I have lived my whole life in Northeast Ohio. I love it here and have learned what works best for this area for my needs, wants, and goals. A couple years ago I took a trip to Arizona and fell in love with it! I didn't think that I would really ever move out there at the time of the trip, but I have recently discovered some potential career changes and information that makes moving out there a real possibility. However, I know very little about what would be required, the pros and cons, of living out there. I love my various livestock animals, horses, sheep, goats, and chickens and would want to continue living with them if I did make the move, so more of my concern is how would you incorporate animals into a sustainable system in that climate/environment. Any tips about plants and energy sources/resources would be great too! Also, I would love, if someone has it, some information about being off the grid in this area. My fiance has been casually looking up real estate in this area but gets concerned about seeing "off the grid". He is completely fine living in a rural area and having things like solar panels and the like. His big area of hesitation has been surrounding water and sewer/septic (I have finally semi-convinced him about composting toilets!) I haven't come up with a solid enough reason or evidence to convince him that we would be okay with animals and not having a city water hook up. He is used to having a well (as that is what we currently have, but says that there aren't wells out there so we would need city water to supply enough water for us, the animals, and plants). Sorry that was kind of all over the place but any bit of information or advice is welcome!
I think the main thing to realise, if you want animals, is that the carrying capacity of land in Arizona is going to be much lower than that in Ohio because of lower rainfall. I would guess the carrying capacity of Arizona land to be one animal unit (one cow or 5 goats) per 50 or even more acres. Carrying capacity can be improved with managed grazing but it won't start out that way.
Thanks for the resource! That will certainly give me something to think about and spend time reading. It would make sense that there is less of a carry capacity given that Ohio recieves much more rainfall and is much more lush for more of the year, but an idea of number is helpful since things like more and less can be rather abstract and hard to plan
Arizona is a fun place, I lived at Arcosanti (an architecture community there) for 4 yrs.
Some things to know
Water. While it might seem obvious to think about, water rights is serious in Arizona. Land you might look at might not own the water on or going through it. Water can also be a use it or loose it issue. You are given rights to X amount of water, but if you aren't using it they can possibly reduce your water usage. Water might be owned by the people down stream or up stream. You will want to do plenty of research into the water rights of any property you look at.
Something else about water, is well water there tends to be heavily mineralized. You will likely need to soften the water and remove things to prevent calcification and other issues.
Mineral rights. Often times the mineral rights are separate from the property so look into the possibility of could some one come into your property and dig it up for minerals.
Grazing rights. There is a lot of ranching in AZ make sure you know if rights to graze your property of owned by someone else.
Some other things.
Sedona area has some pretty intense building codes and bureaucratic red tape. It can be easier to live outside of Sedona in Cottonwood or similar than in Sedona itself if you want to avoid this sort of stuff. Sednona forced McDonalds to have teal arches to fit in with the city color code, to give you an example of their bureaucracy.
AZ is an open carry state, so don't panic about seeing people carrying guns.
There is some pretty cheap land out in nowhere land. But as you get closer to any civilization prices rise quickly.
Think about flash floods. When looking at land it might seem dry and without water but AZ has flash floods and the dry river bed or creek can fill with raging water quickly. Flooding is something you will want to take very seriously and look for signs of. Even just hill slopes you will want to consider run off and where water will flow and congregate when rains come.
Be very curious about neighbors. There are a lot of issues with meth labs and criminal activity in rural AZ. That perfect property might not be so perfect due to bad neighbors.
"Where will you drive your own picket stake? Where will you choose to make your stand? Give me a threshold, a specific point at which you will finally stop running, at which you will finally fight back." (Derrick Jensen)
Devin, you lived at Arcosanti ? I visited there about 20 years ago and loved it ! I don't want to hijack this thread but if you think there might be some interesting permies type stories you could share about arcosanti I would love to see a thread about that!
That is just the sort of stuff I was looking for! These are the things that don't get told right up front when you are looking to buy a property. I will definitely look more into these different areas and keep all of this in mind if I do get the chance to move there. Also, feel free to tell any interesting stories all information is useful, even if only for entertainment purposes! This is not quite permie related, but I really haven't had a specific place in mind when just browsing through the information and the little bit of house searching I have done, but I do suppose that I would need to also know about hospitals and any other relevant healthcare information since I would be more than likely working in a hospital, if only at first. I have heard some stuff through others in my career field but that was more second hand and filtered through the people in the field rather than what it is like to actually participate in healthcare out their as a patient, which is always a good thing to know! Thanks so much for all the good tips and information so far, hopefully it will keep coming!
Arizona is a very diverse place, but it is primarily characterized by dry deserts and semi-deserts. There are forested regions, and very different climates than this. I spent a bit of time traveling around AZ and most appreciated the places which had a bit more water! I loved the forested mountain tops and forested regions. Arrivaca, and Patagonia, South of Tuscon were really great places with their creeks and oasis sort of desert diversity, as was the Flagstaff area with it's rich forest mountain scene. I did have good experiences in other parts of AZ, including Phoenix, don't get me wrong. I was especially luck as the rains came while I was there and so I got to see the desert bloom and go green after 5 years of drought. I was traveling by bicycle and working at farms, and spent a lot of time going to museums and checking out indigenous plant centers. The carrying capacity in some parts of AZ are going to be a lot higher than others. Some areas are naturally a desert, while others have been more created through mismanagement.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."-Margaret Mead "The only thing worse than being blind, is having sight but no vision."-Helen Keller
Roberto pokachinni wrote:Arizona is a very diverse place, but it is primarily characterized by dry deserts and semi-deserts.... The carrying capacity in some parts of AZ are going to be a lot higher than others.
Very true. My wife and I love it were we live in the high desert of southern AZ. When most people think of AZ they think of places like Tuscon (where it's really hot and dry) or Phoenix (where its unbearably hot and dry).
Where we live (20 miles from Tombstone, 7 miles from Mexico) it hardly every get's over 100 degrees. This june was a bit hotter than typical, 8 days were it was over 100. The record high here is 107. It get's hotter than that in Oregon. Winter lows also tend to be mild with most days seeing highs in the 50s and rarely dropping far below freezing. My wife and I ride bicycles all year round.
Rainfall in this area is a bit more than in other parts of AZ, a typical year will see 14-16 inches. My house is near the mountains (great view out the windows) so we tend to get about 4" more than places 5-10 miles away (we usually get 20"+), although 80% of that falls between July and September.
With really big rain water tanks(I'm planning 15,000-20,000 gallons of storage), and grey water reuse, it's possible to grow lots of stuff without depleting the aquifer.
"The rule of no realm is mine. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, these are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail in my task if anything that passes through this night can still grow fairer or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I too am a steward. Did you not know?" Gandolf
AZ is a very diverse state. Everything from very high, like up around Flagstaff and some "sky islands" around the state, to very low and extremely hot like Yuma and everything in between. That said, no matter what part of the state you are looking at an average of 16" or less of rain,. Sometimes a lot less, I only got 10 last year and probably won't have more than that this year. Water rights are a big big issue here as mentioned by others and something to be looked at. Wells are expensive and I know of a number in my general area that have gone dry the past couple of years. Down towards the border this is a huge issue with foreign companies buying up land and growing alfalfa and shipping it to the Middle East. They are depleting the water table and many small family wells are now dry.
But in any area there are little gems. My brother bought a 10 acre place at the foothills of the mountains, 2 wells, one solar, one windmill, a creek through it, 3 sides are forest service. tucked away where not many realize it's there.
Overall, no matter where you go the soil is very alkaline and lacking in organic matter, nitrogen, some lack potash and often a good supply of bacteria and fungi. I'm in central Gila County in the foothills, about 3500'. Hot and dry in summer. Average winters are wetter and colder. We haven't had an 'average' winter in about 10 years, they are getting warmer and drier. we are about 10 degrees cooler than Phoenix most of the time. Little comfort when it's 115 tho.
Be extremly careful buying into any kind of subdivision; HOAs are idea killers. Many places that are dividing up large acreages into smaller parcels will have 'shared wells'. Usually one well centrally located for 4 parcels. Be sure to read all that paperwork very carefully.
If you care considering buying raw land, check the county building codes, some countie have some really ridiculous regulations and outrageous permitting fees
We have every possible predator in the country and all livestock, especially anything smaller than a cow needs fort knox to sleep in. That can get expensive real quick. We also have peccary, aka javalina. Called pigs but not related to swine they will wipe out every tasty thing you try to grow unles you have a stout fence. And then the squirrels will still beat you to the tomatoes.
There are two hospitals in the white mountains of Arizona, one in Show low that has just expanded to double the size and is always hiring. The second is located in Springerville, I don't know this one. The Show Low area is at 6000 ft and is dense pine forest, expect snow. There are only 10,000 residents, so shopping is limited to a few box stores, Walmart, Tractor Supply, Lowes and Home Depot. Wells are over 400ft on average, you can spend 20k to sink a well. The water is good but does have a lot of dissolved minerals. Recreation at big lake, includes skiing, hunting, fishing, camping, it is cool even in high summer at 8000ft+. Property in surrounding areas is very reasonable.
Prescott is also a very beautiful area, with 40,000 residents more shopping is available. They have a VA hospital as well as the regional hospital. Watson lake is incredible surrounded by large rock walls and boulders. It is lower in elevation 5000ft average highs 89 lows 23.