We are going to do it!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by knittingmomma, May 3, 2005.

  1. knittingmomma

    knittingmomma Simple Country Living

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    I was disappointed to read the responses to the other woman who wants to be self-sufficient with the other family.....

    First off, we have five children, ages 11 down to 1..... So that makes us pretty unique, but would love to hear from others with large families who are homesteading.....

    We have been living very simply for several years now, have very little debt, and living in a small apartment in suburbia, while my husband is off working his butt off 60 plus hours a week (including his hour commute each way).....

    Our plan is to buy land in central Maine (hopefully this Sunday), and put an old 27' silver bullet camper on it (which we are buying today) - We will be paying cash for the land (probably will be just 3 - 5 acres of raw land) - and cash for the camper. Then traveling up to Maine on weekends to clear, build a small cabin (28' x 16' with two lofts).....
    We hope to be there full time the Saturday after Thanksgiving....

    We have a very growing online business, (could use advice about satellite internet connections... we are planning to have a generator for the computer)and expect that my husband will work outside at least part-time - although he hopes to get a few organic lawn care accounts (probably not easy in central Maine but he should be able to find a few we think)... we will of course add more gardens each year, chickens, fire wood and have to purchase propane....

    WE would like to add sheep to do some of our own wool growing and probably add a studio some day..

    Water - well we hope to find a property with a brook to start and then add a well as needed.

    We will only have about $10,000 after we buy the camper and land so we are doing this on a very small budget!!

    We are ready to have a more home based lifestyle, leave a smaller footprint on the earth, be with one another (depsite the constant work!), live simply and close to nature...

    Warm wishes,
    Tonya
    Home Educating, Simple Living, WAHM of 5
    http://www.naturalearthfarm.com

    Ok, I am ready to hear the good, the bad and the ugly.
     
  2. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I like it.

    You are starting out with an income, shelter, and little to no debt. All of the basics have been covered.

    Enjoy!
     

  3. Pythia

    Pythia Active Member

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    Just a suggestion about the computer. You might think about getting a notebook rather than a desktop. They take up a lot less space, and you can buy solar battery chargers specifically designed for notebook computers. Much cheaper/easier/quieter than a generator. Keep a couple extra batteries on hand so you'll always have a charged one ready.
     
  4. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    will they let you do that i thought they were very strick about septic system up there
     
  5. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    They are strict about septic.....but if there is an outhouse it can be grandfathered.

    Where in Maine? We are near Waterville and Augusta.

    You'll be moving when the cold comes in.....be sure to line up someone to plow the driveway...unless you have your own truck.

    There are jobs to be had but dont expect high wages...$10 an hour if you have a skill. Heating that camper will cost you a small fortune in winter if you are heating with propane....
     
  6. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    would there have to be one there allready or can you put one in
     
  7. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You have to refurbish an existing one.
     
  8. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    thank-you i was wondering
     
  9. VALENT

    VALENT Well-Known Member

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    Good plan, Knittingmomma. Expect hardship, expect problems but know you will make it through. The heating problem will definitely be large for your family but you can make it fine. That extra $10000 should give you'll a good chance to get started.
     
  10. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    My DD and I spent 2 yrs in one of those camping trailers. I actually pulled the fridge out and installed a shepherd's wood stove in that spot. I lined the walls around the stove with sheetrock and covered that with aluminum foil. And I covered the inside of the camper with foil covered bubble wrap insulation. It was cramped and I can only imagine doing it with seven people! Just 2 was more than enough.

    I sure wish you the best and hope all works out for you.
     
  11. knittingmomma

    knittingmomma Simple Country Living

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    Thanks for the encouraging responses...

    Now, we are looking first in the Unity, Clinton, Thorndike area, Second is theHarmoney area, and last is Dover - Foxcroft.

    So composting toilets and outhouses are not acceptable??

    Anyone familier with this in Maine?

    Thanks!
    WArm wishes,
    Tonya
    http://www.naturalearthfarm.com
     
  12. knittingmomma

    knittingmomma Simple Country Living

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    Actually, we will be building a cabin to live in - that will be 28' x 18' with two lofts (which we will add on to as time and money permit). We hope the cabin to be air tight by the late fall, so we won't be living in the camper except on weekends from now until the cabin is done.....

    So we will be heating with wood.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with the trailer!

    Warm wishes,
    Tonya and Family
    http://www.naturalearthfarm.com
     
  13. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Have you looked into the milrates of the towns you are looking at? I think you can find them thru state homepage. www.state.me.us

    Unity/Thorndike is good area....about 20 min. from where we are.

    Clinton is also about 20 min. away

    Dover foxcroft area is pricey and little jobs....

    Aroostook county is very cheap but no jobs.

    I'd look into a township or unorganized area for land....much cheaper taxes.

    You can use the composted toilet temp. I think but when you build they will require a septic plan (perc test) design for size of house and #of occupants.

    Palmyra is fairly cheap as I recall...but I was looking over a year ago.

    Farmington area is also fairly cheap and lots to offer nature wise as well as socially.

    Have you looked at the Uncle Henry's swap and sell? It comes out on Thurs.

    Pack your bug spray....the misquito larvae and blackflies are getting ready to bloom. Bugs are a big drawback in Maine!
     
  14. tamilee

    tamilee Well-Known Member

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    Hi Tonya;
    I don't know what people would think about how we did things. When my husband and I got married we stayed in a relative's house while we built our own home. I would have lived in a tent if that was what it took to build our home without a mortgage. We were actually looking at tent when a relative (MIL) intervened and persuaded another relative to let us live in a house that had just been moved on to a piece of land. The couple who moved it in had planned to rennovate the old house over a period of time as a retirement cottage. It had no heat, no hot water, no washing machine, no telephone, no stove. We bought an old trash burner and heated with that and I cooked on it as well. We caught fish and shrimp, harvested oysters and clams and ate vegetables from the garden. We were still building when I gave birth to my first child. I couldn't afford disposable diapers so i washed them out by hand, the soiled ones were washed as soon as the baby was changed and secure. The wet ones I placed in a 5 gallon bucket and washed out every morning. They were all hung out on a clothesline which was a rope tied between 2 trees. We didn't have a washing machine so I washed all the clothes by hand. I was young and in love. It didn't seem like a hardship. I enjoyed the challenge. I had much more time back then because the internet didn't exist. We did'nt own a tv. Town was 10 miles away.
    I'll never forget going out and "witching" for water. That really works! Anyway we used an old motor and drove down pipe until we hit rock then put a bit on the end and chiseled through the rock until we had water. That was a thrilling thing, to see water coming up out of the pipe! We put in a hand pump at first and later an electric pump, (building code requirement, unfortunately).
    When we did get our house built (24' x 32' with a sleeping loft) we did not have a hot water heater, a washing machine, a bath tub, a telephone,or a tv or a kitchen. I cooked on and heated water on the woodstove for washing dishes. In order to bathe I filled a large pot with water and set it on the woodstove and we washed in a washtub in front it. I still washed clothes and diapers out by hand. We still harvested seafood and grew vegetables and I sure was thrilled when we built a chicken lot and a coop and I got some chickens of my own!
    We didn't have a bed so we slept in sleeping bags on the floor. The baby had a homemade crib. My days were filled with taking care of the baby, cleaning, washing diapers, gardening, chopping wood and hauling it, washing clothes by hand, cooking, hauling and heating water. I still had plenty of free time and I loved going to bed at night with that tired from working all day feeling. I had self respect because I was able to what needed to be done and do it without expensive modern conveniences.I loved those days! They were some of the happiest in my life.
    So what I'm saying is if it's your dream, you'll be able to do it! Enjoy the adventure!
    tamilee
     
  15. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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  16. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    tamilee:

    Thank you for that post. These are the kinds of stories we need to encourage us and give us ideas and help us to "think outside the box" . Now that's the good old pioneering spirit!

    We bathed outside in a kiddie pool using the garden watering can as a "shower". I bought a camping potty from Walmart that used water to flush into a removable tank that we emptied into holes and covered with dirt. All our camping equipment came in handy (Coleman lantern & stove & Solar Shower especially). If I had it to do over again, I would build the firepit first & use it for cooking as well as burning trash.
     
  17. Wolf Hound

    Wolf Hound Member

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    This item might have already been covered - however, it is important - regarding the use of a generator to power up the computer - in my experience I've seen the results of a power spike from the generator - it fried the power supply on the desk top - even though there was a surge protector power bar - not the best thing to have to replace when you depend on the computer for your business and internet connection - let alone the storage house for your hard won information and data base. The recommendation to use batteries and a power inverter is a wise one - consider it carefully. The cost of a 450W inverter and a deep cycle battery is cheap compared to what you will "pay" for a power supply and hard drive.....

    Good Luck!!
     
  18. GR8LIFE

    GR8LIFE Well-Known Member

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    Tammilee, I loved your story about your early days. I would love to hear more. You should write an article for one of the magazines that are looking for those kinds of stories, like Countryside, Mother Earth News, Backwoods Home, Back Home, etc. (or maybe you have already). I'm sure many others would love to hear more specifics about that life. I sure would.
    Colleen
     
  19. knittingmomma

    knittingmomma Simple Country Living

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    Thank you Tammilee - your story is wonderful! and so encouraging!!

    Thank you also for the tip about using solar and batteries for a lap top - we will do this for sure!

    Oh so much to learn....
    Wish us well as we travel up on Sunday to check out the land and the camper..

    Warm wishes,
    Tonya and Family
    http://www.naturalearthfarm.com
     
  20. katlupe

    katlupe Off-The-Grid Homesteader Supporter

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    We had a generator spike and burn out a desktop. Since then, we got 2 laptops, which use as much energy in a week that one desktop uses in a day.

    This past year, we bought a generator from www.backwoodssolar.com that is made for people off the grid. It works different than the other ones. Now we can be on our computers all day or night and we only use about $5. worth of gas a month. We have 4 forklift truck batteries and 2 solar panels and we just charge the batteries about once a week or so. It's great. We also have 2 inverters, a charge controller and a meter.

    But when we started out we only had 2 forklift truck batteries, a small charge controller, the inverter, one solar panel and we used our vehicles to charge the batteries. We got by that way. But it used alot of gas and the vehicles would shut off and it was just miserable. But do-able.

    We needed to do this for our internet business. We have to be on our laptops working daily and for hours. It had to be affordable and reliable.