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Anyone switch to country living/off the grid later in life? (50’s or older)

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

If yes, How is it going?  Do you regret it?  Is it too much to take on?

 

A little background…My husband and I always planned to purchase acreage and build a house.  Our reasons were a mixture of wanting the space, privacy, lifestyle, and wanting to be more self-sufficient.  (I am a bit of a gloom and doomer; my husband never was.)   Anyway, after 23 years, having children in our 40’s and still living in a subdivision, we changed our direction and gave up on that dream.  (My husband felt this way first because he didn’t want to do all that work as he got older. As the years went on, I also decided it was too much to take on.)  Well, my husband came home last night saying he really wants to find land and become more self-sufficient and teach our children how to life in a more sustainable manner.  He was always the optimist but lately has been worried about the future of our country (in many ways).  In the past, he wanted the land more for recreation and enjoyment but his current reasons are more practical.  I realize we can make changes and do much of this while living in our neighborhood but he feels it w/b best to have more property.  It’s not that he is planning for the ‘end of the world’ he simply wants our children to be raised differently and have skills and opportunities to enrich their lives and hopefully be part of a positive change in the future.

Years ago we loved planning for this type of life…researching windmills, orchards, building options, etc.  But now, it seems overwhelming to me (physically and financially).   Although I love the idea, I am hesitant to make this change at this stage of our lives.  By the time we find the land and build or remodel, we will be over fifty.

 

post #2 of 26

i was so glad to see this post! i could have written it myself! we also had our children in our 40's and we also want land to live on and be self-sufficient.  but i also wonder that since we will be in our 50's what this will be like. my hubby is already 51!

i wish i had more answers but i just don't. maybe we can muddle thru together ?

post #3 of 26

My in-laws just moved to the country last year, they are in their mid to late 60's. Not the same situation by a long stretch, but are even later in life than the OP 

 

They've built a wood shed, landscaping, a HUGE fenced in garden (1/4 acre at least of garden alone), fenced the property, built a shed and a greenhouse. They are NOT off grid, and did not end up having enough money to build a strawbale house as they orginally wanted, but moved a trailer to the property.

 

They move slow for certain, take a nap mid day, but are very happy with their choice to move out to some land and raise chickens, rabbits, garden and can/ dehydrate the produce. They are a good 25 minutes to the closest town, but are happy.

However, they don't have kids at home, and a grown daughter that lives about 40 minutes away with her family that help out a LOT at her parents house

 

That being said, my parents, mom 63 and dad 71, are selling their house in the country, because they are getting tired of doing all the yard work. They live on 5 acres, and a lot of it is planted in grass, so lots of mowing, along with a pool to care for, and a lot of general maintance needed between the gardens, grass, trees, etc. They don't want to spend their golden years keeping up with the house, etc. They want to move into a condo/ townhouse, where they don't have to spend time on all that stuff. They would rather spend their time hiking in the woods or traveling to see friends and family.

 

His parents value being self sufficent as possible and doing for themselves, they have taken lower paying jobs in the past, so they can be more in the country. Where as my parents worked in more urban enviroments, saving money so they can now spend their golden years traveling and nuturing relationships with friends and family and have sold their house and all the maintance issues in order to support their values.

 

It just kinda depends on what you want, how you want to spend your time and what values you hold true. 

 


Edited by Denvergirlie - 3/23/11 at 9:33am
post #4 of 26

I'm interested in following this thread.  My dh and I are also considering this move (for similar reasons).  We are about a decade younger -- I'm 40, he's 43 -- but I still think about the energy factor, plus the fact that we don't have as long on the land before we start "feeling it".  The couple we may be buying from are selling in part, though not entirely, because it's getting harder for them to do some of the work as they age.  I'm very interested in hearing BTDT experiences, but one thing I tell myself to ease my concerns is that we don't *have* to grow old and die there.  Maybe we will, but if we decide in our mid-60's (or whenever) that we want an easier retirement, we can sell and buy a small place in town.  Buying right now, with depressed home prices, makes it more likely that our property will appreciate enough to make this possible.  For someone in their 50's that time horizon moves a little further away, but many people remain strong and healthy well into their 60's and beyond. 

 

Part of me also feels like even though it's kind of scary, we might regret it if we never try. 

 

Staying tuned for other responses!

post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 

OP here, for some reason I never saw the responses!

 

Denvergirlie, your post summed up our conflict.  One minute we want to move to acreage and the next we want to simplify our life and move to a condo - we are obviously confused redface.gif.  In an ideal world, we would have the acreage and the $$ to hire people to help take care of the property and the house. 

 

This weekend I was in Chicago with my daughter and she suggested we live in a condo in Hyde Park.  She said...We can walk to parks, the beach and the museums.  We could have a small condo and no yard so her dad and I would not be working in the yard/cleaning all the time.  She is six!  It sounded good to me – but I know we are not city people.

 

Our dream was to live self-sufficiently in the country but we may need to accept the fact that it is not practical at this stage of our life.  We are continuing to make changes in our life as it is now while living on 1/2 an acre in a sub and having a garden on my uncle's five acres near our house.  We didn’t buy the land when we were young because we both worked a lot and we had a long commute downtown – we felt we didn’t have time to also take care of property.

 

My uncle is in his late 70's and spends the entire summer working on his huge garden, orchard, and canning.  He also spends a month in the spring and fall going to his cabin up north to fish and hunt.  But he has been living this way for many years, is very knowledgeable, his one child is in her forties, and he loves living this way. He is not completely self-sufficient or off the grid but he is really busy with all he does. 

 

Another factor, although our area was hit hard by the bad economy (many job losses) there is little quality land for sale.  For the past year, we’ve had a realtor sending us potential properties but there have been very few listings and none interested us enough to make an offer.

Luv my 2 Sweeties – It sounds like your area offers good opportunities to purchase acreage at this time.

 

I hope there are more responses from people who have BTDT or who are currently in their 50's and living in this manner.

 

 

 

 


Edited by dbsam - 5/29/11 at 8:57am
post #6 of 26

While I am "only" 44 and not off grid, I do live in a dry cabin (no running water).  I have two kids ages 12 and 9 and live in the middle of Alaska.  I no longer have a husband.  So while I do love this lifestyle and have no plans to change, I will say that it is just hard sometimes.  Dealing with the extreme cold, keeping the heater and the vehicle running is hard.  Hauling water in the winter is hard (and cold), hauling enough water for the garden in the summer is hard, doing it all myself with no one to help is sometimes hard.  It's hard, why would anyone want to do it?  Why do I want to do it?  Lol I don't know but I love it!  Actually after the kids are grown and gone, I plan to move farther out even.  There are two of you and your children are still young enough to benefit greatly by this way of life.  I say go for it.  After all, you CAN change your mind in a few years if you decided it's not as satisfying to your soul as you think it may be.    

post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 

1stimestar...wow!   I am impressed and would love to hear more about your life.  (I need to search your old threads!)  I'm guessing it is beautiful where you live.  Most likely we'd be in a previously farmed field hopefully with some wooded area...nothing as spectacular as Alaska.

 

We hoped to be out in the country and try to be as sufficient as possible but it would be much easier than the life you are describing.  We would still be near town, would have hook up to utilities if needed, etc.  I am too wimpy to live too simplyredface.gif.   I think my husband and children could do it but we've become spoiled and comfortable.   Getting out of our comfort zone would be a good thing.

 

 

 

 

post #8 of 26

Thank you.  You can read my blog that contains some of our adventures, like last winter when it was -30 and the heater went out.  I'm pretty proud of myself for learning how to fix that.  

  http://cloud9doula.wordpress.com/  I started it when we moved into this cabin so if you look back to the beginning you can see what it looked like before we moved in, then there are a few pictures through out of what it looks like now.  

post #9 of 26

My life long dream is to live comfortable in a large log cabin with my barn and critters all out back.With modern day technology on my side,I'm going to have the best of both worlds.Electric?YES,I'm just not buying it from the electric company,I'm making my own with solar and a generator.Chickens and my garden.My home is going to have a wood stove for heat.propane gas refrigerator.tv,computer,gas stove,running water,hot shower/bath.12 volt lighting,composting toilet.If you were to look through my cabin, you would not know it was all off grid.It's all happening,I'm buildig this place now and I'm 54.You know,when your 18 you've got your whole life to do all the things you want out of life but teens give way to twenties,s and thirties and fourties real quick.I'm looking back now and saying you got to do it,it's now or never.Wish me luck and any advice is truely welcome.

post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rayyy View Post

My life long dream is to live comfortable in a large log cabin with my barn and critters all out back.With modern day technology on my side,I'm going to have the best of both worlds.Electric?YES,I'm just not buying it from the electric company,I'm making my own with solar and a generator.Chickens and my garden.My home is going to have a wood stove for heat.propane gas refrigerator.tv,computer,gas stove,running water,hot shower/bath.12 volt lighting,composting toilet.If you were to look through my cabin, you would not know it was all off grid.It's all happening,I'm buildig this place now and I'm 54.You know,when your 18 you've got your whole life to do all the things you want out of life but teens give way to twenties,s and thirties and fourties real quick.I'm looking back now and saying you got to do it,it's now or never.Wish me luck and any advice is truely welcome.


How exciting!  Could you keep us posted on your construction and systems you use?

My husband and I want something similar - all the comforts but on our terms.  When we were in our early 20's we would research and discuss windmills, geothermal heating/cooling, rain collection systems, etc.  Twenty-five years later, I'm sure there are many new options available and if we ever find land we will enjoy researching and planning again.

 

1stimestar, I read your entire blog - wow!

 


 

 

post #11 of 26

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbsam View Post




How exciting!  Could you keep us posted on your construction and systems you use?

My husband and I want something similar - all the comforts but on our terms.  When we were in our early 20's we would research and discuss windmills, geothermal heating/cooling, rain collection systems, etc.  Twenty-five years later, I'm sure there are many new options available and if we ever find land we will enjoy researching and planning again.

 

1stimestar, I read your entire blog - wow!

 


 

 



The entire thing?  Lol wow.  I have two major events to still post, our big things for summer.  But have been dealing with some sad issues concerning my childrens's dad (we are permanently seperated and he is seriously ill) so haven't felt like writing.  I don't want sadness to be on my blog.  So I am waiting.  Maybe I will get them posted soon but if not, the memories and pictures will still be there when I feel like writing again. 

post #12 of 26

I am so excited to read this thread... I started crying today thinking, I cannot believe I didn't do this when I was younger, I am so stupid. DH and I are 44 and 42, with a 14 month old and a 9year old with some special needs... he wants to live simply but in a town, and I just want to get away from it all. So, we have started talking about what to do, and our bodies' limitations are part of the fear!! Can't wait to hear more. You guys are very inspiring :)

post #13 of 26

People keep discussing their fear of all the work, however, I have come to believe that people of our parents generation had it all wrong.  You don't run away from work, work is good for you, work helps to keep you younger longer!  And, sorry, I'm 56 and I really brissle alittle at the comment that even people in their 60's can do this or that!  I believe that the reason people suffer from all their physical ailments is because they sit around and do nothing but watch TV, they just atrophy as they age!  I think people should re-think what they plan to do as they age.  If you want to stay connected and vibrant and a productive portion of the society, you should want to work...why do you think all the aging population (and younger too) is "working out" daily to maintain their youth?  Just a comment, but work is not the enemy, lethargy and the mindless collecting of "things" is the enemy.  Dependence is the enemy. 

post #14 of 26

I reach out to you, knowing difficulties (spiritually) that you are facing right now.  My father died in October, and then my sister-in-law, whom I loved so very much, died on 12/22, winter solstice I believe.  I'm still processing all that, but what I want to say right now is that I have learned from these experiences that everything changes, nothing stays the same.  Sometimes it shakes you to your very being, down to your soul.  Cling to your blessings and be grateful.  I pray for you.

post #15 of 26

Thank you SkyShepard, at least, I assume that was directed to me. It's hard and I am still dealing with my grief and other feelings. But not much I can do except keep on keeping on, living and rearing my children.  I am sorry to hear of your loss.  It must be so difficult to deal with your double loss.  I'll say a prayer for you as well.  May you find peace and comfort in your heart.

My favorite quote is "Opportunity is often missed because it is dressed in overalls and looks like hard work." After Justin's death I moved myself and my kids out of the cabin and into a house with running water. It's much farther out though, no cell service, no tv unless I want to pay $1000 to put up two poles to mount satellite dishes too (being so far north, the satellites are very low on the horizon here). Anyways, it's been a plumbing nightmare and I long for our little dry cabin. There is a reason that they are so prevalent here in Alaska. Keeping water liquid at -40 is a pretty major undertaking. But I wanted, needed to give us some space for the winter while I figure out what to do next. The cabin was very small, 400 sq. ft. and my kids are getting bigger and needed more space. I want to buy my own little cabin in the woods but since I refuse to have or use credit, I have none. I am punished for being fiscally responsible and not buying things I can not afford. Anyways, summer is coming...

post #16 of 26

I know this post was originally started a year ago but I just read this a few days ago and when I saw this book online tonight I thought of you. Please let us know if you have decided to have a go at it. http://www.amazon.com/Off-The-Grid-Over-Hill/dp/1466209372/ref=sr_1_44?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1333346505&sr=1-44

post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ydolem View Post

I know this post was originally started a year ago but I just read this a few days ago and when I saw this book online tonight I thought of you. Please let us know if you have decided to have a go at it. http://www.amazon.com/Off-The-Grid-Over-Hill/dp/1466209372/ref=sr_1_44?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1333346505&sr=1-44

Thank you for the book link.  Both of her books look good - even if we never move.  I called our town and county libraries and two local book stores but no one had them.  So I ordered them.  I am flying later this week and will have something to read.

 

We never found/purchased the acreage and probably never will.  We regret waiting so long.  (However, I still do a real estate search occasionally so maybe...)  Also, our children's medical bills and private school tuition are costing us more than we imagined.  (We've gone full circle with schooling too.  At one time I intended to homeschool; private Montessori was never even a consideration back then.)   Our current house will be paid off in a couple of years and the security is starting to sound nice.  We are a little afraid of the financial risk - ugh!  I sound old.

 

Anyone else from this thread moving forward with their plans/dreams to move onto more land?

post #18 of 26

Yep.  The USDA has a loan program that I qualify for.  I just have to be on the job for 2 years, currently only have 9 months.  It'll be there when I'm ready though. 

post #19 of 26

1st, could you elaborate on that loan program please?

post #20 of 26

Yes you can either qualify for a very low interest or a no interest program.  You have to have been on the job or in the same field for 2 years, meet the income qualifications, save up $5000 for closing costs, etc.  It's a pretty good program.  Unfortunately I had a change in careers so have to wait.  Just look up USDA Home Loan program.  

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