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Dh and I are considering moving to a more rural area--land/acreage.


popmom
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4 hours ago, Ottakee said:

Two other issues to consider are noise and smells.

One of my friends and her family were actually featured on a brochure from the county about country living and the SMELL.  It even had a scratch and sniff manure sticker.   Rural is great but games and animals have smells, that sometimes are very strong depending on the season and which way the wind blows.

The other issue is noise.  People dream of the quiet, peaceful country but don't realize during certain seasons tractors are running 24 hours a day to plant and harvest.  Then there are the quads, loud trucks, parties, and animals.

 

 

 

Noise can be a big issue in rural areas.  At one of the local meetings where my parents live, some new folks complained about the noise from the dump trucks on their road.  They didn't realize there was an active gravel pit about 10km away from their property.   So, yes, noise from dump trucks, farm equipment, off-road vehicles, etc   And then there is the smell of the country - something I happen to love, but not all people enjoy aroma of farms and their animals!  Also in my parent's area - someone has an organic fertilizer business and that stinks far worse than any farm! 

 

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5 minutes ago, jen3kids said:

 

Noise can be a big issue in rural areas.  At one of the local meetings where my parents live, some new folks complained about the noise from the dump trucks on their road.  They didn't realize there was an active gravel pit about 10km away from their property.   So, yes, noise from dump trucks, farm equipment, off-road vehicles, etc   And then there is the smell of the country - something I happen to love, but not all people enjoy aroma of farms and their animals!  Also in my parent's area - someone has an organic fertilizer business and that stinks far worse than any farm! 

 

And I really, really, really get mad at the people who move into a house or new development out near a quarry or farm and start complaining about things like noise and smells that were there first. Don't like farm smells- don't move near a farm.  Don't like dump trucks and blasting- don't move near the quarry.  Etc, etc,.

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13 minutes ago, TravelingChris said:

And I really, really, really get mad at the people who move into a house or new development out near a quarry or farm and start complaining about things like noise and smells that were there first. Don't like farm smells- don't move near a farm.  Don't like dump trucks and blasting- don't move near the quarry.  Etc, etc,.

Thank you!  I wanted to post something along these lines but knew it wouldn't come off gracious. 

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23 minutes ago, TravelingChris said:

And I really, really, really get mad at the people who move into a house or new development out near a quarry or farm and start complaining about things like noise and smells that were there first. Don't like farm smells- don't move near a farm.  Don't like dump trucks and blasting- don't move near the quarry.  Etc, etc,.

This is exactly why my friends were featured in that brochure with scratch and sniff sticker.   So many newbies were complaining about farm smells and noise.  

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Walking to things:  
One thing that surprised me about the small town life is that I can walk to things.   I'd always lived in large suburbs.   In the house I had before this, there was one small shopping center with a 7-11, one crappy restaurant and a library 3/4 mile away.   I only did the walk when DD was a baby and the real purpose was to take a walk.  The library was a bonus at the end.  At my childhood house, there was only the junior high within walking distance.   
Now the two block center of the small town is a 0.5 mile away.   It has a drug store, auto parks store, our doc, a dentist, 5 restaurants, misc other stores including an awesome yarn store, library, park and also a splash pad in the summer.  

Another nice thing is the view.   Our backyard view is a hay field.    We have a standing offer to buy it.   An older guy owns it and rents it out to the farmer.   He promised the land to his kids.  

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5 hours ago, Ottakee said:

My warning is to NEVER EVER depend on someone else's property for your privacy.

Unless there are planning regulations against it.  The field that we overlook is designated farmland - there is a lot of other land already designated locally for development, so it should be decades before development could even be considered.

Trees are more tricky - you need permission to fell substantial numbers of trees, and you have to replant many more than you fell, but the regrowth phase is not pretty.

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Have you considered a weekend property? You can get a taste of what the maintenance and such is like. If you decide never to move there or anywhere with acreage, you've saved yourself a lot of trouble. If you do decide to move to acreage, you will have at least some experience. 

I co-own a cabin in the woods, about 25 acres. We love going there, but I would never-ever-ever move there, lol. People have mentioned a lot of my reasons: no internet, long drives for shopping and interesting activities, more bugs and mice to deal with, the hospital is 30 minutes away and great for snakebites and chainsaw injuries, but not stellar for other emergencies like heart attacks and so on. When something that we can't fix breaks, we pay a premium and wait a long time, because no one wants to go out to the boonies.  

18 hours ago, popmom said:

I'm worried DH is idealizing this. He really dislikes yard work. He thinks mowing several acres would be easier because he'd have a tractor. Or maybe one of those fancy zero turn mowers. I don't think he realizes how slow tractors are. And what a bumpy ride.  My husband has lived in a city or suburb his entire life.

I actually have a little farming experience. I started herding cows on my grandfather's farm in his pick up truck when I was 12 years old. "Counting cows", picking wild blackberries, gardening, bushhogging was a regular part of life. While I have no desire to raise cows, I do know that owning 55 acres (like my granddad's farm) vs, say, 4 acres requires a skill set that we may not have.

 I do like that idea of having some land for a variety of reasons. I've been reading up on all sorts of topics relating to homesteading. I'm the kind of person who researches to the extreme lol. My husband operates so differently. He wants us to focus on getting the house ready to sell, so that when we see the "perfect" property, we'll be ready to act on it. So I ask him last night--what is the perfect property? "idk". How many acres are you thinking? "idk" Let alone questions of managing forested acreage vs cleared pasture. 

Don't get me wrong--my husband is fabulous, hard working, super smart. He is super handy. He replaces all the brakes and makes some repairs on our cars, repairs appliances, can do all kinds of things plumbing related--install toilets, sinks, faucets--you name it. He even recently installed a new natural gas hot water heater (which I always said was where I draw the line at DIYing it, but nobody died.) So he's got some skills, and he's got the work ethic. I'm just not sure he knows what to expect. 

If you live on some land, how did you decide how much was enough? Have any of you gone from a suburban lifestyle to homesteading with zero experience? 

Also super curious if anyone here has managed to go off grid. 

No one who has lived in cities/suburbs their whole life should commit to rural living or acreage without some experience, imo. 

If dh dislikes yard work, I can't fathom him enjoying taking care of acreage. Even if you're only mowing a small area, there is other work to be done. If you want to actually walk in your lovely woods, you have to maintain the trails. For us, this is a fair bit of cutting back branches and plants, and sometimes doing mysterious things with the tractor that I don't get involved in. 

Homesteading: Do you have a garden now? Is it the biggest garden you could possibly have? If the answer to either question is 'no,' then that's the place to start, right where you are. If you don't have a garden, then nobody has actually tested their interest in gardening. If your garden is much smaller than it could be, then I think the interest is still pretty theoretical. You can start planning and prepping for a spring garden right now (either starting one or enlarging). Other homesteading things to practice in suburbia include composting, cooking from scratch, setting up a rain barrel, learn skills like building a fire and chopping wood, see if there are animals you can have (chickens and rabbits are allowed in a lot of areas), take a CPR and first aid course, and whatever else strikes your fancy. By no means should you wait until you find property, and then try to do all the things. I'd say that people who don't maintain an active interest in at least the basics like gardening, composting, scratch cooking, and water collection are people who are not interested in actually homesteading. No judgement; I am definitely one of those who are not interested! 

Your husband is not going to be able to narrow down his idea of good property (forget the idea of perfect property) until he has an actual idea of what it means to live rurally and/or on acreage. He needs some exposure and experience, and you likely need some reminders. I would always say to buy a weekend property or just raw land before buying a house and land you plan to live on full-time. And before you do that, you can try to do things like visit a friend's property for a working weekend, and you can also look for farms and land that are set up for visitors. We have a local urban farm that gives tours and accepts volunteers. A couple of the big parks also use volunteers for upkeep of general land plus both flower and vegetables gardens. Your state's ag center is going to have a lot of resources to tap into as well. 

Basically, there is a long list of things y'all can be doing right where you are, that will help you gain experience and also see if it's truly a long-term interest. No way on earth would I buy property to live on without a lot of information and experience! 

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Our situation is different in that we live within driving distance of our big city. (Nashville, which has pretty much anything) and 20 minutes from 3 other smaller towns that have stores, lessons, homeschool groups, etc. HOWEVER. We bought 20 years ago when everything was much much much cheaper. We probably couldn't have afforded where we are now with current prices. And my dh's 25-30 minute commute has now gone to 35-40 minutes if there are no wrecks. 

So yes, you can live rurally within a decent distance of all the things, but you'll have to pay a lot for the privilege. So we can live here until we're old without sacrificing medical care and such. 

Also, one thing that others have mentioned is paying for help. That's a whole lot more complicated than it sounds. We struggle to find good farm help. My dh has given up paying people to build fences. True he has high standards, but it's frustrating to pay for fencing and have to repair it in 2-3 years. We build fences ourselves that last for 15 years at least with little maintenance. So we've given up paying for fencing.  Most of the people who have the farming skills are just as busy as we are, so hiring them to do some farm work is difficult. We have a small enough place that we can't really justify the cost to pay workers to do stuff, but it's big enough that we could really use occasional help. 

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15 minutes ago, katilac said:

Have you considered a weekend property? You can get a taste of what the maintenance and such is like. If you decide never to move there or anywhere with acreage, you've saved yourself a lot of trouble. If you do decide to move to acreage, you will have at least some experience. 

I co-own a cabin in the woods, about 25 acres. We love going there, but I would never-ever-ever move there, lol. People have mentioned a lot of my reasons: no internet, long drives for shopping and interesting activities, more bugs and mice to deal with, the hospital is 30 minutes away and great for snakebites and chainsaw injuries, but not stellar for other emergencies like heart attacks and so on. When something that we can't fix breaks, we pay a premium and wait a long time, because no one wants to go out to the boonies.  

 

I forgot about this. This has been a huge issue for us. I have basically had to hassle and nag skilled tradespeople when I've needed work because no one wants to come out this way. It took 6 months to get the propane company to come out and pick up the tank that we no longer wanted. 

It's not like it's THAT far; about 25 minutes to the big, big suburb with lots of plumbers, electricians, roofers, etc. But nope; no one wants to drive "all that way" when they could take a job that is 5 or 10 minutes from their home. 

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We moves to an off grid home on 20 acres a few years ago (actually we owner built our home but that's another story)

The first thing we decided was land size, quality and location. Dh wanted 20acres so that we could be self sufficient with firewood. We wanted natural beauty but useable - so not completely cleared ex-grazing land nor 100% natural bush block, and undulating was fine but not unreasonably steep. Dh investigated average rainfall, soil type etc. I investigated zoning.

We wanted to be around 30mins to a big town - big meaning multiple universities, churches, and a good hospital. We looked for a year before we found a suitable place in our price range. 

I had zero rural experience. Dh had some but not much. He did a lot of research. 

We have a garden, bees and chooks and mow a few acres, we mow what we use. Our fences aren't good enough for big animals and we're more interested in the horticultural side anyway. We can maintain this level with about an hour a day of work, with bigger stints every few weeks. 

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I really appreciate all the discussion. So much to consider. 

FYI if you've only lived in rural areas you might be surprised at all the wildlife here.  My suburb is covered up with deer, coyotes, fox, snakes, possum, armadillo, etc. The deer are everywhere--in our yard regularly. We hear the coyotes but have only seen them in our yard a few times. Same with foxes. 

I know about the smells, etc. There are several farmers in my family--they are retired now, but I grew up visiting. Cows don't bother me, but poultry farms are pretty bad. And paper mills. I think paper mills have gotten better over the years though.

I've been veggie gardening for several years. I compost leaves, and I have a huge flow through worm bin. I have 6 raised beds plus an area I tilled up for okra last summer. I don't have any more room because the rest of the yard is shaded. I cook from scratch already most of the time.

I'm actually encouraged by the time y'all spend mowing. We have a half acre in a nice neighborhood. My husband has a Honda push mower (too much slope for a ride on). Once a week in season he mows--which involves bagging, hauling, dumping, edging, weed eats, and blows it all clean. We have to manicure. It takes a good 3 hours a week. I usually help with mowing if we want it done in a day. Otherwise he splits the work up into two days. So zooming around for 2 hours on a ZT would be an improvement--as long as we don't have to keep everything manicured. So that we can handle. It's pasture I'm more concerned about.

This is not pandemic restlessness. My husband wanted to do this 10 years ago when we moved here from TX, but I didn't want it. The kids were young, and I didn't want to be driving in for co-op, ballet, church, etc. Neither dh or I have any regrets. We started talking about this more seriously about 3 years ago--after the first two were in college. That's when I got on board. I sort of got TOO on board. Go big or go home. I've been going back and forth between wanting just a few acres closer to our city to wanting 80 acres 2 counties away. And everything in between. After reading what you all have to say, I am taking off the table the idea of moving farther away for more land. We can find 2-12 acre tracts all day long in a community in our same county with fast food, drug stores, Walmart, physical, occupational, speech therapy. A free standing ER within 30 minutes and an excellent hospital within 40 minutes. It would also be 40 minutes from the office if dh needs to go in. 

I'm taking another look at several developments that cater to folks like us. Most are gated with 4-15 acre tracts mostly wooded. I had written them off before because of the covenants and restrictions. I am going to get a copy from each to see just how restrictive it is. We both want solar, but that's opening up another can of worms that is worthy of it's own thread. We don't live in a solar friendly state. I have spent several hours with someone who specializes in taking new construction off grid--the PV arrays, batteries, inverters, well and pump, stove, generator, the works. So I do have a ball park number for what that would cost. If we go that route (which is not likely at this point), We would build new using ICF. We have built our own house before-- as in dh and I were the general contractors. We wouldn't mind doing it again.

@TravelingChris I totally agree with you about complaining about the quarry when you knew it was there before you bought the house. It happens all the time. Dh works in the aggregate/asphalt/construction product industry. Has for over 20 years. (Which is a help if would do end up building. He has tons of connections and we get discounts. 😉 )

Anyway, thanks for talking me down from buying 80 acres 2 hours away lol.

 

 

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8 hours ago, Ottakee said:

One warning about buying something that backs up to woods/forest.  That is great and fine....until the owner of the property clear cuts it to sell the timber or turn it into a field or pig farm or .......

My warning is to NEVER EVER depend on someone else's property for your privacy.

I think in general that's good advice. In our case--we feel really good about the woods across the street. We researched thoroughly before buying here. That land was originally meant to be part of our neighborhood development, but it wouldn't perk. And it's a deep ravine, steep on both sides. Before anyone would consider buying it our tiny little town would need to start a sewer system and extend it almost all the way to the town limit. And someone would have to be willing to spend well into the five figures on clearing/grading and they'd still be limited to a certain type house (either high front porch/lots of steps or a walkout basement). I think to have it clear cut the current owner would need permission from the town zoning board, and that doesn't seem likely at all. All in all -- we're about 95 percent sure no one is ever going to live on the land across from us but lots of wildlife.

4 minutes ago, popmom said:

I'm actually encouraged by the time y'all spend mowing. We have a half acre in a nice neighborhood. My husband has a Honda push mower (too much slope for a ride on). Once a week in season he mows--which involves bagging, hauling, dumping, edging, weed eats, and blows it all clean. We have to manicure. It takes a good 3 hours a week. I usually help with mowing if we want it done in a day. Otherwise he splits the work up into two days. So zooming around for 2 hours on a ZT would be an improvement--as long as we don't have to keep everything manicured. So that we can handle. It's pasture I'm more concerned about.

I too have been chuckling a bit at people who think two or three hours of mowing a week is a lot! We spend WAY more than that on our half acre.

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59 minutes ago, LMD said:

We moves to an off grid home on 20 acres a few years ago (actually we owner built our home but that's another story)

The first thing we decided was land size, quality and location. Dh wanted 20acres so that we could be self sufficient with firewood. We wanted natural beauty but useable - so not completely cleared ex-grazing land nor 100% natural bush block, and undulating was fine but not unreasonably steep. Dh investigated average rainfall, soil type etc. I investigated zoning.

We wanted to be around 30mins to a big town - big meaning multiple universities, churches, and a good hospital. We looked for a year before we found a suitable place in our price range. 

I had zero rural experience. Dh had some but not much. He did a lot of research. 

We have a garden, bees and chooks and mow a few acres, we mow what we use. Our fences aren't good enough for big animals and we're more interested in the horticultural side anyway. We can maintain this level with about an hour a day of work, with bigger stints every few weeks. 

And what part of the country are you?  Because colder or drive areas take less time than very wet Southeast places.  We had enough rain here this year and I think last year too to qualify as a rain forest and I think it would take a lot longer time to take care of land here.

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16 minutes ago, popmom said:

I really appreciate all the discussion. So much to consider. 

FYI if you've only lived in rural areas you might be surprised at all the wildlife here.  My suburb is covered up with deer, coyotes, fox, snakes, possum, armadillo, etc. The deer are everywhere--in our yard regularly. We hear the coyotes but have only seen them in our yard a few times. Same with foxes. 

I know about the smells, etc. There are several farmers in my family--they are retired now, but I grew up visiting. Cows don't bother me, but poultry farms are pretty bad. And paper mills. I think paper mills have gotten better over the years though.

I've been veggie gardening for several years. I compost leaves, and I have a huge flow through worm bin. I have 6 raised beds plus an area I tilled up for okra last summer. I don't have any more room because the rest of the yard is shaded. I cook from scratch already most of the time.

I'm actually encouraged by the time y'all spend mowing. We have a half acre in a nice neighborhood. My husband has a Honda push mower (too much slope for a ride on). Once a week in season he mows--which involves bagging, hauling, dumping, edging, weed eats, and blows it all clean. We have to manicure. It takes a good 3 hours a week. I usually help with mowing if we want it done in a day. Otherwise he splits the work up into two days. So zooming around for 2 hours on a ZT would be an improvement--as long as we don't have to keep everything manicured. So that we can handle. It's pasture I'm more concerned about.

This is not pandemic restlessness. My husband wanted to do this 10 years ago when we moved here from TX, but I didn't want it. The kids were young, and I didn't want to be driving in for co-op, ballet, church, etc. Neither dh or I have any regrets. We started talking about this more seriously about 3 years ago--after the first two were in college. That's when I got on board. I sort of got TOO on board. Go big or go home. I've been going back and forth between wanting just a few acres closer to our city to wanting 80 acres 2 counties away. And everything in between. After reading what you all have to say, I am taking off the table the idea of moving farther away for more land. We can find 2-12 acre tracts all day long in a community in our same county with fast food, drug stores, Walmart, physical, occupational, speech therapy. A free standing ER within 30 minutes and an excellent hospital within 40 minutes. It would also be 40 minutes from the office if dh needs to go in. 

I'm taking another look at several developments that cater to folks like us. Most are gated with 4-15 acre tracts mostly wooded. I had written them off before because of the covenants and restrictions. I am going to get a copy from each to see just how restrictive it is. We both want solar, but that's opening up another can of worms that is worthy of it's own thread. We don't live in a solar friendly state. I have spent several hours with someone who specializes in taking new construction off grid--the PV arrays, batteries, inverters, well and pump, stove, generator, the works. So I do have a ball park number for what that would cost. If we go that route (which is not likely at this point), We would build new using ICF. We have built our own house before-- as in dh and I were the general contractors. We wouldn't mind doing it again.

@TravelingChris I totally agree with you about complaining about the quarry when you knew it was there before you bought the house. It happens all the time. Dh works in the aggregate/asphalt/construction product industry. Has for over 20 years. (Which is a help if would do end up building. He has tons of connections and we get discounts. 😉 )

Anyway, thanks for talking me down from buying 80 acres 2 hours away lol.

 

 

 

You live in the solar unfriendly part of the state.   Dh and I specifically voted for the person who had her phone seized when she complained about the outrageous amount to simply add an account for solar.  ( Not add s line, or inspect or anything technical- just something like $250 ,to add an account on the utilities system that this person has solar energy).  Since we are in TVA land, we have no such craziness.

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11 hours ago, domestic_engineer said:

Everyone has given you lots to think about. But I think your DH has a valid point that you’ll want your current house closer to “ready to sell” condition when/if the perfect property pops up. I don’t think your research and his fix-it-up efforts have to be a linear process but can easily be done in parallel.   
 

With so many factors to consider in the perfect property, it would be a shame to miss the opportunity because your current house isn’t ready to go. 

This is exactly what I want. I'm not at all against getting the house ready to sell. We are doing that right now. I just want him to define what he wants and what his expectations are. I'm a researcher/planner. I can't know what the perfect property is w/out thoroughly researching. We talked last night and he has agreed to do some research. I shared some of the info from this thread with him, too. It's been good to guide our discussions about what he really wants out of this.

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1 hour ago, TravelingChris said:

 

You live in the solar unfriendly part of the state.   Dh and I specifically voted for the person who had her phone seized when she complained about the outrageous amount to simply add an account for solar.  ( Not add s line, or inspect or anything technical- just something like $250 ,to add an account on the utilities system that this person has solar energy).  Since we are in TVA land, we have no such craziness.

They also charge a $5 per kilowatt fee per month based on capacity per household that supplements with solar. It is really ridiculous, but I don't expect anything to change any time soon. So yeah...we either have to be totally off the power grid or be completely and wholly dependent on the power grid. There is no in between.

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Fyi - we built our own off grid system and rely on mostly solar plus generator for bigger power needs.

1 hour ago, TravelingChris said:

And what part of the country are you?  Because colder or drive areas take less time than very wet Southeast places.  We had enough rain here this year and I think last year too to qualify as a rain forest and I think it would take a lot longer time to take care of land here.

Well, I'm in Australia so not too helpful for US. Which is why I more emphasized the research we did into the land before buying.

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I grew up in the city (Philadelphia) and lived in suburbs for first ten years of my marriage. Then, due to a job change, we moved to a small town. Not even a lot of acreage. But the houses were far apart. Well, not even that far apart. I just couldn’t see neighbors’ house due to the trees. 
 

OMG, I HATED it! Truly hated it. My kids were ages 4- 11 at the time, all homeschooled, and I felt like I was constantly driving to the next “big” city just to get to the library or piano lessons or whatever. At one point we considered putting our oldest in the middle school, but the bus ride was OVER AN HOUR away for crying out loud.  Fortunately there was a grocery store not too far from our house, but my goodness it was not the life for me. We actually moved two years later, not due to a job change, just to get away from the isolation and to be near people. 

So, just saying, be sure this is what a city/suburban man really wants. 

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Other things you have to think about is all that "freedom" from city restrictions.  There might not be leash laws or noise ordinances.  My suburban home is quieter than my mom's place in the country.  I never hear roosters early in the morning or teens on 4-wheelers tearing through the woods.  I pay a LOT less for gas because everything is closer to me.  Clearing snow from a long driveway is no joke.  Weirdly, I pay less for some services in my HCOL just because there is more competition.  I don't have to pay Big Pete's rates and wait for him to have time because he's the only guy in the county that does the thing.  

Make sure that your dh knows he won't save money by growing all of his own food.  The amount you pay for land is going to be so much more than you save by growing your own blueberries.  Maybe sign him up for a community garden plot and see if he can manage that first. I know I sound super negative, but my sister just bought acreage and, despite my attempts to talk her into starting smaller  She is now overwhelmed.  Everything is more work and more expense than they anticipated.  It's surreal.  She grew up in the country.  She KNOWS how much work we did as kids.  She had to know that our parents did a whole lot more.  

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1 hour ago, popmom said:

hmmmm... my dh keeps telling me he can do it himself. Any resources you can recommend? Books, blogs, etc.

I'll ask dh. He ordered panels, batteries, inverters and charge controllers separately and put it all together. We found an electrician who supported us and let dh do 99% of the work himself. This meant that dh had backup if he needed it, and it was all legally compliant in the end.

Eta - it has been harder and more expensive than we anticipated, but also really satisfying. We love it here, we love how we built our home. This whole adventure has been a kind of living out our values.

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17 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

Other things you have to think about is all that "freedom" from city restrictions.  There might not be leash laws or noise ordinances.  My suburban home is quieter than my mom's place in the country.  I never hear roosters early in the morning or teens on 4-wheelers tearing through the woods.  I pay a LOT less for gas because everything is closer to me.  Clearing snow from a long driveway is no joke.  Weirdly, I pay less for some services in my HCOL just because there is more competition.  I don't have to pay Big Pete's rates and wait for him to have time because he's the only guy in the county that does the thing.  

Make sure that your dh knows he won't save money by growing all of his own food.  The amount you pay for land is going to be so much more than you save by growing your own blueberries.  Maybe sign him up for a community garden plot and see if he can manage that first. I know I sound super negative, but my sister just bought acreage and, despite my attempts to talk her into starting smaller  She is now overwhelmed.  Everything is more work and more expense than they anticipated.  It's surreal.  She grew up in the country.  She KNOWS how much work we did as kids.  She had to know that our parents did a whole lot more.  

Oh, I'm the one that gardens. He has no interest in growing his own food. He does help me out from time to time--like when I need a t post driven in the ground lol. And I totally get what you are saying. I don't do it to save money. I do it for other reasons. After talking last night, I think his biggest priority is not having neighbors right on top of us--privacy. Room for our dogs to run around and the granddogs when the dds are home. And no worries about scaring the neighbors when my dds bring their pit bulls/shepherd mixes home. We feel like we have to hide them. 😕

When my parents live on their 4 acres, there was a neighborhood pack of dogs that ran around. They all had owners in the neighborhood, but they just ran around loose all the time. That is definitely a drawback to country life. Fortunately, those dogs were pretty harmless. I know it could be worse. Man I know it could be worse because my daughters rescue dogs all the time from rural areas in AL and GA. It's a huge problem here.

Speaking of... the dds are super excited about the thought of us doing this lol. Of course they have totally romanticized it. They want to build their own house on our property and build kennels, so they can rescue and foster more dogs. 😉

https://www.pupsontheplains.com/ 

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1 hour ago, popmom said:

hmmmm... my dh keeps telling me he can do it himself. Any resources you can recommend? Books, blogs, etc.

He’d still want an architect or electrical engineer to help him with a sun study, that way he can figure out the yearly exposures and angles to best maximize panel placement. It’s not hard, per se, but the math can be a bit complicated, especially if there are rises and hills in the way, but only for part of the year. The actual battery racks and DC converters and such are the easy part, IMO.

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2 minutes ago, TAFKAPastry said:

He’d still want an architect or electrical engineer to help him with a sun study, that way he can figure out the yearly exposures and angles to best maximize panel placement. It’s not hard, per se, but the math can be a bit complicated, especially if there are rises and hills in the way, but only for part of the year. The actual battery racks and DC converters and such are the easy part, IMO.

Yes! Thank you. This is why I was leery of him diying it. He is an engineer (mech/civil) but he would need some professional help with this.

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Ummm...if you want your dogs to run loose, please fence your place. Both for your dogs protection and that of the neighbors animals. Even nice sweet gentle dogs get a kick out of chasing chickens. And a dog can be seriously injured by the kick of a cow or horse. 
 

many people go to the country not realizing that dogs running loose is not appreciated there any more than in town.

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15 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

Ummm...if you want your dogs to run loose, please fence your place. Both for your dogs protection and that of the neighbors animals. Even nice sweet gentle dogs get a kick out of chasing chickens. And a dog can be seriously injured by the kick of a cow or horse. 
 

many people go to the country not realizing that dogs running loose is not appreciated there any more than in town.

oh lort believe me I know. I'm not a degenerate for goodness sake. Room to run is not the same as running loose. Reread the last part of my above post. I would never do that. 🤦‍♀️ Also, many "people in the country" seem to think it's perfectly acceptable to let dogs run loose which is why my dds have the rescue and why I have so many granddogs. It's kind of silly to suggest that suburbanites would be the ones creating all the loose dog issues in the "countryside".

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43 minutes ago, popmom said:

oh lort believe me I know. I'm not a degenerate for goodness sake. Room to run is not the same as running loose. Reread the last part of my above post. I would never do that. 🤦‍♀️ Also, many "people in the country" seem to think it's perfectly acceptable to let dogs run loose which is why my dds have the rescue and why I have so many granddogs. It's kind of silly to suggest that suburbanites would be the ones creating all the loose dog issues in the "countryside".

I’ve seen all kinds who have that idea. Both suburbanites and country people. Just thought it was worth mentioning...

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12 hours ago, popmom said:

'm actually encouraged by the time y'all spend mowing. We have a half acre in a nice neighborhood. My husband has a Honda push mower (too much slope for a ride on). Once a week in season he mows--which involves bagging, hauling, dumping, edging, weed eats, and blows it all clean. We have to manicure. It takes a good 3 hours a week. I usually help with mowing if we want it done in a day. Otherwise he splits the work up into two days. So zooming around for 2 hours on a ZT would be an improvement--as long as we don't have to keep everything manicured. So that we can handle. It's pasture I'm more concerned about.

There are some people in my neighborhood (technically rural, but also a gated community of .5-1.5 acre lots in the woods) who do the whole “yard clean up” thing and make their place look like the ‘burbs, but they’re still in the minority.  We cut grass, and that’s it. The cuttings and the leaves are good for the soil. 🙂 
The official rule is no grass/weeds over 10”, so it’s a difficult rule to break, lol.

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1 hour ago, Carrie12345 said:

There are some people in my neighborhood (technically rural, but also a gated community of .5-1.5 acre lots in the woods) who do the whole “yard clean up” thing and make their place look like the ‘burbs, but they’re still in the minority.  We cut grass, and that’s it. The cuttings and the leaves are good for the soil. 🙂 
The official rule is no grass/weeds over 10”, so it’s a difficult rule to break, lol.

Yeah, but DH spends more than three hours a week just mowing our half acre. He pushes it, so by the time he mows around everything it takes him probably 90 minutes to two hours to do it. And the grass grows super fast here (southeast US). It's common for him to mow every three days for much of the summer. If he only mowed once a week our grass would be close to knee high. We don't live in an HOA neighborhood, but no way would we allow our grass to get that high. I still own my (deceased) mom's house, which is on a little over an acre. I mow it with a riding mower and am just interested in "getting 'er done" as quickly as possible.  I don't much care how it looks, and my brother does all the trim work and other stuff. It takes me an hour or so, and that's mowing as fast as possible. Back when I was young and single my house was on an acre and I'd come home from work three or four nights a week and push mow for an hour or so. So all my experience makes it seem very weird to hear people on "acreage" thinking mowing for two or three hours a week is a lot. That's just not my scale for mowing and yard work. Many hours a week are the norm for half acre to acre lots, and not doing anything fancy. But again--grass grows fast here.

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We live on ten acres, we started looking at 2-5 acres but found ten acre plots that were similar price or cheaper.  We are not rural really though it used to be at one point.  We literally built our house in the middle of a cow pasture.  Our kids were 3, 5, 6, and 9 when we started building.  My husband worked as the general contractor and he and my dad did a lot of the finish work in the house.  Oh and we added an infant and a puppy while still finishing the house just because we could.  On about two of the ten acres we built our home, garage, animal pens etc and the rest is pasture for hay.  We used to have chickens but when daughter was diagnosed with aHUS doctor asked us not to so now we just have cattle. (between 2-10 depending on the year).  We live five miles any direction to the grocery store, ten miles to the major highway or larger shopping area and one hour from major city and the Children's hospital)  Our area has a smaller town/city feel but we live within an hour of seven colleges and universities and the nearest city we go to daily is a college town.  One thing is I drive a lot.  Raising five kids who are active in sports, theater, music, etc, nothing is incredibly close so easily could drive between 50 and 100 miles a day running them around.  It can be a lot of work to live here, there is always something that needs to be done and the housework is more as well due to the dust and dirt tracked in the house.  I love it here and never want to leave but may change my mind as we get older.  Dh says once our youngest heads off to college in four years that we will probably stop raising cattle so we can travel more.  We do travel now as we pay neighbor kids to look after the animals and board the dogs, but they are growing up too and heading off to college so unless new kids move in we won't have any more help. My kids are currently 26. 23, 21, 19 and 14 all but one says they will live in the suburbs in a nice, neat neighborhood with sidewalks.  Too much work for them.  

Kimberly

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12 hours ago, popmom said:

hmmmm... my dh keeps telling me he can do it himself. Any resources you can recommend? Books, blogs, etc.

And popmom, I would research the legalities.  Alabama Power and the Public Service Commission are corrupt monsters it seems (as I said we are TVA  but here plenty about the evils of power down state)  and Al has enough strange laws and rules that you should check on that before starting.  I hope you can do it.

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14 hours ago, TravelingChris said:

And popmom, I would research the legalities.  Alabama Power and the Public Service Commission are corrupt monsters it seems (as I said we are TVA  but here plenty about the evils of power down state)  and Al has enough strange laws and rules that you should check on that before starting.  I hope you can do it.

I will do that--and thank you. Dd and I drove out to one of the areas we are considering. We walked a beautiful 12 acre tract that's for sale, and there were others-- a bit smaller. I timed the drive to the ER and co-op. I was surprised that it only took 10 minutes to the grocery store/fast food, 20 minutes to the ER and co-op, and 30 minutes to the hospital. Much better than I expected. We won't do anything until we pay off our mortgage--which will be mid 2021. 

I think one thing that appeals to me about this shift in lifestyle is that it seems healthier to me. I know I could stay here and join a gym after COVID, but I hate that type of work out. I enjoy heavy work. I love being outdoors. I noticed after I started gardening--seriously gardening--my resting heart rate dropped significantly. I want to push myself a little. There's really no reason not to. (I do have CFS, but as long as I'm on meds I feel good) My grandmother is 92 and she can outdo me any day of the week. She and her husband maintain 2 houses with very large yards--one in town and one at the lake. They do all the work themselves and they have a huge garden every summer. I credit that to them both doing heavy physical work all their lives. On the other hand my FIL lived to be 93, but he was sedentary. He had type 2 diabetes, lost a leg and part of a foot to that disease, survived a heart attack with triple bypass surgery. His quality of life was not good at all those last 15-20 years.

I also want to have to work harder for my food. It's just a philosophy that I have. I'm 2 generations away from family that when they wanted to have chicken for dinner, they had to go out back and wring a neck. Now we don't even have to debone our chicken breasts. Maybe that sounds crazy. It's something I've thought a lot about because I have 2 kids with disordered eating.

Anyway, thank you all for all the info and advice. There is truly a wealth of knowledge here for a sort of newbie wannabe homesteader. 

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@katilac I forgot to add to my above post... I do also collect rainwater. Not on a large scale. But enough to make compost tea regularly and keep the worm bin moist. I have a "bubble snake" that I ordered from Tealab. That thing is great for compost tea! 

I only have a few beds planted right now. I've got carrots, turnips, tendergreen mustard and lettuce. I'm about to plant some more, so I can stagger the harvest. And I need to start some cabbage, too.

I did some canning this year for the first time. That was cool. 

I'm not allowed to have chickens or rabbits where I live. So I've about maxed out my homesteading experience here. I'm ready for more.

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On 12/29/2020 at 1:43 PM, popmom said:

hmmmm... my dh keeps telling me he can do it himself. Any resources you can recommend? Books, blogs, etc.

I asked him and I'm not sure how helpful we can be lol. We're in Aus and a lot of resources are local. He picked up a lot of knowledge along the way and couldn't remember a specific book. He read something from our local electronics supplier store and something from our hardware stores. He says it's really very doable, he didn't need much help from the electrician. He actually ended up needing more help from the plumber than the electrician (dh also plumbed our whole house himself) if that gives you an idea of the level of complexity... sorry I couldn't be more helpful! 

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1 minute ago, LMD said:

I asked him and I'm not sure how helpful we can be lol. We're in Aus and a lot of resources are local. He picked up a lot of knowledge along the way and couldn't remember a specific book. He read something from our local electronics supplier store and something from our hardware stores. He says it's really very doable, he didn't need much help from the electrician. He actually ended up needing more help from the plumber than the electrician (dh also plumbed our whole house himself) if that gives you an idea of the level of complexity... sorry I couldn't be more helpful! 

No worries! I get it. Thank you for asking!

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On 12/28/2020 at 4:30 PM, fairfarmhand said:

Also, one thing that others have mentioned is paying for help. That's a whole lot more complicated than it sounds. We struggle to find good farm help.


Soooooo true.  DH has to do things things like dig holes that he didn't have to do in the suburbs.  Near our previous house the city had a Day Labor Center.  It was funded with permit money.   During the day you could drive up and tell a city employee what work you wanted, how long it would take, what you were willing to pay and if English-speaking was required.  The first person on the list that was a match, got in your car.    
 

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On 12/28/2020 at 11:26 PM, fairfarmhand said:

Ummm...if you want your dogs to run loose, please fence your place. Both for your dogs protection and that of the neighbors animals. Even nice sweet gentle dogs get a kick out of chasing chickens. And a dog can be seriously injured by the kick of a cow or horse. 
 

many people go to the country not realizing that dogs running loose is not appreciated there any more than in town.

Our neighbor is a cattle famer. He has donkeys in with the cows for protection. Another neighbor came to him and told him that he needed to do something about his donkey as it bit his dog. Donkey was doing it's job. The dog was in the pasture harassing the cows.

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