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Old 07-27-2007, 08:22 AM
 
15 posts, read 48,566 times
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I came to Nebraksa last year, and visited Fairbury, Beatrice & Lincoln and now I have the strong intention of moving to the area. But eventually I would like to live in a manner similar to what I have been brought up with here in Northern New England (Don't want to change Nebraska! Just within my own house.)
Let me explain: at least half of my heritage is from "old settler" stock, I guess not unlike your pioneers, and I was brought up in a very independant, self-sufficient lifestyle. We didn't live "in town" paying others to do for us. We have a private well & water supply. Over the years we have added certain modern conveniences: An electric H20 heater (6 gal.), a gas furnace to supplement wood heat ("wood" is something probably not practical in Nebraska). We have our own septic system (no sewer).
My question concerns what to expect in NE. My observations both from visiting, and online observations lead me to conclude that if you live in NE, you either live on a huge working farm, or else you live in a town/city, or small settlement. My questions:
Are there any private houses, or small farms with land (say 5 acres) where one can have:
1) A private well. (By the way, how is the water?)
2) Your own septic.
3) Use tank LP or propane.
4) Possibly even generate your own electricity (I guess you've got the wind!)
Also, the charts show wind in eastern NE slighlty above national average. I don't mind some, but how bad is it ? How constant is it? In our current locale there is often lots of wind, but when it is constant it can drive you nuts.
Any insights you folks could provide would be helpful to me. Thanks in advance!!
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Old 07-27-2007, 08:34 AM
 
Location: Papillion
2,589 posts, read 10,153,565 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golanus View Post
Are there any private houses, or small farms with land (say 5 acres) where one can have:
1) A private well. (By the way, how is the water?)
2) Your own septic.
3) Use tank LP or propane.
4) Possibly even generate your own electricity (I guess you've got the wind!)
Also, the charts show wind in eastern NE slighlty above national average. I don't mind some, but how bad is it ? How constant is it? In our current locale there is often lots of wind, but when it is constant it can drive you nuts.
What you are looking for you have tons of options, throughout the entire state (and it will take you almost 6 hours to drive the state east/west and 3 hours north/south - so that is a ton of options.

Sounds like you like heritage and original times. Spend time looking at Nebraska history, Oregon Trail, SandHills, PineRidge, eastern vs central vs western nebraska, etc, etc... This might then guide you to the part of the state that really interests you. From that pose regional specific questions back to the forum for more input.

This state has lots of variety (most folks that pass thru just drive the interstate and they see a flat river valley for 8 hours - ends up being their entire impression of Nebraska).

The wind can be constant and I have heard folks say it drives them nuts. I grew up hear and I guess its just normal because it doesn't bother me.

Good Luck.
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Old 07-27-2007, 12:40 PM
 
482 posts, read 2,145,262 times
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For private wells you need to check to see if the wells are full of nirates in some areas and the state health agency is saying that the water from wells might not be safe to drink. Some of the areas that you are talking about have high nirates in the area. This is from the farmers using excess nitrate fertilizer on their ground in order to increase crop production.

There are more chances to find what you are looking for in western Nebraska, mainly in the central part around Broken Bow area, than in eastern Nebraska.

I have to say that you do have to get off I-80 in order to see what Nebraska is like.

As for heating with wood there are many Nebraskans who use wood, coal, and now corn for heat. We do have all three available for you to use if you like. We even have sun if you are into solar energy as well. One more thing that we have a lot of is wind so you can even have a wind generator if you like.

Good luck in your search.
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Old 07-27-2007, 02:11 PM
 
Location: West Omaha
1,181 posts, read 3,873,927 times
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Golanus,

Honestly, your impression of Nebraska is wrong. I don't say that to be rude...I say it because I'm betting you'll be happy that your impression is a little off. Nebraska is filled full of single family farmsteads. Yes, there is some large corporate farming, but go to any rural area and there are single family farms all over. Sometimes the media and other outlets don't necessarily paint the corporate farming problem in the correct perspective. But your model that you either live on a big working farm or live in a city/town is incorrect. There are thousands of single family farmsteads in Nebraska...you'd have tons of options. Yes, you can find some with as little as 5 acres, but you could also find some with a lot more. I'm not sure what your $$ situation is and what you would want the land for, but farmland in Nebraska is relatively cheap, so depending on where you're at you could easily grab 100 acres for a reasonable price. This obviously depends on your vicinity to Omaha and Lincoln and how the land is zoned. I haven't been involved in the discussion for quite some time but farm/ranchland in my hometown (in Northcentral Nebraska) was approximately $1000/acre.

Secondly, wood burning is certainly an option. Depending on the area you are in Nebraska can actually be quite tree covered. Remember we are the Arbor State. Nebraskas ecological system is quite diverse, so it really just depends on where you go. Obviously, the tree coverage is also related to amounts of regular wind that you're exposed to. Its also worth noting that "back in the day" most farmers/ranchers planted "shelter belts" to guard areas from the constant wind that you speak of. This is particularly true in western Nebraska where natural tree coverage is a bit more sparse than eastern Nebraska. As a result, most older farms or ranches in western Nebraska are surrounded by tree lines.

As far as the private well, propane tank, and septic concerns, that is very much the norm on single family farmsteads here. In the rural area that I grew up in that was what everyone had. Most didn't generate their own electricity, but that's not a stretch...you could do it.

As far as the water, it is some of the best in the world! Nebraska has one of the best aquifer systems in the world and the well water is awesome. I still miss the water I had growing up...but even the Omaha/Lincoln "city water" is pretty good when compared to other cities in the U.S.

Maybe you could let the board know a little more about what you are looking for in terms of vicinity to Omaha/Lincoln and what you're looking for in terms of type of land and what you'd use it for. Also, as Dave mentioned, there are big differences in the ecology between eastern and western Nebraska. Both are good, but they're different, so it just depends on what you're looking for.

Matt
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Old 07-27-2007, 03:25 PM
 
15 posts, read 48,566 times
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I thank you so much for the response! And don't worry about "disillusioning" me, that's exactly what I want, to know what the facts are. Especially if it's positive!
I'm pretty much set on the SE corner of the state, in some sparsely populated area maybe within 50 mi. of Beatrice, or at least driving distance to very basic services/stores: Walmart, hardware store, doctor & dentist, etc...
As far as the land is concerned, we just want to sort of "homestead" in our sort of modern way, maybe with a small garden, and enough land beside us as to not have to worry about someone building next to us or farm equipment in the middle of the night.
Anyway, thanks again! I appreciate your help.
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Old 07-27-2007, 05:56 PM
 
Location: West Omaha
1,181 posts, read 3,873,927 times
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Golanus,

You will find the land in and around SE Nebraska much more wooded than in western Nebraska. For this reason your concerns about wind and a woodburning stoves shouldn't be much of a problem. Granted, there are certainly wide open spaces in SE Nebraska, but just look around the area a bit and you'll find what you're looking for. Also, there should be tons of single family farmstead places around the area you're seeking and in the size category your seeking.

I certainly think that everything you want to do is certainly attainable in SE Nebraska. I would also add you probably don't need to travel 50 miles from Beatrice to get what you're looking for...10 or 15 would probably do, but going farther may give you that isolation you're looking to achieve.

At any rate, you are one of the few that recognize one of Nebraska's hidden treasures...wide open spaces and low population. I told my wife (of a whopping 2 weeks!) the other day that eventually when we buy a house in the area the one rule that must be met is the ability to go out in my back yard and take a leak!! Obviously, that's half joking, but I remember an old guy telling me that same thing when I was growing up in my tiny little town...."if you can't go and take a whiz in your own yard then your neighbors are too close". I got a kick out it and have adopted it as one of my house hunting criteria.

At any rate, good luck with your search!
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Old 07-28-2007, 06:47 AM
 
15 posts, read 48,566 times
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Thanks to mattpoulsen for that great reply! You sound like a man after my own heart. Haha!
But seriously, it sounds like you understand about what we're looking for. Just a quiet spot to sort of "retire" to, although our kind of life requires quite a bit of work and my official motto is "death before retirement" if I could manage it. I love the land and the "feel" of places that are more or less undisturbed. It's beautiful in New England, but everything here is pretty well "closed in" whether it be trees, neighbors, etc. You can get pretty claustrophobic here, and I've always sort of longed for a bit of wide-open spaces.
Thanks to everyone for their responses, they are all helpful in one way or another. I will be headed out that way pretty soon for another visit and to scout around. I'll keep all your comments in mind!
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Old 07-28-2007, 07:32 AM
 
482 posts, read 2,145,262 times
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Golanus,

I live in the southeast corner of Nebraska at this time. There are a lot of this area on what is known as rural water district as this area is high in nitrates in the ground water. You can have a well here, but be sure to have it tested regularly to make sure that it is safe to drink as if you drink to much of it you could get health problems later on in life.

You might take a good look at Pawnee County as this is a very rural area. It is directly east of Beatrice within 30 miles of a Walmart, hospital, dentist and other stores that you are interested in. You might want to check out around Lewiston or Burchard areas. You sure as heck will not feel "closed in" in this area of Nebraska. You might even get a feeling of being lost here instead.

The price of land in this county is also rather cheap as well even if this is where Larry the Cable Guy comes from.
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Old 07-28-2007, 08:18 AM
 
Location: Sandhills
2,177 posts, read 3,431,166 times
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In my area of the state there are several families living the way you have explained.

I think you will find in the eastern part of the state you will run into zoning ordinances which will require a certain number of arces to place a home on, most over 10 arces. Along with ordinances on the other issues as well.

Farther west and in less populated counties you won't have these ordinances yet.

Wood for us has never been a problem, we heat primarily with wood and most farmers have a shelter belt or creek bottom they will let you cut from.
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Old 07-28-2007, 11:32 AM
 
Location: Papillion
2,589 posts, read 10,153,565 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandhills Guru View Post
I think you will find in the eastern part of the state you will run into zoning ordinances which will require a certain number of arces to place a home on, most over 10 arces. Along with ordinances on the other issues as well.

Farther west and in less populated counties you won't have these ordinances yet.
The zoning items are true if you are in a county with a metro or large city, such as Washington, Douglas, Sarpy, and Lancaster counties which are the metropolitan part of the state.

A few of the counties surrounding those, or ones around other larger towns like Grand Island, Kearney, Columbus, and North Platte may extend their zoning as well.

I think there are plenty of counties in the SE portion of the state where you are considering where this should not be a problem. The easiest way to find out is to call the town's office closest to where you are considering and ask for either the zoning administrator or the planning director. They can tell you right away.

In Nebraksa a smaller town controls 1 mile beyond its city limits for zoning. a larger town controls 2 miles, and a metropolitan city (Omaha and Lincoln only) control 3 miles; however, those extended controls cannot cross a county line. Keep that in mind when looking. If you are outside of a town and its extended control (1,2,3 mile) then you are under county zoning. Every county also has a zoning administrator who can tell you. You will be under only one jurisdiction, either town or county. Town trumps county.

If you are open to other areas, Sandhills Guru is correct. The mid-portion of the state contains the SandHills area. There is no other land like it in the United States. The western part of the state has the PineRidge area, also a very unique area.
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