Once we closed on our property, the real planning began. We have a preliminary layout of the land here. You can click on the image to enlarge it. We are planning a large pond for two reasons. First, to give us plenty of dirt for fill to elevate the living spaces on the property and second so we can utilize the pond for geo thermal cooling.
The plan then went to researching house plans, alternative energy sources and types, passive building and ways to be independent. These include solar energy, wind energy, passive solar building, steam power, hydrogen power, geo thermal heating & cooling, generator power, composting, gardening, green living, etc. The web is completely full of useful information that is free. There are great sites out there. We are not tree hugging green peace types or anything. We love our meat, chicken, pork and OMG couldn’t live without beef! We are not doing this because of environmental concerns, rather it will simply be a wonderful consequence of what we do.
We scoured craigslist and ebay for a tractor, which would be a necessity to keep up with five acres. Once we lost our jobs, we also decided we couldn’t afford to pay someone else to clear the land, dig the pond, and prep the elevations for building, so we also looked for a backhoe. We lucked out and found both in great condition and for a very reasonable price. We sold a boat we had renovated and paid for the pair. We borrowed a trailer and pickup from a friend and brought the tractor to the property! Oh, we had fun with it! See the pics in our blog. We hired someone to get the backhoe and deliver it to the property. It’s HUGE! John hasn’t used heavy equipment for years, but he gets better everyday! Practice makes perfect! Since the torrential rains came and our property flooded, we realized we’d have to use all the dirt we could out of the pond to elevate the property. John found a great dirt calculator on line that will tell you how much fill dirt you will get out of digging. It’s pretty cool, check it out.
We have decided to start with a pole barn to store the equipment in and a small cottage, approimately 600 square feet. We have a 38 foot motor home which will serve as a camp for us while we are building. It is close quarters with 4 large dogs, but they love it and it somehow works. Staying positive and learning how to conserve water, etc is good practice.
I want a hexagon shaped house with a wrap around covered porch. We decided it would be cool to make the cottage match the big house, so I set to designing using excel. The layouts are below. When we get close to building, we’ll get an architect to draw up the plans. We don’t need a permit for the pole barn or pond as we have 5 acres and it is currently agriculturally zoned. Once the pond and barn are done, we’ll need to pull permits for the cottage, septic, ect.
Here is a preliminary layout of what will be the big house.
We plan to attach the two with a covered walkway. Once the big house is built we plan to use the cottage as a guest house/party house. We’ll put a pool table in it when we move into the big house.
Check out His Pages for alternative energy projects