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Old 02-25-2014, 05:17 PM
 
9,816 posts, read 19,014,998 times
Reputation: 7537

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Quote:
Originally Posted by witdove View Post
Well depth 100=150 but yes possibility of dry holes. Always best to have storage reserves. I agree with Sun if you arnt used to rough living..plan for recreational ..but we are going to try and the price of the property is cheap enough that once we get there if it becomes to much we can then look for other area. But we have been living with no water, did not get power till a few years ago..so we are semi-accustom to rough living..and also if you cant do a lot of things yourself your expenses on building, installations of solar or wind etc is expensive. Living this way is not for the faint of heart. Even in our area many people have given up after a couple years. I am not saying we are going to show anyone anything...but in life if you feel you need to do it try...this is why I am on here to hear more, learn and be better prepared...
I've said this on this forum for the past 5 years and I'll say it again, if land is cheap in Colorado it is cheap for good reason and mostly that means that for regular purposes it is unlivable.

A lot of people have this idea of taking a raw piece of land and molding and shaping it to their own vision. I think that's a great dream. The problem is that the SLV is one of the worst places in the country to do that in and everything about that environment is totally opposed to anyone doing such a thing. You may as well be on the Moon. People don't seem to question these thousands of lots that have been for sale for 40-50 years and almost none have ended up being built on and the vast majority of them are perpetually up for sale.
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Old 02-25-2014, 05:23 PM
 
9,816 posts, read 19,014,998 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
I've also had my fill, as sunsprit so accurately described above, of hearing about how people are going to "live off the grid" in places like the SLV. They have their little solar collectors (which often don't work as well as advertised) and think that they are "living green." The conveniently ignore that they are often using a 10 mpg pickup to haul their water, have to make constant 50 mile or more roundtrips to town for work or even to get basic supplies, and have to regularly drive or fly hundreds or thousands of miles to see family of friends. The hard reality is that their lifestyle is not "low-impact" at all. If a person wants "low impact," the best way to achieve it is to live in a modest, well-insulated house (on the grid) with energy efficient heating and appliances in a place where one can walk to work, shopping and schools, or have it within very short distance. That's way more efficient and "green" than living way out of town in some rural subdivision--rural subdivisions are structurally inefficient and, in many of the more delicate areas of Colorado, do serious environmental damage just by being there.
Living off the grid is one thing, but this is the worst place anyone would want to do it in.

What I never understand is for a lot of these people that want to do this sort of thing they often look west and ignore Appalachia from Georgia to Maine. Plenty of water, plenty of timber and plenty easy to grow things and much easier to reach some sort of civilization. And for the most part land is reasonable.
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Old 02-25-2014, 06:09 PM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,754 posts, read 16,450,212 times
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wanneroo wrote: What I never understand is for a lot of these people that want to do this sort of thing they often look west and ignore Appalachia from Georgia to Maine. Plenty of water, plenty of timber and plenty easy to grow things and much easier to reach some sort of civilization. And for the most part land is reasonable.

I've often wondered the same thing. Must be the hypnotic trance installed by Horace Greely's chant to, "Go West, young man. Go west."
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Old 02-25-2014, 06:31 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,095,377 times
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^Except Horace Greeley never went West himself. There is also some controversy about whether or not he ever even said it.
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Old 02-25-2014, 07:07 PM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
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@jazz...yeah, people like to make up cutesy sayings and attribute the words to celebrities. I learned the Greely thing in school, so it must be true, right?
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Old 03-01-2014, 11:45 AM
 
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After almost 27 years living in the SLV and developing 2 pieces of raw land in the valley in the last 20 years, I can say that most of what you read here is true. But, that being said there are 40K people living in the SLV, many of them on rural property and the vast majority do not have senior water rights on a ditch or creek. No, it's not easy to develop a homestead and live on it here and it definitely takes the right type of person, but it has been done many times by lots of people and continues to be so. It isn't all doom and gloom like this thread makes it sound, though I can't imagine why anyone living East of the 100th meridian would want to come out here to homestead. I grew up in a green place and could never move eastward. I love the low population density, most mountain recreational activities and the abundant public lands, none of which existed where I grew up.

There are some advantages to homesteading here, but there are lots of disadvantages. I would agree with all the comments warning about cheap small lots for sale, especially in Costilla county. Ground water is very hard to come by in the SE area of the SLV. It is not a good place to develop raw land, hence thousands of acres a subdivisions of small lots that are mostly, if not completely empty. A basic understanding of Colorado water management and water in the SLV is absolutely necessary before buying any land here.
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Old 03-01-2014, 02:57 PM
 
Location: OKLAHOMA
1,778 posts, read 3,479,129 times
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You of course would be the person to talk too. I am not interested in the SLV but areas close to it. But...what do you do for water. Do you grow vegs, have animals. Just curious as to how a person really lives in an area without water. Thanks in advance. How did you develope raw land without water? If I was to sell this ranch (which I have plenty of water)but lack buyers! I'd think of the Trinidad, Cucharra area but I do drive through SLV every year sometimes twice a year on my way to Chama, NM. I would love to hear more from you as a person who has lived a good many years in that kind of climate.
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Old 03-02-2014, 12:12 PM
 
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I don't know anything about areas outside the SLV. Most of the SLV has excellent ground water.(except the SE part of the valley) The static level of the groundwater can be so shallow in some places that is it actually on the surface, but is commonly at very shallow depths. My static level has been stable at 8 1/2 feet since I moved onto this property in Nov. 05. So I do have water. I have 40 acres, which allow me a domestic well permit. This allows water for three residences, animals, and irrigation up to one acre. We do have small livestock at times and definitely grow a garden during the summer and in a greenhouse year round. Generally, if you have less than a 35 acre piece you can only get an "in house use only" well permit. There are some exceptions to this rule, but it gets a little complicated to explain here. Also county zoning laws may effect the size of parcel and water use allowed. Here is a little description I wrote up two or three years ago for someone else.

Basically there are two acquifers here, the confined and unconfined. Most of the surface of the valley floor is made up of sands and tiny gravels, until you get about 60 ft. or so down. (our place has about 18 inches of clayey topsoil and below that is completely unconsolidated sand and pea gravel for the next 60 feet down) The unconfined acquifer exist in this unconsolidated sand. Below that are mixed layers of clay and sands. The clay layers act as sealing layers and the confined acquifer is basically water trapped in between various clay layer for several hundred feet down. Most land in the valley will have a water table in the unconfined acquifer from some places on the ground surface to about 10 ft. down. On our place the water table is at about 8 feet. So if you dig down with a backhoe to that level you will hit the unconfined acquifer. The exception to this rule in Costilla county, SE area of the valley. The ground out there is layered with old lava flows and the water table plunges. Not the area you want to try and drill a well! I would guess that this is the area where you have encountered ads for land that need a cistern. There is a lot of old subdivided land in that area that has been sold sight unseen for years. This is not a place you want to buy land. Most of the valley, Alamosa, Saguache, Rio Grande, Conejos counties have the high water table. One caveat, is that water in the unconfined acquifer in the more heavily farmed areas is often contaminated with agricultural pesticides and the division of water resources may require that you drill down into the confined acquifer which can get expensive.
To summerize a very complicated issue: Most areas on the valley floor, you can buy 40 acre parcel and get a domestic well permit. This allows you water for up to 3 residences, water for any livestock and you can irrigate up to 1 acre. You can drill a well in the unconfined acquifer to a depth of about 60 ft. and have decent water for around $2500. Not including pump, just drilled and cased. I have had two wells drilled here over the years and both fit this description.

Does that Help?
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Old 03-02-2014, 01:18 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 5,835,868 times
Reputation: 2615
Wink Horace Greeley

Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
^Except Horace Greeley never went West himself. There is also some controversy about whether or not he ever even said it.


'This reminds me of a circumstance. Just after we left Julesburg, on the Platte, I was sitting with the driver, and he said:

"I can tell you a most laughable thing indeed, if you would like to listen to it. Horace Greeley went over this road once. When he was leaving Carson City he told the driver, Hank Monk, that he had an engagement to lecture at Placerville and was very anxious to go through quick. Hank Monk cracked his whip and started off at an awful pace. The coach bounced up and down in such a terrific way that it jolted the buttons all off of Horace's coat, and finally shot his head clean through the roof of the stage, and then he yelled at Hank Monk and begged him to go easier--said he warn't in as much of a hurry as he was awhile ago. But Hank Monk said, 'Keep your seat, Horace, and I'll get you there on time'--and you bet you he did, too, what was left of him!" [1]




In being reminded of Horace Greeley, I had just had to add this. The above excerpt is a portion of the account given by Mark Twain in his book 'Roughing It.' The tale continues from there.

This book is now in the public domain. While it might be freely accessed elsewhere, this reference provides the relevant chapter, per poor Horace.


1) 'Roughing It by Mark Twain,' Classic Reader
Roughing It : Chapter XX. by Mark Twain @ Classic Reader
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Old 03-02-2014, 06:25 PM
 
Location: OKLAHOMA
1,778 posts, read 3,479,129 times
Reputation: 927
Very interesting rabbitbrush. Wells in OK are running about the same price and ours is 130 feet deep.
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