I have a different point of view on what self reliance is. (Come to think of it, I have a unique point of view on everything!) My husband and I have decided that now is the time to focus our efforts on our future vision of self-reliance. Now is the time because we think (expect?) the US economy is going to kick into high gear now that we have a new president. This may put rural acreage out of our price range if we wait too long. So, we have been driving around for the past month or so looking at land that we can move to (in about a year to 18 months). We want this land to be something we can use now, and will also meet our needs when we retire.
So what exactly are we looking for?
Well, self reliance to most people means taking care of your self, your family and helping out your community when you can - and doing it all on your own, without help or handouts from others. Our family takes this to another level. We consider self-reliance to be not requiring anything on a continuous basis from any government agency or quasi-governmental agency. This includes our utilities. We don't want city water or sewer services. Nor do we want electricity or TV services. (While we don't really need internet and wireless phone services for our personal life, we do need both to run our business. Hopefully, that need will end when we retire in a decade.)
We want to live where we don't need stores either. Now, I don't mind going to the store once a quarter or so, just like the pioneers did, but not weekly or bi-weekly. Without a cow and chickens of my own, it isn't possible to do that. Cooking with powdered milk and powdered eggs limits my trips to the store, but having my own cow and chickens (as well as a larger garden) is truly self-reliance to me. When it is time to 'go to the store' I want to go out to my land to harvest what I need.
Different states and each county in those states, all have different rules! I have been spending a lot of time on the phone asking questions of local governments. One county employee actually told me that all homes in that county require a continuous source of electric power to get an occupancy permit, and that solar panels with batteries (and a whole house propane generator for back-up) are not considered a continuous supply of electricity! The problem with that is the land we were interested in was almost two miles away from the nearest power line! This is such a shame because those 20 acres we looked at in that county were beautiful! Another property we were interested in did not have access to a phone line (and satellite internet won't meet our business needs).
So on we go! I am doing most of the research, because my husband is super busy with work right now. I am learning a lot about building a house on rural land in all the southern states, and plenty about many of the counties we have targeted in each state as well!
We are praying for guidance from our Heavenly Father on where we should look next. I certainly hope we find what we are looking for soon - I want to plant the apple and peach trees on our new property this year!