Question What do you wish you'd known before moving to acreage?

Discussion in 'Other' started by Mataeka, Jul 5, 2017.

  1. Mataeka

    Mataeka Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    So I was thinking the other day always about things I can do to prepare for when we eventually move to acreage and it made me think - for when you started your self sufficient adventure - what do you wish you knew more/what knowledge was invaluable?
     
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  2. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    When you think it cant get any worse, it has only just started!
    get used to it! lol
     
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  3. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    How much work needed doing to maintain the lot. Snakes are usually a good motivator for this.
     
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  4. Steve

    Steve Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    For me it was about planning out the site and figuring out the best way to lay it out.
    I dont know if you'd call it 'knowledge' or 'foresight' but it would have been great for me if I had an 'expert' come in early and say ....you should lay it out this way, or here are some ideas on how to lay it out.

    Just my experience...
     
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  5. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    I was just thinking what that Steve bloke said above too :)

    We usually start off and create a small garden box in one spot, then plant a tree over somewhere else, then over the years add things here and there. That's probably ok, but sometimes it can lead you to having to move the water tank a couple of times because you want to build a shed in that spot :blush:

    So... planning ahead! Maybe do a few site plans with how you'd like it to look in 10 years, 20 years, and just start by building that little garden but in the right spot, mark out where the big shed will go.. you may not think you need a shed now.. but once your hobby gets out of control you'll need that shed :whistles:
     
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  6. Mataeka

    Mataeka Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Heh, yeah my husband has the whole thing planned out without us yet having chosen the land we intend to build on/it's contours....

    It's a very solid point though. I know I want to have an orchard of fruit bearing trees - as my parents did (although they were all macadamias as they bought an old testing ground, all different varieties) and a section of wide open grass for the kidlets to play on. I'm pretty sure my husband already has a rough idea of where he wants a shed or two - we intend on having a fermenting/gardening supplies shed so if home brew explodes it's easier to clean ;P I think there is also intention to have a shed for processing butchered animals.

    Like I've said before - we've been intending on self sufficiency for while :whistles: Just wish I could find the perfect land and have enough cash for it :ROFL:
     
  7. Steve

    Steve Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    ...just to add to my last post....

    Along the lines of planning, it's not just where each part of the garden will go, for me it was also about having room to get a trailer in and out. I have 1.5 acres but maybe only 3/4 acre is usable, the rest is native bushland, and the useable land is quite narrow so I needed to plan where I'd store the trailer and a track system for bringing in mulch, soil etc etc.
    It's something I always had in the back of my mind but proper pre-planning should make my life so much easier later as everything gets established.
    Actually I already know that I planted on of my coconut palms about 1m too close to a retaining wall and now I struggle to get the ute and trailer through that spot. I just wish i planned that bit just a little bit better....
     
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  8. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    As those above have said, planning ahead or having experienced foresight is definitely number one.
    When I first drove up the driveway of this property 10yrs ago, I felt I had been here before. I had already been drawn to this street on previous occasions in my adult property buying life but always found something better somewhere else.

    But there was something about this particular property that made me feel I should know it.
    As I arrived at the house & saw the huge round-a-bout between the house & granny flat that a semi-trailer can comfortably fit around, I realised I had advised the owners to put this r-a-b in to make it easy for the removal trucks to position the buildings on the top of this ridge!
    As I walked around the verandah & saw the floor boards, it all started flooding back to me from a time when I only met the owners once at the secondhand timber yard in another town, but continued to correspond as pen pals via an organic/permaculture gardening magazine during the mid 80's to early 90's. I used to contribute articles to all those mags which people then wrote to me for help with. I also designed horse properties for people during a hiatus period from the army after I sustained a serious back injury in the very early 90's & couldn't walk for 2yrs.

    So here I am, living amongst the good & bad advice I gave those owners! :)
    My ideas have changed a fair bit since then based on experience & gained knowledge, but the principles remain the same.
    Whether owners take that advice & act productively on it is another thing. I have to say that along with the good stuff on this property, there is a lot of bad stuff like huge trees planted within metres of the house, the house oriented the wrong way because the owners were from Europe, trees & shrubs not suited to this area struggling or filling space better suited to more productive local species. Fencing built with susceptible materials which is a waste of energy.

    But for the most part I'm happy with what they did with the majority of my advice.
     
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  9. Mataeka

    Mataeka Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Ahh ClissAT - the rotation of the house is a HUGE point of annoyance with me ATM - we hope to get a blank canvas of land and build to help us truly get what we want - we are currently in units that were built in the 70s and while they are an improvement on the units built in our area nowadays the rotation is exactly opposite what it needs to be - all the sun in summer and not as much in winter - I know its because the size of the block dictates its rotation but its super frustrating... I'm just thankful it gets a good cross ventilation meaning we dont have to use air con - unlike newer apartments that seem to have forgotten to even put windows in... :/

    That's amazing though that you have been shaping your property from before you even lived in it :) I am sure we will make mistakes (and give plenty for hubby to do - the man can't sit still ) but its great hearing from others to get an idea of what we need to look into to minimise the level of mistakes :)
     
  10. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    It makes me very happy to read of people who are thinking ahead like you are.:thumbsup:
    We really do need to make that conscious effort to minimize the use of energy by orienting the house correctly & growing the right trees in the right places.
    I hate seeing houses facing the road that should maybe face the side or back to make best use of the sun, breezes, etc.
    Rather difficult on the suburban blocks though to not have huge trees from over the fence blocking your sun.
     
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  11. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Here's a very pertinent question that everyone who is going to make use of the land should ask themselves before beginning the search for land to buy, no matter what size block.

    What value do you place on good soil & rainfall?

    Real estate values are controlled, contorted, influenced by many things from location in a city, suburb or rural area. How high it is, the views, how close it is to millionaire's row, the services available, the rainfall. But rarely does the quality of the soil itself influence the cost of a piece of land unless it is agricultural land.

    If it is agri land, it is generally a much larger parcel ranging from a market garden size of several acres up into the squillion square mile cattle station.

    But for people who are first & foremost wanting to build a house & who will more than likely have a decent sized mortgage, the value of the actual soil is a secondary issue.

    However, for the likes of the people on this & many other similar forums, the quality of the soil is important because they are planning to have that soil produce a fair part of their food/produce.

    So what would be a fair price for soil of suitable quality to grow healthy food & animals?

    I ask this question of those who come to me for help designing their horse property. Good pasture is very important for the horse, however it doesn't have to be market garden quality & best that it isn't that good, as horses in nature were & still should be browsers like goats are.

    By the same token, poor land will cause the horse owner to need to buy volumes of very expensive hay, feed & mineral supplements, the horses wont be as healthy so there will be more & greater vets & farriers bills, etc.

    But what if they can only afford far less arable land or low lying land that might flood? Do they then resign themselves to the fact of having a higher cost of living? Are they in a position to afford such extra monthly expenses or would it be better to get more money from the bank in the first place & buy something better? The extra cost is then spread over all those mortgage payments rather than becoming monthly bills, sometimes real whoppers if vets are involved!

    So for gardeners, such costs as soil improvers, hire or purchase of a trailer to travel to get free or purchased manures, bulk mulches, etc fall into the monthly bill category. Also the cost of man &/or machine power is a big one for many people. What can your income bear? Can you afford to buy less arable land but pay more for improvers & pest management? What value can you physically add with your daily manpower input that will make less arable land more valuable?

    What about the extra cost of foundations for buildings if the land is low or steep? My Mother wanted to have the view so she was prepared to pay an extra $40k for the foundations so the house would not slide off the side of the hill! She asked her builder to quote for foundations on a few blocks before deciding on the one she purchased. She did her homework once she became aware of that extra cost. A side benefit was that once the building site was cleared & the top soil pushed down the hillside, it provided a massively rich site for a permaculture garden that I planted for her & helped maintain.

    When I bought this property where I now live I felt I was making a sound purchase, however as you will most likely be aware if you read my posts in other topics, I have discovered all too late that I have made a costly mistake. My horses got sick & cost an absolute arm & leg to get healthy again & many years of heartache for me. Then came the knowledge of poor soil & water quality forcing me to give up soil borne gardening. Just 2days ago it cost me yet another $300 for containers & soil replacers & fertilizers to plant the next generation of my garden. On my income that is a ridiculous luxury that most would not entertain. But I want to know where my food comes from so I must bear that cost. However I have to cut many other things from my shopping list so I can afford those gardening items.

    So get out your calculators, find several sheets of recycled paper (the backs of all those advertising letters that come in the mail are excellent) & spend a good amount of time listing & evaluating the pros & cons of buying good arable soil as opposed to buying cheaper land.

    Of course there is always the possibility that the land you go to look at will already be very good soil because it is a subdivided farm on the outskirts of town, in which case you have hit the jackpot! Snap it up no matter what it costs before others do & give thanks for such good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
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