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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not sure if this is the correct place for this post - if not, one of the mods please move it were it belongs.

I don't believe I can officially say that we are homesteading. However, its as good a working title as any.
Wife and I have lived in metro ATL all our lives, on the south side in particular. Both of us have been wanting to get further away from the shadow of the ATL cesspool. When the County leaders tore down the Confederate monument in our towns square, because it was offensive, well the writing was on the wall. We no longer fit in with the cool kids.

We got serious in January and by the end of March we were moving 90 miles away and onto 40+ acres. Neither of us have ever lived outside a subdivision so its been a learning curve to say the least. We are both still working 40+ hours a week and improving the house / property on weekends and vacation hours. The long term goal is to have some cattle, and farm a few acres for a cash crop.

This post is not to be confused in any form with a "how to" or "best practices" post, most days I don't have a clue myself. Instead I just wanted a place to put down some of our experiences, good and bad, and share what we are doing. Sometime just writing things down helps me to think about it - So this may be more for my own mental health than anything else.

We looked at a lot of overpriced property before making our purchase. The real estate market is so hot in ATL that houses go under contract the same day they list on MLS. This place was a good price and the size I figured we could manage.
Some of the first issues are:
1) the way in is a gravel drive that twists like a snake.
2) not enough pasture to support more than two cows
3) lack of fencing for said cows
4) house is 40 years old, very small but mechanically sound (plumbing, electrical, HVAC all work but need some upgrades)

Issue 1 - the damn 1/3 mile long driveway - When we looked at the property (3 times) the driveway looked sound. The day we moved in it was a freaking mess. We had a torrential rain the night before and the day of the move. I believe that the old owners moving company rutted and loosened the gravel drive in some very key places. When we pulled in the first day the driveway was washed out in two places and one of the rental moving vans was already stuck in a rut in a sharp curve.
The retired couple here before only went out on weekends for groceries so I think the drive was not ready for heavy traffic. The first two weeks I was having some very serious doubts about the move - I felt like I had really screwed myself.
I settled down and hired a grader to bring in 84 tons of new rock and to change the slopes to help run the water off the trouble spots. (that was expensive) I have been able to keep everything in pretty good shape since then.

With the house I bought their Kubota tractor, which has turned out to be a major asset. I had been using the bucket to help smooth out the ruts and dips in the drive until I half - ass mastered the box blade. I got a bush-hog and a box blade as part of the tractor deal. The box blade was intimidating at first as I seem to mess up more road than I fixed. YouTube videos and some practice and I got much better with it.

Issue 2 - Because of issue 1 - The road in is too narrow for a logging truck. I started clearing pine off the edges of the existing small pasture with a chain saw and tractor. It seems like a huge waste to have this much pine lay on the ground and rot. The limbs I will chip up for mulch, but the trunks I can't use. I have about 2 acres of pasture grass now and want to open that up to closer to 4-5.

I have scouted some of the back roads around the land looking for a old logging trail and there is nothing that doesn't go through someone else farm. My next thoughts are to call the county extension office and ask if they have any ideas other than wasting good pine timber.

Issue 3 - On hold until next spring. Once I get the pasture space, I can run barbed wire fence on my own. Probably gonna hire help for the gates and corner posts.

Issue 4 - The house is small, we went from 3000 sq feet to 1300., Roof is good, all brick, wood floors. I want to replace the breaker panel and most of the outlets in the house. There is a serious lack of outlets and switches for lighting, I can remedy this myself.

The house has a great wood burning stove and a old school attic fan - attic fan has already been a life saver when the AC went out twice last month.

Some of the good points are that I no longer have to watch dumb assed neighbors doing dumb assed shit. We are very isolated but close enough to the next town for anything we need. At our last home I was nearing the point of slapping the hell out of a couple of stupid neighbors.
The property is covered in deer and turkey. I haven't hunted since 1990, when we started having kids, but I will be taking it up again this year. I have established three food plots and two salt licks and the trail cams are proving there is more than enough game to feed us.
The back pasture is beautiful and will be a great spot for a large crop area (almost 2 acres). I need a PTO tiller and some implements for laying out row crops - this I am still trying to figure out on my own.
So, we are learning more from our mistake at this point but are staying hard at it.
Wife has 10 chickens she is raising from peeps - RI Reds - they will start laying around October. Our dogs are digging the space and look much happier and healthier.
Feel free to comment - constructive advice is always welcome

I'll write more as things develop. BoF

15,382 Posts
I like it.
We started our country adventure in 1996.
We learned the hard way.
Judging from the description of your driveway, a 4WD truck sounds like a good investment. After back to back to back tropical storms in 2004 made it very hard to get down our dirt road and impossible to get onto our property, both wife and I upgraded our trucks to 4WD.
My wife disc harrowed our front pasture with her 1984 Ford Bronco. LOL. Remember, if it looks stupid but works, it ain’t stupid.
I fenced and cross fenced our 4 acres by myself. After a year or so I upgraded from post hole diggers to a gasoline powered auger. If you already have a tractor you might want to look at an auger that runs off your PTO.
We’ve never had money for a luxury like a tractor. It’s me, hand tools, wheel barrow and an old Troybilt rider with the mower deck removed.

Having worked in Atlanta for extended periods for Georgia Pathetic, I mean Pacific, there’s no way in hades that I’d live there.
Congratulations, my friend, on your first steps to self sufficiency.

16 Posts
For those new comers reading your post Box of Frogs, This is part of my story.

I was born in Dallas to a country woman and a country boy turned city man. When I was just two years old my parents separated and later divorced and my mother moved back to her parents home. I would spend my summers with my father and learned a good deal about city living. The rest of the time I lived in a small community outside Lufkin, Texas that had a population of less than two thousand people. I had the good fortune of learning to be able to survive in both country and city life.

After I graduated from high school, I joined the military to be able to have a way to go to college after serving for six years. I was married while in the service but it ended up costing me my marriage. Some women are not to be left alone after marriage and my first wife was one of those women. After my discharge, I went to college in Austin, Texas and loved every minute of city living. When I moved to another larger city after college, I met my second wife.

When the rat race began to get the best of me, we decided to give country living a try. It was a struggle for her but she soon made a good adjustment to it. A year after the move her speech began to change, you all became ya'll; come here became com'mer and you can guess the rest. About two years later we went back up to visit with our friends for the first time in three years and she couldn't take the closeness or the traffic.

As you may guess, we had some of the same problems you have voiced. Trust me when I say that it will all be worth it in time. My city girl wife and I spent more than twenty five years in our country life before she past away. She was the reason for me beginning my "prepper" life, although I call it the "Survivor Life". She was hooked on farm animals, gardening and weapons. She turned into a good shot with a rifle and blew away any competition with a pistol. Don't get me wrong, she still had her city ways but adjusted to country living better than I expected.

Just before she passed away, we were talking about all the plans we had and how happy we had made the move to the country. We sat many a night laughing about all the problems we had getting our place the way it should be to pass code in the city. We hauled rock with a rented dump trailer, rented equipment to repair our driveway, put in culverts, built fences and tons of other things we both believed needed to be made right. She wouldn't hear of trading in her pickup for a car even though it hurt her to climb into the cab of her four wheel drive, during her last year of life.

If you can make it through all the extra work it takes to get thing right with your new home, you will be happier than you could ever hope to be in the city. Don't get me wrong, work will never stop no matter where you live. But, in the country you will have room to breath and even better, room to grow. Your children will not have to worry about looking around every corner to make sure the coast is clear or if they need to dodge a bullet. Country folk are raised with a gun in hand and know what it is used for, primarily for food and second for protection.

Believe the bumper sticker that says "Families that hunt and fish together the kids don't steal and deal". Not to mention your kids will grow up with a little better common sense, not the city propaganda. They can learn to provide for themselves and have the good sense to do what matters to keep their families safe and well cared for.

Country life is not for everyone, but it makes sense to me and several others in this group. It's a way of life that can teach you what really matters and not what the liberals want to program you to believe. It's a way to stand on your own two feet and make a difference in yours and your off-springs lives. There is a certain satisfaction knowing that what you did with your own two hand will provide for you and your for years to come. After a few years of living in the country, you won't have to depend on the government to feed yourself or keep a roof over your head and you won't have to worry about what cloths to wear, you will know from experience.

One final note, in the city, I would go to meet friends at their house and the first thing they would ask me is, what do you wanted to drink, Scotch, Gin or Bourbon. In the country, they ask you if you've had something to eat and then feed you. The offer for booze comes after you have a full stomach in their minds. Country folk knows what's important for life to continue!
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