Homesteading Future Plans Never give up, just alter as needed!
Our Future Homestead Plans
Coming true one step at a time!
Check out the rest of our homesteading videos and blog posts below!
We have a dream. It was a 6 year plan with about 4-5 years left now. There is a chance we may have to extend that plan, but we will jump that hurdle when the time comes. Suffice it to say if we could find a way to go now and make it work for us, we would but we are just not there yet.
The dream for our future is about living on a debt-free homestead and being as self sufficient as possible. We have planned out the steps to achieving this goal and are ready to share our plans since we have just completed Step 1: Buying the land!
The steps themselves are fairly simple but will require time, and of course, money. We also want to do each step the best way we can including value, eco-friendly plans and materials (preferably recycled), and efficiency. Of course meeting all those requirements entails a lot of research, but more on that later.
Here are the basic steps we have planned out toward attaining "Our Future Simpler Life" goals:
STEP 1 ✔
Step 1: Land - Completed!!! - Purchased 30 Acres in Adirondack Park 1/23/17
This is what we just accomplished and we couldn't be more happy. Patience and perseverance paid off and we finally found a piece of raw land in the right location, with the right soil and slope, with just enough fresh water, large enough to homestead on and split off to give a few acres to each of our children. You can read more about what we found on our blog post "Homestead Dream Step 1: We Bought Land!" If you are thinking about buying land and want to know all of the considerations before you do, then check out our post, "Are You Thinking About Buying Land?"
Step 2: A Road/Driveway - Planned for Summer 2018
We purchased 30 acres of land and we want to basically build right in the center. That means we will be approximately 700 feet in on rocky sloping terrain. Wow, that is a long driveway! We are currently in the research mode looking at different ideas for a driveway that will be level, drain easily, plow easily, but look more like a winding country dirt road than a driveway. Also, we intend to have the electric buried along the side of the road to the home location.
In order to do this we will eventually need to sell the house we live in now, but that doesn't mean we can't get started with our plans! The basic plans that I designed are for a small open ended dome shape home that will be completely covered with earth. The open end will face south and consist of all windows that will allow for light and passive solar heating in the winter. Being small will minimize the amount of utilities, housework, etc. that will be necessary indoors. Regarding it being an earth sheltered home, there are so many advantages I don't even know where to begin. I would say the two most important to me are the fact that the internal temperatures should remain between 55 degrees F in the winter and and 70-75 degrees F in the summer. This means it will require very little heating in the winter and no air conditioning in the summer at all. Super efficient! The second reason is because it will require literally no exterior maintenance. My husband and I plan on living out our years in this home so we want it to be simple to maintain and affordable to live in. A wood stove in the winter is really all we will need to supplement the 55 degree F temp in the winer (but we do plan on having radiant floor heating). In the summers it will be comfortable at 70. The exterior of the house won't need to be repainted or stained. The worst part will be washing the windows! You can read more about earth sheltered house FAQ's at http://www.formworksbuilding.com/about-formworks-building/ or http://www.earthshelter.com/faqs/.
There are so many other requirements for the house that I am making a separate page to list them all. I will link it here when it is done! But in the meantime, having the perfect spot on our land is a good thing! Read about Choosing Our Homesite here!
Step 4: Build the Garage -
Garage: We would like a 2 car garage with a loft on the second floor. We originally planned to live in this while the house was being build but have recently come to the conclusion that this plans simply won't work. With the type of home we are building we will need plenty of room around the house for the cement trucks to move, turn and manipulate (the entire thing is shotcrete). For this reason the house will have to be step 3 instead. Since we also plan on repurposing or reusing many supplies, the garage would have provided a great dry place to store what we find as we find it, but now we intend to build a shed on skids that can be moved as needed. In the future the shed can be converted into the chicken coop! This is still a a great way to be economical, earth friendly, and efficient even though it is not our original plan of living in the garage.
A small quiet generator so we have some electric for our 18' travel trailer when we visit the land.
Carport: We already know that the garage will house the snowmobiles, the ATV's and my husbands workshop so cars probably won't be fitting in there. That means we will need a carport for two cars to keep the snow and ice off of them in the winter (in the Adirondacks this is a must). We would also like it to have a small woodshed attached to it for convenience.
Greenhouse: this is a must! We want to be able to grow food all year long. This means there will need to be some sort of heat in the greenhouse for the winter and that many plants will be grown in pots so we can easily move them (peppers, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, herbs and more). I am thinking that the back of the greenhouse will be bermed to aid in insulating it and we might even dig it down into the ground some as well, again, further insulating it for the winter months. It would be super great if it was connected to the house to avoid having to go outside to get to it! It is also important to have water catchment containers in the greenhouse as well as rock walls and floor for thermal mass in the winters.
Chicken Coop: This will be bigger than any coop we have had in the past as I would like to have at least a dozen chickens. I would also like it to be connected to the greenhouse so they can have a heat source for the winter (indirect heating). Preferably the egg laying boxes (3 to 4) will extend into the greenhouse for easy access and retrieval! A door between the coop and the green house would be convenient in the winter as well - especially if the greenhouse is connected to the main house too! The coop itself will be an open-air coop which I believe is best for them. It will get heat from the greenhouse so they should be warm enough in the winters. There will be an large fenced outdoor area (top, bottom, and sides) for them when we can't let them out to free range for whatever reason. I really want a spigot right in the outdoor area to make filling their fresh water easier. Lastly, I want to be able to stand up in the inside and outside portions of their coop to make cleaning easier!
Goat/sheep/pig Barn: Yup, I want goats. Or sheep. And or pigs. I am not 100% sure which one yet but as of 4/10/18 I am leaning toward sheep for three reasons: meat, milk, and wool. They will also need a large well fenced outdoor area, preferably in and around our future orchard! I will also need a place special platform to be able to easily milk them.
Root Cellar, Spring House or both. We have a small creek on the land so the springhouse is possible, however a root cellar could be built closer to where the homesite is so that would be much more convenient.
The property is loaded with rocks of all shapes and sizes. As we clear the land we will be creating piles that would be suitable for a patio or piles good for other things like fencing, etc. I would like to create a natural stone patio on the south side of the home using all the stone we collected while cleaning the land.
Built in pool - this is my one splurge. I know it is not economical but I so absolutely love jumping in the pool after working in the yard that I just can't give it up. It is also a great attraction for company to come and visit. The pool we have now is 16 x 30 so I am thinking to go smaller and more economical as far as maintenance. I think I will also go with a saltwater system rather than chlorine and heating will be by propane because the reverse air conditioner type system we have now will not be as efficient up there in the spring and fall due to cooler temperatures. Oh yea, since the pool will be smaller there will probably not be able to be a diving board. We will see, more research will need to be done. It can also be considered an alternative water source in an emergency such as for drinking, putting out fires, etc.
Fenced "back yard" area. We will really need a fenced area to keep animals out and kids in (and the dogs, chickens, and goats in too!). However, we don't want to block the view to the South which should be pretty nice (it is downslope so we will have a view of what we plant there and of the mountains off in the distance). We have several ideas for this but I am currently toying with the idea of raised garden beds made of local stone about 2 feet wide with the fence installed on top of them. This will allow plantings in the beds, and raise the fence a little higher. The fence itself might be wood posts with a large metal mesh (like 3" squares?) attached. I know it needs to be economical, pretty, but not block the view.
From day one we intend to begin clearing the homesite and a large area of the slope to the south. To the south we want to grow a lot of lavender and raspberries (maybe blackberries too). We would really like to have some beehives interspersed for fresh honey, and maybe to sell the extra because one healthy hive can really produce!
Around the outside of this area we would like to plant some smaller trees such as apple and pear. Beyond that we are going to try black walnut with paw paw in between (they apparently grow well together). Near the stream area we are going to try growing some cranberries and maybe even cattails and or ostrich ferns (fiddleheads!).
Other perennials that will be scattered around near the home (easily accessible) are blueberries, grapes, asparagus, garlic, onions, chives, indian rice grass (achnatherum hymnodies - great for livestock in the winter and can be eaten by humans too), kale, jerusalem artichokes, globe artichokes, malabar spinach, and perennial scarlet runner beans.
No grass. I seriously want nothing to do with mowing a lawn or having to water it. Some alternative ideas that will require more research: Irish moss, Aerenaria Wallowa (moss like), Thymus pseudolanuginos (a drought tolerant thyme), clover, chamomile, creeping thyme, and/or creeping jenny. Of course after doing more research whichever one is the tastiest for humans or livestock, that will be the absolute winner!
Trails and Other Fun Stuff:
ATV - One for now at least so that we can get around on our 30 acres. Believe it or not, it is pretty big and with all the slopes an ATV will not only be fun, but useful! DONE! Read more here! We really need a second one, but I would prefer a side by side that could be helpful with the work around the land.
A good chainsaw and some safety gear. We will leave the big trees to the professionals we hire, but we plan on getting started clearing out homesite of all the little stuff. Purchased the chainsaw in September 2017.
Snowmobile(s). Yup, we will be getting our own. One to start, but definitely two down the road :-) Especially since the local clubs snowmobile trails go right through our property. We can jump on the trail right out our door! So awesome.
Trails: between all of the gardens scattered over the 10 acres of planting I want trails that can be hiked or traversed with an ATV or snowmobile. This will make gathering food easier and provide a great healthy, daily walk.
"Picnic Point" - we have a very high elevation way at the back corner of our property that has an absolutely amazing view. We would love to make a nice little spot there (with a trail to reach it of course) where we could hang out, picnic, and enjoy the view, or at night have a campfire, and look at the stars.
Yeah, big ideas. But why not?
Most recent videos are at the top! So oldest on the bottom :-)
Posts About Our Homesteading Future Click a pic to read more!
2/4/17 - Here are some important considerations before buying land...
2/10/17 - We finally did it! Read about the 30 acres of land we purchased to start our new homestead on.
2/28/17 One persons trash is another persons treasure...and for us that couldn't be more true!
6/24/17 With 30 acres of land we needed a quick and easy way to get around!
7/5/17 At least we definitely know a few plants that we WILL NEVER PLANT and our reasons why!
10/21/17 The homesite had to be just perfect for our earth sheltered house!
11/7/17 It really simplifies life in so many ways and it doesn't use any more gas than our jeep!
11/10/17 It's a start! Hopefully in the spring we can hire someone to really do it right so it is more like a driveway :-)
11/21/17 Nothing compares to sleeping under the stars on your own land for the first time!
4/4/18 A worthy way to fight mosquitoes and create some nutrient rich compost!