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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Behind Door No. 1...

Looking from Dad's woods to choice #1

For anyone new to this site here is our of four in NC Wisconsin. Two daughters ages 7 and 11, public school education with no plans to change that-the girls are creative, happy and healthy. We are both working professionals-my husband is Materials Manager for the engineering division of a company which makes (among other things) control panels for hydroelectric projects (think Hoover Dam)-as much job security as you can find these days. I am a small animal veterinarian- partner in our group of two small practices, I am working part time right now, pulling myself back from the slippery slope of career burnout. We are looking for something simpler, something more meaningful. I am nervous about peak oil, collapse of our economy, etc, etc. We have had some small experiences with growing our own food-chickens, rabbits and garden and have found it very rewarding. I want to spend time with my girls- I let strangers care for them through daycare and after school programs for too long, I do not want to look back and regret it.
We are looking at two different pieces of property. They are both adjacent to my fathers retirement farm, about 30 minutes from our current suburban home. He has 40 acres, a mix of meadow and slough and woods. He wishes for my sister and I to inherit this property eventually and short term he wants to 'share' or lease some of his acreage with us. We have been camping out there for three summers. It has given us a glimpse of what is possible and I am so thankful to have had that confidence builder available to me. However, we do not want to wait until we retire to create our farm. We want to do the work now while we are strong, and raise our children learning where their food comes from. I suspect this may be a life skill more important than a bachelor's degree. There will be no retirement for us just a shedding of our outside careers.

Shot last week toward to rear of the 20

This is choice number one: 20 acres of southward sloping farm field, no road frontage to speak of just a 20ft x 1000 ft lane back to the 20. The site is only 500 feet wide but 1/4 (?) mile long. We build an off grid solar powered home 1100 square feet, no immediate plans for outbuildings but over next few years would build a workshop for DH and a small barn/shed for me and the girls (horse, goat?, pig?).
Pro's- new construction, built how we wish, off grid (or $12,000 to run power back there) sounds very cool, very green in theory until we hit the third week of cloudy winter weather and have to run the back up generator to take a shower, can't even see a neighbor from back here.
Con's- start from scratch-no trees, just thick slippery clay soil, expensive-even without considering the PV required -because we really have no idea at this point what we will need, adjacent 100+ acres of farm field -large tractor traffic spring planting/plowing, spraying god knows what, harvesting, then fall spraying liquid cow shit. The driveway to tractors/trucks use is right next to our lane running back.

This procession of trucks and stink happens every spring and fall. Because of the narrow width, our proposed building site will be within 200ft of this.

Overall my concerns are cost-one of my considerations is to not spend a huge amount of money- i want us to have the option of being a single income family. But I sure love being hidden back here and going off grid.

I'll post the second option tomorrow-we are winterizing the camper today aand i will have pictures of what's behind door no.2 then!


Ruralrose said...

forget this, can't grow anything in clay, no trees, no amenities of any kind, no water source, 500 feet isn't wide enough to experience the freedom you are buying, and you would never forgive yourself after 2 days watching, listening, and smelling the shit trucks, on to the next door, see you there, lol . . . you know i mean well, peace

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see this, I've been wondering how the hunt for the land has been going... its such a huge decision (um, yeah, I guess that goes without saying)... how do the other family members feel? Clay soil sounds like it would be hard to grow in, but I have such limited experience, I'm really not one to say...