Skip to comments.FReeper advice needed (Vanity) Time to go?
Posted on 03/08/2009 12:28:19 PM PDT by WhirlwindAttack
I've been here a while now, put a hundred into the kitty to keep the site up so I'm posting a vanity asking for some advice. My family are all liberals I don't dare ask them their opinion. So here goes.
My bride and I both see bad things coming. We are buying 5 acres in rural south central Tennessee on contract from a friend. No house, just partially wooded land. We've been saving our money and investing in heirloom seeds, long term food supply that we eat and rotate, and camping gear.
I weld and am a jack of all trades. My wife has only ever worked as a retail bookseller. We're healthy but a little overfed.
We are considering leaving our apartment in Indiana when our lease is up in May. It's in a college town of over 100K. and very liberal. The plan is to store what we don't need immediately ( we have storage available until July of next year.). Go down south, pitch a camp and dig a privy then go forth to find work. We will be planting a garden and trying to get a small cabin weathered in before winter. I want to build a home as we earn the cash money to buy materials and do this without a mortgage.
I would rather get out while I can and keep her safe than stay here and she feels the same way.
So here's the crux of the matter, I'm 48 former USAF and don't like to take rash jumps into the unknown. I have however been in the third world, started over with nothing twice and am with the love of my life. She is 30, brilliant, sews, weaves, throws pottery, and has the ability to build her own kiln.
She's a former LDS and fell right in line with my food storage quirks not to mention she's a dead shot with everything I've put in her hands.
She thinks that pioneering will be an adventure. I know it will be hard work. Her parents have told us they admire our courage and want to know when to expect grandchildren. ( Sorry gonna have to wait Mom )
FRiends I'm worried I'm missing something. I like the benefits of civilization like hot showers and flush toilets. But being out of the cities when they do go wonky holds more appeal.
I welcome your comments.
“o down south, pitch a camp and dig a privy then go forth to find work. We will be planting a garden and trying to get a small cabin weathered in before winter. I want to build a home as we earn the cash money to buy materials and do this without a mortgage.”
Check your state and county codes....be sure you can build on your land, or at least camp on it. Here, we can only camp for less than 6mos of the year and a septic tank runs about 20 grand, if you can get it.
The land is a great solar site we wanted to set some PV panels and a windmill as we could afford to.
There's wisdom in mysterio's words... One of the historical reasons for towns and villages was people banding together to protect each other. Finding like minded people might be a challenge - but a worthwhile one.
Just you and your wife I imagine you could put together a 200 sq foot shack/home fairly easy. 10X10 bedroom/living area. The rest broken up into bathroom and kitchen.
What is the plan B if you can't build a cabin before snow falls? I've seen cabins built within a week, but with 10-15 people working. You two may not have enough manpower to work with heavy materials, and not enough experience to organize the work optimally. I also read that you plan to work for someone else during this time...
Could it be that a trailer instead of a cabin is a better solution, especially if you rent it? You'd need a good deal of money, and a year, to build a permanent house. I don't know what prices in TN might be, but in CA you probably need $200,000 to have just bare necessities - foundation, walls, roof, water, septic, and likely some driveway.
This is a standard problem with land - it costs so little exactly because you need to pour plenty of cash into it before it becomes usable. I know people who, instead of ordering the house built, decided to build one themselves. It took them at least 20 years to get to some semblance of completeness, and by then pieces of it started falling off. To find out what costs you will be facing you need to talk to a local architect (since you can't build anything anyway without plans prepared and signed by a licensed architect.) Also you'll need to research the soil at the lot because the foundation has to be built accordingly, and in some places you can't get a permit without such a research. You also need to have water investigated, because a well is probably your only source of water. Test the water sample in a lab for chemical and biological contaminants.
Another option, of course, is to just buy land with some house on it, already built. This will cost you more, but you take no risk on construction. This depends on getting a mortgage, which might be tough these days, considering that you will need a new job when 10% are unemployed...
If you need affirmation from someone else, you may find it very lonely when the reality sets in.
I wish you the best of luck, whatever your decision.
Before you go, make sure you have enough stockpiles. You will need a source of water that is reliable and sanitary. I cannot over stress sanitation issues. If it is a well, how will it be operated, electric, propane, or diesel? Hand pump? How will you dispose of your refuse? Septic system? These are facts of modern life that get taken for granted, but without them, you will quickly learn why life expectancy was low in previous eras.
Next your will need to know what is allowed by the local ordinances. Will livestock be allowed? Have you considered picking up a cheap RV in fairly good condition while you are building your permanent dwelling? Are there places of employment nearby? Do you know anyone nearby?
All of that aside, there is a wealth of knowledge out there. Try “Country wisdom and know how” and “The encyclopedia of country living”. Both of these resources offer good advice, insights, and potential pitfalls of primitive living. I wish you luck.
Find the work FIRST.
Rural life is "neat" because there aren't any people around to bother you.
But, at the same time, because there aren't any people around, there is much less opportunity for economic activity - in really rural places, there aren't any other people at all with whom you can engage in commerce.
She is 30... Her parents have told us they admire our courage and want to know when to expect grandchildren. ( Sorry gonna have to wait Mom )
Start making the babies NOW.
In just a few short years [like as early as when she turns 35], her womb will start going barren, and the window of opportunity will be lost forever.
At this point, EVERYTHING has to be subservient to the making of babies.
Does it hail there? I hear hail will damage solar panels. Just a thought. Also, If you decide, you can sell back power you don’t use to the local power company.
Thanks Aunt B, Septic will cost about 3K. I can dig a privy and camp as long as I want there. A travel trailer is an option also.
I would echo the sentiment about the Mad Max scenario. If society *did* descend into chaos, you would probably be better off in your little town in Indiana than out in the wilderness in TN.
Save your money until you can afford to build a small cabin/house/whatever, build it, line up jobs, and *then* move. Moving beforehand is just asking for an awful lot of grief (and way more stress on your marriage than you probably want - especially since it sounds like you just got married).
Drill for water and bring in electric power.
Looks like you’ve checked into the necessities. A travel trailer is a good option. I lived in a 5th wheel for a year, in between locating. It was great...get one with a rear bath, more privacy...you can pick up good used ones cheap. And if you don’t like it there...leave!
Parts of Tennessee experience tornadoes. Be sure to check out the area where you plan on settling so you don’t wind up in Kansas.
Just make sure you have a way to get along for a while if you both lose your jobs.
Put up LOTS of firewood and get a good stove that will hold a load for 12 hours ( we used a barrel stove kit, no other stove will hold such a load.)
I did it in 1984, with wifey and two kids aged 5 and 6. Rented homes in the winter worked three consecutive summers to build our home, and the family camped on site with a Swift Family Robinson tent platform, and a tow in Pop Up Camper for the kids bedroom.
we had nightoly campfire, daily swims in a lake 1/4 mile away. We toughed it out.
It will test your relationship, but you will thrive if you have genuine love for each other.If not, one of you will feel slighted and leave.
My kids still speak of those days as the favorites of their childhood.
We moved into our new home in November of 1987.
When yo buld, make sure you have a full concrete foundation, either basement or slab. That way you will have good equity inn the future.
Have your power and well working before you move on to the site.
If you set up a pioneer style tent, do so on a raised wooden platform, and and make sure you have a fly canvas set up to cobver the whole tent, that makes it workable, anything elese is too tiring in the long run because you can't rest at night well when the weather turns rainy or too hot. we had running water,propane heater,propane stove with oven electricty and telephone right into our "prospector" tent which was 12 by 14 feet with 4 foot side walls, 12 oz white canvas with a 20 by 20 foot fly, it all cost us 600 dollars at the time. Weran the stove and the water onto an 4 x 8 porch covered by the fly.
Go for it, make sure you have a good base to work from though, and the time goes fast until the first snow flies.
You can probably get set up in a used trailer pretty cheap.
Never buy on contract, especially from "a friend". Good way to part on not so friendly terms. Save for cash only purchase. Why go into debt when you are practically out of debt. You always have to include the worst case scenario..the unknown-health etc.
Build a house for ourselves, do metalwork, pottery and weaving for sale and trade with work on the side.
I don't mean to be a "downer" but there are tens of thousands (maybe many more no figures) of people with the same skills in my rural (vacationland) state. There are too many "artisans" who just got by before these poor economic times. What level does it really become a business and not just a hobby. Building supplies are up, go figure; even though builders (many of of work) of all skill levels are in heavy competition in their "contracted" prices. Logs have to season as well before a building is elevated, so that takes time with your own harvest. Not a "before winter" picture of reality.
Perhaps rent with option to buy, caretaker with quarters provided. Believe it or not, people do take care of light houses. Might need references. Flea markets bring income with little down. Popular as well. Are you anywhere near the World's Longest Yard Sale? The US 127 Corridor Sale? But "fun" buying will be less abundant with cash being held tight to the chest. No matter what income level.
South central Tennessee would not be my choice, but you go where you feel most comfortable. A support base.
Just my opinion. I am sure all the above have been under on your list made up of Positives and Negatives. If it "feels" right with no reservations..like asking others for their opinions ;), then go for it.
I'm weighing my options and know the decision rests firmly on my shoulders. I would like more time and money first. Move forward in stages. I'm just want what is best for my family.
Echoes my thinking exactly.
There are LOTS of foreclosures in TN, and many are owned by the USDA.
You could spend $30K getting power to a patch of land, performing perc tests, soil test for a foundation...... before you pour your first bucket of concrete. Easily. VERY easily.
I’d have to say....in the current environment, you can buy a home so darn close to what it would cost to build...that unless you had serious resources on the ground, in place, and experience building; it would be foolish to build.
I would strongly advise spend the cash and get a septic system put in. A housing option would be a small pre-manufactured log home. All materials are delivered to your site. You can choose to put it all together yourself, or contract out the parts that are over your ability.