The homestead begins... This is going to be a long term post. :)

Discussion in 'Homesteading' started by Geoffrey, Jul 7, 2014.

  1. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Guide

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    photo (15).jpg

    Here is my crude sketch of what 10 acres looks like and how we initially plan to utilize it.

    Initially it will be just the home site, then the garden area, then the pasture area.

    Each 1/4" square is 5.5 yards, total cleared is 2.5 acres, the dotted lines around the property will be thinning of dead or dying trees which will increase things to 3.6 acres open and/or thinned out.
     
  2. Slips73

    Slips73 Guide

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    thats awesome man, thank you for this and the previous response, gives me a good idea of what can be done, specially that half acre diagram!

    i look forward to seeing your progress.
     
  3. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Guide

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    We are slowly gaining traction. We got some generous assistance from family and will be making our new home warranty application soon. This is one of the most annoying hurtles to deal with. Nothing more than government oversight and interference where it shouldn't be.

    More coming soon.
     
  4. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Guide

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    A long overdue update

    Things are slowly moving ahead.

    This past weekend we got out an cleared another property line and started taking shots to figure where the house will sit.

    photo 2.jpg

    photo 1.jpg
     
  5. bornonthebayou

    bornonthebayou Tracker

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    wow...just beautiful. congrats!
     
  6. 1773

    1773 Guide

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    Looking good, looks like you are making a lot of progress. I am enjoying following your post and watching your progress.
     
  7. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Guide

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    This update has been a long time coming.

    Not much got done over the winter as my second son was born last fall. Free time to get out and work is hard to come by with 4 kids and a full time job.

    This spring we slowly started to get back at it.

    The big news for us is the driveway is roughed in. We can now get into the land and let the kids run and play in our driveway.

    We are pretty excited and we spend a lot of time out there today. My wife is from the USA so for us this was a great way to celebrate the 4th of July.

    Thanks for looking, I hope to be more active with this post as more work gets done.

    photo 5.jpg

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  8. hunter63

    hunter63 Bushmaster

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    Hang in there man....
    Bought the land in 1989....the cabin didn't come to pass until 2005.

    Had fun on the property for all those years....so enjoy the journey.
     
  9. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Guide

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    Thank you, I appreciate the encouragement.

    So far it has only been a year since we bought it so I think we are doing ok.

    Trying to build an affordable house in an oil town isn't easy. We are taking the long look at things not just jumping into this and landing in something we cannot afford.

    It has been fun using and being on the land thus far and I know it will continue to be enjoyable until we finally get our house built there.
     
  10. Bucksnort

    Bucksnort Scout

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    I have been trying to figure out land sizes, 5-10 acres would be perfect with one exception, timber. What I have realized is that to be able to manage forested land, I figure 35+ years is required (from farm fields) so that if I want to manage timber before I am 65, I probably need to buy a forest, not plant it!

    Pasture, Gardens, Water Features, etc... can all be pretty small, my desire for more than 10 acres is purely for the wood harvest possible (if using wood heat). Are you guys planning on wood heating?
     
  11. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Guide

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    We are fortunate in that our property is fully wooded. The downside is we need to clear space for anything we want to add.

    Initially we will use propane for heat and our stove, water heater, dryer, etc. We plan to add an exterior wood burner in the future.

    We have 90% poplar which I think are also called aspen, the plus is it grows everywhere and grows quickly, the minus is it is fairly weak and isn't the best for burning.

    We will try to manage the forest we have too, encourage the small willow, birch, fir, spruce, etc to grow by using good mulch around them and thinning out the other trees to allow these trees to grow.

    I do agree with you, if you want a forest it's best to buy one from the start.

    As to land size we are happy with the 10 acres, we plan to use maybe 4 of it for the house site with my workshop, the barns, cows, chickens, the fields, the gardens, etc. Add to that I plan to setup 1-2 acres for a bushcraft area where I will attempt to encourage plants to grow specifically for use with bushcraft. Mostly that will be willow which is great to use practising trap making and other skills. We also have a corner that is a little wet which I want to turn into a large pond, maybe an acre in size, which we will stock with trout and attempt to create a complete ecosystem in the pond.

    Really once we make all our plans 10 acres seems a little undersized, realistically though it is a lot of land and there is a great deal that can be done on it.

    In our area a square 10 acre parcel is needed to use a standard septic system too so that works in our favor allowing us to put in a $6000 septic system not a $30,000+ septic system. Each area is different though this just happens to be an issue in Alberta.

    Sorry, that is a lot of rambling and jumbled up thoughts, I hope that made some sense.

    :)
     
  12. Donfini

    Donfini Some who wander are lost Supporter

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    You probably could use another project like a hole in the head right now, but what about building a solar wood dryer/kiln for those logs.
    Scraped it would make great rustic furniture, for yourself and source of revenue.
     
  13. Bucksnort

    Bucksnort Scout

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    no, I'm tracking with you...10 acres is a lot of land if you start walking it, and 80 acres is crazy when you start thinking about buying it! (especially if you need to maintain another home to actually live in). The other downside to having nice undeveloped land? you usually are a long ways from much of anything, which is hard on finding a job! It looks like a great place that you building! Hope you are getting opportunities to use bushcrafty skills along the way as well!
     
  14. Bucksnort

    Bucksnort Scout

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    if you haven't already, you should look at restorative agriculture/Permaculture stuff, its really interesting, and has challenged me to think about gardening differently, thinking about land management, etc...
     
  15. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Guide

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    Thanks Bucksnort, yeah the fun thing with undeveloped and fully treed land is that the only limit is the imagination.

    We already planted some small trees and raspberry bushes, both of which seem to be taking nicely.

    I am learning about permaculture, that is something that I really find interesting. The soil there is not a lot of soil and is clay within maybe 5" or so of the surface. I plan to really work the area and cultivate the soil especially around the trees that I want to keep and encourage to grow.

    We are luck in this area, land is available within 30 minutes of the nearest city, traffic is reasonably light, and with my job I can even work dispatched from home not requiring me to go direct to our office before starting work.

    Haven't done much bushcrafting yet but last night I got to do some stuck vehicle recovery. :)
     
  16. cachambers

    cachambers Tracker

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    Updates?
     
  17. Brian77

    Brian77 Tracker

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    Yes, how is winter there?
     
  18. The Bruce

    The Bruce Scout

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    (Long ago, and far far away): There was a farmer outside the town I was raised in Kansas who bought a little trailer, parked it on the site, buried it in straw in the winter (I know) and built a really big log house all by himself. All while working his farm. Took him quite a few years, but it was a really nice house. He had a bunch of goats for milk and meat as well as chickens.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2016
  19. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Guide

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    Hey all, sorry for the delay. Our build has been delayed again due to our local economic issues. Hope to be able to start in the spring though.

    I'll get some winter photos up soon.

    Worst case we will be gardening and working the land come spring.

    This process is long and arduous but still feels like a dream coming true.

    Thank you for showing your interest in this.
     
  20. wisconsinwalter

    wisconsinwalter Supporter Supporter

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    Geoffrey, I am following your build as I start mine in the spring
     
  21. Bridgetdaddy

    Bridgetdaddy Scout

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    Awesome place to start!! Congrats!
     
  22. H.I.S Survival

    H.I.S Survival Tracker

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    Very cool. I have a small homestead on the Big Island of Hawaii. Good luck! Enjoy!
     
  23. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Guide

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    Some summer photos

    We transplanted these bushes in the spring, got berries the first summer. Very encouraging seeing food growing on our land already.

    095.jpg


    Truck and mini excavator after another hard day clearing land

    102.jpg


    If you look close you can see the posts and flag tape where the house will sit, center of the photo.

    2015-03-27 586.jpg
     
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  24. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Guide

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    Fall update, no work done. Just out there a few times to enjoy our property.

    2015-03-27 626.jpg

    2015-03-27 636.jpg
     
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  25. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Guide

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    Some fresh fallen snow

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  26. Brian77

    Brian77 Tracker

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    Is winter over yet?
     
  27. Ballenxj

    Ballenxj Scout

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    This should be a fun to follow thread. Ten acres ought to be more than enough room to do what you need for living. I can see chicken coops and pens for livestock in your future. ;-)
     
  28. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Guide

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    We were just out there last week to start a compost pile, still 18" or so of snow on the ground... Spring is here but the snow sure takes its time leaving.

    We have all our papers in with the bank and are waiting to hear if the build will be a go this spring.

    Sure appreciate any positive thoughts, smoke, prayers, etc. My family has outgrown our present townhouse we rent and really long to be out there.

    Thanks for the posts all.

    I will update this with some photos in the near future.
     
  29. ineffableone

    ineffableone Guide

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    While the snows can feel annoying when you want to get to work on the land, they do help a lot in recharging the aquifer.
     
  30. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Guide

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    [​IMG]


    My ESEE Junglas during mod stage relaxing out on the acreage.



    [​IMG]

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    Start of our compost pile
     
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  31. JJB11B

    JJB11B Scout

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    That is awesome...Someday I will do this
     
  32. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Guide

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    Found out last week that we are officially approved and can start building once I get my permits and home warranty in place! :)
     
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  33. MarauderMan

    MarauderMan Scout

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    Great thread! I'm really looking forward to seeing your dream come alive.
     
  34. cabbagepatch

    cabbagepatch Tracker

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    Awesome, I hope one day to be able to do the same
     
  35. ClutteredShop

    ClutteredShop Scout

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    Are you worried about bears raiding you compost pile? That orange looks pretty good to me, and I'm only distantly related to bears.
     
  36. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Guide

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    That is more of a compost pile in potentia. ;)

    Not too worried about bears, only saw one set of tracks in almost 2 years out there. Once we have chickens, cows, and such bears might be more of an issue but bears don't seem to be as much of a problem here since there is so much space for them to roam and so much for them to eat.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2016
  37. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Guide

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    Garden site picked

    [​IMG]

    We chose to build up and use layers of sticks, mulch, soil, topped with hay.

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  38. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Guide

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    We transplanted some raspberries and wild strawberries too

    [​IMG]

    Here in Alberta we can get permits to cut firewood and transplant trees from public land. We transplanted some spruce and pine.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  39. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Guide

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    Unseasonably bad weather has killed 80% of the garden... Lost a nice spruce tree too which the kids and I raised and lashed up. Time to plant the garden again I guess...
     
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  40. ineffableone

    ineffableone Guide

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    Ouch, that is no fun. But it is the reality sadly of homesteading that people often forget to take into consideration. That sometimes nature just doesn't follow your script and plans. What sort of weather hit your garden? Is it something you can possibly plan for and protect against in future years?

    Appalachia Homesteader just did her 3rd video in a series about the "accidents" of homesteading. 1st was on how crops sometimes just fail or have meager yields. 2nd was on how weather can destroy crops. 3rd was what happens when the primary farmer is ill or injured. The series is pretty interesting, it is titled Would You Starve? Interestingly she didn't plan to make a series, she was just making one video. Then the weather turned bad and she quickly filmed it so had a part 2. Then she recently had an allergic reaction, and so added a 3rd to things about illness.

    Good luck on restarting the garden, and if it doesn't work out learn and try again next year.
     
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  41. TX-1948

    TX-1948 Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I have enjoyed reading and following your post....Thanks for sharing your ongoing adventure....
     
  42. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Guide

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    Thank you, I appreciate the feedback. I hope others enjoy reading and watching the journey my family and I are on. It is fun for me to take photos and share here with all of you.
     
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  43. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Guide

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    Thank you for the feedback and the info on that video series. I will check it out.

    The reality is my wife and I gardened some as kids but this is our first go at it here in this climate. The past few years we have had great weather in May, warm, bright, sunny... Again this May the weather was amazing so we planted our gardens. In hindsight we planted WAY too early. We got a freak storm which dropped a foot of snow in areas and coated our new sprouts in snow. This alone would have been a harsh blow to the garden. Add to that the weeks of heavy rain which totally saturated our entire garden and garden area.

    We also tried something this year neither of us had ever tried. We tried covering our beds with hay as we had been reading about online. While initially the hay was helpful and protected the young growth from the hot sun, and likely protected it even in the snow, long term the hay dealt the death blow to our garden. There was just too much water and they hay kept it all in, this is what the hay is supposed to do but due to the excessive rain it was just more that the beds could handle. I peeled all the hay off and you could smell the rot right away.

    We are going to replant and see if we can salvage our short growing season.

    We did a few beds of pumpkin, squash, and beans a week or two ago which seemed to weather the storms just fine; these beds were planted after the snow storm though. For the majority of the garden I think it was the too early initial plant, plus the snow that did in most of the garden.
     
  44. CharClothed

    CharClothed Scout

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    I would be SUPER hesitant about cutting down tree's if I had that many birch tree's around me. You can tap those in the spring and get gallons upon gallons of birch sap there. Super envious.
     
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  45. CharClothed

    CharClothed Scout

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    Just realized this but you probably have so much chaga there.
     
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  46. ineffableone

    ineffableone Guide

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    Hope things are going well for you. I am working on clearing the road into my property and a few general open areas as well as developing some trails so I can easily walk the property. Still lots to do and so many blisters to get. ;) But I really enjoy making something with the land. Trying to figure out how to best work with the property to get it to function.
     
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  47. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Guide

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    Sadly this is 99% aspen/poplar and we have some small birch and a few spruce. There is a decent mix of willow which I will try to get to grow since I like willow for my traps and trapping practice.

    We haven't found chaga here but on some crown land we have. My wife drinks it as part of her natural healing routine so I wish we had it growing here. :(
     
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  48. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Guide

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    Cleared a little more land in preparation for the build

    [​IMG]


    Cleared a spot for a 10x10 shed which I hope to start next week to get all my tools on site for the build

    [​IMG]


    Update on the garden after replanting
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  49. ineffableone

    ineffableone Guide

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    Yay you still have some garden, just watch out for critters coming to eat the yummy plants. You might want to add some sort of protective fencing or something to keep deer, rabbits, racoon, etc out of the garden.
     
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  50. Brian77

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    Appreciate your sharing. Choosing your trees to save or cut will pay dividends years from now.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G800A using Tapatalk
     
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