Calling all experienced homesteaders - input needed!

Paris, TN(Zone 6b)

Okay, this will be a bit lengthy, but I really need insight from people who are actually *doing* this daily. I've dabbled, armchair read about it, applied some of it, but I'm now facing the big Kahuna - making the dreams and desires come true. Some of you here are more like family than my family, and I value and treasure your advice.

Nearing 50, homesteading alone. Currently in the "locating the homestead" phase; loan approved.
Working 12 hour night shifts, sometimes 60+ hours a week.
No hands on experience with cows, goats or chickens (except from childhood)
Three grown children, who drift in and out, sometimes visiting, some talking about coming to stay (doubt it!) and family that likes to visit.
Two Great Pyrenees and a Jack Russell terrier.
I'm a slow but steady worker.

Goals: Chickens (for meat and eggs), a few goats (for milk and meat), eventually maybe, maybe, a mini-dairy cow to breed and use for milk and meat (the calf). Four season garden. Soft fruit garden. Herb garden - medicinal and spices.

Tools owned: (note: I don't know how to work all of these things yet, I just own them...LOL!)
Rear tine tiller (it's purty)
Push mower
Rakes, hoes, shovels, loppers, and a wide array of small hand gardening tools

Challenge # 1:
Choosing the homestead site

Always I wanted a water source on property, but, in my budgetary realm that hasn't been something I'm able to realize AND have the high speedDSL/Cable connection required to work from home (satellite not okay with work), AND try to close before 12/01/09 to be eligible for the tax credit. Currently I'm settling on properties that have a well.

I wanted some kind of barn/shed structure, but not something that will require ginormous amounts of repair or upkeep right away.

Fencing - needed to keep dogs in right away, plus will need for future animals. I'm not planning on any animals initially, until I get a feel for what I need to do to just care for the land. I have no idea how much hot wire or any other fencing costs, or what it would cost to have it installed.

Concentrated area of search: Middle to Northwest Tennessee, Southern Kentucky (but really don't want a state income tax) Would love Washington state but it's too far for me to personally walk the land without exhausting my resources with travel expenses. And I only have so much time off from work :)

How much land can I manage within reason?

My loan limits me to 10 acres or less, and they prefer around 5-7 acres.
My current properties of interest are between 1.7 acres and 10 acres.

I have very little time to get out and work on a property - maybe two hours in the morning, and an hour before sunset and work starts. Sundays and every other Monday, but in order to keep my sleep schedule intact I normally maintain my up-all-night-sleeping-in-the day routine even on days off. This could change if my hours ever shift back to days, but that doesn't look to be any time in the near future.
I know that if the land is partially wooded, maintenance will be reduced somewhat. I also know I will have to purchase a riding mower, or sheep :) Sure, I'd love to scythe it, but...I have to sleep sometime too.

Most successful people that I read about on blogs, forums and whatnot - DO NOT WORK ANOTHER JOB! This presents a challenge in and of itself. In a two-person set up, there seems to be more flexibility, which I won't have. I have to be realistic, so that I don't end up hating what I am doing, or getting overwhelmed and sitting down and crying.

What are you successfully managing and how much time does it take you?

Challenge #2: The home itself - older homes are my preference as I like character. However, they also present certain financial challenges if things fall apart. I'm thinking renovated older home with all the tough stuff recently tackled. Paint and stuff I can fix on the interior.

I preserve and cook a lot. I need a big kitchen, and I have lots of kitchen "stuff" - pots, pans, blenders, processors, meat grinders, etc. I don't like it all to be sitting out everywhere...although it usually is!

I need room for an office, and to have house guests comfortably. I'll need room for a caretaker possibly in the future if I get sick or injured or lose my mind (most likely!!!) I've settled on a minimum of 1200 square feet and 3 bedrooms with this in mind.

Would you buy bigger for future long-term child returns, or aging parents? I like lots of room, but have little furniture and realize that I'll be solely responsible for cleaning it all :) Will it impact future sales if my kids have to sell the house and put me in a home or something?

Please weigh in on your housing experiences and point out any flaws you might see in my thinking.

Challenge # 3: Nearness to larger cities with Home Depot, Grocery stores when needed, etc.

Most places I've found are at least within 25 miles of a decent town, and two hours from a major large city. I'm not a go-to-town person except when I have to, and average 1-2 times a month hitting the big city, about 2 times a month for the nearby smaller town for shopping and gas. Is this distance reasonable?

Okay, so that's it for the beginning :) I really do value all of your input and anything you think I might have overlooked.

Thanks for reading and responding!

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

It does sound like you've done a lot of useful thinking. =0) Definitely waiting on the addition of animals is a good idea. And when you're ready, make sure you've got good enclosures before you've got the animals (voice of experience).

For the dogs, what we did was build a fenced yard rather than fence the whole property or large part of it to keep the dogs in. It's a lot easier, quicker, and cheaper up front, and later you can fence bigger (we're getting ready to dog fence 4 acres now; we've been here 7 years). But that way you've got a safe place for your dogs and they're not being a nuisance to your new neighbors.

The distances you describe sound very similar to what I work with... you may find yourself going into town more often, because once you start doing for yourself with little homestead projects, it always seems like there's one essential part, piece, nail, screw, do-hickey that you absolutely need to have to move forward. When I'm real organized, I can manage to only go into town once a week--there is a building supply/hardware store in the nearby town--and work up a more complete list for big new projects to make the big city (Home Depot) run.

You didn't say what kind of vehicle you have... something approximating a truck is real handy. If you don't have a small truck, then consider a hitch and small trailer for hauling lumber, hay, fencing, stove wood.

Once you get your place, and start to get to know the community, you may find that you don't need animals (it's a nice idea, but they take time, energy, money) but instead can trade or go in on things... just you won't be able to eat a whole cow in a couple of years, so you might find another solo and go in together on meat from a local 4H animal, a nice way to support the kids of your community.

We've found neighbors with goats, chickens, cows... and everyone's been happy to swap or their prices have been fair, reasonable and always accompanied by a nice neighborly visit. =0)

Remember, animals are 24/7/365... it's hard to find someone you trust to care for your animals if you want or need to go somewhere. It's tough enough with dogs, just wait til you try and find someone who can milk your goat in the dead of winter. It's all we can do to find someone just to throw hay to our donkeys.

And trading leaves me more time for the garden! Now I find my organic growing skills are becoming appreciated by some of the local old timers, because I've spent the time getting to know them, listened to how they raise cows and grumble about the guv'ment, and asked who had fresh eggs this year. So my knowledge and small experience is beginning to parley into "value added" trades.

In looking at land with a garden in mind, check sun, shade, drainage, slope and wind exposure. Think summer and winter if you want 4 season growing. Put a shovel in the ground and see what the dirt is like.

I'm excited for you! Can't wait to hear about your new place... =0)

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

here are some links that helped me on my decisions
hope it helps
i am finding that i need more help than i thought with my garden . I choose organic but am learning hard its more labor intensive than i really thought . By the time i get weeds under control and bugs along with blight and chasing deer away i m back to where i started ?
I agree with Jay on the animals . I know many people who hate cows LOL . I do enjoy them . Start with chickens first and work your way up .
i do enjoy the bartering system , i do alot of that .
We sublease our extra acres to a guy who has hay . Extra income, not a lot but ,,, it helps.
Find a CAUV program or other programs in your extension office to see if you qualify for tax breaks.
Fencing can be a simple hog pannel fence with some metal posts.
if you have lots of area of brush and grass you will need a riding mower for sure or a small tractor with a bush hog.
We got a used old 55 Ford tractor for a steal came with attachments too. Look in Tractor traders and or Farm Traders. Get them at feed stores and TSC ( tractor supply company )
weed whackers are not my fav to hard to handle IMHO :)
anything over 5 acres is alot of work (up to 20 hrs a week ) whether it is woods or crop area. Don't be fooled. Woods need TLC also. Poison ivy control and grape vine are havoc in woods. I spend alot of hrs in the early spring cutting and spraying PI and cutting grape vines. Then yanking them out with my small tractor. I hate to see them things dangle off a tree.
also rememeber when you have woods you have predators too. Deer eat gardens and foxes eat livestock. I m sure you know all this so i hope you don't think i m insulting your intelligence. :) cuz that is not my intention.
so i hope that helps
we just boght land and built a house so i know from start what are things i over looked and wish i had done better or different.
wishing you well
please keep us updated !
we love to see how thigns are going

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

An alternative to a riding mower or tractor is a walk behind tractor... the nice thing about them is they have several different attachments... tiller, cultivator, sickle mower, itty bitty balers, snow blowers, chippers... one motor, several attachments. Here's one manufacturer...
just to give you a picture in your head. There are others out there, and there was someone on this board who's DH restored older ones...

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

you could also use a quad they come with farm attachments. Less money and easy to use and drive
i didn't know about them Jay . Good to know .
lots of stuff to look into on your quest Hineni

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Yeah, I think the ATVs would be my next choice... a little tough to run in the garden, but probably better for the pasture aspect...

I think it's funny that Ferrari also makes a walk behind tractor... I want me a Ferrari!!! A little red number...

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

yeah that is right forgot that aspect of the garden. Hmmm that is a nice Ferrari LOL would like one of them too.

Paris, TN(Zone 6b)

Egads Sue, 20 hours a week? My property will have to be more self-sufficient than that, by golly :)

Jay - I have an AWD sissy SUV, I got it for a good deal. It's hauled dogs, hay, straw, furniture, garbage, tillers, plants , has a heavy duty towing package and still looks purty :) I'd like to eventually get a broken down farm truck for the poop carrying and what not. I have my trowel packed and some baggies probably to do some home soil samples from places that I like. Notebook so I can note orientation of the house and prospective garden areas. Camera for the sometimers that I get occasionally so I can recall things.

I've compiled a list of properties from a half acre (probably won't work but...) to 10 acres. I head out tomorrow morning on the driving tour. Wheeee! I have about 12 properties to look at over the two day time period. I'm excited but dreading the drive, get out, look, take notes, repeat! I was supposed to leave early in the morning but work asked me to pull another shift tonight so I won't get to leave until later in the morning. Besides, most realtors don't like showing property at 6:30 in the morning...teehee!

Hopefully by Tuesday I'll know what, if any, I'll make an offer on. Then the REAL fun will begin...haha! Thanks to both of you for the encouragement and the reminder that I'm heading in the right direction at least, and thinking about most of the right questions. I'm hoping that I'll get out at someplace and just go 'this feels like home.' (okay, so I'm a dreamer...the cat's out of the bag...!!!)

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Ooo, this is exciting! You'll have to give a run down on what your days adventure brought...

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

so we get pics ?? to see the propertys ?
good luck and best wishes.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Hmmm.... late to this party with reservations about responding as I am not a total homesteader in most of y'alls style. My homestead aspirations have been diminished over the years by reality. But I won't find fault with where I've ended up, my life has suited me. We are self employed. It has paid for what I've wanted but 50+ hours a week DOES negate some of the desire to work too hard at home. Nearing 60 and DH has health issues so my homestead efforts are limited. We have been on our 14 acres for 20 years now.

At any rate, one of the primary concerns on land purchased is a durable water source. Does it have a well, how deep, what quality, how dependable during the droughts that some of the southeast area of the country has endured over the past years. The quality of water is important too. Water with sulphur, sodium or chemical contamination which is common in farming country will make it unpalatable. Seek out well drillers in the areas you are looking at and ask about the depth of water, the quality of water, in needed, the cost of drilling. Surface water is all right but not always dependable. Additionally, in the areas you are looking, consider harvesting rainwater. Also, ask the welldriller if he maintains pumps. When a pump needs service it can be a pain. Perhaps you will find access to a rural water supply. We don't and do not care to due to the chemicals used.

What type of heat are you planning to provide? If you will be depending on wood heat, look for property with a good woodlot. In this woodlot, make sure it is primarily hardwoods as pine makes crappy firewood. We heat with wood and will cut hardwood a year ahead to dry it to prevent chimney fires.

Tools required... Chainsaw, axe, maul, wedge, safety glasses! Recommended chainsaw would be one with the easy start feature and the easy chain adjuster. I also keep a spare replacement chain. For this and the other tools, purchase gas cans. The chainsaw requires mixed gas/oil. The mower takes gas, the tractor diesel. For all fuel storage, add Staybil or Seafoam for a fuel storage stabilizer. For my use, I prefer smaller containers which require less effort to lift.

Looking at the soil quality is a good consideration but soil can be improved with effort. Raised bed gardening and lasagna layering can work even on poor soil. Time and effort might be a rare commodity if you continue to work. That has been my deterrent. As a result, I have focused on the things I enjoy and am capable of handling. I no longer have large gardens but purchase or barter for locally grown produce to can and freeze. A small garden satisfies my urge to dig in the dirt.

Tools used... Small rear tine tiller, many, many gardening tools... a favorite of mine is a potato or turning fork... pressure cooker... water bath canner... jars and plenty of lids. I also have a freezer for food storage.

On the land purchase, look into property taxes on the prospective properties. Also ask about homestead exemptions. Don't depend of the real estate agent but inquire at the tax assessor or tax appraisal offices. Also... and I would consider this of primary concern, meet thy neighbors. Rely on your instincts. I can not count how many folks I know that are unhappy with their land due to neighbors. We were blessed to be quite remote and the nearest neighbors are honest, quiet and responsible.

For livestock, I opted for chickens as layers and for meat. Buying chicken feed might be a luxury a true homesteader might care to avoid by growing the grains. Again, not an effort I cared to exert. Having small stock makes fencing less of an effort.

On fencing, I can easily install cattle panels and drive metal T posts. It is difficult for me to stretch wire alone but I can master the cattle panels. A problem with these panels is smaller stock can go thru.

Recommended tools... post driver, hog ring pliers, leather gloves, fencing pliers. Incidently here I have also used zip ties. They work well but deteriorate in this climate and need replacing periodically. A trailer is necessary to carry the cattle panels from the store to the house. Perhaps for a fee, some feed stores might deliver.

For a female, working alone can be a bit difficult to handle heavy things. A invaluable tool IMO is a small wagon. I started with a used Radio Flyer and now have added a flat bed garden center wagon. The wagons help me move large bags of feed, soil, tools as well as providing a perch to rest on when taking a breather.

I do use a small diesel tractor which I love. I have a 4' bushhog, a blade and a posthole digger attachment. I can not justifiy the cost of a tiller for it. It is easy to work on, I can change the oil, fuel filters, have replaced fuel lines, water hoses, battery cables, belts and have removed tires to carry for repair. All of this requires a variety of hand tools but I can not justify paying someone to do what I am capable of doing.

Tools! Don't know if you are mechanically inclined but tools are a large part of my everyday life in the woods. Screwdrivers, hammers, wrenches, vise grips... difficult to list everything as it has been a lifetime accumulation.

Sorry to be lengthy but these are a few thoughts and I feel certain more will surface. Like everyone, I am curious to hear what you find and perhaps help you sort thru the selections. Please keep us posted.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Wow! Great post podster! Thanks.

I really do think homesteading is more attitude than anything, especially as we get older. Doing what we can towards self-sufficiency changes as we change.

I was reading an editorial about WHY we do what we do... in so many ways it doesn't make sense. From a man who was originally drawn by the beautiful tools and virtuosity of the 'well-seasoned' elders as a young man and now finds himself an aging man...

"Now I am in my 60's with beautiful tools of my own and some significant level of virtuosity and I realize there is more. I might finally get it. Yes, these tools and skills are amongst the rewards of a life fully lived. But I had two important things on my side: my 'owned' heartbeat and a working honor of craftsmanship. It's not about what we've gathered. It's not about what we do or how we do it. It's about WHY we do what we do. I have done most of my work because I followed my heartbeat, I've done what I love. And I have always felt moved to honor the craftsmanship of those chosen pursuits. I didn't do it to amass tools and feel puffed up over my accomplishments. I did it because a trust had been handed to me by all those who came before. And I did it because the work made me feel whole." Lynn Miller

I would only say... I did it because it was a manifestation of the wholeness within me.

But we are crafting our lives, we are craftswomen and craftsmen. In a world of plastic and speed-dating, we have chosen to devote our lives to our strength and our skill... the original sense of craft.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

A correction on my post above... we have been on our homestead for 30 years not 20 years. Sometimers disease? Naw ~ time flies when you have fun! I'm still having trouble moving into the 21st century.

Nice thoughts on tools Jayryunyen. I love the quality of well built tools and older tools but must admit to acquiring my share of "cheap" import tools. We have an acquaintance that peddles out of his van. He handles lots of new, imported tools. Many are a good value and my wallet appreciates that. After all, it seems frugal and homestead are synonymous.

At the risk of ruffling feathers, I am going to add one more tool suggestion. A firearm of some sort as well as adequate ammunition. It should be what the owner is comfortable with and capable of maintaining and using. It can be used to feed, entertain or defend yourself. My MIL hated to wring or chop the necks of chickens to process them. She chose to shoot their heads off. Was darned good at it too. FIL put a stop to it when she ran out of 22 shells and started on his 30/30 ammo. LOL

I feel homesteading is a state of mind. I've known more dedicated homesteaders that lived in a third floor apartment in a large metro area. Anyone with the proper mindset can participate.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Oh my... a 30/30 seems a little like overkill. LOL

I agree with the firearm, more from a varmint point of view. I had a .22 with a scope for stray, nuisance dogs and skunks, it was all I ever needed. Take a gun safety course, keep the thing locked up when you aren't using it, and don't brag about it.

I was raised to never think of a gun for self-defense. That's what your wits and your neighbors are for... and if you can't trust your neighbors then you've got real trouble. But then, that was before the lessons of Hurricane Katrina.

I now think there are circumstances wherein I would think of the gun for self-defense, too.

Paris, TN(Zone 6b)

Back home, due at work in 20 minutes. Found place, working on an offer, will update later tonight!!!

Thanks Pod for your valuable input as well!

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Wooo-Hooo! Can't wait to hear about it!

Paris, TN(Zone 6b)

First off, I have revised and downgraded my "Oh I can do that" list to a more responsible and reasonable viewpoint. Yes, I am putting off some dream things after actually walking and looking at properties this week. My top favorites had contracts on them before I ever saw them. Poo-poo it is a buyer's market, it is a SELLER's market now with this tax credit thing going on and things are hopping.

So, I found a house on an acre, with potential land to buy behind the house in the future. House had everything I needed and lots of things that I wanted. House is in tip-top shape, no major repairs or what not needed.
Basement root cellar - Check
Fruit trees - Check
Garden area with good soil in good sun - Check
Back deck and front porch - Check
More than one bathroom - Check
Well water - Check
BIG kitchen-Check
Excellent friendly older neighbors who garden-Check
Fencing - check
Chickens and goats allowed - Check
Existing animal housing - Check
Garage/Storage - Check

I was all excited and had to run the property by my mortgage guy before making an offer. And, that's when it hit the skids. Now all of a sudden if I can't find comps *just* like this house in the area (small town, under 1500 people), the underwriter won't write the loan. Gyahhhh! The house has a metal roof and has cedar shake shingles as it's siding. It isn't 'normal' for the area (mostly older farmhouse types) so the underwriter is giving it a 'hard' look. Say what? Since when did all houses have to look the same? I like unique because I am not a cookie-cutter person! It's not like bizarrely unique, but I also didn't see any other homes like it. I am so frustrated, and don't know if I can do another two-day/12 house marathon to locate a more acceptable property for these underwriters. It also may have an encroachment issue, which I am trying to clarify by an existing survey.

I'm immensely frustrated. Most of the other places either needed major repairs, or were too far out for me to consider as a single person and feel comfortable. Some were too small or needed so much updating that it was just more than I wanted to take on. One was less than 100 feet from a railroad track. It was a hard and tiring activity.

But, on the fun side, here are pictures of the place I like and hope to make an offer on.

It's been a few years since I bought a house, and I had forgotten how tiring it is to look, look, and that was when I was CLOSE to where I was buying...sigh.

Anyway, that's where I am at. Deflated I think is my feeling right now :/ But I will persevere!

Colmesneil, TX(Zone 8b)

Hineni Ö you mentioned all those electrical gizmos. I donít believe anyone has mentioned power.

My DW and I are approaching golden age quickly. Our view on homesteading is more along the lines of an Y2K happening. Social unrest and instability sort of thing. Hope Iím wrong but I work with the dregs of society and am starting to see things that are truly worrisome.

First, you canít do it by yourself. Any history of homesteading points out that the old timers had there proverbially 40 acres and a mule. They also point out that they had a dozen or more kids to help. The boys married and brought the wife to the parents homestead and started a family. There were usually many hands to help. An example would be my daddy. At age six his job (s) were to feed the small live stock, make sure there was kindling and fire wood at the cook stove each morning, when a rain came he switched the gutters off the house and barn to the cistern, and he and his seven year old cousin ran a two man, or kid, buck saw. They were too small to move the logs on the buck and split but they were responsible for cutting the logs to length. I do have pictures of them working at the saw.

Since itís just the two of us we have opted to go small. As for meat, if I canít pick it up and walk off with it itís too big to mess with. Chickens and rabbits are small, lightweight, breed readily, donít need elaborate fencing and can be butchered and eaten all in the same day. Easiest way to keep meat fresh is to keep it alive till needed. Plus chickens lay eggs.

A garden no bigger than you can take care of is a must. You can grow a lot of stuff in a very small area if itís managed properly. It should produce enough to eat fresh, can and barter with. Remember that if there is no fuel you will be doing it all by manual labor. Yours.

Everything else we will have to barter for and hope for the best. We proved it can be done after surviving 20 something days with no power or fuel after hurricane Rita. I know that 20 days isnít that long but we were just getting into the groove when the lights came back on.

Oh, one thing Rita did teach us is that we donít have enough water for drinking or irrigation. With Jays input we are working on solving that little problem. May even have a fish or two as a bonus.

Guns are going to be a must. Not only for self-defense but also to stop someone from taking what you have. 30/30 would be good, backed up with a 12 ga. and a pistol of some sort. Save the 22 for the four-legged varmints.

Nearest town with a China Mart is 12 miles away. Everything else is 35 plus.

Paris, TN(Zone 6b)

Hi lizard! I appreciate your input.

(scratching head...electrical gizmos...?) I might just be too tired since my shift is almost ending...haha! I'm not sure what you're referencing there.

Yep, I concluded that even six acres was too much for me by myself, and working a job. Especially with a home that needed work along with caring for that six acres.

I plan to stock up on the little propane canisters for alternate cooking and water boiling options, but I really haven't examined a SHTF scenario for myself yet. Hard enough to find a place I can afford AND that someone will finance :)
I agree, firearms will be a must...eventually.

Some days it feels like there is so much to think about that I understand why people bury their heads. I get worn out thinking of all the possible scenarios :/

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

it is a SELLER's market now with this tax credit thing going on and things are hopping.
Actually, I think what you are encountering is the property profiles you are interested in are drawing interest from many just like us that are rethinking their futures. Not a sellers market in the HOAs and cookie cutters...

Your house choice sounds wonderful. Be persistent. Don't let frustration get in the way and please don't let us overwhelm you. Work at it... one challenge at a time. It will be worth it in the final result. Off to tour the photos.... pod

Colmesneil, TX(Zone 8b)

Blenders and processors and such. Donít feel bad, I just finished one shift and now have to do another. Iím too old for this.

Podís right, just take it one step at a time. Shelter first. Get a house fixed up and comfy then tackle something else.

Paris, TN(Zone 6b)

Duh, got it. LOL! Gotta stay awake long enough to talk to the mortgage dude in another time zone before I hit the sack. Oh, and track down the realtor too.

I wanna sleep for a month! These 12 hour night shifts are killin' me.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Sounds like a very do-able set-up, Hi. Right sized, as they say. I sure hope you get things sorted out with the underwriting... do you have an alternative for the underwriter? Can you get a second opinion?

Be cussedly persistent...

Paris, TN(Zone 6b)

Well, I think I've got the 'cussed' part down today...LOL! Also found out that the existing encroachment (shared wall barn with neighboring property) will not be accepted by the lender.

I did get a recent survey - but nothing is spotted on it so I suspect it will have to be re-done.
I cashed in a savings instrument which used to be two weeks to get, now they are saying 45 days...!

And...our power and internet went out here today during storms and I was late to work!
But I'm still smilin'........ :)

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Shared wall? Are you serious? That'd take out a lot of properties around here, where they've backed the barns right up to the property line. How stupid. Can you find another lender?

Cussingly cussed...

North of Heber, AZ(Zone 6b)

Hineni, the pictures of your home choice are gorgeous! I can't believe that if the lender saw the pictures, they'd turn you down. I know that up here in nothern Arizona, that metal roof would get you many points because it would cut down on danger from forest fires. We lost 500,000 acres of ponderosa pines and many homes a few years ago and now everybody wants metal roofs.

Keep working on it -- you deserve to get that place! Can you just hire somebody with a dozer to remove the barn if that is the holdup?

Paris, TN(Zone 6b)

Thank you AZ - it's a little more frou-frou (especially that one!) than I really wanted, as I am a 'farmhouse' kind of person. But the layout for my home office, the BIG kitchen and workspaces, plus the basement and stuff, really make it the most practical thing I found for most of my needs and a lot of my wants.

The loan officer and the Realtor talked, and they talked to the RD underwriter, so I'm approved to offer a contract. Now I'm nervous!!! I really hoped the RD underwriter would be my excuse to separate the barns and establish a fence. While I like the guy that is there now (I met all the neighbors while I was there), he rents, so who knows what the next tenant may be like. Plus, they cage their chickens and I don't want disease to spread via the back to back barn arrangement either.
Good fences make good neighbors, isn't that the saying? LOL!

So...I'm reviewing the offer paperwork tonight. I've prayed about it, so if it works out, it works out. If not, well, that means there is somewhere else I am supposed to be!

THANK YOU all for your encouragement!! I'll keep ya updated :)

Paris, TN(Zone 6b)

Here's another link to the interior photos - I couldn't get that link up above to work.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Hey, I found your future cow...

These look even smaller than a Dexter.

Of course, you'd have to build a pretty hefty milking stand... or dig a hole to sit in. LOL And judging from these pictures, I'd say it's a high fat cow... =0)
MMMmmmm, lots of cream.

Ah, a shared barn... that's a little different. So that's just your first construction project... a nice sturdy wall and then you half moves away. LOL

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

hineni i hear you on the comparable comps, that is such a pain. We have a log home and we refinanced and the first guy was an idiot . So we went back to our original guy and he did an excellent job. But it was stressful. I know the pain.
i agree what crazy on the shared wall ??
yes good strong fences make wonderful neighbors. It will spare everyone grief. Do they have dogs ? we have neighbors with dogs that run wild and if they get in my hens well..... . ?
LOL great cow Jay :)

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

what would you do with a cow that small ? LOL

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Well, I'm not sure, but it wouldn't give a lot of milk, that's for sure!
One probably costs thousands of dollars, but hey... what else are you gonna do with your money?
Pay bills? How dull...

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

half pints ! LOL

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

It just doesn't look like an Ol' Bessy, though...

Paris, TN(Zone 6b)

Half-pints...hahahaha! Zebu's are cool, I had just recently found out about them. I'm still thinking, if I get the extra land behind the house later, that goats will be my first venture. Although a happy cow is less intent on getting OUT of where it is supposed to be!

Working on the offer tonight. Geeze I'm nervous. You'd think it was a date or something!

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

More like marriage!
Do you suppose a zebu moos with an accent?

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Hineni, how have you been? We lost track of each other since your move from Atlanta. My most immediate thought is, having started on ten acres and moved to seventeen, beware the "available" surrounding land. Despite the fact that we bought our original acreage in a depressed market, and tried to pick up more land two years down the line, all the surrounding land holders wanted to stick it to us. Of four boundaries, we could only deal with one landholder. Bordering property owners were even threatening to build rental cabins if we did not buy (one did).

The house and property you are looking at sounds great. I'd go pretty rustic to acquire more land. I had no heat (fireplace and cube heaters), running water (hauling from spring), or mechanical yard equipment. I've never owned a firearm though I've had to face off folks on the property with arms. That's me though.

First year's garden was made from a 4x15 foot gravel road bed. PicMatic and what I used to have as a back and neck. Here's the kitchen garden now. I'm on my way to bury compost. BTW, I don't understand why a woman would have difficulty running a tiller. I turned sixty in June and run a Troybuilt pony every Spring. You can do it!

Thumbnail by MaypopLaurel
Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Beautiful Garden, Maypop!

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Thanks Jay. The kitchen garden looking at the house.

We've had ducks, rabbits, and horses as well. I think animals should be part of the final plan as they are not necessary for sustenance. I'd opt for chickens first and then dwarf goats like Nubians for milk and meat. Poultry is hard to keep in the country if you can't protect them at night. Preventing predator damage, even when penned, can be a job. That's what happened to our ducks and rabbits. The raccoons and possums chewed through fences. The rabbits were penned as well and killed by neighboring dogs left to roam. The fences were unbelievably secure. It's easier, and cheaper, to keep vegetarian animals (deer) out of the vegetables than to keep carnivorous animals away from the livestock.

Thumbnail by MaypopLaurel
Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Yep, I've had my share of troubles with protecting livestock. That's why for someone who doesn't have a lot of time or experience, I usually rec'd they don't get into it. There are so many other folks raising small livestock that can be supported... I trade tomatoes for fresh eggs right now, I am the tomato queen here in our mountain valley. =0) Other people raise goats for meat and milk and I've found it's a lot cheaper to buy the finished product than to build and protect and feed. And it weaves the community web when we find ways to complement each others talents and skills that way. =0)

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