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Finally getting my homestead, not in the way that I planned

 
Posts: 11
Location: Appleton, Wisconsin
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After living in small cities my entire adult life, I finally have the opportunity to move to my childhood home at the edge of a tiny village in Michigan. I plan to renovate the house and start working on the land to take care of much of my needs. I had planned to save up some money, buy a piece of land reasonably close to where I live now, and gradually work on building at least a livable space while continuing to work in the city. But then my father died several weeks ago. Not wanting to sell the house or leave it vacant very long, I offered to move north as a caretaker of the house until it gets through probate, and then I hope to buy it. I'm terrified and excited about what awaits me.

The pros of living there:
11 acres with mixed meadow and forest, with a creek.
Small sturdy house.
Garage with electricity.
Sauna.
Lots of apple trees.
Walkable to downtown area with post office, grocery/ hardware store, banking, and a pub which I hear serves good food.
House has functional electric and plumbing, with a septic tank. Also LP heat and electric baseboard heating, which will serve for now.
Electric lines are underground, and my dad has never experienced outages in the 42 years he lived there.
Some relatives nearby, plus my dad's longtime girlfriend, who I can call on for help if needed.
I will be able to keep this part of my family's history intact, though I can foresee many improvements being made.
I will finally be able to try some of the fun things I learned about on permies.

The cons:
The interior is a wreck. My dad didn't like to spend money on home improvements, and it's obvious.
Much decluttering and cleaning to be done.
I will need to commute to a job. I'm likely to get work 35 miles away, and I would be extremely lucky to find anything closer.
Expenses I don't have in an apartment: All utilities, snowplowing, and increased transportation expenses.
100% dependence on a car for transportation.
I don't really know anybody that well in the area. Until I get to know them, isolation. (Actually, being an introvert, this may not be that big of a problem.)
I'll be doing it alone. Gulp.

I guess I don't really have a question. Just kinda updating where I am in life. The house has been weatherized for the winter, and I intend to move in late March. I figure I'll let one more Michigan winter do its thing before moving in.

Thanks for reading, and I'd appreciate your thoughts.
 
gardener
Posts: 1456
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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I'm encouraged that the "cons" on your list are all fixable.  Decluttering and cleaning?  Just take one room at a time, perhaps one per weekend.  Done.

Isn't it amazing what a coat of fresh paint and some new flooring will do to bring new life to and old house?

It's also encouraging that you're being so realistic about the social side of the homestead.  The very fact that you are so conscious about the lack of close community is telling.  It tells me that you will be intentional about finding friends, building community and establishing a support network.  Even for those of us who are introverts, we know that we need community.  So I hope you'll find 2 good friends that you can walk with as you take on this new challenge/opportunity.

Best of luck to you as you enter into this new chapter in your story.

m
 
pioneer
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Stacy Wright wrote:
The cons:
The interior is a wreck. My dad didn't like to spend money on home improvements, and it's obvious.
Much decluttering and cleaning to be done.
I will need to commute to a job. I'm likely to get work 35 miles away, and I would be extremely lucky to find anything closer.
Expenses I don't have in an apartment: All utilities, snowplowing, and increased transportation expenses.
100% dependence on a car for transportation.
I don't really know anybody that well in the area. Until I get to know them, isolation. (Actually, being an introvert, this may not be that big of a problem.)
I'll be doing it alone. Gulp.

I guess I don't really have a question. Just kinda updating where I am in life. The house has been weatherized for the winter, and I intend to move in late March. I figure I'll let one more Michigan winter do its thing before moving in.

Thanks for reading, and I'd appreciate your thoughts.



First and foremost, I'm very sorry to hear about your father.

As far as your cons, Marco covered the clutter.  A huge change can be made really quickly on that type of issue, and it's a fairly satisfying thing to accomplish.
You may find commuting 35 miles in the country is far more relaxing and easy than going half that distance in the city with the traffic, stop lights, honking horns, and just general ugliness that can accompany city commutes.
In my mind, the extra expenses you will incur far outweigh the drawbacks of apartment life.  Want to guess the last time someone walking around their home or playing their TV too loud disturbed me?
I'm an introvert as well, but I can tell you, many people feel far more alone in a city surrounded by people than the do in the country where the people are more sparse, but in my experience, much more kind and willing to help a neighbor out.
Alone can make some things harder, and some things easier.  If you are alone, you do things your way, in your time.  There is a lot to be said for that.

Truly, all the best to you in this new chapter.  You won't really be alone anyway.  You have all of us :)
 
master pollinator
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I third the statements about cleaning. It kind of sucks, but to me is very fulfilling...

I moved into a 90 year old Tiny House and am in the process of cleaning out the basement. Johnson's are good people, but as a lot, few in the family clean anything. That means 90 years of YUCK in that foul smelling, stone foundation home. Paint cans are so rusted, they sheer in half picking them up, thousands of canning jars have rusted lids leaving mold in the food that was once inside, and I have found everything from bullet molds, to well points down there.

But it is fulfilling to just start in one corner, and swamp out as I go. The basement looks 3 times bigger than what it was, and I am only half way done. I just keep plodding along, and for every load of garbage I haul off, I think...no one will have to do this again for another 90 years.


(By the way: getting rid of 1/3 of our stuff to move into the Tiny House was nice as well)
 
Posts: 79
Location: British Columbia
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The interior is a wreck.
- Could use this as an opportunity to gain a new skill set. Just  take it one project at a time and I think you'll be amazed where you are by the end of a year

Much decluttering and cleaning to be done.
- I've been helping my parents declutter... and making money doing it. I sell items the don't need online and split the money 50/50. You could gain some income while decluttering

I will need to commute to a job. I'm likely to get work 35 miles away, and I would be extremely lucky to find anything closer.
- I also live about the same distance from where I work. The commute is through a rocky pass so it sometimes sucks if the weather is bad. However is is rural so it's never to busy and I fill the time listening to audiobooks and podcasts. It's actually something I enjoy unwinding to at the end of a day.

Expenses I don't have in an apartment: All utilities, snowplowing, and increased transportation expenses.
- You can use Paul's book to cut down your utilities like crazy. Not gonna lie, snow plowing sucks! Increased transportation fees could be minimized if you found a job you could work part time' full time from home
100% dependence on a car for transportation.
- I feel you. In the winter it can feel quite isolating.

I don't really know anybody that well in the area. Until I get to know them, isolation. (Actually, being an introvert, this may not be that big of a problem.)
I'll be doing it alone. Gulp.
- It's taken me over a year to start to break into the community. Look for your 'local pancake breakfast' and other homesteaders is my experience. I'm not doing it alone though, I have my boyfirend to drag around with me.
 
Travis Johnson
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Text Deleted: Wrong Topic
 
pollinator
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Stacy

Condolences for your father. Regardless of how close children and parents may/may-not be, parents passing carries real significance. As Travis said, sounds like you're stepping up and moving forward. A big, complicated exciting time. Good to keep the wheels turning. Remember to have fun.

> car... dependent
Very good observation. I suggest you take that situation seriously and consider a couple of things:
1) Find out the best person to fix your car and start a (business) relationship there, immediately regardless of the condition of your car right now. It may require a few false starts to find the right person. Once decided, "take it in" a little more than really needed at first to learn a little about the ins/outs of that situation so you'll be known and know what's there (for car work) and how best to access it. You're right, the vehicle is very important. Worth a little extra planning up front when it's (relatively) straight forward.
2) Don't know how this would fit your life and style, But maybe think about maybe buying a backup vehicle. Starting from your chosen mechanic and branching out in a search pattern (CraigsList?), find a "good" functioning rattle trap for about $500-$1000. The mechanic can help in this. Old cars in these U.S. are are very plentiful and with care good functional vehicles can often be had cheap. Although, it can vary greatly by location. There have been many times when I was damn lucky I had another car at hand. You don't even have to legalize it for the road - most states have a PNO (Planned Non Operating) registration which is very cheap. Just run the thing around the block (sorta speak) once a month and bring it up to operating temperature for 10 minutes. It will be there when you need it in an emergency.
2a) Better _and_ Best: Get to know the old lady next door with the late model Buick she never drives and has offered to let you use. (!!!) Well, guess that depends on some luck, but it's sure worth keeping your eyes open and maybe an extra conversation or two.

Well, didn't you always want a rusty old pickup, anyway? ... <g>

Best luck.
Rufus



 
Stacy Wright
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Location: Appleton, Wisconsin
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Marco Banks wrote:Decluttering and cleaning?  Just take one room at a time, perhaps one per weekend.  Done.

Isn't it amazing what a coat of fresh paint and some new flooring will do to bring new life to and old house?


m



I've been wanting to fix up the place for years, but my dad seemed quite content with it as it was. Now's my chance! It's going to be very satisfying to get that done.

I'm going to estimate that it will take longer than a weekend per room. But maybe not too much longer. I'll be having to live there, and the need for some livable space will be a great motivator.
 
Stacy Wright
Posts: 11
Location: Appleton, Wisconsin
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Trace Oswald wrote:
You may find commuting 35 miles in the country is far more relaxing and easy than going half that distance in the city with the traffic, stop lights, honking horns, and just general ugliness that can accompany city commutes.
In my mind, the extra expenses you will incur far outweigh the drawbacks of apartment life.  Want to guess the last time someone walking around their home or playing their TV too loud disturbed me?
I'm an introvert as well, but I can tell you, many people feel far more alone in a city surrounded by people than the do in the country where the people are more sparse, but in my experience, much more kind and willing to help a neighbor out.)



Come to think of it, I have commuted that distance plenty of times. I didn't always like it, but it was pleasant in decent weather. The worst part of the commute does tend to be the stressful last part after entering the city. But the city I will be near is pretty small.

Yes, it will be nice to get out of apartments. I won't miss hearing my neighbors yelling or being very restricted in what I can do in my apartment. Last spring, I was interested in vermiculture in dealing with food scraps, but there's no way that the landlord would agree with that.

Agreed on the friendliness of country people (except for a few grouches). It's something I will have to get used to again. There may actually be less privacy than in the city, where most people pretty much mind their own business.
 
Travis Johnson
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Stacy Wright wrote:

Marco Banks wrote:Decluttering and cleaning?  Just take one room at a time, perhaps one per weekend.  Done.

Isn't it amazing what a coat of fresh paint and some new flooring will do to bring new life to and old house?


m



I've been wanting to fix up the place for years, but my dad seemed quite content with it as it was. Now's my chance! It's going to be very satisfying to get that done.

I'm going to estimate that it will take longer than a weekend per room. But maybe not too much longer. I'll be having to live there, and the need for some livable space will be a great motivator.



You might be surprised. There is nothing wrong with time-budgeting, but I have always found that clean up take a lot less time then I originally thought it would. I certainly hope that is that way with you.

I also want toapologize for my absentmindedness in my earlier post of not addressing your loss. It was just an oversight in making a quick comment, so I am sorry for the passing of your father. (Hugs)
 
Stacy Wright
Posts: 11
Location: Appleton, Wisconsin
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Ashley Cottonwood wrote:The interior is a wreck.
- Could use this as an opportunity to gain a new skill set. Just  take it one project at a time and I think you'll be amazed where you are by the end of a year


I've always wanted to learn how to fix up a house, but I never really had the opportunity. When I was married, it was always my husband's "thing", and he didn't want me to help. I've done small projects, though.




- You can use Paul's book to cut down your utilities like crazy. Not gonna lie, snow plowing sucks! Increased transportation fees could be minimized if you found a job you could work part time' full time from home


I'm reading it now! Snow plowing is going to be a huge expense, but that's the way it goes up north.
The propane heater will have to go, but that will be one of the last things I do. It will probably be expensive to have that and the tank removed.
I hope to eventually work from home or very close to home. In the meantime, I will have to be careful to combine my trips to work with running errands, maybe finding a carpool.
 
Stacy Wright
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Location: Appleton, Wisconsin
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Rufus Laggren wrote:
1) Find out the best person to fix your car and start a (business) relationship there, immediately regardless of the condition of your car right now.



I agree! I need to find somebody local who can take care of my car when it's broken down in my driveway or along the side of a road. Unfortunately, the only auto repair shop in town shut down when the owner retired, but there may be others nearby. Or individuals.


2) Don't know how this would fit your life and style, But maybe think about maybe buying a backup vehicle. Starting from your chosen mechanic and branching out in a search pattern (CraigsList?), find a "good" functioning rattle trap for about $500-$1000. The mechanic can help in this. Old cars in these U.S. are are very plentiful and with care good functional vehicles can often be had cheap.



That's actually my primary car. I bought it for $1000, and it's 17 years old. The previous owners took great care of it, though, and it has pretty low mileage for a car that old. But I also need something I can haul things in, like a pickup or a van, especially when I start the renovating phase of my plan.

Just run the thing around the block (sorta speak) once a month and bring it up to operating temperature for 10 minutes. It will be there when you need it in an emergency.


I had a neighbor in my last town who did this. He mostly walked and biked, and he only took his van out when he needed to haul something. This was rare, so he had to run it around the block a couple times a winter.


2a) Better _and_ Best: Get to know the old lady next door with the late model Buick she never drives and has offered to let you use. (!!!) Well, guess that depends on some luck, but it's sure worth keeping your eyes open and maybe an extra conversation or two.



Yep, I intend to get to know my neighbors.
 
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