Shirley Shay Lemoine Hi! I have a question and didn’t know if to post or just ask you directly and you could maybe post for me if you allow that? It’s okay if not. I would just really appreciate the feedback of other more experienced homesteaders.
My husband and I are fairly new to the concept of off-grid living and homesteading. When I say “new” i mean we have been seriously entertaining the idea for about seven months. We feel like it is time to start taking some steps towards achieving it. I have started canning and gardening but need to take more action. I know that when selecting a location to live there are many factors to consider but was hoping you all could give some insight as to a place that best fits the folowing criteria:
Good soil for gardening Mild winters (some snow is okay) Not too close to the New Madrid fault Not a lot of tornado activity (I can deal with hurricanes but tornadoes petrify me!) Legal to collect rainwater Good gun laws (pro-gun state) Land can have more than one residence on it Low property taxes Good bang for your buck property-wise
Any other feedback or advice as to other things to consider would be greatly appreciated! Again, we are still very new to this but we are both hard-working, determined individuals looking to live a simple, humble and hard working life and teach our future babies to do the same.
Thanks in advance and God bless!
I would say you are really on the right path. If your soil isn’t rich enough, you will have to learn how to enrich your soil to grow better. We learned this last Summer in the red clay soil area of Oklahoma. Consider cell phone signal as there are still places that have little or none. Does cellular service provide internet to your phone? What are you going to use for power? Solar? too many trees? Wind? Are you high enough in a breezy area? Hydro? Does it have a river or creek that you could capture power from the water flow?
You can use the terrain to determine your building materials. If there are good logs, you could buy or build a sawmill to cut them up and build with. If not, is there sand and clay both for adobe or cob? How far is the nearest grocery store? Hospital? Hardware store? Because your fuel consumption while you build will depend on how far you have to go to get things.
If you planned to build with shipping containers, the further you are from a port, the more they cost. If you live on the rocks, and plan to build with straw bales and cob, you will have to have both shipped in.
If you buy the land on payments, can you manage the payments? Do you have work? Can you find work? If you rely on a blog or the internet for income, if you had a month or two or three of down time, could you do without?
Considering how far you drive to get supplies for construction, how good of shape are your cars in? Will they survive the mileage? Do you have to work two hours from home to get on your feet?
Do you smoke? How far is the nearest mini mart that sells smokes? Are you a planner? Can you plan the ordering of supplies in advance enough to buy on line and wait for them? Or are you going to be rushing last minute to get things at the local hardware store.
Can you build? Can you fix things? The more things you set up, the more you need to know.
Many of these factors are the reason we began to do this as a group. Buying land as a group and building together, whether family, friends, or internet coordinated group, having different skills represented or around is nice. It’s hard to know everything. Just because you know it doesn’t mean you have time to do everything yourself.
I’m not sure the concept of simply going off the grid in the wilderness is what I had I mind for everyone. The page has lead me astray from my initial goal… which was more of the tech installations side of off the grid. Taking what we have and using what we learn to wise up. Somewhere along that road, I became entranced with the idea that the insulation provided in a stick and mortar house is not enough. We have the use of earth, dirt, concrete, straw, natural logs…. and we should use what we have to build wisely. If we build something that takes advantage of the below ground temperatures to control the temperature of our home, then costs go down. But that means that just about every home in America is underbuilt. To go the direction I have begun to lead means a starting over. I guess that’s good for the economy? -To discover that every home is too inefficient? -To know that everything should be torn down and made to resist the elements, the tornadoes, the earthquakes, and can be built with less skills… skills we have not been taught here. There are no strawbale cob construction companies running around the country building homes. It’s all about learning the techniques and doing it yourself. (by the way, Strawbale.com has great workshops!)
My mind runs wild with all the ideas that I have been challenged with, and that I share with all of you on the Living off the Grid page on Facebook.
There are so many options, so many opportunities, that getting excited about one of them and picking a direction is great. I hope and pray those ideas are ones that make life more enjoyable, bring you closer to God, closer to nature, closer to each other, actually being involved in the cultivation of ones own land, and the satisfaction of building ones own home.
I tend to tease… Who needs a doctoror a lawyer when you’ve got Google?
Who needs a teacher when you’ve got Youtube?
Who needs a friend when you’ve got an iphone?
I don’t want to see families broken apart. I want to see them working together. I’m excited about our future. We are learning better (old)ways to keep our families around the home. And I think that will continue to help make better lives. In America, we grow up, we leave off to college, and we get a job in some other city, and the core of family is broken. Maybe we are re-discovering what makes life fulfilling. We all know it’s not money.
Facebook’s Living off the Grid