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Building a Homestead from Scratch...

 
pollinator
Posts: 325
Location: NE Ohio / USDA Zone 5b
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What projects do you take on first when attempting to build a homestead from scratch?



Here's what we're dealing with:

Primary living space is a small, finished log cabin on the property.

2 bed, 2 bath cabin, one story, with electricity and running water.

The cabin has two spigots, one on each side of the structure.




Approximately 50 feet away, there is a 64' x 40' pole barn.

There is a small, finished space inside the pole barn, 15' x 40'.

Water and electricity have been run to the inside of this space...

...but unfortunately are not accessible outside of the barn.




There is a *long* 2000' gravel driveway that leads to the barn.

There is underground city water, underground electric and cable lines.  Septic system.

Main road out front is a state highway, so utilities have been historically reliable.

Within a few hundred feet of the cabin is a one acre pond, ~20' at its' deepest point.

No aeration in the pond of any kind at this point yet, though it is on the "list" of things to do...

...which is what this post is about.  What's FIRST on your list when it comes to building a homestead?




What projects do you take on first when attempting to build a homestead from scratch?





 
gardener
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If it were me, and I were just trying to get the lay of the land for a couple of years, I'd invest in portable infrastucture rather than buildings and large equipment.  Watch everything of Joel Salatin that you can.  He's got all kinds of great ideas regarding chicken tractors, egg mobiles, electric fencing (for pigs, chickens, turkeys, etc.) and even portable water stations.  

Portable cages and fencing is scalable, allowing you to grow your business and homestead at a pace you are comfortable with.  If you've got a small number of animals, or if you've got a large herd, you can adjust accordingly.  

Best of luck with your new project!
 
Rob Kaiser
pollinator
Posts: 325
Location: NE Ohio / USDA Zone 5b
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Marco Banks wrote:If it were me, and I were just trying to get the lay of the land for a couple of years, I'd invest in portable infrastucture rather than buildings and large equipment.  Watch everything of Joel Salatin that you can.  He's got all kinds of great ideas regarding chicken tractors, egg mobiles, electric fencing (for pigs, chickens, turkeys, etc.) and even portable water stations.  

Portable cages and fencing is scalable, allowing you to grow your business and homestead at a pace you are comfortable with.  If you've got a small number of animals, or if you've got a large herd, you can adjust accordingly.  

Best of luck with your new project!



Thanks for the comment, Marco.

To provide some context - I've lived here now for two years.  My parents for three.

My parents generate some craft goods for a local farmers market.

We have tenant farmers that grow produce for market sale as well.

I've taken care of property maintenance and market farming stuff to date.

This year, I will be subcontracting out the lawn maintenance, which will free up some time.

Over the past two years, I've limited much of anything due to gazelle intense debt payments.

I'll likely be debt free in June and will use some freed up funds for lawn maintenance services.

Hoping to take on a hobby that will be beneficial for the homestead with soon to be free time.

One project to begin with is to process a bunch of trees that were recently felled behind the barn.

Beyond that, I'm not sure where to begin with my aspirations of homesteading, if that makes any sense whatsoever.

Basically, I'm looking for a hobby that I can monetize - something "appropriate" for a homestead...

I'm not even going to list any of my ideas so as not to corrupt any ideas that you or anyone else may have.

Hope that helps...and look forward to your response!
 
Rob Kaiser
pollinator
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Location: NE Ohio / USDA Zone 5b
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To elaborate further...I began "getting after it" here in 2015.

I spent several years and many thousands of dollars chasing other people's dreams.

I burnt out, finding myself doing many of the same things I was doing while "in the rat race."

I stopped market farming, trying to implement a tenant farmer program / lease operation.

Basically, while working full time off-site at a local tree farm, and managing the property - I'm done.

So...now that I've hustled to pay off my debt - I'm planning on subbing out the lawn maintenance this season.

I'd like to experiment with this for a year to see what *else* I can do on the homestead to grow it further.

However, there's so much to do...that I wanted to leave it deliberately vague for wild ideas.

In theory this seemed like an excellent idea...but reality is perhaps a different story.

Hope that provides some necessary context.  :)

 
pollinator
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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It it was my farmstead, I would do the following.
Stock Fish Pond 1acres
2-4" Hybrid Bluegill/Sunfish    480
3-4" Yellow Perch                   240
5-7" Largemouth Bass      60
Fathead Minnows              32 lbs

Bee Hive
3+ Bee Hive

Chicken+Egg 1/4 acre
Chicken Tractor
Electric Netting
Deep Litter

Feed the Soil
Swales/Earthworks
Add Carbon/Woodchip/Mulch/Compost
Add Compost Tea/EM/Mushroom Slurry
Add Nitrogen Fixer and cover crop

Plant 1/4 acres of herbs, mushroom (winecap+oyster on woodchip), vegetables, tubers, squash, etc

Plant 1 acre of fruit/nut trees on 15ft centers (around 200 plants)

Plant 1 acres of carbon farming. aka grow your own woodchip, mulch




 
gardener
Posts: 410
Location: Monticello Florida zone 8a
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My plan:
1) build a wigwam and get water
2) plant intensive raised beds
3) plan and observe
4) build ponds, berms, hugels, etc.
5) build wofati dream home, animal shelters, and outbuildings
 
pollinator
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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First of all, that doesn't sound like FROM SCRATCH.  Mostly for the better, but I am sure there are already things you would have built different.

If it were me, assuming working off the homestead or savings so you don't need income asap, I would focus on the kitchen garden and house and OBSERVE.

Second the salatin portable approach to everything, at least initially.  
 
Rob Kaiser
pollinator
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Location: NE Ohio / USDA Zone 5b
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R Scott wrote:First of all, that doesn't sound like FROM SCRATCH.  Mostly for the better, but I am sure there are already things you would have built different.

If it were me, assuming working off the homestead or savings so you don't need income asap, I would focus on the kitchen garden and house and OBSERVE.

Second the salatin portable approach to everything, at least initially.  



Correct, it doesn't sound like it's from scratch, which is why I left the detail out in the first place...

...I initially wrote "from scratch," because when my parent's first purchased the land, there was no infrastructure of any kind.

Simply an old pavilion near the pond with a neat old horseshoe pit...which is now the location of the cabin in which they live.

Many things I wish "we" would have done differently, but the reality is there is no "we" - since I'm really just a tenant here paying rent.

However, since this is kind of a rent to own arrangement (with that in our lease agreement)...there's much flexibility in the design.

At which point, there isn't really much of an overall design in the first place...at least not one that has been carried out in great detail.

We are all collectively recovering from debts incurred via the construction process...I'm just recovering faster than they are...

...and accordingly am able to invest in (financially) a new project - and while not *all* projects require financial inputs, most do.

So...here we are.  

Very little "going on" directly at the homestead site...but the market garden areas are separate and apart from the homestead.

Kitchen garden begins this year with the installation of an herb garden for my father upon his request...and of course, continued observation.

Slowing down, focusing on financing and simplifying has really renewed the approach I am taking to homesteading.

With regard to Salatin type infrastructures...I'm all about it - but unsure if I'm interested in animal husbandry for the long haul.

So...I'm considering a small rabbitry behind the barn and planting some fodder trees.  Not much into the infrastructure and animals.

I figure it's the least expensive and intensive way to gain experience with animal husbandry - of which I have none.

 
Rob Kaiser
pollinator
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Well...this thread has helped flesh out some ideas.

For example...a few years ago - I was able to obtain a free haywagon from work.

It was a haywagon that we converted into a field wagon for carrying material to field dig trees.

The crews eventually got a truck and the old haywagon / tractor setup became obsolete...

...and the owner of the company offered it to me at no charge if I hauled it off the property.  I did so.

This thing has been sitting here for several years now...and our plan was to turn it into an egg mobile.

Besides getting aeration in the pond...the egg mobile have kind of been the things on our minds.

So - after some discussion with mom (and dad), we're going to do the following:

1)  Finish building out the walk-in cooler in the barn for our tenant farmer / market farmer (at least functional, not quite finished)
2)  Finish building out a "clean room" in the barn for the commercial fridge / freezer for usda fermented food inspections
3)  Finish workshop space in barn
4)  Work on egg mobile and/or get aeration in the pond...but focus on getting barn functional first

Other ideas such as food forest, livestock, aquatic systems, etc will be developed as time goes on...baby steps.

Feels like we're moving forward...even in such a short time frame as this thread.  :)
2)
 
gardener
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Location: southern Illinois.
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My regret at my current location is not putting in an orchard with full sized trees from the start.   Of course, a garden is higher on the list.
 
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Location: Abbeville Alabama
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Rob Kaiser wrote:What projects do you take on first when attempting to build a homestead from scratch?




Approximately 50 feet away, there is a 64' x 40' pole barn.

There is a small, finished space inside the pole barn, 15' x 40'.

Water and electricity have been run to the inside of this space...

...but unfortunately are not accessible outside of the barn.

Its easy to 't" off the water line  that goes into the barn. The problem is having to find the water line going in. Plan to hand dig a lot.


...which is what this post is about.  What's FIRST on your list when it comes to building a homestead?
Chickens in a portable coop and consider locations for fruit nut trees.  Summer is a great time to purchase used hoop houses for cheap. You can buy a 200 foot long one and only put up 50 feet if thats all you want. Wait till fall and sell/barter the rest for  your original price. (Sell 50 foot sections at a higher profit to support homestead projects.




What projects do you take on first when attempting to build a homestead from scratch?

 You have half a homestead already. Just build on your existing infrastructure.  I would also consider a ram pump below the pond to pump water up to livestock area.. Or back to pond for areation..




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