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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My husband and I are contemplating leaving this cold artic state of Michigan for greener pastures, or rather, Missouri. I am in love with the looks and even weather of the Ozarks. I have found a nice piece of property near Alton, MO which is just off from a freeway. It has 10 acres and it says it is fenced. No building but it has electricity and two ponds. There are some woods and a lot of nice looking grazing pasture. It fits what I am looking for in a property thus far without having gone and seen it. Alton seems to be a town out in the middle of no where but without a decent commute to West Plains and Poplar Bluff.

We have the cash on hand that we could buy the property outright without a loan. We own our current home free and clear. My husband works seasonal and temp jobs right now so he has no job locking him in anywhere. Despite the fact we live in the only place we have ever known and with all that is familar, we are seriously thinking of moving to Missouri. I think it would be good for us :p

Now we do have children so we aren't doing this alone with just us two. The kids are younger in age but very hard working good kids. (homeschooled) We have been doing a mini/hobby farm for the last 6-7 years with a good amount of experience in poultry, fowl, and now we have goats and cows. So we aren't completely greenhorns except in the idea of changing climates and time zones. We had a fantastic garden last year and we do a lot of our own growing/canning. So we would be going to missouri with experience, knowledge and no debt under our belts :p

SO there is the background. With this economy, we would need to sell our current home in order to build a place in Missouri without incurring debt. If there was ever a time where it would be easiest for us to pick up and move to Missouri, it would be 2009 because Dh isn't settled into any particular job.

In March we are heading down to Missouri as a scouting trip to check out this property and perhaps a few others to decide what we want. It is a 700 mile trip for us. We are going to do a bit of camping in the region too to see what we think of Missouri.

So this is where I want advice. Is there wisdom in buying property in Missouri now? with cash? Or is it best to hold off on buying property til our house sells? Would you buy the land in Missouri, buy a small RV to live in , in Missouri as you work and hope your house sells and as you bring in income, start building your house bit by bit? or do you just stay in Michigan because who knows if your house will ever sell?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I also wanted to know.. if someone in that area can tell me, what type of soil is in that area? I have asked the realtor but he hasn't gotten back with me yet. I would like to know if i'd break a few shovels on trying to put in a garden.
I also wondered if by having ponds if we are just begging for snakes?? We don't have poisonous snakes up here in Michigan so that is a whole new ballfield for me! Not a very good one either LOL.

I would love to know anything I could about the area from those who have been there.
 

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...In March we are heading down to Missouri as a scouting trip to check out this property and perhaps a few others to decide what we want. It is a 700 mile trip for us. We are going to do a bit of camping in the region too to see what we think of Missouri....
I suggest that you do take your scouting trip in July or August.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I suggest that you do take your scouting trip in July or August.
We likely will take two or even three trips for different times of the year. (can't miss those bugs and humidity :p) But Dh works for a landscaping/lawn care right now so we are sneaking in the first trip when it stops snowing here but before the snow is up and he has to rake up the last of this years leaves. We also do snow removal which is why we have to wait til the snow is done falling.

I imagine by summer that we will have a drought and peoples lawns stop growing and we will get in a summer trip too.
 

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You might want to get hold of the Soil Concervation Service for the county you are interested in Service and get a "Soil Survey"
It will have pictures of the entire county with areas of different soil types marked.The soil types will be VERY throughly explained and evaluated,
 

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You know--its hard to answer, because I dont know you. I don't figure you're a "wimp", cause you live in a colder area than I do, but our ticks and chiggers, plus summer humidity drive some away. Myself, I wouldnt live anywhere else! The guineas and my hens take care of ticks, my King Snakes hardly ever let a Copperhead snake exist, and I have a large orchard, and raised bed gardening. We have ice storms in this area, due to location, heavier snows go north, heavy rains south in the winter, so we get ice.From where you live, I figure you know how to stock up--and stay home when you have to.
I dont live in Alton, some folks on here do, but I'm not far from there, and I wouldnt live anywhere else, despite leaving Iowa at 3 years old, I've been a Missourian for 69 years.

Myself, I'd go see the property, pay cash if I liked it, put your place up for sale--then sit tight till you decide whether to move-or stay till sold.
 

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Take a shovel with you when you take your trip, the best way to check the soil on a farm is to do a bit of digging. a test hole here and there can make a huge difference over searching soil maps. The ozarks are quite similar to the area here in south central Ky, and the soils will vary from one side of a clearing to another so its best to check first hand. In my opinion you would be ahead to go ahead and purchase now, if the place is what you want. It could get sold twixt now and you sell your home in Mi. The land will be there when you get ready for it, and wont need painted in the meantime. If things dont work out, you can always sell it later, most likely make a little profit. Land values are still going up slowly, its the housing market thats in the toilet.
 

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You have to go there and possibly live there to make any judgment for yourself about an area. I had to look at a map to see where the town was. Keep in mind gasoline was almost $5 a gallon not very long ago and who knows where it's going or when. Also consider what opportunities are there beyond privacy or soil. What employment opportunities for you or your husband now and also for the future and what opportunities are there for your children.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
thank you for your thoughts

beeman.. we are a type of people who aren't afraid of physical labor. Dh is a jack of trades I guess. He is a welder, is a mechanic, can do construction.. landscaping, lawn care, has built outdoor wood furnances (which i dont think will help much in missouri LOL) he did land surveying for 18 years.. quite a few things here and there he has done.. He loves hard physical work and prefers the outdoors in working.

Nope im am not much of a wimp. We didn't turn our air conditioner on here last year even in the 90's and i felt comfortable with it. I actually brought out long sleeve shirts when it got in the 60's. I used to be heavy and all that extra fat padded me real well.. now that I am nearly 50% of my weight that I was 18 months ago, I find myself very very COLD lol

I love working with my hands and building things too. I just am tired of the snow and 6 months of winter that Michigan has. I don't like being housebound for so long. Right now I only go to town once every two weeks for groceries so im used to stocking up. I wish I had a nice piece of property to go tackle but I can't do nothing with my yard righ tnow. I spent every day, several hours a day out there this spring summer and fall and im missing it horribly right now. I am missing doing yardwork and playing with my soil... or just going out and sitting out there with my goats. I miss watching chickens going through leaves looking for their next meal and listening to Robins cheeping in the trees. I miss the blue skies. The winter is just long and depressing here. I want to be outdoors. I love breaking a sweat and working hard on my land.. I want to conquer it!

But right now I just look out and see snow.. heavy wet snow.. and my driveway is already cleared.. animals are tended to and i am sitting on this computer with nothing else to do... I NEED a new climate LOL

As for what Dh would do and the kids when they grow up.. I'd hope the kids become whatever they want to be. But Michigan doesn't really offer much here either in that aspect. Alton is a city/town much like my own currently. I have to drive a half hour to a real town. I have to drive 4 miles to get off my road to head any direction. The nearest store of any sorts is 11 miles except for a gas station with overpriced everything tho they have good gas :p So I guess in many ways, im used to most of what Alton would have for me. (except for snakes lol) The heat and humidity would be different... but so would going all winter without ever getting into snow past my knees and maybe even my ankles.

Though I do like the idea of West Plains more but i cant find good priced land there for what i want
 

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I offer this advice to people thinking of moving to the U.P.:
RENT first.
I know it seems like your money is going out for nothing, but you need to "get the lay of the land" before you lock in a purchase. Even within a county, there are areas that are more suitable for specific reasons. If you are near a small town, but find yourself driving to a larger city often, you need to locate nearer that city. Crop land or pasturee that looks great in July, might be different in February under 3 feet of snow or in April underr a foot of water.

You know what to look for in Michigan. You don't know what to look for in another state. You won't have to worry about snow drifts, but you don't know about clothes hanging on the line for three days before they dry because of the humidity. Some places it is common to take oven mitts so you can grasp the steering wheel after it has set out in the sun all day.

Even buying the right place in the wrong community can give you regrets. A lack of Zoning regulations can present as many problems as one with standards.

Renting can get you a lot more information than visiting.

Will the last person leaving Michigan, please turn out the light.
 

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I fully understand the being capable and being able to work. I've moved to a couple of states with no job plans. I can tell you that you can work as hard as you like but in many places everyone is a jack of all trades and labor is the cheapest commodity. I hear you on the don't like winter as I left the north years ago. most places do get winter and they use divine intervention to remove it. I don't know about the schools in MO but you might want to do some investigating and not just paper research as the figures lie many times.
 

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If I had to choose between Michigan and Missouri, then it would be "Missouri, here I come." There is a saying here in Suriname, "Elke huisje heeft zijn kruisje," which means "Every house has its cross." No place is perfect and every place has it problems, but I would definitely take MO over MI.
 

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has built outdoor wood furnances (which i dont think will help much in Missouri LOL)
You would be greatly surprised. Missouri is LOADED with Oak and Hickory for firewood, and outdoor wood furnaces have become very popular since the price of gas has gone up so high. Someone mentioned 3 foot snows....never seen one here since the early 60's. A 6 inch snow is considered a "Doozey", and maybe a 1 footer every 5-6 years. A forecast of 2 - 4" of snow makes it obligatory to go by the market on the way home....If nothing else than to meet all your neighbors.

I now live within 5 miles of where I was born. Traveled all over the world in the interim, but when it came time to retire I pretty much knew where I was headed. Sure was convenient that DW (an Illinois gal) agreed.

Retired??? If you get a homestead that seems to become just another word to throw around. Today after doing all the chores I layed out the new greenhouse while DW started her new lasagna garden. That is in addition to the regular garden, taking care of the goats, the LGD's, chickens.

Good luck, I hope you like Missouri, and if I can be of any help, just drop me a PM.
 

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You would be greatly surprised. Missouri is LOADED with Oak and Hickory for firewood, and outdoor wood furnaces have become very popular since the price of gas has gone up so high. Someone mentioned 3 foot snows....never seen one here since the early 60's. A 6 inch snow is considered a "Doozey", and maybe a 1 footer every 5-6 years. A forecast of 2 - 4" of snow makes it obligatory to go by the market on the way home....If nothing else than to meet all your neighbors.

I now live within 5 miles of where I was born. Traveled all over the world in the interim, but when it came time to retire I pretty much knew where I was headed. Sure was convenient that DW (an Illinois gal) agreed.

Retired??? If you get a homestead that seems to become just another word to throw around. Today after doing all the chores I layed out the new greenhouse while DW started her new lasagna garden. That is in addition to the regular garden, taking care of the goats, the LGD's, chickens.

Good luck, I hope you like Missouri, and if I can be of any help, just drop me a PM.
Good post, Adron. I'm in northcentral AR and it sounded like you were describing our area. (We've been iced in twice this year already, but only for a couple days each time.)

LittleRedHen, we know quite a few folks with the outdoor wood furnaces. Some use them year 'round for their hot water. Lots of timber (hardwoods) here in the Ozarks, so it works out well for them.
 

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Cabin Fever posted something a while back that comes to mind. He said how the weather in MN, basically the cold, kept the riff raff out. I don't know as much about rural MO but here in TN that's a definite factor. the warmer weather tends to draw the riff raff. Also areas with lower income levels, non union states, also tend to have an abundance of drug problems. Meth is big in our area, something you might want to check into.
 

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Cabin Fever posted something a while back that comes to mind. He said how the weather in MN, basically the cold, kept the riff raff out. I don't know as much about rural MO but here in TN that's a definite factor. the warmer weather tends to draw the riff raff. Also areas with lower income levels, non union states, also tend to have an abundance of drug problems. Meth is big in our area, something you might want to check into.

meth is big no mater where you are. You may not know it but it is there. And it will get worse. The West Plains area is good and is mostly owned by long term residences. I don't know about Alton but It is about the same without being owned by long term People. I have friends that live in West Plains. The weather is nice cold a few days and warm the nest day. I got down to 6 degrees on one night and up to 50 two days later. We have about the same weather as West Plains. Don't look at the area around Bransion because it is over run with folks that have nothing to do but but into your business. I would also look at North Arkansas. About 50 miles away. And a lot cheaper to live in than MO. The only thing about Arkansas is there are no jobs to be found except labor jobs. And most of them are near minimum wage jobs.
 

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DH and I did exactly as you propose; leave MI's cold, dreary winters and the accelerating taxes & encroachment behind. We moved to MO five years ago - the whole farm - lock, stock and barrel (literally). We scoured multi listings on the 'net first, made appointments with several real estate offices, and camped while we looked. Good Luck!

NeHi
 

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You might PM Ozark Jewels and Yarrow - they are both from that immediate area. I think there are more too. someone else was moving to Alton and living in a travel trailer or shed last year. They might have some good info for you.
 
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