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Falling in, and out of, love with the land: The dream

Old farmhouse(If you haven't already, you'll want to start with this excerpt from the very beginning of Growing Into a Farm.)

My homesteading dream began nearly as soon as I was born onto another southwest-Virginia farm owned by my back-to-the-lander parents.  When you spend your early childhood chasing ornery cows back into the barn, eating all the strawberries before they get ripe so you don't have to share them, and climbing sap-riddled pine trees, the reality of farm life seems to be summed up in one word—bliss.  The signs of my parents' rough path through farm ownership were all around me in their stress-induced arguments, but I only took in the joy of wading through creeks all summer and catching minnows for my cat.

When my parents finally threw in the towel and dragged us to town, I was eight years old and unwilling to go.  Too timid to pull a My-Side-of-the-Mountain and live up to my threat of running away to reside on the farm by myself, I still vowed that one day I would buy a farm of my own that I would never leave.

By the time I graduated from college, my childhood vision had solidified into a plan.  At that time (2000), property in my part of Appalachia could still be had for about $1,000 per acre if you selected a spot in the boondocks, so I figured I should be able to save up $10,000 and buy ten acres within ten years.  I'd pay for the land with cash and live in my car and tent until I'd saved again, this time enough to build a small house.  My goal was self-sufficiency—for the farm to provide for enough of my needs that I hardly had to work in the outside world.  Simple and feasible, right?

Stay tuned for the next installment tomorrow, or read the entire book here.


This post is part of our Growing into a Farm lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:


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This post got me to thinking. So, I looked, and couldn't find any detail about how you actually your land. I've been trying here in Florida and keep hitting a brick wall of Realtors trying to make a living. Give me a hint of where to look, please??

Comment by Tom Wed Oct 30 11:16:14 2013
Tom --- Good question! Cheap properties tend to show up only in the local papers, which makes it much harder for people to find them from afar. Although, recently, they also seem to be on Craigslist too. For example, this farm just down the road from us looks like a steal --- http://swva.craigslist.org/grd/4129269506.html
Comment by anna Wed Oct 30 12:43:40 2013

Tom, this article could be interesting to you. http://www.homestead.org/NeilShelton/HowToBuyLand/VeryCheaply.htm

Now, take that at face value. I'm currently renting, living in a city, engaged to be married, and not likely to get OUT of the city for a couple more years, so I haven't implemented any of this author's ideas. However, my common sense says that there could be some truth to what he's saying and that with a little extra work, a person could find something that they wouldn't have found on ruralland.com or whatever those sites are.

Comment by Stephen Wed Oct 30 19:07:10 2013

One very unique homestead, $1,500 per acre, the opportunity of a lifetime