Hello all. I thought it might be time for me to introduce myself. I've made some posts on various forums so bits a pieces of my 'story' are to be found. Will try and fill in gaps and provide broader insight into my joining in here.
I grew up in the 50s and 60s in an area then known as Santa Clara valley. It was a delightful place for an active kid to be. Our neighborhood was wall to wall kids who played together, often in the streets! Some of us (me included) loved to 'explore' and DO. There were fields and orchards to check out, push carts to build and baseball to play. The area was in 'development' - fields and orchards slowly giving way to industrial plants and more tract houses. By the 1970s Santa Clara valley was on its way to being Silicon Valley. I still mourn the loss of all the fabulous growing fields and orchards, but as one person pointed out - the concrete is serving to 'preserve' the soil underneath ;-)
Happily I married a man who like me enjoyed 'boondocking'. Our weekends found us driving out of city areas and enjoying more country settings. We eventually found an abused 40 acre property and agreed that it would be where we preferred to live. The next 20+ years we slowly reclaimed the over grazed pastures, self built a passive solar adobe, powered by a solar electric system, developed a natural landscape, little garden and planted 30 fruit and nut trees. Loved that place until . . . the citidiots (neighbor's word) started moving in around us. In hindsight its interesting how people move 'out' but then expect all the city amenities too. As the (community) road got more and more ruined, the traffic in and out increased and water table dropped (lawns in an arid area?!), it became more and more apparent to us that while we hadn't changed, the area had. We began looking thruout several states for 'next' property and after a few years found a bit of 'junk' land (rocky hillside/poor grazing) that suited us fine. The land was cheap because it was beyond power lines, a brushy mess and in a 'depressed' area. We cashed out of our beloved place and transferred our hearts to the new place. Here we had built a pleasant little house, with new solar electric system powering it mightily and slowly developed some garden beds carved into a very rocky hillside.
Living in the bosom of nature is a very LIFE enhancing experience everyday. Ma Nature can seem cranky and irrational at times, but she remains TRUE to herself, doesn't B$ us. Once one gets in step with whatever she dishes out, life is grand.
OK, that's my back ground. Here's what I have made use of that got us here -
1) LOTS of reading/research. Ken Kern's books, OLD (pre 70s) Sunset publications, issues 1 -120 of the original The Mother Earth News, issues 1 - 70 of Home Power magazine, Fertility Pastures, Anthony Adams - Your Energy Efficient Home, and maximizing our own heads and hands. (wear out pencil and paper before picking up shovel and hammer)
2) A very 'efficient'/frugal/DO 'it' yourSELF attitude. Ca$h le$$ is very possible if one uses one's intelligence, creativity and hands over currency outlay.
3) Heaps and heaps of determination. Can do vs. victim mentality.
4) Discovering and working within the knowledge of the difference between 'assist' and 'help' (as in do FOR another). Encouragement is polite, as is mutual respect, especially of differences. (Nature thrives on variety)
5) Realistic 'economic' lifestyle. Money is a TOOL not an objective/goal. Debt free = freedom.
I have also coined my own word for our chosen 'lifestyle' - mioneering - which blends and makes use of modern and tradition practices that best produce an obtainable, in step with nature and realistic life for us. It has helped us life a 'retired' type of life for the last 30+ years.
There is one thing that would enhance our current life - IF some younger, as determined and 'permie' attituded person/people would settle in our location to develop and provide eats that age and location prevent us from doing. There have been a couple of half hearted attempts hereabouts, but not realistic (like10X price?!?) which collapse probably due to poor/lack of business plans and no stick-to-it-ness. Sad when one considers the resources of (unused) land, and knowledge base (lots of older DIYers like ourselves). I have been encouraged by some of the posts here, but also sigh to read mainly 'hot-to-go' idealists who seem to think such an endeavor is more 'Farmville' than dirt under nails WITH happy pay back. I hope to see and find that tipping towards reality.
BEST wishes to all - Jain