Episode-1030- The Hands Off Self Sufficient BOL

One thing many continue to ask me about is how to have land that is productive even if seldom managed.   The true dyed in the wool, off grid BOL.  As you might imagine Permaculture is part of the answer.

The key with land like this is it must be able to provide many of your needs but do so in a way that looks very natural.  Anyone passing near it must see it as mostly just scrub and woods like everything else around it.

The good news is the best land to do something like this with is often the cheapest land you can buy.  Generally you find “problems” that others don’t want to deal with and either you don’t care about these problems or you have a creative solution to them.  What I will lay out today is an almost perfect system and piece of land.  Odds our neither you or I will ever get anything up to this level of perfection.  We look at it only so that we can figure out how to get as close as possible based on our resources, our budgets and our region.

Join Me Today As I Discuss…

  • Why you would want to have a BOL like this in the first place
  • Shopping for land and thoughts on owner financing
  • Four big must haves for others and why you don’t want them (may be)
    • Electric Grid Access
    • Telephone Service
    • Grid water or easy well installation
    • Serviced road frontage
  • What land like this really needs to have
    • Guaranteed right of access
    • Surface water or the ability to create it
    • Decent soil
    • Trees and other on site resources
    • Reasonable terrain
    • Good solar access
    • Minimal regulations and no restrictions
    • Wildlife
  • The Perfect Piece of Land
    • River or stream on it
    • Natural spring on it
    • At least the perimeter is heavily treed
    • Native plants that are edible
    • Good population of wild game
    • Large the larger the better think 10 acres minimum, 50 is ideal
  • Some ideas for setting things up
    • Swales and ponds then more swales and ponds
    • Plant food forests and do so heavily
    • Set up some sort of hard building with a metal roof
    • Set up at minimum 2500 gallons of water catchment (potable)
    • Use coppicing and pollarding to harvest wood
    • Set up earth walled structures
    • Put in an underground structure if at all possible
    • Store as little as possible on site, hide the hell out of what you do
    • Set up high capacity wild life feeders (including for fish)
    • Build functional things that can’t be removed or easily vandalized
    • Create an “earth fence” and plant it with the nastiest stuff you can find
    • Have one way in, one apparent way out and many actual ways out
    • Use a compound approach
    • Consider “tiny houses” on tailors

Resources for Today’s Show…

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27 Responses to Episode-1030- The Hands Off Self Sufficient BOL

  1. This episode is going to be some good eatin’.

    I used to have a deer lease / BOL. I had a gate into it, and some deer cameras around, and some other stuff. It was located about 4 hours away from my present abode, and so had to be “hands off” like Jack says here.

    Pill-head thugs bashed my gate in with a truck, took my deer camera, and made a mess with beer cans. Stole every last inch of copper out of my grandmother’s old house that sat on the place.

    I’ve abandoned the place now, so I’m looking for some answers in this episode.

    • @ BE – so sorry to hear about the PHT’s thrashing your place – unfortunately copper theft is a plague everywhere as times get harder.
      Of course every place will be different, but I’d suggest that your gate(s) be similar to the ones that the Forest Service uses to block off roads. My “hands off” neighbor has one to secure his driveway and I haven’t seen much in attempts to “f” with that.
      Depending on your layout, I’d also suggest a deer cam well back & up in a tree that one can’t get to w/o putting an extension ladder in the back of a pickup bed or the like. Cut off all limbs for climbing access so they’d have to use a lineman’s belt/strap & spikes to get to it. If they can’t get their rig through the gate, the jackasses probably aren’t going to have the ambition to get to it.
      As far as the house goes, I think you’re going to be resigned to battery backups, inverters, and extension cords that you can bring with you if/when you want to use it, until the time comes that you have to inhabit the place fulltime. Then, having some Romex in a buried cache on the land might be a way to make it more “livable” if that need ever comes.
      Man it sucks to have to think like this though. 🙁

      • Brian,

        I had an IP camera up pointing at the road to my gate, with a solar-powered server I put together myself with a cell-phone internet connection. Unfortunately, soon after I left, the server lost connection, and I never got another picture from it. When I came back, I found the IP camera full of water (failed) and problems with corrosion on the USB connection to the cell phone dongle. Well, after I found the gate bashed in, needless to say I didn’t want to fix it and put it back out there.

        I agree with Jack–it needs to be within a 2 hour drive of your home, or else you won’t get out there often enough.

        Thanks for the kind words.

      • BTW Brian– I didn’t use a bar gate like the Forestry Service uses; it was a steel-panel farm gate. But, the posts were huge telephone pole sections, and they were concreted in. Guess that made them mad, so they bashed it in.

  2. This is the kind of stuff I like to see from TSP.
    I really look forward to this episode.
    More comments after I have a chance to listen to it.

  3. Osage Orange can be grown into an impenetrable firewood coppice fence. In 4 years it can be ‘deer high, bull strong and pig tight’. Osage Orange has a very high heating value. I haven’t listened to this show yet, but think that this is a good show to share this link.

  4. You are spot on about writing it down!

    My great uncle died and his five kids got into a major fight over what the agreement was for access to some land. Two of them won’t talk to the others to the point they won’t even attend big family events if any of the other three are there.

    I think a key thing to remember is that even though you wrote down what the agreement is, you can change it if both sides agree. Things change, that horse trail may need to become a quad trail but the agreement was “no power vehicles” back in 1970. Today only one person has a horse and that is a rescue not a pack horse.

  5. Jack-

    The rules changed a bit in Texas concerning owner financing. I am not sure what it is like elsewhere in the states, but you have to go through a mortgage broker to prepare the paper work. There has to be some form of involvement from the state. I just went through it earlier this year when I bought 5 acres from a builder. It was not as cumbersome as a purchase from a bank or a developer.

    I did the owner financing through a builder and got a break on the actual build fee for my house. Something to consider if someone else buys land from a builder too. He was very easy to work with and offered a 3 year note. Of course it was amortized for 30 years so I didn’t even make a dent in the principle. Still a great guy to work with.

    Thanks for the great work!

  6. I thought one of the purposes of a bailout location was as a place to move to in hard economic times and a i i thouht purpose of ailout location was if a person needed to leave or sell house. If one eveneedless to move to a bailout location easy to set up utilities would be great. Say what you want about self suffiency, electric power from the electric company is easy and cheap if poles are there. You can have a temporary pole within a week or so and have power. Same for phone. My bailout place doesn’t get cell service but has telephone lines there. If I rent out my house and move there because I am unemployed I still want utilities.

  7. Another great episode on a great subject. Got some more ideas for my place.

  8. Spraying silver paint on copper pipes fools scavengers; who aren’t the brightest to begin with, other-wise , they would not be doing the dirty deed. I have property and they stole the copper pipe but left the sprayed silver copper alone.

  9. Great ideas Jack. I was just trying to organize my thoughts and your show is a big help.

  10. Great episode. Sounds like our bug-in homestead. With some searching you can find all the things outlined without breaking the bank. I bought our 20 acres for $36K on an owner contract for $1000 down and $1000/mo for the first year. The payments dropped to $500/mo after but I was making good money at the time so I kept paying the $1000/mo and paid it off early. It is bordered by state and national forest, has a year round creek, 1/2 mile driveway that’s easily defensible, line of sight to a 4G cell tower, and off-grid but only 3 miles from the interstate. I would highly recommend a creek or stream with enough fall to make micro-hydro feasible. It is the cheapest per watt power source and can be installed discreetly. Also, with minimal drop, you can use a ram pump to pump water without needing any power. I use 8 feet of fall along the creek to pump 1500 gal/day 160 ft uphill to a storage tank that gravity feeds back to the house/garden/orchard.

    • You’re 100% correct on micro-hydro. I’m going to be working with a neighbor to assess, design and oversee installation of micro-hydro on residential and small commercial sites in our area. It’s actually pretty amazing how simple the installations can be, especially with some of the new products that are coming on the market.

      The simplest solution is to use a “pump-as-turbine”. Most of the pumps designed for high-rise buildings actually produce current when they spin backwards, making them ideal for such applications. All you need to do is to put an automatic shutoff switch that disables the pump/turbine if the flow drops below a certain amount.

  11. I have about 120 acres in Pecos and Van Horn. Many have draws..I hope to use these to pump water into cheap above the ground swimming pools.
    Underground earth tubes can serve for heating and cooling.

  12. Before or after I am out of credit card debt!?!?Damn economic slavery! Great episode. Can’t wait to afford it.

  13. “Listen to your gut” Even though you spoke the words almost under your breath at the end very valuable! Wish we had the written word. We were young and stupid. I didn’t push for it didn’t listen to my gut. Now have had to put up with BS for 18 yrs. ! Almost have lost my marriage over it. Defiantly has broken family and friendships. Very sad stupid & preventable.

    Over time it just gets worse and worse. One little thing and another then festers then one more little thing. No body thought any thing about it. Just let it go. It’s like one grain of sand no big deal. But there are massive deserts & beaches made with just one little grain of sand. Then another and another. WRITE IT DOWN! LISTEN TO YOUR GUT!

  14. What a great show! I have 104 acres on the red river with hogs and catfish.. There a 25 acre plot on the red but not sure if its as wooded as you would like.. 2 hours from dfw.. Like you said I can leave at 0700 and be home by 1900.. It’s great area. Between st Jo and nocona texas.. Check it out

  15. Excellent, excellent show as I suspected it would be. Agree 100% with the “closer to home is better” philosophy, Jack. Also, my former deer lease/BOL had a navigable creek adjoining the property; that was a deal (trout in there, too). No feral hogs (this was southern WV), but next place I get, I am going to look for them.

    Excellent advice on swales and ponds, too. I did rent a trackhoe (only $200/day) to dig out one of the springs on my former BOL to create a small waterhole with drainage. Next place I get, I’m going to do swales on contour.

  16. Oh on a negative note if the BOL is not your primary residence then it can be taken for payment of medical bills. One way a person might loose his bol land.

  17. Jack mentioned a metal building, which is good because it would be hard to vandalize. I think rock, masonry or concrete with metal roof and window frames and door would be great as well. Would be difficult to vandalize and burn down. Also termites would not be a problem. Other good methods might be earthen and metal as well. Though Adobe uses quit a bit of wood in vegas and beams and lentils and such. In place of the wood a person might use concrete, or paper crete, light weight concrete.

  18. What was the name of the nursery stock provider company that you mentioned?

    • Modern Survival

      Probabally Raintree https://www.raintreenursery.com/

      I just got a new catalog from a company I had not head of before that looks like they are good too. Can’t remember their name, can’t find the catalog it might be out in the truck. When i find it I will let you know that one too.

  19. Hi Jack,

    Just wanted to let you know that I loved this episode. Thank you for another great one!


  20. Great Show.
    I have a 30 acre plot on the side of the van horn Mtn, tex mountains with two great draws. 40 acres in Pecos with grasses and a 40 acre in Hudspeth county with a draw. I have many 5 to 10 acre plots around Van Horn.
    There is plenty of wind and solar. I’m thinking of air compressor on a windmill and extract water. The thought of taking” worthless ” land and living on it is an exciting prospect. I paid about $75 to $100 per acre 10 years ago.