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Old 12/28/03, 04:46 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 48
[GENERAL] homestead layout

I love to plan our future place in my mind, and I was wondering how are your homesteads laid out. We want chickens, goats and a vegetable garden, maybe a couple of pigs for the freezer, just dreaming. How close is your barn to your house? Compost pile near garden, garden near back door? I've read "The Have More Plan" over and over again. Anyone suggest any other good books on the layout of a homestead? What mistakes have you made and what would you do differently? Sorry for so many questions, but I love to hear about what others have done, successfully or not. Thanks.
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Old 12/28/03, 04:58 PM
Karen's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Beautiful SW Mountains of Virginia
Posts: 9,536
It depends on a lot of factors. You have to plan for exposure (north, south, east, west -- differant things need differant exposure), what types of animals your having, how far you like to walk, the acreage you have, the wind conditions (you want pigs downwind!), hills, water sources, weather conditions, etc. There is no "ideal" layout. No matter how hard you plan you will always wish you had put something or another in another place! LOL!

For most of us, how our layout is depended upon what we "inherited" when we bought our homestead. Even if you have bare land, you still have inherited things like tree lines, water sources, hills, rocks, soil conditions, etc. These are what you will base all the rest of your planning on. There really is no way you can adequately plan your homestead without having your land.
"Challenges are what make life interesting -- overcoming them is what makes life meaningful."
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Old 12/28/03, 06:46 PM
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 161
We homesteaded this place in 1980 and it is in a constant state of change. The house now sits where the goats used to sleep, and the goats are long gone. The garden looks absolutely nothing like it did a few years ago. It is fenced off from the cows by a five wire fence with a gate you can drive the tractor or the hay truck thu. We have water piped to the gardens and the cow tank. We also have an Iris garden next to the veg. garden and plant lots more flowers than in the past. Mostly around the garden parimeter. We have three small pens inside a bigger (about 5 acre pen) where the cows come to eat and drink. They are good for raising a pig or penning up a pregnant cow when she is about to drop a calf. The fish pond behind the house is beginning to look different too. We now have one of those prefab storage bldgs. down there so we don't have to tote our fishing gear back and forth. Other changes also, but too numerous to discuss here.
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Old 12/28/03, 11:12 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Northern California
Posts: 252
Hi all,

Since I got old and cranky I gave up liking getting wet every time I needed to go to the barn, or... So my solution was to spend much time reading The Owner Built Home and the Owner Built Homestead, both written by Ken Kern. These are old books now, but likely available at the library. If not try interlibrary loan. If still not try a used book store.

In short I built everything all interconnected so I don't have to go outside and get wet. Down a hall, through a door into the hay level of the barn. Down the stairs to the animal level, out the backdoor under a covered breezeway to the chicken house. From a different part of the house, through a short tunnel and up some stairs into the shop and on into the garage for truck, tractor, backhoe, Cat. Also connected is the generator grid and still smiling!

All depends on what you want to accomplish and how determined you are. Best thing is to read everything you can find and then think about it all. You are the only one who can decide what you want. Enjoy the adventure and then enjoy the work and then enjoy the results. But this old man says stay dry!

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Old 12/29/03, 12:01 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 39
farm layout

I decided my barn would be close to the house, and when I build it, It will, around about 40ft. Native old Okies have their barn within seeing distance. An old church member said, when I was young I ran to the barn and would get tired. when i was old I would walk tpo the barn and get tired, now, if I look at the barn I get tired. When I get old I dont want to quit going to the barn just cause it is situated so far away from the house. The hay will go in front and the milking parlor and/or stable area in the back. it will be around 40ft sq, and with oat and ground grain bins in front. The Hog and goat area is to the south, and I dont remember smelling the hogs which means it was so seldom that I dont remember. My X said she liked smelling her money. My chickens are also around40ft away for the same reasons as the barn. i found tho if I have too many, they finally kill the grass in between the house and chicken house, but I have no ticks, roaches or any other bug near the house. The brooder house is areound 20ft away, so that i can go to it in the middle of the night if need be and not freez or drown my budd off. The garden is around 100ft or less from the house, that is the big 100sq garden. my 18X36 is around 25ft away, It is fenced hog tight and I start 3 gilt pigs in there in early spring, letting them tear up the roots, rocks, and ground, grubbing for grubs and other bugs. My machinery is in another area that is level enough for it all. My wood shed and tool shed is aroud 50ft from the house or less. I had to have room to bring trees up to the buzz saw, and enough of them so that I could saw up a great quantity of wood at a setting and at a day. I have a pond that was an open pit pond here for ol wells. I had it pumped out, and it has a natural spring in it. I fnced it off for the hogs goats. it is around 20ft dia and aroud 2 to 3 ft depending on the time of the year. I have a 2 acre pasture that has a ditch in it created ro reunoff from an old 20s oil well. I also have 3 acres heavily wooded pasture. M hay field is 3 acres of rock ground that i either hauled the rock off of, or chiseled it flush with the ground. I have a 1/4 acre between the woods and the hay meadow that I out to clover as it has rock in it and plowshares have become impossible to buy. I also have a little 50ft sq piece that I put to white clover ahd have repeatedluy tried to grow grapes from cuttings in. I have 2 grain bins made out of 2 old oil tanks, fired clean on the inside, doors cut in them. Only one is usable as it has a concrete floor. These around 60ft from the chicken house and 120 from the pig/hog pens. to far away, but
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IM Bill 46, blonde 5 8 blue 200 muscular, athletic, tanned, toned for the age, libra Divorced since 88, kids all gone and grown 3. Small farmer grows mkt garden and field corn, oats, and hay. have 50 some chickens, had hogs last year, have had goats, rabbets, geese, turkeys. Hobbys gardening, Medieval reecreating. Do-did heavy weapons fighting, which means in armour. Collect farming antiques, but only to use, not to collect dust generally, n between Tulsa and Okc. Good luck in your search.
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Old 12/29/03, 12:15 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Colorado
Posts: 53
There is a good book (in addition to the terrific Ken Kern's books already mentioned) by 10 Speed Press titled, "Before You Build." It is a good land layout planner. Good advice above. I would add do not connect a garage to a house or have any shop with chemicals and fumes connected to my living space. The total size of your property (you didn't say) will be a major factor as well as zoning. We have 80 acres and have corrals, a garden shed, a carport, a garage, two loafing sheds, a chiken house & yard as well as a couple garden areas and plan on another garage/workshop as well as a guest house (possible rental on upper 40 acres). Spending time on your land is critical. Take advantage of the lay of the land - prevailing wind paths, drainage, views, passive solar gain and more. Do some Google searches regarding 100 year weather charts of your area and consider the micro climate as well. - Best of Luck and Happy New Year
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Old 12/29/03, 01:30 PM
Posts: n/a
Another good book is:

The Have More Plan by Ed and Carolyn Robinson
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Old 12/30/03, 08:08 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Maine
Posts: 3,622
John Seymour's book "The Self Sufficient Life and How To Live It" has some beautiful acreage setups, showing where to fence, where the gardens and animals go, etc. In a perfect world, I would set my place up like that. The book I have is the newest revised edition, so I don't know if all those pictures are in the older editions.
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Old 12/30/03, 10:35 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: New York
Posts: 3,891
One of my biggest concerns was keeping my house close enough to the road to be able to get out. The house is about 75' from the road. We have major snow some winters, and although ideally I would have loved to set way back off the road, I didn't. I'd be very comfortable if I were snowed in, but the hospital where I am employed expects me to come in no matter what! I kept the chicken area within 25' of the home, and the rabbits are only 10' out my back door. The 10' x 16' storage shed is about 50' out back. The front yard is fenced, and off to the one side is the garden, with a shared fence. The entire garden is fenced, and it's about 40' x 50'. Above the vegetable garden is the orchard. There are only 3 trees there at present, but I'll add a few more this year. I have 5 acres, and I bet 3 sit unused. I'd like a barn and a couple of goats someday, but I'm in no rush. I may buy/build another shed and add a few mini-goats to the mix. I'll continue to fence with combo panels, 'cause they will last forever! I live in an old mobile for now, but I expect to build in a couple of years, so I have to keep that in mind with everything I do. I'll put the cabin on the same spot, but I will probably face it in a different direction. I'm facing right into the wind now.

Good luck chasing your dream. No, I take that back.........Actually, come up with a goal. Come up with a plan. Take the steps you need to in order to accomplish the goal. It's not that difficult, but it does take time and lots of small sacrifices along the way. It took me 5 years to get here, but that's because I was deep in debt. I made a 1 year plan, and a 5 year plan, and Voila!! I'm here, but I really think it's because I made a clear plan.
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I cried because I had no shoes, until I saw a man who had no feet.
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