Hello everyone! I first wanted to thank you all for sharing your wisdom - reading these boards has shaped the course of my life for years as I searched for land I could steward, live on sustainably, and someday pass along in better shape than I found it.
I now own over 100 acres in the middle of the National Forest, on the cleanest river in SW Oregon, in the foothills of the Cascades. It was a historic homestead, and the couple who originally lived there before electricity only went into town once a year - about as close to self sustaining as possible. It has abundant gravity flow water from a private creek, two springs, a dozen+ mature fruittrees, and a south facing exposure. Also an Olympic lifting setup in the barn, for those who enjoy weight training! There are 5 legal homesites on the property, although only two are currently livable. The rest need varying levels of rebuilding. There is also an existing RV or tiny home site with full hookups. Approximately 12+ acres have access to grid electricity and two septic systems, while the remainder are timbered and off grid. No cell service, no high speed internet, and about an hour to the closest city with Costco and a hospital. Below the snow line, with relatively mild winters. It is a functional homestead now, but my goal is to return it to its former glory and improve its resilience.
So, I am opening up this enchanting place to another person or persons. I would like to propose work trade hours in exchange for rent, to include space for your own personal gardens and personal animals, if desired.
What is needed? There is some deferred maintenance I would like to address. Fences are needed to transition to a regenerative agriculture/rotational grazing system. Irrigation lines to be run. Hundreds of fruit trees to plant. Perennial gardens to get established. Dry farmed trials of various staple crops. Thinning of the timbered acreage, in order to increase the health and diversity of the forest. Eventually grey water systems, a root cellar, wood-fired sauna, and outdoor kitchen. Three cabins to rebuild. When I travel for work, I would need someone to do light animal care: let the animals out to pasture promptly at sunrise, feed and water, and put them back in the barn at sunset (less than an hour per day of animal care). When I am home I will do this myself. The rest of the work could be done at your leisure, with no required schedule. If you are interested in cash work, there would be additional projects available on top of the agreed upon work/trade.
I was burned in this attempt at building community before. Found a candidate who stayed for several years, they said they wanted to stay forever, and I liked them so much I offered to rebuild one of the cabins to their specifications for them to live in. Sadly, (hard) drug addiction struck, and in spite of many offers to help, the lying and shirking and stealing started shortly thereafter. Because of that, I am thinking it would be best to start off with someone who would live in their own RV or tiny home in the full hook up site, or establish another off grid site of their choosing. Once trust has been established, then transitioning to the existing guest cabin would be an option, if desired, or even rebuilding one from scratch. The land is zoned rural commercial, meaning that someone who runs a cottage business would be welcome.
I am fiercely loyal once you’re in my tribe, and I look forward to supporting someone in their dreams, while they share in mine!
I have the utmost respect for all of the different preferences and triggers we all carry, so I want to be upfront about several things so as not to waste anyone’s time.
The homestead animals will primarily
be kept for vegetarian goals (ie, ducks for eggs and slug control and their tank water to fertigate the garden). That being said, excess males, culls, and those at the end of their productive life will be harvested for food. I give all animals under my care the most amazing natural life possible, and then at the end they have one bad moment.
Legal hunting takes place, both to obtain food and to improve the health of the local herds. However, if you are a trophy hunter or enjoy bagging apex predators, this is not the situation for you.
I train working K9s. Some of these are search and rescue dogs, finding lost people in the woods. Some are fungal detection dogs, identifying fungus attacking endangered tree species in Hawaii so as to save the trees. Some are peanut detection dogs, preventing children with allergies from eating contaminated food or even walking into a bakery with peanut dust in the air. Some are also police and military apprehension K9s. Due to this, there are regularly law enforcement, military, and police teams on my property, for day training, for overnight stays, and for socializing. If this will make you uncomfortable (either due to your personal beliefs or “illegal” activities - and I acknowledge the subjectivity inherent in that word) then this is definitely not the place for you. If you are offended by traditional masculinity or the presence of guns, this will also not be a good fit for you.
If you are uncomfortable being around people who have not been v*ccinated, you will not be comfortable here.
A drug test for illegal drugs will be required prior to start. In Oregon, cannabis is legal, both to possess and to grow for personal use.
On the glowingly positive side, if you have light construction/remodel skills, enjoy working outside, enjoy the satisfaction of seeing your work grow in front of your eyes, and want to be in on the ground floor of a permaculture homestead where you can make your forever home - I would love to speak with you :)
Please contact me via private message rather than commenting on this thread. In the spirit of positive vibes and mutual respect, if something about this post disturbs you or if it isn’t right for you - please just continue scrolling rather than bringing negativity into my search. My sincere wish is to find someone for whom this is a mutually beneficial win/win. Thank you all for your time, and I look forward to speaking with you!
Thank you for your kind words. I try to build my on my skillset every day. Your place sounds very nice and I love the path your on. We share the same values and desire to steward a piece of our earth leaving it better than we found it. I'm sorry to hear about the setback with your last homestead helper. It's sad that so many people fall waste to the ravages of addiction, and I understand your desire to prevent a future occurrence, but I'm not sure beginning a working relationship with a drug test will hinder or help. I enjoy a social lubricant and marijuana on occasion but my days of any other drugs or drug testing are gone decades ago. I do believe people should be able to put or "not put" whatever they want in their own body but I also believe in personal responsibility and accountability. I despise predators, and thieves and support all people that serve the public.
If I had gotten your offer several months ago I would probably be there right now. However, I am about to take possession of 40 acres along a creek near Garden of the Gods in the Shawnee Forest here in Illinois. I've looked at vintage aerial photos and it's been the same since at least the 1930s. It has a mix of leased soybean crop, timber, bush hogged acreage with room for a nice 1/2 acrepond and well maintained old horse and buggy trails throughout; power, water, cellular, and high speed fiber at the road if I find a need for it. However, I'm installing 13kW of solar w/ 30kW of lithium batteries, rainwater catchment, and plan on keeping it off grid. It's 30 minutes from a Krogers and Rural King. It's a beautiful place to start but I will still have much to do and right now it's just me. I just wish Winter wasn't upon us now.
I'd love to see your place. How long have you been at it ? Perhaps,a trip with the camper, I've always got tools with. and willing to lend a hand