I figured I'd go ahead and start making a diary of sorts. I've finally gotten some money, and I'm looking for that deforested piece of land. I hope to buy this land outright and not have to take out a loan, we'll see. So, with permaculture in mind, I've added a few more restrictions to the list: 1) 210ft + above sea level. Worse case scenario that I've seen is a rise of 70 meters in sea level. I don't want this property under water in 86 years. I'm looking very far ahead. 2) Out of hurricane range even with a 210ft sea level rise. Personally, I'm sick of hurricanes and hurricane season in general. I can see why fishermen and farmers would live in the Greater New Orleans area, but urbanization is/was silly. Funny how you figure these things out after you buy a house. 3) Not in a tornado hot spot. So far scientists haven't found any link between climate change and tornadoes. So I can only go with what I have and I don't want to rebuild every 10 years or so. 4) Not in a flood zone. I don't want to be at the bottom of a watershed or close to any creek that would flood a homesite on a regular basis. This may be tricky since I can't control what happens off my property. 5) Giver or take, 40 acres. I figure that a single human could live off 5 acres pretty easily. So with 20 acres going back to nature(zones 4-5), this should be a good target. I'd like to get this target smaller, to maybe 3 acres. We'll see. 6) Road access. You'd be surprised how much land is out there that either does not have access, or requires an easement through somebody else's property. 7) Has to be within driving range of New Orleans for a couple of reasons. First, I don't want to spend an entire day getting there while I learn the land, etc. Secondly, I have family in this area and they've all expressed interest in using this as a hurricane evacuation site. I'm leaning heavily towards anything that's an "easy" road trip, like jump on interstate 59 and just drive. 8 ) Internet and phone service. Wireless is fine for the phone, but I'm not willing to give up the internet just yet. If more the internet becomes a dangerous cesspool of viruses, then I may not have much problem. I think satellite internet will be in my cards. Things that I'd like: 1) A north facing slope somewhere. Of course southern slope is a necessity, but mushrooms tend to grow better with shade, and I'd really like to cultivate some mushrooms! Granted a deep forest will do the same thing, but a north slope would still be nice(hell, might even have a "summer" home on it so it's cooler). 2) Rock, stone, slate, something besides mud! I know the south is "blessed" with clay and sand, but some stone would be nice too. 3) Spring, waterfall AND creek! That would be awesome, but I'm fairly sure I'll have to create 2 of the 3 myself. Hopefully afforesting tops of hills will do the trick. I always think about the old greek myths about nymphs associated with springs and waterfalls..piss them off(cut down her favorite tree for example) and the nymph leaves and the water stops flowing. Wiggle Room: 1) I would be willing to buy less than 40 acres. I've seen some nice 20-25 acre properties online too. 2) Utility hookup is a bonus. I'm not really looking for it, and some people drop the price if the closest electricity is miles away. 3) Gravel road access. Looks like I'll end up getting a truck anyway, so a gravel road may be acceptable. I was surprised at how many country roads are still dirt/gravel roads. Problems: Chiefly wild boar. They're everywhere down here. Some of them are 1000lbs. I'm not pro-gun and wasn't even thinking about getting one until I started to read about this issue. Unfortunately, the guns that seem to be good at stopping a boar before it eats you are also the guns that most people hate: assault rifles. I seem to have an option of shotgun with a slug shell instead of buck shot. I'm not particularly thrilled with either. But you can reuse shotgun shell casing, so it's a little green I guess... Things to learn still: Too many to list. Luckily I've been soaking in a lot of information over the last few years(thanks!) so I'm not going in totally blind. So with this list also in mind, I've narrowed down the search area to Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. Middle Tennessee has a few added attractions. If you buy acreage, chances are very good that you'll have some surface water(creek, spring or even a waterfall!). Also, when you reach central Tennessee, the temperatures drop, which is always nice(90F average to mid to low 80's F average). Northern Mississippi and Northern Alabama also seem to have surface water, but the temperature doesn't drop. Most of the land I've already looked at seems to be the wrong aspect. I guess somebody went around and bought up all the south slopes of those hills...But every now and again, I find something that has 5-10 acres of southern slope that could at least be used for crops that require all that day light plus a small home or three. So I'll keep plodding along, looking at websites and hoping I can pin-point the property with google earth so I can transfer the location to Sketchup. BTW, sketchup is great, you can add 3d terrain and put topographical lines on that terrain so you can see things like spots that may hold water without much work, pinch points for dam locations, solar aspect and the like. Too bad more real estate agents don't put up better information. I guess it's a good way to get practice though. Anyway, most of my work so far has just been looking at listings that are within price range and acreage tolerance. I then try to give it a quick one over to see how this land could be developed, just to get hone my skills. It's too bad that I can't visit these properties whenever I feel like it, but we're looking at an 8hr + drive just to get anywhere, so that pretty much means that I need to take time off work. It's a real pain at times, but I'm not going to rush in to anything either. I won't be able to live there for another 6+ years anyway. A couple thoughts however. Most property listings do not express permaculture items(not surprisingly, but rather irritatingly). Views, power, distance to malls, etc. still dominates the mindset. Also, you may not get timber rights(usually stated if you don't have timber rights) and mineral rights are almost guaranteed not to be included(only lists if you get mineral rights, or the option to buy). Alabama seems to have a stream management system, which I like. They don't allow the cutting of timber in a zone around a stream. It may be 100-200ft, I've never tried to measure it to be honest. But I find that cool. Finally, the key word to doing whatever you want on the property(not really sure what the parameters are, but it's usually used in conjunction to living off grid) is Unrestricted. When I get closer to buying property, I'll have to dig a little deeper in to exactly what unrestricted means in regards to land and the State government.