Homesteading, Organic Gardening, How to Farm, Preparedness, Self-Reliance
I'm 40, Wifey is 36. I work in healthcare and make a decent living. Wifey takes care of our six daughters and runs them around town. We've dreamed of farmsteading and today we were offered five acres in Snowflake, Arizona.
We live near Phoenix and Snowflake is about three hours drive. Our oldest (eldest?) daughter is 14 and youngest is 2, to give a picture of how much longer schooling will be necessary. For now, they attend public school although we've discussed home schooling for the last two years.
Since the 5 acres falls within our budget, we're going to jump on it. It isn't the 100 acre farm I dreamed of but I can't complain. I can do a lot with five acres. We want to raise cattle, chickens, and goats for sure as well as supply ourselves with as much food as possible via gardens & crops.
A friend/co-worker landed his paradise year ago and has been slowly taking supplies up on weekends. He's had my trailer for the past two weeks hauling 250 gallon water tanks for his rain water capture and holding tanks. Wifey and I figure we'll start doing the same: slowly taking a little up on any available weekend until we're ready to move their full time.
But our first step, we think, should be establishing shelter. This is raw land to my knowledge (we hope to go visit it within a few weeks.) Power runs at least to the property and there are adjacent 5 acre parcels with homes and power.
What we're trying to figure out, and my point for this post, is what type of shelter should we put up there first? The options I see are:
Trailer: single or double wide. I know nothing about trailers.
Full Size RV
I don't know the costs of these items. If anyone has been through this process we would greatly appreciate any suggestions. We don't need to move up there right away but I do want enough room for all my kids when we do go up there on weekends. So whether it is a temporary or permanent structure make me no mind, I can always upgrade later (I'm sure it's harder than it sounds though).
For full disclosure, I should say my credit score isn't high enough to get a home loan for $100K and up and have a home built on the 5 acres.
I look forward to hearing if anyone else has started their dream-stead this way. I've learned so much from this forum and would like to thank everyone here.
Ron & Lisa
Ron....First congradulations! Yes, you can do a lot with 5 acres. The first thing to find out is if there are any restrictions on the land, either county or area covenants. Check into yurts....lots of space and easy on the budget. Also those little houses in the Home Depot parking lot always intrigued me! A trailer would come with a kitchen and facilities and they can be had pretty cheap. You will still need a well and septic....nice that you have power. On five acres how you lay out the land is important so get help with that from someone with experience. If you don't have it already get John Seymours, " Self Sufficient Life and How to live it."
My husbands maternal grandfather is from Snowflake. His family made the journey from Snowflake to California in a horse drawn wagon and they became alfalfa farmers in what is now L.A. My husband LOVES that area and pines to go west....but the grandchildren are in Georgia!
@Mrs. MacDonald I think an RV might be the way to go at first. I've found some terrific layouts using Google and the search phrase "five acre farm layout". I"m sure homeschooling would be more of a blessing than a nuissance but it is such a daunting task. Wifey and I are constantly asking ourselves if we'd be good enough.
@Kim I do need to check out the restrictions. I'm guessing I do that in the town where the land is located. Not sure which office though. Funny you should mention yurts. I just finished watching a 47 episode mini-documentary on YouTube done by Dave Canterbury where he lives in a yurt for 45 days to try it out. Very interesting but don't think I could get all my kids in there.
Tell your hubby once we get established, you're welcome to come visit in Snowflake anytime! Lol.
I think the RV is the way to go as well. As you progress you could always recloate easier than a trailer. A trailer loses so much value. I had one - lived in one for 20 years and loved it, but the sale of the property was low due to having a trailer. Now to the funnier side - have a house that you can hose down. We had carpet in our den, which lasted two years. Out with the carpet, in with the tile. It sweeps better - then I vacuume. Did you happen to see the cargo containers carved out as living space? They could always be switched to an animal haven in time. Good luck!
Being a hater of carpet I have to comment! When I was raising my 5 children my mother always said I needed cement floors with a drain so we could hose them down. When we built the house in Costa Rica we had cement and then put tile over the cement....should have kept the cement....we had a calf who thought she was a dog and with the cement she could walk in the house. When we put the tile down it was too slippery! So I guess the moral to this story is..." If you want to keep cows in the house have concrete floors?"
Hello Ron, a route that I found rather nice was a pre-built cabin. I bought a 12x32 cabin with loft for 13k total. Which works out to be 1500 down and 388 a month for 3 years. They delivered it and leveled it. The building is a shell so the interior design is 100% up to the owner. The building comes with a 30 year warranty which is nice as well. Here is a list of local dealers in the Snowflake area.
A word of note, I got the deluxe version of the lofted cabin which gives you 11 1/2 foot ceilings inside. If you lower the loft floor 1 foot it gives you 7 foot ceilings downstairs and 4 1/2 foot ceilings upstairs for the kids bedrooms/lofts. with the correct design layout you can get 1 full bedroom and 1 full bathroom as well as kitchen and living area downstairs. We plan on adding on to our house next year to add a addition with 2 full bedrooms and a 2nd bathroom. Congrats and good luck on your property.