A cluttered homestead is what most people picture when they think of an off the grid homestead. Over the years I have joined (and left) many off the grid forums and Face Book groups and one was for women only. Most of these groups are made up of people who want to live off the grid, but never do. Real people living off the grid usually don’t have time to spend on these forums or groups. I find these groups are made up of people who put down what others are doing or how they want to do things. I call the off the grid groupies, the “rule people” and believe me they don’t belong there. Off the grid is not about rules and regulations. I don’t care what they say or how they think it should be. I live it and have lived it for eighteen years now. Many of them post about off the grid homesteads being junky or shabby looking while they are living in a house in a city, which would never allow them to have any junk or deep grass in their own yards. They are correct though, that just because you are living off the grid or in a rural area, you do not have to look like an eyesore.
When you purchase a property in a rural area, off the grid or not, often what makes it affordable is the fact that there is a lot of junk left on it. All that trash that the sellers left on it is now your trash, for you to get rid of. When my neighbor moved here, the original homestead had burned down and all that was left was the hole of the cellar. He had a lot of heavy equipment so he was able to move all the junk and trash into that hole and cover it over. Now after a number of years, you’d never even know a house had been there to begin with. Some farms through out the years have accumulated a lot of discarded farming equipment such as tractors, spreaders and other things. When the property is sold all that junk is usually included unless you specify to them to remove it before you buy it.
Yes, you can make money selling all that scrap metal. First you have to separate the metal from the rest of the parts. That means taking it all apart, piece by piece. It is a hard tiresome job. Who wants to do that when they want to get their garden put in first? If you have the money it is easier to just pay someone to come do it for you. Or if you are fortunate to find someone who wants the metal bad enough to take care of the junk and trash for you too. You don’t have to pay them and they don’t have to pay you either. Just a clean deal and make sure they remove all the trash and junk too. Sad to see a peaceful setting with a cluttered homestead on it.
When we bought our property, it was a hunting camp and had been for quite a few years. It didn’t look too bad as far as junk went. At that time the woods came right up to the house. Not much of a backyard at all. Only the area leading to the outhouse was clear. Once we started clearing it though, we found junk and trash buried all over the place. The inside too, the day we moved in we had to deal with all the stuff the sellers left behind. Like old mattresses and bed springs. We had to pay to take them to the landfill. Over the years we have uncovered plenty of beer cans, bottles, old rugs and more bedsprings. Around here that is what the hunters do….drink and litter the forest with their trash. I always know when hunting season has started by how much trash is alongside our little dirt road. I always wonder why they don’t appreciate the beauty of the forest. How hard is it to take their garbage home or even to a gas station, where they have big garbage cans right next to the gas pumps? Maybe they should be charged for hunting in the state forest to cover the cost of cleaning it up after hunting season. If you buy a hunting camp property there is a likely chance you will find plenty of garbage on it that you can’t see.
The state forest surrounding our homestead was at one time a thriving community with a schoolhouse just over the bridge near our house. Our property had a sawmill on it and across the road were homes and along the creek was a grist mill. Back in those days (1850s) people didn’t have as much garbage as we have now. A cluttered homestead wasn’t that common. They had pride in their homes’ appearance. Maybe they didn’t have as much garbage and junk as we have now, but they did have some. So what did they do with it? I figure they burned the trash and buried what wouldn’t burn. Our house is the only one remaining in this immediate area. What happened to all those homes? Probably buried beneath the forest floor as far as I can tell. Just old foundations if you look closely. Old bedsprings are everywhere though. Our dog, Nikita, hiking with my husband, Larry, once started crying loudly. He rushed to her and found her foot stuck in one of the old bedsprings. Luckily he was able to free her from it. Other animals, such as stray cats, dogs and wild animals wouldn’t be that fortunate.
Copyright © 2017 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2017 Kathleen G. Lupole