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lornaschinske 04-11-2013 04:50 PM

Home Base - My Thoughts
DISCLAIMER: This is an editorial. This is only an editorial. Had this been an actual fact you would have been advised to withdraw to your nearest fact shelter to await further instructions. We repeat. This is only an editorial. If you wish to add your own two cents to this debate, you may post your own editorial....

I'm sitting here in NM planning a future move to Texas. I'm also trying to work out our "retirement". At some point, I will be too old to work. That means I will have many years of unemployment. Since I am heading into my final working years with very little, I have been doing some thinking.... and reading old Mother Earth News CD's :roll:

I thought I would entertain you guys with some of our plans. :lol:

I'm always reading about the importance for fulltimers to have an exit plan. I agree... to a point. I never want a house but I would like a place to park the bus without having to pay the "rent" the campgrounds ask for. I can live in the bus even if it can't move. David is a tad bit to gungho to find a place since he figures he will not be around. His rationale is the fact both sides of his family can't seem to live very far into their 70's (something I intend to changing). My family has a habit of living to just shy of 100 and we don't "do" doctors. I attribute that to what my aunt refers to as "just plain cussedness". Since we have barely survived the "recession" we don't have too much material things to worry about. We also don't have tons of credit cards etc. So we have achieved the cherished "debt free" status... along with being "poor". I'm not complaining. This is actually a good thing. We have winnowed out and thinned things down to where I know exactly how much it will take us to live on per month. It's not a whole lot. I think we could transfer these expenses over to a piece of land as our own private "RV site". Right now we pay $375 per month for a spot to park the bus, electric, cable and wifi. Our "budget" for quite some time has been $400/month. So I will use $400/mo as our projected "monthly expenses base" for our home base expenses.

The ideal home base, for us, would be a spot of land (1 acre would be nice) where we can build a pad for the bus with sewer, water and electric hookups. Put a covered picnic table in (sound familar?) and room to park the towed. We want to build our own campground just for us. And maybe a spot for our daughter to park so she can visit us.

In addition to the "campground", I would like to be able to put in an intensive organic garden, fruit trees and berries with perhaps a bit of aqua-culture to raise some fish. Nothing too fancy, maybe some brim, perch, sunfish & catfish. I want fish that reproduces, not fish I have to buy every year. I could make an exception to catfish. I do love pan seared "blackened" catfish with drawn butter. David likes frog legs so raising bullfrogs would provide food and bug control. While in my "money making" years, we could put in a solar system that we can add to over time until it is large enough to support all or at least most of our electrical needs (need to build a shed to hold the panels and batteries). Perhaps do a grid-tie. Ideally our water would be supplied by a well with a solar powered well pump to pump the water into a holding tank while the sun shines. The garden & fish could hopefully not only feed us (can & freeze) but we could sell the excess at a farmers market or flea market. Once we get to the "parked" stage, we could add chickens for eggs & meat. David said no to rabbits (vicious beasties). Actually he said "Never again". Garden gleanings would provide the bulk of the summer food for the chickens (been there, done that with chickens & hogs... another "never again"). And I want to build a storm/tornado shelter/can shed. Berm the walls and plant strawberries on the berms. Perhaps a greenhouse for winter food production. You can see why reading the old Mother Earth News on CD's is bad. I get all these great(?) ideas. :lol:

Ideally, this land would have had a house or mobile home on it so power, utilities, septic tank and a driveway had already been. A run down, uninhabitable house or mobile home depreciates the land because most folks want a clean slate to work with. We do not. We see the opportunity. This type of land could have mature trees already established, possibly some fruit trees too. If all the utilities, etc have already been put in, all we would need to do is rejuvenate everything rather than put in from scratch. I'm talking sweat equity. Something we have always had more of then money. :roll:

If this land could be close enough to a place I am working at, we could move onto it sooner. Like as soon as we got the RV pad set up. All money we "saved" by not paying for an RV site would be funneled back into turning our "homestead" into reality.

I figure if I can sit in NM and find 1 acre for sale on the internet for $1000 outside of Huntsville TX (20 miles outside of Huntsville!), then I can find others once I get there. And it has.... TREES!!!!! OMG I MISS TREES. Too much desert is bad for my soul. :(

Look! Trees and a dilapidated house. You know what that means? Power has already been run into the property and a driveway is already in to the house site. The hard stuff! The expensive stuff! We could clean the house and land off by "hand" (not like we haven't done that before) and set up an RV pad" at the house site. Now if it was close to a place for me to work (down side of the location)...

I have found other places too...
Lake Livingston Village WARNING! HOA FEES!
Wiggins Village WARNING! HOA FEES!

There must be others. I'm not too wild about HOA fees. So that is a very good reason for me to look elsewhere. Upside is that these HOA fees also cover trash pickup and the places have "amenities" like boat docks, pools, community centers, etc. We don't do pools and have no interest in any boat that needs a boat dock. Community center... not very social either.

So what happens if we decide that we don't want to live in the place after we put all that work into it? Our theory is to sell it. I figure land values will rise again. The land is "improved". We would have been living on it and it should be providing the majority of our food requirements. So the home base is basically a "savings account". And we should do better than what we would make on interest from a savings account or CD. If we don't sell, then the home base would be supplying most if not all our food. Our money needs should be covered by the meager Social Security payments plus I am currently buying Home Depot stocks and should be getting roughly 20 shares per year over time (wonder what their dividend payments will be?) plus once I go fulltime, I will sign up for the 401k (5% from my pay and HD contributes to it). I wonder how long I can work? :lol:

Has anyone else thought about something similar? If so, what are your daydreams? Maybe I can steal some of your ideas! ;lol;

gbstewart 04-11-2013 08:28 PM

Re: Home Base - My Thoughts
Iv been thinking the same way, as to where to make home base, we have a couple of options, but im leaning on keeping this sticks & bricks that we are in now, I have 5 years left on the morgage, after its paid for Ill keep working for a year or so be dept free, then become snowbirds, spend the summers here, and if I had to I could work the summers, I should beable to retire at 58, thats the plan so far. As far as growing my own food, and solar power etc.thats just not for me, but more power to you lorna if you can do it, thats great.

lornaschinske 04-11-2013 09:27 PM

Re: Home Base - My Thoughts

Originally Posted by gbstewart
...As far as growing my own food, and solar power etc.thats just not for me, but more power to you lorna if you can do it, thats great.

Growing our own food is easy. We've done that for so many years. We both grew up in rural areas and since being married, have had many gardens. I learned to can bushels of tomatoes first (water bath canning is the easiest), then progressed to a pressure canner to put up the prolific green bean harvest from our first garden. I would have tried making strawberries but they never made more than just enough for me to eat straight out of the strawberry bed.:roll: The second summer, I found a recipe to put up Peach Honey. Heavenly on fresh biscuits or rolls. I did learn WHY you do not can broccoli (but it sure LOOKED pretty in the jar) and we decided the taste of canned corn plus the length of time to process it in a pressure canner simply wasn't worth the hassle. We much prefer frozen "cream-style" corn.... not that I've had a whole lot of luck with corn. We usually trade tomatoes and green beans for corn. I even have Brussels Sprouts here in the campground! They have been spending the nights inside but after next week, we will get the mobile greenhouse cleaned and set up with the drip irrigation system. Once that happens, I will get serious about my mobile garden. All the veggies currently residing inside the bus will be moved out to the greenhouse. I also have two 5 gallon buckets of potatoes going (Russets & Yukon Gold). It is an experiment based on our old method of raising Kennebec potatoes in 55 gallon food grade drums. I need to do another bucket with the little Red taters too. This is to test to see if one variety is better in buckets than the others.

I'm also looking into what is involved in setting up as a small scale plant nursery. If we decide that is a route that could suit us, that would mean a large piece of land (like a couple of acres).

Of course we could win the big Lottery. Just need to have the only winning ticket. Just need to buy a ticket. :lol:

inkblots84 04-11-2013 09:59 PM

Re: Home Base - My Thoughts
Love your plan! Ours is very similar! Part of our skoolie cross country expedition will be looking for some cheap land. n a relatively remote place where we can start a smallish farm of sorts. Once we have land we'll most likely live in the bus while we build our own structure. Basically the point is to be as independent as possible with minimal outside interference. Solar Power, garden, greenhouse, well, chickens and I'd we have enough room, a couple horses.

The tip about buying land with a dilapidated building is a great one that a lot of people miss. Plus if you can salvage anything from the structure you'll save money there too.

I think the whole concept is great. Especially considering the state of this country - people are going to need to know how to be self sufficient.

Diesel Dan 04-16-2013 02:47 PM

Re: Home Base - My Thoughts

Originally Posted by inkblots84
...The tip about buying land with a dilapidated building is a great one that a lot of people miss. Plus if you can salvage anything from the structure you'll save money there too...

If nothing else, you've got a rather large storage shed! You might have to fix the roof and windows to dry it in, but that is much easier/cheaper than building one yourself.

ol trunt 04-19-2013 10:37 PM

Re: Home Base - My Thoughts
Reality check---

lornaschinske 04-21-2013 07:32 PM

Re: Home Base - My Thoughts
Any building that can remotely be salvageable would not decrease the value of the land enough. In order to find a pre-existing structure that the bus could fit into would most likely be a commercial building on land zoned commercial. That land never is low priced enough. Although we have run into a few former "towns" in S. GA that were for sale. We were trying to buy one to set up as a tourist stop. Thank heavens that whole deal fell thru! :o

In our experience, old barns tend to be more dilapidated than the houses. Sometimes the houses were built just like the barns! But we are only well versed in the dilapidated properties in GA, NC, SC & TN (and a little bit of AL). Texas is a whole new world for us. But I have found some via the real estate web listings. These properties tend to be listed in the freebie type papers. Papers & places with free "for sale" listings. They are also few and far between. But they are out there.

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