Those of you who have long distance homesteads ...

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by mama2littleman, Jul 14, 2006.

  1. mama2littleman

    mama2littleman El Paso

    Messages:
    1,969
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Location:
    Alaska
    How do you do it?
    When your homestead place is located a SIGNIFIGANT distance away from where you live/work, how do you keep up with the maintenence?

    Do you have people look in on it?

    How do you keep people from vandalizing, and keep an eye on things?

    We have extended our homestead search and started considering buying a place that is not located locally. That would mean about 5 years of being absent landlords. So ... how do you make sure that the place doesn't fall into disrepair if you can only get out there a couple of times a year?

    I'm talking about a place with a home and outbuildings, not raw land.

    Thanks,

    Nikki
     
  2. Jerngen

    Jerngen Perpetually curious! Supporter

    Messages:
    2,749
    Joined:
    May 22, 2006
    Location:
    North Central Michigan
    Make friends with the neighbors. Offer one $100 a month to actively keep an eye on the place. Both for unwanted (human and animal) visitors and for maint. issues.
    Actually if you become friends with one they may do it free of charge.
     

  3. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    833
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Vancouver, and Moberly Lake, BC, Canada
    We live in Vancouver and in our log cabin 660 miles north. We have a business in Vancouver and a condominium. We drive up here 5 or six times a year, stay for 2 or 3 weeks each time, except in the summer, when Nancy stays longer and I fly back to Vancouver and to CA to inspect high-rise projects under construction, for which my company designs the HVAC, plumbing and fire protection.

    When we are gone:
    • Francis and Teresa a mile away check our place constantly, no one gets by the bull of the woods Francis
    • Teresa lights the fire in our Blaze King before we get here, it is 40F below for weeks, we bring Polish sausages from Vancouver for Teresa whenever we return, Francis likes a beverage now and then so we get him a bottle of it now and then
    • We built shutters for each window and installed hasps big locks on each.
    • Each door is locked
    • The front double gate is locked
    • We put no trespassing and keep out signs on both sides of the gate and corner
    • In winter we drain the water -- we set it up so it is easy to drain
    • Our garden has a seven-foot high fence, stock wire for four-feet, and three strings of barbed wire to keep the deer out
    • We installed drip irrigation at each row
    • Our pump is on a timer, depending on the year, two times a week for one to two hours each day
    • Our garden is heavily mulched with 8 to 12" of straw, very little weeding
    • Francis cuts the hay on shares, he gets 60%, we get 40%, he buys and hauls our 40%
    • We also posted no hunting ,and make it well know to the four neighbors and Natives we do not allow hunting
    • We have lived here for 34 years on and off and Homesteaded -- cleared our land, built our cabin, etc, and there is some respect for that -- lots of people know it's the Alex and Nancy's place -- not to be fooled with
    • We never had a problem
    • Once we rented out our log cabin for 6 months, 25 years ago -- don't need renters anymore -- suggest don't rent it
    • We have sealed up every hole and small space, and put out bait, but this summer we have NO evidence of any unwanted visitors -- we have had mice visitors in past years, but the bait works too if you miss a hole
    • We love both our places, though here, our log cabin, and quarter is best

    Go for it,

    All the best,

    Alex
     
  4. mama2littleman

    mama2littleman El Paso

    Messages:
    1,969
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Location:
    Alaska
    Alex, thank you! Your post was most helpful and very informative. It is great to hear from someone who has actually done it. It's one th9ing to try and work the logistics of the situation out in your mind. Quite another to actually hear about them from someone who has actually had to implement some of those "solutions".

    Jerngen ... of course that makes sense to make friends with the neighbors. But that gets kind of hard to do if you are only around a couple of times a year. Sure, after several years you will have hopefully made and nurtured relationships. But in the interim you have to do SOMETHING. And after hearing about all of the neighbor problems here lately, it can make you kind of gunshy.

    Thanks again for the replies. And my apologies for the late response. Life happened.

    Nikki
     
  5. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    833
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Vancouver, and Moberly Lake, BC, Canada
    Forgot,
    • We park an old car near the front gate -- you can just see that a car is there, through the bush
    • We keep the fronting 1/2 mile of fence clean and brush cut two or three times a season (and all sides -- but they can not be seen by any except Bears, Moose, Deer, etc -- which do not regard the cutting), so it looks like someone cares.
    • We keep one or two of those solar lights on near the driveway entry year 'round

    Enjoy,

    Alex
     
  6. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

    Messages:
    20,074
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2003
    Well to be truthful around here it is very hard to keep an eye on stuff living there full time much less being gone all the time.

    When I was working I had people steal Rain Water from me :shrug: Steal my Chickens.Then all my Guns.

    Had a Guy come here give me a Cord of wood.Well wasn't he nice :rolleyes: Go down my drive to a neighbors steal his Chainsaw.

    Had a Guy offer to buy a Dog off me.I wouldn't sell,so next week stole all my Dogs.Same Guy sold my Dad a pickup load of wood,then went back stole the wood and Dads Chainsaw.

    big rockpile
     
  7. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

    Messages:
    3,736
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    VT
    We've had people steal firewood. We now leave log length by the road but cut wood goes behind the house out of sight. If I could, I'd put it in a shed with a door on it. For some reason, in an area heavy on the second homes, people think it is "ok" to help themselves to a carload of firewood. That you "won't mind sharing."

    If the area you're looking at is heavy on camps and second homes I'd try to keep mine from looking like a temping target.

    If it isn't, Alex is right, coming up and staying and getting to know people is your best defence. It is easy to hit the house with the nameless, faceless, people from "away" who are "rich anyway." It's a lot harder to hit "John and Mary's house."
     
  8. Ramblin Wreck

    Ramblin Wreck Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    7,215
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Location:
    NW Georgia
    I'm lucky in that family "surrounds the farm" which is about 45 miles away from Atlanta where I work/live during the week (but an hour and a half drive in rush hour). My SIL comes by once per week to check up on the place and put the mail in the house. Probably 10-12 family members have a key to the house/garage, and I encourage them to "visit". The only problems I have are with mail boxes, which are out of sight on the public road. I just replace them when the nuts bash/trash them.

    In New Brunswick, I have an old farmhouse at the dead end of a provincially maintained road. I made an effort to contact both the neighbors who live neabry by permanently and those with nearby camps. They know they can hunt on the place anytime and cut any of the debris/firewood left from a clear cut made by the previous owners. In three years there has not been a single problem, but I would guess that Canadians would be slightly less plagued by theft/"Tom Foolery"...but that's just a guess, not based on any statistics I've seen.

    If you choose to buy a place that doesn't have any buildings on it, you might consider one of those enclosed pull behind trailers. They are not that heavy, so most vehicles can tow them. With a little organization, you can store tools, camping gear, generators, etc. and simply take them back and forth with you. That way, a simple shed (with nothing in it to tempt someone) could serve as shelter when you are working on your place. You would need to plan for water.

    Anyway, having a remote farm/homestead would not be the easiest way to do things, but with some planning, I bet you can make it work for you. If the choice was that or nothing, it would be an easy choice for me to make...buy it and have fun making it into what you want. As always, listen to Alex! Best wishes.
     
  9. ergoman

    ergoman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    126
    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    We have a small farm 2 hours away, we have 35 goats, horse, ducks/chickens, etc. We encouraged the neighbor to continue to garden there when we bought it, she also wanted to keep the fowl that came with it, (we dont like to mess with geese and chickens but she does). When we got the goats we made a deal with her nephew that he could have 1 per year for meat or start his own small herd to run with ours in the pastures. He does the chores most of the time, but were there at least 2 wkends/month. We get daily visits by two different people twice each day, no problems so far.
     
  10. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

    Messages:
    20,074
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2003
    What really helps our place is there is only one way you can drive in here.Use to be you could walk a short distance and not be seen.But that is no longer the case.

    big rockpile
     
  11. Piney Woods

    Piney Woods Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    263
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northeast Texas
    Neighbors "stole" the small house that was on the property board-by-board. Recognized it down the road. Loggers cut down huge oak trees well into the property (not in utility line). Someone stole my "do not trespass signs". I sold it and moved elsewhere. Don't want neighbors like that.
     
  12. mama2littleman

    mama2littleman El Paso

    Messages:
    1,969
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Location:
    Alaska
    Thank you all for taking the time to offer your advice and share your experiences. Some of them confirm some fears I had about absentee land ownership. Other gave me some great info on making it work for you.

    It looks like it really boils down to what kind of neighbors you have. Unfortunately, that isn't something that is often able to be determined during real estate scouting missions, other then the blatantly obvious.

    I think what we will do is keep looking for the right property for us and when we find one that is promising make a determined effort to scope out the neighbors.

    So ... any tips for discretely checking out neighbors at potential properties?

    Nikki
     
  13. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,260
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Location:
    AR
    when we started working on the farm we lived in va.a 16 hr. drive .
    nothing was ever taken or messed with
    one time i was at the old house working myself dw couldnt make the trip people down the road had a family get together and one of the people brought me a big plate of food,the other 4 familys on the mt.and us are all good friends now and bbq together often

    jim
     
  14. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    5,067
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2004
    Location:
    deep south texas
    I used to have A place in Ohio but A 1700 miles one way, was A bit much, I would get by there about once A month. A friend down the road had keys to the place and he looked after it, I moved there after I broke my neck, Move after A severve winter storm and could not get in for A week. I also sold it About 2 months later.