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Ten Acres Is Enough

Post in 'The Green Room' started by jebatty, Aug 15, 2009.

  1. Fi-Q

    Fi-Q Feeling the Heat

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    I feel like I will never have enough land.....

    When I was 22, on my first real job out of college, the first thing I bought was a 20 acres piece of land with my brother.

    Most of my friends where bying cars - trucks - ski-doo's... toys.... Me, I kept the old dodge worn out mini van I had in college and bought my first piece of land. Some people were thinking I was crazy. I was working in Ottawa back then, wich was 1000 miles from home. Some co-workers where wondering why the heck I was bying land out there.

    I switch job since.... hitting the road evrywhere in North America.....

    Through the year, I'm up to close to 80 acres now some of it is 50% own with my brother and some is mine. And it's creating 1 big chunk of land, difrent lot #, but it's all touching. Now, I'm building my retirement project (I'm only 27). It's a cape cod style house. I don't know when it will be finished, I'm working on the road and I'm not home to often, so that's why I'm calling it my retirement project.... (eventually it will have solar, wind mill, boiler, lister veggy oil generator, huge root cellar, a shop, a barn, ect...)

    For now I have 1 x full hook-up 50 amp rv parking lot close by the house where I put my rv (I've been a rv full-timer for the last 5 year) and the basement of the house should be roughly finished so me, my wife, my dog and my 6 month brand new baby girl will have a warm place with the stirct minimum to make it through the winter if we happen to be unemployed for the cold season(It would be too cold for the rv)

    So now, most of the guys that were thinking I was crazy back then are stunt to see the mansion I will end up with........ and by the way I haven't bought any toys yet.....

    But, coming back to land, seems like I will never have enough, I'm dealing with the guys that own the 20 cares beside my trout pound to get is piece of dirt... let see what will happen.... and I'm starting too look for 100 acres of wood about 10 miles from home.... that would be for my Lumber jack career to make some money the day I will quit the road.

    The picture you see have been taken last week. Now, my general contractor is done. The house is protected from the element.... I just don't know when ( 2 to 20 year) it will be totally finished.

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  2. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    Fi-Q - nice pics and sweet house. You have a good plan.
  3. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Ten acres probably is not enough to grow trees to produce your own lumber and firewood, but a wood lot can produce some fine lumber. Last summer we had a forest fire on our property which, fortunately, quickly was brought under control. I waited to this year to see which trees would green up, and then a few weeks ago I took down the trees which did not survive the fire. Most were only good for firewood, but about 40 looked good enough for some fine lumber. These were all white pine. I finished sawing with my Woodmizer on Wednesday of last week, and here are a few pix of the end result - about 3500 board feet. I cut some 2-1/2" thick and the rest 1" thick. The thicker ones will make some nice table tops and benches, and the 1" will make trim and paneling, plus also good for flooring. We have 18" wide white pine floors in three rooms in our house.

    The first pix is 2500 board feet of 10 and 12 foot lengths which will air dry. Pix 2 and 3 are of my solar dry kiln which is loaded with 1000 board feet of 8 foot length. And pix 4 is a shot of the woodshed for my shop, 20' x 10' x stack 5-1/2' high. It holds about 10 cords -- and is full.

    I still have all the slab wood from the logs to cut up for firewood for next year.

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  4. Fi-Q

    Fi-Q Feeling the Heat

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    Jim, too bad tou'Re not in Quebec, I would buy you some pine for all my trim & base board....

    Nice pile of wood!
  5. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    My father in law passed away Labor day weekend. Over the past few weeks I have been cleaning up the property to prepare it for sale. It is just over 6 flat acres with 3 acres of orchard. The orchard has a variety of apples and pears. There is only half an acre or so of woods at the back of the property. If there were an additional 4 acres of woods back there for btus and the 2 acre field was turned into a vegetable garden, one could probably get by and cover the carrying costs of the property by selling fruit and vegetables.

    This thread came to mind during the many hours of pruning and brush hogging an orchard that hasn't been touched in 15 years.
  6. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    SolarAndWood - sorry to hear about your father-in-law. Is his place near yours? Sounds like a nice property.
  7. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for your kindness Tim. It is a beautiful property about 45 minutes from us. It sits on top of a hill in an old town with a small liberal arts college. If my wife and I didn't have such an ideal location minutes away from our jobs in downtown Syracuse, I would seriously consider it. It also has great southern exposure with a roof calling out for solar panels and a 4 car garage with a 10 cord shed on the back of it.
  8. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    I join in sharing the grief from the passing of your father-in-law. Could this be an opportunity to seize hold of a new life for you?
  9. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Thank you Jim. It is probably a little too early in the game for us. My wife and I will be paying for grad school for another few years and are in the earning phase of life. Our current setup is pretty ideal. 4 miles from downtown, so trivial drive to work and yet we live in a rural setting and a 20 mile view makes our acre and a half feel a lot bigger. We have enough room for firewood processing, vegetables, fruits and herbs. No woodlot but I think city scrounging is easier than dropping/winching/skidding/blocking anway. A small orchard and hops are next on the list. The balance works pretty well for us and our two girls are growing up knowing where food and heat comes from.
  10. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    SolarandWood - sounds like your father-in-law had a great homestead, but one has to balance the activities you want to engage in with the time spent traveling to/from work and general proximity to ammenities, especially if you have kids.
  11. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    He definitely did Tim. It is too bad for us that it is where it is. Hopefully future owners will put it to good use.
  12. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Just as a thought, and I know it can involve it's own set of headaches, but have you thought about trying to rent out the property? Sounds like the kind of place that would be ideal for you later in life and that you might want to hang onto so that you could move there at some later time. If you can get enough rental to take care of taxes and upkeep, that might let you keep it in the family.

    Gooserider
  13. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Rental is a great idea. When we bought our property (not 10 ac, but an original 160 ac homestead), it was located away from where we live and had a house, garage, barn, big machine shed, and some outbuildings. We looked at the house/garage and buildings as a big PIA, but they have turned into the best thing ever. It has been 12 years now, and the house/garage has been rented continuously, with no more than 2 mos rent missed in tenant changeover. We've been fortunate to have excellent tenants. We also are very reasonable, likely a little below market, on rent, depend on word-of-mouth to find tenants, and not a single month's rent has been missed due to non-payment. We also found a marine dealer to rent the big machine shed (55' x 100'), and the dealer uses it for boat storage. Another source of income. The rent pays the taxes on the entire 160 ac and all of the expenses, plus depreciation tax benefit, with money left over. The barn is now my wood-working shop, and the other out buildings have been good for misc storage purposes. I even put up another 45' x 40' building for the equipment I accumulated, as the machine shed was not available due to rental. The excess money from rent has paid for everything.
  14. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Need to add: the land provides all the wood we need for heat, both for our house and the shop. Also provides garden space; hunting land for deer and grouse; recreation for walking, snow-shoeing, cross-country skiing, and plenty of fallen logs over ponds, wetlands and meadows for some serious contemplation of the most enjoyable sort.

    The wood for heat likely saves us $3000-4000/year in heating bills; plus has provided lumber for one house addition, many improvement projects, and some sold to local carpenters. We also sell some stovewood, as excess is available.

    The outcome has been much better than we ever anticipated.
  15. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Great food for thought Jim and Goose. I'll have plenty of time today to ponder it while I trim up the last 200 trees and get it brush hogged. Its too bad dwarf trees produce such small diameter wood. I've pushed a lot of BTUs over the bank cleaning the orchard that weren't worth dealing with.
  16. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Thanks again for this thread Jim. After thinking about this for another couple of weeks while getting the property ready for the market, 10 acres is definitely enough, it just needs to be the right 10 acres economically and for the way you want to live. Also, once you get away from needing your own woodlot and animals, an acre and a half is enough. It is amazing how much food you can harvest from an 8000 sq ft garden and a small city provides more than enough firewood.
  17. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    SolarAndWood - you're absolutely correct, but it's still fun to dream about a big spread ...

    Were you able to harvest any firewood from you in-law's property?

    BTW - I was in your neck of the woods a couple of weeks ago - had to make a short trip to Rome. Pretty area - the leaves were looking very nice.
  18. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    The problem w/ relying on "small city" to provide firewood is that it only works as long as the number of people wanting the wood is low enough... Think of us burners as "wood predators" and a given area can only support as many predators as there is "food supply" for... If you have your own wood lot, this issue goes away as long as you are properly territorial and keep your "territory" properly marked...

    Gooserider
  19. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Tim, I'm all for the big spread as long as it is the right one. His property was in the country 20 years ago. Now, it has high property taxes, neighbors all the way around with big houses and a lot of traffic. It has enough acreage to make it work but not enough to keep the world out. More importantly, I have an addiction to over the horizon sailing and his property is in the wrong direction from Lake Ontario. There are some pretty affordable tracts of land North of Syracuse that also have good deep water harbors nearby. They also have great wind potential and a bunch of wind farms have already been built up there. The downside is big snow accumulation off the lake that never freezes.

    I produced a couple cord cleaning up the property. Although, I didn't mess with the apple because I didn't have the time and the PIA/BTU ratio is way too high. I did inventory the back of the property and there is about 70 or 80 cord of easily harvested straight firewood. We'll see how things go but I have pretty easy access to wood and am a few years ahead. That would require leaving my tractor there and hauling firewood 45 minutes.
  20. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Goose, I don't like to admit it, but I suppose I am a wood predator. I have a strong belief in the laziness of urban populations going forward and our city is full of mature trees. And, I've found that I can scrounge a cord of wood from the city a lot faster than I can produce one from the woods even on our own property.
  21. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    There are many Scrounging predators out there. Its much easier to let somebody else make the kill.
  22. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    I have a fantastic situation right now with scrounging. One day on the way home from work I passed a tree service working - small crew, just two guys. I stopped (always stop) and asked what they had planned for the wood. The lead guy said I could have it if I wanted it. He no longer deals in firewood and was thrilled that I would take it - otherwise he had to load it, haul it, and dump it. We exchanged information and he calls me when he's working either close to my home or my work. I got 70% of my wood this year from him. He's happy as can be that he doesn't have to deal with the wood, and I'm happy as can be that I'm getting free wood already cut to length!!!! A couple of times he had so much that I was able to bring along another woodburner from work and we both loaded up our trucks. Needless to say, there will be a Christmas gift card and some fine brew headed his way before the holidays ...
  23. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    SolarandWood - the problem with land like we are discussing is the same all over the country. Areas with flat growth rates, where you could buy land and expect relatively little change with property taxes or urbanization, have very little to offer in the way of employment. So, you're stuck driving huge distances in which case you'd have no time left to do anyting on your homestead except on weekends, or you settle for a lot less land and then set out to see how much you can do on it like we both seem to be trying to do.

    From pics of seen, the area you describe north of Syracuse looks very nice and I'm sure the coastline is beautiful. That snow on the other hand ...
  24. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    I don't think I've settled at all and from the pics of your place I don't think you have either. My wife drives 4 miles to work and I drive 6. It is going to take something pretty compelling to ever get us to move. Something like one of the 100+ acre post peak farms a few miles down the road. Just need to make the move before the economy gets back in gear and they make subdivisions out of them.
  25. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    I suppose many of us would like to have our cake and eat it too, that is, a high paying job, inexpensive land, low real estate and other taxes, low living costs, all in the same place. But that combo produces high demand for the jobs, increase in population, land prices rising, increasing demand for services, and taxes and prices going up.

    The key to "Ten Acres Is Enough" working is pretty much summed up in one word, "sustainability," a word and life style mouthed by many but practiced by few. Seems to me that everyone who choose not to live sustainably likely is eating the chops of someone else or is taking from the future. Not a good scenario for the other person or for future generations.

    The move my wife and I made in 1997 from Minneapolis-St. Paul to north central MN was a choice for a radical change in lifestyle, tremendous reduction in consumption, giving up many necessities that in reality were only conveniences, and living well, perhaps even better than before, on a 2/3's drop in income. We are by no means living the sustainable life, but we are a little, maybe a lot, closer than before, and getting closer all the time (yet far in the distance, given that the bottom 85% of the world's population lives on less than $6/day per individual). Rich List

    We are physically more active, eat better, grow more and more of our own food, harvest more of our protein from game and from fish from local lakes, are far more carbon neutral in that almost all of our heat is from wood, make most of our furniture from wood from our trees, when we have to buy usually shop garage sales or second hand shops, significantly reduced our electric usage, volunteer extensively to local service organizations, and still maintain charitable giving in the 10%+ range. Yes, we have income from assets accumulated while we lived the city life, but we did that by also living far under our then means.

    A quick and simple example: had neighbors over for dinner earlier this week. Menu was roast venison (which I harvested and processed myself), squash from our garden, potatoes (bought these, not raising potatoes yet), and ice cream with wild cherry topping (picked the cherries myself). The neighbors brought a bottle of wine, and we had a dinner that probably would have been $50/person in the city, but our cost was about $15 total, and most of that cost was the wine, which was not a vintage a wine steward would recognize.

    It's all a matter of choices, although most people refuse to recognize or admit their life style is a choice, not a necessity. My wife and I would never go back to where we were. We continue to make choices to simplify and live even more abundantly.

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