Cortland Satsuma wrote:@Philip
You have done a great job of identifying your objectives and are off to a good start! I do see some immediate concerns. The obvious...you are woefully under capitalized to tackle 91 acres and you are very optimistic on your expenses. That being said, if you add some years to you your basic plan a lot is doable. My advise (for what its worth) is:
1. Do nothing with 95% of the land the first 12 months...observe ONLY. You will save a ton of money, time, and effort if you do so. Your hugel plan needs to be done with full knowledge of the land and the weather patterns. Keep in mind, trees are planted at hugel edges, not on top.
2. Looking at your plot plan, regardless of the percentage you do decide to tackle, I would leave the area that is basically a box alone; focus on a workable area near the stream and road. I would not waste time on the pond now...it could be totally in the wrong place! Wait until you are certain what really works with this land, then dig out a pond where it should be and do it correctly.
3. Do not waste time, money, and effort on a structure you are unsure of a safe location for. If it was me, I would find the cheapest 3 or 4 season RV/trailer/5th wheel/single wide I could find. My plan would be it would become scrap; or, if lucky, converted to a mobile market.
4. Fence in the area near the stream (water source) for safety of seedlings from nibblers and livestock. Goats could them be loose (with goat house) in the 85 plus acres working on clearing...they are amazing!
5. I am not sure how to explain your plant / seed investment. On the 12 acres I am working on, when "done" we will have bought over 6,000 trees! Even as seedlings from the forestry department, the cost would be several times your budget.
6. Buy seedlings that do not have tap roots; plant out of flood zone of stream, irrigated by stream. Use as temporary nursery until you know where you want them.
7. Consider financing the correct tractor with ALL needed attachments with a large down payment. We are struggling without a tractor; VERY high priority to get ASAP for us...I do not see you making it without it.
Cortland Satsuma wrote:@Adam
Thank you. Your input is very wise and I for one appreciate it.
On number 7; my thought behind that was he should not throw good money after bad money on questionable equipment off of CL. I am a huge fan of CL; but, I know its limits. We did look into that route and found that to be the case for us. I do not believe a 1977 unit would have a PTO; and, many of the older models do not have the needed attachment nor are they available. Currently, we are in the rent or hire as needed category. As our long term plans require a tractor and attachments for so many things, I just could not fathom managing the acres Philip is going to be dealing with so dreadfully under tooled.
I very much agree with the access bridge issue. I did not mention it since it would be all he can afford and I feared he would reject the sound advice. If he lives there for a season with his log bridge in an RV; he may rethink the seriousness of the access issue. Personally, I passed on a similar property with a bridge in (it clearly flooded over the bridge during the wet season). But, each to his own.
Our property is a similar size to yours and was purchased as a foreclosure with a decent home on it. We had to prioritize investing in the home as there were issues that would become huge money pits if left unattended. We work for other income as well and there is just not enough time to get every project done with the two of us; on our little property. It has taught us a lot of humility! And, if we had waited a year we would have saved so much; topography varies greatly from parcel to parcel our general area knowledge was totally inadequate and cost us dearly. And, we did start slow to avoid those losses...and, failed. We have changed what is going to be done when based on the realities of this specific property. Nature and soil vary greatly from ink and paper.
As to the living fence idea it does sound so wonderful; we were so happy that this property we bought is completely surrounded in exactly such a manner! Yeah! No need for a perimeter fence, right?! WRONG, oh so WRONG. The first week I moved in the heard of deer, who happily race through all the thorns and tangle and dense trees, were peering in our downstairs windows, wandering on the deck, etc. Then there are the bunnies, squirrels, opossums, raccoons, skunks, weasels, birds, turkeys, geese, and bears. And we live in a township area...not backed up to a national forest. I immediately ditched all plans to continue increasing our living fence and began planning ones that would actually protect our investments. Having bought goats for clearing taught us how to build a fence...if it keeps the goats out, we did good!
I agree with your encouragement on developing a plan. Good objectives and lofty goals are only achieved with a fluid yet firm plan. One that has cost factors properly accounted for. The first year of observing can be well spent drafting and fine tuning a realistic business plan.