• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • James Freyr
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Mike Haasl
  • r ranson
  • Jocelyn Campbell
master gardeners:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Jay Angler
  • thomas rubino
  • Kate Downham

Random chunk of property not connected

 
Posts: 19
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey guys,
I'm not sure if this is the right thread to post in, if it isnt let me know and I'll move it.
But, my land that I'll be moving onto sometime early this summer, it's got a really big awkward spot. 2.5 acres worth of awkward spot.
So, it's a total of 19.2 acres, but a solid 2.5 of that is across the street and down the road. This is family we're purchasing from my husband's Aunt, and my Father in Law currently lives on this 2.5, and even now that we've purchased we will absolutely let him continue living there until he no longer wishes to. But other than his house and a fall-down old barn from the early 1900's we have the rest of the land to figure out what to do with it.
We'll be living on the 16-some acres that makes up the primary parcel, and plan to have livestock and a food forest and all that fun stuff. But the 2.5 acres is about a 3 minute drive away. I know that isnt terribly far, but it's still far enough to be inconvenient from any spot on the main parcel, and i can't for the life of me figure out what to do with it. It's around a bend in the road, so we wont be able to see it from any part of the main chunk of land. I am trying to figure something that wouldn't require constant attention, or being able to keep an eye on things, but that will still be a valuable addition to the rest of the homestead. I considered growing hay, but i wonder if it will be worth it on such a small plot, plus i dont want to monoculture it, that's what we're trying to get away from. But maybe i do. i dont know. Then i thought maybe growing flowers to sell, but there isnt a huge market for that in my area. What do you guys think?
 
master steward
Posts: 3846
Location: West Tennessee
1395
cat purity trees books chicken food preservation cooking building homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi AnneLea! If it were my parcel down the road, I would plant low maintenance perennials like fruit and nut trees. Maybe a little watering will be needed to get them established, but once they get going they can pretty much fend for themselves and need little maintenance and intervention. I don't know where about on the globe you're located, but perennial berry bushes could work too, such as blueberry for example. Hope this helps inspire some ideas.

 
Posts: 148
Location: Vermont, USA
24
hugelkultur dog forest garden fungi foraging books chicken cooking medical herbs homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes!  If the land is open and the soil decent, it would be a good place to plant fruit and nut trees, blueberry bushes from seed, and other things that take many years.  If the soil is poor, it would make a good place to dump wood chips and plant N-fixers so that over time, there would be better soil.

But then again, you have 16 acres.  Do you need to make the additional parcel productive?  Maybe go ahead and hay it just to keep it open (if it is open) for future endeavors.  And add N-fixer seeds to the fields, I suppose, and a few other things to diversify?

Apologies for musing aloud on your thread.  I'm working with 10 acres, most of it wooded, some of it swampy, and all of it steep, so I enjoy fantasizing about this!
 
pollinator
Posts: 230
72
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'd recommend something perennial. Maybe fruit or nut trees? Or how about Christmas trees?
 
pollinator
Posts: 2536
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
282
books composting toilet bee rocket stoves wood heat homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You mention using livestock on your main site.

Have you looked at rotational grazing of cattle? That land could be used as part of such a cycle, bringing the cattle on for a week, for example, then bringing them home.

That way you get good agricultural value, but also limit your need to visit the site to a few short but intense periods, rather than visiting daily through the year.
 
AnnaLea Kodiak
Posts: 19
1
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey James,
Perineal trees sound like a good idea. I have a plan to do a mixed orchard/food forest on the larger chunk, but those plants dont include nut trees or, now that i'm thinking about it, trees for timber harvest. I think those could be good ones to just let have at it, and only need to occassionally go over there to check up on things. That sounds like it's definately worth considering!

Anne, your woodchip idea sounds good too. In theory, the soil is good quality. I havent had it tested yet but it's been left to its own devices for going on 15 years now, and is basically a giant meadow with grasses and wild flowers and some pioneer shrubs. Haying might be worthwhile if hay prices stay high, just to supplement, but we dont have any of the equipment for that. Maybe i could hay some of it, for the smaller livestock....or back to your wood chip idea, start a large compost pile and get some free-range meat birds to pick at it. Would i be able to leave them to their own devices, or would that need to be a near-the-humans thing?

Ellandra, christmas trees make me think agrotourism. It could be a good place to do that too, chrismtas trees, a pumpkin patch, something like that....bring some $ in without worrying about having people on my farm and messing around the animals

thanks for your input guys! I appreciate it!
 
AnnaLea Kodiak
Posts: 19
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Michael,
sorry i missed you before i posted my last reply. Rotational grazing is definately part of the plan, but i worry about moving livestock accross the road safely. It's not a busy road, but its also not a backwoods-never-travelled road. Is this something you would worry about if you were in a similar situation?
 
gardener
Posts: 2507
Location: Southern Illinois
420
transportation cat dog fungi trees building writing rocket stoves woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
AnnaLea,

This sounds like a great spot to grow a firewood plot if you were so inclined.  A nice, easy, low maintenance crop that you don’t need to touch for years.

The other suggestions are great also.

Eric
 
pollinator
Posts: 1491
Location: RRV of da Nort
220
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Perhaps a long shot not being familiar with the specifics of that parcel, but is there much wind energy potential?  By chance, is there already grid power being provided to that parcel?  Something that would not interfere with use as an orchard might be a moderate size wind turbine that would be grid-intertied so that you would be producing electricity simply for profit (or as a means to reduce your own power bill if your main parcel/homestead will be on main electrical power grid).   It does not have to be a behemoth like the large turbines you see as a part of large wind-farms....just sized large enough to offset your own power consumption at your place of residence.  And if strategically placed, it would have minimal impact on other desired uses for the land.
 
pollinator
Posts: 418
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
130
urban books building solar rocket stoves ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Solar might be another good option, if it’s an open field. You could offset both power for that house, plus your own, without taking space at the large parcel.
Maybe a long way off, but rental income from house is a possibility, with quick access for maintenance and repairs.
If it’s already pasture, easiest to keep it up, and either hay or graze it.
 
AnnaLea Kodiak
Posts: 19
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
John and Kenneth, i hadnt even considered wind or solar power, i worry that the turbines and panels are just so expensive, BUT if we used it to offset the electricity my FIL uses that could make his life much easier. and, Kenneth you're right. Once FIL moves (or passes,  but hopefully not for a long time) that would make a great rental property. And cheaper electricity would definately make for a great selling point. The land is in Appalachian mountain foothills, near Roanoke, VA, so I'd say about 4 months of the year are pretty windy, and 6 months of the year are good for solar (when the sun is up high enough to spend more time above the mountains.)
I like the idea of planting trees, and integrating either solar or wind power...would there be a way to optimize it so the trees dont interfere with the wind or the sun?
I guess i'd have to figure out which direction the wind normall blows from, and put the turbine in front of the trees on that side. Same with the panels but in the south. I think this could be doable with some serious planning...and give me two value added things in a single spot.
 
John Weiland
pollinator
Posts: 1491
Location: RRV of da Nort
220
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Depending on how you design the perennial/orchard plantings, you could still have a wind turbine with trees/shrubs growing around it.  Using the information in the following link as a guide ( https://www.windpowerengineering.com/high-small-wind-turbine/ ),
you would just want to have the turbine height a certain amount above the tree-tops to avoid wind turbulence.  For sites that have many large trees (deciduous or coniferous) this can mean some serious height on the turbine....which is why as you noted it's better to locate the turbine far enough away from these to avoid turbulence.  But if you locate it in an area with orchard trees or fruit-bearing shrubs, it may be something you can integrate into the orchard itself since those trees tend to be much shorter in stature.  Just some ideas here along with the solar already mentioned.  With all of this in mind, keep your eyes peeled as you make excursions around your area for others who have installed small wind turbines on their property.  Very often they will be quite willing to discuss the pros and cons of their installation (including working with zoning and REA officials) and their satisfaction with the decision.  Good luck!

(edited to add some tax incentive information:  https://programs.dsireusa.org/system/program/detail/1235 )
 
AnnaLea Kodiak
Posts: 19
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks John!
I'll definately keep all this in mind. I guess dwarf fruit trees would make things even easier
 
Kenneth Elwell
pollinator
Posts: 418
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
130
urban books building solar rocket stoves ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

AnnaLea Kodiak wrote:
I like the idea of planting trees, and integrating either solar or wind power...would there be a way to optimize it so the trees dont interfere with the wind or the sun?
I guess i'd have to figure out which direction the wind normall blows from, and put the turbine in front of the trees on that side. Same with the panels but in the south. I think this could be doable with some serious planning...and give me two value added things in a single spot.



For the solar, a site visit from a solar panel company to do an assessment would be a place to start. A ground-mounted array in a field allows "unlimited" space and a better orientation than found on most rooftops, and less shade from trees for more hours of production.
A ground mounted array usually would be high enough up to allow for snow to accumulate and have space to slide off the panels, so fruit trees 20-30  feet away might not be any trouble. Another option for solar might be the barn roof (if it is a large barn).

Some things to consider about the barn:
1.) If it is repairable, you might think of doing so. It could be invaluable storage space for all sorts of things that you might need (grain, hay, equipment, freezers). Another reason might be that a comparable new structure might not be possible due to modern zoning and building codes, however, your old barn is "grandfathered in" and repairs/restoration would be allowed.
2.) If it is not repairable AND you won't need it, find out if you are being taxed on it. Weigh the cost of demolition (may require a permit and fee) against the tax expense. There might also be an insurance liability that you could reduce.
 
AnnaLea Kodiak
Posts: 19
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Kenneth,
cool idea about the barn. It is kind of wierd. The Roof is in amazing condition considering its age, but that roof is held up by walls and supports that are basically prayers and hopeful wishes. Some of the timbers are in okay condition, but the majority....im afraid if i look at them funny they'll snap.
The timber TRUSSES, and all the roofing is in fantastic condition. I have no idea how that happened but ah well. My husband has been considering jacking the roof up and doing cordwood walls, then setting it back down, but i have no idea what the cost would be to jack it up.

Thankfully, the area we'll be in is pretty laid back as far as buildings go. Besically as long as we get all our paperwork done, we can do whatever we want. I'd rather try to fix the barn (if possible) than replace it, as it is MASSIVE and we'd never be able to new-build something anywhere near as big
 
Michael Cox
pollinator
Posts: 2536
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
282
books composting toilet bee rocket stoves wood heat homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You asked about moving cattle between sites.

Various things I have seen suggest simply walking the cattle on the roads. Do it super early in the morning, before there is traffic, and muster a few friends to help you walk behind and in front. Here in some rural Parts of it is a daily occurrence to meet cattle walking on roads between dairy and field. Obviously this depends on distance and your exact circumstance.
 
pollinator
Posts: 3513
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
59
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have a similar split parcel, but my road access is much less convenient.  The neighbor to the smaller property builds pole barns for a living and wants to trade a barn for it.  I think I'll take him up on it.  You might find something similar when the time comes.

I can tell you that whatever you do needs to be maintenance free or you will hate having to haul tools over there all the time.  I learned that lesson the hard way on the last property.  Keep your zone 0-3 CLOSE and optimized for minimum steps to do daily chores.
 
AnnaLea Kodiak
Posts: 19
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey R,
that's a pretty cool deal you were able to get!

I know what you mean about hauling stuff over there. that's exactly why i have no idea what to do with it.
Maybe timber....black walnut grow really well around here
 
Posts: 1034
Location: Bendigo , Australia
57
dog gear plumbing earthworks bee building homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Any thing you can do with the barn is a bonus.
Once the gent moves, I would prepare the house for renting and use the income for works elsewhere.
I would fence off a house block for the tenants to use by themselves.
 
rubbery bacon. rubbery tiny ad:
Learn Permaculture through a little hard work
https://wheaton-labs.com/bootcamp
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic