TRP

TRP

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Home on the Range……

            There are a lot of ways to take that title. Am I going to talk about cattle? Travel? Guns? No, I’m going to write about my extreme desire to live on a farm.

            I grew up in a small town with large family farms surrounding us. While many are not so “family” any more, my hometown is still considered by most that live there a “farming community.” Of course, I don’t live there any longer, but I’m a short 15 mile drive away. So, living on a farm should be easy if I really wanted to, right?

            Sadly, there are issues. I don’t want (and couldn’t pay for) 400 acres of prime farm land. I want 5-10 acres of decent farm land and no one sells plots that small in my area. Not to mention (though I will) the cost per acre of halfway decent farm land in my area would be astronomical even if you could buy such small acreage. Also, I live in CA where the taxes and regulations put even large farming operations out of business.

            Of course, there is nothing nailing my feet to the ground in CA except a slightly underwater mortgage (that is getting closer to the surface every day) and family. The wife would absolutely love to move away to another state. The kiddos would get over it when they find out how much easier it is to breathe outside our area. Even some of my extended family has hinted at a “you first” approach. I’m a teacher, so I can move anywhere there are schools and likely find a job.

            So what is stopping me from moving to another state and living my dream? Well, fear, mostly. The last time I did something so drastic I was much younger with a smaller family and no real career. Now, I’m in my 40’s, a wife, 2 kids and a career where I have some potential (arguably). Within a year, my house will be worth more than I owe on it, so I could leave CA with a few dollars in my pocket, but not nearly enough to just start over.

            Don’t get me wrong, I know it is possible. People have done exactly what I would like to do under far worse conditions. But, have you ever noticed how a lot of the homesteaders that blog online were given their land by family? That would an incredible gift as the land is the most expensive part of the process and knowing someone with intimate knowledge of the land is beyond incredible. That will not be happening to me as no one in my family has anything beyond their 8,000 square foot suburban lot.

            So will I ever move to a farm and become more self-sufficient? I don’t know. I do have a plan formulating in my head, but nothing substantial. I will be looking at what types of credentials one needs to teach in other states and the cost of property, water, etc., before I make any more decisions. You never know what the future holds…..
 
 

6 comments:

  1. That would be so exciting, and in my opinion, your dream is wonderful. Yes, most people get passed down their farms these days, but to go against the grain and get one yourself, that's pretty damn admirable in my opinion. If you ever do move to a farm and live out your dream, I think that would be so encouraging. It'd be so hard, yet so rewarding, I'd think.

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    1. I think most people could do with a dose of hard work. Scares me, but I would like to think I could rise to the occasion.

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  2. We left Cali 10 years ago and will never go back, even for $. We sold and bought a house in rural Colorado during the peak of predatory loans - and then spent 4 years fighting to keep our home (got a $300. check for the banks' "misbehavior" in foreclosing,) And here we are in our early 50's back to starting over and renting, but we do run a biz from home (mobile PC repair) and I think that is worth more than anything you would get for your biz- if it's something you could take with you and re-start it. I've seen many many farming ventures (my lifelong dream as well), and very FEW of them can make a living just farming. I think it's better to consider a small plot of land - 5 or 10 acres, and create your own sustainable situation (permaculture). There are even home types that can allow you to start without the water well (saving $6k cost to drill one), and to purchawe property without the electric lines out to it, because solar is built into the house plan....which would save a lot of property, and the house is heated with passive solar so there is no need for A/C or heat ducts/units either (maybe a small wood stove). Check out the earthships - there are better and more refined techniques to building them over the years, so really dig. Anyway there are many options for DIY as long as you are careful where you go (to avoid regulations on building permits). Look up Food Forests, and Micro-Farming... you'll be inspired and realize the farm dream isn't really so big as to be unattainable. Good luck!

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    1. Gosh, just re-read what I wrote and want to clear up any chance of mis-reading - when I said "run a biz from home (mobile PC repair) and I think that is worth more than anything you would get for your biz- if it's something you could take with you and re-start it..." What I MEANT was that running a biz from home might be worth more than selling off your current biz, if you could move it with you. SORRY for that sloppy writing!

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    2. Illoura,
      thanks so much for your comments and encouragement. Since writing the original article, the wife and I have looked more into the possibilities of homesteading. It is definitely attainable, but just so scary. My biggest problem is that I keep attaining more and more success in my current profession (education) and the more success you have, the less chance you have to leave it all behind. The chances of still making the kind of money I do now after moving to a more rural location are very slim. Oh, how I would love to, though. Even a more rural part of CA would be something.
      Thanks again for the comments and the inspiration.

      TRP

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  3. sburns@execp.comApril 1, 2014 at 8:32 AM

    move to s.w. wisc. My farm is 15 acres with a year round creek.
    The cost with the nice house...92k. it is called the driftless area google driftless

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