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Old 12-22-2011, 01:56 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
4,888 posts, read 8,899,377 times
Reputation: 2435

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On this forum I see a lot of people posting that they'd like to move to an isolated part of the state to do agriculture or live in a more natural setting or simply because those areas are more affordable. Sometimes however dealing with weather and lack of resources can be challenging. So I'm starting a thread with some tips and tricks that can be useful. Feel free to contribute.

I'll start out. My aunt has a small ranch near Trinidad. On this ranch she and her husband keep horses and cattle. She recently wrote me that they recently purchased a Branson 65 series tractor and that at first glance it may look like overkill, but when there's a foot of snow and a mile to get to pavement it's ever so necessary.

So, consideration #1: if you purchase a property that is accessible via dirt road, you must have a way to get in and out even through heavy snow. One way to do this is purchase a tractor to plow it.
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Old 12-22-2011, 02:06 PM
 
20,304 posts, read 37,784,136 times
Reputation: 18081
Quote:
Originally Posted by 80skeys View Post
On this forum I see a lot of people posting that they'd like to move to an isolated part of the state to do agriculture or live in a more natural setting or simply because those areas are more affordable. Sometimes however dealing with weather and lack of resources can be challenging. So I'm starting a thread with some tips and tricks that can be useful. Feel free to contribute.

I'll start out. My aunt has a small ranch near Trinidad. On this ranch she and her husband keep horses and cattle. She recently wrote me that they recently purchased a Branson 65 series tractor and that at first glance it may look like overkill, but when there's a foot of snow and a mile to get to pavement it's ever so necessary.

So, consideration #1: if you purchase a property that is accessible via dirt road, you must have a way to get in and out even through heavy snow. One way to do this is purchase a tractor to plow it.
My F-I-L has 22 mostly wooded acres up in WV, his gravel driveway is about a quarter mile long. He bought himself a John Deere tractor, not a big one, but big enough to attach and operate a bush-hog, a fork lift of sorts, and a snow blower. There are many more attachments he could've bought, like a big saw blade, etc.

He bought a stand-alone log splitter, which he can get in his p/up truck if needs to, or tow it. Something like this would also be a good tip if one heats with wood....not to mention chainsaw, compressor and other power tools.

His workshop / garage is a big as his house.

His woodshed could hold at least four full length p/up trucks.
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Old 12-22-2011, 02:12 PM
 
Location: Western Colorado
10,519 posts, read 11,623,635 times
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Some friends in the San Juans have plows on their four wheelers, plows on old Jeeps, plows on old trucks to plow a way out. A few have snowmobiles they drive down to their trucks and Subarus parked in a community type parking area near the highway.
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Old 12-22-2011, 02:14 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,091,437 times
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Most Colorado wannabes don't have a clue about what it takes to live in isolated rural area and deal with the rigors of winter. I have and I do--like having to have a 955 Cat track loader sitting at our farm one bad winter just to plow the roads so that feed trucks could get in and out. Those wannabes also assume that just because the county has historically plowed the county roads they use to access their property that they always will. With ever-tightening county road budgets, more and more Colorado counties are having to "rationalize" how much winter maintenance they can do on rural county roads, especially those in higher elevation areas with sparse populations. At the state level, there are numerous state highways that are no longer plowed at night. If you live along one of those roads and you have to get to town in an emergency on a stormy winter night--well, too bad for you.

The list of "tips and tricks" to cope with that lifestyle could fill half this forum. The best answer is probably that "If you have to ask, you'll never know."
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Old 12-22-2011, 02:26 PM
 
Location: Western Colorado
10,519 posts, read 11,623,635 times
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About snow plows, notice the signs on most of the highways around here "No snowplowing between 7pm and 5am". Don't even think your country road will be plowed by the county. If you want it plowed, do it yourself. I forgot about those big Arctic Cat tank looking things. Seen plenty of them in the mountains too. This reminds me of the older (like in their 80's) couple I overheard talking about what a nifty place Silverton was (in July) and they were deciding to move there.

I learned VERY quickly how to navigate the roads around here (here being Ouray, Montrose, Delta counties), and how to get where I need to go in winter. And LISTENED to the locals.
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Old 12-22-2011, 03:08 PM
 
16,163 posts, read 20,172,692 times
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Those 7pm to 5am signs have been up for the last few years now. The county and some state roads are going to be facing this for a while longer too, especially in extreme western San Miguel, Montrose, and Montezuma counties. Mesa County has had to trim the budget a little with employees.

Even during the summer months, some roads have seen little maintenance. It's going to be that way for while, sad to say.
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Old 12-22-2011, 05:30 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 5,834,746 times
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Wink Winter access

Personally, it wouldn't bother me at all if the county elected to stop plowing their road. Although it does make it somewhat more convenient to get into town.

Snow plows seem a rare thing at night, but they have the bad habit of otherwise thinking the road should forever be dry and clear, even in the dead of winter. So not content to just plow it once after a storm and leave it be, but back every so often with their chemicals and blades until more pavement than snow exists. However, as not a primary thoroughfare, they do not insist on removing snow as thoroughly as on state highways. The sun is reliable, but patches of snow in the shadier spots can remain for some time.

But if removed for some distance down your own driveway, then I suppose it depends on what you actually need to cart in. Some places are so fickle, and snow on the ground tenuous, that waiting a few days, if possible, and then blazing a trail through it with no more than tires, and maybe a little help from a shovel, might work. In other places, where snow on the ground more likely measured in feet, then I'd be inclined to walk or cross country ski in. Snowmobile if you prefer, or if not half of it across pavement or mud. No one is going to be feeding many cows that way, but if only yourself then maybe just fine, and good exercise. Although not recommended to those thinking they need five-minute access to a hospital at all times. In which case perhaps better living across from one in town, as if out in the woods, plowed driveway or not, you probably will have to make an excursion of it.

As others have alluded to, Colorado in winter versus summer can be a little different. Even if in town, putting on snow boots to drive to the grocers can instill a certain dose of reality. All the more so if more out in the woods, and then a long driveway possibly, and snow, to be navigated.
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Old 12-22-2011, 11:23 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
18,882 posts, read 8,860,357 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
Most Colorado wannabes don't have a clue about what it takes to live in isolated rural area and deal with the rigors of winter. I have and I do--like having to have a 955 Cat track loader sitting at our farm one bad winter just to plow the roads so that feed trucks could get in and out. Those wannabes also assume that just because the county has historically plowed the county roads they use to access their property that they always will. With ever-tightening county road budgets, more and more Colorado counties are having to "rationalize" how much winter maintenance they can do on rural county roads, especially those in higher elevation areas with sparse populations. At the state level, there are numerous state highways that are no longer plowed at night. If you live along one of those roads and you have to get to town in an emergency on a stormy winter night--well, too bad for you.

The list of "tips and tricks" to cope with that lifestyle could fill half this forum. The best answer is probably that "If you have to ask, you'll never know."
I wish you would get over your insulting "I'm a real Coloradan" and everyone else is just a "wannabe" mantra that you so often express on this forum. Real Coloradans are people who live in, work in, retire in, and pay taxes in Colorado. If those of us who are relatively new to the state aren't "real" Coloradans...please allow me to pay only 50% of my state and local taxes. Reminds me too much of the western New York Staters who wanted NYC to secede from the state, not realizing that cities like Buffalo and Syracuse were part of the rust belt with ever decreasing economic viability. Reminds me of the mentality of people I knew from southern Virginia who didn't consider northern Virginia to be part of "real Virginia"...and would make comments like the one about our school's custodian that, "For a Black man, he's rather responsible"...some of those southern Virginians still have a plantation mentality. The cliched Marlboro Man image is pretty much a fantasy nowadays. And, I thought we were all Americans.

And get over the idea that Colorado is the only place that gets serious snow. Or that all of Colorado has the same climate. Only two winters here in Colorado Springs so far, but I've yet to see the kind of snow conditions we used to have in my hometown area of western New York State, when we'd get lake effect storms off both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario in addition to the snow associated with a cold front itself. You want to see a snow event? Try the D.C. area. Not the light fluffy stuff. Usually the heavy snow mixed with ice and sleet and rain. Or just an ice storm. Try the ice storms that so often hit the Carolinas.

And before you so easily say, "If you live along one of those roads and you have to get to town in an emergency on a stormy winter night--well, too bad for you", perhaps it will be you or your father or son who dies of a heart attack when they can't get to a hospital due to road conditions.

If Colorado doesn't want to pay to have modern-first class snow removal from roads so that they can keep taxes low, so be it. But Colorado needs to understand that it can be done well if there's the will.
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Old 12-23-2011, 08:36 AM
 
Location: Bend Or.
1,126 posts, read 2,345,223 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim9251 View Post
Some friends in the San Juans have plows on their four wheelers, plows on old Jeeps, plows on old trucks to plow a way out. A few have snowmobiles they drive down to their trucks and Subarus parked in a community type parking area near the highway.
Four wheelers are generally not a great tool for Snow removal. If the snowfall is light, they are OK but a couple of feet and they are pretty worthless. If one lives a ways out, I prefer to have at least one pickup with a plow, heavy enough to do the job, and can act as a primary vehicle. Jeeps work ok too but you have to stay on it.

I think a truck or Jeep is substantially faster at removing snow than a tractor, and I have used both, for many years.

To live out in the sticks you also have to be pretty self sufficient, plan on being able to get along stranded, with no electricity, for extended periods of time. Not saying it will happen, but you need to be prepared for it.
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Old 12-23-2011, 08:48 AM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,091,437 times
Reputation: 9065
Quote:
Originally Posted by phetaroi View Post
I wish you would get over your insulting "I'm a real Coloradan" and everyone else is just a "wannabe" mantra that you so often express on this forum. Real Coloradans are people who live in, work in, retire in, and pay taxes in Colorado. If those of us who are relatively new to the state aren't "real" Coloradans...please allow me to pay only 50% of my state and local taxes. Reminds me too much of the western New York Staters who wanted NYC to secede from the state, not realizing that cities like Buffalo and Syracuse were part of the rust belt with ever decreasing economic viability. Reminds me of the mentality of people I knew from southern Virginia who didn't consider northern Virginia to be part of "real Virginia"...and would make comments like the one about our school's custodian that, "For a Black man, he's rather responsible"...some of those southern Virginians still have a plantation mentality. The cliched Marlboro Man image is pretty much a fantasy nowadays. And, I thought we were all Americans.

And get over the idea that Colorado is the only place that gets serious snow. Or that all of Colorado has the same climate. Only two winters here in Colorado Springs so far, but I've yet to see the kind of snow conditions we used to have in my hometown area of western New York State, when we'd get lake effect storms off both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario in addition to the snow associated with a cold front itself. You want to see a snow event? Try the D.C. area. Not the light fluffy stuff. Usually the heavy snow mixed with ice and sleet and rain. Or just an ice storm. Try the ice storms that so often hit the Carolinas.

And before you so easily say, "If you live along one of those roads and you have to get to town in an emergency on a stormy winter night--well, too bad for you", perhaps it will be you or your father or son who dies of a heart attack when they can't get to a hospital due to road conditions.

If Colorado doesn't want to pay to have modern-first class snow removal from roads so that they can keep taxes low, so be it. But Colorado needs to understand that it can be done well if there's the will.
There is a BIG difference between living in the metro areas of the Front Range where services are readily available and living in an isolated rural part of Colorado. I've done both and I know. And there is a big cultural divide between the two places, as well.

Endure a severe blizzard out on the Colorado plains, when the snow drifts are 10 feet high, or watch an avalanche run across US550 12 feet deep on Red Mountain Pass less than a 100 yards in front of your vehicle (been there and seen both) and you might understand the difference between that and dealing with a snowpacked street in Colorado Springs. It's also different when you live in the metro areas and can choose to travel the state when you want to, compared to when you HAVE to travel across the state as part of your livelihood--no matter what the weather or road conditions. I've spent much of my life in Colorado having to do the latter, and it does tend to separate those of us in that situation from the "fair-weather" Coloradans (except when they are running into us because they don't know how to drive safely in winter conditions).

I also fully understand the risk of living or traveling in isolated rural areas of Colorado if a medical emergency occurs. I've also had to live with that, as well.

Glad you've been a Colorado taxpayer for a few years--I've been for over 40 years.
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