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Young Homesteader Needing Guidance

 
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Me and my boyfriend are soon to be 21. We've lived in rural Indiana all our lives and have come to the decision we want to be Homesteaders and basically fend for ourselves. He is set on moving to Alaska, but I am not made to be in that kind of winter. If anyone has any tips on the best places to move to for homesteading, please let me know whether its the state or an actual city. Any tips on farming and making the house itself are great too. Thank You
 
pollinator
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Welcome, Kristina, and congratulations.

If you are set on being as self-sufficient as possible, you will need to determine how exactly it is you want to live. Unless you have a shit tonne of capital, you aren't going to be growing citrus in Alaska, for instance.

It might be helpful to sketch out a list of the kind of things you want to grow to feed yourselves, the kinds of, say, fruit trees you want to be able to grow, anything like that. Also, what do you two do for work? Unless you're independently wealthy, you'll probably need to work an outside job to make the transition to full homesteading work, which will last probably as long as it takes to get profitable systems up and running on the land.

Once you have an idea of your wants and needs, you can then start narrowing your search area.

In order for anyone to be able to give you any useful guidance, you need to give us some more information. Otherwise, I doubt anyone is going to be able to help you out.

Don't give up, though. Let us know what you decide, and good luck.

-CK
 
pollinator
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I moved to Alaska. But I moved back to the Midwest. Winters there are not just cold, but long and DARK. Gardening isn’t easy there. You’d need a greenhouse, AND bear protection. The growing season, even with a greenhouse, is very short. People try to grow fruit trees in greenhouses there, but with limited success.

Want to raise goats or chickens? You’ll likely attract bears. Grizzlies, not just little black bears.

Land was more expensive, on the whole, anywhere reachable by a road (even a barely passable with a 4x4 dirt road) than it is where I live. 2 acres and a yurt up there cost as much as our land with house and barns. And if you find land to build on, every little thing you need in the way of materials is going to cost way more than it does in the Midwest. Not just a little more. A LOT more. Everything costs more there. Because everything has to be shipped up there. And shipping is EXPENSIVE.

How about finding land in Indiana? Or across the border in Illinois? There’s good land in both states, available for a lot less than you would pay up there. And you can actually grow food in the Midwest. You can actually eat well on what you raise.
 
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Several suggestions:

~Do some wwoof'ing to make sure you "like living on the land".

~Check out Amish communities. It's lots easier to homestead and get basic where there is existing infrastructure. It's hard to homestead where there is no feed mill/animal auctions/etc.

~Look on ic.org. There are so many existing communities that have aging owners, just begging for young folks to come and take over and run the place. --You don't need to re-invent the wheel. It already exists.

~And make sure that if this is what you want to do, you do it with a partner who wants to same. Doing what you don't like, living where you don't like, is not very likely to work in the long run. My experience has been that a partner who is your "soul mate" is a more enjoyable life story than someone who is just really attractive or just mostly right. Its sounds maybe a bit trite, but, a relationship that doesn't continue to grow togetter, will ultimately grow apart.
 
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Kristina Duvall wrote:Me and my boyfriend are soon to be 21. We've lived in rural Indiana all our lives and have come to the decision we want to be Homesteaders and basically fend for ourselves. He is set on moving to Alaska, but I am not made to be in that kind of winter. If anyone has any tips on the best places to move to for homesteading, please let me know whether its the state or an actual city. Any tips on farming and making the house itself are great too. Thank You



I would chose something you can more easily survive then Alaska, where there is a longer growing season, you have enough water and so on. Short winter with not so many frost is nice. Those climate zones might be a good starting point and check out where and at which places there is something to buy. You might need to travel a bit to check out some offers, to get a feeling what is offered at which price, which is often negotiable. Google-Earth can be helpful to check/rule out places without visiting.

Presuming you are financial limited look at good offers, sometimes things are cheaper if there is for instance just an access (by car) path missing, though it might be quickly made with an excavator (rental) on a weekend? So that at least some 4x4 car can easily reach your new home.
 
pioneer
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you are rural...so am i, i will spare you the hardships of what you already know...

i lived in alaska (delta junction) while my husband was stationed there at ft. greeley...seems so long ago...and it was :) we were young and full of p*** and vinegar :) we loved exploration and the sense of adventure...alaska was his dream...and loa and behold...off we went :)

i have never experienced such a time as that since...every day was full of incredible moments...making memories that make or break you...short of it is this, im older now...the three beautiful boys that he gave me before we left there...10 months between their birthdays...LOL... have grown up into wonderful young men...i lost him all too soon, years ago after we came back down to the lower 48...and i would not trade ONE SECOND of our adventure there...we ALWAYS dreamed of going back one day after we came back down and 'learned a little more about homesteading' and for us, that day would never come...oh...id go back yesterday if only we could :)

darlin...if ya want alaska...GO TO ALASKA...it is a harsh but wonderfully amazing place!!! :) do your research...take a short adventure in the spring (july, LOL) if you can so to test the waters if you want...and can afford...while alaska is more expensive for some....we found it to be quite rewarding...we fished, hunted, grew a small greenhouse garden...but mostly we foraged in the warmer months and found sooooo many wonderful edible wild plants (including berries that quenced our desire for fruit... :)  

i have a friend who teaches in the bush there...he loves it...oh how we batted around him going...lol...just do...life is short....just do :)  sooo....back to reality...lots of places in the lower 48...i now homestead between the ozark and ouachita mountains in arkansas...back home again...2 boys have grown and gone, and our oldest homesteads close by...things have changed for me...in ways i never could have known they would...and i love it here as well...cause i love homesteading... :)

will i ever go back to the place where dreams were made real for me?  naaahhh  probably not.... :)  BUT i will ALWAYS remember...i will ALWAYS remember alaska!!! hope this helps...saddle up and ride...if ya decide to go...there are lots of folks God puts in your path along the way to hold your hand...alaska is hard...granted...but we are never alone...depends on what you're willing to do, i suppose :)

 
pollinator
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NEEDS
Heating
Cooking
Electric
Housing
Food Production
Transportation
Healthcare
Income

On one end you could just find a good paying job in alaska or any state/city and move living like any avg Jones living from paycheck to paycheck, paying rent/etc. But maybe you guys are thinking of buying 2acres cash. Then setup a 4-season tent ($300) with two backup tents. Shower at the local gym, wash clothes at the laundry mat, foodstamp/food bank for backup/winter food, day labor work for income. Zero healthcare/pregnancy/injuries. Then slowly buildup saving to build a house foundation+walls+roof for $20,000. It sounds like a fun and wild thing to do. I say go for it.

 
gardener
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Hi Kay! Welcome to Permies.

May I suggest Tennessee, it's where I'm from and where I'm starting a small farm with my wife. Land prices here, as with anywhere else in America, can vary depending on how close to a city it is, wether it is raw land or already has a house on it, is on a flood plain or directly under high tension power lines, is next door to some undesirable noisy/smelly industry, is on a steep hillside or is more flat, has water on it such as a pond or creek, and the list goes on. I think it's important to consider what kind of homesteading you want to do, which will reflect on how many acres you need to do those things. For example, just gardening and growing fruit trees usually requires less land than wanting to do those plus raise cows. A couple years ago we purchased land for a little over $1700/acre. Here's a few things about Tennessee to consider: There is an average of eight frost free months per year, great for gardening. We get plenty of rain, sometimes too much. TN doesn't have a state income tax, but we do have a high sales tax. Everywhere will have some kind of bad weather or extreme event that can threaten a homestead or farm. Tennessee gets tornadoes and hail, but we don't get hurricanes, blizzards or (hardly ever) wildfires.

There's a lot to consider when choosing a place to settle down and make a life. I wish you guys the best.
 
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Jim Fry has a point. There are lots of once-homesteaded farms that lay fallow, including my Uncle's, whose kids went to the city 80 years ago. Mostly abandoned since 1976, the Missouri forest is now reclaiming it and it's good land near the Mississippi. There must be thousands of such properties. You could be re-homesteaders. Teri Morgan makes an inspirational case for going for it in Alaska and making dreams come true, but bear in mind that her husband was military near a base with access to a BX, commissary, healthcare of any kind, and reduced prices when shopping on base. If you don't have such support, your dream-making will be a lot harder. But nothing says you have to stay forever. You can go and build memories and experience in such a place but always have an option to leave. Good luck.
 
teri morgan
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Wilmer Smith wrote:Jim Fry has a point. There are lots of once-homesteaded farms that lay fallow, including my Uncle's, whose kids went to the city 80 years ago. Mostly abandoned since 1976, the Missouri forest is now reclaiming it and it's good land near the Mississippi. There must be thousands of such properties. You could be re-homesteaders. Teri Morgan makes an inspirational case for going for it in Alaska and making dreams come true, but bear in mind that her husband was military near a base with access to a BX, commissary, healthcare of any kind, and reduced prices when shopping on base. If you don't have such support, your dream-making will be a lot harder. But nothing says you have to stay forever. You can go and build memories and experience in such a place but always have an option to leave. Good luck.



this is EXACTLY right...and something i didn't think of really...i am glad you brought it up!!! i have truly found that no matter where i go...what i try to do...there is ALWAYS a way to get there...and a way to get er done... sometimes i forget the things along my journey that made life a little easier... and certainly the healthcare (actually, jon was a medic  bx, commissary, and the friends we made were so very important to our success in alaska...as were the 10 bars and 1 church...  i will say though...honestly...i think that knowing what i know today...i would go right back without all of that...jon just had to go...and well...i never could say no to that pretty face... ive always been one to jump right in instead of wading around....we lived off post, so, going on post meant going through a LOT just to get there, didn't go a lot... i left the lower 48 one person, and certainly came back another...

its all risk...no matter what you do or where you go...you can minimize that...but without it...whew...what kind of life would that be...i wouldnt want to know...i live for risk!
 
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simply for homesteading in a region that is alaska-ish, i'd aim for a region in zone 6 or zone 7 with good average annual rainfall. Not sure AK has anything that fits those requirements. coastal pacific northwest might be a good alternative.  
 
teri morgan
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hey yall

just found this topic and thought of you...
check it out and ask away... :) primary source...cant get any better than that...except that they are on permies...so, right at your fingertips...seriously...this could be a tremendous resource for you...as you make your decisions...

https://permies.com/t/105546/Growing-food-Alaska
 
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