Still homesteaders in VT, NH, ME? - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-27-2009, 03:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I live in WA state and we want to have a farm and homestead, have wanted to for years, but cannot afford it here. Have been struggling for some time with whether to move away or not. I posted on here in 2007, asking many questions, and appreciated all of the responses I got. I have this dream in my mind of homesteading and homeschooling (which we already do) and being a part of a community of other folks who do too. We want to have a jersey cow, and chickens, and market garden/farm, maybe sheep pr goats.

We feel so much better living rurally but we also really want community. People who we can learn some stuff from in terms of farming and homesteading. Some people who believe some of the things we do. Homesteading, being frugal, kids playing outside or doing other activities that do not include watching tv, people who are politically more liberal (although this is less important if other values are shared). We'd like to help neighbors out and have people want to help us out too. We want to run into people at a co-op or post office or whatever. Share some holiday celebrations or festivals.

Anyway, we can't afford a farm here (we need to spend under 250k for 5 or more acres) and can't seem to find a community like this here anyway. Does this exist in the NE? I feel like maybe it does...but maybe I have a romantic idea of it that is just not reality. I actually want to move over there, my dh worries it is a pipe dream. Are families homesteading over there? Homeschooling? Having community? I do realize if we move it takes time to be a part of community and make friends.

Any help would be appreciated!

Emily (my sig seems to have gone away...)
mama to my beautiful three (3/04, 5/06 and 07/09)
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:54 PM
 
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Yes, we're out here!! We moved to SW Maine almost 12 years ago and bought an old farm with 8 acres for under 100k. Of course now you're looking spending a bit more but right now it's a buyer's market and you could find something for between 100 and 200k. But onto more fun stuff...we've finally found some wonderfully like minded folks, we're part of a homeschooling coop, food coop-though it's more of an order online and pick up a week later type, we raise pigs, get raw milk, locally raised beef, and veggies from a local farm, and our backyard is a 900ft "mountain". On the downside our house needs lots of work, pizza past 8pm is a 20minute drive away, and a job decent enough to survive usually means an hour drive into Portland or Portsmouth. Though a friend of mine, who is single, has managed to rent an old farmhouse with land, HS her 3 girls, and is surviving through lots of trading, so it's a great place to get creative and find a great community niche. Good luck!

Sarah

Proud mama to three bouncing unschooled boys:, Ian5/02, Connor9/04, and Andrew1/08!:::: Milk Donors!familybed2.gifwaterbirth.jpghomeschool.gifselectivevax.gifdizzy.gif

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Old 10-28-2009, 03:13 PM
 
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Yes, there are a lot of homesteaders in NE. We do not personally homestead, but I have at least 3 or so friends and aquaintances who do in the area. I live on the border of NH/VT , in the North.
I think you could easily find some cheap land out here and live out your dream.
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Old 10-29-2009, 01:25 PM
 
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There are a couple communities in Maine like you describe. Not necessarily homesteaders but intentional green communities. Theres one being developed in Belfast.

http://mainecohousing.org/blog/files/archive-2009.html

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Old 10-29-2009, 02:51 PM
 
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Here is a great list of co-housing communities all over the US:

http://www.greenlivingjournal.com/page.php?p=1000317

I live in a small town in Vermont and although we are not in a co-housing situation, our town is small enough to have many like minded parents. There are several farmers markets and farm shares...lots of land in rural areas, co-ops, waldorf school (I know that you homeschool, there is a great community of homeschoolers in this area too). Montpelier has many rural areas right outside of town that sounds like the type of community you are looking for.
Good luck

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Old 10-30-2009, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I appreciate all of your responses! In general, we are not looking for cohousing, we have looked into it and visited places before and really we want to have our own land, to pass to our children. Also, I think it can be very hard for those communities to be really lasting and work well with people coming from so many backgrounds and different values. Some of them do work well, and there are certainly people who love them. I think it would only work for us if it were more of a community where someone bought a large tract of land and then sold acreage sections to people with an understanding that people would help each other out and work to create a caring strong community, but everyone can make their own choices with their own land and house and life. I have heard people use the term "unintentional community" to describe that. No offense to people who want cohousing communities. I just don't think most of them are for us!

We have looked at the Montpelier area before - seems like we usually hear good things about it. I don't know if we could afford it there, but maybe a little north of there. What about the NEK? Cheapest there.

When we have looked at Maine we were told to check out the mid-coast area. What do you think?

I want to move, dh does not, and I am torn also because family is here. That being said, I don't think we can have our dream to have a farm and homestead here, and that would be very sad. We will see. My dh teaches so nothing can happen right now anyway, but we want to figure this out once and for all within the next few months.

Emily
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Old 10-30-2009, 04:45 PM
 
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If you like the Montpelier area, check out Hardwick. I's not too far and they're doing really great things there. You may be able to find land that's still affordable in the neighboring towns.

Student Midwife : Nature Loving Mama : to Quinn : June '08 :::
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Old 10-31-2009, 12:04 AM
 
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Lots of cheap land in the NEK, I would presume.
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Old 10-31-2009, 11:05 AM
 
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I see what you're saying about the cohousing communities. I guess I thought thats what you were leaning toward when you wanted to have children playing together and a sense of community.

I have good info about midcoast Maine because I liver here! I live in a nice small farm community and I might have a lead on a very cheap farm! My neighbors moved away and abandoned their farm and I betcha its going into forclosure any minute. They even abandoned their 3 horses and a sheep. (we are working with animal control on that one- they are being fed by another neighbor) Its a very large home with somehting like 12 acres of pasture, overlooking a lake!

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Old 11-02-2009, 07:36 PM
 
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You pretty much just described Chester, Vermont in your original post

As our local food coop (in nearby Springfield, where we live) says:
Large enough to meet your needs, small enough to meet your neighbors.

Vermont is very cool overall, but I especially love that Chester has a homeschool resource center/cooperative (our kids LOVE it) AND an active little farmer's market.

Good luck with everything!

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Old 11-03-2009, 10:18 AM
 
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Yup in southern NH.

We have Jerseys, sheep, goats, chickens and pigs on 40 acres we bought for 109K in 2002. We have a wwwaaaaayyyy out there site totally off-grid so that lowered the price. DH can still get to work in less than 20 min so it's not too bad but it's 4-wheel access only.
NH doesn't have sales or income tax but I'd check out the property taxes for wherever you are looking. Ours started low but have increased 600% in 7 years. To avoid this level of increase I would look at further north....the closer you are to the cities and also to Mass the more expensive it is.
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Old 11-04-2009, 03:02 PM
 
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We "homestead" in vermont...raise all of our veggies/meat/milk/eggs/etc, don't make our own power but maybe someday... Land isn't cheap here but you can definitely find 5+ acres/house/probably outbuildings for under 250,000. We live in Rutland County...which is not as "hip" as some other places in vt but you can find places cheaper than around burlington/montepelier/brattleboro/etc
we love it and have many great connections with small farmers/homesteaders in our area. Check out http://www.rutlandfarmandfood.org/ a lot of the farmers on there are very small scale and diverse--and all about "homesteading"!
my hubby and i actually went to college near where we live now to study sustainble farming/homesteading. that program has actually produced many small scale farmers and homesteaders that have settled around here since we graduated 7 years ago--it's making a great community of like-minded families.

I have to say that we also LOVE the belfast area in maine...lots of good things going on there too--we'd definitely considered moving there if we hadn't found the right spot here in vermont.

good luck in your searching!

mama  to 3 farmboys (, & ) and 1 farmgirl ()
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Old 11-05-2009, 01:25 AM
 
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You described where I live! I'm on the Blue Hill peninsula in Maine and it is the perfect place for us. Our extended group of friends is wonderful. We get together regularly for dinner, brunch, fires in a tipi, saunas, celebrations, etc. There are tons of preschool kids that dd is friends with. Almost all of our friends grow at least some of their own food. Some are almost entirely self-sustaining. All the AP stuff we talk about here on MDC is the norm in this community. There are certainly plenty of people who don't do things we do here, but people are pretty open-minded and tolerant of each other. Homeschooling is common and there is a Waldorf school too.
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Old 11-06-2009, 03:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is great - really good to hear responses from people homesteading. We checked out Hardwick, Chester, Rutland Cty and other suggestions online a bit. I don't think we could afford the Blue Peninsula in Maine. Mostly I am glad to hear that there are real areas where families are really doing it and we could afford to live. That does not seem to exist in Washington, unfortunately!

I am a little afraid of winters and a shorter growing season in N. Vermont and away from the coast in ME, although I would like 4 seasons (late fall - winter - early spring is the same here - rain and 40). My DH grew up in Minnesota so this is not an issue for him. I care more about community and affordability (being able to have a farm) than about weather, but clearly weather makes a big difference in your life. Any thoughts on the weather? On farming there?

Any thoughts on how people would feel about us moving to a small town in the NE (likely VT or ME) coming from WA?

Thanks!

Emily
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Old 11-06-2009, 06:33 PM
 
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i can speak to the local thing. I've seen it go both ways. But my MIL and SFIL are the nicest people I know when it comes to getting along with their neighbors. They bought a camp in northern maine near where a lot of tourist hang out for snowmobiling, and they managed to make friends and be accepted. They did it the old fashioned way, by knocking on doors, going out to meet their nieghbors, helping when it was needed, etc. They didn't wait for anyone to show up on their door. Granted they are Mainers, but even folks from different parts of maine have trouble. The more south you are, and the more coastal you are (with some exceptions), the more open people are because they are kind of used to people retiring up to "vacationland" from Boston.

ETA: ecoteat - I must be your nieghbor!

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Old 11-16-2009, 01:45 AM
 
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If I could get hubby to agree, I would be living on 20 acres of land off the grid in NH too.

Hedgehogmtn, I want to meet you SOOO badly! You have exactly what I wish for, so lucky!

Kara, Chad, dd L(5) and ds E(3) and expecting baby E on Valetine's Day grouphug.gif~We are a home-birthing, baby-wearing, home-made, co-sleeping, no-vax, crafting(both of items and of magick!), green living and loving family in Southern NH

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Old 11-18-2009, 01:28 AM
 
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I've found that the "natives" take more kindly to the people from away if you are honest, hardworking people. When people come up with boatloads of money and are seemingly out of touch with the local culture, they aren't as welcomed. But if you show up ready to work and can humbly take in what your new community has to offer, then it is much easier. Also, there are pockets of different types of communities. Even on our small peninsula, there are towns that are totally open to new ideas and families and other that are staunchly set in their ways.

The short growing season is definitely a challenge. We are in a frost pocket, so we get a killing frost a good several weeks before people just a couple miles away. We usually get a killing frost the first week of September. But there are plenty of ways around that and lots of people who are totally self-sustaining here. If you aren't familiar with Eliot Coleman's books, you should be if you plan to grow food in New England.

Carita--where do you live? Do we know each other? PM me if you want.
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Old 11-18-2009, 01:52 PM
 
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Haha, Amy, your post made me remember the well-moneyed folks who bought a big vacation home in my hometown. The house is probably 100 years old now, but it has always been a vacation home.

They spent a lot of money repairing water damage and sprucing it up in general... and put up a sign on the lawn that named the place Lean Pockets Farm.

Between the public announcement of not having much money despite the obvious, and calling a place devoid of agricultural activities a "farm," nobody was too impressed

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Old 11-30-2009, 12:33 PM
 
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This is great - really good to hear responses from people homesteading. We checked out Hardwick, Chester, Rutland Cty and other suggestions online a bit. I don't think we could afford the Blue Peninsula in Maine. Mostly I am glad to hear that there are real areas where families are really doing it and we could afford to live. That does not seem to exist in Washington, unfortunately!

I am a little afraid of winters and a shorter growing season in N. Vermont and away from the coast in ME, although I would like 4 seasons (late fall - winter - early spring is the same here - rain and 40). My DH grew up in Minnesota so this is not an issue for him. I care more about community and affordability (being able to have a farm) than about weather, but clearly weather makes a big difference in your life. Any thoughts on the weather? On farming there?

Any thoughts on how people would feel about us moving to a small town in the NE (likely VT or ME) coming from WA?

Thanks!

Emily
I have never grown veggies anywhere else in the world, so hard to compare, but I think like anywhere, you would need to adapt your farm to the zone where you plan on living. And by the way the NEK is wonderful but in a different climate zone than central Vermont (More snow, colder, more remote), probably the coldest section of Vermont. That said, my parents live in Eden Mills (right outside of the NEK) on the lake there, and it is beautiful, and land is much cheaper off the lake. Do you mind being remote? Or do you want to be close to a city (25,000 people is a city here )
I love the Morrisville area as well. It is a good size town....10,000 people? and there are lots of great rural towns surrounding it.....Here are my favorite rural towns in Vermont:
Lamoille County (Central Vermont):
Wolcott (mountainous, rural, close to Morrisville; My in laws are homesteaders in Wolcott on 140 acres )
Johnson (crunchy college town, grocery store, Hiking, cute rural downtown area)
Hyde Park (cute typical vermont main st, less farmy, ....close to Morrisvile)
Eden (Lake, hiking trails, no grocery store,rural, snowmobiling, dog sledding)
Elmore (more expensive, Lake, hiking, close to Mo-ville)
Craftsbury (gorgeous, haven for vacationer looking for non-resort town, but there is land out there )Oh, I met someone in Craftsbury, that was interested in having like minded homeschooling parents live near them. pp me, and I can talk more about it.
I'm a central Vermont girl, so I don't know the feel of all the southern towns, but I love Bellows Falls and have many friends down there. It shocked me how inexpensive it was too.
Oh and.....
There are so many transplants in Vermont, I don't think you will have any issues moving here from the locals.

Hayley SAHM to Ryan (02) & Annabel (06) and Jameson (10)
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Old 12-02-2009, 12:46 PM
 
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Thank you so much for this thread, it has been so informative and helpful in our search for the ultimate NE homestead!

Brooke: a glass~blowin' hand~drummin' tree~huggin' home~birthin' earth~lovin' goddess~mama of 3!
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Old 12-18-2009, 04:17 PM
 
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Just an FYI, an old farmhouse near us in Shapleigh just went up for sale. It's right on a main rd but list price is $149000, 4 bedrooms, 1.5ba, I think over 1500sq ft of living space, garage, and.........20 acres of pasture, fields and woods, wish it had gone on sale 11 years ago when we were looking!!

Proud mama to three bouncing unschooled boys:, Ian5/02, Connor9/04, and Andrew1/08!:::: Milk Donors!familybed2.gifwaterbirth.jpghomeschool.gifselectivevax.gifdizzy.gif

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Old 06-26-2010, 06:13 PM
 
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I have been looking to move back to Me after living in Ca for 8 years. I've found this thread very helpful, since we, too, are looking for a hippy-groovy friendly community to move back to. I was born in Saco, lived in Carrabassette Valley, Bangor area and Mount Desert Island, all before becoming a mom. Now in our search for a home, we are looking for a lot of the same things you all have mentioned. But, I was wondering, how hard is it to find a job, or make money doing something you like? Right now I am in childcare and in the craft-fair circuit... but have some experience with solar electric, alternative building, nutrition and some horticulture, and am open to many different things. What kind of eco-friendly, sustainable jobs are needed in Me right now?
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Old 06-28-2010, 08:56 AM
 
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If I could get hubby to agree, I would be living on 20 acres of land off the grid in NH too.

Hedgehogmtn, I want to meet you SOOO badly! You have exactly what I wish for, so lucky!
I'm in the city. Manchester NH... I just wanted touch on the growing season. ITS VERY SHORT. Plant anything before June first and there is a frost warning and same with sept. YOu get 3 months June, JUly, and August and thats it!!! ( for most veggies anyway) Its a long winter with little local stuff. Thats what I hate about here. Summer is short. Spring and fall are nice but winter is LONG.

All natural Mama to Keira 6/1/07, Israel 10/10/ 09, Nairi 04/01/2011, and #4 March 2013

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Old 07-01-2010, 09:02 AM
 
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I love the Morrisville area as well. It is a good size town....10,000 people? and there are lots of great rural towns surrounding it.....Here are my favorite rural towns in Vermont:
Lamoille County (Central Vermont):
Wolcott (mountainous, rural, close to Morrisville; My in laws are homesteaders in Wolcott on 140 acres )
Hey, my parents are in wolcott too, homesteading off grid on 75 acres.
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:06 AM
 
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We just found a house on 10 acres in NE Vermont for under 110K. I never thought last year when this thread was started that I would be posting.

How is it going lunamay? Any closer to moving?
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