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Ten Acres Is Enough

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

  1. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    I think this is the jist of the problem for most of us. When I and the wife made that decision, it took us a couple of years to get all the duckies in a row. Then we made the plunge, and so far, it's going pretty well. I sometimes miss being able to go to the store 5 miles away, but it used to take us 20-25 minutes to do that in the city. Here, it's 35 mile ride, yet only takes about 30-35 minutes and the ride is through the country. Yeah, that's better.
    Elec. use is down to about 400 kwh/month (and is less in the summer), nat. gas is down to about 25/month, vehicle use is way down. Gas use is due to the firewood thing, but still overall less. I'm outside a LOT more. It's a real lifestyle change, and we wouldn't go back if you payed us to.
    We've got 8.5 acres, and just purchased (last year) about 2.5-3 more across the road from us at a tax sale (VERY cheap).
    We'd actually like to be farther out with more land, but we're fine right here unless someone drops a crapload of money on us.
    My brother and I talk about this, and we both have friends who talk about doing it, but just can't let go of all their stuff, ....with the attending bills. I say good riddance.
    Plan for it, then stick to the plan. It may just come to fruition.

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  2. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Well said - nothing happens without a plan. We did the same in 1997 when we sold our house in a Minneapolis suburb to live in our lake cabin, then added 6 more acres, then 160 more and then another 90. We have not only our own endless wood supply, but we also produce our own lumber for construction/finish/furniture projects; the land provides us with a yearly supply of venison plus garden; and the land that keeps us young through cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing in winter, walking in summer, on 5+ miles trails. We have had two timber harvests, more will come in the future, and 60 acres in a red pine planting that will provide the grandchildren with a future. Also rent out a house and machine shed on the land which produces income to cover all land-related expenses. The only time I've lived less expensively than now is when I was in college and living in a dump of a rooming house and eating rice and oatmeal almost every day.
  3. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    I would consider rice and oatmeal if I never had to set foot in New York City again. :)
  4. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    The garden will be started again in the early spring, with raised beds made with rough sawn boards from the property. Goats and sheep for the wool and to help the compost pile. Bunnies and chickens too. We won't eat the animals though. Hadn't thought of broccoli, but might try that this year.
    Of course, since this IS the Hearth, lots of c/s/s wood to keep us LESS dependent on others for our comfort in the winter. Some of it from our own acreage.
    Getting better all the time.
  5. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    Dave, for what its worth, I have raised beds with no boards or support on the sides, and it works fine. Save the boards for firewood! One advantage of no sides is that it makes it easier to rework the beds each year.
  6. BucksCoBernie

    BucksCoBernie New Member

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    I just got my copy of Ten Acres in the mail yesterday. I live in the Philadelphia suburbs, and I used to live in NJ for a few years. I had a nice chuckle when the author said "land was far cheaper, there was no state debt, taxes were merely nominal..." describing NJ. A lot has changed in 150 years! NJ property taxes are insane. Your run of the mill 3-4 bedroom house on a postage stamp size lot can have property taxes of $7000-8000/yr in some townships. The state is also on the verge of bankruptcy.

    I also find it ironic that some of the conditions, social and economic, are very similar to what is going on today. He hates banks and the stock market because of their up and down behavior and also because they'd caused a panic/crisis in 1837.

    Its a shame most of the areas around me have been developed as much as it has. Finding 10 acres or more of good land within a 30 miles radius of Philly is extremely difficult today.
  7. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    BucksCoBernie - finding 10 acres within a 30 mile radius of any metro area is very difficult. We're in the Cleveland-Akron area of Ohio and it's the same thing here. Of course, if you are willing to drive further, you can find it but then you face the connumdrum of having more land and more possibilities, but less time with which to do anything on it.
  8. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Not in Syracuse Tim. We live 4 miles from downtown and are on the edge of the country. There is a 120 acre parcel for sale 2 miles down the road with 50 mile views. All you need is the glaciers to create some nice rough formations that are hard to build subdivisions on.
  9. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    For me, the trick would be to get that parcel of land and then NOT have to get to a metro area for work, but to have the land support me somehow. I'm still working on the somehow part. :-S
  10. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Us too Flatbed. My wife's favorite place in the world is the camp her grandfather bought in the 40s in the middle of the Adirondacks. It would take a lot of firewood sales to pay the property taxes.
  11. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    SolarandWood - you are fortunate to live in such an area. There are many positive attributes I see in the state of NY, although it seems property taxes are quite high. I live in a township that is basically extreme west Akron. Lots around 1.5 or less are in the $100k range in our township, and not that much less further out.

    Yup - the trick is to be able to make a living in a less populated area where the cost of living is less. Of course, that's hard to do especially off the land. The best option I have come up with is to either hit the lottery or inherit some large windfall, then we can execute "Operation Endless Saturday" ...
  12. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    PS - I forgot to add "acres", lots that are 1.5 acres
  13. BucksCoBernie

    BucksCoBernie New Member

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    Or you could have some organic farming interns do a lot of the grunt work in exchange for farming experience/food or living quarters.
  14. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Taxes in NY are rough. 3% of property value at a minimum. The problem with the camp is it hasn't changed hands since the 40s and there are no real comps. So, the town gets to decide and you don't get to vote anywhere other than your primary residence. They jacked the assessment 100% between last year and this year. We went through the rounds up until you have to sue them and ended up with still more than a 50% increase.

    There are always trade-offs. We moved here from Rochester where there is no way you could buy what we did here for the price. And, you don't find these kind of parcels within 10 miles of downtown. On the flip side, in Rochester my sailboat was less than a couple miles away on a bay with a channel to Lake Ontario. I can't remember the last time I have seen water to the horizon. Life is a compromise, choose wisely.
  15. BucksCoBernie

    BucksCoBernie New Member

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    Is the Bug Jar still open in Rochester? I played there back in 2001. Pretty neat place with all the furniture hanging upside down on the ceiling.
  16. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    I think so. If you played there in 01, I may very well have seen you. Cool place.
  17. BucksCoBernie

    BucksCoBernie New Member

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    you may have been one of the 10 people who was at that show? haha If I remember correctly another bar in town had a big band in town and thats where everyone went. There were a lot of shows like that for us that summer...we also had the misfortune of playing shows in towns the same day as the warp tour.

    I remember playing wiffle ball in the parking lot across the street from the bug jar while we waited for the place to open. We had a 20ft RV and lived in that for the summer and got into Rochester the night before. My drummer roofed our only wiffle ball so it was a very short game. I think there was a skateboard shop up the street also.
  18. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    SolarandWood - you have a good setup. I've probably even mentioned before in this very thread that it's a lot of fun to imagine what one could do with more property, but for me the reality is that I haven't tapped into the potential of what I can do on my 1.78 acre plot and could probably do more than I have time to devote to. Before we moved to our current location I applied for several jobs in the Finger Lakes region - never been there, but thought it looked just awesome. Oh well, NY was not meant to be.
  19. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Thats livin...who needs 10 acres when you have a parking lot and a game of wiffle ball.
  20. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Agreed, an acre and a half reasonably close to where you can make a decent living is pretty sweet. After I get the shell of the house done this year, I am going to get the orchard/hops in the lower part of the lot. The Finger Lakes/central NY area is beautiful, nice sunset tonight over the hills.

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  21. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    SolarandWood-that's the view from your current residence? Nice!!! I wouldn't be in a hurry to go anywhere either. We sound like we are at remarkably similar stages of "homestead" development. I'm finishing up a major kitchen/great room remodel (took out all interior wall, made one big room, added second stove, ...) and have some trim work left (making custom trim out of black walnut) and need to construct bult-in benches on the interior portion of an island. That's winter stuff - last night we were thumbing through the Miller catalogue picking out apple trees and grape vines - want to start an orchard/vineyard in the "upper 40" portion of our yard. The only thing holding me back is what the deer might do to my young trees as this area is not fenced in yet. I fear they might grow as bold as the ones you have to deal with!
  22. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    LOL, I can only dream of trim phase. We bought the house for the view, and as my wife likes to add, the view with your back to the house. Sometimes it is nice to go back and look at the progress pics when in the middle of such a project. It has been an adventure and no we aren't going anywhere anytime soon. I've learned a lot and had some ideas go well and a few I wish I had back. One more section of house that needs foundation work, load bearing walls and the last set of trusses goes up this spring.

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  23. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    Great pics! My project and yours are completely different in scale and scope though. I didn't have to play around with anything load bearing and basically just gutted and re-did a 26'x26' portion of the house (a 1970s split level, so not that big to begin with). We did learn a lot though, which is great. Like you, I wanted our property for the view. When we looked at the house I took one look out of the back window, saw the park-like back yard and TWO outbuildings. One, a 2.5 car big garage with loft storage and a second 16'x16' building that is now my woodworking shop. I swear that there were beams from Heaven and I think I heard choirs of angles singing when I first saw them ...

    When finished, you'll have to post some inside pics. It looks like the type of home with great big open areas - am I correct in assuming that you have some sort of great room with that wall of windows to take advantage of the wonderful view?
  24. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    As part of the rebuild all interior walls came out except for the ones required for bed and bath. Both floors with the windows are wide open and a 7' deep porch the length of the house is going out on the main level under the big cantilevered section in the trusses. I am deeply missing those outbuildings you are so lucky to have and to make matters worse our 1.5 car garage has a 6 1/2 ft tall door. I was back at my FILs house today finishing the clean out of the 4+ car garage with 3 8' doors, complete with a loft and 12x30 shed on the back of it. Talk about a sweet setup. If anyone is looking for a 8 acre homestead in the Utica area with 4 acres of orchard and 3 tillable, it is going to be listed in the next couple of weeks.
  25. SE Iowa

    SE Iowa New Member

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    I find it interesting that this conversation should venture into the realm of taxes and price of land near large populated areas. As people move farther and farther out, we are finding that they not only bring there personal items, but also their personal PREFERENCES for MORE AND MORE of the governmental services and infrastructure that they are supposedly moving away from. The consequence's of which include more taxes to pay for these things. It cost more to live there so people live further out, etc. It becomes a vicious cycle. The whole point of this topic is to be satisfied on less. I think most of us agree to this intellectually, but somehow I think that most of the new-comers (not all)and some of the locals forget, or don't think about how this is a self-defeating process. It then becomes, "I got mine, and too-bad for everyone else".

    If I might cast one vision, it would be to imagine the freedom and self-sufficiency that rural people enjoyed 50 years ago EXCEPT without all the heart aches of being subject to the harshness of that life (modern technology)!

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