Anyone living off grid in Colorado? - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-18-2008, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd love to connect with you!! Please tell me more!!
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Old 01-19-2008, 04:57 AM
 
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Well I currently live in Denver but I grew up off-grid in the mountains and my family still lives there. I am about to make an offer on an of-grid place in southern CO as well so I'll be out of the city again :-)

Are you planning to live here or already doing it?

Laura

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Old 01-19-2008, 03:06 PM
 
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Where are you looking in Southern Co.? We are also looking in Southern Co. and would love to make some new friends as we just moved to this area from Texas. From your Siggy I think we would have several things in common

~Steph
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Old 01-19-2008, 03:30 PM
 
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Where are you looking in Southern Co.? We are also looking in Southern Co. and would love to make some new friends as we just moved to this area from Texas. From your Siggy I think we would have several things in common

~Steph
We're looking to buy a place that's about 20 miles south of Pueblo. I'm a little worried because I have such a lovely community of friends here in Denver and I don't know anyone down there. We're moving South because that's where we can afford the land and my DH doesn't want to go up to my family's property in the mountains. My other biggest worry is wether I'll be happy with the climate. I grew up in a lush mountain valley with a lake and lots of green. I know there's a lot less precipitation and therefore green where I am going and it worries me a little.

Anyway, that was more than you wanted to know — just what was on my mind

Where are you living or looking?

Laura

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Old 01-19-2008, 06:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Steph, welcome to Colorado!

Laura, I live in Boulder, born and raised. My entire family lives in Boulder and we are very close. I want to live in a cob or strawbale house. I need to find out which area's will allow this kind of building, are affordable and are the closest to Boulder.

I really want to know... Why South Colorado? Why not North Colorado?

I know that Boulder county is extremely expensive and very strict with codes. I know that Larimer county, which is pretty much all of the rest of north Colorado shares the same rule, that you must own 35 acres to build one home.

I wonder if far north Colorado would be affordable, land wise?

I wonder if Gilpin county (Blackhawk, Rollinsville... etc.) would allow cob/strawbale homes? I believe you don't need 25 acres to build up there. But living that far into the mountains would be cold, scary driving, and would mean no garden and I'd probably be nervous that my kids would get eaten or something. But only 40-45 minutes to Boulder!

East Colorado is not good for me. I need to be close to the mountains.

I don't want to live near Denver.

What about South of Denver? Before Colo. Springs, what's the low down there? ( I hear Colorado Springs is not very friendly and very religious)

I love the idea of South Colorado. I love the energy. I'd rather be closer to Taos then Cheyenne hands down. I hear of so many people building down there. I can really tell that it will turn into a large community of like minded people. I really see a future there, a kick-ass community. But kind of lonely right now.

I would just love to know more about why people are choosing South Colorado, as far as building codes go? I know it's much more affordable. I really love the idea of being remote, but I need access to my huge Wholefoods, and shopping and lots and lots of new people to meet. I really do love Boulder, But it's time to take the first step.

Kayla
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Old 01-19-2008, 06:40 PM
 
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I did some WWOOFing in southern CO and there are lots of people living off the grid near Trinidad. Hope that helps
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Old 01-19-2008, 08:12 PM
 
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But living that far into the mountains would be cold, scary driving, and would mean no garden and I'd probably be nervous that my kids would get eaten or something.
I lived in Nederland for a couple years and while it was cold scary driving and I was nervous about kid eating cats, there were actually people gardening. It takes a little more creativity but cold weather gardening is doable.

~Stephanie )O(

DS- 07/01 & DD- 09/05 & DD- 12/07 & DS- 10/13

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Old 01-19-2008, 10:13 PM
 
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Steph, welcome to Colorado!

Laura, I live in Boulder, born and raised. My entire family lives in Boulder and we are very close. I want to live in a cob or strawbale house. I need to find out which area's will allow this kind of building, are affordable and are the closest to Boulder.

I really want to know... Why South Colorado? Why not North Colorado?

I know that Boulder county is extremely expensive and very strict with codes. I know that Larimer county, which is pretty much all of the rest of north Colorado shares the same rule, that you must own 35 acres to build one home.

I wonder if far north Colorado would be affordable, land wise?

I wonder if Gilpin county (Blackhawk, Rollinsville... etc.) would allow cob/strawbale homes? I believe you don't need 25 acres to build up there. But living that far into the mountains would be cold, scary driving, and would mean no garden and I'd probably be nervous that my kids would get eaten or something. But only 40-45 minutes to Boulder!

East Colorado is not good for me. I need to be close to the mountains.

I don't want to live near Denver.

What about South of Denver? Before Colo. Springs, what's the low down there? ( I hear Colorado Springs is not very friendly and very religious)

I love the idea of South Colorado. I love the energy. I'd rather be closer to Taos then Cheyenne hands down. I hear of so many people building down there. I can really tell that it will turn into a large community of like minded people. I really see a future there, a kick-ass community. But kind of lonely right now.

I would just love to know more about why people are choosing South Colorado, as far as building codes go? I know it's much more affordable. I really love the idea of being remote, but I need access to my huge Wholefoods, and shopping and lots and lots of new people to meet. I really do love Boulder, But it's time to take the first step.

Kayla
Well I grew up in the mountains 45 minutes from Boulder (between Lyons and Estes Park). In fact I worked at the Boulder Whole Foods when it first opened.

I guess the snow could be daunting if you aren't used to it but that's not an issue for me. It is an issue for my DH. He wanted to be lower elevation (I grew up at 8500 ft.) and have less snow. My family still lives there and they have a permanent greenhouse that grows plants quite well and the long dome kind of greenhouse as well. You can grow things without the greenhouses but the growing season is shorter and that makes it difficult. You can plant fruit and nut trees that are zoned for the cold. My family land has the benefit of having a large valley with meadows, a good well and surface water (lake). Moving to the mountains you'd need to find the right circumstances to really make a go of homesteading.

Any property in the mountains is more expensive especially on the front range within 2 hours of Denver or Boulder. If you don't want the plains and don't have a lot of money you are going to be hard pressed to find things around here. We decided to go south because it's what we can afford. Going north means being in the expensive mountains or on the plains. There are pretty areas that are mountainous further south in the area west of Trinidad and near the san louis valley.

The property we are buying is about 20 miles south of Pueblo which means a 2.5 hour drive to Denver. We needed to stay that close to denver because my work will require me to drive to denver to deliver product once every 1-2 weeks. So we are going just far enough away to get cheap land and close enough to not be too bad a weekly commute. Our property is on a bluff of land so even though it is east of I-25 it has more trees and more variation in land. It's not as mountainous as I prefer but it's a good compromise with my DH.

From what I have seen any land between denver and Pueblo is going to be a lot more expensive. I don't know how much money you have (and if you have a house in Boulder to sell maybe you have more than I do) but land between where we are buying and Denver is just too expensive.

I don't know about the building codes. The house we are buying is a poured concrete dome type. I have limited experience with counties but from what I have seen, the less populated counties further from Denver are quite a bit friendlier and more helpful than Denver or Boulder.

I understand wanting access to the natural food store. We will be able to get to Vitamin Cottage in Pueblo (I prefer them over whole foods since they are so much less expensive and seem to be focused on truly natural stuff rather than being trendy if you know what I mean) but i also hope to provide my own food such as meat, eggs, milk and vegetables so it's a different focus.

Laura

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Old 02-13-2008, 05:22 PM
 
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Sijae-
could you tell me a little about the area down around Pueblo? or anyone else?
my dh is thinking of applying to a job in that area. we do not live in CO and have never been there so any input would be great! we'd love to get some land so prices would be nice to hear about as well.
thanks!
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Old 03-25-2008, 02:46 PM
 
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I am also in CO (but we are moving to NC, off the grid) as for cob and codes, there are only two counties ( Mendocino and one in OR) where you can actaully built loadbearing cob to code...as far as I know every one esle just builts their cob on the sly ( thats what we are planning too)

HTH

Tanya
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Old 05-30-2008, 01:55 AM
 
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We are currently looking for land too, either close to Trinidad, Estes Park or Red Feather.



I am growing concerned with the drought down south though and all of the natural gas drilling/loss of rights.

Resistance is futile Matey
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Old 05-30-2008, 02:35 PM
 
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We are currently looking for land too, either close to Trinidad, Estes Park or Red Feather.



I am growing concerned with the drought down south though and all of the natural gas drilling/loss of rights.
I looked in those specific places too :-) We made an offer on the land I was planning to buy that had a home on it already and they refused to consider it so we ended up buying bare land and starting from scratch. It worked out well though because we got a great deal and more/better land in the process.

It is much dryer down here but our land at least seems to be healthy and regulating itself well. We have a lot of healthy pinon pines which are dying in some areas.

I discovered that closer to trinidad seemed to get more expensive so we eventually bought land a little northwest of Walsenburg and we're very happy with it.

It is sort of a gamble to depend so much on a well but when you think about it pretty much anywhere in CO is going to be dependent on some irrigation to grow a garden wether you live in the city, on the plains or in the mountains. Our well is going to be drilled within the next few days.

I didn't find any property anywhere in CO near my price range that included mineral rights. Another issue is finding a larger acreage (you have to have 35 acres to have a decent well) without terribly restrictive covenants. We eventually settled on land with some covenants but the least restrictive I've seen so far.

Let me know if I can help you in your search at all since I just went through it. When will you be able to move?

Laura

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Old 05-31-2008, 02:17 AM
 
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We are actively looking and I would like to be "in" by next summer.


I wonder how many people are "collecting" rainwater on the sly? The "rules" are pretty damn stupid!



Paonia would be awesome if we wanted to cough up ALOT of $$$.

Resistance is futile Matey
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Old 05-31-2008, 03:22 AM
 
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I used to live in Carbondale and remember when everybody was living in Paonia and commuting because it was so much cheaper there. Guess not anymore!

I live in Crestone in South Central Colorado. I'm not currently off-grid, but recently purchased five acres of off grid land next to the sand dunes national park. And trying to get there...

Anyway, tons of likeminded people out here in our small area of only 1,200 souls. Community gardening, good culture, organic grocery store. And it's pretty cheap as far as the rest of Colorado is concerned. No mineral rights and must have 35 acres to have water rights like the rest of the state, but there are ways to get around it. Where I live you can buy water pretty cheaply for livestock and gardening. Also having doing indoor gardening and watering is fine as long as it's passed off to look like your living space. Can divert rain water to an outdoor garden. We have all sorts of creative ideas for this.

One negatory on living here is that there is little in the way of jobs.

I'm currently selling 3.7 acres here (the land we bought before we found the sand dunes land), so if you are interested, let me know

good luck in your quest!
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Old 05-31-2008, 03:23 AM
 
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Also there are minimal building codes here. There are loadbearing straw bales, yurts, domes, papercrete, you name it, all over the place.
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Old 05-31-2008, 02:08 PM
 
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I need to be within 30 minutes driving of a hospital though, my little guy has ANA food allergies and two back to back Epi-pens only buy 30-40 minutes. And being outside a city I have to prepare incase an ambulance cannot make it in time.


And being around at least a couple other homeschoolers would be ideal too!

Resistance is futile Matey
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Old 05-31-2008, 02:09 PM
 
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Yeah Paonia is not cheap anymore... all those people who bought there now can make half a million easy.

Resistance is futile Matey
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Old 05-31-2008, 07:01 PM
 
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I need to be within 30 minutes driving of a hospital though, my little guy has ANA food allergies and two back to back Epi-pens only buy 30-40 minutes. And being outside a city I have to prepare incase an ambulance cannot make it in time.


And being around at least a couple other homeschoolers would be ideal too!
Seriously you should look down here There is a hospital in Walsenburg and we need more un/homeschoolers.

Laura

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Old 06-01-2008, 12:39 AM
 
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Sorry about the food allergies
Yeah, Crestone is one hour from either Salida or Alamosa hospitals, but we do have excellent emergency services. Ambulance is about 2 miles from anywhere in town and the EMTs are superb (they are all my friends ). But, yes, hospitals are far.
There are some homeschoolers here, but we have a great charter school, so most of the potential home/unschoolers go there.
Walsenberg is a pretty big town and that area is really beautiful, so maybe that's a good bet for you.
Good luck!
Wish I'd bought in Paonia a few years ago
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Old 06-01-2008, 01:25 AM
 
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Not off grid myself but I have a friend who is off grid in Berthoud of all places. She was left a bunch of land by her grandfather and when the state or county (can't remember ) was moving roads around they bought a house for $1000 and moved it.
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Old 06-01-2008, 01:40 AM
 
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Well, we're in the process of moving to CO (we're leaving next week!!) and while we're not going to be off-grid any time in the near future, we have a hazy life-plan of moving in about 7-8 years or so, depending on various circumstances. I'm much more keen on the idea than DH is, but he's coming around to it.
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Old 06-01-2008, 02:39 AM
 
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Just wanted to jump in and say we're out here in CO and semi-off grid!

We're in the front range, just out side of Ft Collins. We've been here a few years now and really, really love it. We've been keeping an eye out for some land in north western CO though. My hubby recently did some work up around Norwood and we loved it up there. It'd be a great place to have a summer home.
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Old 06-02-2008, 12:34 AM
 
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I have a friend who built his own off grid straw bale in South Fork, CO. I went to his land, it was beautiful, pretty close to Wolf Creek ski area. He built in a subdivision for all off grid homes. Seemed like it was a cute town that was growing. Not sure about hospitals or natural food stores.

*Liz* : mountain mama to DS 12/04
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Old 06-02-2008, 03:56 PM
 
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Well I could live if there is a "real" ambulance service (actual paramedics that can dispense adreneline in the ambulance).

Just can't be so far off that no one can find us! LOL




I really would prefer lush forest, but alas that does come with a hefty tag price. I have seen "affordable" forest, but either it is way under 10 acres or waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay in the middle of nowhere.



Gotta keep internet as we are self employed.



And if I did not have alot of "lush" trees, then I need some hills and a few big rocks. LOL




I can see large chunks of land down south, but many look pretty darn "bare". How are you guys down south doing?

It is really windy? Hot as death? I have lived in Grand Junction which was a desert too.



Building restrictions?

Resistance is futile Matey
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Old 06-02-2008, 04:25 PM
 
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How is internet connection down there?

High Speed? DSL? Satellite?


Do you guys get Comcast at all?

Resistance is futile Matey
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Old 06-03-2008, 11:47 PM
 
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How is internet connection down there?

High Speed? DSL? Satellite?


Do you guys get Comcast at all?
We are completely off the grid so we have no cable or dsl. Eventually we could have a tower but right now we do very well with internet through Verizon. Our property has excellent cell service so it works for us (it was one of our requirements). We had comcast business super high-speed business internet service for about 12 years since my husband also worked online but it's been surprisingly easy to adjust. I guess we were very ready for the change.

Laura

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Old 06-06-2008, 11:12 AM
 
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Thystle,
There is forest here in Crestone if you like Pinyon and Juniper. Lots of creeks running out of the mountains, so you can get to cottonwoods and aspens if you want to (most of this area is greenbelt). Also hiking up into the mountains are doug firs and spruce and more aspens--all this not far from Crestone.
Internet service is wireless--called a hot mouse (not exactly sure how it works) and fast enough (not super fast, but dh and I both work from home, too--I rely entirely on internet and it is good enough for me). You can get satellite, too.

Its not wet here, though, lots of cactus and yucca, but Im looking at the mountains right now and theyre covered with new snow.
I really love this place.
Good luck with your search.
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Old 06-13-2008, 06:40 PM
 
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How big of a property do you all have?


I am wondering if I really need to get the 35 for that !@#$% permit. :



And I have noticed quite a few southern mama's post in different places lately. You all need a group!

Resistance is futile Matey
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Old 06-14-2008, 07:57 PM
 
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We should have a Tribe!

Thystle, we have 110 acres. Technically if we could afford it we could have 3 domestic wells and irrigate a total of 3 acres. Of course wells are expensive.

You can get a well of course with less than 35 acres but technically you would not be allowed to do such things as wash your car, water any outdoor plants at all or water animals outside (even domestic ones like the family horse or cow, chickens or the like). Now you could do it anyway, but you could get in trouble for it. The exception is properties that already had a well before the law went into effect. Some smaller properties may have a well that has been "grand-fathered" in.

Technically collecting the rainwater for a fish pond is also not allowed I'm afraid to say. You can't even dig a hole and fill it with well water unless you have the right kind of well. You can find all this info on the website for the div. of water resources.

http://water.state.co.us/

It really is crazy how government has taken over the personal lives of the citizens and also started regulating every natural resource. :-(

Laura

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Old 06-15-2008, 12:24 AM
 
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Yes, we have our issues with Colorado water rights as well.
We live in a funky "subdivision" We have a couple of different properties within the subdivision. One is 5.5 acres, another is 3.7 acres, and another is 1 acre. The 1 acre property is actually on water/sewer lines. You can irrigate as much as you want, but you have to pay $1.50 for every 1,000 gallons you go over the standard 4,000 gallons per month. It's up in the trees and pretty rocky--not too many people attempt agriculture up there.
Down in the "flats" lots are larger (that's where our other properties are), but still subject to Colorado water law. Everybody has wells down there and because virtually all the properties are less than 35 acres, the wells are only permitted for domestic use. This really deterred us from wanting to live here at first, but there are a couple of things we have considered that have changed our minds:
First, while you are not allowed to collect rainwater, you can divert rainwater. As long as it goes into the ground and not into a storage tank. So you can place outdoor gardens strategically.
Second, while outdoor gardening is illegal without 35 acres and a different type of well, you can garden indoors. The sun can be so hot here and the winters are freaking cold anyway, it almost makes more sense to climate control as much as you can, so we plan on incorporating our food gardens into our actual home. This probably wouldn't work if you needed to be totally self-sufficient, but it might be able to if you were creative. We hope to start small and see where it goes.
Third, you can buy additional water to keep in storage tanks if you want to garden and/or have domestic animals (which are fine in our subdivision).
Fourth, we have several community gardens that do have water permits in place that are easy to participate in.
Finally, our neighborhood association has water rights and is considering allowing people who live down in the flats on those less than 35 acre parcels to have meters attached to their wells. Then they could irrigate outside if they wished, they'd just have to pay for the water. There are some people who are against this because they feel like they've already paid for the well, now they have to pay for the water?!
Anyway, I feel like this is a very progressive place. People here are at least thinking about these issues and going at it collaboratively. It's much harder if you feel like you've got to do it all yourself. There are plenty of 35+ acre parcels around here, but they're so far away from other people that it just feels like you're on your own. I like thinking about being off-grid with my neighbor (whose house I can see) who is also off-grid and we're collaboratively gardening or sharing tools or whatever.
Our subdivision's web site is www.bacapoa.org
You can check out house/land prices at www.c21crestonerealty.com
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