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Hill Country, TX Looking for homestead neighborhood or others wanting to create one

 
Posts: 9
Location: New Braunfels, TX
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I'll be looking at properties next month (Jan 2018) to find min of 10 acres to start homesteading by summer of 2019. I prefer to be west of I-35 btwn Austin and San Antonio. I would trade RV or tiny home space for labor (building construction and/or repairs, water harvesting, creating gardens, etc.)  Also would appreciate any info on areas to focus that would have like minded neighbors as well as people seeking to buy land for homesteading that may want to combine our efforts to buy adjoining or nearby properties, thus creating our own intentional community of sorts! I am a healthy, strong, single 58 y/o secular female who doesn't want to give up all comforts but I do want to waste less and depend on public utilities and government much less with the goal of sustainability and aging in place in the years to come, sharing most everything we can (within reason) including eggs, meat, milk, produce, farm equipment, caring for each other's homesteads when one is absent and all the things neighbors used to do to look out for each other.
 
gardener
Posts: 1333
Location: mountains of Tennessee
405
cattle chicken bee homestead
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Hi Kristy. Welcome to permies. I don't know anything about this particular property but know the area very well. Lots of possibilities for homesteading. Give one of those huge New Braunfels pecan trees a hug! I suggest looking in the Canyon lake/ Guadalupe river area as well.

Centex property
 
master pollinator
Posts: 11364
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
739
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Howdy potential neighbor!  Because I'd love for there to be more permies in my neighborhood, I hope you can find a place. I live in the Sisterdale/Waring area.  Unfortunately, land in this part of Texas has become stupidly expensive.  You might be able to find a seller willing to subdivide a chunk off a larger property, but these might not be listed.  Beware of anything in a named subdivision because those are going to be especially inflated.
 
Kristy League
Posts: 9
Location: New Braunfels, TX
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It looks  like most everything around Canyon Lake is attached to the HOA which has its rules and isn't ag exempt. Land near NB or Fredericksburg very expensive if ag exempt. And high tax rates arounda Buda & Kyle. Sooo many have huge house size requirements! Arghhhh! My budget is $300k with home & outbuildings or less if I must build. Would be nice to build a super efficient small home & to know whats in the gutts but sure would be easier & more convenient to have a home ready to move into. Specific location recommendations would be much appreciated!!! Thanks forthe welcoming arms!!
 
pollinator
Posts: 2409
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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Would be interested in getting some land too, as little as 1acres to build a house on.
I think is all I can manage and intensively grow on (mushroom, herbs, vegetables, tubers, berries, fruit, nuts, eggs, chicken, duck, fish)

If I did bio intensive cut and carry hay, I can get some milk+meat on just 1 more acre for a total 2acres. But I don't mind outsourcing my milk/red meat
 
Tyler Ludens
master pollinator
Posts: 11364
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
739
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You might try driving around the areas you're interested in and posting notices on feed store bulletin boards or boards in stores in small towns saying you're interested in buying land.  Don't mention your budget.

Before you settle on an area you might want to look up the county's agricultural tax exemption rules.  For instance in this county (Kendall) most kinds of ag now require a minimum of 25 acres, except beekeeping which I think requires at least 5 acres.  Each county is different.
 
Kristy League
Posts: 9
Location: New Braunfels, TX
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Great idea & info! Thanks!
 
Kristy League
Posts: 9
Location: New Braunfels, TX
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S Benji, I'll keep you in mind should I find property that can be divided. As important as the land is the neighbors.
 
steward
Posts: 4618
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Howdy Kristy, have you looked on the Landwatch website?  Not sure if this is to far from the city but HERE are some properties west of 35. You can redo the search for a different county or town.
 
Tyler Ludens
master pollinator
Posts: 11364
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
739
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If you haven't seen it before, be sure to watch this video by Geoff Lawton, about what to look for in a property:  


I wish I had known what to look for when we were hunting for our place!
 
Posts: 44
Location: Texas Zone 9
3
forest garden trees rabbit chicken food preservation bee medical herbs homestead
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Tyler Ludens wrote:If you haven't seen it before, be sure to watch this video by Geoff Lawton, about what to look for in a property:



Great video (as always), but doesn't really tell you what to look for.  It really just shows what you can do with this particular property.  I would really love to see some recommendations for central and SE Texas, considering our particular climates.
 
Tyler Ludens
master pollinator
Posts: 11364
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
739
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I can give some recommendations on what to look for here:


1. Look for a slope, not flat land

2. Locate home lower mid-slope, not on the top of a hill or in a floodplain.  Lower mid-slope tends to have better soil.

3. Preference for east-facing slopes, as they are cooler than west-facing ones.

4. Obtain county soil survey to look for good soil areas, as soil quality varies greatly from place to place in the Hill Country.  https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/surveylist/soils/survey/state/?stateId=TX

5. Avoid land where access crosses a seasonal creek, otherwise you may be cut off during floods  (and/or have your driveway washed out repeatedly, as we have).

6. Beware of attractive land which has been made park-like, with only Live Oaks remaining, because the Oaks may get Oak Wilt and all die, leaving the land barren of trees.  Look for diversity in trees and other plants.


Those are the aspects that leap out at me this morning.
 
Kristy League
Posts: 9
Location: New Braunfels, TX
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Those are all GREAT recommendations!! The low water crossings & flooding here in flash flood alley have been so common of properties I looked at & avoided. However, I am now in option period for a property with driveway that is in flood zone which certainly was a downside I weighed hard & long. VERY LONG & HARD! Good road work was done but in 100 yr flood, I'm sure it'd be all for not. I finally had to look at how the inconvenience & expense would impact my particular lifestyle before accepting the huge flaw in the diamond. I can & will accept the risk but most, especially young families, should definitely be looking close for potential flooding problems even if it's not in a designated flood plain.
 
Mike Barkley
gardener
Posts: 1333
Location: mountains of Tennessee
405
cattle chicken bee homestead
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The overflowing square concrete structure is normally about 35 feet in the air. The circular "pond" is very deep & normally dry. Enjoy this footage. It was an adventure!
 
Rosie Carducci
Posts: 44
Location: Texas Zone 9
3
forest garden trees rabbit chicken food preservation bee medical herbs homestead
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I can give some recommendations on what to look for here:


Very helpful list, thanks!

After living through Hurricane Harvey, I am MUCH more conscious of flood zones now.  Thankfully, my hubby has always been diligent to make sure wherever we lived was outside of at least the 100-year flood plain, even when I didn't think it was that big a deal, and it saved our bacon during Harvey.  Our neighborhood was surrounded by water (no in or out), but our house was fine.
 
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Hello Kristy, I have live off grid for 10 years, alone ,and it would be nice to have a partner off grid. I am a veteran, a d have na y off grid skills to offer. I can help you find sone land In Texas , if that's were you want to be . I have lived in the swamps, desert, and in the cold. I lived in Del Rio for two years. Im in Ky.,right now, a d willing to have the best of both places. So just let me know ,and we can talk more

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Kristy League
Posts: 9
Location: New Braunfels, TX
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We of like tribe need to commune & help each other with projects. I'm in negotiations on a 10 acre property now & my 20 something nephew will plan to join me in the fall. His intentions are totally off grid for his abode which we'll need to build. I like & want some modern conveniences myself, especially AC. If you'll private message me we can exchange emails & spend some time getting to know each other.
 
Jr. Gibson
Posts: 8
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That sounds great. My e-mail address is

seigegibson53@gmail.com

     Thank you Jr.
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Tyler Ludens
master pollinator
Posts: 11364
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
739
cat forest garden fish trees chicken fiber arts wood heat greening the desert
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Future Hill Country neighbors,  let me know when you're setting up your Kitchen Garden and I can send you some plants that do well for me here.
 
Kristy League
Posts: 9
Location: New Braunfels, TX
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Wonderful! Will do
 
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Hello Kristy,
                 I have 8 acres in Spicewood TX. I've had it for 4 years and just now getting around to build a low water crossing and drill a well.  Have you bought  property yet?  Just wondering if you are close or far from me.  I have some details and designs on building a low water crossing in case you decided to buy in a flood zone.  I would like mention here the advantages of having some  of your property in a flood zone, since I only saw the more negative aspects mentioned here about flood zones. Better chance of finding good soil in a flood zone, especially in central Texas hill country. Beter chance of finding plenty of water when drilling close to a seasonal creek.  Properties are also generally cheaper in a flood zone.  I plan to plant larger nut trees in the area most prone to flooding and smaller trees and shrubs higher up. Garden will be in the flood zone, but on the outer edge of it.  I will build work shop and home completely out of the flood zone.
                   I am a master carpenter by trade, but I have skills working with other materials besides wood. I plan to stay off the electric grid there.  I haven't built an off grid solar power system yet.  Just done lots of research at this point.  I would appreciate any information from anyone who has built a  solar power system.  
                                                       Best Regards,
                                                        David
 
Kristy League
Posts: 9
Location: New Braunfels, TX
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I will close on 10 acres near Lockhart in a few weeks which is about 63 miles from Spicewood. In homestead terms, that's neighbors! A low water crossing was  installed by seller & looks well done. I like the upsides you mention of overlooked benefits of flood zone and it scaring buyers off is probably how I got it for the price I did & I have no reservations. But ask me again after a 100 year flood right?! I think it's important that we stay in touch and be able to assist each other & break bread together occasionally. Exchange of ideas & labor is so valuable. Nohatexan@yahoo.com
Kristy
 
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David Chartt wrote:Hello Kristy,
                 I have 8 acres in Spicewood TX. I've had it for 4 years and just now getting around to build a low water crossing and drill a well.  Have you bought  property yet?  Just wondering if you are close or far from me.  I have some details and designs on building a low water crossing in case you decided to buy in a flood zone.  I would like mention here the advantages of having some  of your property in a flood zone, since I only saw the more negative aspects mentioned here about flood zones. Better chance of finding good soil in a flood zone, especially in central Texas hill country. Beter chance of finding plenty of water when drilling close to a seasonal creek.  Properties are also generally cheaper in a flood zone.  I plan to plant larger nut trees in the area most prone to flooding and smaller trees and shrubs higher up. Garden will be in the flood zone, but on the outer edge of it.  I will build work shop and home completely out of the flood zone.
                   I am a master carpenter by trade, but I have skills working with other materials besides wood. I plan to stay off the electric grid there.  I haven't built an off grid solar power system yet.  Just done lots of research at this point.  I would appreciate any information from anyone who has built a  solar power system.  
                                                       Best Regards,
                                                        David




I'm relatively new to permies but have lived in Dripping Springs near Spicewood for years. the owners of the land i'm currently working on are thinking about moving soon and I'm not sure I want to go with them so I will be looking for a new homestead and Spicewood would be a good location for me since I still work in Austin. I have money saved up and i'm considering moving to Arkansas with family but would prefer to stay in central texas for the time being.  i'm 22 and have LOTS to learn before I think I'd be a suitable candidate to operate the amount of land I actually want to operate, for the conservation aspect, but also monetarily, I feel I could put my mind to work and profit heavily (only for good reasons) off of creating a business out of promoting and upholding a permaculture lifestyle and sharing resources, and developing ways that coincide with modernization. I feel like a lot of people are turned off by the idea that we can use resources that are not manufactured by a company and that is what I want to break. I want to sell our ideas and transform the way humans interact with the earth. I think most people are not necessarily against stopping corruption, it's that they don't believe it to be a problem in the first place. I think there needs to be an organization or company in the mainstream that leads by example, not shoving it in anyone's face that our ways may be better, but try to really industrialize permaculture principles so they can be utilized by the common man all the same as the homesteaders do creating a trickle down effect of wealth and prosperity through healthier ecosystems and food security, disaster relief, etc.
 
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