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Old 04-10-2008, 01:57 AM
 
43 posts, read 147,844 times
Reputation: 18

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We are moving to Iowa to satisfy our longing to return to rural farm life; my hubby's main job is in DSM, however. We had originally got close to buying in the Osky area but after researching a bit more we think that the commute time from downtown (in winter at that - yikes) and the area will not meet our needs.

Hubby noticed that when he toured areas closer to town or in the North part of DSM he didn't come across the 'farmer wave' as much. We desire the type of community where you get the farmer wave ;-)

Is there such a place that can meet our needs?
Topographical: Rolling hills for 30+ acres mosty pasture some timber and a creek (required) - preferrably from previous hay or alfalfa and not corn crop.
Outside of the DSM area (we enjoyed the Winterset area but only saw it for one day lol) preferrably the NW or W area
Not meth-ridden (we have small kids so we are concerned about crime and perps), not near too intense of hog smells due to some health issues (is that even possible? lol) though I love the smell of alfalfa and cow manuer (weird, I know)
Is not a yuppy area (that's why we are leaving our area, we are 'so done' with the snooty/image part of city life and we would welcome some older traditional Americana with some really great church homes)

I am so confused after reading everyone's posts of don't live here and don't live there that I thought I'd just come right out and request some help. Forgive me if I've listed any stereotypes here, I don't mean any harm, just trying to figure out everyone's definitions of this and that and what is reality and fiction. . .

We don't come to change Iowa . . . we just want to hobby farm and be part of community, hopefully making some generational friendships for us and our children's children.

Thanks everyone - love the photo thread, BTW!
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Old 04-10-2008, 03:23 AM
 
Location: in the general vicinity of Cedar Rapids, Iowa
296 posts, read 1,188,679 times
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First, I agree that Oskaloosa is WAY too long a commute. One of the best reasons to live in Iowa is that you have short commutes!

But I think you were maybe in the area on a Bad Wave Day (with regard to North Des Moines)! Okay... maybe Des Moines and its northerly suburbs are too caught up in competing with Omaha <ducking and running very, very fast> these days to do much farmer waving.

Have you looked at Adel? I love Adel. *Lots* of rural cottage-style businesses between Des Moines and Adel, so you know you've still got the farmer spirit! Good school system, some great old houses.

Sorry that I'm too far away from the area to have specifics any more. I just want to encourage you -- it's out there. We looked for two years before we found land on which to build near Cedar Rapids. We almost made some big mistakes with regard to manure smells and then there was the close call with the "quarry quakes." We lucked into an area that, while becoming a bit gentrified, remains liberally interspersed with traditional farm homes, and we see the Farmer Wave daily, no question about it. It is the best!

Hang in there!!!!

Last edited by WoodwardGirl; 04-10-2008 at 03:24 AM.. Reason: punctuatio'n
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Old 04-10-2008, 04:36 AM
 
1,063 posts, read 2,782,637 times
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Think about renting for a year while you have time to discover and look for the right area. Good luck on your search.
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Old 04-10-2008, 08:12 AM
 
Location: Des Moines
586 posts, read 1,996,910 times
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The Adel area is beautiful, but the area between Waukee and Adel will be filled with commercial developments and subdivisions within the next 10 years.

I would say that you should take a look at Warren and Madison Counties. Both very much still have the rural feel, and I don't think you have to worry about rampant Dallas County-like growth in the forseeable future.
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Old 04-10-2008, 11:11 AM
 
Location: Iowa, Des Moines Metro
2,073 posts, read 5,045,623 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lovethem View Post
Not meth-ridden
I don't think this is something you have to worry about much in the country ... if it is, I'm oblivious to it. I think meth labs were more common a few years back, but I don't it is in concentrated areas or groups - possibly just a random old house or something.

I think if I were you I would look at rural Boone or Marshall counties. Just a thought... good luck with your move though! I'm sure you will love Iowa. I would like to do what you are doing some day too.
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Old 04-11-2008, 11:24 AM
 
Location: Winterset, IA
25 posts, read 110,935 times
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I live in Winterset and absolutely love it here. Moved here a few years ago and I think Madison county or this area around here could be just what you are looking for. It is definately a friendly area. People stop and talk to you in the stores, wave as you pass on the roads. I know several realtors in the area and this is just a wonderful area.
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Old 04-11-2008, 01:30 PM
 
Location: Chariton, Iowa
681 posts, read 2,822,753 times
Reputation: 446
Welcome to Iowa!

Yeah, Osky is a nice town but entirely too far to commute to Des Moines on a regular basis.

It sounds to me like Winterset matches exactly with what you're looking for. It's a real old-fashioned small town, in great country (see Bridges of Madison County), but close to Des Moines and with good growth...so your farm should definitely increase in value considerably.

Get too much closer to Des Moines (like Adel) and you may only get your farm up and running before you're either hemmed in by subdivisions or run over by highways. Over on the NE side of Des Moines, the area around Bondurant is also nice, if much smaller than Winterset.

Meth is not much of an issue in Iowa anymore. It was in the past, but they passed some tough new laws and got it under control. You don't hear about it much any more, and when you do...it's in southern Iowa mostly. (sigh)

I think with an attitude like you've got, you'll fit right in. Just jump in right away, be friendly and nice....and you'll be just fine. Don't let some discouraging posts and posters here get to you.

P.S: Just for curiosity's sake, why are you most interested in the north/northwest area of Des Moines? Would Winterset be too far south for you?
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Old 04-11-2008, 11:36 PM
 
43 posts, read 147,844 times
Reputation: 18
Thanks everyone . . . we are welcome to look beyond to 30min commute but would like to stay within 30-40 tops, Winterset is a closer commute but I don't know much about the area (feel free to share more folks). We did fall in love with Madison County, though, the one day we were there of course ;-)

Chilegal - we are going to rent at first until we can sell our home here and then either buy or build depending on what we find.

Can the Winterset folks tell me more about the area?


WoodwardGirl: What are quarry quakes and what does gentrified mean? I don't want to accidentally buy next to a hog farm LOL (though we plan on having our own pig, so we are not anti-pig mind you, we just don't want to live next to 500 of them and then have any of the silage spill issues I've read about).

Iaborn: That is just what we want . . . the ol' "How are you this week, Mabel?" ;-)

SharpHawkeye: We were concentrating on the west and north-west sides of town based on what friends who either lived there or knew someone who lived near DSM said and some realtors. The word 'appreciation,' we've learned here in the southwest, is a subjective word and at the same time if something stayed the same value for 30 years well . . . tee hee.

I think other than topography we need something with access all around in case we decide to farmers market or let the kiddos do FFA or 4H.

We also homeschool - does anyone know what's it's like to homeschool in the Winterset area? I know that reporting tends to be affected by your local district last I checked HSLDA, so I wasn't sure how HS-friendly that area is.
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Old 04-12-2008, 08:19 AM
 
Location: in the general vicinity of Cedar Rapids, Iowa
296 posts, read 1,188,679 times
Reputation: 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lovethem View Post
WoodwardGirl: What are quarry quakes and what does gentrified mean? I don't want to accidentally buy next to a hog farm LOL (though we plan on having our own pig, so we are not anti-pig mind you, we just don't want to live next to 500 of them and then have any of the silage spill issues I've read about)..

"QuarryQuake" -- the tremor that knocks pictures off the wall and plates from the cupboard when the rock quarry next door sets off a dynamite blast. In talking to the nearby neighbors of that property we were considering, they said the noise wasn't that bad or that frequent (certainly, we'd not heard or felt anything the several times we'd been walking the property) and, since the road was paved, the dust wasn't even that bad... however, they had cracks in their plaster and broken crockery galore and I just have to think that's not good, long-term, for structural integrity. We elected to pass on that bit of timbered heaven!

"Gentrification" -- "the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents" (courtesy Mr. Webster). In our neighborhood, there have only been a few cases where people have actually torn down older homes to build new ones on the site... mostly, people are building McMansions on former pasture or cornfield. It can make for interesting neighborhoods, where you literally have a tarpaper shack on the one acre lot next to the 40 acre estate that looks more like a castle than most castles I've seen, complete with crenellation and oriel windows. The castle owners don't seem worried about neighboring property values, probably because you can't even see their home from the road. So far, the only "backlash" I've seen is a diatribe at a planning and zoning hearing by a long-time resident against the wholesale removal of barbed wire fences by the new property ownrs; he couldn't begin to understand why they wouldn't leave the fences in place and run feeder cattle (or let him run his feeder cattle) on all that green space around the McMansion. One newcomer smartly replied that "I have enough trouble getting the kids to clean up after the dog... I'd never get them to scoop up all those cow pies!"

It's a fun time!
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Old 04-12-2008, 12:31 PM
 
Location: Winterset, IA
25 posts, read 110,935 times
Reputation: 28
There is a small farmers market in the area that once it gets started is there 2 days a week.

I think both FFA and 4 H are available here. I can't tell you about home schooling though.

Many churches in town. Very nice library for a town of this size. Quilting store and an nice Ben Franklin with fabric also if you quilt.

The county fairgrounds is here and they are expanding facitilities there.

Covered Bridge Festival is every Oct. A nice weekend long festival.

A wonderful city park. Pammel State Park just outside of town.

Rolling countryside that is beautiful. I grew up in the Marshalltown area and just MHO this is much prettier here.

I hope that helps.
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