Editor’s Note:Â After I started at Lehmanâ€™s, my good friends Tim and Laura shared that they are (at least for now), urban preppers, with the eventual goal of retiring off the grid. â€œWe just love Lehmanâ€™s. They have everything weâ€™d need at our retirement place.â€ Tim was gracious enough to give me an extended interview about their future plans, which sound like what we hear from many Country Life readers!
â€œIâ€™m 50 now, and I plan to retire at 65. The way I see it, we have about 13 years to finalize our plan for a country place. Weâ€™ve been looking at land, and I plan to buy soon.â€
A legal paraprofessional in Ohio, Tim has always been one to plan ahead. His parents were children of the Depression Era, and always believed in self-sufficiency and being responsible for oneself and to oneâ€™s family. They passed those values on to Tim and his siblings, and now he and Laura, who works in the pharmaceutical field, are continuing that with their family.
â€œI grew up on a farm outside Franklin, Ohio. I learned to hunt and fish in the woods near our house. We butchered and cleaned what we caught, my folks made sure we knew what to do, how to be efficient with our catch. I ran trap lines in season, hunted deer, all that. We learned gun safety, and how to be responsible for ourselves. Laura was raised that way too, to be self-sufficient as far as possible, being responsible for herself and to her family.â€
â€œWeâ€™re making sure our kids know those things too. They can be responsible citizens, they can make a contribution. Thatâ€™s important.â€
Self-sufficiency is a continuing theme as we talk, with Tim discussing their off-the grid retirement plans in detail. â€œWeâ€™ll keep the land we buy in the agricultural tax classification while we pay it off, and build on it, which should take us about 10 years. Weâ€™ll have a one-story modular house; pole barn workshops and we want to fence some of the lot in. Until we put the house up, it will be agricultural, which is good for property taxes. Afterward, most of the land will still be rated agricultural; weâ€™ll keep at least half of it under field. Weâ€™re thinking a good-sized garden, half an acre to start with for the two of us.â€
He laughs when I ask him about livestock. â€œI want to fence my land, have half a dozen goats, some chickens to start. Chickens for eggs and meat and manure. Weâ€™re thinking Nubian goats. They reproduce well, make lots of milk, and they have some tasty meat. Theyâ€™re ideal for the retirement plot. Itâ€™s just going to be Laura and I, we want animals we can handle.â€
â€œWeâ€™re planning on freezing and preserving most of our garden produce too. With wind turbines for power, backed up by propane, I donâ€™t anticipate a lot of difficulty. This summer, Iâ€™m going to be canning for the first time in years. My parents did it when I was a kid, and I helped out. I want to be really good at it long before we go to the country, so we have a variety of ways to preserve food. Iâ€™m getting into brewing too, which I enjoy.â€
They have budgeted both time and money for their retirement, and are currently brushing up on skills that theyâ€™ll need to live successfully and comfortably in their off-grid future.