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Rhonda Ragsdale @profragsdale
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So ... I have been planning something a very long time that I haven't shared here - it used to feel like a silly dream, but now it's my retirement plan. I'm buying land and building a home - with no loans. Lemme tell u-this scheme has taken some dedication, discipline, and magic.
I've "owned" 2 homes b4 in my life - I lost both during times that coincided w housing market problems and break ups w my children's fathers - they were both heart aches to lose. I can barely talk about it.
The first home that I bought was built for Frank Phillips of the u know big Phillips Oil Corp - it was built in the 20s and had a speakeasy built into the basement ... it was like a small castle, stunning w wood floors and amazing architectural features - huge corner lot
I painstaking restored the house, thought I would live their the rest of my life, but I chose to pursue academics, that meant I had to leave the town, I couldn't afford to keep it, rent it out, and it wouldn't sell in time bcuz it's a boutique home so I sold it back to the bank
My 2nd home foreclosed when I accepted PhD fellowship and moved to Houston and couldn't sell it, once again - a devastating relationship break up and another choice to relocate for academics
This time ... third time's a charm? I am doing it a different way this time bcuz I did it the way they told me to twice - this time, no loans. I'm buying cheap auction land and building w earth and repurposed materials. Yep ... I'm gonna be one of those people.
I've been imagining this home and dreaming of these plans since I was 13 tbh - researching about 10 yrs, longer if I include my historical work in castle, town and homestead histories. I began implementing my plan last year.
The house will be a modified earthship with attached packed earth tire and sandbag round rooms covered in on-site produced cob. It's designed for water collection and reuse, solar electric, attached greenhouses, natural thermal mass heat, cooling tubes ... I could go on an on
In studying the black towns and other histories, I could see clearly than any homesteader needed a team - so I gathered a think tank of friends w a variety of knowledge and skills sets
I work almost entirely online now, and living with no rent or mortgage payment will allow me to decline any of the work I don't want to travel for. This means I can pretty much live anywhere with wifi access.
Working online is the best way for me to handle the accommodations I need for my disabilities - it makes my life much more peaceful. I am not one of those people who "needs to get out" often. I can stay home a very long time if I am connected to the world with wifi.
I won't be fully off-grid bcuz I work and live and talk to u on the grid, I think it's fair to say social media and online teaching/consulting happen on the grid. But I do have a plan to generate as much of my own power, food, etc on my home/homestead/compound thing.
I have made agreements w various expert friends to trade various services (like consulting for grant writing assistance) and have their constant input and oversight - for example, my horticulture specialist is @jdrufus
Some friends are contributing and agreeing to help me build and grow in exchange for a badass place to come visit or camp out any time they wanna get away from the rat race, even for a short reprieve - it's so good to love and be loved, y'all.
I've had a diverse career and education, and it's so interesting how it has all led me to a plan for a lifestyle and home I can make work for me. I looked at other countries - but my family are here - and my support. I'm staying. (Most of the time ;-) )
Since I'm not taking any loans to do this, it will have to happen in stages. I've been working two shifts a day 5-7 days a week for a year to save to squeak out enough money for some inexpensive land.
It's not easy finding land with enough sunlight for solar and enuf rainfall for drinking/food/living plus state and local codes that let u do those things also in an area that one can afford without a loan or some rich parents.
I went to this great training by @Gartner_inc Research several years ago, where they taught a project management style that started with ideals and dreams not what we think is plausible or easily available. It reinforced/confirmed the way I approach my view on planning.
So when I set out to build a future for myself, I have strived to keep my ideals and dreams as the standard and then work toward finding ways to make them happen, or modifying them with what I discover in the process.
I'm sitting on my balcony enjoying a beautiful morning in downtown #Houston -I wanna soak up and enjoy what I love about city life. Within a couple years, I'll be living a very different way. Enjoying the moment and also looking toward the future has not always been easy for me.
This week I worked on a growing guide with my horticultural consultant - I've always loved my little gardens but this is a much bigger scale to grow food and things we want to use.
The growing systems we r using involve sub-irrigation and water reuse methods that handle watering the plants almost entirely on their own. It will take time to get it fully operational but it's exciting to watch it come together!
I'm building a kind of earthship greenhouse, which means it will be made partially with earth materials and repurposed items, collect water, keep its heat, cool itself, collect come solar energy while it grows plants and tilapia.
It's sounds far-fetched until u realize it's already being done - and a lot of people know how to do it. It's not that expensive either, just takes some time and research and pays for itself quickly. Greenhouses can be small too, if u don't have much room.
Attached greenhouses work best, I will have one attached greenhouse on my house, that's how earthships work but I will also have an additional greenhouse. It has a kind of outdoor kitchen in the middle with two attached greenhouses on each side.
I may have had the best cup of tea in my life just now - and I made it from plants I quickly gathered from my little balcony garden downtown - I want to live this way, food from garden to kitchen.
Some plants take years to yield, so planning is important if I'm looking at long term and sustainable. It's what I will be doing with the rest of my life. (Lawd willing and the creek don't rise as @raindawgtao says)
I feel like I finally figured out what I'm gonna be when I grow up.
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