Sunday was cool and it was the perfect day to go for a drive and start checking out areas where we may possibly buy land (5-10 acres) in 4 years. The adventure was both scary and exhilarating. It was exciting to think on how our life will change soon but the incredible amount of work that will have to be done is imposing. Are we up for it!?
Follows is some of our plans (it’s rather long so if it doesn’t interest you, you have my permission to stop reading here 🙂
Infrastructure and timeline:
- Property fenced (perimeter) and gate installed with solar powered opener.
- Gravel drive. Building locations and pasture decided.
- Electricity on property at garage location.
- Well drilled or water hooked up and frost free pump installed at Garage, Garden Shed and Horse Barn.
- Fenced horse pasture. Horses moved onto property. Start compost pile.
- Selective land clearing for garage, garden shed and garden, horse shelter, and house foundation location. Tree debris (whenever possible) is to be chipped and put into compost pile. Depending on season, plan for a controlled burn (to decrease ticks, reduce scrub, brush fire control).
- Rubble trenching done for Garage foundation. Gravel pad for Horse shelter, Garage, and Garden Shed. Have tractor drill post holes for horse shelter, garage and garden shed.
- Order stripped cedar log poles for the cordwood construction.
- Horse shelter (pole barn 12′ x 36′ loafing shed) installed. Solar power for lights. Rain runoff collected from roof.
- Garage frame (16′ x 60′ poles and roof) installed.
- Garden Shed (12′ x 6′) and Garage walls done with cordwood construction
- Mark out garden area, fence and plant with cover crop. Develop beds. Figure out watering system to be used.
- Pecan trees and apple trees planted. Berry bushes planted and trellises installed. Dependent upon season (after October, before April). Drip irrigation installed.
- Septic for house installed. House foundation poured. Needs south facing exposure for passive solar collection. Plant north sheltering trees.
- Start building house 1 year after cordwood construction done on garage and garden shed. Plan to make livable at 6 months from start.
- Plant Vegetable and herb garden areas.
- Build Chicken and Duck pens. Need a small duck pond/tub.
- Plan for Guest house.
Garage and workshop: storage (14/16′ x 60′) with a minimum of 4 bays (i.e. horse trailer, flatbed trailer, car, hay etc…) with a workshop area on cement floor (12′ x 16′). Cordwood construction. Roofline is major solar and rainwater collection area. Needs to be hooked into traditional power grid for power tools.
Garden shed (12′ x 6′) will include cold frames and a supply/storage area. It will run off solar power. Built the first year using Cordwood construction techniques. Reclaimed materials.
Horse Shelter to be built the first year. Runs off solar power. Roofline works for rainwater storage. Pole barn construction (12×36 loafing shed style). Would prefer to get horses moved out to property as soon as fence and gate is secured.
House to be built the second year into land ownership, which allows us to see how the cordwood construction worked out on the garage and garden shed. Foundation, septic, electric, and propane can be put into place the first year. One bedroom hybrid home of cordwood, timber frame, and strawbale construction. Passive Solar Power, Greywater collection from bathroom and laundry, solar power collection from garage area, pellet stove and propane heat backup.
Duck and Chicken coop done 1st/2nd year after moving onto property. Do not want these vulnerable animals at the farm until we can live 24.7 on the property.
Guest Cottage to be built 3rd/4th year into land ownership. Treehouse or Cordwood construction. One bedroom house for visitors with kitchenette and bathroom. Can also be rented out to guests so location to be private as much as possible. (Income producing).
Trees: Pecan and some pines and what is available on the property – or ones I would want to add – that is native (most likely Post Oak, Black Locust, Hickory, Hackberry, Green Ash, Hawthorn, Holly, Persimmon, Dogwood, Redbud). Some other possible trees (that handle the heat) such as Desert Willow.
Once the foundation is placed for the house, the trees can be planted here. Evergreen trees (pines, holly, Bald Cypress, etc…) are planted on the north and northwest side of house; deciduous trees planted on the south sides (i.e. Desert Willow, Green Ash, etc…)
Plant Pecans (2) and apple trees (3) once water is on the property – set up for drip irrigation.
Wildflowers and herb plants are dispersed throughout the vegetable garden to encourage bees, butterflies and pest control. Be aware that mostly these plants (i.e. lavender, Rosemary etc…) need less watering than vegetables, and full sun.
Depending on care needed, could be planted the first year or after we are living on the property. A lot of wildflowers seed does best if planted the fall before.
Angelica, Anise Hyssop, Bee Balm (Bergamot), Borage, Calendula, Chamomile (German), Comfrey, Elderflower, Feverfew, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena, Mullein, Sunflowers, Valerian?, Vervain?, and Yarrow.
Herb list (the key to herbs is well drained soil. Many are pest fighters so place around plants like Tomatoes etc.. that get a lot of pests). Plant after we are living on the property.
Basil (3 varieties), Catnip, Chervil, Chives, Dill, Fennel, Holy Basil?, Lemon Balm, Marjoram (which I prefer over Oregano), Mints (container garden), Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage (two varieties), Savory (winter and summer), French Tarragon, and Thyme.
Bees: Want to discuss with a beekeeper about installing a hive that he/she will manage and trade out for honey. After the gardens are planted.
Vegetable Garden should be planted in an area that is in closer proximity to the house- perhaps between or near the house/barn – someplace that is convenient to walk too daily and be seen.
This area needs full sun, however, with Oklahoma’s hot summers temporary shade may need to be installed by August to keep producing. Plant after we are living on the property (though cover crop can be planted the year before).
Beans (pole), Broccoli, Carrots (container), Cucumbers (pole), Garlic, Lettuces, Peppers, Potatoes (container), Strawberries, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, and Zucchini.
Berry patch: wish to grow blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, boysenberries, elderberries etc.. This area needs full sun and trellis. While I don’t mind sharing the surplus, they will need to be netted in the beginning to protect from birds.
Need to be planted the first year. This product will be canned and given as gifts or traded.
Livestock: my horses, eventually ducks and chickens. I’m leaning more towards ducks than chickens but most likely I’ll end up with both. Manure to compost. Birds help with pest control in the garden and provide eggs.
Horses need a run in shelter/shed with enough room to store tack, feed and hay. The roof to this shelter will serve as rain collection. Duck and Chicken house will be located near the Garden. Chickens will have a chicken tractor or tunnels in the garden to protect them from hawks.
Wildlife area: Depending on the acreage size, I would like to leave about 1/3rd of the property as a managed wilderness area (1/3rd houses/buildings; 1/3rd horses and plant producing areas).
Ideally we would find land that would back up to the Corps of Engineers property or to protected waterways but that may not happen. The Wildlife area would serve as a buffer between us and the neighbors and provide a safe haven for wild animals