Homesteading gringoes

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This topic contains 114 replies, has 19 voices, and was last updated by  Finrudd 7 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #258634

    Anonymous

    Found this website about intrepid gringoes who are homesteading off the grid on land that they bought outside Canela (RS).
    http://www.organicdesign.co.nz/Our_house
    From their website summary:
    “At the end of 2011 on the 11th of November we moved to Brazil and bought some land to set up an independent off-grid lifestyle. We started in a flat in Curitiba, then about a year later moved to Canela which is the closest town to the land. Then finally after a lot of work we began moving onto the land and then started living on our land.”

    I don’t know who they are but what a fascinating read: They certainly didn’t take the easy approach.
    I hope they make it.
    (EDIT: Link typo fixed)
    picolino2013-11-09 16:51:00

  • #258646

    Anonymous

    wow! they sure aren’t taking the easy way. not much info in there about who they are, but i know exactly where they used to live in Curitiba, we looked at that house to rent when we first arrived. and their CAR, pulling a 1-ton trailer up those mountain boulder roads, holy cow!

  • #258647

    Luca
    Member

    Interesting reading. My favorite part is where the Net installer almost had a seizure when he learned that the clients were not planning on getting a TV. LOL!

  • #258657

    Anonymous

    [QUOTE=3casas]they sure aren’t taking the easy way (…) pulling a 1-ton trailer up those mountain boulder roads, holy cow![/QUOTE]
    This is probably what is referred to as “taking the road least traveled.”
    I agree, tbird: Interesting reading.
    And LOL, indeed. I’m sure it is inconceivable (to Net at least) how some of us actually manage to survive without Faustao, Ratinho and Silvio Santos.
    They seem like a nice young couple in love, and they are certainly hardworking. I hope they hang in there and make it happen.

  • #258666

    Liliqtozin
    Member
  • #258668

    [QUOTE=picolino] Found this website about intrepid gringoes who are homesteading off the grid on land that they bought outside Canela (RS).[/QUOTE]
    OPA! Picolino, forever greatful for that link! I’m not nearly as intrepid as these folks, but following somewhat in their footsteps. The chapter on their rural net connection is just what I’ll begining to try to set up myself in the next month or so. This will prove invaluable!!! Indeed, I wish them all the best!
    Gringo.Floripa2013-11-09 17:26:01

  • #258936

    Luca
    Member

    This was a truly fascinating link. I think I carry some secret desire to follow in their footsteps. Mostly has to do with an occasional however more frequently occurring desire to get away from idiocy. Not sure I’d enjoy having to take a dump in a bucket though.

  • #261705

    Luca
    Member

    He stopped posting. What a pitty. I really enjoyed his weekly updates.

    I wonder if he managed to get his paperwork sorted out after his first application was denied because Policia Federal couldn’t find him!
  • #261828

    adorasmith
    Member

    My net is so slow it will be 2015 before it opens. Sounds interesting though. Maybe they can solve my rotting tomato dilema.

  • #261829

    adorasmith
    Member

    My net is so slow it will be 2015 before it opens. Sounds interesting though. Thanks for sharing op. Maybe they can solve my rotting tomato dilema here on the farm,

  • #261835

    Anonymous

    tell me about your tomato dilemma- i have tomato drama every year, but not the rot kind (blossom end rot? usually that’s calcium deficiency, as you surely know). i get these yellow and black beetles that only eat the tomatoes and the jilo, little bastards. nothing kills them, and they’re SMART. smart enough that when i come out the back door, they fly away. they drill holes in the stalks and the whole plant just wilts right away. brought the bug to the agropecuaria and the guy told me he had no idea what to kill it with.

  • #261841

    adorasmith
    Member

    Eeeeks, beetles from Hell! We have a nastly little black cricket: Jiminy’s alternative, evil twin of S. America. They like potatoe plant leaves.
    My tomato dilema… I am by no means a savy, well versed purveyor of veggies – just a curious guy who wanted to try living off the land and teach my kids how to plant a garden.
    – The bottoms of my tomatoes keep rotting. The develop a brown, ring that enlarges and consumes the bottom of the fruit. Is that a lack of calcium?

  • #261842

    Anonymous

    do a search for blossom end rot, which sounds like what you have there. for the fruit to grow it needs a boost of calcium, either top dressing or in the bed- what we do in tomato season is save eggshells that would normally go in the compost, blend them in the blender with water, and dump on the plants once the fruits appear (if you have determinate tomatoes- if they are indeterminate, you may want to buy a spray on product and do it weekly or so). if you are not sure, have a look at some of the online gardening sites, especially the cooperative extension sites for whatever state you like- our zone in CWB is 9B, which means I often use the LA or TX extension sites, since the weather is similar.

  • #261843

    adorasmith
    Member

    Awesome info. I’m running bt wifi hotzones and next chance I get I’ll look into it. BrigaD√É∆íO mesmo!

  • #261852

    Anonymous

    i may have some ebooks to share with you too, if you’re interested pm me an email address.

  • #261946

    adorasmith
    Member

    After brkfst this morn., I used the eggshell idea. If milk has calcium would that also be useful? I mixed milk, water and eggshells in the blenderso I guess I’ll find out.

  • #261974

    Anonymous

    not sure about milk, since it also tends to go bad and attract critters. eggshells too, though, i suppose. i just would rather not have the spoilt milk smell in my garden!

  • #262009

    I agree with 3casas. Milk might do a body good, but not for tomato plants. Pouring milk on the soil is probably going to create some real funk. Incorporating egg shells into the soil is a good idea, but for the plot you intend to plant your tomatoes next year (you shouldn’t plant tomatoes in the same spot each year). To add some calcium now, which the roots can use now, get some lime. Not really sure how much you should use. Read the directions, and then err towards less is more. The soil in the serra is generally acidic, so lime helps bring about a balanced ph, which almost all veggies love.
    With the heavy and consistent rains the south has had recently, any veggie is going to have problems with fungal diseases. I’ve heard, but not put into practice, using hay mulch as a means to even out the moisture in the soil (wicks up the excess water). It also suppresses weeds. One more thing, the tomato plants shouldn’t be so close to each other, that if wet, they drip on one another. This is a common mistake (and in hot, dry weather not an issue). Warm weather and wet leaves for several hours are all that are needed for disease spores to germinate. Pinch/cut any diseased looking foliage, and either burn them, or compost them for a long, long time.

  • #262032

    Anonymous

    When you find that nice source for hay for mulch, you tell me, okay there hayseed? 😉 The only way I will ever get hay is when you start growing it on your land and we set up a beer-for-hay trade….. my mulch seems to be heading back to baga√ɬßa de cana and shredded paper, since I can’t get good mulch around here for love nor money. (ainda bem, since if Mr3 catches me loading mulch into my new car it will be the end of the world).

    I’ve been having tent caterpillar problems on my maracuja and put some biological controls on it the day before yesterday (bacterial spores). Of course what do I find on it last night as I’m inspecting for critters? A monarch caterpillar. Whoops! He’s been airlifted into a new environment and we’ll see if he makes it.
    Also, if you’re near Curitiba…. I found bhut jolokia and habanero pepper plants in the plant place across from Mercado Municipal (Companhia da Semente). I have NEVER seen anything other than malagueta and cambuci (which they also have) here. they were like $2 for a dozen. Yes, I bought a dozen of each. Of course this was after I planted a whole flat of thai pepper seeds……. So, pepper shot party at my house at the end of the summer….
  • #262327

    adorasmith
    Member

    I’ve been using the advice you guys threw out there and it seems it’s making some difference though still early. I’m getting ready to throw down another flat of tomatoes this weekend and I’ll try to work in some lime , as well. I little Manezinho Winkfrom down the mtn suggested it may be better since the plants were already producing.

    I also bought a new lawn mower recently that has the grass collector and I’m using the clippings to mulch. So far so good.
    In the end this whole thing has been fun. I think I sold a whopping R$20 worth of produce this week. Just think, in 962 years I’ll be a millionaire! Oh wait, that doesn’t take into account my overhead – Well, maybe a few more years then… LOL
  • #262798

    Vigardoty
    Member

    I am no expert to say the least but my tomatoes are doing quiet well. Something got to my broccoli and really messed that up so I ground alot of black pepper all over the area and they havent come back for seconds yet. But anyways with the tomatoes. My wife did put a whole bag of yeast all over my crops just because…. lol… Didnt seem to help but it didn’t seem to bother either. I do hope it rains a little bit up here in sta candida. It has been pretty dry the past week here.

  • #262846

    Marc Maserati
    Participant

    [QUOTE=3casas]

    I’ve been having tent caterpillar problems on my maracuja and put some biological controls on it the day before yesterday (bacterial spores). Of course what do I find on it last night as I’m inspecting for critters? A monarch caterpillar. Whoops! He’s been airlifted into a new environment and we’ll see if he makes it.

    [/QUOTE]

    How are you growing your maracujá? I started some seedlings from the bottom part of a maracujá smoothy but am looking for info on how to continue their growth. I started a mango wine 2 weeks ago; fermented a bit quick but is nearly dry and ready for transfer into a glass secondary now. I hope to have enough maracujá to do something similar.
    -Marc
  • #262890

    Anonymous

    so glad you brought this up, the biologicals were AWESOME. the vine is now exploding with growth.

    these maracuj√ɬ° i started from seed, from fruits i had used for juice. if your seeds started, put them into a pot and let them get bigger. i put them into the ground once they were about 5 or 6 inches tall. They don’t need especially wonderful dirt, they are ok with crummy soil and rocks (and you can always fertilize afterwards), but what they need is a place that gets very warm and as sunny as possible. I have mine on a wall that faces south- it retains the heat throughout the day.
    it takes about 3 years for flowering. mine i started when we moved in here almost 2 years ago- right now they are almost as tall as me, and getting trained on the wall.
    in a previous house we had maracujá doce and i learned it was very important to keep the dead leaves out of the live vine- they attracted all sorts of critters and i had to go through every week or so and remove them. that was really all the maintenance we did. that one vine made enough fruit to keep the neighborhood happy, so i planted two this time. hope they work out!
    they say about vine fruits that after you put them in the ground, the first year they sleep, the next year they creep, the third year they leap. it’s been pretty apt so far.
    mango wine sounds great- i made limoncello this week and it was meh. when we get back from our travel next week i shall begin the first beermaking adventure. can’t wait!
  • #262913

    Vigardoty
    Member

    Since you guys seem to know alot about gardening in curitba. I could actually use some advice. I am looking to work up my barbed wire WWII Prison camp like fence lol. I would really like to get some natural element to it but I wasnt sure which vine to choose. Does this Maracujá grow well on its own all over barbed wire fencing very similar to this

    Also, could you possibly tell me the quickest growing vine I could maybe use on that? Any suggestions would help.
    Another thing, whats with the fungus here! I gotta save some trees the fungus is going crazy on my orange trees fig trees all of them even the araucárias are covered and looking like they are getting the life sucked out of them although those ones look pretty cool. I really want to take some care to these trees but I dont know the best route. One guy suggested I get those metal gloves and just scrape it all off but I am not sure how much that will help with the trees now exposed. I dont have a sprayer yet but plan on picking one up, anyone got any recommendations on anti-fungal spray?
  • #262915

    Anonymous

    hope that pic isn’t your yard!

    if i had a fence like that, i would consider planting bamboo in front of or behind it (depends on your neighbor setup of course). grows super fast. but remember it’s invasive and you’ll need to put down a barrier to stop it from taking over your yard.

    assuming you want vines– maracuj√ɬ° would work, but it’s a substantial vine, i would want something thinner and faster- jasmine, maybe? i had one jasmine take over a huge wall. there are some other flowers, i am sorry to say i don’t know diddle about flowers, i only know about stuff i can eat.
    fungus, huh? what color? if it’s like the bracket/turkeytail fungus in the US, that’s due to the trees being about to croak. if you’re talking about lichens, like they have on rock, i had them all over my orange and fig trees in the last house and it was no big deal, they set fruit just fine. if it’s lichens no sprays are going to do anything.
    whenever i have a garden question, my go-to guy in curitiba is http://www.companhiadasemente.com.br/contto.html
    they are across the street from the mercado municipal and open M-Sat. super knowledgeable and if you bring a piece of the fungus (or the bug, or the weed, or whatever) the guy will tell you what to do. He’s helpful and honest and his prices are great. Added plus– I was there yesterday and didn’t see if he still had them, but he had indian and mexican hot pepper starts a few weeks ago.
  • #265353

    Rupert
    Member

    Hello, I’m happy that so many people found our story interesting and useful 🙂 I stopped for a while but then started another blog for our second year on the land.
    http://www.organicdesign.co.nz/our_second_year_on_the_land
    The last month we’ve been travelling around with my parents who are visiting from NZ:
    http://www.organicdesign.co.nz/holiday

  • #265355

    Anonymous

    Thanks for the updates. Good blog posts!
    It is uplifting to see someone who are going their own way (and the inclusion of agorism on the site makes it even better).
    Sincerely, good luck to both of you!
    And: Don’t be strangers to the forum. Check back in with us from time to time.

  • #265389

    Anonymous

    yes, yes, thank you for updating! so good to hear you’re still going. i pass what i am sure was the first house you showed (the curitiba rental) every day on my way home, and think of the blog all the time.

  • #268545

    This goes out to those who might have sitios, or who live in rural regions where the majority of the roads are unpaved. So far this winter, SC has had some periods of heavy rains, and the rural roads ruined because of the typical short-sightedness we know is often the norm here in Ordem and Progresso World. Rather than do it right the first time around, the quickest, easiest (and cheapest) route is taken. Yet over a five year period, the cost analysis would surely reveal the cheapest route to be much more expensive, since it’s “repetitivemaintenance”.
    I stumbled upon this great resource which shows how to do a rural road right, to avoid erosion. Of course, none of what is mentioned in the article I’ve seen practiced here.
    http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/pdf/8262.pdf
    Another great idea, simple and inexpensive, but again, not done here (to my knowledge) is what is called an open top culvert (or box culvert). See link below.

    http://www.cumberlandswcd.org/publications/bmp_fact_sheets/Open_Top_Culvert.pdf
    Happy homesteading!
    Gringo.Floripa2014-07-27 18:22:30

  • #268557

    Finrudd
    Participant

    Good resources there GF – I could do with making some of those culverts on a section of the dirt road leading to my place. Luckily, I only have about 3km of dirt road to travel, and it’s good draining land, so in three years it’s never been a problem. However, in rainy season, the rain pouring down the track does tend to leave fairly deep erosion marks in the road. I have vowed that once a year I will do the 3km with my tractor and pull-behind earth-blade, but really the solution is to invest some time of my own in putting in some proper drainage. The local government aren’t going to do it for sure…

    As for the asphalt that I travel on once off the motorway, that is slightly worse – the only reason it is asphalt at all is because of an airforce installation at the end, but the maintenance consists of pouring some lose asphalt into the holes every six months, for it only to be washed away as soon as it rains. All that said, there is some argument for keeping the dirt road fairly rough in that it stops people from using it as a shortcut from A-B.
  • #268558

    Finrudd
    Participant

    [QUOTE=Mach1Muscle351]Since you guys seem to know alot about gardening in curitba. I could actually use some advice. I am looking to work up my barbed wire WWII Prison camp like fence lol. I would really like to get some natural element to it but I wasnt sure which vine to choose. Does this Maracujá grow well on its own all over barbed wire fencing very similar to this

    Also, could you possibly tell me the quickest growing vine I could maybe use on that? Any suggestions would help.

    [/QUOTE]

    I know this is old, but I am growing Xuxu quite successfully around the barbed wire around my veg-patch. It’s not to everyone’s taste, but I quite like it.
    Incidentally, for anyone who is interested, I have been following these people, who have some really good information and ideas – it’s not the same climate, but interesting all the same http://www.waldeneffect.org/
  • #268560

    romanji
    Member

    To the homesteaders/sitio owners/gringoes living in rural areas: Are you concerned for safety out there at all? My Brazilian wife seems uncomfortable with the idea of living outside of a condominio. Eventually I’d love to buy a couple hectares and build a small house. Any thoughts on that?

  • #268561

    ffm
    Member

    [QUOTE=Zummbot]To the homesteaders/sitio owners/gringoes living in rural areas: Are you concerned for safety out there at all? My Brazilian wife seems uncomfortable with the idea of living outside of a condominio. Eventually I’d love to buy a couple hectares and build a small house. Any thoughts on that?[/QUOTE

    I think that comes 100% down to “where”. In the small villa where my sogro grew up, I could not feel safer and would do this myself.
    There are spots in, say, Mato Grosso, where it’s the freaking wild west and I don’t think this would be a good idea at all. I think they are pretty uncivilized in a lot of the North and North East as well.
  • #268567

    Finrudd
    Participant

    I’m pretty comfortable where I have my sitio, about 60km outside of Sao Paulo, and with only rudimentary security. I do have a security system and cameras (more to do with my line of work than any real benefit of having them) but the biggest defence is probably darkness and jungle. Most rural crime is opportunistic still, and revolves around robbing things from Sitios that are empty during the week, or the same sort of rural crime the world over (person A robbing a chainsaw from person B’s shed etc etc). However, there are of course horror stories you hear about sitios being invaded and occupants tortured to reveal where they have hidden the dollars (why does everyone assume people have dollars lying around?) or killed. Sitios are generally not invaded at night, but day time when gates and doors are open, and people are not thinking about security.

    Rural living comes with a whole bunch of other challenges though, such as caseiro’s (Caretakers) and their families, which I suspect is leading a lot of Brazilians to drop the idea of having a sitio in favour of a gated-condo in the country with none of the responsibilities. They also seem to be money-pits with something always needing doing:
    Well pump breaks = $$
    Pipes spring a leak = $
    Fences need repairing/replacing = $$
    Spare parts for chainsaw/lawnmower/tractor = $$
    Vets bills for the inevitable menagerie that comes with a sitio = $$
  • #268660

    [QUOTE=The Abbot][QUOTE=Zummbot]To the homesteaders/sitio owners/gringoes living in rural areas: Are you concerned for safety out there at all? My Brazilian wife seems uncomfortable with the idea of living outside of a condominio. Eventually I’d love to buy a couple hectares and build a small house. Any thoughts on that?[/QUOTE

    I think that comes 100% down to “where”. In the small villa where my sogro grew up, I could not feel safer and would do this myself.
    There are spots in, say, Mato Grosso, where it’s the freaking wild west and I don’t think this would be a good idea at all. I think they are pretty uncivilized in a lot of the North and North East as well.

    [/QUOTE]
    I think a common mistake many gringos make is assuming Brasil is a ‘one size fits all’ country. Every region is different, some to greater degrees than others. One important distinction, which I’ve commented on numerous times before on here, is the disparity of history between the south of Brasil, and the NE. The settling of southern Brasil (PR, SC, RS) was quite similar to the settling of the midwest of the US. Individual families, mostly of German and Italian origin (at least in SC), homesteaded, and set up their own small farms. No one had a large chunk of the pie, but they each had their own particular sliver.
    Whereas, the history of the NE of Brasil is similar to the SE of the US, where you had land barons with vast fazendas/plantations, and then most of the region’s inhabitants worked as sharecroppers (though prior to be being sharecroppers, many were once slaves on the same fazenda). So you had a handful of people who controlled huge chunks of the entire pie. This created a ‘have and have not’ mentality, which still exists today in the NE of Brasil. I think SP falls somewhere in between those two contrasts.
    Because of the aforementioned, IMHO, a sitio in the NE would be a much riskier venture than in the south, prone to not only theft, but also physical assault. You would be a ‘Have’, and constantly targeted by the ‘Have-Nots’. In the south, the rural regions are much safer (though certainly not crime free), because there is very little of this have/have-not attitude. The closest town to my sitio is approx. 40 mins drive (all unpaved roads, so takes longer to travel on than asphalt). The town has less than 10,000 inhabitants. The only violent crime I’ve heard about is some guy who shot his girlfriend, and the guy who was screwing her (while they were in the act). So a crime of passion, not theft or assault.
    Nonetheless, there are two sets of rules that apply, even here. I have become good friends with a couple who own a pousada, the first place I stayed when scoping out the region. They are native born Brasilians, both from Florianopolis, which is less than half a day’s drive away. Yet even though they’ve lived in this particular rural region for ten years now, the locals still say that they are “de fora”. In other words, ‘outsiders’. Well, you can imagine what that makes someone from another country? Might as well be from another planet. I’ve been told that this distinction applies to who gets hit by theft, if one occurs. The locals don’t mess with other locals. That’s the unwritten code. Yet if you’re ‘de fora’, then you are considered fair game, should you present the opportunity. That last phrase is key.
    In Brasil, oftentimes someone who is generally ‘honest’ could become a thief if given the right opportunity (“O oportunidade faz o ladrão“). But if you don’t present the opportunity, then you should be fine, regardless where you’re from. If your sitio is merely a weekend getaway, a place you go to just 1-2 times a month, then you might arrive one day to find the place cleared out of it’s furnishings. Yet if you live there full time, those odds greatly diminish. If you have dogs on the property, then that diminishes the odds even more. Just like suburban areas, thieves will avoid a place with dogs, more so than a place clearly posted that it has an alarm system. Yet you need to have some dogs that don’t quickly take to strangers, not stupidly-happy breeds like Retrievers, etc. The best solution would be dogs + cameras + alarms + sensor lights (bright ones!). Finrudd, is your camera system CCTV or cloud-based? Could you post something please about the camera system you have set up?
    While real estate prices in the coastal cities, as well as the larger metropolitan areas inland like Curitba, BH, etc, are presently at record highs, prices for rural property are still quite reasonable in comparison (in most regions). Flat farmland is expensive, but tracts with uneven terrain, still heavily forested, are your best buy. Yet in addition to expenses like Finrudd mentioned, you can quickly become frustrated with the lack of competent services. Most likely the locals will be employed in work related to agriculture or livestock. Aside from simple pedreiros, skilled labor in construction could be a potential headache if you plan to build (which I’m experiencing right now). Yet if you pick the right region, the overall tranquility and beauty of the nature this country possesses, more than compensates for any frustrations one might encounter with cultural issues and skill shortages.
    I was back in Floripa last weekend, and the crush of traffic quickly got on my last f-n nerve (how you folks in SP capitol or Rio survive, I don’t know!). ‘Traffic’ in the rural region where I’m settling consists of a single tractor, pulling a flatbed trailer loaded with fruit or vegetables. Big smile
    Lula signed a law when he was in office that states only residents or citizens of Brasil may purchase rural property. Permanent residents are limited to one purchase, with a max of 30 hectares (I think there’s a loop hole to the number and size limitation if you’re a resident with a registered Brasilian company). There is obviously no limit for citizens. Another good reason to naturalize√¢‚Ǩ¬¶.

  • #268663

    celso
    Member

    [QUOTE=Gringo.Floripa] [QUOTE=The Abbot][QUOTE=Zummbot]To the homesteaders/sitio owners/gringoes living in rural areas: Are you concerned for safety out there at all? My Brazilian wife seems uncomfortable with the idea of living outside of a condominio. Eventually I’d love to buy a couple hectares and build a small house. Any thoughts on that?[/QUOTE

    I think that comes 100% down to “where”. In the small villa where my sogro grew up, I could not feel safer and would do this myself.√Ǭ†
    There are spots in, say, Mato Grosso, where it’s the freaking wild west and I don’t think this would be a good idea at all. I think they are pretty uncivilized in a lot of the North and North East as well.√Ǭ†

    [/QUOTE]
    I think a common mistake many gringos make is assuming Brasil is a ‘one size fits all’ country.√Ǭ† Every region is different, some to greater degrees than others.√Ǭ† One important distinction, which I’ve commented on numerous times before on here, is the disparity of history between the south of Brasil, and the NE.√Ǭ† The settling of southern Brasil (PR, SC, RS) was quite similar to the settling of the midwest of the US.√Ǭ† Individual families, mostly of German and Italian origin (at least in SC), homesteaded, and set up their own small farms.√Ǭ† No one had a large chunk of the pie, but they each had their own particular sliver.
    Whereas, the history of the NE of Brasil is similar to the SE of the US, where you had land barons with vast fazendas/plantations, and then most of the region’s inhabitants worked as sharecroppers (though prior to be being sharecroppers, many were once slaves on the same fazenda).√Ǭ† So you had a handful of people who controlled huge chunks of the entire pie.√Ǭ† This created a ‘have and have not’ mentality, which still exists today in the NE of Brasil.√Ǭ† I think SP falls somewhere in between those two contrasts.
    Because of the aforementioned, IMHO, a sitio in the NE would be a much riskier venture than in the south, prone to not only theft, but also physical assault.√Ǭ† You would be a ‘Have’, and constantly targeted by the ‘Have-Nots’.√Ǭ† In the south, the rural regions are much safer (though certainly not crime free), because there is very little of this have/have-not attitude.√Ǭ† The closest town to my sitio is approx. 40 mins drive (all unpaved roads, so takes longer to travel on than asphalt).√Ǭ† The town has less than 10,000 inhabitants.√Ǭ† The only violent crime I’ve heard about is some guy who shot his girlfriend, and the guy who was screwing her (while they were in the act).√Ǭ† So a crime of passion, not theft or assault.
    Nonetheless, there are two sets of rules that apply, even here.√Ǭ† I have become good friends with a couple who own a pousada, the first place I stayed when scoping out the region.√Ǭ† They are native born Brasilians, both from Florianopolis, which is less than half a day’s drive away.√Ǭ† Yet even though they’ve lived in this particular rural region for ten years now, the locals still say that they are “de fora”.√Ǭ† In other words, ‘outsiders’.√Ǭ† Well, you can imagine what that makes someone from another country?√Ǭ† Might as well be from another planet.√Ǭ† I’ve been told that this distinction applies to who gets hit by theft, if one occurs.√Ǭ† The locals don’t mess with other locals.√Ǭ† That’s the unwritten code.√Ǭ† Yet if you’re ‘de fora’, then you are considered fair game, should you present the opportunity.√Ǭ† That last phrase is key.
    In Brasil, oftentimes someone who is generally ‘honest’ could become a thief if given the right opportunity (<span =”st”><span =”f”></span>“O oportunidade faz o ladrão</span>”).√Ǭ† But if you don’t present the opportunity, then you should be fine, regardless where you’re from.√Ǭ† If your sitio is merely a weekend getaway, a place you go to just 1-2 times a month, then you might arrive one day to find the place cleared out of it’s furnishings.√Ǭ† Yet if you live there full time, those odds greatly diminish.√Ǭ† If you have dogs on the property, then that diminishes the odds even more.√Ǭ† Just like suburban areas, thieves will avoid a place with dogs, more so than a place clearly posted that it has an alarm system.√Ǭ† Yet you need to have some dogs that don’t quickly take to strangers, not stupidly-happy breeds like Retrievers, etc.√Ǭ† The best solution would be dogs + cameras + alarms + sensor lights (bright ones!).√Ǭ† Finrudd, is your camera system CCTV or cloud-based?√Ǭ† Could you post something please about the camera system you have set up?
    While real estate prices in the coastal cities, as well as the larger metropolitan areas inland like Curitba, BH, etc, are presently at record highs, prices for rural property are still quite reasonable in comparison (in most regions).√Ǭ† Flat farmland is expensive, but tracts with uneven terrain, still heavily forested, are your best buy.√Ǭ† Yet in addition to expenses like Finrudd mentioned, you can quickly become frustrated with the lack of competent services.√Ǭ† Most likely the locals will be employed in work related to agriculture or livestock.√Ǭ† Aside from simple pedreiros, skilled labor in construction could be a potential headache if you plan to build (which I’m experiencing right now).√Ǭ† Yet if you pick the right region, the overall tranquility and beauty of the nature this country possesses, more than compensates for any frustrations one might encounter with cultural issues and skill shortages.
    I was back in Floripa last weekend, and the crush of traffic quickly got on my last f-n nerve (how you folks in SP capitol or Rio survive, I don’t know!).√Ǭ† ‘Traffic’ in the rural region where I’m settling consists of a single tractor, pulling a flatbed trailer loaded with fruit or vegetables.√Ǭ† Big smile
    Lula signed a law when he was in office that states only residents or citizens of Brasil may purchase rural property.√Ǭ† Permanent residents are limited to one purchase, with a max of 30 hectares (I think there’s a loop hole to the number and size limitation if you’re a resident with a registered Brasilian company).√Ǭ† There is obviously no limit for citizens.√Ǭ† Another good reason to naturalize√¢‚Ǩ¬¶.
    [/QUOTE]
    Wait. Trade a first world citizenship so you can speculate on land in a third world country? Never. So you can vote? Rather not. Need a visa to visit family in the States? Be forced to stay as the civil war unfolds? No thanks. Perm residency gives you a valuable get out of jail card for you and family. Priceless.

  • #268665

    Anonymous

    i meant to reply to this before- many people i know learn that i live in a house and say “oh i would love to live in a house and have a garden and a dog but i’m scared” and would rather be in a condominio or apartment building for safety (or the illusion thereof).

    i have heard so many stories of the porteiros or cleaning ladies or security even, going in and taking advantage of apartments and condominio houses. i think every kind of place has its own pros and cons. We definitely have a lot of opportunistic crime in the neighborhoods- if you don’t have bars on the windows, you will get broken into, period. Just like what GF says, you present the opportunity.
    I also have an extremely unfriendly dog in the front yard. Bars all over the place. It works much better than the house with the fancy security system, which was too easy to cut wires to.
    That said, I do feel a lot safer in my own house than I do when I visit people in condominios or buildings in ritzy neighborhoods, where I feel like I’m always about to get carjacked. Here in the burbs at least I know my neighbors and we keep an eye on each other. Seu Adair calls me when he sees someone fooling around with my water shutoff, and I call Dona Hilda when there’s some creepy guy hanging around in front of her house. Out in the sticks, I think it’s even more important since the cops won’t be coming to save your butt.
    @GBOF- does your country not offer dual citizenship? nobody’s tossing away the first one!

    3casas2014-07-30 14:01:29

  • #268666

    Finrudd
    Participant

    [QUOTE=Gringo.Floripa]
    In Brasil, oftentimes someone who is generally ‘honest’ could become a thief if given the right opportunity (“O oportunidade faz o ladrão“). But if you don’t present the opportunity, then you should be fine, regardless where you’re from. If your sitio is merely a weekend getaway, a place you go to just 1-2 times a month, then you might arrive one day to find the place cleared out of it’s furnishings. Yet if you live there full time, those odds greatly diminish. If you have dogs on the property, then that diminishes the odds even more. Just like suburban areas, thieves will avoid a place with dogs, more so than a place clearly posted that it has an alarm system. Yet you need to have some dogs that don’t quickly take to strangers, not stupidly-happy breeds like Retrievers, etc. The best solution would be dogs + cameras + alarms + sensor lights (bright ones!). Finrudd, is your camera system CCTV or cloud-based? Could you post something please about the camera system you have set up?

    Lula signed a law when he was in office that states only residents or citizens of Brasil may purchase rural property. Permanent residents are limited to one purchase, with a max of 30 hectares (I think there’s a loop hole to the number and size limitation if you’re a resident with a registered Brasilian company). There is obviously no limit for citizens. Another good reason to naturalize√¢‚Ǩ¬¶.
    [/QUOTE]
    On the law about limiting the size of rural land foreigners could buy – if I recall correctly, this was when Brazil woke up and realised that China was literally buying Brazil piece by piece for farm land, with the intention of exporting everything to feed China. This was then brought in to control this.
    I use a combination of security devices: I use a company called Verisure http://www.verisure.com.br/who provide sensor entry alarms that report back to their monitoring centre via a cellphone signal, which is quite good. There is a panic alarm function, and 2-way audio in case you need to speak to someone in their command, as well as internal cameras that relay images back to them when an alarm is triggered. I also use Unifi Video from Ubiquiti http://www.ubnt.com/unifi-video/unifi-nvr/(this is their off-the-shelf box for those not wanting to install servers to record video), available here in Brazil, which is a fantastic IP camera system and very affordable. It runs on a standard network, and the control software can be installed on Windows or Linux, and then viewed on a browser from any machine, or a smartphone. They have pixel based motion sensors that are adjustable, and it will email alerts to any email address you configure. It does run on a local server in my case, but you can run it on Amazon Cloud Services if you want to (I am fairly sure). The old cameras are not infra-red, so I use standard spotlights with movement sensors next to the cameras at entry points by gates, so that the motion triggers the spotlight to come on at the same time as the camera starts recording.
    The system works well for me while I am only there at weekends, as I get an email alert if someone turns up at the gate. Similarly if I am up at the workshops and someone arrives at the gates and hoots, I can look on a smartphone and see if I am going to let them in or not!
  • #268667

    Finrudd
    Participant

    As 3casas mentions, I should add that probably the most valuable security I have is the Caseiro, who has been at the property for ten years, knows everyone around (including the wrong’uns) and is pretty tasty with his kung-fu! It’s a pretty low profile place from the front, and aside from the front gate, the only way in is through jungle.

    Camera views from the office while I am away:

    finrudd2014-07-30 14:20:37

  • #268670

    celso
    Member

    This camera and web based security is a booming business in Brazil. My walls with sharp lances, dogs and iron bars on windows have been enough so far. Sadly the paranoid Brazilian neighbors are opting for concertina barbed wire, spotlights, cameras and often electric fences? Block walls that were a meter tall ten years ago now are three or four meters high. Self imprisonment. Reports in Estadao say high walls make crime easier. Criminals jump them and then are unseen…..
    Not sure yet if a safe room is a wise investment. I once saw a house for sale in SP and it had a series of fortified doors and iron gates to get to the master bedroom. Yuck!

  • #268674

    Finrudd
    Participant

    I have a pre-planned escape exit in the event of someone breaking in. It involves running into the jungle and hiding, on the basis the intruders want what is in the house, and are unlikely to risk running into a jungle after me!

  • #268678

    [QUOTE=GreatBallsoFire]Wait. Trade a first world citizenship so you can speculate on land in a third world country? Never. So you can vote? Rather not. Need a visa to visit family in the States? Be forced to stay as the civil war unfolds? No thanks. Perm residency gives you a valuable get out of jail card for you and family. Priceless.[/QUOTE]
    Did I say anything about relinquishing one’s original citizenship? Ummm, and I think civil war will break out on Tio Sam’s Fazenda waaaay before such civil unrest occurs here. DUAL-citizenship gives you much more of a “get out of jail free card” (or in Snowden’s case, get out of Russia card), than mere permanent residency.
    TWO passports is what I call priceless! Wink
    @
    Finrudd: Muitissimo obrigado for your security camera post. Will read it thoroughly later tonight.
    Gringo.Floripa2014-07-31 13:14:42

  • #268699

    romanji
    Member

    I’m sure many of you here have been to Jericoacoara in Cear√ɬ°? I spent a couple weeks there during a trip to Brazil, and met a homesteading gringo living in the lagoons about 20 km outside of Jeri. I won’t go into specifics because he likes his privacy, but he had built himself a nice little setup. He didn’t have a house, in the usual sense, but rather had constructed small little compounds, with a kind of courtyard in the center. One little structure was the kitchen, another the bedroom, another a guest room, another a bathroom, etc. The structures were very simple, but said one cost him about 8k reais plus materials using local builders. A large mango tree and strategically planted bamboo lent him some nice shade. He had a little garden, and would take visiting europeans on tours of nearby Jeri and Len√ɬßois Maranhenses every now and again for work. Said he had been living on the lagoon for close to 20 years. He was a part of a very small community of poor north easterners, most of whom would commute to Jeri to work in the pousadas and restaurants and shops every day. He did mention you had to watch out for crimes of convenience, but in his 20 years there had never had any major incidents. Really seemed like he had life figured out.

  • #268701

    Anonymous

    search here using advanced search- i know i’ve heard someone talking about jeri. not sure if it was here or on another forum, but i know i’ve heard that name before.

  • #269120

    Anonymous

    So homesteaders, it is really dry where I am, like maybe more than a month without a good solid rain. As a result the aphids (pulg√ɬµes) are really wreaking havoc- I usually have a few but right now every single brassica in the garden has at least a bit, and some are getting stunted. Usually a good hard rain will help control them a bit, but without rain, they’re partying like crazy and when they got near my black kale and brussels sprouts, i figured it was time to take action.

    I made up one of the garlic-oil-soap recipes here http://revistagloborural.globo.com/GloboRural/0,6993,EEC1702228-1489-5,00.html and it seems to be making things better. Not sure who else besides me and Catarinense have serious garden investments, but it seems pretty good. Also, after using you can probably keep the vampires away.
    (typical oil spray cautions- if the sun is really hot, don’t spray or you’ll fry your plants, spray in early AM or late PM in any case)
  • #269140

    Finrudd
    Participant

    We have used coconut soap mixtures to treat plants with aphid infestation with a varying degree of success, along with coffee left-overs to put off ants. The problem with coffee is sourcing enough of the stuff! I wouldn’t call my garden investment serious yet, as it mostly provides various sorts of cabbage for the turkeys to eat, but the cherry tomatoes are all coming into fruit about now. Last year I managed to bottle quite a lot of these into chutney with the late cropping chillies, so hope to do the same this year. As from January next year, I hope to moves things up a gear, and start to produce enough veg for most of our weekly needs – it will take some work and planning, but watch this space.
    Sadly, I appear to have killed our Xuxu too, which was doing well – I was clearing the veg patch, and noticed that a Limão Caipira bush was clogged with vines, which I cut out, before realising these were the main roots for the xuxu that climbs along the fence 🙁
    On another subject – has anyone got an ideas for a quick spreading plant to grow on a vertical earth bank? I am looking for something that will spread up this bank and put some root mesh down, so that the rain won’t wash the bank away when it comes. Something like Grama Amendoim perhaps? There is a common one that people grow up concrete walls to give it a green finish, but I am not sure this takes on earth..

  • #269143

    Anonymous

    we collect the coffee grounds from the shop- just from there we end up with a pretty good size bucket every week. i imagine if you could talk a padaria into saving the grounds you’d get a load. i use them for slugs in the garden too.

    jealous of your tomatoes, i hope this year we get some good ones.
    xuxu grows fast, you could get one going again soon enough. if i recall correctly they may be a biennial and may have been doomed to die anyway sooner or later.
  • #269147

    Finrudd
    Participant

    I am going to have a closer look at the Xuxu this weekend, although I don’t recall it dying quite like this in previous years. I managed to get a half ton of manure just recently, which has certainly helped everything else, but the Xuxu’s death was certainly my fault.

    Good idea on the coffee supply – we had been collecting the output from the office filter machine, but as I am the only coffee addict in the place, it isn’t producing quite enough. I might have to see if I can get a local paderia to help out.
    Talking of manure, I was quite surprised at how hard it is to come by where I am, but realised that most people who have cattle don’t need to winter them in barns, so there simply isn’t the type of manure I was looking for, which is a mix of straw and dung common in the UK. There’s plenty of chicken manure, but I am less taken by this – especially when compared to the sacks of cow manure I received, which were the real deal!

    finrudd2014-08-12 11:51:10

  • #269149

    Anonymous

    ooh good deal!! isn’t it funny? I used to use hay, and it’s the same thing- it’s so rarely used that it took me years to find it. Now I’ve gotten used to using sawdust and sugar cane baga√ɬßa in the garden instead.

  • #270232

    romanji
    Member

    To the homesteaders: My wife and I are seriously considering buying a hectare of land that already has a small house, small pool, quiosque, churrasqueira, and a small pond. We would want to build a chicken coop and a fence around the property as it’s currently unfenced. We would also want to make a garden on the property. If you had the chance to start from where we are what would you bring from the US? I know we’ll need basics like tools, a small chainsaw, possibly even a manual push mower. What are some other things that are not quite so obvious that we should consider bringing from the US? Obviously within reason, as I can’t bring a ladder on a plane, for example.

  • #270233

    Anonymous

    power tools for sure. good quick charging lithium ion battery ones. With extra batteries.

    I bring a few good garden tools with me when I travel. I always bring back seeds for the special things I can’t get here (good sweet corn, interesting hybrid tomatoes, greens, etc).
    I would also suggest a laser gun thermometer if you’re going to be hatching eggs or anything like that, which is cheaper than anything in the US but crazy expensive here. same with pool gadget stuff (chem test kits, etc)
  • #270237

    romanji
    Member

    Rechargable batteries is a good one, hadn’t thought of that. Also seeds, will definitely want to grow some sweet potatoes, tomatoes, sweet corn, lettuce, cucumbers, etc. Hadn’t planned on hatching any eggs, though may consider it if chicks are expensive in Brazil (in the US they are dirt cheap). Had planned on buying chicks, and when they’re big enough to know the gender we’d keep the hens for eggs and eat the roosters. We’d want to get a dog or two for security reasons. Other than that we have no other plans for animals. Definitely no cattle or horses. Will bring all the pool stuff for sure. Anything else? The property does have a well, which I have never dealt with before. Anything well related? How about planting pots? etc.

  • #270238

    graham
    Participant

    power tools etc…yes. But after they, and all your labor saving devices, arrive keep them out of sight as much as possible and locked up. Do not tell people you have them and do not loan them to anyone.

  • #270239

    Anonymous

    unless you’re moving to Souvaco do Rio Pardo you should be able to get pretty much everything you mention (except sweet corn seeds, but gardeners in SP seem to be able to get them).

    we also find that we buy flashlights every trip, for some reason- big ones, little ones, mount-on-head ones.
  • #270244

    Serrano
    Participant

    With prices being three times what you’d pay in the US for gas-powered equipment like chain saw, lawn mower, etc. it’s tempting to bring such items. But you need to consider that these small engines will foul using the higher alcohol content in the gasoline in Brasil. The one gas I’ve found that works well is called Podium sold at BR (Petrobras) postos. Not all BR postos sell it.
    Battery operated power tools is a definite! Buy extra batteries, as well as kits of high quality drill bits, blades, etc. Cobalt or titanium drill bits, and carbide tip saw blades are best. Buy two sets. “One is none and two is one”.
    As always, Zen Master Grads states wise advice: Tell no one about your tools, or lend them out!
    Check with the airline you intend to use how much they would charge to check one of these multi position folding ladders. The model below, less than $200 at Home Depot, might be worth the extra baggage charge.
    http://t.homedepot.com/p/Werner-16-ft-Aluminum-Folding-Multi-Position-Ladder-with-300-lb-Load-Capacity-M1A-8-16B/100658412
    EDIT: If you’re going to smuggle in seeds (technically, not allowed), make sure they’re heirloom seeds. Check out seedsavers.org for an amazing assortment!
    Gringo.Serrano2014-09-19 13:14:10

  • #270247

    romanji
    Member

    Thanks for the tips GS, it may be worth it to try to get that ladder on the plane. Tell me if this is crazy, but I was actually thinking about trying to get by with a non-electric push mower (like this: http://www.target.com/p/scott-s-20-classic-push-reel-mower/-/A-572593?ref=tgt_adv_XSG10001&AFID=google_pla_df&LNM=572593&CPNG=Unassigned&kpid=572593&LID=13pgs&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=572593&kpid=572593&gclid=CKGgvrz07cACFQto7AodgVIANw) I’m certain I could check this, and I kind of like the fact that it requires a little more effort (could maybe combine it with my workout routine even!).

    We would also be very interested in growing some fruit trees for fresh juice. Probably a pe de caju. maybe manga. goiaba. Anybody have any recommendations for good fruit trees that are low maintenance? We’ll be in the northeast, so year-round sunshine. Maybe even something a bit unconventional like jaca or jaboticaba. I don’t know, we’re open to suggestions.
  • #270263

    Finrudd
    Participant

    Remember with the chainsaw you should register it, and have a yearly licence that you have to renew. Just in case someone denounces you, and you get a spot check. Power tools is a good one – you can get them here, but they do seem to cost more and be of lesser quality – even the Makitas and DeWalts.

  • #270270

    Anonymous

    those ladders aren’t that expensive now- about 600 reais. We just used one for picking oranges a few weeks ago, they are all over leroy merlin and online retailers. a bit more expensive over 100US, but maybe not a great use of your extra baggage.

    oh and def extra blades, good call. I had to go get extra blades for my sawzall and all I could find anywhere were ones for metal. Mostly I use it for wood, which is not great. Circular blades I can get just fine, but not for the reciprocating saw.
    oh, and what is the official line on chainsaw since it is gas powered? is an electric one officially okay to bring? And OP- are you bringing a container, or all this stuff on plane?
    And about the lawnmower- those are great as long as you have someone to sharpen the blades well.
    About the trees, you really need to find out what does well where you are. if you are in the droughty area of the NE, you may not have so many options. Jabuticaba, for example, loves lots and lots of water. You might want to do some web searching to see what kind of government stuff is out there on the web for farmers and in ag in your area.

    3casas2014-09-20 08:05:04

  • #270273

    Serrano
    Participant

    @3casas: True, these ladders have come down in price, yet the ones I’ve seen down here are not the same quality as the one I shipped in my container; they seem a bit flimsy. Yet a store like Leroy Merlin would indeed probably have better quality ones. LM finally opened a store in Floripa!
    @zummbot: I like the idea of the push mower! As long as the area to mow isn’t too large. I’m lazy.
    Or, get a goat. [;-)]
    Do you know if the region where you’ll be living uses 110 or 220? If lucky enough to be in a 110 area, then load up on corded power tools! Otherwise, as mentioned, go the cordless route. Corded chainsaws are fine for brach trimming, but to do some serious tree cutting, go for gas operated. The chainsaw ‘license’ finrudd mentioned has been discussed on here, try the Search function for more info. I registered mine, but don’t think I’ll bother to renew it. Get a feel what the locals are doing after you arrive. I’ve learned that no one registers theirs if just used on their property; neither do they apply for a permit from IBAMA to cut down a few trees, even if they’re araucarias (a protected species). Reason being (so say the locals), a permit requires an ‘extra payment’, if you know what I mean.
    If you do decide to bring gas-operated equipment, don’t forget extra spark plugs, fuel filters, air filters (the one my mower uses costs $3 at Home Depot, but like R$50 here!); for chain saw, extra chain, sharpening tool, etc.
    Regarding the well on the property, will it be just for garden/pool use, or do you intend to drink water from it too? If you hope it’s potable, best to have the water analyzed first. Should cost no more than R$200 to have this done by a private lab. If a university or gov’t agency is nearby, maybe even tested for free.
    If the well is shallow (3-18m), down to just the first water table (ground water), then it’s probably not drinkable, and depending what’s in the area, might be contaminated with agrotoxicos. In Brasil, it’s not very common for people to spend the money to drill a deep well (60-150m), which is what is usually needed to reach truly potable water. The one exception would be if the well taps into a spring source.
    Where I’m presently living, there is an abundance of springs, but rather than building something to cover and protect the spring, the locals merely create a dam, then throw the end of a roll of plastic tubing in the open basin of water, with the other end connected to their caixa de agua, sometimes with a kilometer between the two. One can use such water to bathe with, and cook with (once boiling), but I’d never drink it right out the tap, or brush my teeth with it.
    Boa sorte!

  • #270274

    Anonymous

    But GF, why even bother with qualidade when 75% of purchasers are going to use it to climb up the power pole to fix their gatinho and get fried? 😉

  • #270277

    romanji
    Member

    @ GS: The area is 220, though I was under the impression power tools/larger electronics like that could work with a simple plug converter and not be damaged? My computer works there with only a plug converter, but not my electric razor, for example. The razor would need a voltage converter too. Am I mistaken?

    I don’t have the full story on the well yet, but I suspect it will just be for garden/pool use. We’ll get it tested though.
    @3casas: We’ll be bringing everything on the plane. We currently live in the US and will be making the move in about two years. If we buy this property my wife’s parents would live in it until we made the permanent move. While we’re making dollars we can pay off the property quickly. We will be making yearly trips to visit the family (next trip will be in dec), and I wanted to start bringing things over piecemeal now. We will be moving very light. I’m not dealing with a container. But I also don’t want to waste our trips. So I can get a ladder, chainsaw, flashlights, etc and bring a lot of that over now and still have the total be under $500 USD that’s allowed.
    I’ll do some research on the trees. We wouldn’t be out in the sertão, but there is a dry season. The location is just outside of Recife.
  • #270545

    romanji
    Member

    Bumping this so that GS and 3casas can see my last post.

  • #270550

    Anonymous

    you should be able to find good resources online WRT what to plant. a lot depends on the specifics of your geography and hydrology. if you are doing this over a period of time, it will be great, since you can see what you need and then go home and buy it.

  • #270557

    Serrano
    Participant

    Zummbot, for corded power tools from the US, say a circular saw, you’ll need a voltage step down converter. If you go that route, be sure to buy one of sufficient capacity in the US, because they’re more compact and not quite as heavy as what I’ve seen on the market here, not to mention less expensive too.
    But speaking from experience, unfortunately, no matter how you guard your tools, someone is going to get ahold of that power tool, and plug it directly into a 220v socket. Thus I recommend battery powered, or just cough up the cash for a 220v model here. Prices have come down, so now you’ll probably only pay double, not triple the US price.
    Also, check US websites that sell 220v products. While not much available in the power tool category, dvdoverseas.com has 220v electronics and appliances for good prices. I’m cursed with 220v here in SC, and I’ve purchased a few items from that site. I’ve been pleased with the products thus far.
    Gringo.Serrano2014-09-29 12:53:09

  • #270579

    Finrudd
    Participant

    I had never really thought of 220v as a curse, and would always buy a 220V power tool as preference over a 110v for longevity and more efficient use of power – same with washing machines too. in SP you can easily get 220v wired to sockets in most houses (check if it’s rural if it has 220v or not) and I suggest using red sockets for all 220v outlets as a visual check. That said, I did blow up my vacuum sealer machine on its maiden voyage after bringing it back from the US, as I had it in mind it only worked on 220! Wrong!

  • #270604

    romanji
    Member

    Ok so the battery-powered tools I can recharge with nothing but a plug converter and won’t have any issues. I was under the impression that pretty much anything but small, cheap electronics could be used in 110 or 220 without issues. I’ll check around for prices on 220 tools to compare, thanks for the tips!

  • #270609

    Finrudd
    Participant

    To give you an idea of costs from a reputable shop i.e. they won’t be knock-off copies of DeWalt and Makita, have a look here http://www.dutramaquinas.com.br/construcao-ferramentas-eletricas-industriais

    This will give you an idea of pricing if bought locally, along with the options.
  • #270612

    Anonymous

    wow, great site. we do a lot of airbrush stuff (at home, the kid`s hobby, not at the shop, but there are good things for that too) and they have a lot of good things.

  • #270646

    jeb2886
    Member

    Messing with a container is the way to go! I’m so glad I went that route, it isn’t cheap, but I have so much stuff here that I could never buy here. Everyone complains about mattresses here. I bought a spare $600 mattress from Costco, I was offered $1000 for the mattress and the guys R$8000 mattress! I ended up with amazing appliances, but they are a little large for many Brazilian houses 🙂 You’ll never get a big TV down here. Your electronics and mattress will make it worth while.

    I brought down 4x5000watt inverters + voltage stabilizers. I’m actually using just one of them now, with wires going all over the house, but the spares will be good, since they are heavy! And if I lost this one, I couldn’t really wait 6 months for a trip back to the US to get my stuff back online!
    The thing with the voltage stabilizers is that when power fluctuates, it’s very hard on electronics, so the stabilizer will keep the power within spec. I also have several UPS’s (wish I had picked up 1-2 more) to protect my gear from excessive brown outs, or massive power spikes. Power around here is pretty bad.
    Switching power supplies can generally use 120-220, a computer has what amounts to a huge switching power supply in it. Watch out though, not all of those little “black adapters” will handle 220v! Read everything carefully and see what works.
    Next up, you’ll need some heavy duty power cords to run your gear, the ones they sell down here won’t cut it. You’ll need something good for tools, otherwise the voltage drop will make the engine overheat. I think it’s something like 110v = 90% power 100v = 65% power. It drops off fast.
    Even going under that $500 limit might not save you. The guys down here seem to go a little nuts on certain items, claiming you can’t bring them into the country or via plane or whatever excuse they can come up with, it’s still worth it for sure though. I would break up your baggage though, and go through completely separately, so if one of you is stopped, then that person just needs to deal with the crap of customs.
    Get your permanent residency in the US, if you’re married over 5 years, it takes 2 weeks, otherwise it takes a few months. Also contact the consulate and find out what is required to declare your wife has been living over seas for a year, so on your final visit in, you can bring whatever you want, in bulk. Check the airport you’re going into (just had friends told that they can’t bring more than 2x bags into brasilia, and recife I think doesn’t accept boxes…) but look at the excess luggage. I think delta and us airways are about $85 while others are $150-200, you can bring 9 bags each. At $85, this isn’t a big deal. Put a $40 blender in a bag, and you’ve already paid for the bag, the other 65 pounds is free essentially. But if you’re paying $200 per bag, that could add up to a lot. You can fit a lot into those bags, nothing like a container where you can fit big ticket items, but you cou can fit a lot! Oh yeah, contact your consulate now to see what they require for the 1 year residency, because when you come back (or more importantly if you bring a container) what you can bring back is based off how long you’ve been there. So if it’s been a year, they’ll expect about a years worth of crap. If you’ve been there 2+ years and you can prove it to the consulate, they will write a document up saying you’ve been there for 2+ years and then when you hit customs, they will look over your items far less seriously, since you’ve had far more time to accumulate them.
    I picked up these 2 for $50 fans at costco. One is about 3′ tall, the other is a 12′ slender desk fan. Good deal at costco. Best price I’ve seen on those cheap big round fans that go for $12 walmart is about R$150. One of these fans from Costco go for R$300-500 and they aren’t even the same quality. Things add up! I actually picked up a portable AC unit, used for $100 in the US and a refurbished 8000BTU window AC unit on amazon for $75 at the end of the season! Those go for R$1500 and R$1000 here minimum. I need my 5000W inverters to run them,but that’s no big deal. Those are things you won’t get, unless you do a container… But they’ll pay for the container pretty bloody quickly!
    I brought down garden hoses, wow. Glad I got those. And garbage cans. They cost nothing in the US, but here they are a fortune for garbage quality!
    What other ramblings are there. Oh Costco (and I think other places now) sell these pretty large black rubbermaid bins for $10. They’re solid, and you’ll never get anything like that down here. To top it off, you can pack quite a bit of stuff in there. When you do your final move, you could bring down 10+ of those things and be set. Cheap “luggage”. I saw a guy using them for luggage, he had about 15 of them, but he was coming back with his wife and a couple of kids, so they had a lot of free luggage allowances!
    Try and go through RIO or GRU when you do come down, since they don’t seem to have any of these restrictions on baggage.
    I would still look at the container though. It isn’t cheap, but if you fill it with quality goods, you’ll be set for life down here. I’m sure a good portion of Brazilians income goes to buying expensive and low quality goods down here, that constantly need replacing. If you buy quality goods (above what you normally would buy) they will last a very long time here, and you can basically cut 1/4 of your monthly budget out for 5+ years! I say buy quality, because cheap things break in the US as well, and you can easily go buy more cheap things, but once these items break down here, you’re buying expensive and ultra cheap things to replace them!
  • #270665

    Serrano
    Participant

    [QUOTE=jkennedy] Messing with a container is the way to go! √Ǭ†I’m so glad I went that route….[/QUOTE]
    ^^ Sounds like someone did their homework and took lots of notes from the Sending a Container thread!
    @zummbot: Saw one of these folding platform ladders in BIG (it’s run by Walmart). 3casas was certainly correct, prices have come way down on this item. BIG had it marked down from R$329 to R$279. While still not as sturdy looking as the one I brought in my container from US, it was pretty close. So if doing just air freight, no need to hassle with such.
    JK is right about mattresses, but a good work around if you’re not sending one in a container is to purchase a high quality mattress pad made of ‘memory foam’, which is easy to ship as checked luggage.
    Gringo.Serrano2014-10-01 14:08:07

  • #270669

    jeb2886
    Member

    Ah, I was thinking of bringing down a compressed mattress, not just the pad. They aren’t that big for queen sized beds. They roll them up extremely tightly! The only problem is if customs opened that thing up… all of a sudden there is a !@#$ full sized bed in their room, with no way of getting it back into anything resembling a small box. I could just imagine that conversation with a supervisor…

    They have them for about $250-350 online, I think they are 8″ to 12″ thick mattresses. I got one for my fathers RV a few years ago, and it seemed pretty decent. Not sure of the shipping weight, but you could probaby phone up and ask about those things. Maybe put a letter in portuguese/english on it saying please xray if there are any doubts, compressed mattress that will never go back in the box…
    If you go the route of the container, I would say 10K for the container and probably 20K in goods you’ll probably want to buy for it. Used or new… I have a massive list of items that I would recommend bringing down, compiled from what I wanted, and what others suggested, like GS. I think I ended up spending probably closer to 50K for mine, I don’t know how 🙂 We’ll just say it got out of control.
    I had the moves unload everything and about 3 hours later IrishNatal came over to lend me a hand. His first comment was “Wow… this is a LOT of stuff… I think we can probably get it into the house, or at least some of it into the house before it gets dark”… his expression after I said “But the house is full…” was priceless 🙂
  • #270684

    romanji
    Member

    @jk: Thanks for the tips! The house on the property would come furnished, so when we go in december to check it out I’m going to do inventory and see what we’ll need. We prefer to live very frugally and I would like to avoid a container. $10,000 USD is almost $25k BRL, and I am confident for that amount of money we could easily get everything we won’t be able to take with us on the plane. We can’t really outlay $30k USD for a container and stuff to fill it with either.

    @GS: I hadn’t even thought of the memory foam mattress pad! That will definitely go on the list.
  • #270686

    jeb2886
    Member

    Fair enough, 30K is a lot. 25K BRL doesn’t go a very long way. These people are spending 8K on mattresses that can’t compete with a $500 costco mattress.

    Toss in a decent sized TV if you’re used to that, and you’re up to R$15,000 already! Grab a few tools from the US and you’re way above the R$25k for that container.
    If you go the bag route, you’ll probably end up spending 1500 in bags, bringing down all your misc items as well. They seem to be scanning people a lot more, even if you’re keeping it under the $500 limit. They’ll just toss your other items in. Like your cell phone, computer and the $500 and now you’re upto $2500 🙂
    I think there are a few other options, I heard someone who was bringing down just a partial container, it was about 4K, and I’m not sure how much space they got in the container, maybe only 5 feet? But that is enough to toss in a hell of a lot of goods.
    It’s obviously possible to live without a lot of items as well. I have far too many gizmo’s at this point. I just had the space and figured it was a one time deal. But it is nice having a lot of misc little nick nacks. When I need a big ladder, I have it. When i need some ramps for the car, I have them. I spent 2 weeks looking for zip ties once. A few people knew what I wanted, but had no idea where you could actually buy them. I’ve seen them since then… but the point is, it can be super difficult to just find weird things down here.
  • #270689

    romanji
    Member

    Yea we have the intention of going the ‘live without a lot of items’ route. We really want a simple life, doing chores around the sitio, planting a garden, building a chicken coop, cooking real food, spending time with family, going to the beach, etc. As it is now we spend way too much time online and watching tv. I’d love to not have a tv at home. We may have to replace a few big items like the stove and refrigerator every now and then, but I think we can manage that. We can strap a mattress pad on a cheap mattress, have a small tv (or no tv), use a cheap unlocked cell instead of an expensive smartphone, etc. We’ll only buy clothes when we take our yearly trips back to the US. I think we will be able to manage. We currently live in a 1 br apartment so at the moment we don’t even have enough stuff that would be worth putting in a container. Truth is I won’t have enough information to make the call until we get down there and see the place and take an inventory. We have plenty of time to figure it out though. I will look into that half container option though, that may be worth it. Where did you see that?

  • #270691

    Anonymous

    that is basically how we started, we sold or gave almost everything away, and while we have accumulated a lot of crap, at least it is the crap we want and need. a few international moves made it clear what was important and what wasn’t.

    i would suggest keeping an eye out on sales and over time, building yourself the tool set you have always wanted. good tools make the work you have to do a lot more pleasant- whether that is on the workbench, in the kitchen, the garden, the machine shop… whatever it is you enjoy doing. a highlight of every trip up north is the trip to Sears for some delightful new toy. I won’t even get into how much i love my cobra head garden tool…
  • #270692

    jeb2886
    Member

    I understand your reasons, it was the primary driving factor for myself. And it’s worked out really well. I have more time for myself, we cook a lot more, we entertain a lot more. Make sure you bring down a gas bbq! I think you could probably fit a half decent sized one in one of those large duffle bags. They are mostly air, so split it over 2 bags and along with other items, it probably won’t take up much size or weight. Assuming you get one that hasn’t been assembled at all. I think I calculated once you could get a 37″ tv down in your bag if you really tried. That might be worth it, or a couple of smaller ones, like 2-332″ tv’s. They are insanely cheap up there.

    There are three reasons I’ve seen people peter out and fail around here.
    If you’re planning on working down here as an employee, you’re going to hate life. 40 hours, but you can’t offer any input into your job from what I’ve seen. Maybe teaching english is the exception? If you make your own business you’ll have a much better time. We had relatives who tried this, and it didn’t pan out so well.
    Second reason I’ve seen for failures is moving to where they were born. If it’s Rio, or SP, or one of the major coastal cities, you’ll be ok. If it’s not one of those, you’ll probably go stir crazy. Most people don’t realize how much entertainment they pay for in general, or how many aspects of the “big city” they are used to. Big cities have lots of specializations in them. Lots of variety and lots of groups of people who are like minded. The smaller the city, the less specialized people become and the more general their interests are. It’s just a numbers game really, and the necessary number of people to do X in a city and support it, isn’t enough in a small city. Really look around. Relatives had this issue as well, and I think tbird on here is having that issue as well. The city has nothing that they need, but they thought the support of family was worth it. It probably isn’t, if you’re used to big city life, you’ll still want some aspects of that.
    The final reason, is “brazilian made crap” drives them crazy. And they refuse to pay the $2000 for something they saw at a $99 special at walmart the year before. I’ve seen stores that just sell blender parts here in Natal, and they were all insanely cheap parts! The blenders would run for awhile and then break everything in them. From the motors, to the cheap plastic containers that go on top, to the plastic blades inside. That kind of thing has to wear on people, especially if they’re just making ends meet, or maybe if they are doing well, just knowing that the $20 blender at walmart is going for $300 here is driving them crazy.
    Oh I think the BBQ is great for making friends. Fire that thing up, and invite a couple of peopel over. People love bbq’s and if you have a grill it takes you no time at all. So you have a friend maker, and entertainment maker which you’ll need downhere. I thought to myself “I’ll do the coal bbq’s! can’t wait!” and then GF mentioned to me that he always wished he had a grill, because firing up the goals, getting them ready and cooking meat is fun, but sometimes you just want to have a grill ready in 2 minutes.
  • #270693

    romanji
    Member

    The property we are looking at is just outside of Recife, which is where my wife is from. It’s close enough that we can go and have a nice dinner out and enjoy the city and be home in 30 minutes. My wife grew up in Recife and is used to city life, but I grew up in the sticks and I miss it, so this is best for both of us. I also think it’s a better place to have kids. Family is close, the city is close, and tons of great northeast beaches are close. It’s really a perfect location for us.

    Luckily my wife’s family has businesses in Recife, so we will be able to start working from the moment we land and at least be making enough to live comfortably and not bleed away our savings. We eventually have the goal of opening our own business, but we both have a lot to learn before we do that. I have a background in marketing so I may see what opportunities are out there job wise. We’ve made a budget and we’ll be able to live very comfortably on 5k a month, and pay the bare necessities with 3k. I think I’d trade job input for a month of paid vacation though!
    I’m sure the prices will bug me for a while, but I’ll get over it. I spent 6 years of my life in NYC, which is not quite the same as the prices of Brazil, but I’ve been through that kind of sticker shock and survived.
    The property will have a churrasqueira! I think we can manage with charcoal. We will definitely invite some friends/family over and try to enjoy the simple life.
  • #270694

    jeb2886
    Member

    Well if the family is there, and has some money, maybe you can share the cost of a container — buying them some things they might want, if they chip in on the shipping it down there. If you don’t want a 70″ tv, maybe one of them would be willing to pay the price plus $1500. Someone might want one of the really nice big fridges you can get in the US for $2500, maybe they would do something similar. Or even bring down a couple of mattresses for them. Like I said the $500 costco mattress killed the R$8000 mattress here.

    I don’t think NYC stick shock is anything like Brazil. It’s expensive in NYC, but it’s more like going to a restaurant and dropping $300 on a meal in NYC and getting denny’s food. That would be a good comparison 🙂
    If you have decent income now, and you’ll have decent income when you get down here (ok, you’ll be floating yourself income?) then the container might be a very good way to go. Chop your expenses to the bare minimum for the next year or so and use that money.
    Anyway, the next time you come down, I would highly recommend you go to a few places and check out the beds. Go lay down on one for 20 minutes. Go to the hardware store and check out the prices there. Go to the mall and really look over the appliances, and furniture that you’re going to be getting.
    We’re in Natal and the life here is mostly outdoors. We picked up masses of outdoor furniture that we didn’t have before, and we use it every day. Eating outside, sitting outside, swinging in our swing.
    While charcoal is wonderful, there is nothing compared with firing up a bbq and having a meal very quickly. I thought the whole charcoal thing would be great, but I haven’t had one bbq yet with charcoal. I was invited to one, but then they cancelled because they were going to be away for a few hours… and charcoal requires a lot of extra prep time!
    It sounds like you’re coming down with roughly the same budget as we decided on sticking too, and probably the same income we were dealing with. We have had an easy time sticking to our budget because we haven’t had to buy anything here. We even brought down a lot of supplies for the first year, including garbage bags, dish soap, shampoos, toilet paper, washing machine detergent and other supplies. Basically we took many monthly expenses we were going to experience here, and used them to offset the cost of the container.
  • #270716

    Serrano
    Participant

    [QUOTE=Zummbot] We really want a simple life, doing chores around the sitio, planting a garden, building a chicken coop, cooking real food, spending time with family, going to the beach, etc. As it is now we spend way too much time online and watching tv. I’d love to not have a tv at home.[/QUOTE]
    I haven’t finished it yet, maybe only a third through, but given what you said, I recommend ordering this book: The Resilient Farm and Homestead (by Ben Falk).
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Resilient-Farm-Homestead-Permaculture/dp/1603584447/
    If I can implement just 25% of what’s contained between the front and back cover, I’ll be VERY happy! BTW, ducks are recommended over chickens, unless you intend to eat the chickens.
    I have a tv, a modest lcd screen, but it’s only hooked up to a dvd player. “Pit Bulls and Paroles” is the present ‘boob-tube’ indulgence.
    I hated watching tv in the US, because it was 95% merda. TV in Brasil is 99.99% merda. Where I’m living now, I have to drive approx. 30 mins to use the internet. First few months was a challenge, but I now love not being connected 24/7. I had a FB junkie come visit recently, and they went into withdrawal!
    I must concur with JK about the gas grill. The carvao thing is a PITA, unless it’s a weekend all afternoon gathering of friends and/or family, with lots of beer flowing. Sometimes you just want to slap some chicken breasts or strip steaks on a grill and be already eating 20 mins later (unless you’re ambitious like Finrudd, and will get up at 05:30 to get the coals in a smoker going). To check a basic gas grill as luggage, still boxed/unassembled, should only set you back $75, or $150 if you need to split it into two checked items. At least that’s what the airline I usually fly charges for excess/overweight/oversized baggage. A simple gas grill you could probably buy for around $300, maybe less (now would be a good time since summer clearance sales might still be going on). For less than $500 total, including shipping, you really can’t go wrong. Check the various airline websites for exact fees, and note that the number of free bags, as well as weight allowances for Brasil are usually more generous.
    You’ll be entering on a resident visa based on marriage, correct? If so, all this stuff will be duty free, NO taxes, so TAKE ADVANTAGE! I think the airlines have a limit for how many excess bags you can check. I want to say ten, but don’t quote me, and probably varies by carrier. But let’s say ten is the limit, per passenger, meaning you and your wife can check twenty additional bags, for less than $2,000! That’s a lot of good ‘stuff’, usable and practical things you could send down. Think it through carefully, and make it worth your while. You are permitted in this instance (arriving as a resident) to bring new things, a still in the box new computer even, just not multiples of new things (such as five laptops). Again, take full advantage of the duty free, no limit, coming in as a resident, because you only have a small window of time to do that! Just make sure all your paperwork is in order before arriving.
    3casas gave great advice about tools!!! Quality is key, and hard to come by down here. Even simple things like a garden hose are night and day difference to what you can buy up there, versus here. Along with that ‘no-kink’ heavy duty garden hose, bring some brass fittings and attachments; brass yard faucet, brass hose repair kits, metal spray nozzles, brass quick release couplings for the hose and spray nozzle, etc. If you have people come do some work at your place, such as a pedreiro, hide the spray nozzles, because they’ll break them! A drip irrigation kit would be a practical item for your garden.
    Good gloves, several pair; clippers, pruning shears, branch loppers… invest in quality ones, because most of what you’ll find here is crap. I’ve been very pleased with the Fiskars brand, which Home Depot carries. For things you think you’ll use a lot, buy two. Since it will still be awhile until you move, keep an eye on sales, particularly ‘end of season’. Oh yeah, farm boots, since you’ll be doing the homesteading thing. Check Amazon for “Muck Boots”. They come in a variety of heights, slip-on to knee high. Waaaay more comfortable than what you’ll find down here!
    It’s great that you’ll be coming down and able to do an ‘inventory’, before actually moving. Although you don’t plan to send a container, you should take the time to read that thread. Some good tips there. Sheets and towels come to mind…. And in your case, large yet light weight duffel bags stuffed with ‘space vacuum’ bags containing compressible items would be the way to go for items like that (non-breakable).* I credit JK for the duffle bag tip!
    *When you arrive, get a few porters to help you with all the stuff
    If you check large boxes or containers with fragile items, pad the bottom, sides, and top with bed pillows. New ones at someplace like Marshall’s or TJ Max are a great deal for much better quality than you’ll find here. Zippered pillow protectors will keep those pillows fresh, particularly on sweltering summer nights. Okay, this is more about moving than homesteading, but IMO, if moving down here, it’s important to expand your focus and think more in the long term. Stuff you might take for granted now, and later on think, “Why didn’t I bring THAT with me?!”
    A big thumbs up on doing all your clothes shopping when you take a trip back to the US. Since the seasons are opposite, again, summer clearance sales in the US… just prior to summer starting in Brasil.
    Gringo.Serrano2014-10-04 10:53:35

  • #270717

    Anonymous

    <<If you have people come do some work at your place, such as a pedreiro, hide EVERYTHING because they’ll break IT ALL!>>

    take heed, truer words were never spoken.
    better yet, LOCK IT ALL AWAY. Mr 3C kindly did a renovation project while I was gone, and while I love the outcome (covered wooden deck, folks, best thing ever) the pedreiro literally broke or stole EVERY GODDAMN THING in reach. Everything from the clothespins to my bean-sorting peineira thing to the outdoor furniture and hoes and rakes. EVERYTHING. he even stomped my rhubarb plants, which where nowhere near his work area, for good measure, the SOB.
    and this was in the *one week* he lasted before Mr 3 gave him the boot and did the work himself, I can only imagine what would have been next.
  • #270718

    jeb2886
    Member

    And once you’ve filled GF’s list, you’re going to realize you need other basic house hold goods, and that you might as well get a container! 🙂 What we are saying, is that *EVERY* little item you use, from hoses, to garden gloves, to knives and forks you’ll want from there. This isn’t about going commercial, this is about just bringing down the necessities!

    They will cost 1/3 to 1/4 of what they cost here, assuming you don’t want to buy the dollar store quality replacements, and those better replacements will be the bottom of the barrel versions in the US. For example, the hoses you get here. I spent $15 on 100 feet for no kink UV protected at costco, year end sale. They sell plastic tubing down here, you buy it per foot. It’s like fish tank tubing, you can buy better fish tank tubing that will last more than a year with some better plastic, and some thread built in to make it better, but that is it. Now you’re spending $50 on a hose down here, that they wouldn’t even sell at wal mart and the 15 year replacement hose in the US is going for $15. Pinch the pennies, throw the dollars.
    You can’t even bring these hoses down later, they’re cheap but but heavy and decently bulky and you’ll have far more important items to get later! Believe me! 🙂
  • #270719

    graham
    Participant

    [QUOTE=3casas]<<If you have people come do some work at your place, such as a pedreiro, hide EVERYTHING because they’ll break IT ALL!>>

    take heed, truer words were never spoken.
    better yet, LOCK IT ALL AWAY. Mr 3C kindly did a renovation project while I was gone, and while I love the outcome (covered wooden deck, folks, best thing ever) the pedreiro literally broke or stole EVERY GODDAMN THING in reach. Everything from the clothespins to my bean-sorting peineira thing to the outdoor furniture and hoes and rakes. EVERYTHING. he even stomped my rhubarb plants, which where nowhere near his work area, for good measure, the SOB.
    and this was in the *one week* he lasted before Mr 3 gave him the boot and did the work himself, I can only imagine what would have been next.

    [/QUOTE]

    There is no better or more important advice about managing works in your home than that which 3casas offers here!!! (your post, 3c, made me pissed off again with some of my experiences)
    I testify too, and I stress the fact that, WHENEVER workmen are about, hide your tools and everything of value; do not leave them alone in your house, if at all possible. Do not loan any tools, unless you won’t mind loosing them. Most laborers, with a few exceptions, do not have all the tools and equipment to do the work for which you hire them to do. Even if you try to arrange all that they will need, it seems to me that I’ve always had to provide more stuff somehow.
    Watch them! Fingers are very sticky, AND if they need to make a small hole to run a 1/2″ pipe through a wall, make sure they drill it rather than take a chisel and beat out a 30cm hole. see?
    good luck
  • #270736

    romanji
    Member

    Thanks for the recommendation GS, I’m going to order that book and am looking forward to reading. We do plan on eating the roosters and keeping hens for eggs, but why do you recommend ducks? The property also has a small pond so we could keep ducks.

    In terms of container vs. no container I am going to hold judgement for now and wait until I get down there and can take a proper inventory. There will be beds, dressers, tables, chairs, a stove, fridge, etc, etc already included in the house. At this point I cannot speak to the quality of the items in the house, but I will be sure to give everything a good look over. There very well may be larger items that need to be replaced, and these will be noted. We will definitely take all of our high quality kitchen ware, as well as tools, bed linens and towels, pillows, etc. Once I have it I will post the inventory list here for thoughts/feedback!
    Another piece to this that is a little tricky is there is currently a caseiro living on the property. They live in a smaller house that is close to the main house. It’s an older couple from the sertao. I think they just make a salario minimo from the current owner. The owner does not live on the property full time. We would be, though. I haven’t met them yet, but I would prefer to not have them there. That and I don’t want to have to be on the hook for this guy’s salary when I want to do the work around the place. Not really sure how you approach that sort of thing. Anybody dealt with anything similar?
  • #270738

    jeb2886
    Member

    I was planning on going the same way. Just moving, don’t bring anything really. Just live without it, but that was before I choose Brazil, or perhaps before I got married to a Brazilian. I had plans to move to a tropical country, but when I realized how expensive everything in Brazil was, and that I could bring a container down, I changed my tune.

    If this was some other country, I would let myself get settled and then buy what I needed. Do the bare necessities and buy the occasional high quality item as I needed it.
    But the real pressure here is that this is a ONE TIME deal. You can do it when you come, and that is it. I would really look at what is in that house and say to yourself: Is this good for 15 years? Will I be happy with this rickety thing for 15 years?
    Even if you’re making very good money here, it’s going to be tough to buy good quality items because they’re still expensive and as your wages go up, so does your living standard.
    If you’re actually considering a container, I would just get a quote from where ever you are to recife. See what they are going to charge you today. See what your options are. Then look at it and say “Could I sell any space in here to my relatives or others to reduce my costs?” If you really don’t want a TV or a guest mattress, those are 2 huge ticket items that you could use to offset the container costs.
    I think you’ll find it isn’t going to cost you that much. Even if you buy used items to put in there, and everything you put in there, you’ll be semi happy with for 15 years.
    The last thing you want is a crappy bed, and to have back pains after 3-4 months! Or to find out you could have really used a couple of extra big ticket tools, or a garden hose.
    Price everything out and really look at it say “Is this going to be good for 15 years?” Most US stuff will be. I can guarantee you, these hoses will not last 15 years, I could probably keep my US hoses for 15 years, but the ones that came with this property probably get replaced every 2-3 years at max because they’re just flimsy plastic. Not just the tube, but the ends. I keep replacing the outside faucets because they all break/deteriorate over time! It’s insane how crappy this stuff is.
  • #270747

    Serrano
    Participant

    [QUOTE=Zummbot]Another piece to this that is a little tricky is there is currently a caseiro living on the property. They live in a smaller house that is close to the main house. It’s an older couple from the sertao. I think they just make a salario minimo from the current owner. The owner does not live on the property full time. We would be, though. I haven’t met them yet, but I would prefer to not have them there. That and I don’t want to have to be on the hook for this guy’s salary when I want to do the work around the place. Not really sure how you approach that sort of thing. Anybody dealt with anything similar?[/QUOTE]
    Let’s clarify some facts here…. You will be renting one house on this property, and a couple who look after the entire property also live on-site, but in another house. Correct?
    If so, you’re both tenants. Neither of you should have an obligation to one another aside from abiding by the basic civil code of ‘rules and conduct’. In other words, don’t party too hardy (unless you invite them to the party too).
    Regarding ducks vs chickens, and I’ve read this in several sources, not just the book I recommended, ducks are supposedly better at pest control in your garden, but won’t destroy your garden. Whereas the scratching chickens do can be destructive to your garden, if you don’t closely monitor them.
    Happened to speak to a friend last night who bought this cordless battery operated chain saw on a recent trip to the US. I think for the potential task load, a gas operated one is the way to go, but he says thus far he’s pleased with this model.
    http://www.amazon.com/GreenWorks-20312-DigiPro-Cordless-Chainsaw/dp/B00DRBBRU6/

  • #270750

    romanji
    Member

    No we would be buying the property from the owner. So the house the caseiro lives in would be ours, as it’s a part of the property. The caseiro would be looking to us as the new owners to continue his employment. It’s easy to say just fire him and let that be that. But it’s an older couple from the sertao who have been there for 10 years. I’m sure the community knows them and I don’t want to start out as the gringo who kicked out the nice old brazilian caretakers.

  • #270754

    kevin owen
    Participant

    I am certainly no expert on this issue, but I strongly suggest you forget about your container dilemmas and sort the caseiro situation out before you purchase the property.
    I would guess you would want some sort of vacant possession agreement. If not you really could encounter problems.
    Get some proper advice!

  • #270756

    romanji
    Member

    Thanks Kevbo, we will make sure all of our ducks are in a row. My wife’s family has plenty of experience with real-estate purchases and knows the lawyers and professionals necessary to make sure it’s done properly. There is a zero percent chance that we will purchase this property if the caseiro could claim squatter’s rights at any point in the future.

  • #270760

    Finrudd
    Participant

    Again, echoing what Kevbo says: The caseiro situation is far more alarming than the container! When the current owner sells the place, he or she will need to terminate the employment of the caseiro, and when you buy the place, you will need to employ them, or otherwise. If you are NOT going to carry on the agreement, then I suggest you make it clear to the current owner that it is his/her liability to deliver the place with vacant position. i.e. no one living there when you get there, otherwise you may face issues and cost in evicting someone who has been their for ten years. You need to be very sure that any employment dispute that comes up is dealt with by the current owner – when the caseiro is terminated, he will be checking that INSS has been paid correctly etc and this is when the dispute about how come holiday pay has never been offered for the past ten years, will crop up, along with the 20 hours overtime per month that has been done for the past decade also…

    We took on a very good caseiro couple when we bought our rural property, and the husband was employed with Certeira Assinada (signed work book) and a salary of around R$1.400 per month, plus INSS, holiday entitlement etc. With recent laws, as Caseiro’s are categorised as Domestic Workers, they only work x hours per week, which means that after that time, they are due overtime. So, opening a gate late at night, feeding chickens on a day off etc become subject to overtime payments if you don’t have a solid arrangement in place. Even tending a shared veg patch on a day off, or ‘after’ hours can become contentious, or turning on a water pump that provides the shared water supply.
    Our Caseiro couple separated after two years, and the wife left – not before demanding ‘her rights’ because during the two years we had been there, she had acted as ‘night security’ i.e. had slept on the property (where her home was). We ended up paying her some money for her to leave peacefully. The better thing to do would be to employ each of the couple on a minimum wage, rather than just one, as inevitably the non-salaried one will do tasks around the place for their own benefit, and your mutual benefit, which could become a problem later on for you.
    It’s a minefield – I can understand you not wanting them there, however, if you are new to the area and Brazil, they could also be a very useful couple to have around, and worth the pay. Really depends on the couple though, as I have heard nightmare stories about those who don’t get lucky!
  • #270763

    jeb2886
    Member

    It seems that you have this property in mind and really want it. You should keep in mind that the currency is slipping and you’re gaining from this right now. Second, that properties have been coming down in price over the last year or two it seems.

    Most importantly, you should probably try and rent the first year. It won’t cost that much, and you’ll get to know the area better. Rents down here return pretty pitiful values to the landlord, the only thing they get is appreciation on the property and that appears to be slowing and coming down in the last few years, at least in Natal, I suspect Recife could have some issues of it’s own.
    Security is a HUGE issue, and I’m starting to have to deal with it. Recife is more violent than Natal, and I’m in one of the most desirable areas of Natal but there is plenty of crime here. People who live out on these properties that are kind of far from other properties are far more likely to be taken hostage and robbed. I would love to find something on the outskirts around Natal with plenty of land, but everyone says it’s just too dangerous, that they will get onto your property and just wait for you to come home. Since there is no one else out there, you can’t easily get away, or alert anyone else. It’s why so many Brazilians love apartments, because they want the security. I love my large yard, it’s great for entertaining and I love just sitting out there, but it’s a huge security risk for me to be here.
    Rent, get everything sorted out. Figure out what you like or don’t like and then look for some property. There aren’t too many people around here that are saying “I really expect the Brazilian economy to take off and outperform everyones expectations!”
    Brazils economic growth came from hiring people. If you hire someone, you add like R$20K to the GDP, it’s a real fast way to increase the GDP. The only other way is through productivity increases… and we’re running at 1.5%, that isn’t a great increase for GDP, the economy is going to be stale for awhile, and that is going to make people jittery, and you could swoop in and get something for a lot cheaper, or better during those times.
    And of course, it doesn’t matter where you move to, everyone says rent first and learn the area. It’s just normal…
  • #270765

    celso
    Member

    I agree Brazil is about to crash. Could be hard and then is the time to step up to the plate.
    Make sure place is vacant, the inherited caseiro could become the new owner through labor court victory.
    Happens frequently in the NE of Brazil. A high ranking official in the Ministry of Trabalho told me a few years ago. Two sisters tried to grab my house in Brazil with fictitious claims. Cost me a bunch of time, money, lawyer fess, travel expense, to defend and later settle for a fraction of the claim.

  • #270770

    jeb2886
    Member

    Umm, if i remember correctly, it was like R$10,000 to one of them! Never heard about the 2nd settlement. And I have no idea what your lawyers cost you, but these things can be expensive. And your complaint was completely bogus! These guys actually have a good 10 year work history! They could easily come up with REAL complaints!

    I don’t think many people realize how common it is for these guys to just go to court. It’s more like an aspect of hiring someone here, and almost treated like holiday or overtime pay here. The employees just expect to collect some judgement at some point in time.
  • #270775

    Finrudd
    Participant

    JKennedy raises the issue of security in rural properties. Sadly this is a real concern, and more so, I gather in the North than say down south, however, that is just a matter of time I suspect. For me personally, having the caseiro who has lived in the area all his life, knows everyone, and is related to just about everyone is an extra security measure that is valuable. He knows the crooks and wrong’uns, and who can be trusted, and does not encourage anyone onto the property, or even talk about the place. I have also taken other security measures – IP Cameras that record motion and send to email addresses outside of the property, dual-internet links to decrease the chances of those alerts being sent in real-time, a 3G alarm system with two-way communication, panic button and snapshot-cameras that go to a security company, two dogs and high fences. It’s a sad reality, but security is probably going to be the deciding factor on how long we stay in Brazil as we get older. Currently in my early 40’s so it’s not an issue, but I would not want to be dealing with this in my 60’s or 70’s, unless I really learn to adopt a more gung-ho! mentality. I’m thinking Claymores here… Big smile

    So, while the caseiro might be an employment liability, they might also be a security benefit for you. As long as old employer terminates their contract and moves them out, even if just temporarily, you could move them back on with a written contract ‘averbado’ that explains the basis of employment and housing.
  • #270776

    romanji
    Member

    [QUOTE=jkennedy]It seems that you have this property in mind and really want it. You should keep in mind that the currency is slipping and you’re gaining from this right now. Second, that properties have been coming down in price over the last year or two it seems.

    Most importantly, you should probably try and rent the first year. It won’t cost that much, and you’ll get to know the area better. Rents down here return pretty pitiful values to the landlord, the only thing they get is appreciation on the property and that appears to be slowing and coming down in the last few years, at least in Natal, I suspect Recife could have some issues of it’s own.
    Security is a HUGE issue, and I’m starting to have to deal with it. Recife is more violent than Natal, and I’m in one of the most desirable areas of Natal but there is plenty of crime here. People who live out on these properties that are kind of far from other properties are far more likely to be taken hostage and robbed. I would love to find something on the outskirts around Natal with plenty of land, but everyone says it’s just too dangerous, that they will get onto your property and just wait for you to come home. Since there is no one else out there, you can’t easily get away, or alert anyone else. It’s why so many Brazilians love apartments, because they want the security. I love my large yard, it’s great for entertaining and I love just sitting out there, but it’s a huge security risk for me to be here.
    Rent, get everything sorted out. Figure out what you like or don’t like and then look for some property. There aren’t too many people around here that are saying “I really expect the Brazilian economy to take off and outperform everyones expectations!”
    Brazils economic growth came from hiring people. If you hire someone, you add like R$20K to the GDP, it’s a real fast way to increase the GDP. The only other way is through productivity increases… and we’re running at 1.5%, that isn’t a great increase for GDP, the economy is going to be stale for awhile, and that is going to make people jittery, and you could swoop in and get something for a lot cheaper, or better during those times.
    And of course, it doesn’t matter where you move to, everyone says rent first and learn the area. It’s just normal…

    [/QUOTE]

    You’re absolutely right about the currency. Luckily we’ve got time on our side. Basically the deal is this. My wife and I have at least 2 more years in the US before making the big move. During that time we are saving our money. It would be much easier for us to buy a place now and pay it off while we are making dollars. Then we won’t have to worry about a mortgage/rent when we arrive. Considering the size of the property (over 1 hectare), the house (3 br with furniture included), pool, pond, quiosque, churraqueira, and convenience to the city I think it is a good buy for the price they are asking. Considering that it is not located in a condominio, and Brazil is in a recession I am not too worried about someone else coming along and snatching it up. My wife’s family has already been out there to see it and have said it looks great. In the next few days they are going out with a broker friend who is going to determine the value of the property and make sure all the papers are in order. Since we have two years I have no problem waiting out the owner for a better deal. However she let it slip that she needs to sell because of some business problems, so she needs cash. So I don’t think she can wait long. But we’ll see. We clearly have the advantage.
    Renting first is a good idea. Realistically if we buy we are committing ourselves to live there for at least 10 years. I think it will be difficult to resell solely because it’s not in a condominio. So it’s less an investment property and more a place to live property. We are going in dec and will see it for the first time then. We are going to try to spend a couple nights there to get a feel for the place. But if we can wait until we arrive and rent for a bit we would prefer that route.
    Security is another issue I’m slightly concerned about, and this could probably be an entire other thread. When my wife’s family went to see the place they asked the caseiro and the neighbors about the security of the area. All of them said nothing has ever happened there. They don’t even have bars on the windows. The house itself has no bars and has no wall. I’ve heard that a wall is actually bad for security, because once they jump the wall they can’t be seen from the outside. I was thinking of putting up a gate around the house, putting a german shepherd (or two) behind the gate and adding bars to the windows. That would deter any thieves of opportunity I think. The area is nothing but farms. The house is about a kilometer of dirt road from the highway. The house is also very modest. It doesn’t look like somewhere a rich person would live (and we are not rich by any means). Hopefully any thieves would think it’s not worth their while. My sogro is also buddies with the police, and I’m sure if we called him the police would get there pronto. Would appreciate any thoughts on this though. This is just one more thing we have to consider before buying.
  • #270777

    Serrano
    Participant

    Most excellent advice by some experienced gringos Zummbot, heed their words! Buying the property with an already entrenched live-in staff could be a real can of worms. Yet as finrudd mentioned, to have someone there who is known by the locals and who know the locals could also be a benefit, at least initially.
    You have some due diligence to perform when you come down to visit. While an attorney can advise you well on all of it, you might consider first speaking with an accountant. Less expense, yet the advice sound, and they would be the one’s to set up the couple with being registered as your employees (should you wish to go that route). But be sure they are formally terminated by the present owner, and then you re-hire them.
    But if you don’t care to keep the couple employed as your caseiros, you should have some very definitive stipulations in the sales contract about the termination of the couple as employees, and confirmation that they have been ‘signed off’ and paid accordingly. If you recall in an earlier thread, there are several certifications (certidao negativa) you’ll receive about the owner and their personal dealings, which would include situations such as this. “Nada consta” is the key phrase. And even then, everything is only 90% certain….
    Boa sorte!
    Gringo.Serrano2014-10-06 09:30:21

  • #271025

    romanji
    Member

    Homesteading gringoes: Would you mind posting your monthly budgets, just for the essentials? I am trying to make one now with my wife. The goal is to find the number we need to just buy the essentials each month. Don’t post your car payments or rent payments, since those can vary wildly. We are going to go by the assumption that those are paid off. I just want to get a sense of what it’s like to live in rural Brazil. Here’s where we are:

    R$60 – IPTU
    R$93 – IPVA
    R$122 – car insurance
    R$300 – gasoline
    R$200 – electricity
    R$100 – internet
    R$100 – water
    R$35 – cooking gas
    R$40 – drinking water
    R$600 – grocery
    R$600 – health insurance
    R$70 – cell phone
    R$200 – house maintenance
    Total = R$2,520
    Some of these numbers are based on what my wife’s family spends, and I suspect that we could probably get away with a little less. I welcome any comments/critiques on the above numbers. This is all theoretical at this point, and there very well may be things we are missing. Thanks!
  • #271026

    jeb2886
    Member

    Not too bad, about the same numbers I used!

    Gas if you’re rural will likely be higher, and if you’re working, I would double that at the very least. I don’t drive much and I factor in about 300 per month, if you’re working and having to drive every day, you’ll need way more.
    Electricity is probably not bad, assuming you’re not the type to leave on lights or anything else. Those water heaters use up about 0.50 to 1.00 per 15 minute shower I figured.
    Water is probably going to be hit or miss. Because I’ve found in a house, I’m always repairing faucets that are leaking, and the ones outside can go for a few weeks without me noticing they’re drinking. This isn’t “running” faucets, this is simply dripping, it adds up. We have months where it’s $60 and months where it’s $130.
    Health insurance goes up by 19% a year, just a FYI. We were on our plan like 3 months when the yearly “increase” hit.
    Cooking gas is probably less, those tanks last forever, and my wife is always cooking. I think I figured once every 2-3 months, at about $45 per fill up.
    Groceries are what I used, but we don’t eat out. If you eat out, that will become a massive expense. You mentioned working, which means eating out at lunch and other times. While it isn’t expensive, it will add up pretty bloody quickly!
    House maintenance will be hit or miss, but i wouldn’t use R$200 if you’re planning on buying a house. You’ll be replacing and fixing major ticket items every few years. These houses are not built to last in general, unless you’re just going to let it degrade to crap. Light fixtures go, faucets are leaking, light switches stop working, wiring rots away, tiles break or come lose, bathroom grout looks like crap after a few months, the paint is so watered down you’ll probably be painting every other year unless you want that whole murder hotel look. Your gate will break, if you have an electric fence you’ll be out there replacing wires a few times a year. It’s all small ticket items, if you hire someone, it’s R$20 to fix a faucet or a wire, but it will add up and suck up your time! Because power is always wildly swinging around, expect to replace lights all the time too. R$5-10 per light adds up.
    Then you have just the basic necessities. Anything you don’t bring down from the US will be depleted and destroyed within a year or two. Imagine buying walmart stuff and using it daily for a year and what it would look like. Then imagine buying lower quality stuff and seeing how it lasts.
    Your car is going to go up in flames in about 4 years. They are complete crap, so you’ll either be fixing expensive items, or buying a new one every 4 years. I bought a 1 year old car, and so far my horn has stopped working, the passenger seat has a piece broken that allows it move around way too much! the steering wheel came loose, we had someone break out door lock trying to break in, most of the clips holding things like spark plug wires in the engine are broken off already! they are worn down like it’s a 80’s car or something, I have something rattling underneath the car, something to do with the muffler, there is rust throughout the engine compartment already, fixed a few bent rims, brake light burned out, running lights burned out. Had to replace the water in the rad, it was completely rusting out! They don’t use coolant here, just water. So the water eats those rads up quickly. The car will cost you a lot in time and maintenance. I have had the car for 6 months. It’s 1 year old.
    Car insurance could be around R$400 per year low. Also depends on the type of car you have, they vary wildly!
    Cell phone, you might end up having to get a couple of them, because if you want to call someone who doesn’t have your provider, its R$1.50 per MINUTE! So often it’s cheaper to carry 2-3 numbers to dodge these expenses, and just pay the R$10/month, plus you have a spare phone this way.
    If you want to hire any kind of security company, I think it’s R$500/month for that? I haven’t looked at it. But as someone mentioned, when your door is open, do you really want to be the one who goes in there to see who is in there?
    You’ll probably want to setup security lights and cameras on your new property, expect to replace them every two years I’m guessing. That’s probably a good R$100/month averaged over the life time of those items.
    What I’m saying is, don’t underestimate your maintenance costs here. Often labour is cheap for these items, but you’re going to be doing it time after time. Especially if you’re relying on Brazilian goods.
    Oh one last thing, I would look at finding a water cooler in the US. They are obscenely overpriced down here, like R$600 for a really cheap unit! If you can find one that takes up half a bag, it would be “$40 shipping” for it.
  • #271039

    Finrudd
    Participant
    Always tricky to talk about pricing, as so much depends on the individual, location, expectations etc. However, having a go below:
    R$60 – IPTU – about right for an ‘urban’ plot of around 2.500 square metres for where I am, but most sitios will be paying INCRA which is rural, and costs almost nothing per year.
    R$93 – IPVA – totally depends on value of car. A 2010 Pajero Sport will cost more than double this.
    R$122 – car insurance – as above, depends on car, and level of insurance. Above Pajero Sport will cost more like R$250 per month with Porto Seguro insurance.
    R$300 – gasoline – depends how much you drive and what car you have really.
    R$200 – electricity – we spend less than this per month for a weekend house, and full time caseiro. However, per KWh, electricity in rural SP is more than double what it is in the city.
    R$100 – internet – this is about average around here for a 3MB/3MB radio link, which costs about R$150 for the installation fee (no contract)
    R$100 – water – most sitios will have a well, but you can buy a tanker of water with 10.000 Litres for around R$350.
    R$35 – cooking gas – I would estimate more than this. A gas canister will cost around R$50 in SP.
    R$40 – drinking water – each 20 litre water bottle costs us R$8.
    R$600 – grocery – depends on what you are buying, luxuries, booze, etc and how much you are growing for yourself. You can certainly live on R$600 easily, but also could spend this a week quite easily if you are eating meat daily, like a drink, and get sick of rice beans and lettuce day in day out! Just looking at a supermarket receipt from yesterday (not one of the cheaper ones, granted, but not one of the most expensive either), Chicken R$8,69/kg, Contra Filet Beef R$35,49/kg, Pork Loin R$15,89/kg, Smoked Pork Sausage R$15,90/kg, bacon cubes (Panchetta) R$9,89/kg, various cheese between R$45 – R$55/kg, Coke Zero R$5,99 (2 ltr), Barcardi Gold R$32,90 (1 ltr), Pumpkin R$2,98/kg, Smirnoff Vodka R$26,90 (1 ltr), Cucumber R$1,99/kg, Cooking Oil R$7,85 (1 ltr), Santa Rita red wine – reduced on special from R$29 to R$19 per bottle, 500g bag of macaroni – R$5,99, 6 free-range eggs R$4,79.
    R$600 – health insurance – per person, maybe. This will get you a cheap plan that will be better than nothing, but marginally. Corporate health-plans are going up and up and up at the moment, and we have seen ours increasing 30% in 2014, and 17% projected for 2015, with Sul America.
    R$70 – cell phone. Not really sure, but this will get you a plan of some sort, but don’t expect a phone included.
    R$200 – house maintenance – this wont cover much, but will get some basics. You will be surprised at the high cost of low-quality screws, paint-brushes, brooms, light-bulbs etc. Some things will appear cheap, but you may find you are using more of them because they don’t last. With a rural property, you will probably get through light bulbs faster than you expect as they will burn out faster.
    Other things to think about:
    Fuel for lawnmower, chainsaw, tractor. I probably do R$50 a month on diesel.
    Seeds and seedlings, fertiliser, ant venomto protect your crop.
    Wood/Charcoal– if you have wood on the land for a burner, great, if not – this cost should be considered. Traditional Brazilian BBQ burn a lot of charcoal, and you can do a R$100 a month on this if you buy locally. If you buy the supermarket stuff, expect triple this for weekly BBQ.
    Labour– if you pay someone to do a days work, you can expect a cash payout of around R$50 – R$70 per day for unskilled labour around SP. You might be surprised how often you are going to need some additional help, and you will be expected to pay for it, rather than return a favour mostly.

    finrudd2014-10-18 20:17:06

  • #271040

    jeb2886
    Member

    Woah the northeast is a lot cheaper 🙂

    Contra File is $20/kg, Picanha is R$35/kg, Gas is R$45 canister and lasts 2-3 months! Water $4, health insurance up here for 2 of us is $600 for a national plan with amil.
  • #271047

    Finrudd
    Participant

    The food prices are from Pao de A√ɬßucar, a supermarket I dislike, but it’s on my route from SP to the sitio, so I shop there from convenience when I don’t have time to go elsewhere mid-week. I would imagine those prices quoted would be cheaper from other supermarkets, and of course, if you go to the street markets and so on, prices would fall further. However, even allowing for this, I am pretty sure the NE would be cheaper, yes!

    I should have added that if it doesnt start raining soon, that truck of drinking water is going to be inflating in price faster than a post-election litre of petrol! LOL
  • #271050

    romanji
    Member

    [QUOTE=finrudd]

    Always tricky to talk about pricing, as so much depends on the individual, location, expectations etc. However, having a go below:
    R$60 – IPTU – about right for an ‘urban’ plot of around 2.500 square metres for where I am, but most sitios will be paying INCRA which is rural, and costs almost nothing per year.
    R$93 – IPVA – totally depends on value of car. A 2010 Pajero Sport will cost more than double this.
    R$122 – car insurance – as above, depends on car, and level of insurance. Above Pajero Sport will cost more like R$250 per month with Porto Seguro insurance.
    R$300 – gasoline – depends how much you drive and what car you have really.
    R$200 – electricity – we spend less than this per month for a weekend house, and full time caseiro. However, per KWh, electricity in rural SP is more than double what it is in the city.
    R$100 – internet – this is about average around here for a 3MB/3MB radio link, which costs about R$150 for the installation fee (no contract)
    R$100 – water – most sitios will have a well, but you can buy a tanker of water with 10.000 Litres for around R$350.
    R$35 – cooking gas – I would estimate more than this. A gas canister will cost around R$50 in SP.
    R$40 – drinking water – each 20 litre water bottle costs us R$8.
    R$600 – grocery – depends on what you are buying, luxuries, booze, etc and how much you are growing for yourself. You can certainly live on R$600 easily, but also could spend this a week quite easily if you are eating meat daily, like a drink, and get sick of rice beans and lettuce day in day out! Just looking at a supermarket receipt from yesterday (not one of the cheaper ones, granted, but not one of the most expensive either), Chicken R$8,69/kg, Contra Filet Beef R$35,49/kg, Pork Loin R$15,89/kg, Smoked Pork Sausage R$15,90/kg, bacon cubes (Panchetta) R$9,89/kg, various cheese between R$45 – R$55/kg, Coke Zero R$5,99 (2 ltr), Barcardi Gold R$32,90 (1 ltr), Pumpkin R$2,98/kg, Smirnoff Vodka R$26,90 (1 ltr), Cucumber R$1,99/kg, Cooking Oil R$7,85 (1 ltr), Santa Rita red wine – reduced on special from R$29 to R$19 per bottle, 500g bag of macaroni – R$5,99, 6 free-range eggs R$4,79.
    R$600 – health insurance – per person, maybe. This will get you a cheap plan that will be better than nothing, but marginally. Corporate health-plans are going up and up and up at the moment, and we have seen ours increasing 30% in 2014, and 17% projected for 2015, with Sul America.
    R$70 – cell phone. Not really sure, but this will get you a plan of some sort, but don’t expect a phone included.
    R$200 – house maintenance – this wont cover much, but will get some basics. You will be surprised at the high cost of low-quality screws, paint-brushes, brooms, light-bulbs etc. Some things will appear cheap, but you may find you are using more of them because they don’t last. With a rural property, you will probably get through light bulbs faster than you expect as they will burn out faster.
    Other things to think about:
    Fuel for lawnmower, chainsaw, tractor. I probably do R$50 a month on diesel.
    Seeds and seedlings, fertiliser, ant venomto protect your crop.
    Wood/Charcoal– if you have wood on the land for a burner, great, if not – this cost should be considered. Traditional Brazilian BBQ burn a lot of charcoal, and you can do a R$100 a month on this if you buy locally. If you buy the supermarket stuff, expect triple this for weekly BBQ.
    Labour– if you pay someone to do a days work, you can expect a cash payout of around R$50 – R$70 per day for unskilled labour around SP. You might be surprised how often you are going to need some additional help, and you will be expected to pay for it, rather than return a favour mostly.

    [/QUOTE]

    Thanks! This is very helpful. I forgot to mention that this budget would cover 2 people. From your information it seems we could potentially spend less on electricity, potentially eliminate the R$100 for water with a well, and potentially cut excess from the groceries. Our intention is to live very frugally. I’d love to get our expenses down to $R2,000 a month.
    The house maintenance is a tough one. The items you listed under “other things to think about” I would lump under house maintenance. Perhaps I was too conservative with R$200 per month? I don’t anticipate using any gas for lawnmower, chainsaw, etc as I’ll be bringing the non-motorized versions of these. I might need help with labor some days of the month so that would need to factor in. What do you estimate you spend on general maintenance per month?
    Thanks again!
  • #271061

    Finrudd
    Participant

    I think your maintenance costs will really depend on the place, and the state it is in today. I recall you have been there, so you know what it’s like? The important thing is how much you will spend on capital investment to make it low maintenance – it might be worth investing while you have some capital to keep the operating costs down as time goes by. For example, adding earth wires now, will probably save you in lost equipment.

    My sitio has two houses, various outbuildings, a pool, 9 fuse boxes, 5 water pumps and so on, so the level of maintenance is really dependent on what you have that needs maintaining. We are doing a fair amount of work that is ‘due’ like replacing old fencing, and this while not maintenance, is necessary work, and will eat into any monthly plan. Lightbulbs burn quickly if the wiring is bad. Pumps burn out if you don’t have good wiring and have to be fixed. In your budget you probably want to allow for accruing a proportion each month for capital projects, so based on what you know about the place, you can factor in when the plumbing is going to need replacing, how long the water tank has left before it needs to be replaced, this avoiding too many nasty surprises. It’s surprising how much it can cost to replace even an old outside tap – one breaks, you go to replace it and find the tubing also needs some work as the old tap was some unique size from the 1950’s, and before you know it you have done R$250 on a Decca tap, because you don’t want the cheapest one that has a short life-span before it breaks again…that’s your maintenance budget gone, along with 25% of next months also!
    As for cutting excess from a grocery bill of R$600 – yes, I am sure you could, but there is living frugally and there is living in poverty. I would imagine that trimming too much from this budget is going to be the difference between living and surviving!

    finrudd2014-10-20 07:08:32

  • #271069

    jeb2886
    Member

    Considering he had said that the previous help had been living there for many years, the house is probably decently old. By decently old, 10+ years around here is where things seem to be breaking down on a regular basis!

    I went to house to rent it, and the big selling point was the renovations BUT the real thing that caught me off guard was that they had redone the electrical wiring. It had been 5 years since it had last been done. They asked me how ofter we replaced our electrical wires in the US and I simply didn’t understand the question. Eventually I responded with “uh, never?”
    The thing about different sized pipes is so true 🙂 We rented a place that had a bunch of electrical face plates missing. I thought, ok for $10 I can replace them and make those empty holes look SO much better. Every manufacturer uses a different style of connectors, they all have different places for screws, they have different backings on the pieces, they have different sizes for the plates even! It was insane. I eventually bought something that looked extremely basic and took a knife to it to fit it, and some glue to hold it in place! They simply didn’t sell the same face plates anymore, and no replacements were going to even closely match.
    In the US, I would just go to homedepot and grab some covers I liked and not worry about them fitting, whether it was a 50’s style house or just recently built, I would know they would go on there without any issues.
    And the part about eating for R$600/month is true. You can skimp and do the rice and beans, but you’re going to be unhappy after a fairly short amount of time. In the northeast, that is a decent amount of money for food, but you’re going to be doing all your cooking from scratch, like we do. We enjoy it, and we like the better foods. But a lot of people have come to expect a lot of the basics to be already done for them. Buying canned goods and putting 10 other ingredients together, versus preparing the canned goods themselves and then adding 10 more ingredients.
    If you eat out, at anywhere but a per kg bar, and even many of those are expensive, you’re looking at about R$30 per person these days at the lower end. If it’s a simple per KG, you’re probably looking at R$15 after a drink. But R$50 is probably a more reasonable number to use if you’re looking to eat out and explore because exploring leads you to unknown places, and those places have semi unknown prices. If that R$600 includes any eating out, I would say it’s a very simple diet that you’ll likely grow tired of quickly.
  • #271102

    If you eat out, at anywhere but a per kg bar, and even many of those are expensive, you’re looking at about R$30 per person these days at the lower end.
    It all depends, but you must have one of those “domed” plates that Brazilians do whenever they are invited to eat for free SmileKidding aside, you can find deals. I eat a place that charges R$ 8 for a very heavy marmitex loaded with stuff, or R$ 6 for a mini-marmitex loaded up. A few places around here say “R$ 10 all you can eat, except meat – you only get 1 meat.” I don’t really consider R$ 6, 8, 10, 11 to be THAT bad.
    If you eat at one of those boutique places, like in the fancy malls, then it’s going to be R$ 50++/kilo. I’ve heard about a couple of restaurants that charge around R$ 100/kilo!!
    andrew_nofro2014-10-21 09:57:49

  • #271110

    Finrudd
    Participant

    Average price for a por kilo around Paulista/Consola√ɬßão is between R$42,50 – R$50, but most office workers around here are getting R$10 – R$20 per day in meal tickets.

  • #271113

    jeb2886
    Member

    I figured at a $30/kg you would get 1/3rd kilo + a drink bringing it closer to $15 per day.

    If you’re looking to go out on a weekend for a meal, I’m guessing you won’t be doing the $10 per plate deals. They are probably ok for lunch, but then again, even at 10, over 20 days that is $200 per person, or $400 from their $600 food budget.
    I’m in the middle of Natal, so I don’t see that many places offering food for $6 8 or 10, but I’m sure they are out there! I just don’t like most of the “good” food around here, so I’m not really willing to see what $6 will bring to me 🙂 I’d rather spend $6 at the market and make something better at home!
    @finrudd, the northeast is way different that anywhere in SP! 🙂 Natal is the most expensive city in the northeast, but on a scale of 1 to 10 of the most expensive places to live in Brazil it ranks a 2!
  • #271114

    Finrudd
    Participant

    [QUOTE=jkennedy]I figured at a $30/kg you would get 1/3rd kilo + a drink bringing it closer to $15 per day.

    If you’re looking to go out on a weekend for a meal, I’m guessing you won’t be doing the $10 per plate deals. They are probably ok for lunch, but then again, even at 10, over 20 days that is $200 per person, or $400 from their $600 food budget.
    I’m in the middle of Natal, so I don’t see that many places offering food for $6 8 or 10, but I’m sure they are out there! I just don’t like most of the “good” food around here, so I’m not really willing to see what $6 will bring to me 🙂 I’d rather spend $6 at the market and make something better at home!
    @finrudd, the northeast is way different that anywhere in SP! 🙂 Natal is the most expensive city in the northeast, but on a scale of 1 to 10 of the most expensive places to live in Brazil it ranks a 2!

    [/QUOTE]

    It’s quite an eye-opener as to how expensive SP really is…I don’t get up North that often, but had a team of engineers in Recife this week, where they were eating in one of the better Churrascarias in Boa Viagem and paying R$38 per head, which was for meat and fresh seafood. I was quite impressed, as a similar Churrascaria in Sao Paulo would cost over R$100 a head these days!
  • #271163

    [QUOTE=finrudd]

    It’s quite an eye-opener as to how expensive SP really is…I don’t get up North that often, but had a team of engineers in Recife this week, where they were eating in one of the better Churrascarias in Boa Viagem and paying R$38 per head, which was for meat and fresh seafood. I was quite impressed, as a similar Churrascaria in Sao Paulo would cost over R$100 a head these days!

    [/QUOTE]
    R$ 38 aint bad, if you are going to eat a lot.
    If I were really strapped for cash, I could get total food consumption expenses down to about R$10/day BUT I get tired of that and want something else. Even though I can pay R$20 for all you can eat at a place like a hotel, sometimes I still go to por kilo restaurants that are R$30/kilo. I don’t think anyone can stand eating the same stuff day-in day-out.
    At least for lunch, there seems to be a lot of “variety”, even in way out places where Judas lost his boots. Quotes on variety because it’s “Brazilian variety” – typical beans, rice, meat, but with more options.

  • #271209

    Serrano
    Participant

    No doubt there are many more extension sites similar to this one, which I just happened to stumble upon, but some good info here for those into gardening/homesteading.

    http://www.cmg.colostate.edu/pubs.html

  • #271211

    Finrudd
    Participant

    Looks like some good info there. I really need to up my game in the veg patch next year – I have nearly automated the watering system (complete with email and siren alerts when water runs low) but the actual ‘growing’ part is still quite a mystery. Having made some pickles this weekend, cucumbers are quite high on my must have list now!

  • #271212

    Anonymous

    you made me think about pickles, looking at your pic there. will be making some this week, but am using the last of my dill (for a few weeks, anyway) on borscht tonight so they will have to be bread and butter instead of garlic dills.

    i find that figuring out your USDA hardiness zone equivalent, and then looking at the US map to figure out where has a similar climate, has been helpful for me. I find a lot from Louisiana and California cooperative extension.
    I have just put in my sweet corn, tomatoes (batch one and two, green grape cherries and yellow cherries), chard (generation 2) and red bell peppers. Maracuja has exploded all over the yard. GS, you may be surprised to know that my goji berry plants are doing well, and even made an appearance in the heirloom gardening book I am reading right now, they apparently used to be very popular in the Carolinas a hundred years ago (as were maxixe, go figure)

    3casas2014-10-27 18:22:54

  • #271263

    Anonymous

    i made my pickles, mr enabler!!!

    here is a good place to consider zones and maybe find some other info. a friend who is a horticulturalist said it is her go-to site for info.
    sweet corn is up!!!
  • #271591

    Serrano
    Participant

    I oftentimes find the reader comments to be more interesting than the actual article posted on a website. The comment below was taken from zerohedge.com.
    “My grandparents lived off the land on a small farm, raised most of the food they needed and only needed small amounts of money for odds and ends they couldn’t make or grow, like salt. They were not oddballs; that was normal in their times in the rural South. The Great Depression hit and they never knew it and could care less. Today, they would be considered either preppers or hippies depending on your viewpoint, and probably on a terrorist watch list.”
    [QUOTE=3casas]GS, you may be surprised to know that my goji berry plants are doing well, and even made an appearance in the heirloom gardening book I am reading right now, they apparently used to be very popular in the Carolinas a hundred years ago (as were maxixe, go figure)[/QUOTE]
    I believe the hemp plant was also very popular a hundred years ago. Wink
    Gojis… is that sound of the cash register I hear ringing?!? Ka-ching!!!
    Gringo.Serrano2014-11-11 18:25:13

  • #271770

    Finrudd
    Participant

    Has anyone had any experience with any of the online seed stores in Brazil, and if they are any good? I have come across a few and wanted to give some a try for seeds for Chillies mostly, but also a general postal service for seed that I can bring on before planting out.

  • #26780

    kmb
    Member

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