Dream Big, Work Smart – We Got Our Farm

Farm 1
Up until this point I’ve felt rather constricted as to what I could do on my property. Being an Urban Farmer kinda blows… space is at a premium, you always have to tread lightly so the neighbors don’t bitch about what you’re doing, and it is difficult to store useful materials without looking like you belong on an episode of Hoarders Buried Alive. We needed more land.

After years of conversations and dozens of projects later I had my family convinced to go in on purchasing land with me. Buying property with other people is a double-edge sword. The price per person dramatically decreases which makes it much more attainable, however you have to deal with your family.

My family was very picky about the location and the specifics. Jules and I found a great spot, but the road was bad. The next place was too far away and so on and so on. It’s easy to be picky when you aren’t the one having to scour the internet, have nonstop correspondence with realtors, and driving out to the middle of nowhere while gas prices are higher than Snoop Dog.

After months of searching we finally found the one. It happened just by chance as Julie and I were driving to see another piece of land. Julie and I picked up a flyer on our way out and took a quick look at the specifics as I buckled my seatbelt, expecting to see some outrageous bullshit but then then stopped. They were asking $59k. This was doable. I looked upward from the flyer at the property and my brain was already analyzing the terrain to see where I could make a pond, dig in garden beds, and build a home. I unbuckled and got back out of the car.

There was crap strewn through the landscape, quite literally in one case as the remnants of an outhouse lie there on its side. Some of the materials I’d be able to repurpose, other stuff would need to go to the dump.

farm 2 outhouse
An old outhouse lying on the property.

The land itself starts rather flat and then has several shelfs on the side of a ridgeline. I walked up the ridgeline, trying not to get too excited. If this ridge was on the property line I could install a zipline across the entire property. How AWESOME would that be?! “Honey I’m going to go feed the animals,” zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

I told this idea to some of my friends and their first thought was, “But how will you get back up?”

I just told you I’m going to have a zipline on my own property and the first thing you think of is that? Let’s problem solve… I’ll just walk back up.

After speaking with the realtor we found out the zipline hill was indeed part of the property. The dream was beginning to take shape.

farm 4 rock features on property
The property has several really cool rock features jutting out of the ridge. Looks like a great spot for a zip line!


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I digress. We had a good amount of money pooled but it would tap most of our liquid funds which would make it impossible for us to build or improve the property for some time. If you aren’t aware it is difficult to get a loan on bare land because it isn’t seen as being a liquid or profitable investment.

Instead of going through the bank my grandma agreed to spot us the money for a loan so that we could purchase it outright. This allowed us to buy the property without any loan fees with a bank and for us to keep the money within our family by paying my grandma interest instead of a corporate fat cat. For those of you that participated in the Occupy Movement, this is the method to hurt the banks, not through sitting in a park. You hit them where they feel it, in their wallets.

Sorry, just wanted to make sure my soapbox still worked.

We ended up getting 22 acres in Eastern Washington for $42,000. Julie negotiated a monster bargain! There is a well on the property and power access. The parcel is comprised of 3 lots so we can easily and legally build three separate living structures should we choose.

farm 3 view from ridge
You can see just how much land we have to work with here when you use my car (top of photo) as a reference point.

The deal was in the process of closing when we found out the neighbor had a fire that got out of control and had raged across our property. I was out of the state when it occurred at my survival school and remember thinking “Are you serious? A fire?” This is the shit you don’t even fathom during the land buying process.

I’m sure you can imagine all the legal crap that was to follow in American, the land of “I will sue you for spilling a drink on myself.” Overall this wasn’t a deal breaker, just a pain in the ass.

We officially closed earlier this week. My family now has a blank slate and I have the acreage I need to gear my projects up to a whole new level. I’m getting pumped just thinking about it. With this deal I’ll finally have the time to conduct research, money to conduct my experiments, and resources to bring my families dreams into fruition… and make no mistake WE DREAM BIG.

Julie intends on using her medical background to start a non-profit to do relief work overseas while I tag along to help setup permaculture food systems in the area.

For those of you that keep sending positive thoughts our way I really appreciate it. It helps keep me going on the downer days… like when a fire rolls through my property in the middle of closing.

Thanks again and stay tuned.

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2 comments

  1. You two did a fantastic job! A great price and you avoided a big risk by buying property with an established well. And I fully support the zip line. It saves time and energy and provides a much-neglected area of preparedness: Squeee Generation.

    The varied/terraced terrain offers so many opportunities.

    Our family is a few steps behind you. Don’t be shy about written agreements to keep things friendly.
    Congratulations!

    • Thanks Michelle. I’m pumped. The dream is becoming reality while the naysayers seem to be vanishing.

      The terrain is awesome. We have some big ideas for it. I drew up some agreements for the fam to ensure we are all on the same page.

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