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E Cochran
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I wasn't sure where to put this but figured I couldn't be the only person struggling.

When first buying land and starting to create a permaculture landscape, how does one not go crazy and feel overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done? I know we need to break things down into zones. We have that much pretty much figured out. But creating all of it ... wow. So. Much. Work. All. The. Time.

Brief history - we have been practicing permaculture in a urban environment on 1/3 acre of land for about 15 years. We've raised chickens, ducks, turkeys, goats, a huge garden, etc ... We've built with cob, heated our greenhouse with a RMH, used a cob bread oven ... Last spring my dad died and we were able to buy 5 1/2 acres of land about 4 miles from the town my mom lives in. (she has alzheimers so we have to be close ... otherwise we would have looked elsewhere) We closed on August 1. Since we already had animals we had to move them as soon as possible so that we weren't driving 60 miles one way. The land had an old house and a barn along the northern edge so we set up the animals on the northwest quarter using the barn for the goats and rabbits and built a new pen for the chickens and guineas.

The house ... is usable but needs a new roof ... and is built in a 100 year flood plain which means dealing with the flood commission before we can do anything.

Anyway, the acreage is rectangular with a creek that runs through diagonally and it is mostly wooded. The north side of the creek has been lived on ... 20 years ago or so. The south side is raw land but also has a hill that is out of the floodplain that we intend to build our house on.

I'm just ... overwhelmed. We aren't living on the land because we have to care for my mom but we are out there everyday. But lately I've been getting out of the car and it all just is too much. I just stand there and don't know where to start.

Any help out there?
 
Tyler Ludens
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This may be no consolation, but I've been working on our place for nearly 20 years and still feel like I'm near the beginning.  Largely because I did not have a clear understanding of permaculture design, so I'm making the design backwards.  Much work may be saved by remembering the steps of the design process are 1. Water 2. Access 3.  Structures.  Structures include everything from the house to the gardens.  It is very difficult to install the Water aspect after buildings, roads, and gardens are already in place.  Then, I feel very strongly about starting in Zone 1 with gardens right around the house, and get those productive before moving outward with food forests, etc.  My initial plantings were too far from the house and they died.  Many hundreds of $ worth of trees.  One of my primary goals for posting here on permies is to try to keep people from making my same mistakes. 

Some links in this post may be old:  https://permies.com/t/55751/Permaculture-design-basics

My mantra to avoid feeling overwhelmed is "Little Bites." 
 
Travis Johnson
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Maybe it is realizing that you are not alone? We have a commercial sheep farm and it is overwhelming, the workload never stops, and for everything that gets taken off the list, another seems to add up. Still there are ways to deal with it.

I guess it is all about prioritizing. I think the first is to realize that you just cannot do it all. I am actually in the process of writing a book on this vary topic and the first place I started...was suggesting people limit themselves to three things. YES THREE! Anything more than that and you really get overwhelmed, where as less than three, and you end up being dependent upon monoculture...and that is not good. For us it is sheep, logging and agritourism. With as much time as each one of those take, I have enough on my plate.

Another hing to keep in mind as tasks are performed is the longevity of it all. Putting up sheep fence sucks, as it is a lot of work, a lot of lifting, and a lot of walking, yet I always try and remember, "it will be up for 30 years." In that time frame, it does not seem like such a big deal. 4 days to put up a fence that will serve us for 30 years or more...that is nothing. The same for building rabbit hutches and securing housing for animals...when it is done...celebrate it. The best way to do that is to write the tasks down that need to be done, then mark them off as you go. Often times I will look back on my farm plan and am just amazed at what I have been able to do. This farm looked a lot different 8 years ago...a lot different. There is no real big job, just tons of little jobs that add up to a big one. Keep your eye on the prize.

The last I knew there was no Polyculture Police to arrest you if you do not get X,Y and Z done in a given time frame. Everyone is different, every farm is different. Some have large budgets in which to work, and some simply do not. And some embrace as many aspects of Polyculture as possible, and yet others (like me) adopt just a few of them. Even Paul Wheaton understands this and would never want anyone to get so wrapped up in stress, and so bent upon applying everything, that they ultimately fail. It is a hike through a forest, not a sprint at the Olympics. Prioritize, accomplish, and add to the list knowing a list of accomplishments is trailing behind with this mindset.

Finally, realize true joy is in the moment. It sounds easy, but is a hard application. Today I slogged through the rain to cut sawlogs. It was so cold that at times it was freezing rain and other times it was snowing. Still there was something nice about being in the woods when no one else was, the sound of the sleet hitting the trees, the look of the trails as I wound my way from stump to landing. Yes I was kind of cold, but the accomplishment of when I was doing it was really neat. Today was a memory I will cherish forever, is was nasty outside, but surreal being there as well. When you don't mind being where you are, doing what you are doing, it is not so much of a chore. When you are concerned more about what the final goal will be like, actually accomplishing it is miserable. Strive hard for the former. I know it sucks to start over, but is it really. You are doing so with a 1401% increase in land. Good for you.
 
E Cochran
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Thanks. I guess it's like the old saying "how do you eat an elephant?" ... "one bite at a time". I mean, I know the answer. Patience, priorities, enjoying where we are as we go. It's just when I'm standing in the middle of 5 1/2 acres of weeds and woods with an old run-down house to fix, no running water, and more problems than solutions it's hard to step back and remember going slow is okay.

I think part of my issue has been our neighbor who owns the land to the north and west of us (and a tiny piece on the southeast corner). We started to build a fence for our goats. Spent two weeks as we had time and energy digging post holes and planting posts, buying materials, etc ... and then he shows up and wants us to scrap it saying he'll build the fence if we go halves on materials. Little did we know that he wanted the "perfect" fence of a lifetime to show-off to people how great he could build a fence. He sort of forced us into moving faster and more in depth than we were ready for and when we finally put the brakes on his operation he got very nasty with us.

So now we still have to build another fence to replace the temporary one we put up for the goats ... which we never would have built had we finished our original fence ... which we now have to go back and rebuild after he tore it out ... not to mention fixing other crap he messed up. I feel like we're behind before we even got started good.

I think I just need to put all of that behind me and start with fresh eyes. Look where we are, make plans, and move forward.

Finding this community online helps too. I know exactly NO ONE in the flesh that practices permaculture in any form. Everyone around here thinks we're nuts because we didn't just cut down all the trees and move in a mobile home. Probably the only person who doesn't think we're crazy is the person who sold us the land who was thrilled we had no plans to cut down the forest and she's moved away. Lol.

I'm going to take your advice though ... prioritize and not try to do more than 3 things at one time. When we get those 3 things done we can do more.
 
Rick English
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Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I make a list. Seeing everything organized and prioritized in a list reduces my stress.

A list helps me stop thinking/worrying about everything and just focus productively on a single thing at a time. I also feel a sense of accomplishment when I check something off the list.

This ties directly into the eating-an-elephant-one-bite-at-a-time concept from above. I like each item on the list to be small enough that I can complete it and check it off in a reasonable period of time. If an item on a list will take days, weeks or months, that item needs to be broken into smaller pieces that can be completed in hours.

I like maintaining my list digitally, so I can easily shift the priority. Something like Evernote is simple, free and you can access the list from all your devices anywhere.

This may make me sound super organized, but I am not - the inverse is actually true. Lists are my tool for managing my creative, disorganized nature.

For me, having a mental list always makes the amount of work seem huge, when the work is broken into a list, its scope shifts from overwhelming to doable.

Hope that helps!
 
Rene Nijstad
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We've learned to enjoy being overwhelmed. I think it offers a great incentive to observe. When we started almost 3 years ago, we had somewhat of an image of what we thought we should do with all that space, but we quickly learned to put the brakes on and go for all sorts of trails first. Then just observe what happens. What works, what doesn't, are there microclimates that show themselves, where does the water go when it rains etc?

After the first six months we were sure about some really obvious locations for bigger infrastructure (dams, first swales) and we realized that the existing house was located on an inconvenient spot, so we identified a better location for a new home. From that moment on we could start to plan our design and we still ended up making big changes to it after we learned more.

To summarize our way of dealing with being overwhelmed: observe, find the really obvious things you want to deal with first, then keep observing and running trials. Work with temporary constructions when needed, until you're sure you're putting things in the right places. The land will 'talk' to you and it will become more and more obvious over time.
 
Abbey Battle
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I think that's why you need a period of observation. Time to sit back and watch and let what needs to be done come forward.
Ideas mature over time.
After each project you need to reflect and see what happens next.

I do like the notion of the land talking to you. That's exactly what I found.

I too have buildings in the wrong place. (for me) Great location, just facing the wrong way. Wish I was a builder and could just knock up a new structure.

I think I have some crazy neighbours and there's a great permaculture community (and lots of of those of similar ilk) nearby. I can keep on track without feeling too much of an oddball.
 
Anne Miller
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E Cochran wrote: an old run-down house to fix, no running water, and more problems than solutions it's hard to step back and remember going slow is okay. ... I think I just need to put all of that behind me and start with fresh eyes. Look where we are, make plans, and move forward.

I'm going to take your advice though ... prioritize and not try to do more than 3 things at one time. When we get those 3 things done we can do more.


If the house needs a new roof there is a "paint" type product that you can use that might help until you can get that new roof.  If you need a link to it I will be glad to find it for you.

No running water? Why? Did the old house not have running water?

Tyler Ludens wrote:This may be no consolation, but I've been working on our place for nearly 20 years and still feel like I'm near the beginning.  Largely because I did not have a clear understanding of permaculture design, so I'm making the design backwards.  Much work may be saved by remembering the steps of the design process are 1. Water 2. Access 3.  Structures.  Structures include everything from the house to the gardens.  It is very difficult to install the Water aspect after buildings, roads, and gardens are already in place.  Then, I feel very strongly about starting in Zone 1 with gardens right around the house, and get those productive before moving outward with food forests, etc


Water is always a 1st priority.  Even if its just figuring out how you are going to do it.  When planning your gardens think about where your water source is and how far you will have to haul water to keep your plants alive.

Rick English wrote:Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I make a list. Seeing everything organized and prioritized in a list reduces my stress.  A list helps me stop thinking/worrying about everything and just focus productively on a single thing at a time. I also feel a sense of accomplishment when I check something off the list.


Excellent advice!  I'm a list person, it helps me stay focused and not forget what is most important.

Abbey Battle wrote:I think that's why you need a period of observation. Time to sit back and watch and let what needs to be done come forward. Ideas mature over time.
After each project you need to reflect and see what happens next.

I do like the notion of the land talking to you. That's exactly what I found.


"I do like the notion of the land talking to you."  This is always a priority when making decision.  The land is going to do what it wants.  When it rains the natural flow of water is going to take its course.

Everyone has giving you some excellent advice.  So take it one step at a time ... or one bite at a time.


 
E Cochran
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Anne Miller - yes the old house had running water. This is one of those things we haven't quite figured out yet. We were told there was an old well on the property and we found an old pump house and well pipe stand. The pump house was filled with garbage really ... an old vacuum cleaner, books, old clothes, etc. The pipe stand is covered by the overhang of the pump house so until we remove the pump house we can't really see in the pipe ... but we dropped a rock in it and the rock only fell about 12 inches before hitting something solid. We don't know if it was capped off on purpose or if its just filled with debris from over the years.

Anyway we were also told that the last owner of the house was connected to rural water and there is plumbing all over the house in the appropriate places so we have no reason not to believe this. BUT the rural water district claims this property has never been connected to rural water and they want us to pay them almost $4000 to tap into the system. I don't have $4000 to tap a water line, especially one that was obviously tapped before and shouldn't have to be done again.

For now we are hauling water to the property and storing in tanks until we can set up a catchment system for rain water. We have long hauled drinking/cooking water from an artesian well nearby that is free for everyone. (That's a whole different thread but fascinating to see all the different people who come to the "watering hole".) So we won't drink the rain water, just use it for cleaning and animals and garden.

Water, water, water has been our priority since day one ... but we had to set up animal pens and we had to deal with the neighbor over fencing and we had to put up a gate to deter people dumping trash on our property and and and and ... so we still haven't even dealt with everything we need for the water.
 
E Cochran
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So ... LISTS

I have questions ... or maybe I just have frustrations ... whatever. I tried using lists when I was in college. I tried again as a young mother. They never worked for me because as soon as I wrote it down on the paper my brain immediately began planning "it" and saw the list as a challenge to be accomplished in one day, one sitting, no holds barred, do not pass go, do not collect until everything is done. Lists just made me feel even more overwhelmed than I already was.

Then I used lists in an organization I was head of where other people were in charge of completing things on the list and my mind changed a bit. I realized I could tick things off the list and eventually get to the end ... but I've never attempted to reapply that to my life.

So how do you organize your lists? Do you have one big long list that you work through item by item? Or do you have different lists for different things - like a master list with sub-lists? (I know this sounds ridiculous but ... I really don't know this stuff and don't know how to find out without asking.) Or do you do a list for each day and then move things to the next day if you don't accomplish them the first day? Or some combination or method I haven't fathomed yet?

I"m thinking of getting a notebook and in the front section of it keeping a running list of everything that needs done as I think about it and then making sections for each component we are working on where the items can be furthered broken down. Then I could not only NOT keep everything in my head, I would also have a list of everything we'd done so I wouldn't feel like nothing is happening. Make sense?
 
Travis Johnson
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I organize my lists in columns. The firsts column is obviously the task name. The second column is how long I think the task will take in hours. The third column jots down what I will need for tools (tractor/truck/ect) The fourth column describes parameters, or if it can be done in the rain/good weather only/day light hours only/ night time, etc. In the fifth column I list how much it will cost. Finally in the last column I prioritize everything because the first task listed might not be the most important. Or to get the first item done, I might need to do item 7 and 8 first.

The part I find I am often off on, is the amount of time it takes to do something, but I am getting better!

You can always organize using the 6 questions of life:

Who
What
When
Where
Why
and How

Example:
Clean out garage/4 hours/tractor to move bunny cage/anytime/$0/3
Shore up framing on Barn/2 days/lumber/daylight/$250/2
Make wreaths for church/6 hours/boughs/anytime/$20/1

I hope this makes sense. If I get a few extra hours to work on something, I look at my list, see if there is anything I can fit into my "free time" and thus get a little bit more done. The same applies to money. In a perfect world we would have all the money to do what we want, but cash flow is a very real issue, so often times I table expensive things, saving up for it, while I wiggle in the tasks that cost very little. It is all about doing what you can when you can.
 
Adam Eccleston
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Overwhelmed?  I can relate.

75 acres purchased and we’re just getting started.

But really, what are you in particular overwhelmed about?  Work to do?  Things to accomplish?  Making money?

Really, I’m not expert in all of this however, whenever I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.  But here is a little Jedi-Mind trick I learned.

“Ain’t nothing going to happen with you standing there!”

What does your end state look like?  If you close your eyes to imagine something about what you picture what do you see?

Now, how does permaculture play into that picture?  For my farm, I can close my eyes and imagine what it will look like when I’m an old man.  Then I think about the successional pattern that nature will follow in order for me to get to that image.  Brambles, grass, early trees, later trees, etc.

Maybe not the way for you, but it works for me.

Adam

Locabuck Farm
 
Travis Johnson
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E Cochran, I am so sorry for your water troubles. I guess I read it the first time, but never showed much compassion. I have never lived without water other then a brief power outage for a few days, so I cannot honestly relate, but you have my sympathies. I truly am sorry that you have to deal so much time just to getting essential water.

I live in Maine and so hand dug wells abound. Around my house I have 3 in a given acre and they are extremely dangerous; a neighbor fell in one and nearly died. On my farm, I doubt I know where all of them are, but I do know some are capped and some are not. Some of those that are capped are nice; concrete tops with covers for access, and others...oh my...filled with garbage from the 1950's just to limit the liability of someone falling down an uncapped well and suing the landowner.

The latter was a concern a few years ago when I was on the Soil and Water Conservation District Board because hand dug wells are portals of contaminants into the aquifer. There was a lot of talk about properly capping these wells, however the sheer volume of them in our county alone was incredible. Funding was no where near there for such a monumental task.

One word of caution though, and that is before you have a new well drilled if that is the direction you must take, check out the laws of your State. In Maine if a municipal water supply goes by your home, by law you must tap into it. The reasoning is, public monies have been invested and as such the cost would go down as more people tap into the resource. It is very likely however that the piping inside your home indeed did come from the hand dug well. A lot of older homes in Maine were like that. It was not too bad prior to the 1950's when outhouses prevailed and water consumption was low, but today where the average house uses 150 gallons of water per day...it often taxes those hand dug wells pretty quickly.

Again so sorry for your water troubles, and so sorry there is nothing more I can say to cheer you up. If words would come to me I would try. I dislike seeing people overwhelmed and upset, life is to be lived abundantly. I hope you arrive there soon.
 
Anne Miller
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E Cochran wrote:Anne Miller - yes the old house had running water. This is one of those things we haven't quite figured out yet. We were told there was an old well on the property and we found an old pump house and well pipe stand. The pump house was filled with garbage really ... an old vacuum cleaner, books, old clothes, etc. The pipe stand is covered by the overhang of the pump house so until we remove the pump house we can't really see in the pipe ... but we dropped a rock in it and the rock only fell about 12 inches before hitting something solid. We don't know if it was capped off on purpose or if its just filled with debris from over the years.


Your well sounds like mine.  Since you had a pump house, the pump is in the ground probably what you hit when you dropped the rock.  By removing the pump house you are exposing the pump to freezing weather.  You need to call a well person and get an estimate on what they would charge to look at your well.  I am thinking $50.00 might be all they would charge.  I would do this ASAP.  This might be the answer to a big problem and save you the $4000 to connect to the rural water supply.  It might be something like $1000 for a new pump if yours isn't working. Look in the phone book for "Well drilling and Service"  If the person you call doesn't look at wells then they could recommend someone.  That is what we did when we bought our property as we knew nothing about wells, our guy was very helpful in explaining what we needed to know.

E Cochran wrote:Anyway we were also told that the last owner of the house was connected to rural water and there is plumbing all over the house in the appropriate places so we have no reason not to believe this. BUT the rural water district claims this property has never been connected to rural water and they want us to pay them almost $4000 to tap into the system. I don't have $4000 to tap a water line, especially one that was obviously tapped before and shouldn't have to be done again.

For now we are hauling water to the property and storing in tanks until we can set up a catchment system for rain water. We have long hauled drinking/cooking water from an artesian well nearby that is free for everyone. (That's a whole different thread but fascinating to see all the different people who come to the "watering hole".) So we won't drink the rain water, just use it for cleaning and animals and garden.

Water, water, water has been our priority since day one ... but we had to set up animal pens and we had to deal with the neighbor over fencing and we had to put up a gate to deter people dumping trash on our property and and and and ... so we still haven't even dealt with everything we need for the water.


When we built our house we plumbed it just like a house is plumbed to hook up to city water or rural water, it is just hooked up to our well. Your well guy might advice you to have your water tested since it has been a long time since the well was used.

If the house had ever been connected to the rural water supply there would be a place in the front where the meter was and your plumbing would be routed to that place.  I suspect that your house is plumbed to the well.
 
Anne Miller
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E Cochran wrote:So ... LISTS

I have questions ... or maybe I just have frustrations ... whatever. I tried using lists when I was in college. I tried again as a young mother. They never worked for me because as soon as I wrote it down on the paper my brain immediately began planning "it" and saw the list as a challenge to be accomplished in one day, one sitting, no holds barred, do not pass go, do not collect until everything is done. Lists just made me feel even more overwhelmed than I already was. 


Maybe making lists doesn't work for everyone.  Like budgets don't work for me.  I suspect that I budget and don't realize that is what I am doing.  I am doing it "my way".


E Cochran wrote:Then I used lists in an organization I was head of where other people were in charge of completing things on the list and my mind changed a bit. I realized I could tick things off the list and eventually get to the end ... but I've never attempted to reapply that to my life.

So how do you organize your lists? Do you have one big long list that you work through item by item? Or do you have different lists for different things - like a master list with sub-lists? (I know this sounds ridiculous but ... I really don't know this stuff and don't know how to find out without asking.) Or do you do a list for each day and then move things to the next day if you don't accomplish them the first day? Or some combination or method I haven't fathomed yet?


So a list might be as simple as:
Call a well guy
feed and water the chickens
feed and water the goats
go to the store
fix dinner

Or it might be more complected like this:
Call a well guy
Look outside to see where the plumbing comes out of the house
Dig to see where the pipe goes
Call the county to see if they have any records pertaining to the well
Ask the county if they know where else you might look or ask

Now days I just use my calendar:
Call the doctors office to make an appointment on Dec 5th
refill prescription on Dec 14th
Go to feed store on Dec 14th

I use an envelope for my grocery list.  It fits easily in my purse and is handy on my desk to jot what we are out of or is on sale.  I organize it per the way the grocery store is laid out.

E Cochran wrote:I"m thinking of getting a notebook and in the front section of it keeping a running list of everything that needs done as I think about it and then making sections for each component we are working on where the items can be furthered broken down. Then I could not only NOT keep everything in my head, I would also have a list of everything we'd done so I wouldn't feel like nothing is happening. Make sense?


Excellent idea!
 
David Livingston
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I would just add a couple of ideas
Firstly before you start try to make a big job lots of little jobs . Then it is easy to measure success like saying I managed to do xyz rather than considering one big job that you either complete or not . Often people feel they have failed when they have not done a big job whilst other are happy by doing lots of small tasks even if they don't finish . Both may have achieved the same result 😀😀
David
 
Glenn Herbert
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Just came across this thread, and had to comment on the well "obstacle" at 12" down. The typical well has a water pipe coming up inside the casing and then a fitting that elbows to the side and out (usually underground to avoid freezing). This fitting is most likely what your rock hit, or maybe something sitting on top of the fitting. A flashlight to look down inside would be a quick way to see what's up. Is there wiring going into the top of the well? Or anywhere in the vicinity?
 
Fred King
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I would try lowering small but heavy on a string to see if you can work it past the obstruction. You may find out how deep your well is and how much water is in it then you can plan the next step.  The flashlight should make it easier to get by the obstruction.  Good luck Fred
 
Devin Lavign
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Great topic, I think this is likely a very common issue new property owners go through.

I got 40 acres last summer solstice and while camping out on it I kept finding myself having to literally tell myself to stop and take breaks and stop working on stuff. Just relax and take in the wonderful property.

However as soon as I stopped consciously thinking "take a break" my mind would wander through all the things I wanted to do until eventually something got me back up and working, usually less than a minute max 5 minutes. This happened over and over and over.

I keep telling myself, relax you will have this property for the rest of your life. But there is a huge amount of things to do to take raw land and turn it into a functional homestead. Or for your case an old homestead and fix it up.

There is such thing as analysis paralysis, where you get overwhelmed thinking about what you need to do and this actually stops you from acting. Which when dealing with setting up a homestead is pretty easy to do. There is a lot to do and it is easy to get overwhelmed.

Finding ways to reduce the size of tasks, making them into smaller more manageable tasks is pretty critical. This tends to be the way lists come into their most useful. If it is something like getting water on your land for example. You can break it into sections. Research, site investigation, planning, purchasing parts, installation work, maximizing efficiency. This is a general "list" of steps that could be for getting a well, rehabbing an existing well, setting up water catchment, even water delivery and cistern systems. The same general steps would still likely be needed for any of these or another set of steps organizing the large task into smaller steps could be made, there is no set in stone way to break it up, but this is a good example of how to do so. A list like this can help you concentrate on individual parts while still having the entire goal in mind.

Something I do think is highly important to over come the overwhelming list of tasks to do, is to prioritize the most critical.

There are several that really need to be top priorities. Such as water, shelter, access. There might be some others depending on location and differing variables. But those 3 tend to universal. You could add removal of waste if your buying an old homestead that has a lot of junk built up on it. Or if in a fire prone area adding fire breaks. But water, shelter, access tend to always be top priorities. 2 of these are basic necessities of life, water and shelter.

Access is a bit self explanatory, if you can't get somewhere you can't work on it. So roads, paths, etc can be needed before anything else. I include access into building infrastructure in general, but separate it as a top priority since access is so critical to every other thing that happens that it really is the 1st thing you need to set up generally. Access needs to be adjusted to what you need access for. Do you need to have a cement mixer pull up then you need a good road way for that, but you don't need a full road for just some hand tool work and can get by with a foot path for that. Size and build access to fit the needs you will have.

Water the next big priority since so much else needs water to work and water is so critical to life. If you end up hitting a wall getting water to your place then you likely wont progress on your property. A good plan for sourcing and storing water makes or breaks homesteads. Not to mention knowing where your water will be located and sourced as well as stored influences a lot of the rest of the decisions you make down the road. Where your home is is depending on where your water is and how you can get water to the home, where your garden is depends on where your water is and how you can get it to the garden. Etc....

Shelter is not just a house, but a home is included. Shelter can be a tool shed, or an RV, or a shipping container, or a tent. Or a combo of these and other options. You will need some sort of structure sooner rather than later to store tools, to stay in yourself, to work on projects out of the sun or rain. A lot of people think of water as one of the most important survival needs, but shelter actually is typically way higher priority. Without shelter exposure to the elements becomes a serious problem, for you and for your tools. So be it bushcrafting some shelter from fallen branches, to a fabricated tent, to an RV, to raising a pole barn, up to fixing up a run down home. Shelter is pretty critical.There are plenty of commitment levels as well as financial levels to this. If you got a lot of money to dump at it, you can have people come in a build you the stuff you need. If you are super poor you can camp in an old used tent and bushcraft some structures to protect your tools and equipment.

Ok I have rambled enough for now. Hope this post makes sense and helps further the topic some.

Just remember, like I keep telling myself, you will likely have the land the rest of your life. You don't need to rush to get it all done right away. Prioritize the critical stuff to get you going, and then chip away from there.
 
Nicole Alderman
garden master
Posts: 1524
Location: Pacific Northwest
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All this talk about lists and organization reminded me of a blog post I just read. Copper Moon Retreat Center (Scott McBrideis a member here on permies) posted on their blog about how they prioritized what to get done, when. I found it fascinating!

They made a list of all the things they wanted accomplished. They then picked out a set of goals/criteria, in your case, it might be things like Saving Time, Increasing Food Production, Improving Quality of Life, Affordablity, Least Time to Accomplish, etc. They then rated each thing on their list 1-10 on each of their criteria. Whichever thing on their list scored the highest total, was the one to work on first.  You and your husband could both do your own ratings and then add them together.

Here's a snippet of one Copper Moon member's spread sheet:


And a tally of everyone's spread sheets:


And, here's a link to their post about it: http://coppermoonie.com/blog/2017/03/28/every-ship-needs-a-rudder/
 
Maureen Atsali
pollinator
Posts: 363
Location: Western Kenya
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I can relate.  My farm is small, but I can't ever seem to catch up.  I also employ a list, which I try to sort into what needs to be done in which month, and rank by priority.  Getting seeds in needs to happen before I tackle other projects.  Then I have my daily to do list.  Taking care of kids and animals first, and then garden tasks.  I am disabled and very prone to overworking and hurting myself, so I try to set a reasonable daily goal - like planting just five rows.  I have to work slowly and deliberately, and sometimes its REALLY hard to stay on task when I see ALL the other tasks that need doing.  It is especially aggravating when I have other people pointing things out to me that I am behind on.  Life always happens.  I get sick or my employee quits without notice, or the rains don't come... But i have found if I just soldier on, and commit to completing one project before I start another one... Then I am slowly but surely able to tick things off the list.  And finishing a project feels SO good.  Having a bunch of unfinished stuff hanging around my neck demoralizes me.
 
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