Tips & Pitfalls of Buying Raw/Farm Land

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  • Sat, Jun 20, 2009 - 09:32pm

    #31
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    Re: Tips & Pitfalls of Buying Raw/Farm Land

Yeah there are Skeeters Ken, but they eat you, not your house

 

  • Sun, Jun 21, 2009 - 01:52am

    #32
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    Re: Tips & Pitfalls of Buying Raw/Farm Land

Yep, there are some skeeters and black flies in AK, and they can get pretty big and bothersome, but only for a few months and those are really the only problems… no roaches, no fleas, no termites, no poisonous spiders. Nothing like when I was living in TX & the South — don’t put your hands where you can’t see, don’t walk in the grass, don’t sit in the grass, don’t lean against the trees, don’t walk barefoot (not even inside if you have tan flooring), don’t swat at it until you know what it is. Or the giant "palmetto bugs" in FL, which are really huge flying roaches that dive bomb you. You’ll never find a whole colony of ants or roaches swarming in your kitchen in AK just because there are a few crumbs in your toaster.

  • Sun, Jun 21, 2009 - 05:50am

    #33
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    Re: Tips & Pitfalls of Buying Raw/Farm Land

But they have bears…..A ton of bears……..

I must admit that I love what you are doing. I read every inch of your blog and you are a cute couple doing what most of us in here only dream about doing.

I must admit that I worry about you. Will you have Internet, and how up there? Won’t you have to have cell phones or at least a satellite phone to keep in touch with friends and family? What will you do to replace that clothing and food supply as it runs out. Is there a way to make a living?

Finally, I checked over your food supply and there is no booze……….:-)

  • Sun, Jun 21, 2009 - 01:07pm

    #34
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    Re: Tips & Pitfalls of Buying Raw/Farm Land

[quote=Gungnir]

Yeah there are Skeeters Ken, but they eat you, not your house

[/quote]

 Some people say it is the little mosquitos that are the worst but I really think it is the big ones that can  ruin your day.

  • Sun, Jun 21, 2009 - 01:37pm

    #35
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    Re: Tips & Pitfalls of Buying Raw/Farm Land

Yes they have bears where we’re at, mainly black, but some Grizzlies, you can smell them from a ways away, and they’re big enough to see (fortunately).

We will eventually have internet. Likely a SAT phone too. If TSHTF seriously clothing wise we’ll need to go native (we already have Mukluks) and you guys in the lower 48 will have the same problem, but if not, Fairbanks is about 4 hours away. Manley which is the nearest town is 25 miles away, so about a 35-40 minute drive in summer, and about 15 miles away in winter about 30 minutes by snow machine.

Food Supply you saw is for a year, we’ll be augmenting with hunting and fishing. Then we plan of cultivating a small self sustaining farm for most of the vegetables and so on, and getting some livestock chickens, goats, etc. Making a living is relative, most of the expenditure is up front, building, Wind/Solar power once these are complete the running costs are trivial, then its can we feed ourselves? We’ve budgeted for a minimium income of under $6000/pa (Alaska dividend) if that stops then most of the things we buy with that will stop too, so it’s worthless at that point to be getting it (except for starting fires).

Now if we need cash, I’m a Software Developer, been working for years at a pretty major software publishing company, you’ve heard of them I have no doubt, and I’ve been headhunted consistently for 9 years. I can pick up freelance remote work software development jobs once that Sat Link is working. I’m pretty sure I could (if I was interested in doing so) earn a six figure salary doing this in the middle of AK ๐Ÿ™‚ I used to do that in the UK before I arrived here, and that was back in the late 90’s.

No there is no booze, I think sometime between my mid-teens to mid 30’s I consumed my lifetime supply (Former Brit, and we tend to think of "heavy" American drinkers as mere hobbyists) and lost the interest in it… Plickety has never been a big fan either.

  • Sun, Jun 21, 2009 - 03:40pm

    #36
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    Re: Tips & Pitfalls of Buying Raw/Farm Land

Jerry – before we get the house, power and satellite up we’ll have to go into the village and use the school’s internet connection to check email & post blogs. No cell coverage in our area, but we will get a cheapo prepaid Go Phone just to have a phone number and voice mail, which we can check via payphone & calling card… or we can climb the ridge out past the dump and get one bar. We have long range 2-way radios, so can at least talk with each other; and a CB to talk with people in town. SAT phones are retardedly expensive just to have service, and if you actually use it you’ll end up in the poorhouse… I’d prefer to eat, buy a new feeder hog, or go to the doctor ya’ know. 

Family & friends will have to communicate with us by snail mail, email & voice mail, and learn to live with a delay of a week or so before we mail or call them back. For emergencies, they can either call the local radio station who reads out messages 3-4 times a day, or call one of our neighbors in the village (but it better be a "someone’s dying" type emergency) and they’ll come out and get us. My family is used to this and as long as I drop them a line once a month to let them know I’m still alive they’re fine. It’s going to be a bit of a hard adjustment for Gungnir’s family, who is used to weekly and instant access.

We stocked up on clothes, and those should last for a while as long as we take care of them. I can sew (well, sort of) so mending isn’t a problem and I can make clothes from raw fabric if I had to, so repurposing the curtains one day may be an option. But we do intend to have some fiber livestock, so there’s wool or cashmere to weave or knit (have to get much better with my knitting though). I do know how to make linen, and flax does grow in AK, so I may just end up with a table loom at some point… gives me something to do in the winters at least ๐Ÿ™‚  But there is always hides to make clothes, so (like Gungnir says) we can always go native!

We really are budgeting for an extremely low income after the first couple of years getting set up. Really, what do you need alot money for if you’re getting most of what you need right from the land you’re living on? I think the most expensive monthly expenditure we’ve budgeted is for the satellite uplink. I did just get awarded my Social Security Disability benefits, so that’s a little money coming in, plus the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividends after our 1st full year. We’re hoping that our little farmstead will produce enough to barter with the neighbors… saves them the 4 hour drive to the grocery store ๐Ÿ™‚  Might not always be full-time work in Alaska, and Gungnir might not be able to find a local job in his field… but there is always some sort of seasonal work to be had in Alaska if you don’t mind working hard or being away from your family for a few weeks. I can’t really work and help out that way, but I can manage the farm on my own for a while if he had to go somewhere for work.

Nope, no booze in the stockpile. We’ll probably pick up a few bottles of cheapo rot-gut for medical & disinfection purposes since neither of us really drink anymore. But we’ll eventually have our ethanol still built, so won’t need to buy drinking booze just to sterilize stuff anymore We can always go into Manley and get one can of beer from the Roadhouse when we’re making our barbecue sauce or onion-ring batter LOL   Alcohol + 3 months of darkness + trapped in the house by the cold = The Shining!!!  

  • Sun, Jun 21, 2009 - 04:30pm

    #37
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    Re: Tips & Pitfalls of Buying Raw/Farm Land

Gungnir

A small point — we’ve been on an Internet satellite connection for several years. For quite a while we didn’t have a phone so I hooked up VOIP system from Net2Phone (used to be MCI) and when traffic is low on the satellite (3am or other off hour) it actually worked quite well except for the delay which was annoying, but not bad once everyone gets used to not talking over the other person on the line. At busy traffic times on the satellite, it doesn’t work well and some times not at all. Skype sort of works also and it is nearly free

Anyway, an extra $20 / month and you are sort of connected.

Hope to see you on your way north.

Jim

 

  • Sun, Jun 21, 2009 - 11:17pm

    #38
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    Re: Tips & Pitfalls of Buying Raw/Farm Land

[quote=Gungnir]

No there is no booze, I think sometime between my mid-teens to mid 30’s I consumed my lifetime supply (Former Brit, and we tend to think of "heavy" American drinkers as mere hobbyists) and lost the interest in it… Plickety has never been a big fan either.

[/quote]

That’s funny, I think that’s how many Alaskans think of the rest of the US.  I’ve never been a big drinker myself (or at least not a frequent drinker), but it’s always seemed to me that as far as heavy drinking is concerned Alaska ranks somewhere between Las Vegas and Russia lol.  And contrary to popular perception the most popular competive sport up here is heavy drinking and NOT the Iditarod sled dog race.

Joking aside, I myself have bought a small stockpile of booze, but most of it is actually stuff I don’t like to drink.  However, most of it IS stuff that’s imported and popular with other people (medium-to-high-end whiskey, vodka, scotch, tequila, etc.), and I think odds are high that at some point we’ll see supply interruptions lasting anywhere from a couple months to a few years.  My wife said during her home country’s financial collapse that alcohol was always in high demand and commanded a high price on the black market…. and I would expect that’s something we’d see here too, at least for high-end and/or imported stuff.  So depending on how much money you have left after building your homestead, you may want to buy a small stash of stuff your neighbors might like.  It is Alaska after all .

– Nickbert

  • Mon, Jun 22, 2009 - 12:12am

    #39
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    Re: Tips & Pitfalls of Buying Raw/Farm Land

[quote=PlicketyCat]

We really are budgeting for an extremely low income after the first couple of years getting set up. Really, what do you need alot money for if you’re getting most of what you need right from the land you’re living on? I think the most expensive monthly expenditure we’ve budgeted is for the satellite uplink. I did just get awarded my Social Security Disability benefits, so that’s a little money coming in, plus the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividends after our 1st full year. We’re hoping that our little farmstead will produce enough to barter with the neighbors… saves them the 4 hour drive to the grocery store ๐Ÿ™‚  Might not always be full-time work in Alaska, and Gungnir might not be able to find a local job in his field… but there is always some sort of seasonal work to be had in Alaska if you don’t mind working hard or being away from your family for a few weeks. I can’t really work and help out that way, but I can manage the farm on my own for a while if he had to go somewhere for work.

[/quote]

I won’t BS you, there is IT and software work up here but most of it’s near Anchorage and competition for jobs can be stiff.  However, once one has crossed a certain level of knowledge and experience (and it sounds like that’s definitely the case here), you can come close to writing your own ticket if you network with the right people.  Many of my more experienced friends here get frequent unsolicited job offers for higher end IT and programming positions, and it’s usually those high-end positions where local help is hard to find.  Telecommuting is possible for some work here (not as much as you’d think though), but as far as working from home the freelance software work Gungnir mentioned is probably the best bet.

[quote]

Alcohol + 3 months of darkness + trapped in the house by the cold = The Shining!!!  

[/quote]

I dunno, on the other hand have you seen the Simpsons version of the Shining?… "No beer and no tv make Homer go crazy!"

– Nickbert

  • Mon, Jun 22, 2009 - 03:31am

    #40
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    Re: Tips & Pitfalls of Buying Raw/Farm Land

Gungnir and Plickety,

 

If it were only up to me I would move to Alaska  in a New York minute. Unfortunately, my wife has no interest in doing that. It would be too far from family. I guess I can see the point of view. Fortunately she does not complain when I take extended trips to satify my wanderlust.

 

Ken

 

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