Getting Started and Brainstorming...

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by clafarge, May 17, 2004.

  1. clafarge

    clafarge Member

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    My loving bride and I are trying to get organized to take the first steps in buying land for our someday-to-be homestead. Part of this is to identify our needs, which is a huge question right now.

    Here's what we know so far:
    5 wooded acres for heat (planning for masonry heat)

    Yup... that's what we know so far. :eek:

    We are 30 and 32, with an almost 2 year old daughter. We live in Central Missouri. We plan to build a quick (yeah right) temporary shelter... aiming for 500 sq feet (motivation to build the "big one" quickly). It will likely be Pole or Post & Beam, and Strawbale. The "Big One" will be Timber Framed and Strawbale, all using local (preferably onsite) timber/straw. We will someday have at least one goat, chickens, and grow produce for sale at local markets... and continue a Web Development career.

    We need to know what it will take to get, and keep us going in terms of garden and field size. I know we can't say about timbers without seeing those available.

    Here are the condensed questions:
    How much garden space do we need?
    How much field do we need for wheat (straw: about 300 14-inch bales)?

    Thank you.

    Chad
     
  2. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    This is a little off of the subject, but I noticed your location.

    Have you ever been to the small farm show at Columbia, Missouri? It is AWSOME! It is put on by Small Farm Today magazine. Don't care for the magazine, but they DID do a wonderfull job with the farm show.

    You will NOT see million dollar tractors there, but you WILL see chain saws, small lumber mills, small livestock, and hear lectures on a great many small farm topics.

    They hold it every fall.
     

  3. clafarge

    clafarge Member

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    I have not, and was not aware of it... my interest is piqued (SP?!?)! I'll have to keep an eye out for it. Where is it advertised, and held?

    Chad
     
  4. mamagrrl

    mamagrrl Member

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    Hi Chad,
    I know you weren't asking, but I thought as you wanted to build your temp place a little more quickly, I should speak up. Why bother with the post and beam then straw-infill? Do Nebraska-style (load-bearing) strawbale. It's faster, you're not double-building the system and it's just as sturdy for a single-story structure (and some would say a two story structure, too...)

    I just wanted to suggest you consider a simpler method for your first, quickie shelter. Why work harder than you have to?

    (and whatever you do, build it in a square or rectangle shape. Circles and curves turn out to be hecka-expensive!!!)

    Best wishes and good luck!
     
  5. clafarge

    clafarge Member

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    I've considered Nebraska-style, but feel uneasy about uneven settling, and I like the idea of the extra structure/support afforded by a simple post and beam.
     
  6. BrushBuster

    BrushBuster Well-Known Member

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    i noticed you said masonry heat, not sure what you`re talking about, but if you mean a fire place. a wood stove is much more efficeint...... of course a fireplace & a new bride... ;)
     
  7. MelissaW

    MelissaW Well-Known Member

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    This may sound silly, but, since you are planning on doing lots of construction and gardening, you might consider a good tractor as one of your first purchases. We have several tractors, but we couldn't get by without our Ford 8N, and Ford 4000 backhoe/loader. There are lots of tractor guys here who give great advice.

    We are also a family of three, and we heat our house with wood. We get by with just a 3 acre woodlot, but we did not harvest for building lumber. If you get the word out that you are willing to remove fallen trees, or cut down problem trees, it's amazing how much wood you can get. We hardly ever have to harvest from our own woodlot anymore.

    Our garden is 50 x 50, and has 9 raised beds. That feeds the three of us for the year just fine, but we don't sell produce, so you may require twice the space. 4 or 5 hens is more than enough to feed three people. Do you really have to grow your own wheat just for straw? Grain crops take up so much space, labor, and equipment. Straw goes for about $2 a bale here in Ohio. Maybe if land is reasonable where you are, it won't be a problem!

    It sounds as if you have lots of wonderful plans, and an exciting future! Best of luck finding the perfect place and building your homestead!
     
  8. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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  9. Zuiko

    Zuiko Well-Known Member

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    Remember though chad, when you build your 'temporary house', it could become a goat house, or chicken coop when you have your real house done. If you do post and beam, it will be stronger and last longer. It could also be a place to park garden tractor, bigger tractor, and store your garden tools. I am not too familar with using straw. As Melissa said, I am not sure the onsite straw source would work to good, balers are expensive, and so are tractors that can run them. Plus you would have to get some kind of cultivating equipment, and also a spreader. Not to bring your hopes down, and all that equipment would be nice to have, but thats a lot of money. Clear land is good to have, it can become garden, pasture, or cropland. The problem is, atleast around here, many people subdivide, and take 90% of the tillable land. If you free lance web develop, find an internet connection too, we have one rated at 450 kbps here, some special wireless thing that is line of sight based, its nice but i miss our 2,000 kbps from the city. I would start with just enough garden to feed you, maybe 50 x 50 like Melissa said, unless one or both of you really has a green thumb. You will want to practice some, and you will have pleanty of work to do, besides ripping up grass, sowing, watering, and weeding. Well placement, and therefore septic placement is also important. While you have the well people out, I would strongly consider having them put a few hydrants out, near where you want to have buildings.