If you had an opportunity to opt out of the rat race and set up a modern homestead, how would you go about it? This week you’ll hear my wife Liz and I share our step-by-step process for choosing our new homestead location.
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Welcome to Episode 16! This week’s episode is a little different in that it doesn’t profile another homesteader or farmer. Instead, it begins the process of profiling us. By that I mean my wife, Liz, and myself, and the life of modern homesteading that we’re enjoying.
Now, many of you have followed our journey since we left the rat race, back in 2006.
You read the farm blog we maintained years ago. And bout a quarter million of you listened to our podcasts from 2010-2012, many from all corners of the world. And tens of thousands more have read my books, most notably The Accidental Farmers and How to Make Money Homesteading.
Still, many of you are unacquainted with our story.
In a nutshell, we lived in suburban Atlanta in 2006, on a golf course with a strict HOA. We’d never farmed, but that didn’t stop us from buying over 120 acres in rural Georgia, leaving behind our careers in corporate America and teaching to become first-generation farmers.
We raised pretty much anything that walks. Grassfed beef, meat chickens, laying hens, rabbits, pigs, geese, ducks, dairy cows and, just for fun, donkeys, guineas and guardian dogs. We built a great customer base from Atlanta to Athens, GA, and loved hosting farm tours for up to 100 people a month.
And then—we sort of went into seclusion in late 2012. We stopped blogging and podcasting, though we continued farming through 2015, selling grassfed meats and farmstead cheese.
But in 2015 we stopped farming commercially and began the process of migrating from being farmers to being homesteaders.
Liz and I spent a couple of years searching for a new homestead property, as we transitioned from being commercial farmers (for others) to homesteaders.
Of course, the process took longer than we wanted, as we had to sell off farm animals and a farm business. We discuss how we handled that in this episode, as well as the reasons that drove us from farming to homesteading.
Once we completed those tasks, we still had to find a new homestead. We wanted this to be a very long-term move, if not for life, so we established a series of criteria in looking for a new homestead.
Those criteria included:
1) macro criteria for new property
- incurring no debt / strict budget
- proximity to family
- slightly cooler garden zone
- southern exposure
- higher elevation
- low taxes
- low/no restrictions on building codes
- state friendly to homeschool
2) micro criteria for new property
- mature fruit trees
- at least 20 acres, unless on a mountain
- good well water or gravity water/water on property (pond, mountain stream, springs)
- no sight of paved road
- no sight of neighbors
- good hunting/foraging
- much smaller house
- ideally heated with wood
- pasture, but no more than a few acres
- within an hour of sizable town, 30 mins of grocery store/hospital
- around like minded-people (homeschool groups, homesteading culture, farming, etc.)
3) things we knew weren’t critical
- school system
- high quality pasture
- existing garden (because we’d be putting in raised beds)
- cosmetics on house…just well insulated and sound
Liz and I discuss all these criteria in detail as well as the life of farming versus homesteading. So grab some coffee and pull up a chair!
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Resources Relevant to This Episode
- How to Make Money Homesteading by Tim Young
- Start Prepping by Tim Young
- The Accidental Farmers by Tim Young
- Story written by Tim Young
- Theme Song – Opting Out Today – Lyrics by Tim Young
- Other royalty-free music by www.bensound.com, Kevin MacLeod, Nicolai Heidlas & Audionautix