In last week’s article, I started discussing some of the things you should consider if you are about to make the leap to this self-sufficiency type lifestyle. Remote living was the choice for Ranae and I. Part of remote living, and self-sufficiency in general, has a great deal to do with the actual land. Here are some things you should consider.
Land characteristics: My wife, Ranae, is a certified Master Gardener, so I had to rely on her skills for this one really. She looked at and tested the soil to learn what types of plants it would support, etc. She conducted all sorts of research about the area; its history and what was here in years gone by, to help her decide what type of garden and trees she would be planting here. I looked at things like run-off and potential flooding, etc. I’m the pessimist, remember.
Restrictions and covenants: We knew we wanted to raise various animals so buying land without restrictions was crucial to us. It’s amazing how things like chickens and pigs are restricted on so many properties. There is such a stigma associated with pigs that it is just comical, but if your property has restrictions, you will have to obey them. We don’t have any pigs yet, but we will soon. We have 27 chickens though. Anyone need some eggs? 😉 j/k
Mineral Rights: In my experience, it’s difficult to find properties with the mineral rights conveyed to the new owner. So we looked for land that already had oil and gas wells on adjacent properties. The bet is that if they already have a well drilled a short distance from our property, the oil and gas companies wouldn’t be as likely to drill on our little piece of land. Your mileage may vary, so just be aware of this very real concern.
Access to water: Drilling a water well can be a pricey endeavor. It’s not uncommon for wells to be as much as $20,000 or more, in some parts of the country. We were lucky in that the local water cooperative had a line not too far from us. We were able to tie into their line pretty easily. It still cost us a few thousand dollars to do so, but it was far less expensive than drilling a new water well. Not having a well violates my self-sufficiency rule, and we will drill one at some point but having access to the cooperative water is acceptable for us at the moment.
Proximity of neighbors and adjacent properties: This is a huge factor to consider. Many (how shall I say this?) less than desirable neighbors exist in rural parts of the country. You know the type, multiple broken down cars in their front yard; weeds as tall as I am; beer cans spread all around their yard and alongside the road leading up to their property. These people may be nice enough, but I prefer to live next to someone who keeps their yard neat and keeps their trash off the shared road. Sadly living next to these types of folks will bring your property value down at the least, and at worst, you may be living next door to a “drama festival” every weekend. I avoid such locations.
Talk to neighbors: I highly suggest you visit with your potential neighbors before you buy your land. See if you can work it into the conversation to find out about their intentions over the next few years. If your neighbor is a retired farmer, you might be in for a surprise if he intends to subdivide his acreage into 2 acre home sites to pay for his retirement.
Security: Being the old soldier that I am, I always look for potential security issues. When we first bought our land, we had multiple break-ins and thefts. We haven’t had any since we moved here full time, but if you are not going to be on the property full time, or even if you are, you should consider what security issues you might have. In our case, we had to move a tool shed and remove some trees that were blocking a view to the path intruders liked to take. I have some rather cool technology items in place now too, but that’s probably overkill to be honest. Secure as heck, but probably not needed.
One thing you should do, is communicate with your local sheriff’s department. I call ours every time we are going to be out of town even for one night. They are happy to do a drive-by and the awesome deputies, here on our department, check on all my doors and windows, etc every night. It’s a free service called “close patrol” and I highly suggest you call the sheriff’s department to ask for it whenever you are going to be away.
While I’m on the topic of the sheriff’s department… given all that is taking place in America today, why not take a moment each night and pray for the law enforcement officers in your area? I figure it’s the least we can do given all they do for us every day. Just saying.
Vern Six is a freelance computer programmer and entrepreneur. He is a United States Army certified survival expert and former Christian missionary. Vern has been a hobby blogger for nearly five years and now has his “According to Vern” blog published in numerous newspapers around the world. You can learn more about Vern by visiting his website at http://AccordingToVern.com