Homesteading on Restricted Land

Mornings like this are surreal. The fact we have all that we have is such a blessing and I am grateful beyond words. This morning while feeding and watering I had such an immense sense of joy hearing all our animals go about their ways. I started to look around and envision the things we have planned. But I want to be truthful and talk about something that has kept us from moving forward. This. County. Sucks. County, not country. We live in a county that has some of the worst ordinances. Talk about oppression? This county oppresses people with “small” tracts of land from doing anything other than having a home. And that, in of itself is a hassle too. We have 40 acres, does that sound small to you? Basically, if you have friends in high places and are part of the governing party in the area then you are golden. But us simple people who are trying to make a life for ourselves are not aloud to build so much as a chicken coop or shelter for our animals without permission and a fee to go with that permission. This is something we have not been able to understand and have struggled with from the day we learned of these restrictions and ordinances. Don’t get me started on the ordinance that forces you to pay for a service to a private company even if you don’t use said services from them. When we purchased our land, there was no mention of it and we assumed (total mistake on our part) that because this was in the middle of nowhere it would be unrestricted like it normally is in Texas. Big mistake. Big one. I was deeply saddened and disappointed the day I read the county ordinances. I was appalled. I felt such anger and discouragement for everything we wanted to do here. Then, I felt sympathy for the people that have been living here all their lives not able to progress because of said ordinances. Rural life is hard enough as it is. Add counties like this and it makes life even harder. No wonder this is one of if not the poorest county in the nation, in one of the poorest states that also uses similar rules and regulations. The policies here are made to keep people down, not to help. How people cannot see that is so baffling to me. I guess when you don’t know any different it explains why people are not in an uproar?

I come from Texas. A state that is heavily judged for being conservative and oppressive. To the contrary, it is the complete opposite of all that it is accused of being. I can disagree with some things on the political spectrum, but the overall economic values in Texas are what makes living in Texas so grand. I can think of a dozen families that I personally know who came to this country with nothing and now own their own businesses and properties. I don’t mean just their home either, I mean investment properties, vacation properties, you name it. People are making it there. People who came with nothing, or were raised “poor” are coming up in life. People of all walks, nationality, race and gender. They can make it there. Listen, life is hard. Don’t believe the hype media feeds us. Life is hard for everyone. We all suffer, we all go through hard times, we all hit rock bottom at some point, we are all humans experiencing life. And life is hard. Add living in places that do not allow people to do for themselves, it creates a life that gets tougher to go through.

I know I sound like I’m complaining. I am venting. I am venting because we had grand plans not for just us but for the community. We want to create a system of farming and growing in this type of climate and terrain so that others can do the same. Low cost, budget friendly, that can help feed families who’s nearest grocery store is 35 miles away. Of course, we want to build stuff as well for our family’s future. We are not contractors or carpenters, let’s make that clear. We’re not even farmers, but we have a dream and a vision that we’d like to manifest. We are DIY’ers, amateurs, non experienced, but more than willing to do the work, make things with our hands and do it right to our standards. Small scale stuff. We’re not trying to build a house, but hey, we’d like the option to do that too if that’s what our little hearts desire. I understand protecting people, but some things are plain over reach of power. If you believe putting a boot over someone’s head is on the same level as protecting them from themselves, well you’re on a whole other level of narcissism.

I guess what I’m trying to get at here is, I want our mistake to be a learning lesson to everyone out there that wants to do what we are trying to do. At this point in our journey we are working with what we got. We have no choice. Well, we do, but we’ve already invested ourselves here. I can make temporary structures and be happy with that, but I still know in my heart its not what we really want. Are we going to give in and take the necessary steps to build things under the counties ordinance rules? Yes. We have to. Is it affordable for others to do what we are going to do? Probably not. There’s a lot that goes with getting permission. Engineered plans, proof of a million and one things, but hey, we will get through it. I will share more along the way. We will navigate this thing together. I will continue to build non permanent structures with pallets and other free materials I can get my hands on.

Please learn from us and do your due diligence when seeking out land for homesteading. Read the counties and city ordinances where you plan to purchase land. Double check the state you are looking to move to. Make sure it is politically in-line with your own morals and values. Check up on the cottage laws as well. Do you need licenses and inspections to sell things? What is the culture surrounding the new area you want to move to? and by culture I mean the mentality and attitudes of people in that particular area. I’ve met some incredibly nice people here, and we are fortunate to have wonderful people as our neighbors, but this state is lacking southern hospitality. Every time we cross the state border into Texas we know it. Maybe I’m biased, but to me there is a noticeable difference. Trust me when I say all the southern states are “friendly”, it’s not just Texas!

I dislike having these upset thoughts and feelings about where we live. I am happy here, especially after we made the decision to stick it out and stay. I love our land! The views are spectacular and even with the downsides we love it. These thoughts and feelings are stirred up when we are about to make big moves on our property. We are in the process of purchasing a tractor (hope this deal comes through) and getting permits for a barn, shed, and greenhouses to be placed on the property. Those are all very exciting things, but I’m nervous as heck because it’s all dependent on the county and what they will allow us to place on the property. If something goes wrong, then I think we will just throw in the towel and be done. I will be honest, if that happens my heart will be so broken and I’m sure I will cry for days.

Maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe my perception is negative and I need to change my view of the situation. All I know is that Ken and I and many people in our circle of family and friends feel the same way about this. On a good note, there are wonderful people with wonderful farms doing wonderful things in this county! I want to support them in any way that I can! I think I see a Featured Farm section on this blog sometime soon?

Let me know what you think! I want to hear your thoughts and opinions. Please do not suggest that we go forward with building things without permission as we already get periodical drive by’s from our local County Code Enforcer! I know right?!

In the meantime, look at this beautiful view! Monsoon season is in full swing and our pastures are green!

Our pigs having a grand ole time. It’s almost time to move them onto greener pastures!

Until next time, God bless! ✌🏼

-Cristina

One thought on “Homesteading on Restricted Land

  1. Ana BEALL says:

    Homesteading is tough. We can work together to get some restrictions lifted or exempted. You are right. This country knows nothing about the homestead lifestyle. I’m ready to educate them. Together, with a little support from our other neighbors we should be successful. HANG IN THERE BABY!!

    Liked by 1 person

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