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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! I recently purchased 9 acres in Trapper’s Creek, AK. It has road access and frontage, and is level with mostly birch and cottonwoods on the property and I’ll have the well drilled in the summer when the weather’s warmer. I’m a professional artist, and I’ve been planning a little homestead for a long while now — I’ve drawn up all the plans, with straw bale/cob structures, the garden and animals (rabbits, goats and maybe a few chickens). I bought the property outright — and currently own my own home in PA, mortgage free, and plan on selling it and all the contents to begin my journey on starting my little homestead. I already have had a country town homestead for a while, with growing my own fruits and veggies, composting, canning, living frugally, fishing and hunting, etc. but now, I’m sad to admit something — I’m getting cold feet. I am afraid that now that I’ve reached the half century mark — maybe I’m too old. I don’t plan on being completely off the grid, etc. and I’m in good health and a hard worker, but I’m starting to fear the unknown — maybe the reality of leaving my elderly parents and my grown children — my 20 something year old son is fired up to come along and help, but so many people keep saying we’re crazy, it’s starting to take root in my psyche...I don’t know. I used to think there were no limitations on what I wanted to do...now I’m feeling boxed in a bit. The land and the plans are there, I’ve worked on them long and hard, and now I’m getting cold feet and I feel sad about that. Is there a time to hang up the spurs so to speak? I guess I’m looking for opinions from other “late bloomers”.
 

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Oh boy. I could write quite a bit here, but I’d be late to work.
I know how you feel. I left a great paying job that I was at for 32 years to move to a small town in a rural, but beautiful and mostly quiet part of Wisconsin. My wife and I had planned on retiring here “someday “.
Well my dad died 2 years before he retired, and a sister of mine died unexpectedly at age 65. I started to think maybe I didn’t want to wait for “retirement “. I wanted to live my retirement, not wait for it.
Well I found a job out here in this area, got a good deal on a house and the rest is history.
I’ve never regretted it! In my case I knew if I stayed in the city I would never feel settled.
A good friend said something simple to me when I was voicing my fears of moving- What’s the worst that could happen?
If it turns out I made a mistake, I do something else. Sounds simple, but it made perfect sense, and was one of my motivators to pull the trigger.
Looking back on my life I’ve made some mistakes and bad decisions, but I don’t regret them. The things I DO regret is not doing something I wanted to, but was too afraid to try!
I hope your journey is successful! :)
 

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Is there any chance of you, (and your son) establishing a home place in Alaska on your 9 acres with a camper RV on a concrete slab, with a roof built over it. This would be a weekend project rather than the months long task of building with (very labor intensive) cob construction ?

This would get you on site, and able to build your fences, and enclosures for the animals. You could treat this as a seasonal getaway until all the pieces were in place for you to move there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Is there any chance of you, (and your son) establishing a home place in Alaska on your 9 acres with a camper RV on a concrete slab, with a roof built over it. This would be a weekend project rather than the months long task of building with (very labor intensive) cob construction ?

This would get you on site, and able to build your fences, and enclosures for the animals. You could treat this as a seasonal getaway until all the pieces were in place for you to move there.
Wow - yes, we actually discussed this very idea — putting a class C on it and going there as a summer getaway, working on the property and then coming back. Of course, we could only establish gardens and have no animals during that time, but at least it would be a way to get our feet wet. But, since the trip is so arduous, over 3300 miles, I’m not sure how long we would want to do this as just a “getaway” — I think we would have to take the leap (or pack it up) after a summer or two. I’m still considering that, problem is, he can’t understand my hesitation really — now that everything is in place for the “plunge”. It’s good to be 25 without a care in the world haha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh boy. I could write quite a bit here, but I’d be late to work.
I know how you feel. I left a great paying job that I was at for 32 years to move to a small town in a rural, but beautiful and mostly quiet part of Wisconsin. My wife and I had planned on retiring here “someday “.
Well my dad died 2 years before he retired, and a sister of mine died unexpectedly at age 65. I started to think maybe I didn’t want to wait for “retirement “. I wanted to live my retirement, not wait for it.
Well I found a job out here in this area, got a good deal on a house and the rest is history.
I’ve never regretted it! In my case I knew if I stayed in the city I would never feel settled.
A good friend said something simple to me when I was voicing my fears of moving- What’s the worst that could happen?
If it turns out I made a mistake, I do something else. Sounds simple, but it made perfect sense, and was one of my motivators to pull the trigger.
Looking back on my life I’ve made some mistakes and bad decisions, but I don’t regret them. The things I DO regret is not doing something I wanted to, but was too afraid to try!
I hope your journey is successful! :)
Yes, I’ve also thought the same thing — if we hate it, we can always move on. I work remotely, so I can live anywhere really, but the idea of being a traveling mulberry was never an appealing one to me to be honest, especially as the years go on. I guess my block here is mental — leaving my family. My friend pointed out there are airplanes and Facetime haha, and of course I realize, we have to take things as they come at us. I have a very well thought out plan, have done so many hours and years of research for it...I just thought that at 50 maybe I had gotten too old now to establish that. I guess I won’t know until we try 🤷‍♀️ 😊
 

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I say go for it! Of course there are always doubts, but it is possible. It sounds like it has been a dream of yours for a long time, so why not just do it. We moved to Northern Minnesota almost 5 years ago now., (we are in our late 50's and hubby just turned 60) We sold everything we had in Tennessee, left the grown children/grandchildren, and headed north. I love it! I feel like a little kid. I am trying things I've never done before because I never lived anywhere where their was snow, cold, frozen lakes, etc. Every year I add something new to the homestead (this year bees I think) and I learn to do something new. (This year cross country skiing) As long as we continue to be in good health and can do, we do!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I say go for it! Of course there are always doubts, but it is possible. It sounds like it has been a dream of yours for a long time, so why not just do it. We moved to Northern Minnesota almost 5 years ago now., (we are in our late 50's and hubby just turned 60) We sold everything we had in Tennessee, left the grown children/grandchildren, and headed north. I love it! I feel like a little kid. I am trying things I've never done before because I never lived anywhere where their was snow, cold, frozen lakes, etc. Every year I add something new to the homestead (this year bees I think) and I learn to do something new. (This year cross country skiing) As long as we continue to be in good health and can do, we do!
Wow! I am very inspired reading your reply! Thank you for sharing your experience — it is very heartening to hear ♥
 

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I don’t think 50 is too old! Life for me has been about “seasons”. We moved to our homestead when I was 53, 10 years ago. I kept my job for a couple of years, but I was happy when my urban rat race “season” ended.

It has been a little harder than I expected to make new friends, but otherwise I have no regrets.

Our plan for the next “season” WAS to do a little more traveling and spending time camping with the grandkids, maybe cut back on the animals a little...but given the current climate we are going to extend this “season” for a while!

good luck, trust your instincts!
 

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The only suggestion I would make is to move in the spring. That way you have the short warm season to prepare for winter. From PA to AK is a looong drive, it takes almost as long to fly there if you're heading into the wind. (spent 7 hours in the air on a flight from Michigan to Anchorage)

I am quite jealous actually. I would love to live in Alaska but family that needs me keeps me in Ohio. And I would miss my butterflies too much.
 

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It's easy for us to tell you to go for it...Most of us have already done that sort of thing to one degree or another. Age is certainly not a factor.(I wish I was still only 60, let alone 50.)

Only you can evaluate the "leaving the family behind" factor.

I see two things as being potential problems for your specific case-- AK- weather/ day-night hours are just so different than what you're used to. Growing season is short and you may be over-estimating potential, and the psychological effects of prolonged darkness....(How far north will you be?)

And secondly, the fertility of your plot of land...If it's mostly aspen/poplar, then you don't have much topsoil. Those are pioneer species that thrive where others can't grow.

Go for it, but don't burn any bridges along the way. Don't be afraid to admit after 25 yrs or so (or maybe 4 months) that maybe this was a dumb idea....At least you don't have to worry about scurvy like the Pilgrims did.
 

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We had fully planned on moving our entire homestead from NW Ohio to 100 acres + in Southern Kentucky, but decided instead to improve the 10 acres we already have. I am building a workshop with a 2 post lift, and all the , we built a greenhouse last year, have updated the house, have a new 60x104 horse barn with stalls, tack room, and a indoor riding arena.

We are both 55 years old, and just didn't like the prospect of having to start completely over in a different location with no one helping us, I wish you luck.
 

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I know of a gentleman who did just that. He is 57 now if I recall and I asked him if he thought he made the right decision 2 years after he moved. He told me yes and without a doubt. He had lumber and tin roofing and fencing stacked everywhere. He said he always had goals and worked like to fiend to complete them. This time he said it was about the journey and the experience.
My opinion was his divorce from a shrew of a woman was the main factor, but who knows.
 

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This just reminded me of the woman down the road from us. She is in her mid 60s and from Ohio somewhere. She joined our church a few years ago and a couple of guys go down there quite a bit to do work on the property.

She has a couple of cows and a dozen cats and almost as many Barbie sized yipping ankle biting dogs that share the house. She is a heavy set chain smoker who is known as bossy, opinionated, knows it all and argumentative; that is when you can hear her above the barking. (Have you ever tried to talk to someone with a gang of dogs barking? You raise your voice or maybe have to shout yet they speak in a normal tone...)

She and her husband were supposed to move down and set up a little homestead when he retired. He came down with her and got her set up and then returned to help close things out and help transition the new hire.
Then he decided to stay a little longer until the house sold. Then he contracted with his old company as a consultant and rented a little house. Two years later he is still in Ohio.
The suspicion is that he had this planned all along.
 

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This just reminded me of the woman down the road from us. She is in her mid 60s and from Ohio somewhere. She joined our church a few years ago and a couple of guys go down there quite a bit to do work on the property.

She has a couple of cows and a dozen cats and almost as many Barbie sized yipping ankle biting dogs that share the house. She is a heavy set chain smoker who is known as bossy, opinionated, knows it all and argumentative; that is when you can hear her above the barking. (Have you ever tried to talk to someone with a gang of dogs barking? You raise your voice or maybe have to shout yet they speak in a normal tone...)

She and her husband were supposed to move down and set up a little homestead when he retired. He came down with her and got her set up and then returned to help close things out and help transition the new hire.
Then he decided to stay a little longer until the house sold. Then he contracted with his old company as a consultant and rented a little house. Two years later he is still in Ohio.
The suspicion is that he had this planned all along.
Cheaper and easier than a divorce probably.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It's easy for us to tell you to go for it...Most of us have already done that sort of thing to one degree or another. Age is certainly not a factor.(I wish I was still only 60, let alone 50.)

Only you can evaluate the "leaving the family behind" factor.

I see two things as being potential problems for your specific case-- AK- weather/ day-night hours are just so different than what you're used to. Growing season is short and you may be over-estimating potential, and the psychological effects of prolonged darkness....(How far north will you be?)

And secondly, the fertility of your plot of land...If it's mostly aspen/poplar, then you don't have much topsoil. Those are pioneer species that thrive where others can't grow.

Go for it, but don't burn any bridges along the way. Don't be afraid to admit after 25 yrs or so (or maybe 4 months) that maybe this was a dumb idea....At least you don't have to worry about scurvy like the Pilgrims did.
Haha no scurvy — thankfully.

For me, we wouldn’t be truly relying solely on what we grow. We‘re looking to homestead for enjoyment, but we will definitely supplement with store-bought when we need it. we also will only be 10 miles or so from the town, so that’s not too terrible. We are near a creek so the soil might not be too bad — plus we can fish and pan for gold 😉
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
We had fully planned on moving our entire homestead from NW Ohio to 100 acres + in Southern Kentucky, but decided instead to improve the 10 acres we already have. I am building a workshop with a 2 post lift, and all the , we built a greenhouse last year, have updated the house, have a new 60x104 horse barn with stalls, tack room, and a indoor riding arena.

We are both 55 years old, and just didn't like the prospect of having to start completely over in a different location with no one helping us, I wish you luck.
I don’t mind starting over — we’re downsizing quite a bit. I have a large home in town, so it’s a change I’m looking forward to —a tiny house, big land — a working garden just for my own consumption, plus a little studio on the property, and a few small sheds for the atvs, wood storage, and possibly a goat. I’m looking for a more quiet pace of life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Is there any chance of you, (and your son) establishing a home place in Alaska on your 9 acres with a camper RV on a concrete slab, with a roof built over it. This would be a weekend project rather than the months long task of building with (very labor intensive) cob construction ?

This would get you on site, and able to build your fences, and enclosures for the animals. You could treat this as a seasonal getaway until all the pieces were in place for you to move there.
This is exactly our plan. I was just trying to work out all the particulars — we know we would have to affix the travel trailer or make it somewhat permanent — we were looking to replace the toilet with a Nature’s Head composting toilet system to eliminate the black water issue, and then put a filtration system to turn the gray water into water we can irrigate our garden with. We would have a well drilled so we would be hooked up to a water source too. Then once that’s squared, we can go about working on the land. We also considered the seasonal “snow bird” route — be we decided due to the sheer distance and all the obstacles to travel these days, it’s better to just get the move done and over with, like ripping off a bandaid. In the end, if we were there a while and decide we hate it, we can always leave and find something else.
 

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Don't forget about rain water collection from the metal roof over your head (camper) into a 275 gallon IBC tank or two. Alaska would be a wonderful place for Summertime solar production with panels aligned southerly on that same roof....20 hours a day !
 
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