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The Island of Unloved Battle Rifles

Discussion in 'Free Fire Zone' started by KodiakBeer, May 1, 2014.

  1. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    For some years I've been dreaming of moving somewhere hot and dry where I can sit on the porch and commune with nature while sipping bourbon from an enameled tin coffee cup. A place where I can complain about the government while shooting at any lurking coyotes with various heavy weaponry from my bathroom window. While taking a dump. That's the dream, right? Plugging a coyote from 200 yards with an old FAL or Garand while seated on the toilet. I may have to spend a lot of time sitting on the toilet to get that opportunity, but it'll be worth it in the end.

    That dream is becoming a reality. I'm closing a deal on a 40 acre ranch in a very remote valley in Arizona. I know 40 acres isn't really big enough to be a ranch, but I'd appreciate it if you'd refer to as "the ranch" anyway, since I intend to buy one of those big hats and it would just be silly to wear a hat like that if I didn't have a ranch. However, it is surrounded by hundreds of thousands of acres of Arizona trust land so in effect, it's as if I'm buying all that range land. There's a couple of small ranches north of me, but in every other direction it's just range land for dozens of miles. It's in a high valley between the Chiricahua mountains and the Peloncillo mountains. The nearest real town is 50 miles away and has 17,000 people. It's remote.

    I've been in Arizona for the last few days checking out the property and deciding if I'll buy or not. I decided to buy. It's a nice little house, but the former owners stripped it when they left - a foreclosure. I'll have to put a lot of money in, but that's OK because the price reflects all of that. The house itself is solid and nice. There's a good well with unlimited sweet water. There's a number of fruit trees on the property and even though they haven't had water for a while, most of them are still alive.

    Oh, and there's an old adobe structure out there. The original homestead from back when assault rifles were lever action.

    Anyway, a sea change in my life. I'll have time to finish that book on Old Hickory once I get the house in order. We won't actually be moving until the end of this summer because I have work commitments, but I've gone through my last Alaskan winter and am heading for the sun.

    Edited to add: This house is the closest private land to the mouth of skeleton canyon, where Geronimo surrendered in 1886. About 1 or 1 1/2 miles southeast of the house is the actual site of the surrender. I'll have to hike down there and explore that area.
     

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  2. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Wow KB! Out of curiosity I just checked http://www.landandfarm.com/search/Arizona-land-for-sale/ and I have to say 40 acres seems not unusual sized ranch (you'll pardon my ignorance of such things, having been trapped in Europe for so long). Ah well. Shame we can't be neighbours and bicker over who actually shot the coyote...
     
  3. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy WW2|ORG Editor

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    Quite a swap, there, KB. The one time I visited Arizona, my nose bled for the entirety of the visit. I think it had something to do with going from 90% humidity to 10% humidity that my nasal mucosa didn't like.

    How much will you have to contend with the BLM?
     
  4. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist

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    " I know 40 acres isn't really big enough to be a ranch"

    That's a bloody housing estate over here!
    Great news though, lucky chap.
     
  5. Biak

    Biak Adjutant

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    I think anything over 20 acres constitutes a Ranch. When you start calling your place a Compound, that's when you know you've arrived :)

    Sounds great and the pictures show just how great it is! Fantastic views. Congrats and now you can decide on where to put the bunker.
    (I suggest under the Adobe)
     
  6. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member

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    Definitely living the dream. Good stuff KB. Enjoy it.
     
  7. SymphonicPoet

    SymphonicPoet Member

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    Lovely little spot there KB. Bit of a change from Alaska, I would guess. (I've not been to Alaska, so I can only speculate on that point. But one from the more southerly land where states are connected to each other supposes that Alaska is a bit different. Mean to find out one of these days.)
     
  8. toki2

    toki2 Active Member

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    I must admit that your 'dream' sounds like my worst nightmare but glad you have realised your desire. You must however build a porch so that you can sit on a rocking chair, spit chawin baccy and cuss. How big is the brim of your Stetson? The best of luck !
     
  9. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    I think of 40 acres as being more farm sized and a ranch as thousands of acres, but what do I know? The trick was swooping in on this property which is surrounded by state trust land. Being state land all around me, I won't have to deal with any heavy-handed BLM types. Not that they'd give a damn about me, because I don't intend to raise any cattle. The mountains just to the west are all roadless wilderness area - the Chiricahua National Monument. On the east are the Peloncillos straddling the AZ/NM border and that's a designated wilderness area also. The floor of the valley is Arizona trust land, with a few private parcels dating back to the 1880's and the original Homesteaders. That's what this is - a title that's been carried down since then. The property sits at about 4,200 feet, so it is relatively cool in the summer. High desert.

    I've been haunting Arizona real estate sites for two years looking for a property just like this. I wanted something very remote with good water and of course, in the range I could afford. Some like-minded person had bought the parcel and started an organic farm a few years ago. They built the house, drilled the well, planted fruit trees and put in irrigation for a couple of acres, then went broke before they could really get going. All that infrastructure is still there, though I don't intend to do any farming beyond a few peppers, beans melons, vegetables for our own table. And any of those fruit trees that survive another summer will get all the water they need next year.

    Leaving Alaska is more about economics than weather. It's incredibly expensive to live up there and I feel like I'm working just to keep up. My wife is very good with money (me, not so much...), so she's been building our savings for a number of years. The bulk of our savings will buy this house. No mortgage. I can get off the treadmill and live on my military pension and book money. The other big change is that my son graduates from college this month and already has a job lined up. So, boom, that financial responsibility has just disappeared. I'm still a few years from SS age, but without a mortgage we can live just fine until then.

    Somebody above said we needed a porch, and that's absolutely the first thing I intend to put in. It needs a porch and patio and shrubs and trees around the house. It's just sitting out there naked. I guess the former owners went broke before they got that far.

    There is a little upstairs deck that you can see on the far side of the photo above. I think they put it in to watch the sunsets, but it will make a damned nice shooting platform if I hangs some gongs out in the distance.
     
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  10. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    Very nice acquisition. I've been to Arizona a few times (usually the Tucson area), and I love it.
     
  11. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    Veranda is the word you are looking for; a gentleman simply does not sit on a "porch" to sip his bourbon from a coffee cup.
     
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  12. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Member

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    KB, Sounds like a great place. 40 acres is plenty but when you consider your surrounded by land that will never be developed you literally have thousands of acres to look upon. I live in a fast growing area and it makes me miss the farm I grew up on all the more. I could shoot any caliber gun I wanted in about any direction, always being careful because of cows and horses, but now to shoot a 22 is a task. I hate gun ranges because of the people crowding into them nowadays.

    At 74 I still do residential design work and frequently discuss land and lot sizes. Many people are not aware of what an acre is but this being Alabama all I have to say subtract 9 yards off a football field and they know immediately know !!!! And you have 40 of them . I have 1/2 of one but mostly surrounded by a park. No shooting in the city.

    Your 40 is a quarter quarter section, the building block of homesteading in the west. A 640 acre section was divided down to 40 acre plots, free in the good old days. You well know all this but some here might not. You place has a history!!

    I feel a little envy but happy for you, good decision.

    Happy shooting!

    Gaines
     
  13. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist

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    Correct. He has the char wallah bring it to him.
     
  14. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard

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    Sounds too remote for me, but to each his own. I hope you enjoy both the change and the new adventure. Enjoy yourself.
     
  15. Ken The Kanuck

    Ken The Kanuck Member

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    Looks very nice if you like remote which I do, the wife not so much. I have been to Arizona a few times and almost bought a place in Green Valley as a get away and investment. Arizona cannot stay depressed forever. I do not like the illegal immigrant situation and those who support them. I understand that folks want to improve their lives but for every illegal immigrant, the one who has been following the rules and waiting their turn gets screwed.

    Good luck

    KTK
     
  16. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    I see, so instead of rancher I should project the image of a Desert Squire? The tweed might be a bit sweaty in the summer, but some good snake-proof wellies would be just the thing, I suppose.

    Yeah, that was the deciding factor - the trust land all around it.. There's actually a lot of good inexpensive rural properties in Arizona, but there's always "something." Mostly, it's water. The water table can be 250 feet or more down, and to drill a well that deep takes real money. A lot of people just do "water delivery" where a truck fills your tank once a week. That means you can't grow trees or shrubs or... anything. I just felt if I kept wading through the the listings the right one would pop up, and this was it.
    This has a great well and the house is solid and nobody can hem me in. The downside is that they stripped the house, so it's going to cost a lot to get it going again. But, that lack was reflected in the price...

    Anyway, I'm pretty happy. Supposedly there's good javelina hunting all around, and there were doves flitting around everywhere. I didn't see any game tracks on the property, but I did come across a few of these. My foot is there for scale - it's not a dog, it's got crushed bones it. Too big for a coyote. Could this be a lion?
     

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  17. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Yeah, that's a pretty sad subject. The truth is nobody wants to change it. The right wants the cheap labor and the left wants them as voters. If you arrested those who hire them, they'd stop and the magnet would no longer be there. And I'm talking right down at the bottom - throw that McDonalds manager in jail. We wouldn't have to spend billions militarizing the border if employers were arrested.

    As for me, I'll be fifty miles above the border. Any poor bastard that staggers in out of the desert is going to get offered water and a sandwich. I'm not going to make life any tougher for them.
     
  18. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    It looks very nice but, anything without a shopping mall would be a "no" for my wife. Is there a town nearby (doctor, shops etc..)?
     
  19. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    My dad's parents homesteaded a farm up in Saskatchewan in the 20's and 30's. Now admittedly it was a wheat farm but from what I recall it was around 750 acres. It's as much what you do with it and how you want to think of it as anything else.

    Enjoy your ranch. Sounds like a nice piece of land in a spot where you will feel comfortable.
     
  20. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy WW2|ORG Editor

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    Malls are a lot like snow. They are nice to visit and look at on occasion, but I don't want to live near one.

    I can appreciate your desire to maintain your distance from neighbors. I grew up where my neighbors were not so close to me, other than being relatives. Where I live now, the houses are way too close together, but that is the price I paid for marrying a city girl. At least I finally broke her from her aberration against firearms to the point she would carry one on her person before she got injured a few years ago. She does not have the ability to pull the trigger with her right hand and lacks the dexterity to shoot accurately with her left.
     

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