From The Oil Drum
August 17, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California
[For all you remaining Back-To-The-Landers here in Mendo, it may be interesting to compare what you did back in the sixties and seventies to what you might do now. I am not a survivalist, nor do I think the survivalist family going it alone makes any sense. If things do go bad, it will be collaboration and cooperation, in the city and in the country, at the homestead and in the town house, that will get us through. -DS]
This plan assumes that you will be starting with raw land with no improvements. The advantage is that you can tailor things specifically to your needs while allowing time for your skills to develop. Yes, you could buy an old farm. However, I believe that old farms will ultimately cost you more and require significantly more time to rehabilitate than starting from scratch. Further, trying to fix up old stuff is more difficult than new construction. Things are rotted, out of square, foundations and roofs are shot or lack insulation.
The plan also assumes that all property is owned by a single family and that the work will be done by that family (a husband and wife or partner). I know a lot of people believe that a sharing/commune-type structure is the way to go. However, a community timeframe will be little different from that of a family and my experience is that most communities eventually fail.
I’ve learned a lot of lessons since moving to the country over 30 years ago. I should add that I also lived in a rural area until I was 12. However, I sure as hell don’t know everything and some of my suggestions are guesstimates. For example, I grew up around my neighbor’s draft horses but I’m not a teamster. There are thousands of others out there who live far more self-sufficiently (self-reliantly) than my wife and I. But, I’ve also had the opportunity to observe the successes and failures of other people. Keep reading at The Oil Drum→