You can look at all sorts of websites (don't forget craigslist) but your best bet when you've decided on a state is to talk to a realtor. a good realtor will set you up with a searchable online MLS database with all available properties within the state. Their list will be more complete than any other website.
Are your parents buying their acreage in Southern Maine (around Portland) or in central/northern Maine? In Southern Maine the market is great but the land is expensive. I'm in central Maine where every other town has a farmer's market and all my neighbors have a garden. The land is cheaper up here and the community is more connected. I grew up in Southern Maine in a place where gardens are posh but not particularly productive. You had to pursue the community and even then it was always shifting. Choosing between rural and urban Maine will make a world of difference and is a largely personal choice. Most of my closest friends love the urban and suburban life so there must be something to it that I'm not seeing. Just don't come into it assuming it's all rural.
When we bought our land we had a chunk of ground where nothing could grow. For reasons I cannot comprehend, the previous owners had buried a ton of tiles right there. Some were broken and others were not. Dig around. There might be something there blocking any roots from getting established.
Yurts are popular in Alaska so I imagine they would be fine in Michigan. There are quite a few in Maine too. They are super efficient to heat because the warm air can circulate easily and doesn't have to go round corners. They have a strong resale value as well.
You can do a search for a shade tolerant tree or shrub with high edibility rating in your zone. I did a quick search for zone 6 and it said that there were varieties of pears, plums, peaches, cherries and many berries among other things that will thrive in full or partial shade where you are. You might also want to look at edible climbers.
I'm on chromium and can't vote. I tried it in internet explorer too and couldn't vote. I want Helena Norberg-Hodge. If someone who could vote could tell us what they use for a browser it might be helpful.
You might want to do some googling before assuming there is no clay near you. If you have a pottery supply store near you, they will have a clay source. They would probably be happy to order large amounts of building grade clay for you.
It sounds like it might be a better choice for your property than a scythe. It works kind of like a scythe too. You swing it like a golf club. I've hit mine against more than one rock and the blade is fine.
I buy dates from them and they are way tastier and fresher than grocery store dates. They have super fast shipping too. I did find that because the dates are so good and because I buy them in bulk I go through them faster so the savings is reduced.
We just bought our place in February and moved in April so maybe our experience can help you. I second the tip to observe. We've made a few small garden beds, cleared a few trees and put in a few trees. Mostly this year has been about clean-up (the last owners were hoarders or something) and enjoying nature now that we're out of the city. I've drawn plans for the land dozens of times and have a huge lists of projects I want to do. My first set of plans make no sense knowing what I know now. Some of my projects just won't fit with our property without a lot of external resources. I'm glad that this year we've mostly done things that can easily be undone if need be.
For resources, I recommend getting a book on wild edibles in your area. This will let you know what you don't want to clear, at least until you've tasted the wild food to see if you like it.
I don't know where you can buy it except for dry comfrey leaves for tea. It grows easily and can be propagated with a small root cutting. Buying some root cuttings would be easier than buying fresh comfrey leaves.
According to some, comfrey contains toxic substances that cause liver damage. Some people adhere to this belief religiously. Others think it is a means of the FDA/big pharma scaring people away from a truly useful natural remedy that they can't profit from.
All that said, I eat comfrey leaf right off the plant. It tastes like cucumber and I find the texture pleasant.
If it is Canadian centered there is nothing wrong with .ca. You won't get as much organic/Google traffic from Google.com with a .ca as a .org or a .com but if you don't care about US traffic then it's not an issue.
It is easier to make a .com brandable than a .org or .ca. If the .com is available but you like .ca or .org better, buy the .com and forward it to your main domain. You'll always have people who will type in the .com regardless.
I didn't buy the course not because I "can't afford it" but because I don't think it's a good value for the price. Just the DVDs for $400 and I'd be all over it. Here's why:
1. That $997 is covering his whole marketing campaign cost. I'd guess $200-300 off each sale is going to cover marketing cost.
2. He threw in a ton of extras that I don't want or need (I've already seen most of his DVDs) in order to justify a higher price.
So I'm not interested in the product he's offering at the price point he's selling it for. I have the money but I'm not going to spend it on this. He can charge whatever he wants. People can justify why they bought or didn't buy all day long. I hadn't seen my viewpoint represented so I thought I'd chime in here as well.
I'm an info junkie by nature and one of the the first things you learn as an info junkie is that information can be had for free if you're willing to dig. If others can't afford it but want the info, you can get a decent permaculture education without spending a dime.
Kat, I looked at your indiegogo page. Asking people to pay for your land and house will be a turnoff to many. It's hard to believe in someone else's dream if they haven't done the basic preliminary work to get it going themselves.
That said, there are two key things I'm seeing from successful fundraisers:
1) They've got a huge following. This is either through an existing network that they're part of or through going viral.
2) They are using the kickstarter as a sales platform. They are selling their goods in exchange for donations. Thus, people aren't really donating, they're purchasing stuff they actually want.
Paul Wheaton and Walter Jeffries are great examples to look at. You can see that they've put a ton of work into creating an online presence and building a following. They've done this over several years. They are also using their kickstarters to sell stuff, not just asking for donations.
Can't it be sold for scrap? Metal prices are good these days and a lot of people make a living off collecting scrap metal. Ask a few neighbors if there is a local scrap metal yard that buys scrap. Or if you really don't want to be bothered with it, list it on craigslist as free scrap metal and the scrappers will be there to pick it up and take it away.
Grocery stores. Ask the bakery every time you go to any grocery stores. Sometimes they have them. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes the clerk has to ask a manager. If you ask every time you go you'll have more than enough in no time.
If there is an easement there may be limitations about what can grow there, mostly excluding larger shrubs and trees that could damage the pipe or limit access to it. Growing edible weeds like burdock might be your safest bet.
I don't understand why Monsanto sued him instead of the dealer selling him the seed. Their case would have been much stronger against the dealer. Unless they did both and this is the case that is getting some traction. Good for the Supreme Court for picking it up. Hopefully it will get some publicity.