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What to do and what you WISH you had done  RSS feed

 
                      
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Greetings,

For about a year and a half now I have been planning and saving like crazy so that I can start a homestead and have little or no debt.  I'm on a good track and my partner and I feel as though we have a good start.  However, being a very conservative and cautious fellow, I wish to appeal to you forum members for some advice.

So, for you homesteaders and other folk:

1.  What do you think are some of the best things to do to prepare for a homesteading and/or self-sufficient lifestyle?
2.  For those that are currently homesteading, what do you wish you would have done to prepare?

Some general background so you know about where I am coming from:
I grew up in the country and know my way around machinery, butchering, having a garden etc.  I currently live in a city and live well below my means.  We have no debt and save a good portion of our income to add to our nest egg.  We cook like crazy, stay healthy, and work to better ourselves

Thanks!
 
                
Posts: 44
Location: West Coast of Canada
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Living below your means is the best thing you could do to prepare.  While I was living in the city, I bought a house that was much more modest than I could afford.  The result was that, by the time I was ready to move to the country, I had the mortgage paid off. 

It helped that the house was in a good area and was worth 4 times what I paid by the time I sold it.  Okay, I got lucky with real estate prices, and times have changed since then, but there are probably markets where that sort of thing is still possible.  The key was to still be debt-free after moving to the homestead.
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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don't buy the first piece of property you find, unless it is spectacular..there is so much out there available right now.

i wish we had bought land with running water on it like a creek, river or a lake..we have a pond but would have rather had a natural water source..

get as much acerage as you feel you'll need right off the bat..and if you can get a few buildings on the property ready made, all the better.

make sure the well is good.

make sure the drainage is good

test the soil
 
                      
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Brenda Groth wrote:
don't buy the first piece of property you find, unless it is spectacular..there is so much out there available right now.

i wish we had bought land with running water on it like a creek, river or a lake..we have a pond but would have rather had a natural water source..

get as much acerage as you feel you'll need right off the bat..and if you can get a few buildings on the property ready made, all the better.

make sure the well is good.

make sure the drainage is good

test the soil


Thanks for your reply, Brenda!

Do you have any tips on finding a good piece of property?  If you had all the time in the world, how would you go about your search?
 
ronie dee
Posts: 620
Location: NW MO
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Find property with no zoning, no restrictions, and great neighbors. Running water is ideal, but a cistern or catchment is better than a 30 year mortgage.
 
Brice Moss
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
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I wish I had left my ex wife the first time she cheated on me; saved all the cash I spent trying to live her kind of life and had a couple years with no responsibilities to live in my van down by the river and figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

only thing is then I wouldn't have the kids and all the stuff I want to do now would seem less important
 
Ran Prieur
Posts: 66
Location: Spokane and near Diamond Lake, WA
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A popular rule in permaculture is to spend a year just observing the land before you do anything. I would put it this way:

Anything you do in the first year will turn out to be in the wrong place.

For example, everything I planted in the first year either died or had to be transplanted. And only after five years did I have a good idea about where to put the cabin.

Also, don't skimp on tools. A thousand dollars is not much compared to what you're paying for the property, and it can buy a lot of good tools.
 
Ardilla Esch
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Posts: 230
Location: Northern New Mexico, Zone 5b
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Examine the land cost versus commute distance very carefully.  We bought a cheaper piece of land with river access, but have  long commute (45 min.).  Most of the time I think we made the right decision., but that is the main thing I second guess.
 
Kay Bee
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
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Make sure you have at least 2 years of good quality food for each member of your household right off the bat when you move to your new land.  Not kidding. 

Having that peace of mind will let you focus on the infrastructure and may keep you from over-commiting in the garden the first couple of years.  It has other benefits, too, but that is for a different forum 

Make any changes to the land before you start planting.  Swales, hugelbeds, install main irrigation lines, stake out the footprints of buildings and live with it for a month.  See how it feels.

Once you get to the planting stage, plant lots of different things to form the guilds and different zones, but make sure to plant a lot of what you KNOW you and your family will eat and like.  I went for experimentation and variety initially at our old place and would have done better to focus on the 10 things that we really liked right off.

Best wishes!
 
Tyler Ludens
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Posts: 9744
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I wish I had learned about permaculture.

 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Location: Oakland, CA
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You might go for an area that is currently suburban, but is rapidly losing its connection to the city. That way, your transition to rural life can happen in-place, and the natural succession process will make some neighboring properties very inexpensive, a few at a time. It will all look like a decline to most of your neighbors, but maybe the best of them will be the sort that stick around through it.
 
                      
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Buy enough land that you can qualify for some kind of ag exemption! I built my house on a lake in central texas on one acre...the taxes doubled the first year. Now $9000. Insane. So I have to work part time just to pay those, even tho I retired & paid cash for my home.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Posts: 9744
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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girla wrote:
.the taxes doubled the first year.


Make sure you review the tax code carefully and see that any appropriate deductions and exemptions are being applied (such as homestead exemption or exemption for elderly or disabled). 

http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/proptax/exmptns.html

The amount of annual increase in taxable value for a homestead is limited to a maximum of 10% per year since the last reappraisal.

http://www.taxremedy.com/forms.htm
 
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