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yitlan's Avatar yitlan 06:42 PM 04-18-2005
Now, I doubt I'll ever be totally off the grid (well, you never know...), but I do want to incorporate many ideas into my life. I've always wanted to check out this magazine and picked up a copy the other day. I really enjoyed it!
http://www.backhomemagazine.com

I was really glad the cover story was on a family that build their straw bale home for $20K. Dh and I are always talking about straw bale so it was great to read a real story of how one family did it all themselves.

Just wanted to share!

farmer mama's Avatar farmer mama 07:37 PM 04-18-2005
I love Back Home. That article was great, especially how they were young, had little experience, built it cheaply and were doing it with three young kids. Dh and I especially loved where the dad said he would read about it, and then go do it. We have done projects with a book in hand many times. I was amazed at how cheap their land was, compared to the prices over here. It was also cool that they were homeschoolers.
opally's Avatar opally 10:43 PM 04-18-2005
I just saw this magazine for the first time over the weekend - what a great story on that family with the $20k house - beautiful family, and could you believe their $3 kitchen ? Wow - truly inspiring.
knittingmomma's Avatar knittingmomma 09:54 AM 04-20-2005
Back Home is wonderful - this article was truly inspiring...

We are looking for land in Maine this spring as well to do something similar.

We do often get nervous and look to staying in crazy land Massachusetts, but our heart keeps us on track.
With five children, it will be a challenge. I think the health insurance issue looms largest for us. Any suggestions there?

Warm wishes,
Tonya
Bluegrass's Avatar Bluegrass 11:24 PM 04-20-2005
I like Back Home, too. Countryside is still my all-time favorite, but Back Home has some great articles, too.
MamaMonica's Avatar MamaMonica 03:20 PM 04-21-2005
I read that article, too and was amazed! I assumed at first they had family to help with the kids- then it said they had no family there. It's a beautiful house. I think health insurance (like knittingmama said) would be the biggest issue with homesteading- to get that large of a chunk of cash every month. health iinsurance can run $5-7,000 year in premiums.

I do know many people go without and count on a healthy diet and lifestyle as well as their own savings account to suffice. It worke for the Nearings!That would make me nervous, though, since so many personal bankrupcies in the US are from medical bills. Maybe Canada is the place to homestead!

sorry about typos nursing a 3yo who is kicking
zinemama's Avatar zinemama 03:57 PM 04-21-2005
Hey all you would-be homesteaders! Check out this really interesting book. Dh and I both read it and really enjoyed it.

Back From the Land: How Young Americans Went to Nature in the 1970's and Why They Came Back by Eleanor Agnew.

Agnew was a back-to-the-lander who moved from Boston to rural Maine with her family. It's a great read.
MamaMonica's Avatar MamaMonica 04:13 PM 04-21-2005
Thanks for the book recommendation, zinemama- I put it on hold at the library.
farmer mama's Avatar farmer mama 04:52 PM 04-21-2005
Re: health insurance- I know many people without it, unfortunately some have had some major hospital bills for trips to the ER, or dental work for their kids. If I didn't have children I would be okay with not having any, but I like to know that I can go in if I have any concerns and have it paid for. Dental care is also important to me (because of the kids, especially), and I like having my homebirths paid for. Right now we have a smaller homestead with a house already on it, and dh drives 12 miles to work (as a teacher). We get good health insurance and he has the summers off to work on the land during our busiest times, and the lower salary is managable for us. It has been a great place to gather info, gain experience, and learn new skills so we will be more prepared when we move to a larger homestead. We are going to move (hopefully) to raw land this summer, so dh has applied for teaching positions in some really remote schools, so we can afford a bigger, nicer piece of land, still have a decent, somewhat dependable salary, have health insurance, and not have to drive too far from a cute little town. Plus very few people actually want to teach in these areas (one of the towns couldn't find anyone last year to fill one of the positions he is applying for this year), so it shouldn't be too hard to get hired (again hopefully). Sorry if all that personal info is too much or doesn't really apply, it is just how we have worked it out.

Bluegrass- I also really like Countryside. Between that, Backhome and Mother Earth News, I have my bases covered.

Zinemama- Thanks for the title, I have heard good things about it but never picked it up.

Mamamonica- Off topic- Are you guys in the sno-isle library system where you are? I have some sustainable living type friends in Lynwood and we always have holds on each others books, like "return that book already so I can get my hands on it!" LOL
MamaMonica's Avatar MamaMonica 05:12 PM 04-21-2005
LOL farmer mama- we are in the Sno-Isle system! So you guys are the one who always holds on the good books! Your dh as a teacher sounds like an ideal situation- a job you can do many places with benefits. We are tied to metro areas unless dh changes his job and I was so bummed when I found out how pricey land is here (and the sprawl)- and both keep increasing.

It definitley takes creative planning with our country's health insurance system to make lifestyle changes.
jlazx2's Avatar jlazx2 04:50 PM 04-22-2005
Does anyone know where I can get this magazine?
farmer mama's Avatar farmer mama 09:32 PM 04-22-2005
Our local natural food store carries it, or your could get it from the website.
knittingmomma's Avatar knittingmomma 09:16 AM 04-23-2005
If you don't mind the big chains - both Borders and Barnes and Noble carry it...
Warm wishes,
Tonya
Ex Libris's Avatar Ex Libris 01:05 PM 04-25-2005
We love Back Home, too. We're constantly looking back at it for ideas and know-how.

Just wondering, did any of you read the article in the Mar/Apr issue about the Peak Oil Crisis? If so, what did you think about it? Reading that (and other things on the subject) has gotten us thinking about our future and our current sustainable living skill level (lowish). We've decided to step up our efforts to find a place to settle and learn these important living skills. And if the oil crisis doesn't come around so quickly as some think it might, that's ok. We'll be smarter and happier just that much faster.
MamaMonica's Avatar MamaMonica 03:51 PM 04-25-2005
I thought the Peak Oil article was really good. Have you read "The Last Hours of Ancient Sulight" by Thom Hartman? That is a good oil book as well. The "Ancient sunlight" is title is oil- which is the stored sunlight of eons.

I worry about the vulnerability of living in town. I am not sure what to do about it- I haven't the energy to live off the land alone (maybe in an intentional community) and yet in the city we are completely vulnerable if there is another oil crisis, much less a permanent one.

Thom Hartman advocated intentional communities, which would be a great solution. The problem is land prices are high near anyplace with enough jobs.
farmer mama's Avatar farmer mama 04:29 PM 04-25-2005
The peak oil article was good, but a did lose a little sleep thinking about it. It just made me want to get settled as soon as possible, but also keep doing things where we are right now in case plans fall through, like growing ample amounts of food and harvesting rainwater. I have already bought enough seeds for next year (and going to be more serious about seed saving), and am working on the best ways to preserve the harvest. I am going to invest in a pressure canner http://www.lehmans.com/shopping/prod...ProductID=3661
so I will be able to can low acid foods, drying fruits and vegatables, water bath canning and pickling, getting a better handle on root cellaring for potatoes, carrots, beets, etc, growing more winter squash and pumpkins for storage, and extending our growing season by using our greenhouse and cold frames, and growing frost hardy veggies. All things I try to do anyways, and will be helpful to us whether oil is plentiful or not. I actually think being in a city may be to your benefit (except for some catastrophic upheaval), because things would still be accessable by foot, and I would hope people would organize within their communities. Though all our city friends know they can come hang out with us if they ever need to. Hope that is not too depressing, I am the kind of person who likes to be prepared. :
Ex Libris's Avatar Ex Libris 12:02 AM 04-26-2005
We'd also like to be prepared, farmer mama, so we're planning a move in about a year and a half to some land of our own. We just have to figure out where, first! Until then, we're working the best we can on just the kinds of things you've described, though we're not as far along as you are. I'm starting my first "garden" this year (a few containers and beds--we have very little space right now) and am pretty excited about it. Learning about storing food will come if I actually end up with any food at the end of the season! :LOL Dh is reading up on solar and wind power and eco-friendly housing. It's quite fun, even if an oil crisis isn't imminent.

MamaMonica--I hadn't heard of that book, but dh has. It's on our wish list. I totally understand about land prices and jobs. But you're right, most cities are pretty scary places if an oil crisis should occur--esp. those with large suburban areas without any central/community spaces. We've just started looking into intentional communities. That'd be the way to go if oil (and therefore food) became scare. I'm just not sure we'd like a closed community per se, as many of these are; we'd rather just be in a small town surrounded by like-minded people who are interested in sharing resources and talents. But how to find such a place? That's our biggest challenge right now . . .
MamaMonica's Avatar MamaMonica 12:37 AM 04-26-2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by momandmore2
MamaMonica--I hadn't heard of that book, but dh has. It's on our wish list. I totally understand about land prices and jobs. But you're right, most cities are pretty scary places if an oil crisis should occur--esp. those with large suburban areas without any central/community spaces. We've just started looking into intentional communities. That'd be the way to go if oil (and therefore food) became scare. I'm just not sure we'd like a closed community per se, as many of these are; we'd rather just be in a small town surrounded by like-minded people who are interested in sharing resources and talents. But how to find such a place? That's our biggest challenge right now . . .
It's great to be able to talk about this!! Few people I know IRL want to talk about it. The suburbs are the worst place to be. I thought I wanted intentional community as well, then thought small town was the way to go- a place with mass transit, bike lanes, food coop, gardens etc. I haven't found the answer but am visiting some places and planning to keep looking.

Did you find any good towns? I read 100 Best Small Towns in America- and his criteria were so far from mine that the book wasn't very useful, unfortunately.

Eugene, OR seems to have so many of the things on my list- (bike lanes, transit, liberal, nieghborhood health food stores, community gardens, etc) but jobs are VERY scarce and it is a little bigger of a city than I was thinking of.

Right now we know our neighbors and share tools and stuff - but we still live in a "bedroom community" where people work all over the place and it's the suburbs...ableit an older one with stores nearby.

It is hard for me to think of change but there is this inner drive that is hard to ignore. it says to get things together- times are a-changing.
Ex Libris's Avatar Ex Libris 01:23 PM 04-26-2005
Yes, it is great to talk about it! We live on an Air Force base right now, so you can imagine how many of the people around us are interested in such discussions. We've got a committment until Dec 2006, so we've decided to spend that time looking for where to go from here. We're planning a trip to upstate NY, Vermont, NH, and Maine in about 3 weeks. We're just going to drive around areas that sound interesting and see what strikes us. Then in the fall we're going out to the northwest, specifically Washington and Oregon, where we're more likely to find people with similar interests and concerns.

Like you, we're looking for a small town, where we don't have to drive all the time, where organic food is plentiful, where people know and care about each other, and where the strip malls haven't sprouted yet. And we'd really like mountains and opportunities for outdoor activities. I'm beginning to worry that we're looking for some kind of wonderland that doesn't actually exist! But you're right about times a-changing. So the drive to find a place and get settled is high.
MamaMonica's Avatar MamaMonica 04:06 PM 05-02-2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama
Hey all you would-be homesteaders! Check out this really interesting book. Dh and I both read it and really enjoyed it.

Back From the Land: How Young Americans Went to Nature in the 1970's and Why They Came Back by Eleanor Agnew.

Agnew was a back-to-the-lander who moved from Boston to rural Maine with her family. It's a great read.
Just finished the book. It was a good read. She had an enjoyable writing style and lots of people's stories.

I could so relate to the story of hating the ringer washer! Her account of doing laundry with it in the dead of winter is very accurate.

Interesting fact from another book- Thoreau did not do his laundry at Walden. He took it to his mother's house.

It was a very different perspective for me- I hadn't known about the back to the land movement was so extensive in the 70s. I guess the back to the land movement wasn't talked about at the time - especially in the country where everyone was sitting on the land already LOL.

I grew up in the log cabin my great-grandfather built in the 1800s (re-use and recycle!)and we made our living off the same hilly 80 acres. We had variably working indoor plumbing and an ineffective furnace plus woodstove and fireplace. It was very cold in winter.

The vast amount of discipline and physical work to make a living off the land is something that can't be underestimated. People gravitate to modern conveniences for the same reasons people of the past did- to be warm, to not be hungry, to have liesure beyond the endless work of providing food, shelter and clothing and being at the mercy of the elements.

Finding that balance is important. I don't know what the answer is- maybe we're all searching?
oldermamato5's Avatar oldermamato5 07:22 PM 05-02-2005
We live in a small town with a Kroger,library,old movie theater,antique shops,park(beautiful),etc,all within walking distance. Previous to this old house we lived in Scottsville KY. on 9 acres with house that cost us 50,000!!
You can't touch ANYTHING here in Indiana for less than 125,000 if you want rural. As a one income family we can't afford much. We are looking to move rural but I'm trying to find peace and contentment where I am for now.

Oh,BTW,Countryside is my favorite too,been subscriber for long time.
kim
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