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Old 10-03-2008, 07:07 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
32,923 posts, read 26,410,850 times
Reputation: 14891
IIRC - Hawaii, at least the up wind side has lots of rain and never freezes. These make intensive farming practical. New Mexico does not have all that much rain and the almost all the water is “owned" by somebody.

If I were building, or resurrecting a structure, where the grid was unavailable, I would heat and light the place with a waste oil fired Diesel generator. Water supply would be a prime consideration. In fact I would never buy a place that did not have an adequate water supply in addition to the usual catchment systems.
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Old 10-03-2008, 09:52 AM
 
Location: Alto/Ruidoso
1,071 posts, read 1,303,724 times
Reputation: 595
Quote:
Originally Posted by fnord View Post
I'm looking to purchase 2-5 acres of undeveloped land to start a simple homestead with a small farm and live entirely off the grid.
It amazes me how much water people deem *necessary* just for household needs. I got by for several years on 10 gal per week... that was for drinking, dish washing, and bathing. I would go to town to do laundry about once per month, and also get a real shower at the community college gym. So it would certainly be no problem to get by on a cistern and roof runoff if you were so inclined... >10k gallons a year there for sure.

Except of course for irrigating crops. That is the real issue. If you plan to have a "small farm" then you will need a pretty good supply of water. Instead of a well you might consider making a pond that is fed by arroyos... though it may be "illegal". Monsoon rains are fairly reliable over most of the state, so you could have water and grow things July-Sep. Still, if having a farm is important to you you'd probably be better off with land over towards the midwest...

Building codes are rather annoying, but I know some people who live in the boonies just ignore them. Outhouses are simple and work well enough. Tires packed with dirt make very thick "adobe" walls, and are cheap if you don't mind doing it yourself. A few solar panels and batteries can supply electric cheaply if you are frugal.
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Old 10-03-2008, 10:13 AM
 
Location: Burque!
3,696 posts, read 6,069,886 times
Reputation: 725
I posted this on the ABQ forum a while ago... maybe you'll find it relevant to this conversation:

Container Dwellings from ABQ/Corrales
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Old 10-03-2008, 05:59 PM
 
Location: San Juan County, New Mexico
262 posts, read 572,155 times
Reputation: 285
Let's not turn any more of New Mexico into a sewer by refusing to install proper waste disposal systems, OK? The reason that the State EID and local governments are cracking down on septics is because there are literally hundreds of thousands of systems in New Mexico that are little more than outhouses. They're destroying groundwater and creating all sorts of problems for neighbors and others.
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Old 10-03-2008, 07:28 PM
 
701 posts, read 1,400,343 times
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Thank you all for the informative replies, especially Idunn. That took a lot of time to type.

The 10K is all I have available to purchase the land itself - I realize the expense of everything else involved and my plan is to develop the homestead bit by bit, in stages, as I can afford it.

I appreciate all the advice. This has been on my mind for years and if I don't just go for it, I don't think it's ever going to happen. If I fail, at least I'll have some hilarious stories to tell.
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Old 10-03-2008, 11:19 PM
 
Location: Burque!
3,696 posts, read 6,069,886 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sjbasin View Post
Let's not turn any more of New Mexico into a sewer by refusing to install proper waste disposal systems, OK? The reason that the State EID and local governments are cracking down on septics is because there are literally hundreds of thousands of systems in New Mexico that are little more than outhouses. They're destroying groundwater and creating all sorts of problems for neighbors and others.
?

Septic systems are just fine.

What do you propose farmers do about their livestock, swine, and poultry?

I suppose a few thousand head of cattle using the John is out of the question?

If our water-table were oh... 20ft. then yeah, maybe let's deal with sewage differently, but @ +300ft... give me a break.
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Old 10-04-2008, 09:07 AM
 
Location: San Juan County, New Mexico
262 posts, read 572,155 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rybert View Post
Septic systems are just fine.
What do you propose farmers do about their livestock, swine, and poultry?
I suppose a few thousand head of cattle using the John is out of the question?
If our water-table were oh... 20ft. then yeah, maybe let's deal with sewage differently, but @ +300ft... give me a break.

You're apparently not familiar with many parts of New Mexico where the water table is, in fact, 20ft. Here in San Juan County where over 60% of the state's surface water flows, the problem of old, outdated, and poorly designed septic systems is a problem. The same problem exists all the way from the Colorado border to the Texas border along the Rio Grande, Pecos, Gila and every little stream in the state. Suggesting that people just dig a hole in the ground and that it will work fine is suggesting that people ignore the future of the state. We've had enough of that already. Why not just install a proper system to begin with?

If you're at all familiar with feedlot operations these days you'll know that they are also required to have modern waste facilities.






"New Mexico environment secretary says leaky septic tanks pose serious environmental threat

July 2005

U.S. Water News Online
FARMINGTON, N.M. -- Septic tanks are a big source of groundwater contamination in New Mexico, state Environment Secretary Ron Curry said.
Many regulations aimed at changing that and approved by the state in April will take effect next month.
The regulations revise wastewater treatment standards and provide a mechanism to bring unpermitted systems, which are estimated to be about half the 220,000 septic tanks in the state, into oversight.
During a public meeting on the issue here, Curry said the matter hadn't been tackled by the state in more than 20 years.
Don Becker of the San Juan County Homebuilders Association asked Curry for more time to review and learn about the regulations.
"This rule is coming into effect way too fast for the people of San Juan County," Becker said. "You don't see people dying here. You don't see waste in the river."
Curry, however, had numbers to back up groundwater problems in San Juan County.
He noted that the state has spent more than $450,000 for two projects designed to clean up the San Juan and Animas rivers.
The programs, he said, will correct septic system problems in Flora Vista and improve septic tank operations in Farmington and Bloomfield, construct wetlands to reduce sediment, nutrient and bacteria loading, remediate septic systems in rural areas and remediate non-septic system pollution sources.
"You don't have a lot of problems, but you have problems," Curry said.
Some of the problems with these systems include improper installation and seeping sewage.
"You don't want to have a situation where you're drinking your neighbor's liquid waste in your well water," Curry warned.
Tom Higley, a home builder, said he has spent the last 15 years trying to construct affordable homes, which are becoming scarce in San Juan County.
"You cannot build a home for less than $150,000," Higley said, adding that he believes the new septic tank codes will greatly increase the construction costs.
Rewriting the regulations began in March 2003. Since that time, there have been educational meetings held across the state.
The changes include requirements that all undeveloped lots be at least three-quarters of an acre for a septic tank and that advanced treatment units be required on small lots.
Beginning July 1, 2007, anyone installing a septic system must be certified. There will be a homeowner certification program for those wishing to install their own systems.
Traditional septic tanks -- buried tanks in which solids settle and from which liquids filter into a leach field -- are suitable to dispose of human waste in many rural areas where lot sizes are large enough for contaminants to be filtered and diluted.

http://www.uswaternews.com/archives/...newxmexi7.html "
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Old 10-04-2008, 12:59 PM
 
Location: Alto/Ruidoso
1,071 posts, read 1,303,724 times
Reputation: 595
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjbasin View Post
Here in San Juan County where over 60% of the state's surface water flows, the problem of old, outdated, and poorly designed septic systems is a problem.
I've seen problems around here with proper septic tanks... but oddly, not with outhouses.

Quote:
Suggesting that people just dig a hole in the ground and that it will work fine is suggesting that people ignore the future of the state.
You act like it is nuclear waste with a 10k year halflife...

Quote:
If you're at all familiar with feedlot operations these days you'll know that they are also required to have modern waste facilities.
A single horse or cow produces more waste than an entire family... and they don't even dig a hole.

Where I grew up in Illinois, livestock was everywhere... and shallow wells nearby supplied the drinking water...
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Old 10-04-2008, 06:44 PM
_yb
 
Location: Central New Mexico
1,135 posts, read 3,245,220 times
Reputation: 679
You can always go cheap on the pump



Lee, Russell, photographer

Faro Caudill drawing water from his well, Pie Town, New Mexico





Repository: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA,
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Old 10-05-2008, 09:07 AM
 
Location: Akron, Ohio
1,105 posts, read 1,638,945 times
Reputation: 1442
You go, Gabby Hayes!! Draw that water!

Good exercise and good drinkin'
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