Absentee Homesteading?

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Awesome Friend
HCL Supporter
Dec 8, 2017
You can do it, if you have water to water plant in the heat, you heat is not like mine, I am in 8a, S.C.
Like Peanut I was raised on my farm, but I left 37 years ago, I got 10 little acres of it 20 years ago when my Father died. I live 18 mile from the farm.
I have garden & plant fruiting plants, tree & a few "live" oak trees, some Japanese Maples & have about one hundred Blueberry plants.
A small hut with a bathroom would be helpful, my next of kin live 500 feet from my garden, so I have a bathroom, if I need it.
If you have the money a shipping container make a great tool shed & a place to get out the rain & wind, it will get hot in the Summer here in zone 8a.
So a well, a bath room & some where to store tools, if you have a trusted friend in the area, that could watch the place all the better.

Solar Geek

Awesome Friend
Jun 25, 2020
We are in the driftless area. However where we are it is also the potato growing and corn growing area. Massive farms between 1000 acres and 4000 acres and I am the only organic area for 25 miles around. I digress.

In answer to your questions:
1. were transferred back to Chicago in July 2009 with my husband’s company for the third time. Lived right downtown in River North.
Yes we drove up on weekends and did not take time off. We are originally from the east side of Milwaukee and Waukesha County area. So we knew we didn’t want to be anywhere east of Madison. Steered clear of Dane County!
2. So looked at land went north to Crivitz, Shawano, checked out Langlade County, Taylor County & my brother lives and Wood County but I didn’t know of any land if it was available that I would like, and started to come south to avoid the bears/wolves. The paper companies in 2009 & 2010 were divesting of huge portions of land & the parcels were spectacularly beautiful. However they were not right for Solar as they were too hilly to really clear to have a full Southern exposure.

We have 10 acres completely free of any shadow on our 18.5 kW array. You can’t mess around if you want to use Solar. And you can’t have it on your roof in Wisconsin because you can’t get the snow off of it and you lose most of the winter months. Learned that on our lock home in Waukesha County!

3. Running water would’ve been great, but keep in mind Wisconsin has a “public trust” doctrine that no other state has. That means that any “navigable waters” (which means basically a stream that only runs up for one week a year is navigable), is part of the public trust. People can walk down the center of it, people can fish in it although they cannot cross your property to get to it. You have to be very careful with “water” in Wisconsin. We did not want others on our property. We have a man-made pond of about 1.5–2 acres depending on the rainfall. No inlet or outlet so it is not a navigable water. Currently due to drought, it’s way down. We aerated it and stocked it so we would have protein if something terrible happened. The DNR has the right to come out and inspect the fish but to the best of my knowledge they have never done that on any pond ever as long as you file the report each year and keep your “fish farm“ license up.
The whole system is running off the solar so you just have the initial expense.

4. In our county and surrounding counties, all in the driftless area, you may NOT be able to drop a storage trailer or a fifth wheel permanently on the property before you live there anymore. All kinds of new crazy rules have come into effect to prevent tiny homes, to prevent seasonal use without following the county POTW regulations. Each town if not independently governed will follow county rules. However there are many towns that have their own stricter rules that you have to find out.
Before you get serious and make an offer make sure you know the county rules because they are stringent in Wisconsin. Do not believe your neighbors they generally don’t bother to read the county rules. It makes Illinois look like a walk in the park. Older Properties are grandfathered in if the residents are still on them.

5. I taught myself to csn while we lived in a high-rise in downtown Chicago. Taught myself to make bread there. Had never gardened. Looked into buying seeds and decided to just make some mistakes when we bought the property before we did the installation of the gardens. Read decades of Backwoods Home and Countryside magazines, older and new MotherEarth News, “Back to Basics” (book) I could find. Bought the anthologies. I spent all of my last three years in Chicago getting ready for the permanent move.
6. Ignore YouTube until you get a feel for your land. So many things they say are wrong. They will have you doing crazy stuff with gardens and Orchards.
7 Wisconsin is a “round up ready” Haven and they spray from the air. they also spray fungicide’s from the air. They have helicopters that go over to pollinate the crops. It’s a very interesting place to live.
You have to be aware of what goes on in your county around you. We do have the buffer of trees 10 acres surrounding the house on all sides. We’ve also made good friends of the farmers surrounding us and I helped a bunch of them out on a legal matter back right after we moved here that concerned the entire county. I ended up meeting all the big farmers and making friends and I do keep in touch and I’m able to call them for any advice I need. They liked coming to our house and drinking free beer as my husband worked for a brewery at the time!

OK sorry this is so long. I can’t begin to tell you how fun and interesting it was to learn everything and then to get here and actually apply it. Somethings work somethings didn’t. For example as we went to build our ICF home, the very first digger bucket cracked in half. Turns out we’re on bed rock. The guy came and told me I could pay for eight of those buckets or we could raise the house up 4 feet. Had to make the decision without my husbandWho was at a meeting and cannot be disturbed
That’s the kind of stuff that happens.

So Yesterday and all week, a giant Eagle (they coming off the Wisconsin River) has been flying over our pond even though it is not running water. Roosting and trying to get our fish! I think he’s confused because it is aerated in places.

We have a 12 point buck and uncountable does that feel safe coming to the end of our pond to drink as it is not frozen over yet. We have not taken up hunting yet but when we do will be able to step outside of our door and off our porch (which is the law), and get our fill. They literally come up to our windows and look in. Scared the heck out of me when I’m cooking in the kitchen and we are earth sheltered in the back but I have a window that allows me to see out in the kitchen, and the does will be looking in at me. I’ve screamed🤣😁 Of course we do not feed them. In most counties or many, you cannot feed the deer.
As I look out the gorgeous oak trees they have lost their leaves & there is a thin skin of ice on the pond and it’s a slice of heaven here.
I wish you luck and looking, The Internet is your friend for parcels, and we did not get a realtor to help us until we found and walked a few properties on our own and gotten a feel for what we were looking for.


Awesome Friend
HCL Supporter
Dec 9, 2017
I second what Poltergeist said about family. When we discussed getting out of California with our 2 sons and thier wives everyone was onboard. We purchased a 14 acre property zoned for multiple homes. We started developing, well, septic etc. About 2 years in I found a job and had a family meeting to say we were going first. One of the wife's said oh we are not moving this is home. Now we have been here 6 years. The other son and wife moved to another state last year. Family is important and if we would have known how it would turn out we would not have moved away from our kids and grandkids. Now we have the grandkids visit in summer and hope some may move here.


Awesome Friend
HCL Supporter
Nov 27, 2017
The Driftless area also extends into Northeast Iowa. You may find that we have a bit more leeway in what we can do here than in the Driftless Zones of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois. I would research the areas around Decorah, Lansing, and Marquette. You may find it to your liking...

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