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Friday, June 5, 2009

The Wild, Wild West

This is where we live. It looks like this in pretty much every direction. There are no phone lines. No power lines. No city water. You must drive down twenty miles of dirt roads before you hit pavement. The roads will beat the crap out of any vehicle.

We run our house on solar. Cell phones work. Our water is hauled from the nearest town. You have to be pretty self-sufficient to live out here. There's no running off into town on a whim or because you forgot something at the store. Duct tape and zip ties are necessities. Getting someone out to fix something is either impossible or very expensive.

It's very, very quiet here. Unless the dogs are howling. Or the coyotes. It's pretty ideal for us. There are no neighbors for the dogs to annoy. No neighbors to annoy me.

The climate is very harsh. The last two days we've had 100F weather. It's dry, and the sun is brutal. It has it's advantages, though.

We get spectacular sunsets.


MileHighGayGuy said...

What's your best advice for someone wanting to do the same thing and just get away from the rat race?

More and more I find modern life to be unsatisfying.

Love the blog and your work!

Jess said...

There are a lot of books on homesteading, Mortgage Free by Rob Roy is the one we got that I liked best, and a lot of homesteading resources on the web. The forum is good for asking people about where they live and what the regulations are like there.

Where you go and what you do will depend on what you want. You will have to decide how primitive you want to get, in regards to infrastructure. We live fairly primitively, which would drive a lot of people batty after a while. It's a bit like camping but you don't go home after a week. Weather is a consideration, price of land (cheaper is usually more remote, no infrastructure, less desirable climate), and local regs. Some places you can put a camp trailer on your property and be all set, but there's an increasing amount of permitting and regulations going on so that you cannot just build a cabin with a composting toilet wherever you like. An increasing number of busy body city people are moving into the country as well and trying to make it into cities with more trees, complaining about stuff like smelly cows and getting up in your face, so it pays to research any locations you are considering.

Where you go and what you do will also depend on income, will you need to get a job, do you have one that is not dependent on location, etc. Homesteading can be a decent solution to being low income, but again, there is more and more regulation specifically aimed at keeping property values up and poor people out. The forum used to be excellent checking what the local 'climate' is like in regards to regs and people, I would check it out if you are serious.

It is a big commitment to start homesteading. We have been here for five years, and in that times we've seen a number of neighbors come and go, that couldn't handle it. I'd suggest finding someplace to rent to see if it suits you, or spending a long time camping to see if you're going to miss civilization. Homesteading goes all the way from a real nice house on a remote property to people living in tents, so there is something for most temperaments. We are pretty hermity, but the city is not too far away so it's doable without too much hardship. I've talked to people that get snowed in every winter and disappear off the net until the snow melts and they can leave their cabin. I couldn't do that, and I rarely leave the house.