Tips & Pitfalls of Buying Raw/Farm Land
The other aspect of digging a well that I would be concerned about is that in NM I would guess a 300+ ft. well would be average. The amount of electricity needed to supply an average family water from a well that deep would be more than what is required for proper refrigeration and lighting. Probably 220V 50A, and PV or wind has trouble with that kind of power unless you design the system carefully. You can’t just slap a couple of panels up for when the grid fails, you need a real system to handle this load.
Eventually, the grid will let you down, however you cannot live without water. I doubt (but I may be wrong) that you could put a hand pump on a well in NM due to the depth required. It is very beautiful however, and understand the desire to live there. Certain tribes have been doing it for a lot longer than I can imagine, so it must be possibile!
Right Pickity….Unfortunately some in here are living in a dream. Go ahead and build your compost toilet in downtown Chicago. These are not answers, they are fantasies. This does not contribute to the overall problem in the least bit, IMO.
Jerry – yuppers! Solutions and legalities are entirely site specific. It’s good to offer suggestions based on your location, laws and application… but one person’s way isn’t the only way and might not be at all applicable to anyone else’s circumstances
Plickety, anywhere with such small rainfall I would consider marginal, and only livable with cheap abundant Fossil Fuels…… Even putting in well designed Permaculture earthworks to store water IN the soil requires machinery/diesel to achieve, and frankly, if you want to live sustainably without relying on fossil slaves, I’d pick somewhere easier.
Good rainfall (we get ~ 45 inches here) was our primary ticket item when we moved.
Water on the property, including rainfall, wasn’t our primary concern because we live in a river valley between three creeks and have full access to the community well to haul water from. We are lucky in that most of the rain we do get is during the summer growing season, so we can farm just fine without being fossil fuel slaves if we choose our plants appropriately and irrigate with our grey water. For us, living outside municipal jurisdicition without property taxes and having plentiful natural resources for building, hunting and fishing was more important than having easy water. (we have a lovely glacial aquifer under us if we need it and don’t mind having to heat it up first and remove the iron and arsenic from it — and we can pump enough out of it to farm without becoming fossil fuel slaves either).
regarding water and waste… I meant these are the big ones that can get you in a lot of spendy legal trouble with the government (at least here in the US), and the red tape is absolutely horrible in most municipalities. I agree that composting toilets are the best way to go… unfortunately it’s still illegal in a lot of places (unless you’re in the boonies).
FWIW, I have some friends nearby who have installed a composting toilet (local ordinances to the contrary) in addition to their regular toilet. As far as TPTB know, they’re still flushing all that water away. In reality, they’re using the other.
Viva — Sager
Interesting that the early American Pioneers (and Australian) cultivated large areas using Wind pumps and wells, well before heavy use of fossil fuels.
Sorry Mike but on this I think you’re talking out of your ass, hell the Navajo Indians cultivated large areas with significantly less rainfall than we have, and used irrigation and other techniques to maintain their crops. You just crop the right things for the climate. We’re never going to grow Avocado’s, Banana’s or Olives. But sustainable permaculture is about adapting your cultivation, plantation and food growth to meet the needs of both you and is supportable the ecosystem you’re in. Anything else isn’t really permaculture, and where do we all go when there’s no "ideal" growing land left?
Anyone can grow whatever they like under the perfect conditions, of course those conditions vary, you can’t easily grow certain things in the tropics, that you can in more Northerly or Southerly temperate or even sub arctic areas, and vice versa. There’s also the problem that a lot of the "ideal" farm land is currently owned by big agricorps, regardless of the country of origin. Where we’re moving isn’t the middle of the Sahara by any means. The Climate where we’re moving to is similar to Central/Northern Norway Sweden, they seemed to do ok back in the day too. Hell so did the Mongols and they had significantly lower rainfall than interior AK.
Secondly cultivation is only half of the food aspect, where else can I go pull a ton of Salmon out of the River over a couple of weeks in a row boat? Or get more than 2000 lbs of wild meat walking through my back yard? These seem to be aspects that you don’t seem to be seeing. Anyway thanks for your opinion, its duly noted, we’ll let you know what happens.
As far as taxes go I think it would vary considerably by state but here in Texas it is rather easy to acquire an agricultural or wildlife exemption. If one doesn’t want the difficulty of dealing with herds or crops the wildlife exemption is easy and worthwhile. They require you plant or maintain native vegetation to support the local wildlife and it is not a burdensome amount that they require. I have 40 acres of prime bottomland on a permanent river that I paid 250K for and my taxes are 50 bucks a year. Their requirement for ag exemption is also rather easy and for the most part is based on an honor system of reporting to the taxing authority. If you are going rural and want acreage it is senseless not to earn your tax exemption.
Very true Sam, if your state or municipality offers exemptions of any kind for ag or wildlife land while placing minimal or acceptable expectations and restrictions on you, you’d be crazy not to file for it. Some states only allow a tax exemption if your land is in a trust… which basically means you do not own or control your land anymore, you’re just the steward who gets to live there for free. Knowing the rules and available exemptions should be a critical part of any "back-to-the-land" decision. Some states don’t help you at all with ag land… and many farmers get run off their farms because the property taxes are too high. Also, if you’re trying to live a simple life and don’t want to be trying to farm while working a 9-5 city job (and commuting!), keeping your property taxes low or non-existant just makes sense… why let the quality of your life suffer just to pay high taxes while you’re trying to do the "right thing"?
I would be interested in seeing a thread on your move to Alaska. Are you homesteading up there? Bet others would enjoy that thread as well.