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Phyllis Le Chat
Posts: 3
Location: West Chester, PA
bee books cat
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Greetings, and thanks in advance for any advice for my situation.  I'm 60, leaving a 24 yrs. long relationship/marriage, and hoping to relocate back to Washington or Colorado (or someplace similar) to buy some land to care for, put some effort into, and recuperate - my needs? I have chronic pain from arthritis, fibro, Lyme disease and am looking specifically at states with legal recreational pot - not a stoner, just pain management to get through the day.  I need access to good health care just in case something goes out of whack, like my diabetes.  I lived on a farm in Oklahoma as a girl, so have past experience w/critters, freezing, canning, gardening, maintenance from a child's perspective.  I do know I have no desire for any critters - well, maybe something low maintenance.  I don't want a lot of critters relying on me.  I'll have around $130,000 as my 'buy out' from spouse to start my new life.  I've read research that it's not the dampness or dryness of a place that impacts pain, but the diurnal variations, low barometric pressures (elevations) that are common pain elevators.  For everything else, you hunker down when necessary with a blanket and a heating pad, and a vaporizer.  I'm just looking for a small parcel - 1-5 acres - to raise plants for pollinators, some food, herbs, dye plants, and catmint for Mr. Henry, my 16-yr. old cat.  I'm no Helen Nearing, that's for sure!  I can't take heat AND humidity, and backbreaking work is in short shifts.  I'm able and willing to do some alt home-building like cob or tiny house, but would like some grid service - sewer, water, a real bookstore, UPS, lol.  I'm not a hardcore homesteader, or off-gridder  - I need healthy work to regain my health in an area with some access to amenities like groceries, socialization, classes, mail service - I get my meds through the mail - and it's just going to be me doing everything.  I love living near nature - forests, water - and am looking at the Sequim, WA area because I love small coastal communities, and Glenwood Springs, CO for the walkability and mineral springs, but I don't want a tourist takeover town.  I can see myself renting a place while I scope out the area.  I'm an artist, looking for some privacy but not isolation, to paint, do my photography, and go about my daily duties.  I want some community to be involved with, a part time job.  I've lived all over the country at some time or other, from East to West, North but not South, and am open to states have a lot of personal freedom, and offer healthy, livable places to put down roots.  I know I need to consider taxes, zoning regs, soil, climate, politics - I'm a registered Independent.  I want to work with the soil I have, grow what will grow on that land with the rainfall it gets, in the climate I've chosen - resilient landscaping/farming as in "Planting in a Post-Wild World" by Thomas Rainer & Claudia West. Sorry for the verbiage, what it boils down to is, besides researching the internet, reading books on my Amazon recommendations list - how do I find healthy, livable land - how do I learn what the different vegetation means when I do a walk over, what's good or bad about a parcel - I find land, then how do I assess it for livability?  I've heard that it's very difficult to find small parcels with access to paved roads, good water.  I do want to be largely self-reliant but that may be more than I can handle on my own with limited finances and pain issues.  How do I create a checklist, what is realistic for me?  What's the most practical place to start?  I'm really researching myself into a state of anxiety because I don't want to make a foolish, avoidable, newbie mistake and I can't afford to get this wrong. I would esp. appreciate any feedback from women of similar circumstances who found their way into self-reliance on 5 acres or less.  I apologize if this is the wrong place to turn to for advice, and appreciate any effective response(s).
 
Michal McQuaite
Posts: 2
Location: South Central PA
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I just happened to pop in after a long absence and was very interested in your post...I am also in a similar situation as far as health concerns go...I can not take the humidity and heat either, together anyways. I've been wanting to make this change myself for a few years, and love the Idaho mountains...though, I'm sad to say I've never been, I have this deep and unexplained pull to the area...I have lupus and FM, and arthritis, just recently had my thyroid removed and must have RAI treatment...I NEED to get out...Clean water, air, and grow more of my own healthy food...I will be following your story....please post any progress you make. It sure gives me encouragement to read that another single lady is wanting to make the same changes, and that we are brave enough to try. Personally though, I want/need more critters and solitude than you seem to need, but that's cool....just encouraging to see the initiative. Wishing you all the best!
Stuck in PA
 
Phyllis Le Chat
Posts: 3
Location: West Chester, PA
bee books cat
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Greetings, Michal - I appreciate your comments, and what a coincidence you're also in PA.  I don't focus on pain, but this past year have had injuries that exacerbated the problems and with the coming of winter, I just don't want to live here anymore.  I really miss living on my own piece of property, the process of studying the land for a year or two, designing and redesigning to suit the circumstances, planting and watching things grow over the years, and regaining confidence by learning new skills and being able to handle most situations on my own or with the help of a community.  I've contacted a realtor in the Sequim/Naragansett area to hopefully get leads about available lots of land w/some form of housing.  I also get news/weather feeds from that area, so I can track temps., precip., and local happenings to get a feel for the area, and am planning to fly to Seattle from mom's in OKC this month, catch the little commuter plane and fly into Port Angeles, rent a car and scope out the area.  I wish I had a place in mind that was nearer my current location, but either the climate or the economy seems unapproachable.  I miss the Pacific NW, always wanted to live in a coastal area.  Plus, only Oregon, Alaska, Washington, and Colorado have legalized recreational 'smoke' so far, which is a top priority.  The Sequim area grows more lavender than any other area in the U.S., I'm familiar w/the kind of climate/soil that requires.  It's also known as the sunniest area in the Pacific NW, but is in a 'rain shadow' due to the Olympic Mtns.  Property is expensive, but I'm hopeful with research I can find a suitable place.  I want to be able to do activities outdoors year-round without having to put chains on my tires or dig out from deep snow or wind drifts, so many parts of the country are not appropriate, although I'm flexible if something good pops up on my radar.  I was given the suggestion of Michigan's lower peninsula, Thank you! which I investigated.  I love New England, but as I remember from living up that way in the 70's, the people could be very unwelcoming and being raised in the Midwest/Wyoming areas, I'm not used to the 'outsider' treatment. I have skills and certification in Vegan cooking, herbal medicine, theatre work - acting and costuming, clothing design and making dog jackets, work with shelters doing animal portraits, am a good container gardener and designed a certified Wildlife Habitat in my qtr. acre backyard in Illinois that was self-sustaining after the first two years, cared for a feral cat colony and spoke before the Elgin City Council about regulations for trap/spay/vaccinate/release as opposed to poisoning the critters, on and on for skills and jobs so think I can find a way to support myself anywhere.  I'm also a licensed/ordained secular minister and can do weddings of cats to dogs, people to people, just no nude jumping out of planes, lol, along with burials and grief counseling.  My real love is being my own boss, working with the soil and growing things, and teaching to enable people. I follow Stoic philosophy, and it's all about tranquility and virtue, giving to the community, working with the land, and joy.  I believe some regulations are necessary to protect us from one another, and foreseeable catastrophes, so I'm not anti-gov't.  I don't want to avoid people, so I'm not looking for isolation.  I like chickens, they have some great qualities plus are great garden assistants, but I don't want to eat one, or raise other animals to eat, so that kind of farming isn't in my plans.  I like pigs and other companion animals.   I just don't want to be worrying about their upkeep on the days when I can't even make myself a cup of coffee.  A good dog is worth its weight in gold, and a cat? Best companion, and mouser.  A well planned garden can take care of itself for a day or two and still produce food and beauty for health and enjoyment.  My great-grandma had her own garden until she was 98, and it kept her in good spirits, fed her, and was a source of pride and pleasure.  I want that.  I'm still unsure if my posts are appropriate to this site, but I am seeking information on how to buy property to suit my needs.  I don't have good credit, so need my husband's signature on rental agreements/deeds.  I don't own a car but will have use of one.  I can fit everything I own into a very small U-Haul - it's mostly books and DVD's.  I need a place with some form of heat, running water, electricity, and a roof that doesn't leak, if possible.  I am a poor prospect to intern or help at a place in exchange for room and board because heavy lifting is out, standing on my feet - I would need to be able to sit down pretty often.  I know my limitations, which has its plus and minus sides, like everything.  Right now, the limitations rule, but it's just for now.  The more I do, the more I can do.  I'd live in a Buddhist center while I recuperate, doing volunteer work in the kitchen and/or housekeeping, if I could find one near where I plan to buy land.  If anyone can think of a place or space that sounds like what I'm searching for, I'd appreciate any response.
 
Michal McQuaite
Posts: 2
Location: South Central PA
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Hey there ;0)
We have very differing ideas and desires regarding food sources (I'm a meat and potatoes country girl) and our spiritual needs as well...but I can respect everyone's interests and gifts. We can actually accept one another...respecting the person...well, some of us can in this crazy world...You are very good at communicating your positives and your not so strong points. Good for you...that will help you out a lot...being clear with yourself, and others...puts you ahead of the game.
As far as growing things...I had to smile when you mentioned lavendar, and the coast out there being very good for such things....I make my own all natural, plant based organic hand balms/salves....next year I hope to have a much larger medicinal garden to pull from...I am living in a town now...usually quiet, cept for an obnoxious family that gives me so much headache and heartache...I can NOT wait to get settled on my piece of heaven, wherever that turns out to be...It's hard for those of us with physical limitations...i grew up as a child and as a young adult, being very competitve in sports, as well as hunting, and keeping and training horses...I have to temper all that now. You know, good days and bad.
You mentioned Montana or WY? I think? How did you like that area? I have a strong pull to the west. I want off the coast. Idaho mountains just call my name...I would embrace any region/state with a good climate for health, (the barameter rising kills me!) I've even considered and looked into island living i.e. Maine area....
I have a nice little but frugal stipend to live by every month, but I do not have any funds to make such a move.. I have been considering (possibly) looking out for a situation where someone might need a light caretaker for a season or so, just to keep my sanity untill I can make that final move, wherever...I too, find that once I am out and in that great environment, nature, where peace and silence is just a balm on my heart and soul, my physical ailments fade into the background....so, here I will remain for the forseeable future...please feel free to keep in touch. I'd be so interested to hear how you are progressing...you are doing everything right...getting the weather etc from potential areas you might settle in is a nice touch. I'd also be interested in anyone else like us, who has already found a healthy and healing climate in which to settle in. Personally, I have to have some change of seasons...and I actually love snow. as long as I can have a woodstove to snuggle up to to warm up, lol...Please stay in touch. And keep the faith, and the dream...think positive...I will be sying a prayer for you and you will be in my thoughts as well....Good for you all around!
Take care,
Michal
 
Kate Muller
Posts: 212
Location: New Hampshire
15
bee chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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The are some good ideas on aging in place in this thread.

https://permies.com/t/56826/Aging-place-permaculture

I have periodic stretches when I am unable to do much of anything due to EDS.  When I was shopping for my home in NH 3 years ago I wanted to make sure we could retire here if we wanted too.
My sister who is severely disabled also moved from NJ to AZ in large part due to the cost of living and available resources for her and her son's serve medical problems. 

Location.  Find a place with medical specialist who are familiar with your medical conditions.  Finding someone who can treat long team Lyme is difficult in New England and it may be harder still out west.  You will want to be in an area where things are fairly close.  Most of my everyday needs are only a 15 minute drive.  I long haul to town to get things you need when you are not feeling well can be a great problem. 

Community.  Having friends and/or family near by is a huge bonus and should not be discounted.  My friends made a huge difference when I had 5 surgeries in 19 months and my sister moved to the same neighborhood one of our closest childhood friends is living. 

Get a ranch house.  Single floor living with a very few or no steps is awesome.   Short flat driveways are great in locations that get a lot of snow.

We are in a low density suburban area with paved roads, trash pick up and other farms on our roads.  It is zoned agricultural, allows the animals we want and doesn't have too many restrictions that we can't live with.  We did check the town's zoning, permits and other regulations before we made an offer to make sure we could turn it into a homestead.
We not only looked at the solar aspect of the property but wet land maps and flood zone maps to avoid buying a place prone to flooding, early frosts, and low amounts of sunlight. 

Some of the west has crazy restrictions on water so make sure you can harvest rain water and you have access to enough water to grow what you want and need. 

Having lived in 4 different states in the last 25 years I strongly recommend renting for a year or so before you buy a property in a new area.  Give yourself time to figure out if the area is a good fit.  It will also give you time to find a good deal on a place that will be a good fit for you. 






 
Phyllis Le Chat
Posts: 3
Location: West Chester, PA
bee books cat
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Kate & Michal - thanks for your feedback, comments, and suggestions.  K - I lived in Wyoming for about 14 years, and have NO desire to go back to 'the West' - the heavy snows, droughts, high winds, road closures, tire chains, frozen neighbors, frozen livestock, frozen roads, unpredictable weather, enormous temperature variations in a single day, cabin fever, short growing seasons, never leaving home without taking something warm to put on, something to eat and some water 'just in case', uranium mining, oil rigs and fracking, water rationing, dodging deer and antelope on the highways, wildfires, etc.  There's definitely beauty out there, wide open spaces and night skies full of stars and it's heaven on Earth for some, was for me at one time.  People would help other people because your life or theirs could depend on it.  It's too harsh an environment in those areas for me now, and I was never into snowmobiling and skiing.  It was nothing to drive from Casper to Denver and back in one day just to shop back in the 70's or go to a concert, and that's a few hundred miles. (WY, MT, SD, ND, NE, ID, UT, AZ, NV, NM, KS, OK, TX, CO - which I'd considered moving back to, MN, MI, AL, VA, NC, SC, NY, New England, FL, LA, MS, AK, MN, DE, PA, IL, CA, OR, RI, CT, you name them, I've lived there, stayed there, driven through there, or avoided a few altogether, lol).  I did a LOT of comparisons on quality of life, cost of living, availability and cost of good land, neighborliness, happiness, health care, taxes, weather, crime, water tables, air purity, flooding, natural disasters, and looked up locales on wikipedia and by googling - you can find information on almost any city, town, and state plus get aerial views of many places now.  Various ratings, breakdown of median age, median incomes, availability of housing, population density, toxic dumps and UFO sightings, lol, access to amenities, so much research!  (I love research) I also went by my gut and my dreams and what environments I've loved - coastal Washington won out.  Even though it can be expensive, the area I selected has a high quality of life, a great organic farm network, access to good medical care, and many people of my generation while also having diversity, and easy access to major cities should I want to go 'into town' for a weekend.  The climate agrees with me, there's no water rationing on the horizon, the air is clean, and people are relatively healthy and active.  I can enjoy being outdoors all year round.  I can bicycle around, sit on a beach, go into the forests, enjoy canoeing, hiking, festivals, have easy access to dispensaries for my weed of choice for pain management, and won't be considered an oddball for my beliefs or personal appearance.  It's not too left, not too conservative.  Right now I have 14 doctors on my cell, including an acupuncturist.  Getting back to a lifestyle I treasure will enable me to go back to one PCP and a specialist or two.  I don't need any further treatment for Lyme, I learned long ago to pace myself due to the fibro, and changing my eating habits made an immense difference to my quality of life.  I'll be living around other people of relatively similar values once more, and can fulfill my life's dream of owning some property on my own - at least, I'll find out when I travel out there this month for a scouting mission what the reality is.  If it doesn't work out, it's one less place on my list of possibilities.  I've worked long and hard to keep meeting new challenges within a very restrictive marriage, had many and varied experiences and opportunities to learn how I want to live, to investigate places and lifestyles, gotten my college degree, developed marketable skills, and now's the time to stop dreaming and begin putting dreams into action.  I know what I don't want, have the willingness to do the difficult work of building what I do want, realizing you can't plan for everything but like a true Girl Scout, my motto is it's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it, so be prepared without being anal and get on with it.  I'm really looking forward to meeting new people to break bread with, barter with, learn from, and lend a hand to.  This site has been very inspirational and effective for sorting the wheat from the chaff so far as what I'm wanting to accomplish and good at providing resources and contacts.  I've learned so much from other people's sharing of experiences, the good and the not so good.  Hopefully sometime soon I'll be sharing my lessons learned and accomplishments in a way that's of use to someone doing some searching and dreaming.  Resilient gardening, permaculture, forest gardening, learning to select good tools and how to use and care for them, foraging, preserving, making do, making it yourself, paying attention to nature's signs, learning how to navigate without a compass, being satisfied with so much less stuff, learning when and how to ask for help, learning practical skills for surviving accidents, what to do in an emergency, learning how to savor life - the stories are all here.
 
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