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Starting from scratch at 50

Posts: 21
tiny house cooking greening the desert
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Hello all,

In about 6 months time I will be starting life at square zero. I am glad that in my younger years
I paid off all my debt and didn't fall prey to the evil plastic cards.

My plan-

Buy a small flatbed trailer (optional - build a removable teardrop trailer)

Buy a patch of land 10-20-40 acres (area with the lowest property tax)(Pay Cash)

Build a small elevated housing structure 8 feet off the ground, 12 by 12 (similar to a fire watch tower)

Buy 4 -300w MC PV panels (and associated electrical equipment)

Buy LifePo4 Batteries

Have well drilled.


Well a bit about me, I grew up with a Grandfather that was a cattle rancher and poultry producer and butcher.
I grew up raising Chickens, Cattle, Turkeys, Pheasants. I spent a lot of my early life around my grandparents.
I learned to cook , garden, etc., life skills in general from them.

I was the why? and How does that work? question asking kid. I have a photographic memory that helped me
throughout the years to learn my skills. Automotive repair, Construction, Mechanical engineering, Information
Technology. I became a Chief Engineer at age 23 for the hospitality industry, 28 Industrial mechanic, 32 Director of
Information Technology.

I have the skills to do this its just daunting task of starting from almost absolute zero at the age of 50.
I am an or was an avid outdoors man until I met my wife, spent more days in Las Vegas than Camping.
My wife went on  1 camping trip in 20 years.

Found this site and started reading - thought to myself these seem like good people trying to help
one another. I might be able to give some help or advice to others. I like sharing knowledge and attaining
it, I am information sponge  and will spend the rest of my life learning till I die.


Posts: 2910
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
forest garden solar
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Starting over is alot. The emotional part of it is 10x harder than the actual physical/technical part of it.
But I know that you will make it work, keep on pushing forward, and getting back to your roots is good.

Shelter is important so building a tiny house/renovating a RV is a good 1st step.

Finding land that works for you can be challenging, just so many variables.
But once you have it done, I can see you quickly getting housing infrastructure done and then:
1) Setting up a vegetable garden
2) Doing earthworks, adding carbon/biochar/woodchip, soil life and minerals, cover crop
3) Planting your fruit/nut trees
4) Bee Hive
5) Eggs/Chicken
6) Fish/Pond

For Housing infrastructure.
I like your ideas
Water: Well, pump, tank, purification system
Electric: Solar Panel + LiFePo4 Battery
Heating: ???
Outdoor Kitchen: I just like having solar powered stuff, I even ordered a GoSun Fusion.

L Goodwyn
Posts: 21
tiny house cooking greening the desert
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Yea a Green house will be as fast as possible on the project list.

Chickens down the road.

I will be building a passive heat system at first, I should have all next summer
to get most of it done. I might do a wood stove for heat . I am looking
at an area around 6500ft . I currently live at 3000ft in the Sonoran desert.

I've been researching Vermicomposting toilets , but might just dig for septic.

Just looked at the GoSun Fusion- Where I live growing up people used to have
Solar Cooking Events everyone would show up with home brewed solar ovens.

Buy a few sheets of aluminum and get to polishing makes for and easy oven build.
Posts: 1227
Location: Chicago/San Francisco
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Welcome L Goodwyn. Sounds like you're set up to be busy for a few years. That can be  a good thing, to my mind.

I think S Bengi had a point - locating a good piece  of land could take big effort. Might want to figure on a "soft start" on you plans rather than looking for a 10 second quarter mile right off. Just so that you don't get too bluesy if it takes a while. Factoring in the possibility of a longer search also helps avoid too much temptation to settle on something just to be done - something that might be a bit too hard to make work down the road. Take your time graciously and with equanimity.

My other thought on the land is: Check out the neighbors and passers-by and "community" as carefully as possible. Even if there's a few miles between everybody. Neighbors can be way more important than the local authorities, though those certainly can't be ignored either.

Best luck on your new path,
Posts: 664
Location: Australia, New South Wales. Köppen: Cfa (Humid Subtropical), USDA: 10/11
transportation hugelkultur cat forest garden fish trees urban chicken cooking woodworking homestead
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Hello L

Such an adventure! Enjoy the ride!

Do you have a location in mind? I’m not an American so don’t know the rules/regulations/tax expenses there, but have visited the place several times. Having lived in the Temperate and Sub-tropic regions all my life, the notion of shovelling snow and other such limitations to growing stuff, for the remainder of life, doesn’t appeal whatsoever.

So, the only advice I’d suggest is to choose a State that has warm winters that will allow year-round production and less energy consumption. To coin a phrase: retire somewhere warm to die! (Grim but true)

Choosing suitable land is the key – besides the obvious things like water availability, previous use, flood affected, etc, it’s important to check with the local authorities regarding future short and long term planning proposals i.e. you may not want to live near a new Highway, housing subdivision, airport, feedlot, noxious industrial area, etc

Once a location is chosen, it's really up to you how to progress - everyone has their ideas of what should come first. I suggest a plan is the most important first step: analyse the site as per Permaculture ideals, divide it up into the relevant zones, and get planting/stocking.

Best of luck.

Posts: 1796
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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Welcome to the next chapter in your life! I made the decision when I was 52. I've never regretted taking the plunge. Like you, we had cash -- the equity in our house, to use to buy our 20 acres and start building our homestead. We paid off all our debt, except the remainder on the mortgage of the house we were selling, so arrived in Hawaii debt free. We took a couple years to find the right piece of land.

Based upon my own experience, I don't believe that 50 is too late. But I would suggest that you plan to get the heavy work done before 60. It's harder to do it after 60. I'm pushing 70 and still work every day on the farm, but I do take more rest stops.

I love homestead farming. It's something I always wanted to do. Hubby doesn't, so I don't ask him to participate. That's fine with me. We lived the first part of our lives together living his preferred style -- urban. Now it's my turn to live the country life.
Posts: 23
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Did you check out Paul Chew's post about his community in North Carolina?  It is called Coweeta Heritage School and it sounds like a wonderful place.  I would like to visit there this spring or summer.
Barbara Allen
Posts: 93
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Sounds great, I'd take enough time to find a spot of land. I'd suggest something a bitt hilly, with water source/small creek +25 or more Meters above. As it means you can have water pressure without any pump or alike. In addition you might be able to setup a small hydropower system, much cheaper and far more efficient then PV. But then before setting those things up, it is advisable to reduce your consumption.
Posts: 174
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I started at 55

So far, the biggest lesson I've learned is how much time i spent digging holes for a pit greenhouse, several water holding ranks and catchment pits.

Intrx above ground pool. (10' by 30" $90.00)
And put a lot of weight on the legs of a hoop house.

I feel like after 6 years i finally have my ducks in a row, my head is straight on my objectives and I'm ready to go.

Of course I'm only there 5 days out of 40.
Good heavens! What have you done! Here, try to fix it with this tiny ad:
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