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Organic Sharecroppers Wanted? Unique Opportunity? Low-Cost Living? Texas  RSS feed

 
Val Vetter
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Folks,

    I don't know exactly how to pitch this - or even where. I've tried advertising with "Eager Farmer"and a local self-reliance magazine and got zero replies.

Moderator: If this post would be better in another forum - please feel free to move it.

Anyway - here's the deal:

We own 40 acres in Northeast Texas - roughly between Dallas and Texarkana. The property is 90% wooded, and we run a small organic (Certified Naturally Grown) farm or Market Garden on a couple of acres.
We got into raising chickens for eggs, a few pigs, turkeys, and we grow veggies in am 8,000 sqft garden. We also have a small orchard.

In short, MOST of this property remains unused.

Our problem - we'd like to travel more and be away from our "farm" for extended periods of time.
Unfortunately, chickens need feeding and watering, garden needs watering, dogs and cats need to be fed - and - we need to make sure we don't return to find squatter and/or a meth lab on our property.

We've taken short trips (a week or less) but - we really can't afford to hire and pay a "farmsitter" for extended periods of time - and - we've imposed on our friends far too many times as it is already.

WE NEED SOMEBODY TO LIVE ON THE PROPERTY!

Our cabin is teeny-tiny. No room for more than us - and - we need to have it available when we ARE here.

There is PLENTY (TONS!) of room to build a cabin, park a motorhome or trailer, build a Yurt, or pitch a tent.
(We actually HAVE an old, old motorhome that needs a lot of TLC that someone could use - and even keep.)

The property HAS Co-op ("city") water. Electricity is available - though best solution would be to order another "drop". Phone lines run to the property.

The person/couple/family that would be living here would have pretty much full run of the property to grow, raise, farm as they please. We would just require that organic methods be used (NO ROUNDUP!!!) that no illegal activity be conducted,
and that the value of the property no be adversely affected. (no commercial logging, quarry, etc)

We would make our tools and small equipment available to the folks living here - mowers, tiller, chainsaws, garden tools, etc.

There is a ~2 acre electrical easement that has some rough "pasture" under it. (actually, decent bahia  grass when it's kept mowed - would be great for sheep.

Plenty of firewood for heating/cooking and enough pine trees that one could even build a log cabin. (If I were 30 years younger and 80 years more ambitious.)

"Seasonal" creek on the property - in case that means anything to anybody. (Yes, I thought "Microhydro" at one point - and it may well be possible - but that's a whole 'nuther discussion)

So - what we're offering is use of land & tools at no cost. We also have an extensive library that would be at your disposal.
What we want is - reliable, honest, sane, live-on-the-land "stewards", sharecroppers, caretakers, etc - who could either supply or build their own shelter - or - are willing to live in an OLD neglected motorhome.

I've just rambled out a few lines of what I can remember about the place and what we're looking for. If there are QUESTIONS about the situation here - please feel free to ask.

If anybody might actually be interested in discussing this more seriously - PLEASE contact me directly and we'll chat.

So - that's all I have for now.

Let the madness ensue.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Hi Val. This sounds like something that is going to need a good contract, so that you can protect yourself in the event that the world's laziest people show up.

Another important thing to watch for is the accumulation of unwanted stuff. My useless tenants gathered many truckloads of stuff that I later had to dispose of.

It would probably be good to have a neighbor or some other trusted person check up on your tenants regularly, especially in the beginning.

I would never have anyone, who claims to not have a cell phone or the ability to get one. I would also make a consistent pattern of not answering that phone, grounds for eviction. Those who aren't performing their duties, will not want to talk to you very often. Those who are performing, are likely to answer their phone and send you pictures. That's been my experience.
 
David Livingston
steward
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Location: Anjou ,France
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Also I don't think the term sharecropper helps bad historical vibes

David
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Good point. Sharecropping provided a way for slavery in the American South, to effectively continue for a time, after the Civil War. As Jefferson Davis said, "if you control the land, you control the people on it." Under the new system, landowners were no longer responsible for the health or housing of their workers. Squalid conditions and malnutrition were rampant. Some people ate so much corn that they got pellagra.
 
Anne Miller
pollinator
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Location: USDA Zone 8a
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bee dog food preservation greening the desert hunting toxin-ectomy
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Dale Hodgins wrote: Sharecropping provided a way for slavery in the American South, to effectively continue for a time, after the Civil War. .


The American South was so ravage by the war, that during reconstruction share cropping may have been the only way some families had to put food on the table.

One of my Civil War ancestor came back from serving to find he only owned two chairs and he made a third out of an old log.  At least that is the story passed down to descendants.

During the Depression of the 1930's, sharecropping also put food on the table for many families.   

The definition of sharecropping as I know it from the 1950/1960, one owned the land and he let others grow crops on it and they split the bounty.

While the OP does not really seem to be offering a true sharecropping opportunity what he is offering is of much more value.

Having a good contract drawn up by a lawyer would be worthwhile.  Having worked with many volunteers it is true that there are many good ones and just as many that will load up anything of value and leave in the middle of the night. .. and  leave their trash behind.  
 
Val Vetter
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David Livingston wrote:Also I don't think the term sharecropper helps bad historical vibes

David


True David, "Sharecroppers" does have a bad "vibe" to it, but it's not really deserved and only the bad, dishonest owners who violated the agreement gave it this bad reputation. Evicting tenants after they have done all the hard work and keeping the harvest is hardly living up to the agreement.

Val

 
Val Vetter
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Anne Miller wrote:

Having a good contract drawn up by a lawyer would be worthwhile.  Having worked with many volunteers it is true that there are many good ones and just as many that will load up anything of value and leave in the middle of the night. .. and  leave their trash behind.  


Excellent points Anne, and having seen how lame and opportunistic many "WOOFERS" have been, I hesitate to even look for people and consider other options.

My other options are: sell the property, pay somebody (still no guarantee of competence or honesty) or continue to mooch off friends good-natured enough to watch the place.

Val
 
Val Vetter
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Dale Hodgins wrote:Hi Val. This sounds like something that is going to need a good contract, so that you can protect yourself in the event that the world's laziest people show up.

Another important thing to watch for is the accumulation of unwanted stuff. My useless tenants gathered many truckloads of stuff that I later had to dispose of.

It would probably be good to have a neighbor or some other trusted person check up on your tenants regularly, especially in the beginning.

I would never have anyone, who claims to not have a cell phone or the ability to get one. I would also make a consistent pattern of not answering that phone, grounds for eviction. Those who aren't performing their duties, will not want to talk to you very often. Those who are performing, are likely to answer their phone and send you pictures. That's been my experience.


Unfortunately, all too true Dale, which is why I hesitate to even go down this road.

We've even had somebody who was personally recommended to us and vouched for string us along and then bow out after we had stopped looking for people, making us start the whole process over again.

Val
 
Simon Luckinbill
Posts: 8
Location: Terlingua Texas
food preservation forest garden greening the desert
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Hi, I just signed up for this site. I am intrigued by this idea. Not that I can vouch for myself or we are even trusting vouched for people....but what exactly does the hard work entail when you say "watch the place" that might get one in trouble for not doing or evicted? How easy is it?

Can someone do it who can be trained to do these things in a day? Is it watching things like sensors and turning gadgets on and off or back breaking labor?

I want a few acres in Texas is the only reason I ask. I am willing to just live on land and be able to be off the grid and have a garden as well as help out with whatever is reasonable for that.

My name is Simon Luckinbill. My number is 760 910 5083. I am definitely interested but will be in a house lease until the end of Aug. My next choice would be Alpine or even Terlingua but I am more of a loner than someone who needs to join an eclectic community.

I have no pets or a family though a wife would be nice to join me. I can build an earthbag home or live in a tent. No truckloads of trash. No footprint. I am an artist though so I like painting. I love that you have a library.

All I need is a way to deal with septic and water for the garden. I might be able to hook up a solar set up. I only have $2000.

Great to see there are people reaching out because some of us could really use the break. The system is oppressive and I think you need to be an evil person to make it out there. I want to give my energy to something sustainable. Thanks.
 
Val Vetter
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Hey Simon,

I sent you a "purple Mooseage" - email me.

Val
 
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