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Old 04-02-2009, 12:35 PM
 
Location: Franklin, NC
69 posts, read 178,896 times
Reputation: 117

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I'm considering anywhere and everywhere to find 1-2 acres of good soil, with a temperate climate, (not too cold or hot and not too dry) and year-round access to water, either stream, well, spring...where I can live simply, (could live in a trailer) and garden most of the year, raising most of my own food, without having to use fossil fuels for heat or have a/c. Can use solar for electricity. I think I could get by with less than an acre if the land was good.

Does a place like this exist? What would you recommend?
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Old 04-02-2009, 05:44 PM
 
Location: The Woods
17,088 posts, read 22,605,396 times
Reputation: 9373
I'd go with more land, such as 5 to 10 acres, wooded, so you have wood for fuel too, and added privacy.

Not sure with that sort of climate preference where would be best...obviously not the far North or the deep South. What's your budget? That might determine some things...I had at one time considered the Ozarks but decided it's too warm for me, you can check the weather history online for that area if you wish. The soil there often isn't great but can be fixed with work. Not sure where else, maybe in the mountains in WV, NC, etc.? In the mountains will be less extremely hot than lower elevations BTW in many states that are thought of as warm states...
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Old 04-03-2009, 11:37 AM
 
Location: North Cackelacky....in the hills.
19,556 posts, read 19,540,002 times
Reputation: 2499
I would buy more land as well...you end up paying more for small lots than you do for larger parcels a lot of the time.

TN is nice,so is WNC and KY.

What price range for land are you looking at?
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Old 04-03-2009, 02:41 PM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,157,766 times
Reputation: 1506
I can't help you on the other points, but you can always check out what the soil is no matter where you decide to move. Web Soil Service (its free from the NRCS) takes a bit to get used to, and it is processing a lot of information but I have yet to prove the soil wrong. It is so accurate, I check "soil samples" from my computer instead of heading out in the field sometimes.

PS: Its great for checking acreages too for proposed fields with the Area of Interest tool. (AOI) As I said, it takes some getting used to, but it is a wonderful soil tool to get to know.

After taking the link, click on the big green button to launch it!

Web Soil Survey - Home
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Old 04-06-2009, 01:30 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,536 posts, read 55,453,855 times
Reputation: 32253
<sigh> There oughtta be a FAQ.

If you want to raise your own food, you have to have the type of climate that fits the crops. If the weather is balmy and warm all the time, the pests will love it. If the weather is too cold, the crops won't survive. Heating and cooling are facts of life. You either chop wood or live in a place where you sweat most of the year. Such is life.

If you want solar and plan to live anywhere close to a normal lifestyle, you will be spending upwards of $40,000 for that installation, and have to learn a whole new skill set for using energy wisely and caring for batteries.

Gardens are labor intensive and you don't have the advantage of scale that commercial agriculture has. We had a decent crop of green beans last year (two 100' rows). For those it took about 4 hours of initial tilling, 6 hours of weeding and watering and removing bugs, 6 hours of harvesting by hand, 4 hours of cleaning, blanching and packaging for freezing. 20 hours +- for about 80 lbs of finished beans. That works out to 4lbs/hr. You can buy a pound of frozen beans for about $1.50. That means the work was worth about $8/hr max (figuring taxes, etc.). The chickens cost so much that we could have been eating lobster for less money. The corn crop failed except for a couple of ears, even with intensive watering.

What you read in magazines and see in books is stuff designed to sell you products or on a lifestyle. Before you jump in with both feet, talk with the oldtimers who lived through hard times. Really listen to them, and most of them will tell you they are glad to be away from it.

If you STILL think this is something you want to try, start small. VERY small. Tent camp for a month in inclement weather. Raise a plot of veggies where there are deer and possums and groundhogs and ticks. Learn to live without refrigeration.

What you have now in your mind is a variation of the "Noble Savage" of literature. It needs a tempering of reality.
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Old 04-06-2009, 03:55 PM
 
Location: A little suburb of Houston
3,702 posts, read 16,503,942 times
Reputation: 2065
I woul recommend southern Arkansas or Oklahoma in the valleys just at the foot of the Ouchita range. Rich land for farming and not so hot you can't live in it (southern girl speaking here).

What Harry said should be taken into consideration. We had a 1+ acre garden + wild plum grove + blackberry and strawberry patches when I was growing up, but the whole family worked it including us kids. I would like to add a few hours onto his totals for items that require canning or preserving. Some items like cabbage, lettuce, and spinach don't save well either.
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Old 04-15-2009, 07:56 PM
 
Location: Maryland
1,534 posts, read 3,823,287 times
Reputation: 2307
Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
<sigh> There oughtta be a FAQ.

If you want to raise your own food, you have to have the type of climate that fits the crops. If the weather is balmy and warm all the time, the pests will love it. If the weather is too cold, the crops won't survive. Heating and cooling are facts of life. You either chop wood or live in a place where you sweat most of the year. Such is life.

If you want solar and plan to live anywhere close to a normal lifestyle, you will be spending upwards of $40,000 for that installation, and have to learn a whole new skill set for using energy wisely and caring for batteries.

Gardens are labor intensive and you don't have the advantage of scale that commercial agriculture has. We had a decent crop of green beans last year (two 100' rows). For those it took about 4 hours of initial tilling, 6 hours of weeding and watering and removing bugs, 6 hours of harvesting by hand, 4 hours of cleaning, blanching and packaging for freezing. 20 hours +- for about 80 lbs of finished beans. That works out to 4lbs/hr. You can buy a pound of frozen beans for about $1.50. That means the work was worth about $8/hr max (figuring taxes, etc.). The chickens cost so much that we could have been eating lobster for less money. The corn crop failed except for a couple of ears, even with intensive watering.

What you read in magazines and see in books is stuff designed to sell you products or on a lifestyle. Before you jump in with both feet, talk with the oldtimers who lived through hard times. Really listen to them, and most of them will tell you they are glad to be away from it.

If you STILL think this is something you want to try, start small. VERY small. Tent camp for a month in inclement weather. Raise a plot of veggies where there are deer and possums and groundhogs and ticks. Learn to live without refrigeration.

What you have now in your mind is a variation of the "Noble Savage" of literature. It needs a tempering of reality.
Excellent and realistic advice, having done some of the 'independent" stuff (gardening, solar, etc.) it's my experience that it is mostly not worth the time and hassle for most folks.
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Old 04-18-2009, 12:04 AM
 
2,899 posts, read 4,008,013 times
Reputation: 3396
BrokenTap, thanks for the web soil survey link. Valuable resource!
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Old 04-22-2009, 03:41 AM
 
Location: Rural Northern California
1,019 posts, read 2,507,976 times
Reputation: 824
You might look somewhere out West. Where I live, agriculture is a big deal, and if you have a decent well, water is not hard to come by. I have 13 acres in a small town and I could live off of my land for a while if I had to. I also have a lot of sunshine, a year round gold-bearing creek (which could be easily dammed for a fish pond), the remnants of an old pear/apple orchard, tons of blackberries, wild cherries, etc. Actually, I live on an area known as 'Apple Hill', and fresh, organically-grown, fruit is readily available depending on the season, directly from the farms that grow it (no middle man, some even let you go pick it yourself). The humidity is generally very low here, so instead of A/C, most people just have swamp coolers (which cost far less to run). The best part of where I live, however, is that you're nestled up against the Sierra Nevada, and are an hour from some of the most scenic natural beauty in the country.

Downsides? The snow can be a pain, and while there isn't a lot of it, there is enough to disrupt lifestyles when major storms hit. Hell, it snowed here last week. The cold isn't really an issue, though, as everybody has wood stoves, and there's plenty of firewood to go around. The biggest problem with moving here is that land isn't cheap. I've inherited mine, so I can't exactly speak to what current prices are at, but I'm sure they're expensive compared to the rest of the country (it's still California, after all).
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:53 PM
 
Location: Sioux Falls, SD area
3,338 posts, read 4,779,061 times
Reputation: 5680
May I recommend Montana. Most of the environmental hippies seem to gravitate there. If you get too "green" around South Dakota, you definitely won't fit in. We're a very tolerant lot, but excessive, radical type behavior will not "fit" you in very well, especially in the rural comunities.
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