Saturday, December 31, 2011

Still Looking

With the rains this week (Dec 27th - 30th), I had time to spend seeking my homestead land again. I have limited funds for the land so my options are small. But, I think, even if I had unlimited funds...I wouldn't want to spend millions on raw earth. I still believe it should be free for the taking if it's just laying there :)  Again, my simplistic mind at work.
Standing at the river looking towards the road.

I found two parcels of about 8 acres combined side-by-side in a land far, far away from where I call home today. I drove 2 hours to get there in the downpour. When my dog, Shin'tu, and I arrived, we walked around enjoying the quiet of the area.

The SF Chehalis runs through the property which is a huge plus. It's surrounded by distant hills, other CSA farms and rural life seems very settled here.
SF Chehalis runs in and back out of the property.

I just cringe at moving to another far away land where I know absolutely no one. I've been a gypsy my whole life and I wonder if at my age, I shouldn't stop roaming. So, I'll pray on this land (I can't seem to get it out of my mind) and trust the Yahweh again will lead me to lay down in green pastures.

I ache to dig my fingers into the earth and build my cob home. I have signed up for 2 workshops in Coquille, Oregon at Cob Cottage Company. The first is a Rocket Mass Heater workshop that I will be using to heat not only my home (and guest cottage); but, also to run through the floors (can you say radiant heating).

The second workshop will be building a cob structure and learning as much as possible about framing, installing windows, doors, and the beam roof. Very Very Exciting!

So, I find the I strong enough to relocated to yet another new community? We'll see.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The New Homesteaders

An article by Popular Mechanics...

The New Homesteaders: Off-the-Grid and Self-Reliant

Is Bigger Better?

We live in a country where we love big.

Big trucks. Big boobs. Big houses. Big ideas. Big schemes. If you want to think big, buy an urban assault vehicle (aka Hummer) and toss on some big wheels and get that damn thing jacked UP!

Yet, I can't help wonder where we, the descendants of immigrants, became so caught up with BIG. Is it our ideals are spoon-fed to us by myriads of ads by greedy bankers and over-zealous builders or are we really just the lustful consumers as the world sees us?

How much is too much and when is enough...well, enough.

I remember living in a tiny little house in Lake City with my perfect grandma and gruff grandpa. Our home was huge to my 5-year old ideals. I had a spacious bedroom up a tiny flight of stairs complete with a balcony. There was also a downstairs - you had to go outside to get there -  but it had an entire room for a shower!

Outside was a pond with a waterfall, an attached terraced patio. There seemed plenty of room to me - but of course, I was little and the world was large.

We left that home (my paradise) in 1965 because grandma said, "it's too small."

We moved into a 4-bedroom home in Shoreline. It was bigger; but not by much. Probably came to a staggering 2,000sf. I had two bedrooms to choose from - my uncle had a room, too, but he was hardly ever there. Donning my dress-up clothes, I still missed my Lake City paradise.

Construction has some alarming effects on our environment. 40% of all the raw materials humans consume are used in construction. Half of the copper we mine becomes wire and pipe inside these buildings.

Building an average home adds 7-tons of waste to our landfills (that's 7 tons, okay - 14,000 lbs of waste in an average home build). (source: Worldwatch Paper 124, by D.M. Roodman and N. Lenssen, Worldwatch Inst., Wash. D.C., 1995)

So why so much bigger? When did we see a home as being 3,500 sf and a price tag of $599,000 as normal? When did the 1950s home become unacceptable? Is it to keep up with the Jones'? Is it because of the constant ads on television and magazines telling us this is the new American Way?

My idea of home is: Comfort. Cleanliness. Godliness. Happiness. Love. A warm fireplace. The smell of stews. The crackling of a fireplace. Dancing leaves on a Fall tree or the sunshiny rays of a summers day.

So, if anyone is reading...What is your idea of home? What's your thoughts on home size and why? What do you believe is right for you, for humanity, for our planet, and our children's inheritance of how we leave it behind by the way we live on it now?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

He's Got the Right Idea

This guy is my life guru! I adore his blog!


What Now?

As I stated in an earlier comment, Timmy gave me the '4-1-1' on the Heist Road property - bad neighbors.

I've searched all listings for land and none fall within my price range or are in a location I don't want. So my next move is to go through the county tax assessor sites and look at each parcel, find ones I'm interested in, drive out to look at them, and then send out letters. It's a lot of work; but in the end, could be very well worth it.

Check out Pacific County's Tax Assessor site - it's fun to click on the lots and follow the parcel number to check out any photos. You can gather a lot of great information this way...including where the owners live. (The further away, the better chances of an interested seller).

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cuba - An Example of Things to Come

Cuba had the transition from industrialized agriculture to a post-oil economy forced upon them in the early 1990’s by the collapse of the Soviet Union. Despite strict food rationing, the average Cuban lost 20 pounds in weight.

Everyone, from plumbers to medical practitioners, started growing food on any scrap of land they could find. Now Cuba has converted to organic farming methods using traditional plant varieties, and farmers enjoy one of the best paid professions.

There’s a taste of what we are in for over the next few years! My advice? Learn how to grow your own food now.

Small House Movement? What the heck is that?

For me, it started with a book called, Twelve by Twelve A One-Room Cabin Off the Grid & Beyond the American Dream. I ordered it from my library and couldn't put it down. This doctor lives in a one-room 12' x 12' home off-grid.

Here's a post about this book.

I'll put it like this: We work our butts off every day to buy a monstrous house - a 30-year mortgage is considered a 'normal' way of life. Think about that: THIRTY YEARS of daily labor to live! Really?

And then there's the recent epidemic of huge, multi-roof line houses. Some call them McMansions: cheaply made 3000 sq ft of living space. What does it take to heat it? Oh, $300 a month? What does this do to our environment? What is the footprint on the planet? What the heck kind of daily grind do I have to do for this....this mansion?

When I read the 12x12 book, it gave me the belief that I'm not a nut (or at least not the only nut). It let me know that my desires to get away from the madness of traffic jams, urban insanity, corporate greed, and political wrecklessness was being realized all over the country. So, in the words of Howard Zinn, "...the world has gone topsy-turvy!" and leaving the madness isn't so strange afterall.

Check out the Tiny House Movement by visiting these websites. No, it might not be for everyone; but, then, neither are McMansions!   :)


Dennis' Tiny Cabin in the Woods

EZ Log Structures

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Elma Property - My First Offer

So, I found a pretty nice piece of land in Elma, Washington. It's 5 acres of pretty flat land. Not a lot of work to clear for homesteading.

I'm liking this. The bldg on the far left belongs to the neighbours.
I contacted my life-long friend (brother), Timmy, to act as my rep and deal with the agents on my behalf. I hope to hear back from him some time this week!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Property Search Continues

On one blogger's page on "How to Buy Land Very Cheaply" the writer suggests using the Tax Assessor website to find out of the area land owners. These people might be sitting on vacant land, paying annual property taxes, and never visiting the site. Often land is acquired by death or bought during a marriage and the owner(s) just don't want to deal with it.

Homestead.Org is a fantastic site! I cannot recommend it enough! I'm signed up for their emails and each one is full great ideas on how to homestead, cooking, gardening, moving off-grid, photos, and more. This week's article: Throwing in the Towel: How to Move to the Country Fast and Cheap. Sounds good to me!

Check out these sites for property searches:

Finding the Right Property

So, with money stashed for my adventure, it has to begin with land.

This is not so easy. First, I don't want to homestead in Westport - my darling little coastal community that I've called home for 10 years. Why?

Well, it's on a sandbar and about 1' above sea level: this means any earth tremors will cause Westport to disappear off the planet. Also, the soil isn't...its mostly sand. There's a fine layer of dirt, sure. But I want the deep dirt allowing me to dig a root cellar, underground cache for storing foods, etc.

So, to begin my journey, I did about 8 months of homework on finding the perfect place to homestead. There are a lot of books, blogs, articles and crap on finding the right place, how to build a permaculture and how to buy cheap land.

All future properties will be compared to this one.
After all my homework was stuffed into my head - I found the perfect spot: 21 acres nestled up against a hillside out North River area. LOVE IT!

The picture here shows the old huge barn on it. The rest of the property is vacant. I fell in love with this immediately. That hillside behind the barn also belongs to the property, along with a creek (a trib to Smith Creek).

I'll take it, right! After calling the selling agent and finding out they'll settle for $119k, I left my heart behind and continued my search.