So We’ve Gone Galt

31 03 2013

As you may have heard, the Basterds bought a farm somewhere on the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee, an area dubbed the “Redoubt of the East” by none other than M.D. Creekmore over on his survivalist blog, so I guess this means we intuitively “done good” and picked the perfect place to bug…and stay bugged…out.

If you just need the short version of the story: I sold some property, we bought land in Tennessee, we left our jobs, we moved out of the rat race that is Atlanta, and we’re going to be farmers. If you want the details, read on…

For awhile there we talked of really bugging out to Ecuador where we could buy land cheaply, hopefully with existing crops and existing buyers, but thankfully the rose colored glasses came off and we rethought the reality of such an extreme move. That, and the fact that the mosquitoes there carry every horrible disease they can, I’m allergic to them, and I’d probably drop dead the moment I stepped off the plane when one infected me (it’s not that I’m a wimp or anything, I just happen to have the sweetest blood imaginable and mosquitoes love me. I could take a bath in DDT and they wouldn’t care.)

So, what does it mean that we’ve “gone Galt”, and how did we do it?

Well, we happened to find this particular place by doing a little research in the areas that were close enough to Atlanta for Snarky to get the kids. We had certain criteria that had to be met or we’d keep looking or even stay put: the property (or at least the house) had to be out of the view of neighbors…not because we run around naked in the yard doing rain dances or anything, but because we just    want   to   be   left   alone; it had to be tillable land on which we could, at the very least, sustain ourselves, or better yet, grow enough to sell; it had to have a house on the property but how much house wasn’t an issue – we were willing to take a lesser house for more land; and the sale price had to be less than $250,000.

With that, Snarky sent me a list of at least 30 properties in Georgia and Tennessee and I, naturally, started at the bottom in order to work my way up the list. I was in love with the second property and it was this picture that hooked me: Side Yard

Hooked is one thing, but looking is another. I think it took us a few months to actually look at the place (we were preoccupied with thoughts of leaving the country entirely) and it was a last minute decision to hang out in Chattanooga for the weekend. I called the listing agent but didn’t leave a message because answer your phone, yo. Impatiently, I called the main office and they told me to call him back on his home phone. Blah, blah, blah, so I did and his wife told me he could call me back after 1 p.m. when he was back from a training class. “Great, we’ve got an amateur”, my pessimistic brain told me, but I settled down and waited.

At 1 a heavily-accented Southern man called (“we’re not in Cali anymore, Toto”) and we arranged to meet the next day. I’m still learning about Southern ways but after spending time with our agent, Van, I think I’m catching the pulse of this place. Southerners tend to be story tellers. They may not be the next Carson McCullers or Tennessee Williams but they still have something to say and they’re going to say it and there will be no interrupting them, changing the topic in mid-stream, or, least of all, getting them to stop all together before the tale is told (if you can get a word in edge-wise.) Their slow manner of speaking makes one think Southerners are slow thinkers but don’t be fooled; just because they don’t speak in rapid-fire New York-ese doesn’t mean they’re not three steps ahead of you. The complete learning will be a lifetime but there’s nothing like spending a full day with a Southerner to get a jump start.

With that said, Van drove us through the local downtown, pointing out various points of interest with an ongoing monologue of what the terrain was like (“You got this valley, then this big plateau, then another big valley, then another plateau, then Nashville beyond that”), what happened where (“Have ya ever heard of the Scopes – Monkey trial? Well, right thar is where it was held”), and local hot spots. Oh wait, there aren’t any.

After driving us past several properties, it was time to see “Ellen’s place”. Just 1/8 of a mile off “the main drag” and down a 1/4-mile or so gravel drive, I could barely contain myself when we pulled into the driveway (“driveway” being a subjective term…this is the country, ya know); Van got out to go see Ellen and I looked at Snarky with widened eyes and a big smile.

He said, “Do you hear that?”

“What?”

“Absolutely nothing.” (Well, there was an expletive in between “absolutely” and “nothing” but I’ll leave that out).

Being a wonderfully foggy January day, all sound was eliminated…the peace was deafening. I was in love.

The house was cute (bigger than I imagined), the fields are perfect, the soil is black, we can’t see any neighbors (we don’t really have any), and the garden is going to be amazing once this long winter gets over and everything starts to bloom.

Needless to say we went back two weeks later to make sure we still loved it and made an offer; after a little wrangling we came to an agreement…27 acres, complete with a two-bedroom house, small pole barn, 4 fields, acres of hardwood to harvest, and a tractor and other equipment, was going to be ours come March 15 for the bargain price of $162,000!

As for the “we left our jobs” part, we both had had enough of corporate America and the uselessness of our positions; I announced my retirement to my company and Snarky left his job of seven years (more on those tales in other posts).

What does “we’ve gone Galt” mean? We’re starving the beast as much as possible by:

  • Not paying into the system via income/payroll taxes.
  • Purchasing as little as possible and, when we do have to purchase a taxable item, we look for it first online where we don’t have to pay taxes.
  • We’re not driving long distances for jobs we hate (spending huge amounts on gas and vehicle maintenance).
  • We’re raising our own food (or will be), thereby paying even less into the system and eventually making money from what we raise.
  • We are “on strike against the creed of unearned rewards and unrewarded duties.”

We plan to share everything about our adventure here, both good and bad, successes and mistakes. Join us on this journey and perhaps you’ll find a path of your own.

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3 responses

31 03 2013
midatlanticcooking

It’s kind of like Ayn Rand meets Thoreau

1 04 2013
Suzi Basterd

You have no idea how perfect that comment is…we’ve actually moved up to Walden’s Ridge.

24 06 2013
samsung行動電源

I wish to use some of the content materials on my weblog. Naturally I’ll provide you with a hyperlink on my net blog. Thanks for sharing.

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