Author Topic: Anyone want to live in the woods, grow your own food and play computer games?  (Read 4166 times)

TurdFerguson7000

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Howdy,

I'm a 32 year old male software engineer about 16 months away from FIRE. Due to my experiences with the US healthcare system and weather preferences, I've chosen to retire in a Mediterranean climate in Europe, either Portugal or Spain. I also strongly prefer rural areas which have lower land costs and provide the opportunity to grow local, fresh and exceptionally tasty food.

Being single and not particularly extroverted I'm worried about becoming too socially isolated, which will be especially problematic as I grow older. I don't think getting in a relationship and having kids will completely solve this problem, although it is an option. The option I would prefer is purchasing a large piece of land (say 12 acres) and either renting out or selling lots to individuals who are equally interested in living frugally in the countryside. Shared interests in hiking, computer games and coming from a tech background are a plus.

I wanted to put out a feeler here if this is something that people would find interesting. Or whether you all think I'm crazy and will end up in a small town/city because X, Y and Z.

Thanks,
Turd

Syonyk

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Hah.

I think you badly underestimate the amount of time it requires to actually grow your own food in a reliable manner.  With 12 acres, you're not going to be playing computer games - you're going to be working the land, repairing equipment, etc.

Which, really, beats the hell out of computer games.  They're a synthetic world someone else built, you can actually build your own world.

Hobby farming is fine, but if you're actually going to live off it, it's a ton of work and a ton of uncertainty.  Figure 10-15 years of hard work to build a property into something that can do that, and an awful lot of startup cash.

Metalcat

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Do you have any experience with farming??

marty998

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I don't think getting in a relationship and having kids will completely solve this problem, although it is an option.

Kids generally are the best way to expand your social circle.

It'll start with the mothers group pre birth - lots of other dads-to-be wondering what the hell to do.

Then there'll be the little soccer league, all the dads being competitive over which son or daughter is best.

Then there's school classes, blink and all of a sudden there's another 20-30 more parents.

But don't take my word for it... I don't have kids, but I half expect this will be the best way for me to not be a hermit after FIRE.

deborah

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You might want to try WWOOFing (willing workers on organic farms). Some relatives of mine went all over Europe doing this. There are also a lot of community farms around.

Fishindude

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Hah.

I think you badly underestimate the amount of time it requires to actually grow your own food in a reliable manner.  With 12 acres, you're not going to be playing computer games - you're going to be working the land, repairing equipment, etc.

Which, really, beats the hell out of computer games.  They're a synthetic world someone else built, you can actually build your own world.

Hobby farming is fine, but if you're actually going to live off it, it's a ton of work and a ton of uncertainty.  Figure 10-15 years of hard work to build a property into something that can do that, and an awful lot of startup cash.

Agreed, 100%

HipGnosis

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The amount of time it takes depends on how much power equipment is used.  But that equipmnent requires purchase, fuel and maintenance.
A quick google says the general consensus is that it takes 5-10 acres to be self-sufficient.
Way less if you use modern, high efficient, indoor, soiless farming methods.
Selling chunks of land lets the buyers do what ever they want with it.
How are you going to play computer games w/o internet service?
What are you going to do for health care?

Roadrunner53

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Growing your own veggies is fun to do as a summer time hobby but when you really do it to live and survive it is a chore and can be heartbreaking. Mother Nature is not nice and will make your life a living hell with drought, torrential rains, crop diseases, bugs and critters eating up your crops. If you want to live off of what you grow, you will need to learn to can things and you will be working with boiling water and hot conditions. Yes, you can freeze stuff but you really would need vacuum sealer and vacuum sealer bags to prevent freezer burn.

Chickens get eaten by predators if not fenced in a chicken house, cows need milking every day, not sure what pigs or sheep need but everything has its issues and takes time to care for them.

If I were you, I would do a lot of reading on farming before you get in over your head. Go to YouTube and watch some video's on growing veggies, putting up veggies and farm animals if you intend to do that.

Like others have said, this will cost money for equipment, fencing, and you will have less time to play games than you think. Maybe you could grow money crops. My grandfather used to own a farm and grew tobacco. He made good money doing that many, many years ago. Not sure what are popular money crops in Europe. Here is an interesting article: http://promopress.com/HomeBasedBusiness/BACKYARD-CASH-CROPS-YIELD-HIGH-PROFITS.html

I live in a neighborhood and it used to be quiet and pretty great. I have one neighbor whos 20 something year old son is making living here a nightmare at times. He has started tearing apart junk cars and uses all kinds of power tools and has a diesel truck with a trailer that makes so much noise. I would like to live on a 12 are plot of land too, away from PEOPLE! That part sounds fabulous!

jim555

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Howdy,

I'm a 32 year old male software engineer about 16 months away from FIRE. Due to my experiences with the US healthcare system and weather preferences, I've chosen to retire in a Mediterranean climate in Europe, either Portugal or Spain. I also strongly prefer rural areas which have lower land costs and provide the opportunity to grow local, fresh and exceptionally tasty food.
Just wondering how you are getting legal permission to reside in Europe.  Usually requires a skilled job visa or marriage or ancestry link. 

Growing your own food sounds like a lot or work, not appealing to me.

Aelias

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We do a substantial amount of gardening in our little yard, which I'd guess provides 30%-40% of the produce we consume annually.  It's fun and (relatively) cost effective. But even that can be heartbreaking.  Our darling little crops are still subject to pests, bunnies, bad weather, and just plain bad luck.  And at the end of the day, if the tomatoes / corn / raspberries / whatever don't come in, we can just go to the store and buy some for practically nothing. If our gardening goes poorly, it's not like we're going to miss a mortgage payment and no one at our house is going to starve.

This has given me a whole new appreciation for farming as a livelihood.  Good God, it can be brutal.  It's a ton of work, a lot of expenses, and high stakes if you screw it up.  Especially if you don't have a built in, well-funded back up plan for if things go wrong.

And that doesn't even get to the equally challenging, occasionally heartbreaking world of food preservation and cooking.

My advice to the OP?  It sounds like you've got some tech / programming skills.   Move to the rural area of your choice and try to find a remote working job / gig that uses those skills.  Then build up your food growing and preserving chops over time.  And find some friends who share these interests.  It's extremely helpful to have others to share skills and equipment with and, when needed, to commiserate with.  Best of luck.


BTDretire

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Can I pick one of three? Nah, I don't even like video games!

TurdFerguson7000

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Let me summarize the themes so far and respond.

Theme: Farming is hard, be prepared to spend time learning and gaining experience. There will be mistakes and crop failures.
Response: 100% agreed. I need and expect this degree of challenge after my work spins down. In my experience, the amount of work farming is depends on what you grow. If you grow vegetables which are not adapted to the local climate, it's a lot of work. I'd prefer to focus on fruit trees and animals which are adapted to the local environment. I don't even like vegetables that much :)

Theme: Kids are a great way to get out of your social bubble
Response: Let's make that the backup plan. I expect that kids will be even more work than farming, and they have a tendency of moving away after they grow up. Trees find it harder to get away :)

Theme: How will you play computer games without internet/get healthcare access/move to the EU
Response: I was born in Europe, so have an EU passport. I will get healthcare access by being no more than 2 hours from a major city. And my games (console RPGs) generally don't require internet. Elon is working on satellite internet by 2025 which will make rural internet easier, although satellite internet's technological progress won't be a requirement for my living situation.

Theme: You should fine a remote job to buffer your income while you learn to farm
Response: 100% agreed here too.

As to my question if anyone interested in this kind of lifestyle, I have 2 "maybes" who wants to get away from people or enjoys gardening already and 1 "no" who wants to avoid lots of work. I don't plan for this to be more than 2 hours of work per day. This isn't intensive farming for profit or complete self-sufficiency. It's closer to hobby farming for people who like a ripe plum.

deborah

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On my suburban house block, I have over 20 fruit trees and nut trees of all different sorts. I am completely self sufficient in fruit and nuts. I also have the comforts of living in an urban area (public transport, hospital, and local shops with doctors, dentists, and other medical centres as well as all the actual stores you need within walking distance of my house). I overlook an enormous national park. You donít need to live in the woods, or have 12 acres for fruit and vegetables.

John Galt incarnate!

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Howdy,

I'm a 32 year old male software engineer about 16 months away from FIRE. Due to my experiences with the US healthcare system and weather preferences, I've chosen to retire in a Mediterranean climate in Europe, either Portugal or Spain. I also strongly prefer rural areas which have lower land costs and provide the opportunity to grow local, fresh and exceptionally tasty food.

Being single and not particularly extroverted I'm worried about becoming too socially isolated, which will be especially problematic as I grow older. I don't think getting in a relationship and having kids will completely solve this problem, although it is an option. The option I would prefer is purchasing a large piece of land (say 12 acres) and either renting out or selling lots to individuals who are equally interested in living frugally in the countryside. Shared interests in hiking, computer games and coming from a tech background are a plus.

I wanted to put out a feeler here if this is something that people would find interesting. Or whether you all think I'm crazy and will end up in a small town/city because X, Y and Z.

Thanks,
Turd

My house is located on rural, woodsy  acreage in a mountain community.

I like and commend living in bucolic tranquility.

I am not a "green thumb" person.

I don't want to farm on my property.

It's too much  work to plant, irrigate, harvest, control pests, etc.

Computer games don't interest me.

I use my computer to enhance my knowledge of subject matter  of particular interest to me and to read about current events, political matters, etc.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2019, 10:57:41 AM by John Galt incarnate! »

MoneyGoatee

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I would say that what you foresee now may be different in the future.  Your goals, values, priorities, etc., may change, and your action and your lifestyle will change accordingly.  In short: don't worry about it; let it happen when it happens.

dang1

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yes! submit an ingress portal by bgan in middle of your farm. nice durable, just make sure your sign up as a smurf

GuitarStv

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Farming becomes massively less efficient in smaller quantities.  While buying a tractor, combine, and various other bits of equipment is a no-brainer for a 100 acre working farm . . . it may not make sense on a small 2-3 acre property.  Which means that you will end up doing an awful lot of tedious and back breaking work by hand.  Over and over again.  This is OK when you're young and strong, but can become impossible as the years progress.

Roadrunner53

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Fruit/nut trees are a lot of work too. The fruit will fall on the ground and you will have tons of them to pick up. Then you will have a million bees/yellow jackets swarming around. Wild critters eating the downed fruit. Fruit trees typically need insecticides.

Do a hobby farm but be prepared to supplement with store bought.

Farming is hard work and we should have a national day of appreciation for farmers.

sparkytheop

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I have a 9 acre plot on the way up a mountain, completely wooded (mostly big fat pines and fir).  My goal is to retire there and have the natural landscape do its thing for the most part.  I have a black thumb (although, I've managed to keep saffron and mint going, and my 12 pepper plants and 2 tomato plants haven't died yet).  My parents grow a big garden and I help with labor and preservation.  Ideally, I'd have a neighbor somewhere who enjoyed the growing process, and would trade some yield for someone to take on the preservation process.  We'd both be set that way!

I'll probably end up being a hermit who travels when the mood strikes, and I'm mostly ok with that.  I'm in love with the thought of no nearby neighbors, so people on my property daily would drive me crazy.

Adam Zapple

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I applaud your idea.  It sounds cool.  If you buy in an already established farming community you may find that the locals already help each other out.  Many farming communities in the US are this way.  Less planning for you.

GreenEggs

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If you include arts & crafts with farming you'll have more fun and will surround yourself with a variety of interesting people. 


You can have neighbors that are painters, potters, sculptors, writers, glassblowers, etc. and you can all have gardens too.  You can brew beer & keep bees.  You can all share the bigger things like the tractor & the greenhouse. 


Of course there are already places like this that you could just move to, or you can try to build a community yourself.  It's not impossible & it can become a great place that continues well beyound your lifetime.




Johnez

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Sounds like a guy named Ran Prieur about 15 years ago.  Check out his website, he even tried building his own home with "cob."  Pretty interesting guy, though he's kinda mellowed out and has "re-integrated" into society.  I also used to watch a show on Amazon Prime called "Becky's Homestead" at least I think that was the name of it.  Pretty interesting, she raised hogs and chickens I think, in Florida.  The lifestyle is definitely appealing.

As for farming or growing your own food, I suggest reading into aquaponics.  Get your protein from fish (or hell keep em for fun), grow your greens on floats.  Doesn't take a ton of land, but you might need to read up on nutrients, chemistry, and fish husbandry to keep the system from crashing. 

For such a self sufficient group of people, I'm kinda surprised by the amount of naysayers here in this thread.  I'm sure being self sufficient for *all* your needs is tough, but damn a hundred years ago this wouldn't have been unheard of!  We've got all the information in the world here in our fingertips to figure out most any problem.  With some research and understanding of limitations, I'm sure you could carve out a nice life out there OP.  Trading or selling your wares at farmers markets or even the swapmeet should set you up with tons of social connections, even new ideas. 
« Last Edit: June 18, 2019, 05:41:14 AM by Johnez »

Kay-Ell

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I'm intrigued by homesteading and urban homesteading.  I like the idea of learning and spending my time doing things that make me more self sufficient over time and increase sustainability in my life.  What I've learned is that just, like everything else, there are ways to optimize gardening.  The whole permaculture philosophy is built around the idea of creating a sustainable ecosystem in your garden that requires less human intervention to thrive.  This is not the same as "being a farmer" and relying on crops to survive.  Nobody is saying that's easy to do.  But it sounds to me like OP just wants to plant some trees and shrubs and vines in a mild climate.

Cranky

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Woods aren't that great for growing food crops, though they are excellent for harvesting firewood.

I'm not much for video games. Otherwise, sure! Only I'm not moving to Europe for this project. There are plenty of cheap places in the US, and I live in one of them.

Syonyk

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For such a self sufficient group of people, I'm kinda surprised by the amount of naysayers here in this thread.

The whole "Oh, yeah, just gonna go casually homestead on a bunch of acres!" thing is where I'm questioning things.  It's doable, but it's not trivial, and just maintaining that much property is quite the large amount of work in many areas.

LibrarianFuzz

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I need and expect this degree of challenge after my work spins down.

This, to me, is the most significant thing that you said in your post.

It is better to challenge yourself and fail rather than to not do it at all.

If funds allow, consider hiring a local to help you in the first year. If you need help with the language, this will be a good way to finish learning it via natural conversation. They can help you get the land set up, introduce you to the vendors in the area who you will you buy your farming tools from, advise you on local weather patterns, and even advise you on the best local trees to plant.

They can also help integrate you into the local community. And if your little farm fails, they can help broker the connections for you to sell it to someone else.

But it is better to have tried and failed and learned about yourself in the process, to have met that challenge and been found lacking, than to have never tried at all.

MrUpwardlyMobile

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Howdy,

I'm a 32 year old male software engineer about 16 months away from FIRE. Due to my experiences with the US healthcare system and weather preferences, I've chosen to retire in a Mediterranean climate in Europe, either Portugal or Spain. I also strongly prefer rural areas which have lower land costs and provide the opportunity to grow local, fresh and exceptionally tasty food.

Being single and not particularly extroverted I'm worried about becoming too socially isolated, which will be especially problematic as I grow older. I don't think getting in a relationship and having kids will completely solve this problem, although it is an option. The option I would prefer is purchasing a large piece of land (say 12 acres) and either renting out or selling lots to individuals who are equally interested in living frugally in the countryside. Shared interests in hiking, computer games and coming from a tech background are a plus.

I wanted to put out a feeler here if this is something that people would find interesting. Or whether you all think I'm crazy and will end up in a small town/city because X, Y and Z.

Thanks,
Turd

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walden

Also, maybe get a garden and manage it for 5 years before even remotely considering hobby farming...

YK-Phil

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My retired cousin lives on her large family property in Spain on the outskirts of a little village near Benidorm, in the high lands overlooking the sea but far enough that she does not have to deal with the hordes of northern tourists in the summer. She owns an old and simple 2-bedroom stone house sitting on several hectares of land producing everything from almonds to olives and nesperos and everything in between practically year-round, all organically-grown. Completely off-grid with full solar, plenty and almost free water for irrigation because her property is registered as a farm, very low land taxes. Overall, she spends under 200 euros a month on lodging. She has a few chicken for eggs, a couple of no-maintenance goats, she "rents" some land to neighbours in exchange for work on her property or useable goods: one hunts rabbits and birds and gives her some of his harvest, another produces honey and gives her more honey than she could ever use. Wine from the local coop is cheaper than water, and excellent (under 1 euro per litre). Fish and seafood and other necessities like bread and coffee and anything she does not produce herself can be purchased nearby for cheap. Between her husband and her, the average time spend daily to take care of the trees and garden is about 2 hours, sometimes much less, sometimes a bit more depending on the season.

I am tempted to move back there too, land is quite cheap, the area is beautiful and peaceful, but as a full-time nomad with only romantic ideas but no practical experience about growing anything, I'd get bored with this lifestyle very quickly. If you think this lifestyle suits you, go for it.

Roadrunner53

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My Mom grew up on a  farm in southeastern Nebraska.  She is the oldest of 9 children.  She remembers getting electricity sometime in the mid to late 1940s.  My grandpa and grandma had an incredible and huge garden all the way into the 1970s.  Grandpa and Grandma (and my mom and her siblings when they grew up) were in that garden pulling weeds etc every day for hours.  They grew every common vegetable that there is, as well as strawberries - incredibly sweet strawberries.  They also had an orchard.  They ate fresh food all summer and canned vegetables and fruit (lots of applesauce) for the rest of the year.  They had chickens, so there were fresh eggs every day. I remember going to the hen house in the morning with my Mom to collect eggs.    Grandpa milked a couple of cows every morning before 5 AM for the day's milk.  Grandma churned cream into butter.  They didn't need to buy much in a store.  they slaughtered about one cow a year and cut and froze the meat.  They also had pigs for pork.  This was how most people lived then.

This sounds exactly how my Mom grew up but in Kentucky! They grew tobacco too and had 10 living children, some others died as young children. OMG, what a hard, hard life they had.

TurdFerguson7000

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My retired cousin lives on her large family property in Spain on the outskirts of a little village near Benidorm, in the high lands overlooking the sea but far enough that she does not have to deal with the hordes of northern tourists in the summer. She owns an old and simple 2-bedroom stone house sitting on several hectares of land producing everything from almonds to olives and nesperos and everything in between practically year-round, all organically-grown. Completely off-grid with full solar, plenty and almost free water for irrigation because her property is registered as a farm, very low land taxes. Overall, she spends under 200 euros a month on lodging. She has a few chicken for eggs, a couple of no-maintenance goats, she "rents" some land to neighbours in exchange for work on her property or useable goods: one hunts rabbits and birds and gives her some of his harvest, another produces honey and gives her more honey than she could ever use. Wine from the local coop is cheaper than water, and excellent (under 1 euro per litre). Fish and seafood and other necessities like bread and coffee and anything she does not produce herself can be purchased nearby for cheap. Between her husband and her, the average time spend daily to take care of the trees and garden is about 2 hours, sometimes much less, sometimes a bit more depending on the season.

I am tempted to move back there too, land is quite cheap, the area is beautiful and peaceful, but as a full-time nomad with only romantic ideas but no practical experience about growing anything, I'd get bored with this lifestyle very quickly. If you think this lifestyle suits you, go for it.

This is exactly what I'm thinking. I expect to get bored too, at which point there's always the opportunity to optimize what you grow on your land, try out different foods within the Iberian peninsula or, in the most expensive case scenario, cheap flights to Europe.

 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!