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Question of States  RSS feed

 
Posts: 46
Location: Central Indiana
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Quick introduction:  So i've been lurking the forums for a short time and just recently started listening to some of the old podcasts.  I stumbled here from some google searches and found what i believe to be my people.  I grew up on 13.5 acres in southern illinois.  I went to college and got a degree and all of my employment is now in them big cities.  I see a lot of people here do their homesteading and what not in the Oregon/Washington/Wyoming/Montana area.  Personally i've never been there but the views look AMAZING.  Currently i'm in the Central Indiana area and long term planning my wife and i are looking at leaving the city area once the kids are out on their own.

Questions:

1)  Anyone on here from similar area?
2)  Looking at land prices i was shocked at how much some of the land in wyoming/montana/oregon/washington is.  I'm looking on Zillow...should i be looking at different sites?
3)  I've been looking at land up in Michigan between Holland and Whitehall.  Looks like there is some promising land there.  Anyone have any experience here?

That's all for now i guess just wanted to jump in and ask my questions.
 
gardener
Posts: 1221
Location: Middle Tennessee
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Hey Jonathan welcome to Permies.

I can offer a suggestion for your second question as I don't live in or really know anything about the areas you're looking into. Check out https://www.landwatch.com and https://www.landsofamerica.com as resources for finding real-estate. Hope this helps!
 
Jonathan Ward
Posts: 46
Location: Central Indiana
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Awesome.  I'll check those sites out when i get some free time.  I think my wife and i are looking for ~10-20 acres.  Not completely off grid, but defiantly out of the way.  As we've gotten older (read 33 & 34 yrs old) we've decided that we're hermits and really don't like living in the subdivision.  We do it because the jobs are here (for now) and the education is top quality for the kids (welcoming our 4th this june).  Personally i was hoping for some land (be it here, MI, OR, MT, WY, WA or pretty much anywhere) that i could buy on the cheap and then improve over time.
 
garden master
Posts: 1362
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Hi Jonathan;  I do live in western Montana , moved here 40 years ago from New England. We consider it to be the last great place in the lower 48.
As far as Michigan ,I can tell you that they have monstrous mosquito's , high humidity(like New England)  and a large percentage of the people  living here, moved from the upper Midwest ....  tell ya something?  I live in extreme NW Montana, sanders county  26 miles from the north Idaho border . Absolutely stunning area.  There is very little good paying work here.  People that move here , work on line , are retired, or like me they travel out of state to work.
Climate wise we are more like Spokane than Missoula .  Medium hot but very low humidity summers , medium cold with large amounts of moisture all fall, winter and a lot of the spring.  Inland rain forest 2 tenths less moisture than Seattle.
I suggest not looking on the big online sites for land.  (its not cheap no matter where you look) Narrow your search areas down . For instance search for realtors in Missoula   then search their listings.  In my area check for realtors in Thompson Falls. Narrow your search to a county then find the county seat and search realtors there.
The smaller the piece of land the more per acre you will pay.  A twenty acre piece or more will get you the better price. At 10 acres they think of it as a hobby farm and charge you accordingly.
Good luck on your search, maybe we will see you in Montana some day.
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The Clark Fork river
 
Jonathan Ward
Posts: 46
Location: Central Indiana
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That picture is amazing.  My wife's been to Yellowstone and loved the area so i don't think talking her into MT would be hard.  The biggest downside is there is no family support out there.  At least here where we are family is about 3hrs away so if we need something it's not to terrible.  I'll check the more local listings, thanks for that advice.  20+ acres wouldn't be a bad thing.  Anytime i mention MT to my family (not wife but my folks and hers) all i ever get is "The winters there are so horrible.  You'd hate it."  It's nice to actually talk to people that live there and listen to their experiences with the weather.
 
thomas rubino
garden master
Posts: 1362
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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That photo was taken standing on The Cabinet gorge dam just over the Idaho border looking back into Montana. The Clark Fork river dumps into lake Ponderay 7 or 8 miles further west.
Your relatives are thinking of east of the divide in Montana or just close to the divide for horrendous winter weather . Serious below zero temps , lots of wind, drifting snow, a lot like Wyoming, or Michigan. Temps moderate the closer to n.Idaho you get.We rarely go below zero very far or for very long Snow levels increase as well.  Snow depth's here at my home are usually 2-3 ' on the ground most winters , some like this past year and the one before I had 4-5' in my yard. You must understand though that winter/cloudy /rainy/snowy  starts in Sept-Oct and spring comes in may or June... It takes a (SPECIAL...) person to live here. Eastern Washington has dryer weather but being a Montanan its not nearly as nice....
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a winter morning...
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a spring morning
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mid may morning
 
Jonathan Ward
Posts: 46
Location: Central Indiana
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See the cold/snow doesn't bother me.  Here in Central Indiana it's always windy and the cold can get pretty bad.  Most winters lately have been dry...not much snow which makes me sad.  If it's going to be cold i want the snow.  So in general outside skiing, what is the winter life like?  Are you pretty much gridlocked or do people still get out and about?  I've been curious.  Thanks in advance.
 
thomas rubino
garden master
Posts: 1362
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Good Question; This is Montana , nothing stops us. Like the old saying  you know your in Montana when you get passed on a two lane road at 65 mph during a blizzard.
Older people stay home or plan their outings around bad weather,  for the rest of us its enjoy the day no matter...
 
pollinator
Posts: 545
Location: SW Missouri, Zone 7a
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I've found that one of the best sites for browsing land for sale is LandWatch. You can pick the state (or even other countries) and then further refine the search by county/region, price range, number of acres, etc. It allows you to be very specific and has land ranging from lot-sized to thousands of acres. Another good one for those folks who don't have a lot of cash or don't want to be out in the wilderness but still want to feel like they're sort of in the country is BillyLand. That one has auctions, cheap land for outright sale and land that you can make payments on--financed through them. It doesn't have land in every state, but it does have a lot in the states it covers. Good Luck! By the way, Missouri has cheap land if you ever think of moving south.
 
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I'll throw a little love in for northern michigan. The west side of the lower peninsula is very beautiful and winters are not that bad, probably an improvement over central indiana, less wind and biting cold and more snow and sun. The upper peninsula is also incredibly beautiful and incredibly cheap. It is sparsely populated but it's not really that far from civilization, only about 6 or 7 hours from marquette to detroit or chicago (and there's obvioulsy lots of civilization in between). Plus you've got lots of freshwater, a biome you're more accustomed to, and a bit more proximity to family. I am one of those midwest refugees living out west so take this all with a grain of salt, obviously I've made my choice, but northern michigan really is a gem in the midwest.
 
Jonathan Ward
Posts: 46
Location: Central Indiana
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I'll check out BillyLand.  Personally i love the idea of moving to Montana.  I also like that the government (for the most part) is less in everyone business than it is in Illinois/Michigan/Indiana.  I'm looking at trying to get over that direction on a family vacation in a year or two and use it as an excuse to look at some areas.  I really appreciate everyone's input.
 
steward
Posts: 4400
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Howdy Jonathan, I will echo the landwatch site. They have lots of different realtors listing stuff, some good some bad.  Let me know if you have any questions about Wyoming . If you find something there give me a holler, you might find some large parcels for very good prices but you will have to be sure of what you are actually getting. Sometimes there are online realtors who throw up pictures of the Teton mountains and buyers think that is what they are buying.
Will you need a job when you move ? What field do you work in? There are some areas in Wyoming that have lots of industry and supporting jobs to them. 
Wyoming is a big state and the weather is different from place to place. The eastern 1/4 is warmer generally, the mountains get deeper snow and less wind. The desert areas can get some big wind and blizzards but if you can find one with small hills and canyons it is not to bad. Water and oil and gas drilling would be the biggest concern.
 
Jonathan Ward
Posts: 46
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I grew up doing farming work (read 2-3 acres worth of gardening).  I do IT work now.  Long tem by the time i'm ready to move i'll either be able to Work Remote or I'll be a bit closer to retirement than i am now.  I'm in the Insurance/HealthCare field now but i've done finance related work as well.  Thanks for the feedback Miles.  I would say that i'd probably be looking for something closer to the mountains.  My wife would want something similar to the Yellowstone area, so generally the Northwestern part of the state.  I'll keep looking at landwatch.  I also completly understand the misleading pictures.  My parents are looking for land in TN and it's that way.  It's a property on the NW part of the state and they're showing pictures of the mountains near Gatlinburg.  I always wonder how people get away with it.
 
Miles Flansburg
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Posts: 4400
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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If I may. The NW corner of the state is more touristy and lots of big money there. So the prices will be higher. If you take a look at a map of Wyoming you will also see mountains around Lander, Laramie, Buffalo, Sheridan, Greybull, and Casper . My place is near a town called Saratoga which is further west from Laramie. In the Medicine bow National forest. There are also smaller, sort of hidden mountain ranges all over that most people do not know about but are just as nice. The area around Lander is sort of a "banana belt" lots of farms and at one time grew a lot of fruit. Laramie has the University and Casper has a large community collage.
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
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HERE is a link to my place .
 
Posts: 87
Location: out in the woods of Maine
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I was stationed in Washington for five years. While living there I consumed every day of my earned leave exploring the surrounding areas looking for a good site to homestead. After all of that effort, we decided to homestead in Maine
 
Jonathan Ward
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Galen, what made you chose Maine over the NW US?


Miles, I love what you've done with the place.  That's amazing!  Is it just you or do you have a significant other helping out? 


My thought was if i could find the right place and start paying on it now we could use it as a summer vacation type camping place for a few years and the week or so at a time we're there do things to make it useful for the future.

General question again:  Do you guys/gals have issues with many Apex Predators in the area?  Bears/Wolves ect?
 
Galen Young
Posts: 87
Location: out in the woods of Maine
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Jonathan Ward wrote:Galen, what made you chose Maine over the NW US?



I grew-up farming in a drought prone region. I need to avoid drought prone regions.

I had many co-worker who had bought land and homes in Washington, and then their property taxes had doubled or tripled. We pretty much knew that my pension was not going to be enough to support our family if we stayed in Washington.

So we needed severely cheaper land, with much lower taxes in a region that is drought-free.

The local culture of independence, and off-grid sustainable farming does not hurt either.



... General question again:  Do you guys/gals have issues with many Apex Predators in the area?  Bears/Wolves ect?



We have a lot of coyotes. Bears usually hibernate on my land every winter, but they are not seen as 'predators' here. I have seen them wander into my pig pasture, in ignorance. As soon as they detect the presence of my pigs, they turn away and they move along quickly. Wild bears are scared to death of free-ranging pigs.

:)
 
Jonathan Ward
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I hear it about the property taxes.  That is one of my concerns as well.  I'll look at Maine and see what's there.  Are there other New England states that you would suggest?
 
Galen Young
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Jonathan Ward wrote:I hear it about the property taxes.  That is one of my concerns as well.  I'll look at Maine and see what's there.  Are there other New England states that you would suggest?



Some people really like NH, others Vermont.

Maine is the oldest state in the nation. The average age of residents is the oldest. We have the highest percentage of retirees. People may think of Florida, but ... if you do not mind winter and want to be active outdoors this is the place to be.
 
Deb Stephens
pollinator
Posts: 545
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Jonathan Ward wrote:I hear it about the property taxes.  That is one of my concerns as well.  I'll look at Maine and see what's there.  Are there other New England states that you would suggest?


I don't know about the New England states but down here in the south, our taxes are very low. We've lived on this land for 26 years and our property taxes have never been higher than $65 for the year for 75 acres. I'm sure that varies from place to place even here, but it is lower than most places overall. Land is cheap too, so if you can take the heat (and it DOES get hot and humid, believe me!) it's not a bad place to look.
 
thomas rubino
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Before moving to Montana , I spent all my time in Vermont. Great place, so is N.H. and Maine.Stunning in the fall!  But, Warning !!! Maine is FULL of Maineacks ! Crazy bunch and they talk funny too!
Seriously upper New England is very nice... its just that darn humidity .
Whew 98 degrees and 98% humidity I don't miss it at all ! Give me 98 degrees and 15-20% humidity any day!
 
Posts: 5
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Have lived in the NW all of my 76 yrs. 99.99% of it in the state of Washington. Employment (law enforcement) and farming have kept me in Washington. I would suggest the pan handle of Idaho to look at. There area high priced areas,  and there are places where the working man can afford to live. Good luck in finding a home for you and your family.
 
Jonathan Ward
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Humidity is huge in Southern Illinois.  Working in the field and it's 90-100 degrees with the air so thick it feels like a blanket.  It's nuts.  I've not really known anything different.  Central Indiana is about the same sometimes but at least where i'm at there always seems to be a moderate breeze.  I'll look at some of the New England states as well.  I've thought about eastern TN but land prices there are going through the roof.  Apparently everyone wants to build there.
 
pollinator
Posts: 650
Location: northwest Missouri, USA
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Ozarks or southern Missouri. Very affordable and fewer county restrictions once you get away from lake property.
 
Jonathan Ward
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My only concern about the Ozarks area is the temperature.  I'd much rather the cold/snow than the unrelenting heat.  Call me a sissy .  While i haven't been to the Ozarks specifically it seems like it would have weather similar to St. Louis and the surrounding area.
 
Miles Flansburg
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Looks like you are getting lots of ideas and good advise! Gotta love these permies folks.

I am pretty much doing the work alone, my wife comes up and helps when she can. My brother has helped with tree cutting and such. I have a back hoe and lots of tools so I just plug along. I am thinking the same as far as using it as a place to get away from the city. Someday I hope I can afford a "home " of some sort, but the camper is pretty nice and treats us well.

We have bear, mountain lion, and wolves(from Yellowstone) I have seen tracks and scat but never seen them. I had hoped to catch them on my game cameras but nothing yet. There are usually several neighbors around and they have seen them. I think with all of the people, dogs, activity, traffic, they stay clear of us for the most part.  Actually the first week that we went up there, after buying the land, we were in a tent and a bear came through while we were out exploring. I still have the big Tupperware that has teeth marks where the bear got into our food and scattered it all over. We stopped tent camping after that and got the camper.
 
Jonathan Ward
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That's a crazy story.  We've got 3 kids, soon to be 4.  We've done the tent camping but w/ the drive from IN to MT being about 27hrs i think long term we may look at a camper or an RV.

I am loving all the feedback and input i've been getting on the forums.  Everyone on here has been so great.
 
Deb Stephens
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Jonathan Ward wrote:My only concern about the Ozarks area is the temperature.  I'd much rather the cold/snow than the unrelenting heat.  Call me a sissy .  While i haven't been to the Ozarks specifically it seems like it would have weather similar to St. Louis and the surrounding area.



St. Louis is in zone 5 while most of the Ozarks are zones 6 and 7. St. Louis is also on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers so weather is affected by those large bodies of water quite a bit (also affected by so much CITY--concrete, asphalt and steel!) so overall the climate is not really the same. As for unrelenting heat ... it isn't all that bad. Our summers are pretty brutal from mid-June through about early September, but we get beautiful mild springs and falls and our winters are seldom harsh except for an occasional freak ice storm in January or February. We usually have plenty of rain (it averages 45" to 50" per year--mostly in the summer months, ironically) so plenty of water for gardening or even a rain catchment system for ponds or household use. I think people look too much at the statistics and think OH MY GOD! about the heat and humidity--we've been compared to a subtropical rainforest in some very wet years (check this out ... I was amused by the description of our climate as "humid subtropical" Wikipedia-Climate of Missouri )--but it isn't as horrible as it sounds when you're actually here. I love this place! It's always flower-filled in spring, green in summer, beautifully colorful in fall and with only enough snow in winter to have an occasional "Christmas card" day for photos without all the muck and mess of a real winter. The only things I don't like about Missouri are the tornadoes and the politics. (They have much in common as to their effect on local populations.)

Anyway, not trying to sell you on Missouri, just trying to correct a few not-quite-accurate impressions. For me, cold is the thing I can't do--otherwise, I would love to live in Canada!
 
Jonathan Ward
Posts: 46
Location: Central Indiana
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Thanks Deb.  I appreciate the feedback about the Ozarks area.  I'll take a look at stuff down that direction.  Ozarks is a lot closer than Montana.  Right now it's all just looking around and figuring out where i want to be long term.  I do like the comment "Sprout and grow where you're planted."
 
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