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I have a vision but no idea where to start

 
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Long time lurker here

Quick Summary:
33 year old wants to go live off the land and run a small farm for sustenance, found land, don't know how to start next steps.


Long Summary:

I grew up on land, so caretaking crops/animals/permaculture is in my blood. I went to art school, and somehow ended up teaching the last 9ish years. Every day I spend away from my passions wither me. I'm burnt out, and belong in the woods. The longer I stay in this job, the more I realize I wasnt meant for this. Foraging, growing mushrooms and herbs, raising birds and living barefoot under the trees, taking my art and small goods to the local farmers market...living with and off of the land is where I belong. What I'm meant to do.


With my credentials and skills, I could easily run a nature and art program, and would love to do that. I could have supplemental income beekeeping (honey, candles, flowers), selling botanicals/mushrooms/eggs. Maybe raise a few sheep for fiber and cheese.

I found a perfect property, about a hundred acres with water.

My dream is to build a completely off grid cob/strawbale home, small and cozy and perfect. I can use my knowledge and skills to host a workshop to get this done and have the emotional support of my family and cherished friends.

I feel stuck in my current job and don't know how to get from where I am now to where I want to be. I don't know how I can make that property mine. Despite having a great job, I only have a few thousand in savings. I know there's help out there, and I'd love some advice on what I should do to make this happen.
USDA loans are cool, but are easiest for properties with existing homes on them....raw land is another thing. I don't want a conventional home either. I want to build something with my own two hands and no chemicals. I basically just want to bug out of most things and just live as a forest being, far from people (unless I choose to of course)

Anyone have any advice?


 
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Counties without building codes work great for hand-crafted homes.
 
master steward
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Do you have a realtor? Usually, they can help with getting you a loan.

Do you have a bank?  Talk to your banker about a loan.

You say you found land, do you have a contract on it?

Maybe the answers to these question will help others guide you in the right direction.
 
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The realtor we worked with came up with creative solutions to a property we could not afford.  As Anne above suggests, start there.

In the short-term, DO NOT quit your day job.  For 99% of people that THINK they can make a living off their land, they can't, and end up losing it.

Make it a gradual process where you start out working on a property just on weekends.  As you gradually make progress, you can more seriously consider cutting your ties to the regular world.
 
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^^ What Michael said. Outside work now feeds your goal.  That's the way to do it! ^^
 
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You really need to read the book, "How to Be Happy at Your Job".

I am reading through it now, and what you are saying is exactly the things it talks about. A lot of your burn-out seems to be with perspective and a few job myths that permeate. I am just afraid where you currently are, you are going to quit, but have no real plan to move forward. Myself, I am a dreamer myself, but it does not good unless you have a plan to get from Point A to Point B. No one can predict the future of course, and the most well-laid plans can be torn apart, but there is nothing for that.

I am not saying you have to stay at your job long term... hardly, but you just really have an exit strategy. For right now, your job can be your ticket out, and then it becomes circular, because your job has a meaning (getting out) it does not seem so bad...
 
Anne Miller
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Having a good job is part of the loan process, without one there is no possibility of paying for the loan.

Keep the job and make your dreams happen.

Haley said, "I could have supplemental income beekeeping (honey, candles, flowers), selling botanicals/mushrooms/eggs.



These are all ways to bring in extra income.
 
pollinator
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If I could roll the clock back a few years and again be 33, I'd definitely do a few things differently  including getting away from a job I hated.  

You say you found land but does that mean you've purchased said land?  If so I'd look at building a tiny cabin, purchasing a second hand storage shed or anything that can provide basic comfort and shelter for a few years while you prepare to built your dream home.  

If you don't have land yet, do what you can now to increase your skills and make those skills marketable.   While it sounds relatively easy to sell homemade products for income, when you realize the minimum number of products that you'd need to sell to make a mortgage payment, it can be a bit overwhelming. Also keep in mind that there will be months where sales drop (typically January - March here).

As horrible as it sounds, you may need to keep the day job a bit longer. We have friends who both quit their jobs because they felt they could support themselves with their candle and soap business.  Long story short, they nearly lost everything, realized that soap wasn't a hot seller and each had to take on additional jobs in the end.  They also had a tremendous amount of expenses every month-rent, child support,  car payments,  food, utilities,  etc...  if you currently have debt, pay it down  as much as possible.

Also when you have your own business,  obtaining a loan is much harder when you're barely surviving on that income, which can be erratic at times.  Please don't ask me how I know this.  

I'm not sure of your location but is there a wild plant society in your area?  That might provide you with resources to start giving talks, hosting and/or participating in workshops that will increase/build your knowledge and let people know who you are and your end goal.  Locally we have a small herb and wild plant business in which the current owner was an apprentice to the original owner and was able to obtain the business after the founder passed away.  She's spent many years giving talks, marketing her products and recently purchased the home next door as her business has outgrown her house.  She applies for and has received several grants too.

So while I advise not suddenly taking a big jump,  I also don't want you to abandon your dreams.  Instead build up your savings,  increase your knowledge and marketability and start scrounging up any building supplies you may need if you have a place to store them.  A few free 2×4s or blocks may not seem like much, but that's something less you'll have to buy in the end.  

Good luck to you!




 
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Location: Southern Colorado, 6300', zone 6a, 16" precipitation
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I get it, Haley. Really I do, as a teacher myself. I bought land that was far from perfect and kept my job. I use weekends and summer to pursue permaculture and have even started a school garden. I recommend you make a concerted effort to get a school garden approved. Nearly every school has unused space or is next to such a space. If the school doesn't have ANY room, then perhaps the city or local community would allow you to lead a community garden in some plot close by. Then you could get a gardening club from your school to help plant and work it. There are multiple grant opportunities for school gardens. In my quick google search, I found over a dozen grants and my first grant attempt succeeded and now my garden is fully funded for the next three years.

Additionally, since you have a few thousand why not look for the most forsaken, cheap, dry, destroyed or abused property out there within a 45 minute drive. There has to be something that is dirt cheap and small. I'm sorry, but 100 acres is simply too large especially since the things you want to do can be done in a small foot print. Beehives and mushrooms don't require much space. So get a forsaken property where you can make a small down payment and use your permaculture superpowers to get it to produce. If it doesn't have water, then use swales, hugels and perennials. If it's poisoned mine waste, then use your fungus and sunflowers to bioremediate it. This could be your contribution to your community and planet. Then once the forsaken small property has turned into a mini-Eden, then sell it for a HUGE profit and use that to make a down payment on the property you really want.
 
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