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Southern Indiana Couple Seeking Help To Restore 100+ Acre Homestead To Former Glory  RSS feed

 
Harlan Ort
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Hello all. We are a family of three living on the southern Indiana homestead where I was born and raised. The place was, at one time, 90% self sufficient for a family of 5 but it has gone fallow for around a decade after my father moved away (and before my wife and I returned).

The land is incredibly private, surrounded on 3 sides by a large creek, totally off-grid and includes a pond, orchard, barn, log cabin (where we live), two large garden plots (we only use one of them), and a small spare cabin where my family lived while the log cabin was being built. Most of the 136 acres is forested but there is also lots of space for cow/goat/sheep pasture if- we could only clear the scrub from the land. There is a tractor and bush hog which need some work to get them running again, but which could be used to clear the land as needed. I have located 2-3 sites which would be ideal for building additional homes, if we could find the right people. The pond is FULL of bluegill and largemouth bass.

What we need is an influx of humans who are motivated, have some financial stability, and/or some skills to offer in the process of restoring the land to functionality as a working homestead. We would invite prospective individuals/ couples to come stay for a week or two in order to see if it works for all of us. The cabin (right next to the pond) is available as a temporary dwelling so that you could have privacy during that period, and we assume that any permanent residents would need to stay there until they could build more permanent accommodations.

I will have to leave it there for now, because I have limited time on the internet (we have none on the land & must make do with the local library) but I will attempt to add to this post as often as I can.

For now, here is a photo of the pond (and the little girl who loves it)

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our litlte fish pond
 
allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Harland Ort :Start with solar powered Electric fences, Goats will do a better job of clearing back the last 10 years of volunteer growth, than
your brush hog will! So- for ten years you have been stockpiling food for them!

Find out where the nearest Animal feed store is, and the local Livestock Auctions and spend sometime meeting your neighbors,

In my part of the country we talk about '' People from Away " And '' Generations in the ground '' You will be remembered by the elders
of your community, look up and say howdy to your school bus driver(s) from back when! ( Use your {RURAL} street cred ! )

For a good place to start here is 20-ish videos of Good news- link below !

http://www.geofflawton.com/fe/32461-surviving-the-coming-crises

For the good of the craft ! Big AL

Late thought : Find your free wi-fi places for when you come to town ! and see link below :

http://www.permies.com/t/43625/introductions/Universal

A. L.


 
Harlan Ort
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Allen- thank you for the swift reply. That is all excellent advice, especially in regards to acquiring goats to eliminate some of the brush/scrub. We intend to do that as soon as we can afford to. Part of our current problem (in addition to needing extra hands around the farm) a lack of funds. We mostly subsist on what we can find/grow on the land, and can afford little else. As a result we are unable to use the land to its potential on our own, and hope that with an influx of "fresh blood" we can begin to see the place thrive again.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Harlan,

Sounds like a magical piece of land...I wish my wife/son would consider relocating, as this property and your goals sound like something of great worth if planned and developed well. It should leave the next generation a wonderful legacy...If there is ever anything in my eclectic wheelhouse that may be of service to you, do reach out...I wish you all the best and would love to visit sometime if I am in the area do a Barn survey/restoration...

Regards,

j
 
Andra Haynes
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Hi Harlan, I would be interested in helping you on your homestead. I live in Cincinnati on my own tiny farm and wouldn't be a ble to live on your farm, but I would love to help with anything I could, like buying purebred dairy goats, providing laying ducks, meat rabbits, or growing crops. Let me know if this interests you.
 
John Cierpilowski
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Hi Harlan, I've been searching for property to live sustainably and practicing permaculture. It would be nice to do it with some others if the fit is right. I'd like to connect if you want to. John
 
Harlan Ort
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First of all, my apologies to those who responded so promptly to this posting. I had no idea that I was to be stranded on the homestead for so long, right after making the original posting. Out there I am able to get just enough data on my phone so that I can tell when there are responses on here but not enough to post replies of my own. I have now repaired my car enough to limp into the local town for supplies, so I will use this opportunity to update.

First of all, here are a couple more photos of our log cabin home and our barn.
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Harlan Ort
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You can see from the above photos that the place is quite overgrown. We have plans to acquire goats which would help quite a bit with that problem, but for now we simply do not have the funds. Many of the areas which were pasture when I was a child now have walnut trees as thick as my arm. The fences are full of holes.

The main thing you need to understand, if you are considering getting involved with the project is that after three years of attempting to make this place work for us, we are completely broke. We manage to keep food on the table most of the time (I forage for wild edibles, hunt, and fish every day) but other than that we have very little. Anyone who proposes to live here would need their own source of income... or would need to be a skilled forager in their own right.

I also cannot stress enough that this place is REMOTE. Even cellular signal is very restricted and we can only make phone calls on clear days. There is virtually no way to surf the internet out there- even if we could afford the bill. In fact we looked into going "on-grid" at one point (at least for electricity) but the cost estimates ran over $10,000 at which point we discarded the idea.

On the other hand, we have a lot going for us as well. One really nice thing- running water. Shortly before he abandoned the place, my father buried around 1/2 mile of pipe from the pond at the very top of our hill all the way down to our house near the bottom. There is plenty of water pressure to run garden hoses, faucets, etc. In fact, the pressure itself is better than many municipal sources I have used. The water itself is fairly murky, but we do use it for watering the garden and washing dishes. In the future we hope to install some sort of micro-hydroelectric setup to generate power for lights, cellphone charging, and music. The pond has enough runoff from the field around it that it never seems to get very low- even when we had a pipe burst and run wide open for two months during the worst drought in recent memory. With proper management I am confident that it could supply the power needs of my family and probably at least one more. Since the water is plumbed all the way to our house (and to one of the locations I mentioned as another possible home-site) the power generation could happen right next to the battery bank, eliminating the need for any long runs of wire.

I will leave it there for the moment, although I plan to make another trip into civilization tomorrow if my vehicle will make it so any questions should be answered at that point.

Oh, I nearly forgot. Here are a couple more photos. They are a couple of years old, but they show the cabin on our lake which is currently not occupied and would be available for prospective homesteaders to live in while building more permanent dwellings.

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Harlan Ort
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I sent a small list of ideas i have had, regarding ways to use this place, to a member on this forum and realized that maybe I should post them here as well. Here is the copypasta:

Among the concepts I have toyed with are:

-Cheese production (via goats or sheep) We have the barn with milking room already built & just waiting for livestock.

-Eggs/poultry. We have a chicken house already built, although I personally love ducks and the (much) higher price of duck meat/eggs seems to make this a very attractive option.

-Mushroom production. We are already growing shiitake and oysters, and attempting others. If we ramped up production, that might be a profit maker.

-Fermented pro-biotic vegetables (Kraut/kimchi, etc) Selling fresh vegetables at market is a hard way to make a living. A lot of work is required to produce even a small profit, especially with our remote location. Much of the profit would likely be consumed driving the produce to the nearest market, and without refrigeration there is the problem of spoilage. Even traditionally canned produce does not fetch all that much more. On the other hand, natural sauerkraut is currently selling for around $10 a pound at the nearest co-op grocery. That is a pretty amazing "value added" scenario. One possibility I see is creating custom made vegetable ferments by subscription through the mail. A customer could specify exactly what they want based off an extensive menu, and how often they want to recieve them. Even after the cost of shipping, I could be very competitive compared to the prices I have seen- and I could offer far more variety.

-Bed & Breakfast- specializing in wild edibles, wild meat and pro-biotics. This idea is pretty far out, maybe sort of crazy... but it would make use my very best talents. Guests could get a taste the permaculture/homestead/foraging life. Foodies & gourmets could LITERALLY taste this lifestyle and enjoy flavors which are impossible to get in any ordinary restaurant... pokeweed and morels with a duck egg hollandaise, anyone? If I could put my skills as a chef to work while still living on and farming this land, that would seriously be a dream come true.
 
Mick Fisch
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Where in southern Indiana are you located? I'm over in Evansville and might be willing to donate some time to your project if you're nearby.
 
Lasonya Pringle
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Sounds interesting. Could I contact you outside this forum?
 
Harmony Rose
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Hello Harlan! I sent you a "mooseage"...we are very interested in helping you! Blessings!!
 
April Blakley
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Hi! I am interested in such an opportunity. I have my own financial means and my own car. I am drug free, compassionate, a hard worker, and have knowledge of farming, gardening, cob house building, soap and candle making, canning, and many other skills. Email me please if you want to talk further at alblakley@aol.com
 
Joe Walker
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I'm highly interested in this opportunity. I'm hard worker, outdoorsman, grew up working on farms and originally from indiana. Please email me livewildforlife@gmail.com
 
Paula Green
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i just saw your post and wondered how things are progressing. My partner and I are currently searching for our homestead site in southern Indiana and we am looking to connect with like minded people for support and input, as this is proving to be a difficult and lonely endeavor. Where axactly are you located in Southern Indiana? We are looking in the Salem, Milltown Marengo area. Hope things are progressing for you, Paula and Vern
 
laurel nobilette
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Hello, my partner and I are looking for something like what you are describing and willing to relocate. if you are still looking, please feel free to email me at laurie.nobilette@gmail.com. thanks!
 
Sunny Baba
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Location: Northern New Mexico, 7600'elevation, 24" precip
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Hi Harlan......... We just purple mooseaged you.... we have 30 years experience living very REMOTE.......... homesteading and growing 90% of what we eat......... making our own clothes, etc..... we have a steady life long income and a herd of dairy goats.......... lets get to talking.........we are ready and able and willing.......... thanks Sunny
 
Sunny Baba
Posts: 69
Location: Northern New Mexico, 7600'elevation, 24" precip
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Hi Harlan............ Have you found your people..? Are you still responding to us (people) interested in what you have been offering..? We emailed you over a week ago... still no response... did you vehicle brake down..? or are you simply too busy on the homestead..? We are still Very interested..... We would Love to hear back from You... Blessings on us all..........Sunny
 
Mike Cavalieri
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Dont want to post this multiple times, we are interested you can view all of our information at this thread
http://www.permies.com/t/56378/intentional-community/Hard-Working-Family-Live-Work
 
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