Thank you so much folks for the input. So much good information, I will try to put it to good use, and do my best to be responsible with management of the land. I am learning a lot about that here, and my views have changed about a great many things. If we get this property, (the sale isn't final yet,) it will be a great place to grow vegetables, animals, but most importantly, our children. Permaculture practices will be the foundation from which all our future choices will be made. Things I learn will be passed on to anyone who will listen. That may or may not include my children.
As you mentioned it, brice, I will provide a description, in more detail, of the property. Thanks for the great links, Ludi!
I am thinking you might be right, Frankenstoen, with regard to the room for the goats. As it stands now, there is not much in the way of forage for them to browse or graze upon. Perhaps a couple years of tending the land could change that. I'm not sure. Most of the place, with exception of the rear (eastern area) of the lot has been mowed into a rather well kept lawn. It might become ok for chickens and rabbits though, with less mowing. The parcel of land is whats left of an old homestead farm that has had all the surrounding farmland whittled off, and sold off, until all that now remains is the 100 year old farmhouse and 2 acres. The ruins of the barn is nearby, but not on the lot.
The property is atop a large hill, though the parcel itself is relatively flat. There is a gentle slope across the whole lot with the south a bit lower than the north. However, the north edge of the property has a bit steeper rise all along the edge of the lot. Along this northern "ridge." (its not really steep or high enough to qualify, but you get the idea) is where I plan to plant vegetables, etc., since it has great exposure to the southern sun. It is almost steep enough to terrace, but, not quite. I will need to see how it seems after a season is tried without terracing. Also somewhere along this steeper slope would be a great location to build an underground greenhouse like I have learned about here. I must get that Mike Oehler book. More on that later.
Beyond, and right up against the southern property line is a mature, wild grove of tall oaks. Even though they make the southern side of the lot very shady, it shouldn't interfere with that north slope, and growing things over there. Right on the old oak treeline is one huge old gnarled apple tree, what I believe might be the lone survivor of an old homestead apple grove or orchard. There are several ancient stumps scattered around the back yard, nearby. The have long since rotted unidentifiable, to me at least. However, they are not far enough gone for my liking. I'm sure I will find one or more of those stumps inconveniently in the way someday. If I had to guess, at least some of them may have been fruit trees. There are a couple random trees on the lot, near the house, or near the edges. Most of the lot is wide open, except for the stumps. However, along the back (the eastern area) it is much more natural. Back there is a stand of poplar trees (maybe 20 yrs old) with tall grasses and weeds. This natural area is about half an acre.
The west boundary of the property is a dirt road all along the front edge. The house is quite near to the road, leaving more promising possibilities for the rest of the lot. Without digging a hole yet, I would venture to guess that the ground may be a thin layer of topsoil covering fine powder sand. I judge this by my experiences nearby in other parts of the area. It wouldn't surprise me if virgin bedrock was close to the surface under that sand, no telling how thick the sand is. However, the house does have a full basement, which I doubt would exist if the bedrock were very near the surface. There could also be deposits of glacial scree, because in some places around here the last ice age just dropped loads of small boulders and large gravel when the glaciers disappeared.
I will be out of luck when it comes to clay for any future cob structures as this area seems devoid of this handy material. This is much to my dismay really, because I did have some uses for it. Which brings me back to that earlier mention of the underground greenhouse. Tel, you mentioned ponds, I would very much like to try to create a raised fish pond with an earthen base inside the walipini. It would be the basis for an aquaponics system. I would like to run the vent from a rocket mass heater along the bottom of this earthen base. The base and the pond above could act as the mass for the heat retention. The pond could contain such critters as tilapia and crawfish and the rest of the whole thing could be a standard aquaponics set-up.
Since the place is atop a hill, and fairly wide open, I was thinking a windmill could be used to pump the water from the bottom to the top, and let gravity take the water back down through the system. Between the underground design, and use of a rocket mass heater, I should think we could grow year round even in this cold climate using some of these designs. I am some miles due north of what they call the "Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field" for you NFL football fans out there. For everyone else, I think it is growing zone 5.
Lots of stuff to just pour out here, and if I rambled on too much, I apologise. I guess I am really excited about the prospects of this place for our family's future. I have been dreaming of this for quite a while. We currently rent, and are not allowed to do very much here. If we are blessed enough to complete the purchase of this property, I intend to slowly introduce my family into a new way of living. What I believe is honestly a smarter, more harmonious, and in tune way to live via permaculture with a goal towards self sufficiency. Thank you everyone!