Galadriel Freden wrote:Joel, my small family of 3 are looking at the same thing you are, with inspiration from Geoff Lawton's "greening the desert" project in Jordan. My parents live in Southern Utah, and we're looking to sell up here (currently in the UK) and move down, either close to them at 6000 ft elevation, or a bit further south near St George at 2000 ft--quite a difference in plant hardiness zones, but we're looking at issues like average rainfall, water rights, and the cost of land for both areas. It seems like there's some extremely cheap land around there!
Our initial budgeting is similar to yours, though we plan on from $10k-$20k for the land, looking at 5-20 acres; and our first priority would be earthworks and planting of trees and perennials; following that in order of importance--and depending on funds--would be livestock and housing for them and us, underground rainwater catchment containers, solar panels. and a well. We're planning on an Oehler structure for our own housing, but will probably be living in an RV and/or with parents until it's built. Shelter for livestock will either be strawbale or earthbag structures--we're definitely looking at poultry and a few pigs to begin with, but cattle and sheep are also a possibility in the long run.
I don't know what water rights laws are in NM, but in Utah they seem to be complicated, so if we do end up in Southern Utah, this may have implications for our permaculture plans. I think of all considerations, ownership of water rights is probably going to be the deal breaker for any property we consider--I'm sure you've already looked into the NM laws.
Though I've never lived in that area, I love the desert (lived in Eastern Utah for four years) and with my newbie permaculture vision, I think we can make it grow and thrive, and support those 5000 rabbits--though I'm hoping it's turkeys instead, as I prefer a nice turkey soup over a rabbit stew