This or this or ... this ?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by SkizzlePig, Jan 18, 2007.

  1. SkizzlePig

    SkizzlePig Well-Known Member

    May 14, 2006
    Sandhills South Carolina
    This is another among a growing list of questions from my wife and I.

    If you're not aware, my wife and I are looking to "make the break" from Suburbia and start a homestead in rural Southern Oregon. That said, here goes the next installment:

    How would you rate these in order of importance?
    - Excellent facilities (nice house, horse stables, etc.)
    - Large plot of acreage (lots of acres to run and play)
    - Excellent acreage (being that it's very well-suited for what you want to do)

    I think we're leaning toward Excellent Acreage, then Large plot, then Excellent Facilities. But we'd like to get different perspectives and reasons for those perspectives.
  2. farmergirl

    farmergirl Well-Known Member Supporter

    Aug 2, 2005
    Austin-ish, Texas
    Where exactly in S. Oregon are you thinking? My hubby grew up in that neck of the woods. He could impart some good advice about what to look for/ avoid. We have 10 very productive acres now, and though I would LOVE to have a true Texas "ranch"...big and wide open with rolling terrain, patches of rock outcroppings, stands of trees...., it is often better to go for productive land vs. big land. Big land is beautiful, but if it's not farmland then you'll have some significant problems establishing any sort of agriculture, be it horse pasture, orchard or gardens. Not to say that "bad land" can't be reclaimed, just much easier to start with the ideal soil if at all possible. In Oregon, I would be very careful to get detailed information about erosion and flooding issues. When we lived in Oregon, there were horse pastures that were gorgeous in the summer but useless in the winter and spring...horses had to be moved in a hurry once rains started or were liable to drown!

    One other thought, you can build anything you want as far as structures and facilities, but you can't ever change your neighborhood or where you are.

  3. cayenne47

    cayenne47 Critter Mama Supporter

    Nov 7, 2004
    NW Oregon
    what part of S. Oregon? We are in the boonies down here, Cave Junction to be exact. About 30 miles SW of Grants Pass. Would be glad to give any advice or info on the region :)
  4. TechGuy

    TechGuy Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2006
    Since we are are on simular footing for livestyle changes:

    Land 60 to 90 acres of land
    - Flat but well above the flood plain
    - Tilable but mostly wooded (preferable with 10 to 15 acres of pasture) and old growth trees
    Home with approximately 2600 sq. feet (colonial)
    - House is well offset from roadway
    - with full basement (maybe with walk in freezer if I can swing it)
    - extremely energy efficient
    - 2by6 or 2by8 with blow-in fiberglass insulation
    - active and passive solar for heating & domestic hot water
    - outdoor wood furnace, backed up with either oil or gas furnace in basement
    - Baseboard cast iron radiators
    - high-R windows with storm windows
    - ground loop for summer cooling
    - extensive use of durable materials:
    - Tile and hardwood floors
    - labtops for kitch counters (
    - Metal or concrete shingle roof (last longer than tar or wood shingles)
    Detached Workshop/Garage/Storage building
    - Slab capable of supporting vechicles
    - Heated (when in use) using outdoor wood furnace (same one used for house)
    - High ceiling to permit work on tractors or vehicles
    - Room to house woodworking and metalworking machinary
    - Storage for tools and raw materials (such as wood for woodworking).
    Greenhouse (later addition)
    - perminent foundation (concrete poured)
    - Can be heated using outdoor wood furnace (Same used by home & workshop)
    - Probably stickbuilt instead of tunnel framed since it will be more durable and can be insulated better.
  5. liveswithinlogs

    liveswithinlogs Member

    Dec 18, 2006
    Well, I can't give you a different perspective because I agree completely with your rankings of importance. Acquire land well suited to your chosen nature of homesteading, and the battle is 90% won in my opinion. A mansion of a home on sprawling acreage is nice yes, but if the land isn't a good fit for the reason you want to be there in the first place, what's the point, ya' know? :shrug:
  6. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 13, 2004
    Good fertile land with some southern exposure.

    Water (good well, springs, or creek)

    Adequate acreage for orchard, garden and livestock.

    Buildings aren't the first thing to worry about because you can always build or remodel.

    And of course the neighborhood is critical, and that might include immediate neighbors and extend to the nearest towns.
  7. MelissaW

    MelissaW Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2003
    NE Ohio
    1. Good land (water first, then soil condition and drainage)
    2. Amount of land
    3. Facilities

    You can always upgrade your buildings later. Best of luck!
  8. beorning

    beorning Well-Known Member

    Apr 13, 2006
    Here's how I break it down:

    #1- Excellent acreage - More land is nice, but if it is unusable for what you need it for, what good is it?

    #2- Large plot - Assuming that it is usable land, the more the better.

    #3 - Excellent facilities - I'd really rather buy a place with either no structures on it or with old derelict structures ( to help ease the potential zoning hassle, and perhaps get a decent well/ existing septic system in the bargain) If you design and build your own structures, you have the best chance of getting close to exactly what you need without a lot that you don't want in the bargain.

    There is a chance that you could get lucky and find exactly what you want already built, but I'd say it's slim. Buying a house in town taught me that. We ended up settling for almost but not quite after several months of looking.
  9. bachelorb

    bachelorb Well-Known Member

    Oct 4, 2005
    Anderson, Alabama
    1. excellent acreage (for what your trying to do...). If you need pastureland, you don't need deep tillable soil. grass roots are shallow. I have about 1/4 of my acreage tillable, but I pasture my animals, I rotate the tillable in and out of corn and sunflower seeds.

    One thing I have found invaluable though is a source of water. All three of my farm parcels have water on them. two are a year round running creek, and one is a pond.

    2. Large plot?? I'm not sure because I'm not sure what you want to do. If you have 5 cows and 200 acres, you have to maintain the rest of the property somehow, which means mowing or removing fallen timber etc... this can be both a time and money investment.

    3. Facilities- besides a house, I wouldn't even think about building permanent facilities until you decide what you want to do and do it for a year or two. I have modified all my facilities to fit how I work on the farm, but I had to modify them from the first year when I built them, because the farm needs changed after my first year of actually "doing" it.

    Good Luck,
  10. Lizza

    Lizza Well-Known Member Supporter

    Nov 30, 2005
    Have you read this book yet? It should be on your must buy ASAP list (Finding & Buying Your Place in Country by Les and Carol Scher). It will answer a lot of your questions:

    I grew up in S. Oregon and still have some family/friends down there. What area are you thinking about? My MIL's sister also had some very bad experiences in Bly County. If I were to move again a few things would be important to me.

    #1 The county/zoning/permitting rules. After dealing with a horrible county I wouldn't move anywhere that is so strict again.

    #2 Access to the property (clear, undisputed access to your property) and good water (you can do cisterns but having a good well is important).

    #3 Lay of the land. It doesn't matter if you have 100 acres if it won't suit your needs, better to have 50 acres that is usable for what you have in mind.

    #4 Amount of acreage.

    #5 Any buildings and/or homes on the land.

    That's just a quick list off the top of my head. Also I completely agree with Wind In Her Hair. We thought we'd "never" move but just a few short years after we moved here we realized it might not work for us. We are staying put for now but now realize that we might move at some date and are starting to realize that we need to at least consider resale value of our improvements. Some of the things we've already spent a lot of money on would actually need to be taken down to sell it! Not that that should be your only consideration but your property is usually your biggest investment, if you should need to sell in older age or because of some unknown reason you are going to want to be able to do so.