New Start Up Community in Southern Az.
Posted in the Arizona Forum
#1 Apr 8, 2013
I recently read a listing on Albuquerque Craigslist that was put up but a man named Johnny who has an interesting idea for a small off the grid community on some land that he is purchasing in Southern Az. I will post his original Craigslist as on here. The hope is that this post can be utilized by anyone interested or whom may have questions or ideas concerning this endeavor. Much like the community that Johnny is proposing; please add your ideas, experiences, concerns and perspectives here but be courteous and polite to those involved. According to another email, this project should be ready to start in about 6 months. Enjoy.
#2 Apr 8, 2013
"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
I'm looking for like-minded individuals to start an intentional community with me on some land I'm buying in southern AZ. Though the land isn't large, it is out in the middle of nowhere and secluded. I'm looking to be as self-sufficient as possible so that we only need to go into town for supplies once a month or so. I'm a totally laid-back guy who doesn't want to lead or dictate anything to anyone, and I'm looking for people who are comfortable being the same way. I plan to move out there for good in six months or so when the land is totally paid off, so if you want to talk beforehand to discuss matters, that would be fine. All sizes, shapes, colors, and beliefs are welcome, as long as we are tolerant of everyone else as well. My personal opinion is that anything is fine, as long as it doesn't infringe upon the rights of others. I see this as being a cohesive tribe, where everything is decided by consensus. There are no fees or expectations, other than a willingness to each do what we can for the group's benefit.
A nice lady from San Antonio emailed me this:
"...are you asking rent in the sense of errands and favors?"
#3 Apr 8, 2013
So here was my reply. Maybe it'll help you to know me a little better...
I haven't really thought about rent, except in the sense of sharing whatever income and expenses we might have. I know the property tax is around twelve bucks a year, so that's sort of a non-issue. We'll probably need a minimum 30-50 gallons of water per month per person, so we can probably either get a deal to have it delivered or go pick it up until such time as we might have a well. Wells are pretty expensive in these parts and may or may not be worth fooling with. Here's a website for a portable, 275 gal. H2O tank you might find interesting: http://www.arizonabarrels.com/275_gallon_tote... , this should do the trick for 5-6 people for a month or so. I'm guessing that if we go have it filled up ourselves, we can probably do so for less than $150 a trip. We may even find a local willing to let us fill up for a lot less than that.
Realistically, while the land could most likely accommodate between 10-12 adults for a comfortable commune, it'd probably be a shock to me if we found 3-4 who would seriously consider such a venture. So I personally tend to think along the lines of the smaller numbers. Of course, if more folks decided to join us, we would just figure the expenses accordingly. I plan on living out of my 8X10 tent until such time as we might build a more permanent structure(s), so our expense initially is very low while we gather or make the needed materials. I plan on using solar power, and you can see a good deal on a simple system at Harbor Freight Tools here: http://www.harborfreight.com/solar-panel-kit-... . Costing roughly $200 plus another $80 or so for a battery, you've got a basic, solar 12-volt system, which should be enough for 1-2 people's use. A power inverter would be needed to convert to AC if we decide to, but you can find a lot of great 12v fans, heaters, and appliances if you like keeping things basic. Here are some examples: http://www.my12voltstore.com/ .
#4 Apr 8, 2013
I've had several people ask me before about the food situation, especially since they were not particularly fond of hunting. First off, I wouldn't ask anyone to do anything they didn't want to do, so if they wanted to grow food and not hunt at all, that's totally fine by me. Personally, I'm terrible with any plants other than grass or shrubs, and I even killed a cactus when I was in college... and you don't even have to water them! I'd really like to learn how to garden though. While I grew up fishing and hunting (my father was an avid hunter), I never really was into it myself. As long as I could go down to the Piggly Wiggly and buy some packaged meat, I saw no reason to go sit up in a deer-stand all day long waiting to kill "Bambi". That being said however, with our future endeavor, I can see me cooking up an occasional rabbit, or other small game. I like the idea of using as much of what is killed as we can with as little going to waste as possible.
So I hope this is enough to give you an idea of where my head is at on the subject for the moment. Eventually, we could have a satellite internet connection (like Hughesnet), since right now most of my work is done online. But I look forward to making our own goods for sale to sustain us in the long run. I plan on having the basic supplies and equipment to start out with and enough money to float a few people for awhile, until we can get settled and figure out our long-term options for revenue.
"I've been looking for something like this for a while. What will the philosophy of the commune be? I am open minded to a lot of ideas."
I guess what I envision could be termed "Group Directed Chaos" for lack of any better term. I've read up on some pretty pretentious "intentional communities" out there, and it seems to me there's always more ego involved than personal freedom. For me, I'd like to see a group where everyone was free to do whatever they wanted, considering it doesn't infringe on the rights of anyone else. I would imagine major things will be decided together, based on the consensus or majority vote of the group.
If you're asking what the group philosophy will be, I can only say that it will probably be as diverse as the members themselves. I'd find it rather odd if everyone held the same beliefs, short of wanting to start an independent community away from the mainstream of society. In fact, if everyone thought the same as I do, I'd find the world to be a rather boring place! Aside from philosophy, in order to have a coherent "family", we must have certain common values, such as respect for others, value of nature, and (relative, at least) peace with ourselves. Your input on this matter will probably be more eloquent than mine!
#5 Apr 8, 2013
"Is there going to be a meeting soon? Of everyone that wants to join?"
I just posted on CL for this recently, and as of today I've had replies from 13 people so far. I've had responses from New York, Montana, Louisiana, Alaska, Illinois, and Texas. If we have a meeting, it would probably be best to have it on Skype or YM (something like that). It would be easy to also start a group with a message board for everyone to post their thoughts.
Honestly, I haven't thought that far ahead and am a little surprised at the responses I've gotten. I guess I assumed that there are only very few folks willing to give up the rat race, and I would most likely just be venturing off on my own. But it's nice to see I may have company on my journey...
What would you like to see for all this? What are your ideas?
Please no inquiries as to my exact plans, since I personally have none and everything will be decided by the group. I look forward to hearing from you.
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other
#6 Apr 9, 2013
I'm planning on moving on over there in about six months, when the land will be fully paid for, and I'll have some money to get things going for awhile. My first priorities are for water, shelter, and food. So the H2O tank will be one of the first things I get, along with the solar kit, and some long-term foods (like MREs). Shelter isn't a big issue for me, as my 8X10 dome tent will be fine until I build something more permanent.
My own long term goal is to grow food (maybe in a greenhouse), gather edibles, and to hunt. A well would be nice one day, but we'll see how that plays out. Permanent housing can be made from dried earthen blocks we make ourselves or from materials we collect or purchase elsewhere. Eventually, I hope to have a revenue source based on what we can make & market ourselves. There's a town a couple miles away, and an even bigger one around 80 miles away...You might find work there if you want.
My expectations of anyone else would be for them to do whatever they wanted. We can work together and also do our own thing when we want. I personally hate having a specific regimen (wake up every day at 5:30am, breakfast of coffee and toast at 6:00am, go to work at 7:00am, work from 8-noon, lunch....and on and on), it doesn't make very good sense to me.
I guess even though I have a logical mind, I'm basically a "non-linear" thinker who prefers operating systems more along the school of Chaos Theory. I know this answer might not be the comforting "cookie cutter" answer you may have expected...("Here's what we're gonna do...") But unfortunately, I don't see life that way. As soon as someone thinks they have the next decade of their life carved in stone, they walk out in front of a speeding crosstown bus! Whap!
That being said, it's nice to make plans for the future (always with a backup contingency plan for worst-case scenarios), which is one reason I opted to buy a smaller piece of land and pay it off sooner. I could have opted for a bigger chunk with longer payments, but if something happened, we could lose the land altogether and have nothing. This way, nobody can take this land away from us, and it is ours to do with as we wish.
For those who will join me, I plan to eventually put the property (formally) into the name of a cooperative, of which each member will have a documented, equal legal share. This is very easy to do, and I hope will ease any trepidation members might have of being scammed by some bogus, messianic huckster. Besides, I'm not asking for anyone to contribute any money, possessions, or anything else, beyond imagination and maybe some skills.
I hope this rambling screed helps answer some of your questions. You can email me directly at: [email protected]
#7 Apr 9, 2013
There are so many factors in which this could be played out. Coming from someone who is extremely familiar with Arizona, and grew up there, and also owns land there, I see many concerns. I would like to address them and hear any feedback so we can move forward.
There are talks of a well. A well can only be permitted, and put into place if there is in fact a water table. Highly doubt full of a water table on remote land. If so, we would be looking at around 12k to install.
Carrying in water? What would we use to carry the water? And depending on the time of the year this could pose a problem. Water evaporates at a very high rate in the summer months April-September. With temp in the 120's in the desert this could pose a problem. Winter won't be too bad but temps get into freezing, so we will need hot water.
Local people probably wont be keen on letting their water supply go to unknown individuals. The water you get from Arizona comes from the snake river and is in no way a pleasant drinking experience, many people get sick every year from drinking it. Now this could pose a problem with health care. We can discuss that later.
Arizona is a living desert, but it doesn't mean there is plentiful abundance food source. In certain months of the year, we could see huge threats of scorpions, rattlesnakes, wolf spiders, black widows,blister beetles, conenose bugs, ants, bees, etc. All of these are venomous. There are 13 different rattlesnakes in the desert. This doesn't include poisonous plants, and other desert animals. These are all things to think about as many people aren't aware of such threats.
Hunting is not abundance in the desert. rarely you will find a rabbit, rabbit hide in heat, and lay down at night making it difficult to hunt. In the lower elevations food in the desert will be a huge obstacle.
I would like to hear others theory on this topic as well. And Iam only thinking of survival needs. I spend many years in military and see more than most people. Not that this is bad, but I have been in many different survival scenarios, and I like to have a well thought out plan.
#8 Apr 11, 2013
I'm happy to see a variety in people's thought and approaches to this endeavor. DKK, thanks for asking some tough questions and giving some feedback.
As for me, I currently dwell in Chicago and am thrilled to contribute my skills to the community.
I'm a handy-person of all sorts with knowledge in shelter building,(mud brick and wood frame construction) foraging, weaving, sewing, gardening, composting, and cooking.
#9 Apr 14, 2013
When presenting a problem (or challenge) in business or in my personal life, I've always not only outlined the issue involved, but also presented at least two or three possible solutions as options to be considered. This allows the people involved with making the final decision (whether I'm involved or not) with different avenues of thought, whether the options offered are used or not.
It's all too easy to criticize someone else's idea, without offering anything as a viable positive solution or alternative. Apparently, most folks are creative enough to say why something will not work, but are too lazy to come up with an idea of how something will.
It is my hope for this forum that we work on constructive criticism for the greater good of all.
#10 Apr 18, 2013
Water is the ultimate priority. Is there water (river, creek, stream, spring, lake, pond) anywhere near by? Precipitation? Anything. Water not only for drinking, but obviously for plants, hygiene, etc. How sparse is local vegetation? A local spring, lake or river, or almost any source of water can be utilized. How easily is access by ordinary vehicles? Terrain? Rocky? Flat? Trees? Absolute scrub? All of these things should probably be taken into account as well. Pictures of the area would be an excellent start, and one should use Google maps to search the surrounding areas from above to see what is around and available.
#11 Apr 18, 2013
Any local water source will also have to be 'processed,' meaning purified, distilled, etc, and then stored. This can all be done fairly easily, the hard part is transporting it. It will be standard work to keep the water flowing to the community, be it to the 'stored place,' or kept in various containers, etc. I have plenty of books, documentation, research and 'how-to' materials just on water. A storage place, facility of some sort, no matter how crudely constructed would be the first priority, water is life. Electical/solar power, etc, would be last on my list in terms of jobs. Access to simple building tools also would play a factor in what can be done without spending much money on this task.
#12 Apr 18, 2013
Local plants. I would also recommend that while people are handling the water situation of utmost priority, anyone who is out and about there in the property who knows anything about the local vegetation (if any) begin locating, finding, identifying, taking, transporting, and growing what grows there already in the natural habits, which might be further out and away from the local living space, perhaps outside the property... wild edible and medicinal plants, immediately starting the process of making it possible for these plants to be naturally available and accessible to the location of the community. There may not be much, but these would be the first plants to make available because one would not have to tend to them like cultivated plants that the community would likely want to be using. So whoever is freed up while the water situation is being handled could be helping set up the availability of natural plants during the season which they can be found and either transplanted, seeded, grown.
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