Hi Everyone! I'm an old lurker on these forums, but never made an account until now. I'm now in need of as much wisdom I can acquire. I've just recently purchased 10 acres for a good price in Southeast Tennessee from an old family whose grandparents lived there last 25 years ago. If this is the improper forum for this let me know and I'll correct. Now let's add a crude picture and explain the major landmarks.
It is drawn to be North being the top with a decent few of the rising sun and good view of the setting sun. The black area is off my property but flows evenly into it. The two white marks are neighbors, one for sale across road, and the one connected to me is a nice private guy, so far.
1. An old house built in 1900 that has been added on to in 46' from it's original cabin form. The cabin portion is still in decent condition, but the added on has to be gutted. Remodeling is an option, but seeing as some foundation work, electrical,and septic/plumbing needs to be done, on top of tearing out the old rooms and replacing them(bathroom, kitchen at least), then it would most likely be cheaper for me to tear it down, save what I can and build anew in a style/design I like. It has a well next to it, and as far as septic goes I'm yet to be sure of what they used with their commode since it's been said to me they didn't have a septic tank, but I perc'd it before buying slightly to the SW of the house, so I have 3 good build areas for a new house if I want, including the current location.
2. This area W of the House is all flat, nicely draining, good soil with a few structures on it. The 2 mark is directly where a fallen down old barn is, with lots of reusable tin and wood. South of it(the tiny white mark) is a little barn in the style of lincoln-log type of cabin where I'll be setting up camp while I work on the land for now.It's the only structure that will stay in the end. A couple of others small structures exist, but they are just salvage and will be cleaned off. A little NW of the 2 is a small incline to the road with a gate still there that can still be used(The road is about 2 foot elevated above property).
As for flooding in that section, it doesn't happen. Old family have seen the place since they were mountain men constantly passing it and word from neighbors and seller was that it doesn't flood and seeing no water damage on the structures suggest that to me as well.
THE CREEK is about five foot wide and maybe 1-2 feet deep of constant water that originate from a spring about a mile up the mountain and goes through about five well-kept properties before coming onto my land.
3. The flat area just S of the creek is badly represented on this map, but it's about an acre and half wide progressing into a triangle shape on the S side. It's lightly swampy from where the rain flows down the mini-bowl from 4. I feel it can be mitigated some with maybe a pond, swales/trenches, plants that love water, etc.
there is a small metal pig pen there and I've been told the old owner had pigs in that area, so I know it doesn't get unusable there. I hope.
4. Basically starts becoming a steeper mountainous hill a bit,but can be walked up through the middle with some effort. Nice view from it and a few level spots, all wooded. Not sure of the trees, but no pine is there. there is a couple very level areas that house could possible be put on it, but I'm leaning more toward building near 1 mark first, but we'll see in the future. I need to walk it more to get a better idea of it compared to the lower half.
All in all, for me it's a very tranquil,serene spot not but 10 mins in both directions to two rivers I swam at my whole life, and about 25 mins from a major town. I'm young, with a wife and 2 children(eventually a third, but not yet) and we both work our own hours with decent pay. We own the land and have very little overhead right now. The area is a very rural, small town up in the mountains, but easy to get to with nice paved roads.
My vision includes dabbling in everything a little, with a focus on kitchen gardens at 1 mark and hopefully a food forest with a pond at 3 if I can mitigate the swamp enough to do so. I'd like to
-Grow all I can, maybe a cash crop or two(small scale,watermelons sell great here in summer)
-Grow fruit trees, nuts, vine plants, etc in a permaculture aspect
-Keep bees -Grow edible mushrooms -Dabble in wood working/blacksmith as a pure hobby thing
-Possibly down the road raise some simple animal, with Chickens being most feasible. I know the old owner had pigs and some cows here.
-Up for anything that I haven't considered, if I receive some suggestions.
What I'm posting for is to get a group knowledge going specific to me and possibly others in a similar situation, hopefully. Suggestions, questions, answers...just wisdom in what my journey will possible entail.
I've always enjoyed this site and I look forward to adding to it as I learn and talking to you all as I become a possible valuable member of the site. Take care all and thanks in advance for any help given.
Congratulations on what looks like a very nice patch of ground. You have a whole lifetime to build that land and raise a family, What a blessing.
Are you thinking about making some swales? Perhaps Hugelkulture? Is there a large are you want to eventually make into a great garden? If you have that spot identified, you could undertake some preliminary work like getting a soil test. You could also plant some cover crops just to get things off in the right direction. On the house side, sadly to say it looks like it is better to rebuild--but at least that way you can build what you really want!
Hi Eric! Thank you! I do plan on being here for the rest of my days and look forward to what becomes of the land.
I do plan on swales and am interested in Hugelkulture. The area W of the house is all open, flat land fit for use as gardens. About 3-4 acres total available for gardening in general, so while I won't do it all at once, over time and while curbing as much work as possible, as with Hugelkulture, is the plan. I do plan on doing the soil tests.
As far as planting cover crops, can you be more specific? I have a basic understanding of the terms and ideas, but specifics would be very helpful. This move was fairly sudden and while always spending my time in the mountains, actual homesteading is not my area of expertise, though one day it will be, haha.
Yes, my thoughts exactly on the house. My wife enjoys the old design, but we both know it's the smart play to build anew.
Again, thank you. I'll be sure to add pictures and add more posts as things come along.
Cover crops are crops that are grown usually not so much for food as they are to prepare or improve conditions on the soil. Opinions vary and I am by no means a subject matter specialist, but my suggestions (and they are only suggestions--you make your own decision) is to plant a nitrogen fixing crop (say, Crimson Clover) and a nitrogen sponge (say daikon radishes). This is an extremely simple mixture and you can add numerous other seeds to your mix to suit your needs, but the clover will help fix atmospheric nitrogen into the soil and the daikon radish looks sort of like a 2-3 foot long carrot. That radish will send its roots deep into the soil, break up hard layers, and once it dies, will rot down and add its own nutrients to the soil. Cover crops can really help add fertility, both in fixing important nutrients and in conditioning the soil.
This is just barely scratching the surface on the potential of cover crops, but if you have more questions, please ask.
I would keep #3 for growing as it's fairly flat and high and would get a long sun day if I'm looking at things right. You could put a pond to the right of that, near the top of that ravine. I think they call them dam ponds. They only have to scrape enough dirt out of it to build that dam which means very little earthworks/disturbance really. They do have to cut a key in with a backhoe, below the dam so the water doesn't infiltrate and blow the dam out.
Your terrain is real similar to mine. I have a high, flatish area down the middle with a ravine on each side of it and the terrain runs in the same direction as you. Mine's 8 acres though we just got the 7.5 adjoining it.
Also, constant flow of water = much hydro power. Of course, it might be a nice smooth flow until rain storms at which point it becomes a raging river. In that case, it's hard to do hydro because it will get demolished at times.
I was John Pollard aka poorboy but the system is broken so I had to start anew
Thanks for the specifics. I'll look into more plants of that nature and see what I want to do with that.
Yes, despite it's light swamp features that is the area I want to grow in if I can mitigate the standing water enough to do so. Although, 1 to 2 is where most of the sunlight comes in at. 3 is shadowed a little more, but it does also get good morning to late afternoon sun, so it's a definite possibility.
Getting a backhoe to 3 could prove treacherous, due to it's swamp-like qualities and having to cross a creek(don't really want to disturb it, it's quite beautiful.) Yet I see your point. I do want a pond there, so I'll just have to investigate the options. Thanks for the input on it, it gets me to thinking.
Congrats on getting the other 7.5, always nice to have more land to work with and for the future generations!
Some minor hydro power is on my possibility list. I know we have some newer laws dealing with creeks and such, so I'll have to figure that out first, but if possible, OH YES! I've been told the creek stays pretty constant and doesn't rise much even in fierce rain, but that's yet to be personally seen.
I'll probably edit this into the main post, but my general plan for now is 1 being where I build a new home, between 1 and 2 being my kitchen garden, yard, play area for the kids. 2 and W of it being a major garden area, future animal area. Along the outskirts of 1 and 2 would be nice for trees, vines, bushes just in various places to help up the privacy from the road. 3 if I can mitigate the swampiness would be ideal for my food forest, pond, mushroom stacks, maybe more animals there, and chill spots. 4 is my most unknown. Maybe a mini-underground home for fun, bees up there, nature observance, not really sure what hills could be used for in food production, but sure it can be. Ginseng? That would be wonderful.
Feel free to input thoughts to that general plan. Thanks to you two for your input thus far.
If area 3 tends to be swampy, it will probably not be ideal for many trees aside from waterlovers like willow. A food forest would likely do best around 3 on the lower slopes of the hill. I would certainly plan for a pond where it can turn the swampiest area into water and the land around it into firm ground. Pull the topsoil out and up for growing beds, and make a small dam as described. A pond doesn't have to be a huge disruptive project: https://permies.com/t/97743/critters/Building-beaver-dam
I know you want to maintain the look of the creek, but you will really want a good bridge over it at some point for access, including hauling firewood. Leaving it all as is will mean either no vehicle access ever, or damaging the banks where you cross. It would also be a natural place for supporting hydropower generation.
What I think would be cool.
Half an acre vegetable + herb + mushroom(woodchip/straw) garden.
One acre pond
Two Acre intensive food forest
Three Bee Hive thats isn't harvest for a year or two.
Fish in the pond and Egg laying chicken.
2 to 4 wild harvested deer that wanders on the property.
Which is fine, because my wife LOVES willows, so a few might be a good idea for soaking excess water. I was thinking the same with the food forest, so it can roll into the hills and woods. Just seems like the natural place for it.
Thanks for the link, that's good information to think on. I really do want a pond. Pulling the topsoil has been brought up from my brother, so you reinforced that idea, so thanks.
Yeah, a bridge would be nice. At moment, I can jump across it and I really don't want to take a vehicle over there anyway(may have to though, depending on scale of what I decide to do), but a bridge is a serious thought depending on my laws here (I've heard we are picky about messing with creeks nowadays) because I'm not going to be young and jumping 4-5 gaps forever. Hydropower has been brought up and is a wonderful idea and should be a fun project to boot. Thanks for your input.
To S BENJI:
I think what you think is cool. I can't believe I didn't mention herbs up there before, because those are most certainly going in the ground. Everything you mention are things I want to accomplish here. I imagine you listing those off in a fast paced, excited voice. Made me smile, so thanks!
I'm aware deer can be a problem when it comes to messing with gardens, so I'll have to keep them in mind with all this.
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7 AHS:4 GDD:3000 Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
You can make your swale off contour so that the water is funneled into the pond area.
Possible pump some of the creek water as it enters your property to the pond area.
Use a dense matt of green organic matter and animals to naturally gluey the pond or pond liner. A 1/4acre pond is a nice min size, but with flowing water from the creek, you could make it smaller, it still not freeze in the winter and it can still have a 'high' stocking rate with fresh water/oxygen coming from the greek.
To S BENJI:
I get the idea of a swale and pumping into the pond, but can you elaborate on matts of green organic matter and animals to "gluey?" the pond? Not sure of the term gluey.
I'm glad you pointed out the size and about it not freezing reasons. That's good info for me. What do you mean by "high" stocking rate? I have no knowledge of a good pond design when it comes to good plants to plant near/in it and what to stock it with that will succeed.
The term is "gley", which means to work clay/muck into the bottom and sides of a pond so it holds water. If you already have an area that never dries out fully, you may not need to do anything special with the bottom.
It would be more depth than area that would keep a pond from freezing, and if you have natural water flow, especially springs or seeps, feeding the pond, it will keep at least part of the pond unfrozen year round. In Tennessee, I would guess that freezing ponds would be less of an issue than in northern areas.
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7 AHS:4 GDD:3000 Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
As for stocking ratio for a pond.
Fish in an aquarium/pond need water. In an aquarium we would put an air-stone in increase the oxygen level in it.
In your pond as soon as the oxygen in your water is used up, you can just 'import' more from the creek.
Having the surface of the pond exposed to air, allows diffusion, so more water. Having water cascade over rocks/etc also helps.
Fish also need food, so you will also need to buy feed similar to chicken feed or pig feed.
You can also grow must if not all your feed too:
• black soldier fly larvae
• slaters, pill bugs
• mosquito fish
• daphnia magna (water flea)
• vinegar eel
• mosquito larvae
• duck weed Grow Bed
• azolla Grow Bed
• Green Algae Grow Tow
I was just looking over the thread and a couple of thoughts occurred to me about your plans for your garden. But first, I just wanted to confirm some basic facts. Zone 3 is low and swampy right? If this is so, then I don’t think it is the most appropriate place for a garden. There has been discussion about making this a pond or small lake. Might the area to the right/east be a better place for a garden? It would still be close to your house, but at least on paper looks higher in elevation than zone 3. If you did dig out zone 3, you might be able to build up the area to the right/east to keep it out of a low patch.
Also, are you planning on acquiring any equipment like a tractor? I live on a bit less than 10 acres and I have owned 2 tractors. My first was a subcompact tractor. I sold that to purchase a medium compact tractor. Given the ambitions you previously articulated, a tractor may be a worthy investment.
Final question. Are you planning on building a bridge to get over it the creek? I have a couple of very small creeks on my property that despite their diminutive size are too deep for my tractor. I am considering building a bridge to get over these creeks. I have watched a couple of YouTube videos on how to build a solid, sturdy yet affordable bridge and I may do this at sometime in the future.
These are just thoughts I had and I would be willing to bet that you have already considered something similar. Please keep us updated as to your plans. It is certainly nice to experience this project vicariously through you.
Sorry for the long absence, but I've spent most of my time at the land, exploring, cleaning up, and planning. Haven't gotten as much begun as I'd like, but there is a LOT to consider and I'm just one guy doing manual labor of it. Time and money will get it done though eventually.
Just wanted to point out I won't abandon this thread, but there may be lulls in it, since I'm not a smart phone user and my PC is at home, of which I've spent little time recently except with the family. Basically, I've just been cleaning up the fallen barn and general clearing of trash in the old buildings or debris on the land. Reminds me of my childhood playing Harvest Moon on the Super Nintendo....but harder, haha. When interesting develop in time, I'll be sure to update this thread for fun and discussion.
TO GLENN HERBERT:
Thank you for the definition, now I understand. The swampy area has dried up a LOT since then, just from the dry weather. Since it has I've found that the spring has already made a mini-creek flowing to the main creek, and that it just stalls in places and overtime fills up. Very carefully I plan on finding the highest source of spring on land, capping carefully and with pro help. Will probably widen the stale spots so it flows quicker to creek for now to stop the excess pooling.
That info on pond freezing has been saved in my notes to refer to when I get to that stage, so thank you.
TO S BENJI:
Thanks for the link, I've bookmarked it for reference.
That is good info on fish stocking, so I've saved it in my notes to refer to, as well, when I get to that stage. Thank you for your input.
TO ERIC HANSON:
Zone 3 is about the same as Zone 1 elevation wise, it just gets pooled up by the spring not flowing a quick path into the creek, so the "swamp" can easily be corrected. Though yes, Zone 1, 2 are the lowest elevation with Zone 3 being the beginning of a slope heading South. I'll post an isometric view here soon to give the best idea of the topography.
Yes, I have a heavy-duty lawnmower and trailer for simple stuff , but in the future will definitely invest in a tractor. Money for that is already being saved into.
Not a major bridge(it's a fairly shallow but constant creek) but with some of the reusable barn lumber, I was going to construct one. It won't take much to go over that creek.
Point being, again, even though I'll have long lulls in updates sometimes, I'll always come back and discuss things on here.
Congrats on your purchase. If you arent familiar with native plants. You might want to spend 100 bucks tobhave someone walk the land with You and help id useful plants that are already there. There you can remove not so useful plants around the useful ones.
Bonnie from wildpantry in coker Creek came to my place in e. TN and was a huge help. Withoutbher guidance I might have bushed hogged or cleared fruit bearing trees with 5 to 10 years of head start on tap root, etc.
The picture of your plot on your latest post makes things much more clear. What a beautiful patch of land! I now understand the placement of your various planned features much better now with that picture.
Have your plans changed at all? I realize you have been busy, I was just wondering if your work has in any way affected your thoughts for the future of your land.
Also, do you have any ideas about your future tractor? Are you thinking of buying new or used? Do you have a brand in mind? Especially, what implements do you think you will need? One implement I find to be “required” is a front end loader, it just had so many uses it is hard to know where to start. It moves earth, clears snow (may or may not apply to you), generally serves as a sort of power wheel barrow and the list never ends. I plan to get a grapple for mine for dealing with unruly invasive brush. I am certain that you can come up with uses of your own. Please don’t take anything I say as any automatic necessity, I just have a fascination with small and medium sized tractors and am curious as to how you plan to use yours.
What a beautiful place! I look forward to see what you do there!
One thought, from an odd perspective. Is there any way you can remove the bad additions on the cabin, and leave the old part intact, build your new home a bit farther over. I can imagine your kids LOVING it, and historically, it seems a shame to take it down if it's not absolutely required to do so. Having it in your back yard can only be an asset! I could list 200 things to use it for without trying. Removing something neat is one of those things you may regret later on.
I sold my house when I moved, no one was real sure how old it was, on a 1915 map it's marked as an old structure, that's as far back as the title company could get it. The new owners bulldozed it. It's a serious shame, it was a piece of history, and it's been erased. I hate seeing history erased if it's not required. (And seeing the pictures where my garden used to be made me cry and want to throw up. I had a huge wisteria arbor, rose bushes and an excellent pomegranate bush ... )
Consider hard before doing something that is short term a good idea, but a possible long term regret.
That looks like a great property to spend the rest of your days on! Congratulations!
And also thanks for posting the 3D view of your property, that makes things so much easier to imagine and suggest.
A couple of people have mentioned a pond, but I wonder if you've ever heard of "chinampas"? That's what I think of every time I hear about a marshy area. This is the system the Aztecs used to farm on the edges of lakes and marshes in the Valley of Mexico, and it is one of the most productive agricultural systems in existence. The system is still used today in isolated areas, but most of the lakes in the Valley of Mexico have been filled in an turned into the gigantic metropolis of Mexico City.
Basically, instead of a round pond, it would mean creating 2- to 5-meter-wide raised peninsulas with 2 or 3 meters of water between them. The peninsulas are staked out in the water or marshy area, and the area between the stakes is connected with a kind of underwater fence made of wattle. Willows and/or cypresses are planted at corners to anchor it all. Then the gunk and mud in what are going to be the waterways is dredged and thrown inside the fences until the land there builds up. As gunk accumulates again over the years, you just keep dredging and piling it on the land portion, which increases the fertility a lot. Pond gunk tends to be very fertile, and if you want you can actually throw organic matter you want to break down in the waterways to later dredge it and use basically as compost. So the peninsulas are always fertile and well watered, making them very productive. Throw a few ducks on top and they will add fertility too. Anyway, it's just another version of increasing the elevation difference between the land and the water so you can use the land really effectively.
Another thing your land made me think of was aquaculture. I don't know what kind of river fish, crabs and species you have around there, but you might want to look at what your best/favorite native species are. Anyway, depending on what elevation the highest source of your spring turns out to be at, you could run the water south back up the ravine just off contour to a first pond behind a small earthen dam at the highest elevation possible to start feeding your system. The idea is to create a series of ponds, each growing stuff to feed the critters in the next pond down the chain. So some water plants to feed some tiny freshwater shrimp to feed some small fish to feed some big fish, or something like that. And in between one pond and the next pond down, you can make the water splash around a lot to oxygenate it -- oxygenating the water is a big deal for fish.
I'm not sure how clear the water is or could be in a chinampa system, so I don't know if a chinampa lake would be a good last pond in an aquaculture system. I think it would not. So your main fish pond would probably be just before the chinampa system, or maybe they'd be separate. It would be too bad though because all the fertility in that water flowing through the aquaculture system would be good for the chinampas.
If the chinampa waterways were very murky and brakish, maybe you could still raise river eels in there if those are native to your area.
Anyway, those are just a couple of ideas that your property suggested to me which might or might not appeal to you. Whatever you do, enjoy it! That looks like a beatiful spot you've go for yourself.
TO J DAVIS:
Thank you, it was a a bit of a gamble to be honest. We had been looking for land a while to no avail. Everything had chicken houses super close, no creeks or springs( which I really wanted), was too small, no privacy, etc. The cons always outweighed the pros. Then after getting a little down about all the failures up to that point, we saw this pop up. First day it was up, we went. We were told we were the first ones to call/look at it, and we immediately started dealing and setting up the contract to "secure" it. It worked. We had a little time to explore and think, but not much, yet the pros definitely outweighed the cons on this one. Now it's ours, mwuahahahaha.
Native plant wise, yes, I'm a little experienced in it, but I have family who are fairly knowledgeable about it as well, so I have that covered for the most part, yet thanks for bringing it up, because that would be a very important step if not already covered. I appreciate the thought of it. Still may look up Bonnie and maybe give her a call just to chat.
TO ERIC HANSON:
Yes it is, thank you!
My plans have changed in details since getting more familiar with the land, but the overall plan of things has stayed the same. First priority being getting something to live in out there. Probably in the valley seems best for us which is also where the food forest would be, just around us. A pathway down the valley and past the spring would be a great yard with the spring feeding ponds on one side and a continuation of the food forest on the other, all leading to a small bridge across the creek(which we can hear well in the valley, especially after some rain!) to the lower land which is ideal for normal gardens. Lots of cool areas up on the ridges to make nice hang out spots as well as down on the flat land. Those are the beginnings at least, I'll do more after all that has been started. Lots of potential and in the end, I plan on using all 10 acres for something or another!
My need of a tractor is on hold until the more important money sinks have been done, but all the things I want to do early on can be done with my lawn mower(which has a raising hitch and five various attachments for heavy gardening) and my trailer. I have access though, from family and a neighbor, to bulldozers, bobcats, bush hogs, so I'm set for moment, but in time I will be investing in my own. Until then though, it's low on my list of research(although it's high on my father's list), but if you have some quick suggestions for brands and types, feel free to name them off and I'll save them in my notes to look at. On the same note, my dad had gotten a front loader as a gift, but about a week before we got land, it began seizing up. It was an old one from the 70's but man it would be useful now, haha. Maybe he'll get it fixed soon.
TO MIKE BARKLEY:
Nice! Good to know and thank you. I look forward to reading that hillbilly stuff soon. Mountains of TN, huh? I won't say exactly where, but I live near the Ocoee and Hiwassee Rivers. If you are familiar in those parts, we may have passed each other swimming or hiking!
TO PEARL SUTTON:
You are in luck, Pearl! Although the idea of renovating the house is a no-go, we do plan on tearing all the additions down and just fixing the cabin part up, because like you, we like that stuff too, haha. We thought it would be a neat place to have guests over, she can work out of it, or we could sell things out of it being on the corner of the road like that. I've been told that it was erected around 1900, but everything else was built and added in the 40/50's. Most of those things have to go though. They are already falling down or hazards. Luckily none of it is particularly history worthy, just the cabin and the mini silo(which is awesome).
Sorry to hear about your old house. That is a shame. I thank you for your advice though, and plan on heeding it. One day, I'll post some pictures of various areas as they are for reference to what they become eventually. Thank you!
TO DAVE DE BASQUE:
Thanks Dave! I sure hope I spend a long time here. Yes, the 3D view is much more telling.
I took that full overview and added it to my notes. I really, really like that idea. The spring is looking like I can cap it further up the hill(After 3 days of rain and checking it out, the land above my initial point of ground spring was jetting out more water and overflowing the center of the valley, good news and...bad in way.) I will definitely need to get a pro out there to look it all over before I go a poking, but all in all, your suggestions is great and possible since the initial spring ran it's way to the creek, so I could step it down like that, but it would be close. It's not a very steep incline there, but depending on where it's starting, it's possible.
Aquaculture was something I was reading into and I think would work here, but at the moment I'm not sure if I have the room for a fishery since it's in the same area as where the food forest would be and not sure how big I can really make the ponds/chinampas. It'll be thought about hard before I start messing with it, since house and food forest get started. Yet, in my head, I want some kind of water usage there, so I'll make something of it, just not pegged down the details yet.
The water is crystal clear coming out by the way, but I know you mean with the chinampa in place. Just saying though.
Thanks you very much for that great overview of a possibility. It'll be in my mind when I get up there in the morning, haha. They appealed to me greatly! I will enjoy and thank it, my wife and I are loving it more every time we go up!
Not much to say on the land front, really. Valentine's Week is a BUSY week for my wife, so I've had way more babysitting duty than usual, so my time on land has been limited, but after this week's rain, I'll get back to my main projects(using the rain to do indoor/building cleaning, so I'm using my time even if I can't do everything I want at moment. Being on tin roofs, tearing down barns isn't a smart thing in heavy rains.)
Since buying it though, I've met a couple neighbors who have talked me up and down giving me history on the land and it's previous owners. Through them, I've met many more or random ones will stop by and chat for a bit. Everyone is very friendly and helpful so far, and have given us a lot of information on the surrounding area and it's people. Also, plenty of friendly dogs have been by, including one that shows up and plays every time I'm there. His owner is a 92 year old man down the road, and he loves getting to run after us, haha. The dog, not the man, haha.
As per Pearl's history speech, I'll get some pictures of the nicer buildings and some of the land features and post when I get a chance.
Again, thank you all for your posts/insights. I look forward to them all!
Power corrupts. Absolute power xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx is kinda neat.