LOG HOME HOMESTEAD

Homesteading 101 – Prospective Homestead Priorities

In Small Acreage Homesteading by Contributor31 Comments

by Patient Momma

LOG HOME HOMESTEAD

I have heard of and read some sad accounts of people purchasing property to begin their dream of homesteading, only to find thousands of dollars of expenses facing them. I’ve watched some of those ‘Homestead Rescue’ programs on TV and wondered what in the world were those people thinking?  This article is based on the premise that you’ve decided to get out of the city, to purchase some land with an existing on-grid residence and start homesteading in the country.

Life Style Change

Moving to the country and establishing a homestead is a major lifestyle change for the entire family.  I strongly suggest a family meeting and the reality of the situation be discussed before you even think about looking at property. If you have to work outside the homestead, how long will the commute take?  If children are part of the family visit the appropriate schools and find out if there is bus service to the prospective homestead or decide if you want to homeschool.  If your spouse is not in total agreement with to moving to the country you might be better off just getting yourself some acreage with a hunting cabin for a BOL.

Are you healthy and physically strong enough to do the work a homestead requires?  How far are the closest gas station, grocery store and doctor?   What are the roads like?  The further away from civilization you get, the worse the roads are.  Many country roads are gravel and oil or just gravel or dirt with blind curves and hills.  The countryside is dark…there are no street lights, no painted lines or curbs. Just realize that you leave convenience behind when you move to a country homestead. The road I have to travel is dangerous in the daytime and deadly at night.

When You Decide to Make the Move to the Country

You have been looking for your country property for a while and you made the effort to look at the property in person, not just on the internet. You have finally narrowed your choices down to two places you think would make a good homestead. This article is about taking a serious look at the homestead you are about to buy, so you can put some contingencies in your contract, if needed, to protect yourself.

No offense meant, but most city folks are somewhat oblivious to how things work and what goes on in the country on a regular basis.  Not because they are stupid; but because they are used to the city proving water, electricity, sewage, trash removal, etc.; all for a hefty fee of course.  They are also used to the landlord fixing the all the problems in their abode.  Unless folks were raised in the country, they usually don’t have any experience with well pumps, septic tanks, propane stoves/heaters, wood stoves, plus big bugs, mice, snakes and predators, etc.

Ask Questions

Is the property within city limits or is it just part of the county? It is possible to have a city mailing address but not be in city limits.  So what; why do you care?  If you are within city limits you are subject to city taxes plus all the little annoying rules; like you can’t have chickens, you can’t burn your trash, you can’t fence your property, you can’t build an outbuilding or anything without a permit, etc.  Most country properties are zoned as farm or ranch; but some are not.  You should have a list of questions the seller or the realtor needs to answer so you can make an informed decision.

If you are negotiating with a For Sale By Owner (FSBO), make sure you are familiar with the standard real estate contract for your state.  If you are purchasing a FSBO in a new state, you should consider having a real estate attorney work your contract for your protection.  Country folks are not as dumb as TV makes them out to be.

Inspect the Property

Looking at pictures on the internet is not accurate enough to base a purchasing decision on. You must have an in-person visit to see if 13 of the 15 acres advertised are up a mountain and only suitable for goats. When you see a photo of a beautiful view of a river and rolling hills, remember that the view is looking down and the advertised property has been carved out of a mountain that you have to drive up and down on a dirt or gravel road in all types of weather.

When you go to look at the homestead walk or drive the property (ATV or 4-wheel drive truck) and have the seller point out all the water sources. Is there a pond or lake? Does it flood over in the spring runoff or go dry in the summer heat? Is there a stream moving through the property; if so what is upstream and does it flood during the spring runoff?  Are there natural springs on the property or waterfalls off the hill or mountain? Is there wildlife roaming the property or is it strictly cattle pasture?

Inspect the Residence

When negotiating on the property, make sure you know the condition of the residence’s structure, roof, electrical wiring, plumbing, water well and septic system.  If you are not knowledgeable, you will need to get specific people to do these inspections as the average city home inspector, who charges $400-$700, does not do structural, wiring, pipes, wells or septic. The team of experts you need to do each inspection (structural, roof, electrical, plumbing, water well, septic) will add up to about the same cost but it would cost you more if you use a standard housing inspector plus the team of experts. These inspections can save your sanity and thousands of dollars.

Do not purchase anything without knowing the particulars of these categories. If you are purchasing a vacant property and using a realtor, insist that the realtor find out information from the seller or from public records.  The realtor is paid on commission so make s/he do some work.  If s/he cannot find the information on these critical systems, insist on the seller buying a Home Warranty Insurance Package covering all of these areas. A country package covering well and septic etc., is more expensive than the usual appliance package because they are extra riders to the basic policy.  This protects you for a year. Maybe you want the property in spite of the failures or unknowns, but at least make sure you are aware of the true condition so you know what you’re facing.

Get a Structural Inspection

If the residence is more than 15 years old, first on your priority list should be a structural inspection. Earth settles and the structure moves with it.  Sometimes older residences were built without spec and codes so determine whether the house sits on a cement slab, footers or other type of foundation. If you set a ball on the floor and it rolls across the floor that is a problem. The structural engineer will tell you what the problems are, which could be anything from foundation cracks to failed supports, sinkholes, crooked walls, warped beams, even fire damage. Sometimes the seller is not aware of the structural problems but you need to be before you sign on the dotted line.

Have the Roof Inspected

Make sure you get a reliable company to inspect your roof.  Depending on the location and age of the house it could be a lot worse than it looks. There is no substitute for an expert walking the roof for inspection. In my case the roof had to be replaced because of hail damage and the seller’s insurance paid $10,000 for the replacement.

Beware of DIY Seller Projects

A lot of country properties have homeowner DIY projects done to them; so you need to have experts look at the different things.  My brother bought a 23-year-old house only to late find it had aluminum wiring which could not handle the load of a modern home.  It cost him $15,000 to have the house rewired.

I anticipated the wiring needed updating in the 40-year old house.  I had an electrician come to inspect the wiring and give me a quote on what needed to be replaced, to install new outlets and to put in an another circuit breaker box to safely carry the additional load of newer appliances and multiple refrigerators and freezers. While he was there we found the wiring to barn was run underground from the over-loaded house circuit and without a protective PVC pipes.  The entire system for the tool shed to the barn had to be rewired to meet county code. If the work is required to meet county code, the seller usually has to pay for the update; but it is negotiable.

Inspect the Plumbing and Pipes

If your prospective home has a crawl space somebody needs to get dirty and look at the pipes and vapor barriers to see if they need fixing.  If your location gets cold snowy winters, you really need to have the plumbing pipes wrapped before you move in. It will save you from having to drip the faucets and spigots when the temps drop way down and the pipes are liable to freeze.  In my location we have very mild winters with very few nights below freezing so I decided I didn’t need every pipe in the crawl space wrapped and insulated. However, I found out I did need the exposed outdoor pipes protected and had to do that myself the day before the temperatures dropped to record lows in my area.

Check Out the Water Well

Most country homesteads use well water not city water.  Of course, you ask the seller how old is the well pump and how deep was the well drilled.  Some counties require paperwork when a well is drilled and installed; some don’t.  But checking the records in the county courthouse may give the date the well was drilled or motor last replaced, which is a big help to you.  Unfortunately, the well guy cannot stick a camera down the pipe and see if something is wrong. The well is either pumping or it isn’t.  Changing out the well pump is time-consuming and if the well guy is going to pull 100’ or 140’ of pipes to get to the motor, you might as well have the entire system replaced.   If the property does not have electric power to test the well, just assume it is not working and negotiate the price of a new pump and/or well drilling in the offer.

The more use the well gets the faster the pump wears out.  For example, if your well is used by two people for house water and washing cars it may last 10-12 years.  But if you have 5 or 6 people in your family and are additionally turning the spigots on and off by watering the garden, the animal barns, outbuildings or filling pasture water troughs from one well, the pump will wear out much faster. Depending on where you live, replacing just the well pump can run you around $1,000 to $4,000 depending on the depth of the well. Drilling a new well can cost between $3,000 to $15,000 or higher depending on your location and geology of the ground.  It’s important to be informed before you buy.

What is Your Backup for Water Delivery?

Another priority is your water backup system(s). Ask the seller if they have a backup if the electricity goes out (most well pumps run on electricity) or the pump fails.  We added two backup water systems after we moved in. Our DIY rainwater catchment system is a simple series of gutters, downspouts, and barrels. The rain rolls off the metal roofs of our outbuildings into gutters which have downspouts into 55-gallon food grade barrels. Each barrel sits up on concrete blocks and has a spigot to drain water or attach a hose.  Our redundant off-grid water system is a separate well with a Simple Pump, which is out of sight in an outbuilding.

Know the Age and Condition of the Septic Tank

The age and condition of the septic system is important to know.  The older the septic the stronger the chance of having trouble; which is something you don’t ever want to experience. The size of the septic depends on how many bathrooms, the number of people living in the home and how new the kitchen is; meaning is there a dishwasher, garbage disposal, automatic ice makers, etc. If you don’t know when the septic was last serviced, go by these fabled words: when in doubt, pump it out!  It is better if you can negotiate this action as a part of the selling contract, just like you would a termite inspection.

If the septic system is really old, it is possible the tank may be compromised. A friend purchased an older property and found out the hard way that tree roots had damaged the tank and over run the drain field. An instant $15,000 bill, which homeowners insurance may not pay unless you have a rider. The property I purchased did not have a septic tank; they had the old country system of a pipe running out to the woods.  I refused to buy the property unless they put in a septic system, which the seller did.  On average, a septic tank needs to be cleaned out every 4 or 5 years; but, if you have a house full of females, it only takes 2-3 years to fill up.

Inspect the HVAC System

If the residence has an HVAC system, have it checked out by a reputable person/firm. Just because you can feel hot or cold air coming out the registers doesn’t mean the system works properly.  A new heating/cooling system costs from $5,000 to $13,000 for the average 3 bed/2+bath house, depending on the quality you purchase.  Getting it repaired vs buying a new system can be negotiated with the seller.  When you call for a vendor inspection appointment be sure to ask what the service visit costs; because driving an hour each way to the country is not free.

Check Out the Wood Stove

Depending on the age of the wood stove it may or may not have a blower system.  It may or may not have fire bricks.  If it has tempered glass on the door, check the stuff that is holding the glass in. I say stuff because it varies by age, brand and if it meets current code. If the stove is free-standing, the stove pipe to the outside needs to be checked for cracks or holes so you don’t die in your sleep from carbon monoxide poisoning.  If the pipes are rusted they should be replaced. The insides should also be cleaned to avoid a stove fire which could burn your house down.

If the wood stove is in a fireplace, make sure the flue lining is cleaned and solid. If it has blowers have the wiring inspected and the motor cleaned. It is not very expensive to have the stove, pipes and motor serviced and it is worth it!  Depending on where you live and who your insurer is you may have to have a special rider to your policy if you have a wood stove.

Look at the Barn and Out Buildings

Does the property have an existing barn?  Does it have existing outbuildings? What condition are they in? If you are planning to farm or ranch you will need these structures.  A small metal barn can start at $20,000 and go upwards.  Building an 8’x10’ wood outbuilding will cost you around $500 for materials if you build it; more if you hire a helper.  If you buy a pre-built 10’x16’ metal shed it can run between $1800 to $3000, depending on quality.

Security of a Storm Shelter

High on your list of priorities should be a storm shelter or safe room.  Once you have been through a severe storm that rips your house apart while you cower in the bathtub with a mattress over your head, you won’t live anywhere without one.  Your location will determine whether it is a deep basement, a mid-house safe room or an outside storm shelter.

My location gets a lot of thunderstorms, which can spawn tornadoes.  The existing shelter was an outside concrete and steel framed storm shelter dug in the hillside. I also had a small basement dug as a backup.  I recently saw a new house being built near a town which had a concrete block safe room built in the middle of the house.

How Far is the Fire Department?

You should ask the seller or the realtor how far away is the nearest fire station and does it have a water truck.  There are very few fire hydrants out in the country so the fire department needs to bring the water.  Other items that are critical for country living are fire extinguishers and lots of them.  The further away from a town you are, the more fire extinguishers you should have.  I currently have about 8 scattered throughout the house and barn and I’m ordering a few more for the outbuildings. It is better to get the rechargeable ones; they cost a little more but don’t expire.

If you are buying in dry, wild fire country, you should identify methods of protecting your property.  I know people who lost a home and then rebuilt using concrete block and slate roof.  I have also read about folks who use sprinkler systems in the woods around their houses.  That old phase better-safe-than-sorry applies when you live in the country because your house could burn to the ground before the rescue/fire department/sheriff gets to you.

Backup Power Systems

Many country homes get their power from an electric cooperative via above-ground wires, aka telephone poles, which are prone to failure during any type of a storm. During storm season our power goes out, but usually for less than 48 hours.  Having a backup power system keeps everyone calm and systems working.  Again, it depends on your location on what you get.  Do you have enough sun for solar, wind for turbines or do you want to use a generator?  For short-term emergencies (+/- 3 months) we have a propane standby generator for the house and a portable generator for the barn.  The smaller outbuildings are solar powered.  We are still trying to figure out the best system or method for a long-term grid-down electrical outage.

Is There Protective Fencing?

Another item I consider a priority is fencing.  Living out in the country you are going to have loose critters; e.g., dogs, cats, goats, pigs, raccoons, armadillos, foxes, opossums, coyotes, deer and the occasional lost cow.  Those who choose to be in or near the mountains will have more dangerous critters such as wolves, big cats, bears, etc.

There are no leash laws in the country and some folks let their animals free range.  Many domestic animals roaming free are not vaccinated and wild animals carry a host of diseases.  A 5’ or 6’ agra fence will keep your family and animals safely inside your compound and most of the stray critters away from your house.

If you have deer in your area you will need an 8’ fence around the garden; a plastic deer fence will do.  A friend of mine used a couple of strands of hot wire which kept the deer out, but not the smaller critters.  At a previous home I had an 8’ plastic deer fence around my garden. One morning I looked out and saw a raccoon trying to climb the plastic fencing. The fencing swayed back and forth from the weight of the critter and the coon finally gave up and jumped off.

Around your chicken coops, I recommend a 5’ agra fence plus hot wire at 2 levels. The top-level hot wire discourages the owls, hawks and falcons from waiting for a chicken dinner, while the lower hot wire fends off the raccoons, skunks and opossums. For pigs we use 4’ agra fencing with a low-level hot wire. For goats you need strong fencing and multiple ways of locking the mischievous buggers in. Believe me; a stray goat can destroy any garden in one day!  If you run cattle or keep horses you will need 4 or 5 strand barbed wire fencing to contain them.  All this fencing costs money which adds up so if the property has existing fencing that is a plus.

Check Out the Closest Neighbors

Out in the country, the nearest neighbors might be across the road or 10 miles down the road.  I strongly urge you to make the drive and stop by.  Pull in the drive and blow the horn a couple of times until someone gets up off the porch or comes out of the house.  Stand by the car, wave and say hello.  If s/he waves or says hello go and talk to him/her.  If s/he seems contentious or yells for you to get off the property, seriously consider if you want that person as a neighbor.

Inquire about Communications

Depending on the population of the area, the communication systems will vary.  If you are phone, TV and Internet-dependent you need to ask where the closest cell phone tower is and if there is cable laid nearby.  You may have to get satellite TV/internet service and maybe a landline phone.  In my area, we are 12 miles too far from cell tower range and while in sunny weather we can call out and receive text messages, most of our incoming calls roll directly to voice mail.  Satellite internet out in the country is priced by data amounts so if you have game addicts in your house you need to figure out an alternative to online gaming.  If you go over your allotted data amount it slows to dial up speed or you can buy more data at sky high prices.

Be Aware

I hope this article has helped you to consider some of the variables involved when purchasing a country homestead. While setting up and running a homestead is challenging; it is also exciting. Thinking through these basic issues will help you negotiate your purchase.  Be wise and be aware before you buy!

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Comments

  1. Good article, we have seen many neighbors come and go. Living off grid and on a private road even the police and fire do not know where you are. Most people coming from the city are loud 24/7 dogs barking all the time. Don’t have what they need to live properly. They want to borrow your equipment or for you to do the work for them.lol.
    I just wait for there property to come up for sale and buy it.

    1. Laylow, I just had new neighbors move in about 2 miles down the road. I stopped by to introduce myself and found a small family from California! They know nothing; I can’t figure out how they bought a house in the country when they can’t even identify poison ivy and did not know their heater ran on propane! Go figure?!!

  2. Patient Momma.

    Absolutely loved this article! Was born in a small town in Illinois, grew up on a farm 2-3 miles from nearest very small town. Moved to a “ranchette” exactly 8 miles from nearest town and around a mile from nearest neighbor. We were and I have always been…country!

    We have lived in a city for past few years…*I hate it, however, realize that it is necessary at this time.

    I agree with everything you said regarding being safe and knowing what your getting into! *get a mechanical pump and an electric one- install both if possible – if water levels allow! Some places are too deep for some mechanical non electric *

    I would never honk at neighbors. However, it is the safest approach depending on where you live.

    Also remember, city rules dont apply…in the country you HAVE to rely on neighbors for many things…so be cordial EVEN if you dislike their political or religious views…and I can guarantee a city person will regardless the views hahaha

    People live in the country because they do not want or need babysitters and “leaders” not because they want more of them

    1. Jesse, Good idea about installing both electric and mechanical pumps in same hole if you have the water level. I would encourage people to do just that. My existing well did not have enough depth for both so I had to go to an alternative.

      We honk the horn at new neighbors to be able to get out of their drive if they are not friendly to visitors. Once we all get acquainted we holler at the door.

      1. Agreed eg , neighbors *your way is smartest till you learn the neighbors quirks! Haha

  3. Amazing article.

    Again: If both in a couple are not totally, enthusiastically committed to country life, don’t do it. It’s just not going to work.

  4. Patient Momma, great article! Our family relocated to the Ozarks from WA. There was a culture shock from many aspects, but just getting to know our neighbors and friends showed us we made the right decision. I hope to be in my Shouse in May of next year. A Shouse is a split structure with a shop and living area. From a budgetary standpoint, I found this option to be much cheaper than two buildings.

    Another topic of concern is firearms. Be prepared in rural areas to have to rescue a critter. Do you know how to get your animal back to good health? Depending on where you live, a vet may not travel to you, so do you have a way to get that animal to them? If you need to put that critter down, could you do it? Can you hunt on your property? Some areas have extra harvest quotas for “land owner exemption.” Anything over 5 acres counts in Missouri.

    Finally, being rural can lead to extra challenges. I maintain my area of a gravel road and didn’t plan on the cost of implements for my tractor to do this in all weather. I wouldn’t trade my lifestyle for anything. It isn’t easy. There is always something that needs to be done, plan accordingly.

    1. Mrs. B, Ten years ago I used to run my 2 pets to the vet if they got sick. Now I have around 60 animals and I have learned to be the vet in most cases. It took me two years to learn “how to” and to collect all the meds and implements need to keep the animals safe and healthy.

      My new neighbors (from California) were scared to death when they heard us shooting in the back of our property. We had to explain why guns are necessary and that they will hear guns being fired almost everyday and especially on weekends.

    2. if im driving in snow with my plow attached (which i have to do to even get out the driveway when it snows) i drop the plow when ever the road im driving needs it, sure it costs a little in fuel and wear and tear but is the right thing to do when there is a drift or plow hasnt came by yet, when there are people that need to travel. i know that if i needed to take the family to the hospital and was in a car, i would really appreciate someone doing the same! i use to live 10 miles from nearest paved on a forest service road (hardly never any snow in arkansas) 10 miles to the mail box at paved road. really off grid!!

  5. Excellent article and one I may keep, even though I have experience in most areas. It’s always good to have a check list.

    Also, we had a bored well where I once lived. Drilling costs way more in that area and now there’s county water available. It’s also close to a rock quarry.

    Funny – I lived in that house 12 years and never had the septic tank pumped. Learning how to keep your septic tank working properly is also a good idea.

  6. Great article! I am former Law Enforcement, my wife and I want to buy some property in the Ozarks and move out of Florida. Anyone know of a reputable seller of land that we can be put in touch with? We had sold our 5 acres years ago and man was that the biggest mistake!! Thanks, and everyone prepare like MD said, I personally believe SHTF isn’t too far off. This world is going nuts

    1. Warrior57; The Ozarks covers a large area from N Arkansas through MO to OK and KS. Do you know about where you want to be? You need to consider mountain area vs plateau property. Also consider proximity to major medical.

      I have property just off the big Lake Ozark. Sadly, since I bought it some 30 years ago, it has built up. If you have some idea where you want to land, let me know. I know of a few people who can give some good info.

      1. Hi, Thanks for replying! We are not looking Arkansas way, Missouri seems to be the area of the Ozarks we are looking at. Mountains would be great, however I am still researching water tables and such. Electricity isn’t as much a concern as water. A lot to think about as this article implies. Thanks for your help. Any and all is certainly getting used! God bless.

    2. Warrior- I’m sure you know about zillow.com…. If not, it’s a convenient ‘listing house’ for properties for sale/lease/rent all over the USA. It allows you to enter the area you may wish to relocate to, price range, bldg type, etc. Not entirely the cat’s pahtootie, but a good way to get started or getting to know an area. NOTHING on line will give the prospective relocator more downright good knowledge than visiting, looking @ perspective places. But a good starting point!

  7. Very nice article. One needs to consider a couple other things. 1. ALWAYS get “Title Insurance” at closing. It covers a multitude of issues and protects the buyer. 2. Regarding septic tanks. It all depends on the type of septic system and the size of the holding tank. Some need to be pumped out every 9-12 months.

    Also always make sure the house is properly vented. If it isn’t, you WILL eventually have drain problems. So not fun.

  8. Farm boy at heart – raised on a farm – 3 miles from a small town – 10 miles from a larger town – drilled well – wood heat and hard work – self sufficient with gardens/animals/skill set of parents
    Travel forward 40 years – decided to move to less population (Northern Ontario) Bought form private sale – listed almost everything you mentioned in your article and then learned the hard way (Buyers are liars and so are sellers. Ended up with septic tank where you could watch the body extracts float out the top clean out pipe so new weeping bed – new septic tank which replaced the cut out oil drum laying on its side in the ground – so everything new including all new plumbing required. Water they gave us to drink supposedly came from the well (Later tested the well but sample was so contaminated it could not be tested Ecoli and more) Thousands later we have a refurbished well that has wonderful clean water now that the septic does not drain 10 feet from the septic. The list goes on and on. Just when you have finished a project, one learns nope – onto the next. Your article was spot on – would not trade our secluded 80 bush property that is on its way to completely off grid status PS: I have bought and sold properties / done complete fix ups for years but this one (when I let my guard down) taught me that just when you think you are smart – nope!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Lorry, you really did learn the hard way. But you are older and wiser now!!

  10. This is a great article. I’ve lived in the country for 34 years & everything you’ve covered is possible because Murphy’s Law rules. My daughter bought a place 4 years ago and I wish she had read this article first, she wouldn’t listen to me. I highly recommend an attorney be involved, and a bonded inspector for sure.

  11. Thanks for a great article. I need to read it and the comments a couple of more times. I’ve got a little something to add…..sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. We had a cabin in Calif mountains and sold to move to the mountains in northern Washington. Well, we found out too late we were not in a “fire protection district.” This meant that the firetruck, which was stationed 9 miles away, would come out to put out tree fires, but wouldn’t put out a house fire. Plus the guys that manned it had to go from their homes to the truck, so help was probably a half hour away. We had all our money in our place, so we needed to keep it insured, especially in case of fire. There was only one company that would insure us and they charged $300 a month!! I got tired of picking up cigarette butts off the road. We wound up leaving. It was a lovely place. Too bad

  12. Thanks Patient Momma!
    All homes/land/bldgs need maintenance on an all too regular basis.
    This costs, either $$$$ or time or sore muscles or arguments or all of the above.
    Forewarned is forearmed!
    Structures built w/o code compliance can be a real challenge!
    Thankfully I’ve rehabbed a couple places, but my skillset is not huge.
    As I’m gonna relocate soon, I have to make choices. i prefer rural, but such a destination will prompt challenges. I prefer the rural world, but it’s not w/o (costly) challenges.
    Thankfully I’ve been on well & septic for years, so I’ve learned a bit. A bit doesn’t make me an expert.
    I’ve had fireplaces & wood burning stoves. You just can’t beat the wood burner. but it requires knowledge & mtce. Rotties I used to have would practically crawl right up on top of it!
    But a good chain saw then becomes a necessity. As well as hours of cutting, busting, hauling, stacking, covering & dragging into the home. This wood can contain bugs & mice like to hang out around the old wood pile…. Not w/o challenges!
    Then get up on the roof every year (@ least once) to scour the pipes. Don’t forget the (charged) cordless drill to undo the screws to remove the spark screen. Hmmmm, will I need a new screen this year? Couple extra screws in case I drop some? Proper bit for drill. Good pliers should hex head screw head be useless….etc. Extension rods for pipe brush, brush itself, then put everything away so it’s easy to get at next time…..

  13. Be careful of fire arms, and where your shooting, I know everyone here will . A few year’s ago some young men three of them were shooting on their property, one bullet went a stray and killed a young woman, the young man pleaded guilty, and is currently serving time the other two men, were just sick and they both said it opened their eyes up to the dangers, of fire arms and how quick it can change your life. So know where your neighbors, are and put your shooting area in a safe as you can place. I grew up with animals, well, and pump house, bucking hay, mucking stalls, birthing cattle, dealing with mice, in your grain, Flea’s hate them and the list goes on and on with country living I don’t know if I could do it again. I could leave city, living but starting over at almost 50, is very daunting to me. But awesome article, you deserve a high five , two thumbs up and a pat on the back for telling it how it really is:)

    1. momof3: Excellent advice about shooting practice!! I read another article that the author said, “There is a lawyer’s name attached to every bullet I shoot.” I take that statement to heart. I have almost 50 acres and we shoot into the back side of a creek ravine. The dirt and clay absorb all the bullets and we police our brass. The sound just travels two miles down the road and city folks are not used to hearing guns firing.

  14. On your cell tower limitation, you may want to contact AT&T, Verizon, etc. to see if they are interested in leasing a portion of your land to install a tower. I do not know what the going rates are now, but at one time, the lease would definitely offset the cost of the land. It may still be worth investigating for the potential added income.

  15. Prepper in Training/All:
    I used to maintain/install ma bell circuitry for cell towers. These were the link btwn the tower & the closest Ma Bell central office.
    The cell phone signal hits a tower, it gets ‘processed’ in the Cell phone provider’s equipment, then these circuits bring it to the central office, then phone system brings it to the person/equipment @ the other end of the line. The rcvng person/equipment then replies.
    When ma places a tower, she figures there will eventually be ‘enough traffic’ to offset the costs of installation/maintenance, via charges.
    A remote area will unlikely be a candidate for tower placement. Now if there’s a nearby heavily traveled thruway, a cell service provider may place a tower in the vicinity, especially if cell subscribers experience a lot of drop offs in service.
    State or federal government may be good places to start ‘checking’ to determine if one’s property can offer a solution to remedy svc dropoffs?-via tower placement.
    I think it was Sprint who used to place ‘mini sites’ for their svc drop off areas……
    I used to svc such spots & yes the returns can be lucrative in city areas. But less lucrative in more rural areas. Still their can be a return & every little bit helps!
    Counterproductiveness….would such a tower be a target for vandals/displaced people to head for if SHTF?
    Just saying…..

  16. Regarding water for fighting fires, Most rural departments DO have one or more water tankers or water tenders. But one truckload will only put out the smallest fires. The standard practice around here is to call neighboring departs for mutual aid, and set up tanker shuttles or relays.

    An added question to ask is, how far is your property time-wise from the firefighters’ water source? Is there a lake, pond, or year-round river nearby that firefighters can always draw from?

    The engine or pumper supporting fighting the fire will draft from a folding “portable pond” that all the tankers will take turns dumping into to hopefully keep full. Another pumper will be stationed at the water source refilling the tanks for another trip.

    If there is no natural water source nearby, will it be possible to create a fire pond on your new property?

    There is a roadside pond 1400 feet from our retreat’s driveway with a permanent pipe installed for a pumper to draw from, saving the time needed to lay out hard suction equipment into the water.

    Of course, the firehouse is 20 minutes away once the volunteers get there, and the next two mutual aid departments on either side are about 30 and 40 minutes away. Fire will have a head start before apparatus arrives on scene.

    1. Salem: Thanks for your thoughts!
      Water is a valuable resource, w/o doubt. Everyone needs it to survive/thrive. Costs determine its price. A water source in a desert climate becomes more costly; the same holds true for a good source of water during a drought.
      Due to varying value, it can become a political tool. Much like a toll road through impassable areas.
      I remember this played out in the movie ‘Raintree County’. Some unscrupulous political ‘tools’ lit a farmer’s (a farmer who was not in with the in crowd) barn on fire. The local fire department pumped his farm pond dry. He was fit to be tied, saying: ‘I need my water more than my barn’. Quite the quandry. Now he was w/o water & barn.
      Hence we must have a supply to live; an abundant supply to thrive.

    2. ALL: Oops, Bobbo erred. I mentioned the movie ‘Raintree County’. I was in error. It is NOT the movie I was referring to. I can’t think of the movie’s name right now. I’ll post the correction once I remember it. My apologies.
      As I remember, the movie I was thinking of starred Karl Malden. Itwas dark in theme, dealt w/political corruption.

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