I'd like some advice from fellow preppers. Background: After reading more and more here and on other sites my awareness increased and it came to a point were I understood living in an urban environment wasn't the optimal situation for my family. Our living situation was a nice apartment in a major city in Sweden. We had also felt for a long time that moving outside the city would benefit our young children. So just recently we sold our apartment. Problem: now we have about 3 months to find a new home. So what I need advice on is what are important things to consider when looking. We just recently found a nice property about 30 min by car outside of the city. As it is Sweden is very lightly populated and already a small distance from the city you are basically in the country side. The property is only about 1 acre. It has a nice house with a wood stove that can heat the whole house. There is a well and the water supply and quality is good. There is also a small patch (about 100sqm) of gardening that has high fencing to prevent deers from entering. The draw backs as I see it is that the land is a bit small and that it's farther to school and work then before. The commute isn't that big of a problem for us as is now but we are worried that increased gas prices will make this a problem later on. Also we will be far from self sufficient so we will still highly depend on the services from the city. Such as food, gas, electricity etc. What do you think, does this sound like a potential good starting point or should we keep shopping around? I'd also be interested in hearing peoples takes on being far from services that you are in need of and the potential problem of very high gas costs that could severely reduce your mobility. Thanks!
everything sounds good except for the size, as you have noted. one question would be how much food can 100 sqm produce on a continuing basis in that climate? deer are a resource when times are tough. they make good sausage, if a little too lean. "a good place to start?" if there is prospect of acquiring more space adjacent to this parcel, yes. if you're thinking about moving later and starting up again, not so good. your fruit trees, garden soil improvements, etc will not be moveable.
you question if you are too far from the city. there are two sides to this. yes, going back and forth to the city can make it seem too far. if conditions in the cities get really bad, are you so close that hungry multitudes of refugees going to be a problem. in this light, further is better. i don't know much about swedish civil culture and the chances of civil disorders there. but it's a question you should consider. hungry people shed their veneer of civilization pretty quickly when they see their children in need.
First off, congratulations on your decision to move! I believe you will be very glad that you chose country living. It was a very brave thing to do!!!!!
I certainly would like to help you. I need some information from you 1st.
* Is the property level? What is the terrain like?
* Are there any outbuildings on the property? (ie. garden shed for storing tools, chicken coup, greenhouse, small barn, etc)
* Are there any fruit trees?
* How deep is the well and how much water does it produce? This is vital information if you are going to be watering a garden.
* Is the price of the house so high that you will have no extra money for improvements, ie. fencing, greenhouses (note plural usage), money for deer fencing for enlarging the garden and fencing in a small orchard, etc.?
Most folks I know like to have at least 2 acres: 1 acre for house, garden, orchard, and outbuildings, and 1 acre for pasture for goats, etc.
There is lots of good information on the Buying rural property/Moving to the country thread. Many here have made that transition. MY BIGGEST MISTAKE WAS BUYING TOO MUCH PROPERTY (20 ACRES) AND SPENDING NEARLY ALL OUR MONEY ON THE HOUSE AND PROPERTY. I still had many thousands of dollars left over, but I blew through that so fast it made my head spin. (Goats and goat fencing. ) That left us with very little money for improvements. It is shocking how expensive it is to set up a small homestead.
So my most basic advice to you is not to spend all your available money on the property. In your climate greenhouses are essential, and if the property you purchase doesn't have any, then they will be an out of pocket expense.
Another big mistake has to do with the house on the property. Most women moving from city to country are not able to transition to humble country homes. I will politely say that they are "uptown girls." So the available funds are spend on upscale housing, rather than seeing the value in fencing, outbuildings, farm animals, etc.
Once you answer the questions I have raised, then I suspect many here will be happy to chime in.
My best wishes to you and your family!!!
edit to add: I thought it might help to give you an example of how much space we use for garden and orchard. I'm sorry this is in feet. I don't want to be timed out on this edit.
Our veggie garden is 75 feet wide x 220 feet long. We have 50 foot long rows running the width of the garden. It includes some flowers and a huge raspberry patch. We have 12.5 feet on either end of the rows planted in grass for easy access with tractor, wheel barrows, etc.
Our orchard is very large, due to the fact it is my Sister's specialty. It is 100 feet wide by 180 feet long, with trees planted every 20 feet. Both are deer fenced.
A meter is approx 3 feet long. So you can see we use well over 1/2 acre for garden and orchard.
We also have a big barn with chicken coop, goat stalls, etc.; 4 outbuildings; and a large shop/garage; and two 24 x 12 greenhouses.
In a cold climate both the greenhouses and outbuildings are essential. You will need them! You may not need a barn, but you will probably want a chicken coop, greenhouse, and outbuildings for garden supplies.
my experiences on moving out of the city.
i bought a smaller piece of land in 1984, 2.6 acres (1.1 hectare). i have, in the years since, purchased several small adjoining parcels and now have about 4.2 acres. (1.6 ha.)
this is located near the margin of the temperate zone and the semi-tropical (florida panhandle). i am in a small rural community thirty minutes drive from a mid - sized city (tallahassee). there is among my neighbors a long tradition of farming and/or gardening. we exchange seeds etc. with each other. farms are nearby where horse and chicken manure is available for fertilizer.
winters are mild, rain is abundant - about 50 inches (1.4 m.) per year - well cycled through the seasons.
there is a limestone aquifer at a depth of approx 100 feet (30 m.) it is semi-artesian and the water level rises to approx. 30 feet (10 m.) in the well casing.
topsoil is a rich, nearly level sandy loam to a depth of about two feet which with further depth becomes more and more like pure sand. at about 12 feet (4 m.) we encounter clay (florida ball kaolin - a good potter's clay) which extends to the above mentioned aquifer.
i am of course biased, but i think these conditions are ideal (for me, at least) i suggest that for any place you buy, you should enquire about this kind of information. size, climate, soil condition/fertility (including water availibility), access to services (supplies, jobs, hospitals, schools, etc.), local culture among your neighbors, and then price.
I don't know beans about Sweden. But I wonder if it's possible for you to rent a place first, before buying? One where you can learn how to garden, while you can "test drive" the area?
Thank you for all the great replies and kind help. The first property we looked at last week seems to be a no go. The land size was a bit on the small side just as some of you pointed out. It was also not entirely level and approximately a third of the property would have been impossible to use in any way. We really don't know what to do at the moment. Have been looking at a tun of homes but nothing has really struck us as perfect. As of yesterday another opportunity exposed itself. We are being offered to rent a house from a close relative at a very good price. The house is on a about 1 acre but this property is flat. We are seriously thinking about it. Mayby to test the country life and also see how the economy turns out. Just as Eternal Student pointed out above. Biggest "problem" with this option is what to do with the equity that is freed up. I know you would all probably say buy gold/silver but I'm not sure if I'm comfortable buying metals with all of the families house equity. Not comfortable having it in the bank either.. Anyway thank you once again for the advice. It was all very helpful and I've been thinking about a lot of it when looking at properties. I'll be sure to update in this thread on what we choose to do.
@RRJJ: That sounds ideal! Congrats! And if having to worry about what to do with extra equity is your biggest problem, then you are doing well indeed.
What I'm doing is staying flexible and keeping my eyes open. Some in a Credit Union, some in very short term Treasuries, some in PMs. I don't recommend Treasuries to someone whose local currency is the dollar.
My basic goal is return of principle, not return on principle, for savings. Eventually I do expect bank runs and bank holidays. Which will mean a haircut on any cash stuck in a Bank or Credit Union. Wouldn't be surprised to see a 30% loss there.
So I'm keeping my eyes open, hopefully enough to move out ahead of what's coming down the line, when it does. No guarantees there, but there is no safe place to park your money or PMs.
On farming, I'd recommend looking at the Biointensive method. There's an older PDF book floating around on the web about it, or get the newer one from Amazon. It's by John Jeavons(sp?), with a title of something like "How to grow more vegetables ...". Sorry my memory is hazy at the moment. There are also some videos about Biointensive Farming on Youtube (just be sure to find the ones by John Jeavons).
I'd recommend learning Biointensive, especially where you have a short growing season. It gives you higher yields than any other sustainable farming method out there.
But the key thing is to start learning by doing. There's A LOT to learn. Not just how to do it, and do it well. But also preservation (canning, drying, etc.). Most of it is straight foward, but you just need to learn how, and to learn how to do it well. That takes time.
Finally, I'd also look at farming methods from other Countries. Farmers in the Andes have their own ways which work in cold climates (although dry). One guy claimed to have tried it, by using rocks to protect the roots of an Orange tree, out in the desert here in the US (Utah, if memory serves). One local farmer came out to see it for himself, and swore he wouldn't have believed it if he hadn't seen it with his own eyes.
The point here is that there are a lot of proven things which work, which are unexpected to First World farmers. Learning by doing is the hardest part. And the sooner one starts, the better.