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Tomas Mansfield

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since Nov 17, 2020
I'm 45, and my wife is 42, and we've been actively engaged in homesteading for the last two years on a NE Texas farm (since 2018). 
NE TX (at the moment)
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Recent posts by Tomas Mansfield

Cl Robinson wrote:I hope yall find what you are looking for and much good luck for the future.

Thank you!
2 months ago

Cl Robinson wrote:Did the position in FL work out?  If yall are still looking, we might have an opportunity you would be interested in.

We did manage to find a position just 40 miles down the road from the old farm but this place is just not working out at all.  Sadly, this place also ate up most of our savings, so moving more than a couple hundred miles isn't doable at this time.  Thank you for your response, though!!
2 months ago
I wish I had the needed experience, knowledge and a way to get there!  This sounds like an absolutely wonderful opportunity!
2 months ago

Cimarron Layne wrote:This may sound like a rant, but what I'm saying is, IF you decide to build a community, make sure you vet your candidates completely and don't share your living accommodations with strangers.  You just never know what they are really like until it's too late to do anything about it.  People sometimes aren't truthful about themselves.

The vetting really should go both ways - we're in a situation now with an owner that is quite literally a mooch and scam artist, and all of his neighbors will back that up.  All of his neighbors can verify this as they have been mooched from, too.  One neighbor told him to leave her lawnmower alone because he would just take it whenever and mow over anything - sticks, rocks, etc., mow his place and run the gas out of it, never offering to chip in on gas.  When the neighbor told him to stay out of the fridge (he helped himself to everything), he got mad and refuses to go over to her place now.  Previously, he had been helping her with odds and ends around her place as she's in her 80s and can't do much.  

The deal when we came here was that the rent was $400/month and $100 to cover our part of the utilities, and that we would work it off at $8 per hour.  Work included was feeding/watering the rabbits, helping him with planting and weeding, and fixing up the house and property. It also included going over to the other property where his tree farm is and help thin so the bigger trees weren't competing for nutrients, and he'd pay cash for those hours.  The hours at this house and property works out to about 64-1/2 hours per month, which is an average of 16 hours (and some change) per week, average of 2-1/4 hours per day.  When we realized how much the electric and water jumped, so we offered to pay a little more so he isn't getting stiffed.  Mind you, we get just under $800/month and we have just under $400 in non-household bills.  He agreed to pay his part and the connection fees.  He's got a tiny house out back and we're in the 2-bedroom, but the electric is connected to both.  Basically, he uses very little electric.  He uses the washer and dryer, his microwave, a hot plate, and a slow cooker.  With the water, he does 2 loads a week, takes a shower a week, used around 150 gallons a week for watering the rabbits, and around 300 gallons a week watering his orchard/planting area of nearly 1000 plants.  The water bill was going up and up and up (county water), yet all we uses is for one load of laundry a week, 2-3 showers each, doing dishes, flushing the toilet as little as possible, and water for our dog.  My wife and I sat down and figured out who was paying what because his usage has increased, but the amount he pays isn't.  Turns out that he was only paying the connection fee and stiffing us with all the water, most of which was his usage.  When we questioned him about it, he decided that he wants us out by the end of the year because he's going to sell the house (which we offered to buy, but he declined before storming out the door).  He also decided that the work on the house and property no longer counted.  He also decided that anything we do must be for the orchard and it must be two and a quarter hours each day or more (but only 2-1/4 hours counts).  And it only counts when he's standing there watching because we don't do anything right and he feels he's being stiffed on hours.  The time of day to work is quite random, so if we go to the store or go get our mail at the post office, he's mad because apparently, that is when he wanted to start.  Every. Single. Time.  He was mad when I had to go to my eye doctor appointment to get new glasses and get a warranty replacement on the lenses of the old ones.  He was even madder when I had to pick them up two weeks later. And he had advance notice - he was okay with it until we actually did it.

Dude insists on knowing what we get in the mail, what we do on our computers and phones, any packages we get, what we do with our money, what we should eat (liquid diet only or live on eggs and potatoes like he does), our bedtime, our get-up time, medical stuff, you name it - this is not a complete list.  He has no issue eating our food uninvited.  Example: We get 4 pounds of butter a month, and not the cheap store brand like he uses.  He decided one day that he would help himself to it.  That 4 pounds lasted 5 days.  When confronted about it, he got all p****d off.  He can afford to get his own food and stuff, but gets very little because he feels he can just raid everyone else's stash.  We don't mind sharing, but we have an issue with being taken advantage of.  He uses my wife's good pans to make his eggs (which is fine), but gets all p****d off when she asks him not to use metal in them as they are not cheap pans.  I drink a high alkaline bottled water that's close to $10 a case.  He'd guzzle those down like they were free (since he wasn't buying them).  When it was mentioned to him, he got all p****d off again.  Scratching up her pans was the last straw for him - now he wants us out in 90 days.  Two days after getting written notice of the 90 days, he asks my wife, "Are you looking for a place to go, or are you going to milk the 90 days?"

My wife had her gall bladder removed yesterday and came home right after.  He actually expected her to get right to work not 5 minutes after watching her slowly (and in obvious pain) get out of the car and I helped her up the steps and into the house.  He was mad again that she was struggling to feed the rabbits this morning, just less than 24 hours after having an organ removed.  This doesn't even count the very demeaning, condescending and chauvinistic way he has treated my wife - conveniently when I'm not there to hear it.  His reason for not running his mouth in my presence - apparently I have anger issues.  The only time he could be referring to about these "anger issues" is when we were transplanting trees at the other property and he literally stood over me and in a very condescending and snotty manner told me how to transplant a tree (something I have plenty of experience with and he is aware of that).  I looked up at him and said, "No kidding?  You mean I've been doing it right all these years?"  That's anger issues.  But I think most husbands would be angry if another man is mistreating his wife.  I haven't seen/heard it for myself yet - waiting to catch him in the to speak up about it.  If I had anger issues, I'd be in jail right now!!  I learned to hold my tongue and not let emotions dictate my actions during my years in public safety.

So now he claims that we're not getting our hours in (we keep meticulous written records of it as well as using a time clock app where we punch in and out, and that keeps records as well.  When he found out we were doing that, he was mad again and says "it doesn't feel like 2-1/4 hours."  Well, it turns out that my wife was getting the most hours, on the order of nearly 70 per month, so that's what she turned in for the rent.  I was also doing between 10 and 30 hours per week which was never counted.  He got a lot of free work out of us and has the gall to claim we're not getting our hours.

If I am working for a decent person, I actually willingly toss a few extra hours of work in here and there to show my appreciation for the opportunity.  But for this guy, he's only getting the required hours for the remaining 90 days and when we leave, he's not going to con us out of any of our stuff.  We have no issue contacting a deputy or constable to stand by while we load up our stuff to avoid issues.

In contrast to the above, our last farm stay (intended to be a budding intentional community) went very well until the owner passed away unexpectedly.  He had no complaints and bragged about us to everyone he knew, including the owners of the feed store and his coworkers at the hospital (he was an ER doctor).  Dr. Eakin was like a dad to me.  We were there for two years with every intent to be there forever if he wanted us to.  He told us multiple times he was glad we came into his life and he never wanted us to do.

I wrote this "book" to say this:  Owners, vet your workers.  We have several people that know how well we work, including our neighbors here (who we're on excellent terms with).  And workers - vet the owners.  There's nothing like getting settled and things start going downhill as you discover that the owner is a con artist (or a womanizing pig).

And to both workers and owners - get everything in writing!

2 months ago
That Oklahoma clay, if there's enough and it's the right consistency, would be great to build with.  With several forms made with wood, all of equal size, you could mix the clay with enough water to make it workable, mix in some of that grass and fill the forms.  After some time in the hot sun, you'd turn the clay out of the forms to continue drying in the sun.  This will essentially create adobe bricks of uniform size.  When you build, you would lay the bricks as you would for a regular brick house, but use good, clean, wet clay as the mortar.  Wet enough to scoop and spread with a trowel.  Smooth it out on the inside and outside as you go so that it gives a nice, smooth look.  When your walls are complete, let them cure a bit, then give the outside a couple of coats of a light-colored paint - this will serve to not only protect your adobe walls from hard rains, but also, the light color will help reflect sunlight to help keep it cooler inside.

Not a perfect plan, but I would give it a shot if it were me.  Make a few and put them together to see how it would hold.
2 months ago
We would love to do this if we were a little closer!  A few months ago (or even a few weeks ago) we would have jumped at the chance for Arizona.  But the funds dwindles as we paid bills and fixed our truck.  With the little you described in your post, it sounds ideal.  Only if we were closer!!  Good luck!
2 months ago

S Lee wrote:All,

We are in Texas Hill Country now and decided to look for place here. We have met many freedom oriented folks here. If you are interested in being in this area, please come visit and PM us.


I wish we were closer to the Hill Country than we are now.  We used to live near Waco, then we moved to a farm where the owner wanted to begin a community of sorts on his 10 acres in NE Texas.  We worked in exchange for rent and utilities, and basically ran the farm.  He was an MD but also believed in medical freedom, as do we.  We were basically family at that farm, and everything seemed perfect.  We were there for two years before everything came crashing down this past October - very literally speaking.  He perished in a plane crash on his way home from one of his other farms.  Unfortunately, the executor of his estate had to sell, so we had to move.

We moved to a place a little further north with a house on two acres with similar conditions - work off the rent, and we offered to pay our share of the utilities (he still lives on the property in a tiny house that he built and has access to the house for water, bathroom, etc.).  Our job was to take care of the rabbits (200 of them), keep up the yard, help with the trees on his 170 acres (planting fruit trees, starting seedlings, and thinning the pines for harvest), and any other little tasks that come up.  There was a plan to fix this place up, and we'd buy it the same way we're renting it now - working it off.  He's also into medical freedom - he's free from all modern medical care.  Herbal teas is his way.  Great - I'm a master herbalist, I'm totally on board with that!  He also says he plans to move to his tiny house on the other property and live a more Amish-type lifestyle, basically off grid.  Cool deal!  He also wanted to live off his social security retirement check of $800 without touching his trust accounts (he has other money-producing property and a working farm elsewhere).  Frugal is good!

Long story short, we figured out how he lives so cheap - he's literally living off of us and his neighbors.  We have no issues paying our share, but we're also paying for most of his share, too.  He uses the same amount of electricity every month, so he pays his part and we pay ours.  he pays the same amount for water every month, despite his increased usage hauling water to the other property, so we get stuck with all but $30 of a $100 water bill for 6000 gallons (we use about 3000 gallons a month).  We do invite him to eat with us now and then, and he's taken that to mean he can raid the fridge anytime he wants.  He does this to our neighbors, too, one being an elderly lady that's almost 90 years old.  We've all had to hide several things so he doesn't just help himself to everything.  The way he talks to my wife - the outright demands for domestic duties - no man should even talk to his own wife like that, let alone another man's wife.  He conveniently does this when I'm not within earshot.  There's much more, but I've covered some of the basics.  He's figured out that we've figured him out and won't let him get away with taking advantage of us anymore, so now he wants us to go.  He's given us until the end of the year to go, but his mind changes with the wind.

I mention all of this to tell you this.  We don't scam or take advantage of others.  We've been trusted with others' property, and at times, their money.  Every item and every penny accounted for.  At our last farm, he trusted us with his unlimited credit cards.  We would never use them unless he specifically told us to or we cleared it with him first.  We treat others' property with utmost respect.  If I break it, I fix or replace it on my dime.  If something needs to be fixed (like a truck or tractor), I let the owner know and work with them on the best course of action to get it done.  Me personally - I've been trusted with other people lives - literally.  I've worked in fire and EMS, where we are trusted to the max with life and property.  The ultimate proof (or gesture) of trust is when a mother brings her child to you - kid in one arm and his amputated toe in the other hand, and says "Please fix this."  We're not thieves or scammers, and we prefer not to deal with same.

We're pretty cool and laid back (I think).  We're all about freedom - freedom to eat chemical-free food, freedom to handle your medical needs as you see fit and refuse treatment if desired, freedom to associate, freedom in general.  We were born free, this country was built on freedom, so lets be free together as we make our dreams come to fruition!

My wife (also a member her) and I would need to stay within about a 100 mile radius of where we are now due to funding.  Just when we though everything was covered and wed 'be able to save the rest of our stimulus check, the truck broke down and it's a hard to find part.  So well have to tap into what's left of our savings to make a move, and would need to rent a truck or trailer to move.  We both have craft stuff that we use to make money, a boatload of seeds and some gardening supplies, our tools, my computer, a fridge and a freezer (fridge can be sold if needed), my computer and the two tables I use for a desk, and a bed as well as other typical household stuff.  Our hundred-mile circle covers the Arklatex - NW Louisiana, SW Arkansas. SE Oklahoma and northeast Texas.  
2 months ago
If this place is still available, we may be interested!

We're volunteer caretakers on a NE Texas farm right now, but we'll have to move very soon.  The owner passed away a little over a month ago, and the estate must sell.

If this offer is still open, please let us know!


Tom and Mary Mansfield
6 months ago
Hello, Jim and Jeri!

If you're still interested in someone to help you, we're looking for someone to help!

We have experience on a small farm and we are also familiar with off-grid and partial grid living.  We hoped to have our own land one day, but our tiny income isn't really enough to get it going.

I do have some building experience, and my wife has lots of experience with animals, sewing, soap making, and more.

We both have gardening experience.

If you're still looking for someone, let us know - we're looking to make a move very soon!


Tom and Mary Mansfield
6 months ago