Our Forest Homestead In New York State

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Forest makes up much of NY state

Most people who have never been to New York state associate the rest of the state with New York City. Many times they think we haven’t even seen a cow or a tree! New York state is a big dairy state and has lots of farmland all over the whole state. New York City actually makes up a very small part of the state as a whole. New York state also has acres and acres of state forest and state parks. Trees and mountains make up much of our Empire state. I always thought we should have been called the Forest State! I have traveled all over the whole country, and believe me, have not seen such a welcoming sight as the green mountains of Pennsylvania and New York! Taxes may be high, but we get plenty of rain and our beautiful forests in return.

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New York farm land!

Our Peaceful Forest Homestead is in the middle of the state forest in upstate New York. Our only neighbors, besides the wild kind are hunting camps. Our home was originally a farm and in 1924 became a hunting camp, until we purchased it in 1999. The house is what is called a Greek Revival style house and was built in 1850. In fact, when my husband was working on digging out a room connected to our cellar, he found a 1848 penny! My treasure! It may have belonged to the smart man who built our home. I have wondered about him many times through out our years here.

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In 1999

Our small piece of land is totally surrounded by the state forest. That means there are many large trees around us. The forest is very thick, and every now and then it is logged to thin it out. At first we didn’t like it when they did that, but now we see the value of it. We have done that on our land ourselves. The woods came right up to our house and had to be cleared for gardens. All the roads leading to our house are dirt but are well taken care of. Our road looks like a trail through the woods. Sometimes the grass grows in the middle of it and I like that. The forest keeps it cool out here, so when everyone else is sweating the summer weather, our home is usually about 10 degrees cooler.

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Over the bridge and through the woods…….

We had searched for over four years for our place. Both of us loved the forest, and used to drive through state forests in both New York and Pennsylvania. We would see homes in the middle of the state forest, and say, “How did they get a house in the middle of the state forest?” Now people ask me that question! My answer is “Keep searching!” They are out there.

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Nikita in front yard and paddock in 1999.

At first, I did not realize that the house was off the grid. Then I did not realize from looking at the listing that it did not have plumbing. No running water! No bathroom! It had an outhouse quite a distance from the house though. Before we moved here we purchased a claw foot bath tub. Then a Sun-Mar composting toilet. The bath tub, my husband found at an antique store when he was out driving a truck for his company making deliveries. He stopped and put a deposit on it. Exactly what we wanted! The Sun-Mar I found in our local Pennysaver for sale, used for $200. I called about it and they said someone else had called, and whoever got there first with the money could have it. We drove right there and came home with our new composting toilet.

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State Forest

The day we moved in we found out that the previous owners had left all their furniture in the house. We had a moving van full of our stuff which would not fit with their stuff. We were trying to move in during a downpour, because we had to get the rental moving truck back. My son, Jeffrey helped us and stayed with us for a few weeks which was a big help. We had to unload the van and take it back the next day. So we had to put our things in the house with all that extra stuff. Not an easy job! So the first thing after returning the truck was to haul things to the landfill, that we had to pay for! Not what we were expecting to do. We managed to get all moved in and were happy to be in our new off-the-grid homestead!

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Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole

8 thoughts on “Our Forest Homestead In New York State

  1. I’m trying to locate a homesteading communal living community located in upper New York. They focused on the elderly. Have you ever heard of it? I seemed to have lost my bookmark for it. Any help would be appreciated.

  2. I hadn’t heard of it, but I found this for you:

    “CHESTNUT RIDGE, N.Y. — At the Fellowship Community’s adult home, workers are paid not according to what they do, but what they need; aging residents are encouraged to lend a hand at the farm, the candle shop or the pottery studio; and boisterous children are welcome around the old folks.

    It’s a home for the elderly in a commune-like setting, 30 miles from Manhattan, that takes an unusual approach, integrating seniors into the broader community and encouraging them to contribute to its welfare.”

    If that is the one you are looking for, there is an article about it here with the link to it in the article. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/28/senior-assisted-living-commune-new-york_n_2781729.html

  3. We are currently trying to get off grid just seems ny doesn’t want that. With all the zoning laws.
    We are looking for land we can get on land contract so we can get out of out current situation. Any info would be greatly appreciated thank you

  4. Do a search on Google for off the grid properties for sale in NY. There is a few in my area right now, but I don’t think they would do a land contract. Otherwise look for hunting camps. They are usually off the grid, but you can live full time on them. They are usually secluded and in the forest.

  5. We bought half hayfields and woods from a land broker over 20 years ago. Upstate NY. Only 8 miles from town. Yes a land contract. It was $28,000 for 32 acres. Loaded with trash and no road. 8%. Interest. We had low paying jobs and middle aged. Managed to pay it off real quick. Slowly and carefully we got a nice homestead completely off grid. We were on a dirt road with a power pole about 1/4 mile down our long winding “driveway”. Kerosene lamps and hauling water for a few years. Finally got solar and wind. We had our woods sustainably harvested,used that money to put up our house. Had the logs milled on site. Took us years. Purebred cattle and maple syrup from our sugarbush. 2 woodstoves. Totally independent. Amish families moved into area. They hayed for us
    and we bartered with everyone. Poor health forced us to sell. Broke our hearts. We hosted open houses to show how to do this. I write articles on homesteading. Folks who have no money and no idea what they’re doing get Into trouble quickly. Others don’t owe you anything because you want. Work for it.

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