Building Or Purchasing Your New Country Property – Part 2, by S.T.

After our move across the country and decision to purchase rather than build our new country property, we had some work ahead of us. Our home was more than 30 years old and needed considerable work. In this section of the article, we continue to review the improvements made and plans for the future.

Year 3 Property Improvements (cont.)

New Flooring and Wall Storage

The floor was updated and unused space appropriated. The original lino floors were replaced with new tile floors. The back wall of the kitchen had not been used. I installed four open shelves with the bottom shelf just above the height of my bulk food storage buckets. These shelves now hold all of the food that had once been stored in the linen closet and a basement storage room.

Remodel Efficiency On A Budget

All of the kitchen remodel was completed in just eight days. (The footprint of the kitchen did not change. No plumbing or electrical was changed with the exception of un-interable plugs.) The custom S/S kitchen unit was ordered 1 1/2 weeks prior to the day of the removal of the old kitchen cabinets and flooring. It was picked up two days after demo started. The total cost of our kitchen remodel was just $7,200.

Screened-in Porch

We also created a new screened-in porch by taking the brick carport with 3′ high brick walls and pillars to the roof and built removable frames with screen material and a screen door. This project reduced the temperature in the house by 10 to 15 degrees and allowed the new porch to be usable eight months a year versus just three months a year. An added benefit is a reduction of bugs by 99%. This addition cost just $3,300.

Year 4 Planning Ahead

We hope to accomplish the purchase and placement of a 8′ X 15′ or 8′ X 20′ pre-fabricated barn at the top of the driveway for a new farm store next to our camping trailer. I want to cut the two side-by-side barn doors in half to create Dutch-style double doors. We want to paint the interior of the upper part of the dutch doors with chalkboard paint to create an area to list what is available that day and the price. I plan on participating in advance of the purchase of the new farm store building at our local farmers market this coming spring and summer. This will allow me to gain exposure to new potential customers and then to offer items for sale that are not allowed by the rules of our local farmers market.

Even with the kitchen remodel, I still do not have enough storage area. I will be adding more storage racks in my sewing room to hold large equipment, such as dehydrators, a juice extractor, and canners to get them off the kitchen floor.

Year 5 Planning Ahead

My 5th year project is to remove the ugly brown standard-size bathtub. I want to replace it with a new smaller walk-in bathtub. (I think we will grow old.) The small area left over from the removal of the large bathtub to the new smaller walkin bathtub will be used for a new composting toilet. The current toilet will be removed and replaced with a urinal. This will provide a large savings of water out of our well and into our septic system. I also want to replace the sink vanity unit with a new one that is 10” higher and an above-counter bowl. This higher vanity will save my poor back. The bowl would assist if there is no power and a pitcher setup and bowl is needed in the future. I anticipate that the bathroom remodel will cost approx $7,000.

Year 6 Planning Ahead

The last major project is to replace the current asphalt shingle roof with a new metal one. The metal roof will be ideal for our future water catchment system. (Yes, we have the necessary barrels in case of SHTF.) If before we accomplish the of replacement roof and SHTF, we can start up the water catchment system. However, it will require an additional level of filtration. I anticipate this new roof will cost approximately $4,000.

Additionally, this year we’d like to install a wood burning stove in the living room on the main floor. This will entail a stove pipe through the roof. I anticipate this will cost approx $4,000.

Other things we would like to build and add, depending on available money

I would love to add interior and exterior shutters to every window for security.

Thinking of building or buying? Some things to consider:

Remember that with each year, you will be a year older. At some point in time, you may need handicap features in the home. Or that older family members may need to move in and they may need handicap features. When you plan new construction or any and all upgrades you need to consider this.

Consider that in the future you may be processing a large amount of fish and game in your kitchen along with substantial amounts of canning foods. Do you really want to be processing dear or moose on a $5,000 marble countertop or would you rather have a commercial stainless steel kitchen for processing with easy cleanup.

You will need the proper storage space to hold a large amount of home canned foods and other items you intend to store. If you are purchasing an already built home, consider if there is an area where a root cellar close to the house could be built.

You will need lots of storage space to hold gardening tools, and if you are in a very cold snow area you will need storage for snow removal equipment. For me, for now, the snow removal equipment is stored inside of the kitchen door.


The biggest adjustment for me has been food. Here, in the Appalachian Mountains, there is no such thing as a good taco or salsa. There are foods that I have had to learn to cook, such as pork with sauerkraut, which is a traditional meal served on New Year’s Day. The local meat market butcher has never heard of a Tri Tip cut of meat.

On the country roads, other drivers and people outside will wave. You must wave back.

When you are on a well and have an interior water storage tank, you can not wash clothes or take a shower or wash dishes at the same time. So I have had to schedule items and times.

Final Thoughts:

The most important item I feel in moving to your new country property is being invisible. The main way to become invisible is to move to a small poor county that does not have enough money or the desire to have the county websites where any person can search names, deeds, mortgage documents, or read court transcripts. It’s also good not having a land-line telephone (with the only phones being Walmart Tracfones).

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been part two of a two part entry for Round 70 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate that is good for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chrome-lined barrel and a hard case to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel, which can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. An infrared sensor/imaging camouflage shelter from Snakebite Tactical in Eureka, Montana (A $350+ value),
  6. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  7. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  8. Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value).

Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by,
  7. A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  8. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
  9. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A custom made Sage Grouse model utility/field knife from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
  3. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  4. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  5. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  6. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  7. Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a $125 Montie gear Gift certificate.,
  8. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from (a $240 value), and

Round 70 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.


  1. RE: shelving. Don’t overlook restaurant-style wire rack shelving. It’s available in a wide range of shelf sizes and support pole heights, shelves spacing is adjustable in 1-inch increment, and holds a lot of weight per shelf. New, it’s expensive, but when a restaurant goes out of business fixtures can often be purchased very cheaply.

    Pro tip: Pay attention to what floor is under the shelves, and put doubled 2X6 or 2X8 supports as “extended feet” under the bottom pairs of the corner poles to spread the load on the floor. It’s not at all hard to load a 48X18 unit with 6 shelves with 1200 pounds of 5 gallon water bottles.

  2. Pass on the compost toilet. If your septic held up for the fifteen years just continue to treat it right and you’ll be fine. After having lived with a high quality composter there was no single better upgrade then the day the septic went in. I would use an outhouse before I went back to a compost toilet. If you do happen to do it though the urinal will be a detriment to the composter as it needs the liquids to break down the solids. Good luck. I’ve enjoyed the read.

  3. Urine ought not be mixed in a composter… too much ammonia. if you require liquid, use a little (un-chlorinated) water to get the humidity right.

  4. A comment on “with each year, you will be a year older. At some point in time, you may need handicap features in the home.”
    Seven years ago my wife was in an accident breaking her lower back and is now a paraplegic, so it is not just aging you should think about. We had to modify our house with ramps and a roll-in shower. We have also had to modify some doorways so she can get her wheelchair thru them.
    If you are planning on staying in your home for the rest of your life, consider wide door openings (i.e. 36″) and create a complete living space on one accessible floor. Even lower counter tops so you can cook from a wheelchair.

  5. Thanks for the article I’ve enjoyed it. My sister is currently moving just down the road from our father in middle Tennessee. She purchased an old home a quarter mile or so down the road. The house is a complete re-do on the inside and will take time and a lot of what you are mentioning is similar to what she’ll be doing. The man that built this house lived a self-subsistence lifestyle who hunted and grew his own food, canned a lot of things and did this while taking care of his paraplegic daughter. Myself, being raised in the hills of Tennessee thought everyone waved in passing. It wasn’t until we moved away that I learned differently. Oh and as you’ve likely found out by now, dinner is the main meal of the day and can be at lunch time. It isn’t always in the evening. Just mentioning it in case you are invited over for Sunday dinner. Thanks again for the article.

  6. Just a comment on walk-in bathtubs- years ago, I worked at a retirement community and one of our residents had one installed. Seemed like a great idea, until the drain clogged. If you have trouble stepping over a normal tub, you won’t be stepping over these. Can’t open the door, you’ll just dump 60 gallons on your floor. She had to pull the “call for help” cord and wrap herself in a shower curtain while we cleared the drain. So keep that in mind. At least keep a plunger within reach.

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