Soon I’ll need to make a choice.
Now that I have a car – woo-hoo! – Rachel and I need to start hunting for some real estate of our own.
The choice is city or country, beach or mountains, with some indeterminate regions in between.
The beach bum half of me definitely prefers the ocean. I love swimming, beach combing and wandering aimlessly along the shore and looking off into the horizon. It’s also the location where I wrote today’s post.
Yet gardening near the shore isn’t easy unless you stick to coconuts, tropical almonds and a few other saline-hardy species. It’s also too expensive for me, I’m sure.
So… I suppose the beach is out, but I sure wouldn’t mind being within a few minutes of it.
As for city vs. country, I’d like to be in the country. The further out we go, though, the more we really look out of place. There are other Americans and those of European descent in the cities but if you go out into the middle of nowhere, it’s all natives. This isn’t bad, necessarily, it’s just that we’re going to be objects of curiosity and, for those of darker inclinations, perhaps marks for theft.
I’d hate to lose my favorite broadfork.
Another issue with living too far out is the lack of access to medical services, which has been more of a problem for us since moving here than expected.
Somewhere not TOO far away from a hospital might be a good idea.
By the way, I finally got my cast off… and it feels so good. Here’s the update on my fingers I posted on YouTube yesterday:
God is good – all the time.
What About Mountains?
And mountains. We must talk about mountains.
Because this is the tropics, if you’re not on the share where the sea breeze comes in, it can get hot. Between the mountains and the ocean is a belt of hotter area, and then as the altitude rises the temperatures cool and rainfall increases.
The mountains are clad in rainforest and an abundance of interesting and useful species from kapok to Cecropia, Haitian basket vine to stinking toe.
Rachel wants us high up in the mountains where the temperatures are always in the upper 60s or low 70s year-round and mists come and go. It’s beautiful but I don’t know how my pumpkins would grow there… or if we could find a mountain homestead with access to a hospital… and internet!
Without internet, I’d have to say goodbye to all of you.
Soon we’ll be talking to a real estate agent and hunting out some land. When we do, we’re going to create a food forest that will blow away my previous projects.
Just wait – I’ll take you along with me. And if I can get a place in the mountains near the beach… I don’t think I’ll ever move again!
Our little family just embarked on the same hunt. I loathed moving further from the beach and the ocean but we just couldn’t afford it and with rising sea levels it just was no longer a good investment for the next few generations. I didn’t want to move from the tropics because I already had a vast amount of food forest knowledge in tropical plants and growing year round is a no brainer. We finally picked the Sebring area of Florida since it’s the highest elevation (used to be an ancient island archipelago when most of FL was underwater) and it is surrounded by lakes. It gets some chill hours during the winter, enough for peaches and blueberries but not enough to kill coconuts and mangos. The real estate is cheap here right now and you can score a good piece of land and house for under $50K.
Good luck with your hunt, may the right piece of land just fall in your lap!
Sebring is great! I used to live in Frostproof for a while. I would totally move back there if the US ever starts looking up again. Right on the edge of cold and warm, nice winters, low population.
This is one of those things where you have to figure out what’s best/most important for you and your family and what will support the lifestyle you want to pursue. It would be selfish to say, “David, stay at the coast where you can maintain your site and we can all keep following your survival gardening exploits..”
Personally, I’d say having access to medical care would be pretty important, but take that with a grain of salt coming from a guy that once cut his leg with a chainsaw…
Anyway, it sounds like both locations have their own set of pros and cons..sometimes you have to sit down and use the old Ben Franklin approach to weigh each out. Good luck to you with whatever you decide.
Thanks, Jeremy. Yep – I need to keep weighing. It will all likely be decided by my limited funds for me. Heh.
I agree with Rachel… higher and cooler. But mountains can do weird things with sunlight and growing stuff; depending on where the sun goes during the day you could be in shadow most of the afternoon. Only half the sunlight would be bad. So if your goal is a food forest I guess you need to think mainly about optimal growing conditions rather than natural air conditioning.
You’re right – it could be tough for growing in the wrong spot. Plus, some of the jungle canopy trees are so huge you’d have to cut them down to do anything and I know I couldn’t bring myself to do that.
Any chance you could give some estimates at how much you’re looking to spend for how much land? I know your location is secret, so I don’t know how much that’d reveal.. But I’m very interested in this in the future and I’m curious if a vacation would be home be feasible.
My guess is that you can find some fairly raw land not too far from the city there. You should be able to have the best of both worlds.
Sounds exciting! I’m sure God already has the perfect location picked for you. You’ll know it when you see it
Permaculture reasoning, always prefers the mid-slope, so maybe somewhere in between? Don’t underestimate what an awesome food forest, will do to an unfavorable climate. Like how you assume the mid-slope (between the ocean and mountains) will be.
I haven’t had this checked out professionally, but through observation, we seem to be living in a rain shadow. The rain tends to fall several kilometers, either side of us, so we miss some good rain events. However, I’ve noticed God sends “enough” rain for what our landscape requires. It just meant we have to get inventive with water harvesting, land sculpting (swales and ponds) to make the most out of what we get. As we improve the quality of the vegetation (more diversity in other words) the nicer the temperatures are becoming, and the longer moisture stays in the ground.
I would love to have been able to buy on the coastal hinterlands, which receives all the reliable rainfall, but for acreage they run in the millions. So definitely, not an option! Instead we bought what we could afford, and let God show us what this land needed from us – rather than the other way around. 😉 But there’s definitely nothing wrong with wanting an easier time of it. When faced with the limitations of our budget however, we went with the middle road and exploited the edges!
One thing I will say about mountains though, the big disadvantage, is when there’s a natural disaster and land-slips occur. It will cut off your access to town, to neighbours in some cases, and you might even lose some of your garden and land as gravity and the forces of nature, take it away. As someone who lives on slopes, I’m glad God sort to position us in a better area and perhaps it’s wise to be kept in a rain shadow for this region? I know we got hammered by the 2011 Queensland floods, but those coastal hinterlands, sustained more rainfall, therefore more flooding, and larger land slips as a result. What’s more, the bill to repair the damage to infrastructure was more expensive too.
I sometimes wondered why we were given such a hard piece of land to work, but when the inland Tsunami hit our State, back in 2011, I saw God’s wisdom in it. Sure, it might have been a lot of work to get success from our gardening efforts, but at least our house still stood and we lost minimal land to rushing water. I’m reminded of the man who builds his house on a rock – the water is everywhere, but it goes around him and he keeps all that he labored for. We may want to move to the oasis, but God sees the lifetime of our efforts, may require a bit of drought to survive his plans.
So if you find your budget requires looking in those places you wanted the least, ask God to show you the potential for paradise in those places. Because a man who respects God, can build paradise and keep it.
Hello. Anyone in the Sebring, Avon Park area need help with their Permaculture gardening, landscaping, homestead? I’m in need of the “hands on” aspects of PC and would volunteer time in exchange for experience and knowledge.