Episode-1788- Finding the Right Property to Turn Into a Homestead — 21 Comments

  1. Hi Jack, re K-12 homeschooling in today’s show:

    My wife and I used this exact homeschooling program for our daughter in 2003 for her third grade year after her private school began accepting low-income vouchers and she started getting bullied by the new students. The school wouldn’t act, so we did.

    BTW: I was a full-time police officer at the time (working 80-hours / week) and my wife worked at a dentist’s office 33-hours / week. Even with our busy schedules, we still were able to teach the courses and our daughter’s education didn’t suffer.

    As a side-note: the state pays for EVERY aspect of the schooling (computer, books, internet access, misc supplies, etc.).
    Given the condition of our government schools, this program is well worth considering for anyone in the TSPC community.

    Matt in Ohio

  2. I too have used Something to keep in mind is it is really just a platform that a “school” can be built on. In our case what was right for us was to enroll our son in what the state of MI recognized as a virtual charter school. He will be graduating in a couple of weeks with a diploma from a MI public school. While we did have to put up with a bit of the state’s nonsense, we felt it was a good compromise. Look carefully at the school you select that is using the platform as it will make a big difference in your experience.

    • Um you mean the link for Comfrey with the new deal from Marsh Creek, it is a special MSB only link with a password, you can find both on the benefits page of the MSB.

  3. One more thing to consider about homesteads is that if you’re very lucky, you’ll grow old there. I have a few friends who’ve grown up on such places and they tell me the realities about dealing with the aging and diminished physical abilities of family and coping with that loss of “horsepower” over time. They’ve managed to find ways to reduce the expectations from the property and not let it run to ruin while maintaining value and still get a return from it. I personally have a tiny lot in an historical inner city neighborhood with ridiculously restrictive codes.

    I schmoozed the local bureaucrats and neighbors (sometime they are the same) with gifts of fresh eggs, homegrown exotic plants, and canned goods. That helps. Call it bribes if you will. My lot is 50′ by 90′ and most of that is taken up with house but I still grow 53 varieties of edible and useful plants, keep some chickens, and grow rare lotus plants in tubs for a little extra income. I figured out that if I had a tiny bit of mowed grass out front then the intensively planted areas looked more like exuberantly growing flowerbeds than the food production it is.

    I really wanted to add on to my house until I got the realization that I had plenty of house, just too much stuff. Doing this resource maximization thing ( I think it’s still a copyright infringement to say it’s urban homesteading) takes up so much time that I just got rid of so much crapola I didn’t use anymore. Status symbol stuff that normal folks value so highly just makes no sense to me anymore. I boosted my income for a few years just selling it off on eBay and craigslist. BTW, while the assessed value of my property quadrupled since I’ve owned it, the taxes went up by a factor of over 900%. I fought it but the gubmint is gonna get what ever they can out of you. That’s one downside of fixing up a place.

    • You have expressed beautifully the underlying theme I was trying to get across this entire episode thank you.

    • LM, I live in an area that has a HOA. I regularly show up at the members homes with fresh produce. Even though I’m not to have a structure less than 700 sq feet (Other than my home). I have two greenhouses, they seem to have overlooked. But when one shows up with White globe onions, Black Tupla tomatoes, and Yellow monster peppers, they tend to overlook 🙂

  4. Great episode. I am really looking for something that I can manage (I’m single, and still work a 9-5), even if I end up with some land that isn’t being used right away, I’ll do what I can, and go from there.

  5. The “Homestead” is probably Homestead, PA, right outside Pittsburgh. Site of the legendary Homestead Steel Strike and crown jewel of Andrew Carnegie’s steel empire in the late 1800s.

    By the early 1980s the writing was on the wall. I met a guy worked there then and in the late 1970s his boss said the place would probably close within a few years. Laughable to many, it has been there 100+ years. Look at when a large army base closes, it was on that level.

    It closed in IIRC 1982. By 1986 it was making steel one last time in the form of scrap. About this time, Springsteen was doing his “Born in the USA” tour. He gave a soup kitchen right across the street from where the mill was barely standing $50,000. He had a policy then, may still, of dropping such a local donation when he played. So not sure when this song came out, but he knew the town.

    • That makes a ton of sense. I grew up in East PA, trust me ABE Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton looks the same.

    • And yet the urban doucebag family continues to put this on their websites. “Urban Homestead, Urban Homesteading, Homegrown Revolution, and Path to Freedom are registered ® trademarks of Dervaes Institute 508 c(1)(A)”

      What a bunch of doucebags, scroll to the bottom,

  6. One thing that I think is often overlooked that Jack mentioned, but might not resonate with people is mowing big pastures. Because of Jack, I moved from a quarter acre suburban lot to a fantastic 5.5 acre place with ~2 acres of woods and 3 acres of pasture with a 100′ round, 10′ deep pond. I decided not to do any major farming projects the first year, and just get the house perfect and make my wife happy. So that means mowing three friggin acres of grass!

    The previous folks left a ~15 year old 25hp 50″ zero turn mower that was in rough shape. I got that thing working great, and it is the equivalent of a $3k new mower. It really hauls ass and can mow just about as fast as anyone could ask. But it STILL takes me almost two hours to mow the damn grass.

    So that’s one thing to keep in mind about you folks that want 20 acres of pasture. Unless you think you are going to be dropping 10 cows on that on day 1 somehow, you will need to be mowing it, and mowing is completely wasted time IMO, but in the Spring in Michigan it quickly becomes impassable in about three weeks. And at that point you are going to need to bring in bigger gear like a big tractor and a brush hog. Even after two weeks the grass is chest-high, and a health danger IMO because of the huge risk of ticks. After mowing this three acres, I would never want to try and maintain a 20 acre pasture without very heavy machinery that isn’t a fit for a homestead. With my mower that would take about 20 gallons of gas and 13 hours of mowing every week! Terrible waste of time.

  7. Jack,

    This one of the first podcasts of yours that I have had the pleasure of listening to, a friend of mine recommended you to me and I have listened to several episodes while driving the 2 hours one way to the slaughterhouse we use to buthcer our pastured pigs.

    I enjoyed all of your points on choosing a homestead, however I feel you failed to mention one of the most important factors in selecting land, water!

    To me as a livestock producer, a good dependable supply of potable water is absolutely 100% essential to the production of the homestead. I would also venture to say that it is integral to almost any other agriculture based business.

    Maybe a future episode on the evaluation of water resources and how to ultimately exploit and claim rights to water resources on your property. In my state water laws follow the law of capture, so a progressive producer should try to establish his need and use for the water that flows over, thru or below his or her land before an entity claims the same water downstream.

    Awesome resources, thanks for your effort!

    Andy Clifford

    • Keep listening I think in this episode alone I said “water, access, structure” twice and it gets said weekly one way or another.

  8. I’d just like to add that depending on your real estate situation, you may have times you need to continue being a cold hearted son of a bitch, even after closing. I’ve had at least 3 times in the last 12 years where one of my many neighbors just needed me to “sign this little paper” so they could sell their house or build on their property or whatever (planning or zoning required something like widening an easement, etc). And how they’re retired or whatever and want to keep the cost down and don’t want to bring everyone together with their attorneys to discuss it. Sorry, everything I have to sign that affects my property goes through my attorney. I don’t really care if they are on fixed income or it holds them up. Do shit right the first time.

    • The day I try to prevent my neighbor for doing anything in any way to their own property will be the day I quit doing this. If I can sign something that tells the scum government that I do not have a problem with them doing something I will.

      Now it does depend what they want signed, frankly I have never even heard of anything like this ever. And widening the easement? On your property or theirs? Theirs I don’t care, mine, I don’t care what an attorney signs my answer to that is no.

  9. I hear ya. I don’t want to keep my neighbors from doing anything either, but in one situation (and maybe all of them if I remember correctly), planning/zoning rules required an increased width of easement across my property (and everyone else’s) for my neighbors to do what whatever they wanted to do.

    If I had it to do over again, I’d never, ever, ever, ever buy a property that has an access easement on it for others or needed one for my access, but I’m here now and I kind of like it.

  10. At 42:14 you said, “a few quail and some stacked racks”

    What is a stacked rack?