As many (most) of you should know by now, it is Geoff's and mine goal to buy a 1/4 section of land and build a homestead - with hopes of then gradually developing the homestead into a town.
This ultimate goal is a life-long project, and may (or may not) be achieved in our lifetimes.
Of course, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step (Lau Tzu). So, the question becomes, how do we begin?
The Grand Savings Project will be just enough to: buy the land, including closing and associated costs; build our first home, as well as a good-sized greenhouse; and have money to live on while we await the first crops, and our gardens and greenhouse, etc. begin to flourish. This budget is very tight!
Geoff and I have debated this, bouncing ideas back and forth, and I believe we have come up with not only a reasonable idea, but, something that could also help us to attain our later goals, as well.
We will take one of the sub-sections, 10 acres (a quarter of a quarter, of a quarter section), and slowly develop that as we go.
If need be, we can start with only ourselves in either a tiny home or a mobile home, with a single greenhouse, but we would much rather do this with other people!
If you look at the picture, you can see that this is also divided into quarters. Each section is also drawn at full capacity. In reality, we would be developing as we go, so there could very well be empty space.
That space would find a use, whether it would be for simply green space, a small garden plot, or even play space for children.
The first detail I would point out is the hedge that surrounds both the entire section, as well as each quarter. Eventually, that would become a stone wall, however, it will likely be a metal farmer's fence to begin with, sandwiched between two layers of some form of hedge.
This hedge fence would be mainly for animal control, and would have gates for easy access. After all, you wouldn't want Yogi Bear looking in your fridge for things to pack his pic-i-nic basket with!
There would also be two roads with two lanes each that divides each quarter. Within each quarter, there would be single lanes, as transportation is intended to be either walking, riding a bike, or, possibly by golf cart. It will be wide enough for a tractor towing a tiny home or mobile home, though.
The residential section (bottom left quarter) has space for up to 21 mobile homes or tiny homes. It also has a small parking space for visitors.
We shall be gardening mostly by greenhouse, which is reflected in the agricultural quarter (top left quarter). This quarter will also include a barn and yard for both chickens and goats. Both shall also be used in yard maintenance as well as providing fertilizer for compost.
The commercial/industrial quarter (lower right quarter) is much more adaptable than it's name suggests. This quarter is, essentially, whatever we need it to be. Anticipated use is for manufacturing and offices.
The final quarter, the Community quarter, is the most interesting. One of the main purposes of developing a town, is to develop the sense of community, which is hard to do when everyone is busy doing their own thing.
One of the first buildings to go up in this quarter should be the Community Hall. With a commercial-grade kitchen, as well as enough seating to fit an old-fashioned pot-luck dinner, we anticipate that this will quickly become the heart of the town!
One of the key services we see a need for, and would like to develop, is the idea of "Mom Care". This is the concept of "it takes a village to raise a child", and therefore, providing Moms (and other parents) the support they need in order to not feel constantly overwhelmed while raising their tiny humans.
This could include everything from Day Care and drop-in babysitting, to providing meals, or simply some sound advice from the voice of experience and a shoulder to cry on.
Another building will be a basic school, with subjects ranging from Kindergarden to College-level instruction. Of course, parents will have the option of busing their children to their local school, but, this would be an option, and could be helpful for homework.
It would also be a resource for adults who are looking to upgrade their education, or for us to host seminars on debt reduction and financial sustainability.
We also had the idea that, in the future we could also offer the service of being a "self-sustaining incubator", teaching others who would like to then purchase their own land for their own fiscally responsible, eco-friendly homesteads - but, that would have to be once we have shown success on our own!
The final building would be a combination of workshops and gallery for artists, for a variety of mediums. By being near, but separate, it provides enough connection to still be a part of the community, but have the quiet and privacy needed in order to focus on a project.
Now, this still leaves a great deal of space in this quarter. One of the practicalities of the entire quarter, is that people will be living and working there. While we are still looking at some eco-friendly options, it looks like we will likely be building a septic system.
With a septic system, comes the necessity for a drain (or leach) field. This is where the partly treated water gets slowly drained onto a bed of gravel and sand, in order to clean it before it re-enters the water table.
You cannot have trees or anything with long roots growing above this field, so it is typically covered in grass.
We were thinking that we could have basement access to the septic collection tank from the Community Hall, and that we could use the main outdoor area of that quarter as the leach field. This would provide natural, underground irrigation, as well as fertilizer for the grass, which the goats could keep under control.
This leaves us with a large, open field, so, why not use it for recreation? With sports such as football, soccer, and even baseball in the summer, and flooding a section (or two) for an outdoor ice rink in the winter, this could be a very popular and active area!
As always, this is purely speculation until we actually have the land in hand. Ideas change and shift, depending on what actually happens.
Ultimately, we would be happy simply having the land, with enough cleared for our own home and a greenhouse and barn, but we would much rather have a few good families join us!