ... what you need and want will come to you. If you can, spend time on the land that you finally consider for purchase ... try to feel it out and see if you could truly do what you want to do on that piece of property. Make sure it fits. My husband and I have had the opportunity to spend a lot of time camping on our property. We will eventually move there, but what we have found is that the more time we spend there the more we see how the land "works." Where we first considered placing our barn turned out to be only the first of several spots we would consider and ended up not being the spot we chose based on practical as well as aesthetic criteria. Of course, this is the ideal situation ... having time. It's understandable that you might need to make this move under more extenuating circumstances.

    Good luck in any of your endeavors!

    All this in the spirit of peace and smiles,
    doohap
     
  11. deberosa

    deberosa SW Virginia Gourd Farmer!

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    I agree - Plus if you buy the land now why do you have to move right away? If it's so perfect, make the payments while you live and work where you are until your family can better handle the move and you have a good plan in place for making it work.
     
  12. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Are you being forced to move?

    If not I'd stay put until the little one is born and winter is over. You have a job keep saving the pennies over winter and be that much further ahead. Moving itself can turn into an expensive endeavor.

    No one who loves the country likes to keep a day job but most of us are forced to by the need for health insurance and ability to pay taxes and license/hunting/fishing fees.

    Planning is very very important especially with young children involved. Your wife will not be able to help much with two little ones to care for, trust me I had kids 4,3,2,&1 and it wasnt easy to just go to camp that had power and was 28*16 with running water and outhouse. We had one get a burn from the woodstove!
    If you use a woodstove put a fence around it and use smoke detectors and fire extinguisher PLEASE!!!!!

    Having a job lined up in the new area would also be a GREAT thing to think about and DO!!!! Go to the WIC office for the kids and wife if necessary!
     
  13. Jagger

    Jagger Well-Known Member

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    Ohio...but not for long
    Hello All,
    Thanks for the comments and thoughts. I have thought the exact same things. Especially about the water. I and my wife have both lived without water, and yes hauling water is no fun. No electric is do-able. I think that having surface water source is very important. Hauling only drinking water is not so bad. If we could get a place with a year round creek, spring, or pond i think we would be alot better off. We have been investigating the properties in Arkansas a little more closely. I am awaiting a reply from the realtor.

    Someone asked if we had to move. The answer is yes. We have to move, and the cost of moving to an apartment here is aound $1000. With rent/deposite. Rent is around $500 a month, not including utilities. We do not want to live in town any longer. The economic pressures of living in town are too great, we can not afford too. I make around $1000-$1200 a month. So with those sort of figures you should be able to figure out where we stand. At the first of the month we'll have around $1200. All our bills are paid. The truck is back on the road finally. The camper is ready to roll. There are a few things that we need but they are not much, we have the essentials.

    We want to make this move out into the counrtry. We will be able to provide for ourselves better, as well as myself will be able to use the trades i know. If we use our money to rent an apartment, it will be a long time before we will be able to come out of a hole like that. If i had a job in another town like this one with land only 20-30 miles away we would be in great shape. We just can't afford a $500 a month RENT payment. To quote Tim McGraw-"I'm sick of the crumbs...give me a peice of that pie"

    With a piece of land we will be able to put all of our plans in motion. None of our plans will work without some land. It's out there i know it is. I just need to find it quick.

    This is not really new to us. Searching for the perfect place, heck just a place we can stay a few years and stop wandering. This is our last stand, so to speak. This is do or die time. If we can't make a go of it and soon I'm ready to re-think my life. This is what my wife and i both want. It is something we have been striving for since we met on the internet a little over 4 years ago. Something always seems to get in the way. We always seem to hit a pitfall. This or that or the the other thing always somthing. We are both dedicated to this. My wife and I are of one mind on this. I can't begin to tell the countless hours we have spent talking, listening, and dreaming about this. This is also something my son wants, he constantly speaks of it. "When are we going to the woods?, Daddy?" This is a constant question that lingers in my ears. " I can't wait till we get on our little farm, can you Daddy?" "Daddy?, are we going to Souri?(missouri)" I have no answers for him, other than soon son, soon.

    Be good
    Jagger
     
  14. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Before you go, call the realtors one last time, please? Something local MIGHT have just come in, and a job is a lovely thing to have!

    Believe me, I KNOW about something always coming up! :eek: But, SOMETIMES, something comes up in a GOOD way!
     
  15. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    I live in south central Ky. Have you set foot on the property or are you going by pictures? What is the "neighborhood" like? I don't know what property you are talking about, but anything around here that is off grid should be remote enough you are usually talking 3-600$ per acre. Artesian wells run around 10$ per foot, we hit water at like 80 feet and pump to a resevoir and then to the house. Wild life is plentiful and the hunting regs here don't apply to "pest control" if you can prove crop/tree damage. We are zone 6 for agriculture. Passive solar designs work well for winter but may be hot in summer depending upon your design. Winter is basically early Dec-early Feb. Bermed houses facing south by south east work well. wood is relatively cheap and or accessible. There are places (on the ridges) where wind power would work well, regardless of the US Geologic survey says. There are a LOT of fly by night builders and inspectors around here, get an inspector with credentials to inspect it (I can recommend an excellent one) that was one of the best 200 buck I ever paid. Do Not trust an appraiser!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  16. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    Also springs are common here, a place without surface water around here is a little unusual. The bank claimed our farm had no surface water despite a marsh, creek, and two ponds. Hence the don't trust an appraiser here in the post above, which is what the banks and realators do.
     
  17. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I feel like I'm maybe crossing the line here so realize this before reading on.

    $1200 is not much of a nest egg. If something breaks or someone gets sick or cant find a job it isnt going to last long. I personally would not even enter the market without $10,000 ahead. If you cant qualify for bank financing based on job history and credit history or unestablished credit then odds are against you. Your family requires stability emotionally and financially. Its no fun being frustrated and hungry and tired.

    Have you thought about helping an older person or a single person keep there farm? You can live in your camper and have a garden spot, free rent, possibly purchase a couple acres, work and help out and learn from a like minded person. I know there are ads in countryside mag for this. Heck I bet that if you put something on this board you'd have a few offers and if its an older woman or couple you and your wife might enjoy the companionship and more hugs and love for the kids. It could turn out to be a win win situation for all involved rather than two separate struggles to establish and preserve a country lifestyle.

    Just a suggestion....with the hope of making an easier transition for your family.
     
  18. chickflick

    chickflick Well-Known Member

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    Jagger... are you by any chance a Taurus or a LIbra????? Nothing is going to happen in your life if you don't just take a bit of a chance and JUMP in sometimes!! One can only SPECULATE so far; sooner or later.. you just have to GO FOR IT.

    Good Luck! And remember.. everyday.. your just gettin older!! LOL!

    (My offer is still standing, under the right circumstances, Jagger.)
     
  19. nostalgia

    nostalgia Well-Known Member

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    Since you say you have to move anyway...the place in Ky. seems like a good place to rent if you could get the owners to rent it to you. You could try it out for a few months, then if you have found a job and are happy living there, then maybe you could ask the owners to apply what you already spent on the place towards the purchase. Or possibly talk to the owner and see if you could live there rent free in exchange for clearing the land. Then if you decide to move, you will not have invested anything but sweat and time. If you decide to stay you will have alot of the work already done. This way the owner also gets something in return (clearing the land) and you get time to see how you like it before making a major purchase. Even if you don't decide to stay, when you find another job there, you could work at brushing hogging in evenings and weekends. This will give you a few months before winter sets in and you can decide what you want and still have some time to move. In the meantime, with the money saved on not paying rent, you could be stashing the money and have money to move or stay, whichever you decide to do. I live in WV and I know cold weather doesn't usually start before Oct. which would give you time to also put in a small garden with fall crops like greens, onions, lettuce, to save even more money. I would keep the camper to just in case. With this arrangement there is no reason why you should sell it. If you do decide to stay then you can sell it then.

    I would talk to the owner and see if there is a way you could work something like this out. Your wife is still early in her pragnancy so this would give you time to decide what to do in plenty of time to get settled in somewhere before the birth of the child.

    Just some thoughts. I hope you find a way to get what you want that is best for all of your family. I know what it is like to want something so bad but it seems so unreachable, but it will happen. Don't give up but don't expect things to just fall into place overnight either. Be patient, plan rationally, and never stop dreaming. :)
     
  20. almostthere

    almostthere Well-Known Member

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    Didn't you mention once that your wife had family in KY? Are they close to the property? I agree you should think about renting the property first, or any property for that matter. What happens if you find out you are just as unhappy there as you are now, with a loan to boot? As far as expensive apartments where you live go, when I was first married we had a 1 bd apt fo $225 way back in '93. This is a decent neighborhood, in a town of about 100+k. Our next one was a 1 bd duplex with a basement for only slightly more. I realize that you will need more than 1 bd, but are you sure you can't find something suitable just for another 6 months -year to save money? The big apt buildings are always going to be more expensive. Don't go there. Think about rent houses, duplexes, maybe with a yard so your boy can run. Go to the next town and pick up thier local paper. Just start asking around, get out a map of the city and mark off exactly how far you are willing to drive to go to work. Maybe it could be a series of moves, getting farther away from town each time, hoarding money and finding out your limits with your soon to be larger family. Not trying to bring you down, just trying to give you some suggestions. :)