How to prepare your family to survive and thrive in todays uncertain world

Category Archives: The Land

Basic Homestead Site Planning

Basic Homestead Site Planning

build house jstephenconn@flickr 300x225 Basic Homestead Site PlanningSince we’re building our house this year, or at least STARTING the house this year, we’ve been doing some site planning.

Site planning is clearly a pretty important thing since if you DON’T plan you’re stuck with wherever you put stuff.  Hard to move a house, you know…

Focus, Focus, Focus

Anyhow, the first step is to outline the basic area you’re going to focus on.  A common mistake folks make is to try to plan your entire homestead all at the start.  If you have more than a couple acres, this will rapidly get overwhelming.

So carve yourself out a couple acres to focus on first of all.  I recommend somewhere between 3 and 5 acres.  For example, we have over 100 acres, but each family unit is going to focus on their own 3-5 acres to begin with.

A great tool for this is http://scribblemaps.com … it lets you take a google maps view (HINT:  use the aerial shot, not the map…) and draw lines on it.  We use it for drawing fence lines, etc.

Rudy’s Tip:  You can combine this with a hand held GPS unit to get fairly precise map points if you want to.  More on this later.

Pick Your Key Point

The next thing to do is pick a key point on that homestead to use for a reference point.  This is what you use to start placing stuff.

For example, there’s a stump in the middle of our homestead space.  It’s not a particularly massive stump, but it looks pretty cool.  And it has sentimental value to my lovely wife.

So we decided that we’d use that stump as our key point.  We’ll put in a circular drive around that, and those two pieces of information tell us where the house goes.

Rudy’s Note:  Sentimental Stumps?  Well, one trip when I went out to our land by myself I decided to carve our initials in the stump.  And promptly got attacked by a bunch of wasps that were upset that I was defacing their home.  In any case, as a result of my great sacrifice and pain tolerance this stump has great sentimental value to my beloved wife and I.

Cascade From There

Now that we’ve placed our key point, we start laying out other things.  In our example, we have the key point (Sentimental Stump) and a few other spaces.  Mainly the driveway.

What we did then was take a long tape measure and figure out what a roughly 40′ circle looked like, and used that arc to “place” one corner of the house.

Once we had that corner, we then laid out the rest of the house site.  Rough dimensions as accurate as we could get without any sort of squaring off, etc.  Simply putting in stakes in the ground for visualization.

Rudy’s Suggestion:  It’s best to do this on-site, but if you can’t, do it on Scribble Maps.

Then you start getting an idea of where to place other things based on various criteria such as traffic patterns, desired out buildings, and the like.

For example, we knew that the garage would be off the driveway AND on the west side of the house. Taking a nice tree that we wanted to keep as a secondary reference point, placing the garage was easy.

And so on…

Don’t Over Do It

You don’t have to be precise right away.  There’s time for high accuracy layouts later on.

You also don’t need to place everything right away.  We know we’re going to have a shop building “Over There” and a chicken coop “In That Area” and so on.

We’ll site them precisely later, but for things that aren’t going in right away just knowing roughly where they’ll be and how big they’ll be is good enough.

An Update From The Homestead

An Update From The Homestead

So, lots of changes and updates over the last couple days.  A few decisions, and lots of fun. As I’ve said before, we hope to build a house on our property this year.  A few weeks ago we finalized the plans for said house and today I got the last quotes for the actual constructionContinue Reading

Trees, Trees, Glorious Trees

Trees, Trees, Glorious Trees

So enough of all the heavy stuff for this week, let’s talk about something a little lighter. This winter we’re going to be planning out more of our site at the new property.  Deciding where to put trees, gardens, buildings, etc. One thing I want to do is get some trees in as early asContinue Reading

Thoughts on Buying Land

Thoughts on Buying Land

Jared left a comment today about his desire to buy a place with room to spare.  That jogged my memory that I was going to share a few of my thoughts on the topic of buying land. By and large I don’t distinguish between land you’re buying to live on, to homestead on, or asContinue Reading

Moving To The Next Phase

Moving To The Next Phase

I alluded to it yesterday, but today I’m going to announce a pretty big change. We’ve decided to expedite our moving plans, and are going to be moving within the next couple weeks to a new home near our land in Eastern Washington. We’ll be getting it nailed down before school starts. We’ve found aContinue Reading

And A Decision Is Made…

And A Decision Is Made…

So my wife and I, along with a couple of kids, went out to The Farm this last weekend.  The public goal was to visit and prepare for a major family gathering later on this week. The secondary and hidden reason was for my wife and I to go look at a few rental homesContinue Reading

Planting Our Orchard

Planting Our Orchard

This spring we planted a total of 51 trees in our new orchard. We have a nice hill with perfect southern exposure so it gets plenty of light. It’s not too steep so water shouldn’t run off too fast. We’re also considering putting in a few swales to keep more water on the hill, butContinue Reading

A Holiday Weekend With The Kearneys

A Holiday Weekend With The Kearneys

So as I mentioned in my last post, we had an extended visit to the Property, or ‘The Farm’ as the kids like to call it. I despise crossing the Cascades west-bound on any holiday weekend, so instead of coming back Monday, we stayed until Tuesday. While most of the weekend was spent relaxing andContinue Reading

Gee, Where Did Rudy Go?

Gee, Where Did Rudy Go?

Sorry for being awol for a few days, but we decided to take a last minute trip out to the property to visit with my folks and have some recreational time. We also wanted to review the site we had planned for the new house we’re building. My wife and I both had a fewContinue Reading

Shifting Gears For The New Year

Shifting Gears For The New Year

Every year my wife and I sit down and talk about what we want to do that year, and to revise some of our longer term plans. This year our conversation started out on a rather drastic note. Around Christmas time we were able to spend some time out at our property to enjoy someContinue Reading

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