Modern Homesteading, Rural Living, Off-Grid, Generators
We’d always liked country life…growing things…open space around us. We wanted to stay active in our senior years. Life in a condo or golf course community just didn’t appeal to us.
What tips would you give someone thinking about moving to a rural area? Make sure you really want the life—not just to visit, but to live it day after day. You may have to go cut up a windfall tree when you’d rather be watching a football game. Or you might need to check on a sick animal when you’d really love to stay in bed another couple of hours. You may miss shopping, takeout or restaurant dining, city entertainment, or big league sports events.
How much change can you comfortably make? This goes for yourself, your family and anyone else that will be moving with you.
Most importantly, you can consider buying a rural property for your long-term goals.
This is caused by the continuous growth in urban and suburban populations every year.
You may invest in a very cheap rural property then sell it in a much higher value in the future.
If you are thinking of a property in Austin, Texas, you can take advantage of offers from Paradisa Homes and other real estate development teams to help you plan and construct the rural property of your dreams.
Disadvantages Of Investing In Rural Properties
Since the population is scarce in rural areas, you might not enjoy the same quality of public services that one might get in the metropolitan cities.
This means that there will be fewer hospitals, shopping centers, or federal offices near your location.
Also, investing in rural properties can be a risky move due to the small property market in the area.
The economic opportunities could also be very limited because of the fewer demand in these parts of the country.
In fact, you might have to think twice if you are planning to loan a huge amount to buy a property in the rural area.
This is because it is not advisable to have the property rented and depend on its revenue to pay for the loan.
In addition, rural areas have limited tourist attractions compared to bigger urban cities.
This could be a disadvantage for those who are planning to invest in a property in these areas.
These advantages and disadvantages will allow you to have an idea about what it is like to own a rural property.
It will also let you decide if you want to push through with the plan to own a property in the rural areas or not.
One of the benefits to rural living is seeing wildlife. When we set up our homestead in Tucson, Arizona, we didn’t expect to see desert wildlife on our property daily.
Mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians are right outside our window. Once there was a lizard in our kitchen sink.
We’ve seen a mountain lion snatch a rabbit. Another time, we watched a Gila monster amble by.
In addition, we’ve seen a variety of snakes, javelinas, bobcats, coyotes, roadrunners, packrats, kangaroo rats, ground squirrels, raccoons, a variety of toads and lizards, quail families, hawks, roadrunners, rabbits, bats, and owls.
While Tucson is a thriving city, we live in an area of town very close to the base Mt. Lemmon. It’s northeast of downtown Tucson in an area called Tanque Verde.
There is abundant wildlife in this area of native desert habitat. We see fauna on our property, traveling through dry washes in search of prey, and when we are out driving or walking along the dirt roads and paved streets.
We will continue to update this is pictures and videos of wildlife.
Desert wildlife Tucson
Many types of wildlife thrive in the desert. Here is some of what we’ve seen.
Snakes in Tucson
We’ve had our fair share of snakes on our property, including several western diamondback rattlesnakes. There was even a rattlesnake in our pool which we relocated to outside our pool wall with a snake grabber.
No matter what, we keep a safe distance from all snakes. About half the time they’ve been western diamondback rattlesnakes. The other times they were the very similar-looking, non-venomous snakes.
A few times we’ve seen (non-venomous) Sonoran Mountain Kingsnakes on the road. They resemble the Sonoran Coralsnake which is venomous. There are many varieties of snakes in the Sonoran Desert.
Desert dwellers love having non-venomous snakes on their property. (More reptiles below.)
Mammals in the Sonoran Desert
Before moving to Tucson, we didn’t expect to see so many desert mammals. We see coyotes and bobcats regularly.
We see bobcats often, but there is one we see regularly taking the same path.
The bobcat comes out and walks under along the front of our shaded house to where we can no longer see it to hunt. We see it on his/her way back with something in its mouth.
We’re not sure if they are packrats, ground squirrels, kangaroo rats or other small mammals.
One time, we scrambled to video the baby bobcats when we saw a bobcat with her babies. They were so cute!
We see coyotes galore outside our front window and in our neighborhood.
Coyotes cross Catalina Highway, Tanque Verde Loop Road, and Soldier Trail at dusk. We see them in the washes and often trotting down the street.
Once, when I was walking behind a residential neighborhood approximately two miles from my home, eight coyotes crossed the road. They were half a block ahead of me — they just kept coming, one after the other! They didn’t pay me any attention, however, I turned and walked back from where I came from!
White tailed deer and mule deer
While we’ve seen deer within a mile radius of our home, this past spring and into early summer is the first time we saw them on our property. We saw them five different times.
Sometimes they were just passing through and other times, they stayed awhile to eat from the tops of the barrel cactus and from some bushes.
Twice we’ve seen mountain lions. Each time, there was just one of them.
While it was in different years, the mountain lion was in our property in June, before the monsoons.
Both times, at first we thought it was a very large bobcat. However, mountain lions stand taller and are larger. When we learned there were mountain lion sightings in the Tanque Verde area, we realized that’s what it was. There were several posts about mountain lions on the neighborhood NextDoor site.
We see javelinas often around dusk. Homeowners know to keep their garbage cans secure so the javelinas don’t tip them over.
Like with all wildlife, residents here know not to approach javelinas.
Other desert mammals we’ve seen around are black-tailed jackrabbits, a badger, Harris’ antelope squirrels (we thought they were chipmunks), pack rats, kangaroo rats, ground squirrels, a coati, bats, and raccoons.
We saw raccoons with a toad. My husband shined a light on them to see them better. A few minutes later, the raccoons came back, stood on their hind legs, and peered into our window. They wanted to see what the light was! It was incredible to see how smart they were.
So far we haven’t smelled or seen any skunks near our property though I did see one while camping at Molino Basin on Mt. Lemmon.
Arachnids in Tucson
Spiders in the Sonoran desert
Most of the spiders we’ve seen have been “good spiders.” These include wolf spiders and tarantulas. We leave these spiders alone — transport them outside — because they help with pest control.
We’ve had wolf spiders in our home — including our stove-top!
There are tarantulas as well. You will especially see them active at night.
So far we haven’t seen brown recluse spiders or black widows.
We learned the more residential the area, the greater chance scorpions will be inside your home.
The more rural your property, the less likely you will find them inside. This has been the case with us and our Tucson scorpion experience.
Our first home in Tucson was in a gated community — not very rural — and we had scorpions in our pool, out on our patio, and inside our home frequently. Now that we live in a rural setting, we’ve only had them a few times inside our home.
We’ve seen bark scorpions and whip-tailed scorpions since living here.
Reptiles in Tucson
We’ve already written about desert-dwelling snakes. In addition, we see various types of lizards daily.
We see them so regularly we don’t think to take a picture. Soon we will add some pics.
We’ve seen Gila monsters along the side of the road several times, in different locations in our local area.
In addition, we’ve had three sightings on our property in different places in two years.
Turtles and tortoises
When we visit Agua Caliente Park, we are sure to see turtles in the ponds.
In addition, many people are custodians of Sonoran Desert Tortoises outside their homes. The Sonoran-Desert Museum has a Tortoise Adoption Program and offers a lot of information.
Birds in the Sonoran Desert
Roadrunners, quail, hummingbirds, and hawks are a few of the birds we often see. We see cardinals, wrens, doves, and woodpeckers. There are other desert-loving birds as well.
We see woodpeckers on the high reaches of saguaro cactus. Hawks soar through the sky. At dusk, there are different bird species that swoop down by our pool.
Depending on the time of year, we see quail families — the adults quail shepherding their little baby quail. It’s common to see them crossing the road.
We see great horned owls also. Twice we’ve had mallard ducks in our pool.
Nearby Agua Caliente Park has many bird-watching opportunities. They have a board outside which lists all the bird species common to the Tucson area. It lists which birds are present year round, which are present in the winter and summer, and which are migratory. It also lists if the birds are common, uncommon, or rare.
Visitors and staff can mark off the birds they see in the park that month.
There are many bird species in Tucson.
Amphibians in the desert
Frogs and toads
We see tadpoles in the washes in the spring. In the summer, we see frogs and toads galore — some big, some small.
Some are outside our patio doors at night and some we find swimming in our pool during the day.
Common Sonoran desert toads include the Colorado river toad. We see them often. They are harmful to dogs. We don’t touch any toads (or any other living thing).
Insects in the desert
There are many types of insects in Tucson. What we see depends on the temperature, season and weather.
A lot also depends on how much rain we did or didn’t get. We’ve seen so many different insects living here.
After a rain, our pool will be filled with flying ants. When we turn on an outside light, we attract many different species, including many beetles.
There is always something interesting coming or going!
Desert wildlife in Tucson
There are many places to visit in Tucson to see wildlife.
If you enjoy seeing them in their desert habitats, you may get to see them when you visit Saguaro National Park, Sabino Canyon, or driving out to Redington Pass.
In addition, the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum is 21 acres of desert in which you can see animals in a desert setting. You can also see the pollinator gardens, walk through the aviary, and see other animals such as the Mexican gray wolf, Black bear, Bighorn sheep, javelinas, and more.
Taking a drive up Mount Lemmon will take you to additional eco-systems, depending how far up you go. Starting off, there are opportunities to see wildlife in a desert setting. The higher up you go — it reaches 9,157 feet — you will see different wildlife.
There is also the Reid Park Zoo.
Tucson desert wildlife
Our property feels very rural. Over time, we’ve set up solar, a water harvesting system, gardens, a woodworking area, hydroponics, and more.
Our two-acre homestead affords us privacy. However, everything we are doing to have a more rural experience we could do with much less land. We love seeing the wildlife and try to keep as much of the property native desert so we can encourage wildlife habitats.
It’s important to note, we don’t feed any wildlife. We don’t have bird feeders. Also, our garbage cans are in a secured area so javelinas can’t get to them.
In addition, we don’t have pets. So there isn’t a barking dog to scare away wildlife. Animals come and go — able to pass by undisturbed.
We had no idea there were so many species of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and insects native to Tucson. On any given day, we can see 10+ different types of animals and other wildlife. It’s really an incredible experience.
Desert fauna abounds here near the base of Mt. Lemmon. It’s truly the Sonoran desert wildlife experience.
What No One Tells You About Selling a Home – If you are about to sell your first home, you’re likely to be in for a surprise with the many unexpected preparations that need to be made.
Something no one seems to tell you it, if you don’t do it right, is that it could linger on the market for quite a while.
What No One Tells You About Selling a Home
For example, houses for sale in Ottawa spend an average of 43 days, but in other places it could be much longer – the ones that seem to sell the fastest usually do so because they’ve followed these important tips.
Hire a Professional Photographer
Curb appeal is no longer a potential buyer’s first impression, the Internet is.
How your home looks online can make a significant difference in how fast it sells.
In fact, analysis has shown that a home with professional real estate photography sells 32% faster.
If it doesn’t appeal online, those buyers will quickly move on.
Professional photos can show your home in the very best light to get those buyers through your door.
You Will Need Storage Space
Once those buyers start coming to take a look at your home, you don’t want to have any clutter or junk hanging around.
In fact, the fewer personal things in it the better which means you may need to pack quite a bit and find a place to store those items.
Closets will need to be mostly empty and bulky furniture, which may make your home feel smaller than it is, will need to be stored.
You’ll want to take down family photos and other personal mementos down and store those too.
And you shouldn’t just stick it all in the garage so you may need to rent a storage unit.
Show Ready at All Times
One of the hardest things about having your home up for sale is that your realtor will call you on a moment’s notice to tell you that a potential buyer would like to view your home.
That can mean that you have just an hour to clean up and leave the premises for the viewing so it will need to be in show-ready condition at all times, and ideally, you’ll need to be ready to leave so the buyer can feel comfortable thoroughly checking it out.
The bottom line is, plan on being flexible with your daily schedule and be extra diligent about keeping it clean.
Be Prepared to Negotiate Everything
Negotiations are usually part of the process – you’ll have to be ready to negotiate everything down to which appliances the buyer keeps to the closing costs.
Just because you’ve listed your home for a specific price, doesn’t mean that potential buyer won’t want to try to get it reduced.
They may want the refrigerator and other kitchen appliances, washer and dryer, and perhaps negotiate things like the inspection and other closing costs.
They might even ask you to throw a piece of furniture into the deal.
Anything and everything has a price but if you’re aware beforehand it will allow you to roll with the punches, be less stressed and more open for what might lie ahead.
The first features small parcels of land say 1-3 acres.
Most property lenders prefer loaning cash for residential homes.
If the size of a property features a large land, a farm, livestock, a barn, etc., one is advised to seek the loan to finance the purchase from a local bank that finances farms or an agricultural lender.
Rural Home – Size of America’s homes are shrinking, according to Business Insider, with higher construction costs and higher wages charged by builders affecting both city and rural homeowners alike.
Even if you have a sizeable rural home, new additions to the family, a change on your home business, or even a new hobby can require an extension of space.
Clever Ways to Extend the Space of Your Rural Home
From glass extensions to a dedicated cabin for guests or your home business, there are many ways to create contrasting yet complementary spaces that fit into the natural surrounds.
Let in the Light
Glass has been touted a ‘modern’ material since the 1970s, yet if this material has one appealing quality, it is its ability to complement any style – from art deco to traditional brick, and of course, simple minimalistic constructions.
If you have enough space on either side of your home, adding a sunroom with glazed glass and an insulated roof and wall will enable you to enjoy floods of natural light while staying warm.
For inspiration on how glass can be used to increase space, check out work by Koichi Takada Architects, who recently topped traditional brick archways in Sydney with a stunning round glass tower.
Extending Outdoor Space
Building an al fresco terrace with the help of a remote control pergola or constructing a permanent flat roof to cover your terraced space will enable you to create various additional spaces in your home.
One terrace can house three or more spaces, including a resting area, dining room, and TV area.
Ideally, this space should have glass sliding doors or moveable crystal walls, to keep you safe from the elements in cold or hot weather.
Terraces can be pushed further forward through the use of decking.
Cedar, pine, and wood are some of the most popular choices for wooden decks.
Investing in an Independent Log Cabin
Ample plots of lands can definitely benefit from a log cabin construction.
Depending on how you wish to use the space, your cabin can contain specific pictures that will enhance your working or living experience.
Important considerations to consider include the number of stories you need, how much light your cabin will need, and whether or not you will need a basement.
If your cabin will be used for anything other than storage, make natural light a priority.
Large windows, sliding doors, and atrium rooftop are just a few ways to up the appeal factor of your cabin.
High ceilings add major style to living areas, increasing volume considerably and relaxing the mind by opening up available space.
If you have an attic, you can probably raise the ceiling in the space beneath it.
If you have a stick roof, you may have to remove the existing roof and build a completely new one.
You should also inquire about any building regulations, since a permit may be necessary before you create more vertical space.
Most people who own rural homes have one luxury that urban dwellers crave: space.
By either extending your home or building an entirely new space on your land, you can create your own home office or guests house without breaking the bank.
To whiz your home into the future, vertical height is definitely the way to go, since it will significantly increase volume and create the airy, elegant look that is gracing luxury homes featured in home style magazines across the globe.
Around 50km or a 45-minute drive from the great city of Toronto, Lake Simcoe is a place to be when you think about water-related activities.
Known for its beautiful shores, clear water, and abundant fish, this lake needs to be on your must-see and visit list.
The lake covers about 52km of shoreline, perfect for swimming, boat riding, watersports, and fishing.
It is the perfect spot for anglers, from Canada even in the United States, due to its close proximity to nearby main cities and richness in variety of fish.
Only a handful of lakes in Canada have the same amount of abundance of fish species so remember to bring your trusty fishing gear if you want to encounter some trout, whitefish, smallmouth and largemouth bass, bowfin, northern pike and many more.
If you think experiencing a winter wonderland is all about visiting malls with white winter decorations or visiting a skating ring in downtown, then you need to know about Banff.
Banff National Park is the oldest national park in Canada, located in the province of Alberta.
It offers the most surreal winter wonderland experience anyone can wish for.
Its known for its icy landscape, breathtaking lakes, picturesque pine forest.
This national park has the best of the best the winter season can provide.
You can chill in the backcountry lodges and indulge yourself with some magnificent snowy mountain views or experience adrenaline in the chilling weather by playing activities such as hockey, skiing, ice skating or even dogsledding.
Remember to book your accommodation early because this park is considered one of the most visited national parks in North America with around three million visitors every year.
It should be no surprise that the Niagara Falls fall into this list.
With its majestic height, powerful might and beautifully epic plunge, failing to miss this spot is like failing to see Canada at all.
Niagara Falls is actually composed of three falls and divides the border between Canada and USA.
One of the falls and its biggest and most renowned is called Horseshoes Falls, also known as Canadian falls.
Majority of this fall is located in the Canadian border.
Seeing, living and breathing from a distance to appreciate this God-given nature may be enough but you can actually explore it a little bit more intimately by hopping in on a boat tour that will take you underneath its plunging waters.
In addition to that thrilling experience, there are many nearby child-friendly activities around and some impressive light show at night.
Victoria and Vancouver Island
You will probably be tired by the time you are done with Lake Simcoe, Banff and Niagara Falls.
Now it’s time for you to chill, relax and get your piece of mind.
Thankfully, there is a place in Canada called the Garden City, the city of Victoria in Vancouver Island.
Around 76 miles in the southwest of the bustling city of Vancouver, Victoria and Vancouver island is a getaway from all the noise, hustle and stress of modern life.
Going to the island leaves you with a number of good options, you can take a 4-hour trip by car or bus and ferry; or a 35-minute flight.
This place is filled with colonial architecture, glorious heritage buildings, mesmerizing gardens, and scenic harbor.
The streets in this city are teeming with street vendors, cafes, and restaurants.
Perfect for a relaxing but interesting walk.
The best way to get around and do sightseeing on the island is by bicycle.
The city of Victoria prides itself with plenty of cycle routes that any city in the country.
Canada is a charming country no matter the season.
They have great population diversity, friendly and warm people, amazing nature and exhilarating outdoor activities.
Lively vibrant cities, kind people, breathtaking scenic beauty, and advanced quality of education are some of the main reasons why people from all over the world travel to Canada, at least once in their lifetime.
Here are some tips that will ensure you have a great time in Canada.
4 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting Canada
It Is a Huge Country
Canada comes under Russia on the list of world’s largest countries and covers an area of 9.9 million square kilometers.
The fact that it is surrounded by three oceans i.e. the Atlantic, Arctic, and Pacific means that you will require more time and money to travel around the country.
While flying might be an easier and faster option, it is expensive.
Hence, the best way to enjoy your time in Canada without breaking your bank is to choose a region or two to explore in advance and spend your time there.
Once you are sure your country is among the Canada eta eligible countries, you can travel to Canada without a visa.
However, if not, you would have to get an eta even if you just plan to pass through Canada on your way to somewhere else.
An eta is a travel authorization and not a visa – hence, it is easy to apply for and faster.
With an eta, foreign nationals belonging to visa exempt countries can live in Canada for up to 6 months.
Its validity period is 5 years but if your passport expires before that, it is deemed invalid.
Be Prepared for the Weather
While the natural beauty and wonderful parks of Canada may excite you to your core, you need to be prepared for the cold weather.
Yes, winter never really leaves Canada.
Especially if you are visiting between December and March, you should consider packing up many layers of warm clothes.
Even during the summer season, you are likely to feel cold if you are not a native Canadian.
With these tips in your mind, your time in Canada will likely be the best time of your life. It is such a picturesque place, which with the friendly Canadians becomes even more lively and welcoming. It may well be a welcome change from the rural lifestyle you are accustomed to.
So, what are you waiting for? Plan your visit to Canada and brace yourself for a wonderful experience!
Just if you are a foreign national from any of the Canada eta eligible countries, make sure you apply for an eta first.