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just turned 18 need advice  RSS feed

 
jack sharp
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I'm going to be out of the house in a couple of months and am looking for advice on what to do from here.
assets:
$5500 of my own money
HS diploma
$12000 of my parents money for school only
strong back

I live in Illinois, but after spending a lot of time with my grandparents that moved to phoenix, I have fallen in love with the region.
my plan so far is to
-start plants from that region
-college
-work as many hours as possible throughout
-try to walk away with as little debt as possible
-get job and buy a few acres out of the way and work on weekends
-rent absolute hovel of apartment
-try to retire early and live off 3%




 
chad Christopher
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Location: Pittsburgh PA
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Wwoof
 
August Hurtel
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Think about not going to college. You are not only very likely wasting money in college, but your time as well. You can work more directly towards your goals, stay out of debt. You can work and save in order to get those acres faster.

 
Li Lee
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Why Do so many people from Illinois love Arizona? It is drying up because the ground water has been pumped nearly dry.
Don't think you can just drill a well because in most areas it's a mile to water.
Hauling water is totally impractical if your trying to grow enough to eat and live on.

!) My suggestion for an 18 year old is to not get credit, pay for everything with cash. Then you WILL BE WEALTHY.

Here is how to find properties available for outright purchase although there is
waiting period to see if the owner pays their taxes. (notice, I'm sending you to a state where
it rains enough to collect enough water off the roof to live on, and where there are no building codes
outside the cities, and where a person can build earthbag or earthship homes.

http://www.cosl.org/negexcel/
In Arizona call Navajo county board of supervisors front desk secretary
and ask for the list of properties that didn't sell at the tax auction that the state
has title to that are available to purchase now.

2) Pay cash in advance by the year for all bills. Yes the utility companies will allow you to do that.

3) Buy a vehicle off of a city or county because it will have been maintained and there more
likely to honestly tell you the real condition. http://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/browse/cataucs?catid=4
govdeals is a similar government surplus website.

4) Before making any purchase buy a notebook and every single day spend time researching, looking at ads, seeing the item in person
investigating the history of problems, repairs. If it's property find out what property is going for, problems of the area,
how to investigate flood maps, etc. You should end up with notebooks that have the prices of everything in your life. How much is a 2x6 at the diffferent hardware stores, How often do they go on sale.

5) Read up on assertiveness training, it is the basis of how not to fight and how to deal with bickering people. It can save a marriage and a family.

6) Before going one penny in debt sell plasma and sperm.



aT the tax lien auctions you bid on the taxes the owner didn't pay then IF they NEVER pay
you own there land. (Never buy a property people are living in)


https://pinal.arizonataxsale.com/
http://www.gilacountyaz.gov/government/treasurer/tax_lein_sale.php
 
Li Lee
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And one more thing: GET A DEGREE.

Here is a link to get a free accredited bachelor's degree that is real: http://uopeople.edu/
 
jack sharp
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August Hurtel wrote:Think about not going to college. You are not only very likely wasting money in college, but your time as well. You can work more directly towards your goals, stay out of debt. You can work and save in order to get those acres faster.

so what use the 5k to buy an acre or two, and just car camp until i get a job? can i build 10'x10' shack to sleep in between July and winter?
 
jack sharp
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Li Lee wrote: It is drying up because the ground water has been pumped nearly dry.
Don't think you can just drill a well because in most areas it's a mile to water.
Hauling water is totally impractical if your trying to grow enough to eat and live on.
I'm not trying to feed myself of land for at least a few decades when the land has enough humus, windbreaks, water harvesting ect to do a sort of greening the desert type scenario.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
garden master
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I echo the sentiments of seriously questioning the wisdom of wasting time/money at a college or university. It didn't work out well for me, or for my brothers or sisters, or for my woman, or for any of my children. Those in my family without college experience are every bit as well off as those that went to college. It seems to me that the primary purpose of study at a university or college is to turn people into debt slaves for the rest of their lives. When I look at the people in my village that I grew up with, the ones I most respect today are those that didn't go to college, but remained on the farm.

The money your parents have set aside might cover about 6 months worth of college. That seems like it's not enough to bother with. Perhaps write it off, or perhaps your parents would consider using it to pay for week-long training courses from time to time in your field of interest. As a bribe, it doesn't seem worth going $100,000 into debt in order to collect a $12,000 payment.

Sheesh, I'm opinionated today, but you did ask for it...

To continue my rant, I'd recommend deciding what you want to do, and start doing it... If you start farming today, then in 4 years you will know more about farming than could be taught during a farming curriculum at the university.

 
Joseph Lofthouse
garden master
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jack sharp wrote:so what use the 5k to buy an acre or two, and just car camp until i get a job? can i build 10'x10' shack to sleep in between July and winter?


$5000 would probably buy 10 to 20 acres out in the desert badlands...
 
Dillon Nichols
pollinator
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Location: Victoria BC
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Things may be a bit different down there, but IMO a degree is a waste of time for most people. It doesn't really sound like you're interested in a career that really needs one; engineering, medicine, etc. If that's the case, why bother? Even if 12K could cover your degree, you won't be getting those years back.

Very nearly everyone I know went to college/uni. Out of them all, under 20% ended up with work that had anything to do with their degree, or the fact that they had a degree. Those were people with a very clear job as a target; mostly they needed a masters degree.

Training for a specific trade/job could be worthwhile, however.

Buying land with all the money you have strikes me as madness. Get a job; make sure that where-ever you're moving has work, and be the guy that is always on time, well groomed, paying attention to detail. If this doesn't get you advancement, move on until it does. Live in a van or a shared house; save, save, save. Soon enough you'll have a lot more than $5500, a lot more choices in terms of land, and a lot more knowledge of the area, and what you are looking for.

Read, experiment with growing on a small scale, collect quality tools as the opportunity arises to acquire them cheaply....


wwoofing is good, but it doesn't pay for your land. I think wwoofing right away would make it hard to settle in to working for a few years... but it could be a good way to check out other places before you nail yourself down somewhere.


Beyond that I agree very strongly with point 4 and 5 Li Lee's advice.

I have some quibbles with 1 and 3:

1) Credit; I use a credit card for everything that doesn't have a cash discount. It pays me a minimum of 1% to do so, and I pay nothing for this as the balance is paid off on time every month. This seems to be very difficult for most people, so if you find yourself wasting money on interest because you paid late/ran short... ditch the card. For me, every few months I get a cheque for $50...

3) Vehicles from city/county; this must vary a lot by location and vehicle type, but when I was looking for a shortbus, the city shortbusses were being sold with 500K on them. The trucks were usually very low mileage, but they were all gas guzzlers, so the good condition was offset by very high fuel bills...
 
Ann Torrence
steward
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  • $5K is your emergency fund. Don't touch it. People with emergency funds do not get in a devastating cycle of setting aside their goals to fund their crises. Life happens, be ready.
  • If you want to try college, take the classes you can afford to pay cash for (thanks Mom and Dad). No student credit cards or loans. Once you blow through the $12K, you'll know whether college is going to be for you and whether it's worth working for. I treasure my college experience, but I didn't come out with a mound of debt either.
  • Get a part-time job, one that gives you some skills that you can sell for the rest of your life. Learn to drive an excavator, shear sheep, shoe horses (seriously, there is a shortage of shearers and farriers). Bonus points for starting a business.
  • Save some cash from every paycheck. Learning to save now has two upsides: you have the money for an eventual land purchase, and you don't develop expensive habits to support.
  • Volunteer. Connect with Jennifer Wadsworth's greening the desert projects if you are in Phoenix. Help with a community garden if you want to learn that skill.
  • Get a library card, it's free. There's a great thread here on 99 books to read in permaculture as a sort of equivalency to a degree.

  • That ought to keep you productive until your special path becomes clear. Happy Birthday!
     
    Li Lee
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    Joseph:

    It;s been a few years ago, but I paid $1300 for 40 acres in the badlands and sold it for $14,000.

    Dillon:

    Just like a used car lot there are newer and older vehicles. The deal is that a city or county vehicle was
    maintained.

    I agree with Ann don't spend the money you have only the money you earn.
    Without a degree you are competing for jobs with illegals of who in Az many employers prefer.
     
    Joseph Lofthouse
    garden master
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    Nobody has ever asked me at the farmer's market for my credentials as a farmer... They are right out there on the table for anyone to see.
     
    Su Ba
    pollinator
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    If my parents were willing to give me $12,000 for education purposes and I wasn't interested in a professional, tech, or government job, then I'd use the money to learn skills. Vocational type schools may offer welding, engine repair, heavy equipment, carpentry, etc. I don't know what is available in your area, but it never hurts to learn skills that may be valuable on a farm.
     
    Dale Hodgins
    gardener
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    Many who discount the idea of higher education, didn't train for something useful that they liked doing. Find 10 people who completed education in something useful and are working in that field. Then find 10 people who didn't do that. Compare their lifestyles and stuff. Then decide which group you're going to join.

    My daughter just finished her first year as a teacher, earning just over $30 per hour. She paid off more than half of her $25000 loan during this period. I know many people who have seen great improvement in their earnings after completion of training. Many have increased their spending and they have not paid down their loans.

    Around here, a kid coming out of high school is likely to earn $10 per hour. That same kid can earn $20+ if he has a driver's license and a full sized pick up truck. The one with the truck, stumbles into many more opportunities to earn and learn than the one without.
     
    Joylynn Hardesty
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    If you choose to try out college, you will be more productive taking online courses. Be sure to do this at a 'real' college. Scams do exist, research your school. While I did not complete a degree, I found that classroom time was often wasted time, and can be better used. There are some classes you may not need to take, rather 'test out of'. I know of one person who earned most of a BS degree in less than a year, buying the books and self studying, not paying for the class but a reduced cost of a test instead, still receiving credit for the class. Granted, you MUST be a self starter for these options to work.
    Learn speed reading. Learn speed reading. There are online free options for this. We do not need to focus on each individual word to have comprehension. Even if you decide college is not for you, learning is a lifelong activity. Learn speed reading.
    Happy birthday!
     
    Alex Veidel
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    Hi Jack, I'm also from Illinois. I'm not going to pretend I know what's best for your situation, but we've got a lot in common situation-wise. I'm 21, from Illinois, and just got married and moved out of the house myself this last November.

    The price of land in this state is absolutely ridiculous, not mention the property taxes that go along with them. Renting is almost equally as absurd. $600 a month gets you a hovel of an apartment here in Elgin. Renting is obviously a better decision than a mortgage on a 2,500 sq ft house, but you'll find it bleeds your income regardless; it's quite difficult to get on your feet, even with a decent job.

    If at all possible, I'd recommend looking into buying an RV or building a tiny house/shack and parking it in somebody's backyard. It's can be difficult to find a place to set up camp, particularly in Illinois, but if you can pull it off you're gonna find yourself saving a lot of money. Family is a good place to start.

    My wife and I are tiny house-ers ourselvs, but we have friends just started full time RV living. You can actually pick up an old RV for pretty dang cheap. Winters are crazy here in Illinois lately, but moving down south could provide great conditions for winter RV-ing, as well as open up more options for parking your abode.

    I also echo sentiments about not going to college. You're 18; stay mobile and keep your options open until you find that one thing you love and can't live without. If that involves college, go for it, but there's no need to blow $20,000+ for a job that you may not care about or ever even find. Generally speaking, early college prolongs adult-hood and education is wasted on the young. You'll appreciate waiting to finish your education until you have a framework to plug it all into.
     
    leah cardwell
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    hi jack what do you want to do? you havn't really said any where what YOU want. Maybe you should find a good ethical investor and leave your college fund with him/her and get your butt out in the world and find out what it is that you want to do and experience. Woofing is a good way to do that. college isn't for every one and not for every on right now, you have time, people will change their carreers up to 7 times in their working lives. even 60 yr olds are going back to school. so no worries and no pressure. Try something that you have never done before, get a job that teaches you something interesting and useful, and be aware of what is around you ,always looking for the great things that are around the corner.
     
    Michael Bushman
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    When you are reading advice, remember, most people are telling you what they wish they could do rather than what might actually be best for you in your situation.

    Getting a college degree used to be a no-brainer and if you don't go into debt, still is for the most part. That said, many plumbers and electricians make FAR more than your average college graduate and don't get into the debt trap to get there. Getting a BA from a local university (and University of AZ is a decent school) AFTER you qualify for local residency is pretty cheap and easiest to do now rather than later.

    People get that real estate is a cycle but they still tend to ignore the reality of it. AZ got hit hard by the bubble but is recovering, I don't pay much attention to that market but overall the market is at a highish point and while it may keep going for a couple of years, it WILL fall again. That of course applies more to housing than raw land which is probably depressed due to the water situation so it probably isn't the worse time to buy.

    So here is my advice. You are young, still don't know what all you want to do and don't yet have all the skills to tack some major piece of raw land. Talk to your parents and see if they wouldn't help you buy a house with some land. Find a roomate to help pay the mortgage, find a ToughShed (some sort of barn/w loft) and fix it up and rent it out on Airbnb.com to help with the rest of the mortgage. Learn to fix and upgrade the property and make it a paradise while you go to school.
    $90k house in Phoenix on 1acre.

    Here is how you buy property, you LOOK and LOOK and LOOK until you can look at a property and guess the price pretty close. Look for a place that is on the border of a better area and wait till you find one that is a good deal. Places nearer the school are going to be more expensive but rent better, places in the hood will be cheaper but often more land. Its all a tradeoff but this way you can be making an investment now, don't have to start trying to fix a place that is an hour+ from a home improvement store, has power and water, etc. Your work improving it will be rewarded with equity, and you can still go to school, plus between roomates and your little bootlegged in cottage, you will have money to fix the place up.
     
    elle sagenev
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    Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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    I think the value of an education is being a bit overlooked here. Sure, if your ideal is off grid sustenance living you probably don't need much of an education. However I disagree that degrees are worthless. I hold a degree and work in my degree field. My husband is the same. We would both like to continue our formal education at the same time we learn from experience and others.

    This is my opinion, go to community college, take a variety of classes, learn a variety of things and get an associates in something. You could easily do that on the 12k your parents have provided and an associates makes you far more marketable than nothing.

    It is also my opinion that money is just a necessity of life and setting up a household of any sort requires it. Sure, you could jump in and hope for the best or you can work, save money and practice skills/gain knowledge first.

    I wonder about people who do not have at least some retirement/ work experience, even if they are off grid livers. People are living longer and healthier but injuries happen and injuries on a homestead really happen. I would want an injury to not threaten my security. Because when you are homesteading if you break your back and can't farm, then you aren't eating unless you can pay someone to do that work or buy food.
     
    August Hurtel
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    Do you have a clear plan with want you want to do with the land? A few acres in Arizona seems like too little for the sort of systems that provide a decent living.

     
    jack sharp
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    I want the few acres so I can earthwork it and establish some trees to provide shade to the soil, stop the desiccating wind, ect. so I can start my own seeds and save money. I would also rather make all mistakes on a less expensive, smaller scale, and get some real experience. taking a pdc in that region is a given. I forgot to mention that I learned how to maintain/ build from scratch windmills from my uncle who does that for a living. Its a marketable skill here in flat illinois, but I dont know about AZ. I'm not really looking for the land to provide me income, but rather save me money, particularly on housing. I agree even if cant get a 4 year degree, I will spend the 12000 learning something useful and/or put it towards an associates. I will definitely look at plumbing/electrician apprenticeships, useful and profitable sounds good
     
    Will Meginley
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    August Hurtel wrote:Think about not going to college. You are not only very likely wasting money in college, but your time as well. You can work more directly towards your goals, stay out of debt. You can work and save in order to get those acres faster.



    A tale of two diplomas:

    I graduated from a public university in the western United States with TWO bachelors degrees - forestry, and natural resource conservation. All told, I spent a whopping $25k on tuition and fees for the pair. During the summer I worked in wildland firefighting or other forestry-related jobs, and occasionally took semesters off as well to work longer and save up money. From the time I started college to the time I graduated ten years had passed, but I graduated with no tuition debt and six years of work experience in fields directly related to my degree. Since graduating, it's never taken me longer than two months of searching to find a job, I have never had to take a job unrelated to what I studied, and I doubt I'll ever have to.

    My fiance has an undergraduate degree in archaeology from a public university in the midwestern US and a masters from a university in the UK. I don't know how much she spent on them, but I know I'm about to go on the hook with her for $50k in student loans that remain to be paid off. Unlike me, she went straight through, relying on loans to cover tuition. Other than a short multi-week summer "field school" she graduated with no work experience in her field of study. Several years after graduating, she has yet to find a job in her field and has all but given up on ever finding one.

    Moral(s):

    1) If you go to college, PAY YOUR OWN WAY - in cash. This (a) makes you more likely to take it seriously instead of spending four plus years in a drunken haze and (b) forces you to more carefully consider whether your love of learning about underwater basket weaving is worth spending 20k a year on or whether reading a few books on the subject and getting involved with it as a hobby while you work a day job might not be a bit more appropriate. In other words:

    2) Be realistic about your job prospects if you're treating a university as a vocational school. If you don't give two hoots about ever finding work in your field of study and are just out for personal enrichment (which was kinda the whole point of universities in the first place) then by all means study whatever the hell you want as long as you feel the product is worth the price tag. Not all quality educations cost a fortune. Not all expensive educations are worthwhile monetary investments.

    3) Even for positions requiring a degree, experience trumps education pretty much every time. One of the easiest ways to pay your own way is to take advantage of student positions and other minion-level job opportunities in your field while you're in school. If that means skipping a few semesters (or even years) to gain good work experience, so be it. You don't get any bonus points with prospective employers for graduating in four years or less. You also don't get any bonus points for going straight into college from high school. Don't be afraid to spend a year or two in the working world first saving up some more money, gaining some maturity, and figuring out what you want to do and whether it requires a degree.

    I would argue that based on the goals you've stated here, not only would college NOT be a waste of your time, it would be downright helpful. You could study any number of topics including forestry, horticulture, range management, soil science, any of the building trades, and architecture that would be useful to you even if you never took a paid position in the field.

    For what it's worth, I also highly recommend wildland firefighting as a way to work your way through college or rapidly accumulate some seed money, especially in the western US. It's one of the few remaining jobs in this country requiring only a high school diploma that still pays a decent wage. It's seasonal work, usually during the summer when you'd be off from school anyway. Terms of employment are generally 5-6 months but many crews are willing to be flexible on your start and/or end date so you can work around the academic calendar. Depending on location and type of crew you're on, you could potentially make better than the median annual income for your area in six months - and be unemployed or in school the rest of the year. In any case you'll do better than working part time behind a fast food counter all year long. And fires don't care about the economy, so you'll always have employable skills - even during recessions.
     
    Ann Torrence
    steward
    Posts: 1191
    Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
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    Will Meginley wrote:
    For what it's worth, I also highly recommend wildland firefighting as a way to work your way through college or rapidly accumulate some seed money, especially in the western US. It's one of the few remaining jobs in this country requiring only a high school diploma that still pays a decent wage. It's seasonal work, usually during the summer when you'd be off from school anyway. Terms of employment are generally 5-6 months but many crews are willing to be flexible on your start and/or end date so you can work around the academic calendar. Depending on location and type of crew you're on, you could potentially make better than the median annual income for your area in six months - and be unemployed or in school the rest of the year. In any case you'll do better than working part time behind a fast food counter all year long. And fires don't care about the economy, so you'll always have employable skills - even during recessions.

    Awesome info. Fire crews get sent far and wide, depending on need, so you see more of the west on someone else's travel costs. And some of the best naturalists I've met are folks who have spent time on wild land fire crews.
     
    Dale Hodgins
    gardener
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    Will Meginley
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    My first degree-related job was on a tree planting crew. Was loads of fun, though I don't miss the sore lower back very much. It's also possible to find entry-level seasonal jobs building/maintaining trails, operating tree nurseries, administering recreation areas; doing general forestry-, range-, wildlife-, or hydrology-related work; and doing natural resource related research.

    If any of that sounds interesting, the feds do all their hiring online via USA jobs. Search for job series 0462 (Forestry Technician), 0455 (Range Technician), or 0404 (Biological Sciences Technician) to explore the different options. Hell, even if none of that looks interesting give the site a once over. They literally hire everything from able seamen to zookeepers there. If you have even the slightest idea what you might want to do with your life, you can probably find an entry-level position trying it out - especially if you're willing to relocate. With nothing but a high school diploma you'd be looking for pay grade 2 and 3 positions.
     
    Mike Feddersen
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    Something to consider, I met a young guy, around 26 years old. All his friends had went for their four year degrees, they now had gotten spouses, they all had student loans they were paying on.
    A mortgage, two car payments, insurance and bills.

    The kid had not gone to college, he had gotten semi training and spent the last eight years having a blast getting paid to see the country. A majority of his weekly income was saved, no rent, no car payment, and the company paid his health insurance.

    There are companies in every state with great equipment.

    God bless.
     
    B. Linger
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    Hello Jack! I am 21 and I have been doing the college route with geology and anthropology. College is worth it if it is training you for a specific skill sets or technical skills. I would only go into debt if your desired job has had consistent hiring through economic upswings and downturns. (if you need to take a 10k loan and repay 11k it doesn't matter if it's highly likely you will be making 40k+ per year after graduating and are only supporting yourself). The classic example for this is... accounting.

    If you are not sure what you want to do I encourage you to take a gap year (and work) and try to establish important skills before pursuing education.

    1. Learn to set your own goals and meet them (even if you don't tell them to anyone).

    2. Learn to observe and take detailed notes quickly. Also remember to know the limitations and assumptions of your observations.

    3. Learn to listen, learn, and convincingly speak to people with hugely different experiences from yours. It's how to change minds and create opportunities.

    I would also chose a climate where you expect to live later. In many case you can start plants from seed very inexpensively if you have somewhere to leave them. You have time, so you can accumulate lots of value, energy, nutrient, and carbon in plants if you start now. Depending on the scale and location it may also make sense to build an inexpensive automated drip irrigation system. You're welcome to message me with questions. - Ben

     
    Cristo Balete
    Posts: 428
    Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
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    This is a bunch of fascinating advice. When I first read the topic I thought of a one-liner. Don't claim you know anything until you are over 50. Even then life will prove you wrong.

    The thing about school is that it teaches you things. It gives you options. You hang out with other people who are interested in improving their minds. College friends often end up being friends for life, especially if you have the same interests. This is the time of your life where investing in your mind is your very best investment.

    Once you get stuff, you won't have nearly enough time to invest in your mind. You will be chasing the all mighty dollar, and your attention will be split in several directions. Did you ever hear about the School of Hard Knocks? That's what you will attend, and it's tough. It all seems to go well until you are about 30, and then it gets tougher and tougher.

    College may or may not be about getting a degree. But if we don't educate ourselves in a formal and continuous way while we are young and unencumbered, (because we learn to stick at something, we learn to hang in there even when it sucks) , later in life we can feel very intimated by people who do have degrees, who do have higher education. That is what sets a person back later in life, is their fear of not knowing how the educated world works, and you're going to come in contact with it whether you farm or become a lawyer or work in a grocery store. You don't want to shut down your options, because eventually your best friend will be your mind, the satisfaction of learning new things, of understanding how things work, whether it's chemistry or engineering or medicine or business.

    If you focus on developing the person you are by learning as much as you possibly can, coming up with a major of sorts so you can try it out on paper first, there are endless, endless social and personal benefits waiting for you in the next 4-6 years.

     
    Cristo Balete
    Posts: 428
    Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
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    Farming is no small endeavor. It involves many big complicated biological sciences like chemistry, biochemistry, plant physiology, soil biology, entomology, toxicology, fluid mechanics, engineering, just to name a few.

    Marine biology is fascinating. Oceans cover 71% of the earth. There are unbelievable plants, animals, fish, crustaceans, bacteria, volcanoes. lava vents, creatures that survive without an ounce of light.


    You might get set on fire by some of these or none of these, but whatever it is that sets you on fire in the real world, you are most likely to find it as soon as possible in a college environment. This is the vast options time of your life
     
    John Master
    Posts: 518
    Location: Wisconsin
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    Consider studying in the direction of natural medicine, naturopathic, homeopathic, holistic wellness, acupuncture, physical therapy, nutritionist, herbalist, chiropractic, personal trainer, biological dentist. Our industrialized processed food world has created a 20-30% obesity rate and people are looking for direction when it comes to gaining and maintaining health. They know when they go to "the doctor" with a problem they will just get a prescription with side effects they can count on or something to cover up underlying symptoms.

    Most of these types of people end up owning properties with permaculture or organic type gardens without the pressure of gardening for a living (not that that is bad by any means but if you don't have the knowledge and the land it can be a daunting endeavor to profit from when you are young). Most of those professions can live in an apt if need be and work out of a rented office, some have low cost of schooling and high profit business (as most of their work is time or advice being offered).

    For instance I pay a homeopathic nurse $100 every 6 mos to tell me my boy is healthy so I can hand the daycare a slip that says he is indeed healthy. that's easy money for her and I am glad to pay her because she is a kind person who has given me great advice.

     
    shauna carr
    Posts: 84
    Location: Sonoran Desert, USA
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    Just for some resources/tips for planting any acreage out here, aka, things I learned the hard way. ^_^

    1. One great nursery to explore is down in Tucson, called the Desert Survivors (http://www.desertsurvivors.org ). They only sell plants/trees that grow naturally within 500 miles of Tucson (so many will work for Phoenix), typically native or naturalized, or a few heritage fruit trees that are grown from cuttings from old fruit trees that have existed in Tucson and nearby for at least 100 years. The will list water needs, typical elevation and sun needs that match the desert. They also list whether it is butterfly larval, edible, and so on. Another great place here is called Native Seed Search. You can get seeds from them online, and they are typically AZ local seeds, often from local tribes, or from neighboring states. There are even some rare, interesting ones, like native, wild tepary beans, for example.(http://www.nativeseeds.org) (I'm sure there are awesome ones in Phoenix, too, I just don't know them).

    2. I cannot find the source anymore, but looking at food forest ideas (if you are interested in that for the desert), the ratio about about 2/3 of the plants you grow being support plants for the soil and other plants, and 1/3 you can use for food/resources/and so on. I mention this in case it can help you in deciding how much land you wish to purchase, for what you can grow on it.

    3. Brad Lancaster -the water harvesting guy - lives down in Tucson so a lot of his information is absolutely perfect for Tucson and phoenix climate, with little to no changes. (http://www.harvestingrainwater.com )

    4. Digging critters are our friends, even when they're not - termites, ants, packrats/ground squirrels/gophers are some of the only ways that the desert soil gets really aerated, water and waste get down in the holes and help the desert plants, and so on - most places down here, the dirt is too hard for any worms, so it's good to know that any burrowing critters are doing a service to your plants, typically. Even if you don't want them eating your structures.

    5. If you use a lot of native plants on your acreage, you'll want to be careful about nitrogen levels in the soil. A lot of native plants here are so good at using what little nitrogen there is that they can struggle or even die if the soil is too nitrogen rich.

    6. There are 5 seasons here: Fall, winter, spring, dry summer, wet/monsoon summer. Getting used to them for planting can be kind of a trip, because you definitely do some things a bit differently. Not hard, but worth exploring before you start any major planting, as sometimes things won't work as expected. Also, having enough cill hours for some fruiting trees can be a problem, sometimes, depending on what elevation you end up at.

    7. Things grow slower in the desert, especially if they are native plants. Also, a botanist acquaintance was discussing forests in general with me and mentioned that desert forests (in this kind of desert, with low rainfall, high heat, and high evaporation) don't have the upper story trees like forests in other areas do. So I figure with food forests, likely that's going to hold true as well, to keep it sustainable. I haven't tested that yet; would be curious if anyone else has?

    And...that's all I can think of today before I go to dig my enormous hole for the Texas Persimmon today, heh.

    I hope you really enjoy it here? I moved to S. AZ 10 years ago and I love it.
     
    Wayne Mackenzie
    Posts: 109
    Location: Sunizona Az., USA @ 4,400' Zone 8a
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    greening the desert
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    Best bang for the buck when it comes to AZ. land is in Cochise county IMO. For a few more thousand, you can get a nice 5 acre parcel in the Sulphur Springs Valley.
     
    Joseph Walker
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    Hey, for what it is worth... you are young, asking all the right questions and getting great feedback. Listen to everyone. Trust yourself without question. My only advice is; save your money for the day inspiration arrives, you will know. My only criticism of your plan ; forget the idea of retirement , life is to wonderful to ever stop exploring , and with the attitude you have now, you will be a very busy and in demand old man.
     
    Chris Badgett
    pollinator
    Posts: 289
    Location: Whitefish, Montana
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    Hi Jack,

    I've heard a lot of good things about this book, though I haven't read it myself yet: http://taylorpearson.me/the-end-of-jobs

    I heard an interview with the author and it sheds some good light on what the future of work might look like, which is relevant to the college decision.

    My best advice is run lots of little experiments and always challenge the assumptions of others, yourself, and society.

    Hit me up over here if you're interested in a contribution to your education if any of our online courses interest you: http://organiclifeguru.com/contact/

    Good luck & have fun!
     
    Jay C. White Cloud
    Posts: 2413
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    Hi Jack...

    I went to high school in Charleston Illinois, but spent summers and my early years in the "Cochise Stronghold" region of AZ and other areas out west and in Florida...so I understand the draw to "travel"...Especially there!

    You seem to have a great head on your shoulders and have made a viable list...As long as you keep making lists and thinking about them...I have only high hopes for you...as "list makers" and "thinkers" go far!!

    I think college (if you really know what you want to do) is a great place to be...If you don't really have a handle on what specifically you would like to study...then take a break...live cheep and learn about life some...

    I see the part about..."start plants from that region"...so I am presuming that is for AZ...I would ask if you have a viable place to plant them? AZ is under a lot of pressure from "outsiders" moving in and trying to make the desert be something it isn't...If you live "desert" then you should be..."desert people." AZ has much to offer in that regard...

    I like the ideas you have about, "work as many hours as possible throughout ..." Sounds like a wonderful work ethic...and if you learn to save (diligently) 10% (20% if you can) then you will reach your other goals without much strain...

    College can be a real fiscal burden on young folk today......I am sorry my generation has created that mess for you...Hope yours can fix it and take better care of the coming generations than mine has...Sorry.. Be as frugal as you can...and zero debt after college may be achievable...Especially with your reflected work ethic...

    I didn't know what to say about the, "get job and buy a few acres out of the way and work on weekends," as that may be too fare in the future to think about for now...maybe?? Try some shorter term target goals and achieve those first would be my advice there...

    On the, "...rent absolute hovel of apartment ..." I might have some assistance there. Perhaps change completely the way you think about living. I have slept outside my entire life...I have lived technically...(by modern social standards)..."homeless" at least 1/3 or more of my life... "Homeless" is a "concept" and not actually a place of existence...I can say that from actually "being one" as I was "told" that is what I was...by others within society...but didn't then nor now except the "label." I have worked with what our "society" calls "homeless" and many don't see themselves that way...Not at all...

    Learning to live life frugally and naturally is a great set of skills that no college teaches...Learn to "live" wherever you are as simply as you possibly can and learn to be happy doing it...Learn to "live well" "within each moment," It doesn't matter if that is a "wilderness setting" or within the context of a friends backyard...Go back to the basics...of"

    Can I make my own closes, and personal accouterments?

    Can I start a fire fast, efficiently and with ease without a lighter or match or other modern device?

    Can I eat and drink without buying my food and water in the biome I currently stand?

    Can I make all the things I need from scratch (house/shelter, utensils, tools, etc)?

    Can I give health aid to myself and others around me with confidence of "doing no other harm further than I need to?"

    Can I defend myself and others and have the wisdom and courage to do so?

    Those above are the basic questions my Grandmother and Elders asked me at 13, and by 19 I was expected to be able to render them in good order...

    Those are the life skills (beyond college) that will get you to..."retire early and live off 3%" At least in my view...

    That's my 2ยข

    Blessings and Good luck!

    j
     
    Sheri Menelli
    Posts: 135
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    jack sharp wrote:I'm going to be out of the house in a couple of months and am looking for advice on what to do from here.
    assets:
    $5500 of my own money
    HS diploma
    $12000 of my parents money for school only
    strong back

    I live in Illinois, but after spending a lot of time with my grandparents that moved to phoenix, I have fallen in love with the region.
    my plan so far is to
    -start plants from that region
    -college
    -work as many hours as possible throughout
    -try to walk away with as little debt as possible
    -get job and buy a few acres out of the way and work on weekends
    -rent absolute hovel of apartment
    -try to retire early and live off 3%



    Where in Illinois are you? My dad has property in Lockport and you might be able to use land and give him a portion of the produce. Maybe even live in one of the buildings on the property.

    I think before you buy property, it might be good to get some experience so you know more of what you would like or not like.

    Do you wan to start your own business or do you want to work for someone?

    The positives about doing some college is that
    1. Your parents are putting 12,000 towards it
    2. I think you meet people that could have a bit impact on your life (I met my husband at my college) or new ideas for professors
    3. if you are working full time and going to school you will learn time management
    4. well, other reasons but I'm getting too tired to write.

    Sheri
     
    Thekla McDaniels
    gardener
    Posts: 1684
    Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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    Hi Jack,

    Where are you now? Still interested in input?

    I think you could see a bit more of the world before you settle in Arizona. WWOOFing has been mentioned, and I concur.

    Did you know that right now at Paul's place, he is offering an acre for $800.00, not ownership, but right to live there and make improvements until December 2016? It is a sort of contest that lasts until then. The winner will get a "deep roots" package, which I think is 2 acres to farm improve maintain and live on. This is the ant village at Wheaton Labs. A fairly new project/ experiment.

    In your situation, you could learn a lot. There are others there building and learning. There are on going projects. They even had a free PDC earlier this summer, just for the people participating in the ant project, and others. I think the idea behind wheaton labs is to provide an opportunity for someone who wants to try to build/farm but does not have the land. If building your own is not what you are ready for, there are a few people there in the project, who take in workers to help with their stuff, so if you are a good worker and interested in learning and don't mind humble fare and giving an honest days work in return for the opportunities available there, it might be just the thing.

    There are the occasional jobs one can do to earn a bit of cash, too, or so I understand.

    I mention it because in many ways you are in a perfect position to participate.

    I think it is too early for you to buy property OR start college. How do you know what you want with so little life experience. You are ready to gain life experiences, then if you need to learn some things you can go to school. Before you make any commitments such as land ownership, you can travel far and travel light. Once you have a job or a farm or a family, adventuring won't be as easy. Later, if you want to farm, you can be a farmer with or without owning your own land, later you can do anything you want, but how do you know at this point what there is to want?

    If you wooffed at permaculture and sustainable farms, you would see many different ways of doing things, and see why the people are doing them that way. It is a horizon broadening experience that lasts a life time. As a WWOOF host, I always welcomed the people who were taking some "personal time", not meaning a day off at my expense, but some time out of the mainstream agenda of school college job reproduce retire die to figure out what they want to do with the next phase of their lives.

    My advice: have an adventure or two. If you are a willing worker, an honest man, with a good attitude, there will be people all over the world, or just North America, who will be glad of your company and your help. They will teach you everything from earthworks to farming, animal husbandry, bread and cheese making and more.

    Look at the wealth of information on this site, all from people doing the things they are talking and posting about. I can't speak for anyone on the site, but there are people who are actively looking for traveling helpers. And they are doing many of these things, and can provide one on one teaching, and opportunities to gain skills.

    I vote no land, no college and don't spend your $5,000. Keep it for emergencies, and to get to your first adventure.

    Good luck, and have fun. Keep your eyes and heart open.

    Thekla

    PS, there is always the Peace Corps. Have you considered that?
     
    Socrates Raramuri
    Posts: 59
    Location: The Hague; Morocco asap
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    My son is 7... but this is what i'm conveying to him as his intellectual abilities make it possible for me to do so; as he grows up, he will hopefully see most of it with his own eyes. Since you (likely) haven't grown up with someone like me and have a lot of ideas already that actively defy any ideas i have, i feel i should tell you:
    - this is 2015; universities and colleges are outdated. You have internet. USE IT. Why use outdated knowledge and tactics? I've been collecting valuable tidbits i find online since 2009 at a free message board i set up for this purpose; i propose you spend a few months working through it, quite frankly
    - agriculture is outdated. Permaculture is the future of any informed individual. But society and it's ideas and values are still based in agricultural ideas. Try to accept this intellectually as you probably won't yet be able to do emotionally: there is no middle ground between agriculture and permaculture. Choose...
    - buying land is unnecessary. I was on the island of La Gomera in 2009 and 90% [!] of the terraces on that island are abandoned because the locals are ignorant of the principles that would allow them to put them to use. [Using all of the terraces was feasible back when they used slaves.] Should you BUY such an abandoned piece of land? Why? If you were to just use it, you would actually be adding value to it; why should the owner care? But in many cases these lands have disputed ownership because the original owner died 50 years ago and his children all got a small part of it and now none of those children even live anywhere near that land. Hell, in the case of La Gomera, they not only don't live on the island, they live on different continents! Money is limited; when it's gone, it's gone. But lands that have been abandoned from ignorance are everywhere. Pick a piece and spruce it up and in the off-chance that someone comes complaining, move on to the next or drop that piece and focus on others you also have going. Why put all your eggs in one basket? That's just foolish.

    I won't even get into the madness that is the tax system/government; by owning land you are putting yourself into a world of hurt. Talk about stress.
    Guerilla Gardening is people planting things out there where people ignore the land anyway. It's usually practiced in cities but it can be done in rural places, too. Plant a seed of a tree somewhere no one usually comes and who is going to come harvest that tree later on? Probably no one. It depends on where you planted it. But you can plant 1000 trees; will none of that harvest benefit you? What if 500 of those trees get claimed, harvested, or chopped down? You'll still be left with 500 trees!
    Ancient horticultural practices used to have most regions full of fruit-bearing trees and people would just walk around enjoying abundance. Consider that practice that lasted thousands of years and how you could be a part of that proud heritage. But the same goes for vegetables; plant them anywhere. Not only will few people harvest a stranger's plants but if you use uncommon breeds, like black or yellow tomatoes, i doubt anyone will come and harvest the yield. And 5 tomato plants will provide you with all the tomatoes you can eat so just go out and plant 50 tomato seeds and come back later...

    The harvesting is not the work; making patches where a tree or plant can grow is the work. But why does that have to be in one location, let alone a location that you own according to some governmental registry?
    Not necessary at all. Outdated. By being mobile you are free and that is what you should remain until you've got at least another decade of experience under your belt. So one final advice that has 'nothing' to do with permaculture: do not tie yourself down with a relationship for at least another decade. Quite frankly, and i hope this advice doesn't put you off of previous sense, look up older women for companionship. They will welcome your youth and energy without the demands girls make. Only that way will you remain free to live free and achieve freedom for the long haul. Get married when you're 40 or so. It is neither healthy, happy, nor sustainable for you to get entangled with all kinds of premature demands on your situation before then.
     
    Thekla McDaniels
    gardener
    Posts: 1684
    Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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    Bravo Socrates!
     
    Something must be done about this. Let's start by reading this tiny ad:
    permaculture bootcamp - boots-to-roots
    https://permies.com/t/59706/permaculture-bootcamp-boots-roots
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