Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Going Country Update

My husband and I looked at each other the other night and realized it was JUNE. Yes, June.

This year has flown by and is already half over. So much has happened and we're so grateful for the blessings 2013 has brought thus far. Not only have we had a new baby, but we've purchased land (5 acres)  and have been filling our evenings with much research regarding irrigation systems, greywater systems, house building, compost toilets (yes, that's husband's idea), pasture building, lumber cutting and we're now trying to make a decision to purchase a new, much needed truck. We have a lot of hauling and heavy-duty work ahead of us and our paid off Explorer has seen its last days (bless the sweet thing as we've had it for 10 years and it's breaking down left and a/c, no power windows,  no cd player and just recently a flat tire). But to have a car payment again is not something I'm looking forward to.

I love our sweet home that we've had for the past 6 years and most likely, we'll probably be here until at least next March. It all depends on if we want to make life harder by living out of an RV while we build, yet saving a TON on our monthly bills, OR if we want to stay in our current home, paying the expensive monthly bills, but being a bit more comfortable.

There are many reasons for our move...

Providing a larger space to grow food, have cows and pasture (the city is so limiting), being able to raise our children in a slower-paced part of Florida, teach our children where God's bounty comes from and how to do it themselves should they so choose to later on in life, have space to run and just "be", trees for fort building (Rob wants to build us a "tree-school", not a "tree house", a "tree school" where we can have sweet), target practice, endless permaculture possibilities, zip lines, pasture-raised meat birds and eggs, pastured pork (again, my husband's domain, not mine), hammocks to be lazy in, a front porch for swingin' on, neighbors close, but not too close to peek into our windows, nature to appreciate and learn about and Lord-willing to have lower monthly bills, providing a way for my hard-working husband to be home more often and for us to minister to others by way of growing and providing food. We're looking forward to our monthly bills being low enough so that if the Lord has something for us to do (such as missions, serving others, etc.) we won't be so tied down that we can't afford to or not have the time to.
I love THIS POST and we share so many of the same goals.
Here are a few things we've been researching...
We've been researching Sunmar composting toilets mainly for our bathroom needs. A typical septic system can cost thousands and thousands of dollars, but when you purchase one Sunmar toilet, it's not only a fraction of that cost, but you don't have to worry about septic problems. It's odorless and some may choose to use the compost on their plants, but I'm not quite ready for that yet! To the trash it will go. :)
We're also researching pole barns and Florida cracker houses (which I think are simply ADORABLE). Where we're moving to, we have 6 months to live out of an RV before we have to begin showing progress or building plans, thus continuing with plans. Many counties in Florida won't even comply with an RV being lived out of during construction. This county does and that was a huge factor in choosing the area we wanted to live. Not only that, but this area is absolutely, naturally gorgeous and "hilly", very un-Florida like. We'll be saving a ton of money by living out of our RV (1/6 of our current monthly budget) and using that extra money as well as extra money my husband makes from his job to continue in our building.
I bought THIS BOOK on greywater systems and we have a few ideas in  place so far.
We've also looked into how to build an outdoor kitchen because let's face it, it's hot here in Florida and no one likes baking chocolate chip cookies at 4:00 in the afternoon (not that we never do that). Having an outdoor kitchen heated by THIS STOVE or a used one like it will be available for cooking. I love watching the HOMESTEAD BLESSINGS DVDs ( a Christmas gift this past year) and seeing how they set up their outdoor canning kitchen. Simply lovely!
Bush clearing and pasture building are heavy on our minds as this is one of the first things that need doing. We'll be borrowing my dad's chainsaw soon to go up and start cutting. I'm looking forward to having a large firewood pile and using the wood for various projects around the farm. Loving how my first son wants to take up woodworking. Maybe he'll build us a table or something. :)
We'll also need to build some sort of outdoor deck to pull the RV up to as we're building. It will create one more "room", making the RV living space a bit larger allowing us to eat outside and do some schoolwork while our little ones nap.
Right now, we're contemplating whether we want to build a small barn and then then the house (which will be a bit more expensive) OR if we can just build a larger pole barn and build a living quarters on the top floor. We've thought about aging and if we're going to want to climb stairs in our older age...lots to consider.  
Our goals for between now and March are:
1. permits pulled
2. electricity run to property
3. a well dug (our most expensive project, but necessary...this county is known for amazing fresh spring water)
4. land clearing/tree cutting
5. pasture building (I think I'm going to be investing in the Stockman Grass Farmer for management-intensive grazing information) I've only read Comeback Farms by Greg Judy and of coarse Joel Salatin's books on this topic and have much more to learn...MUCH more.
6. Our biggest obstacle is finding a way around Chapter 12 codes, but we found a great contractor who may be able to do this (and he's a believer).

So much information, I know. Just thought I'd give you a peek inside our thoughts as to where we are with the move and to share our research and ideas should someone else desire to know for their own plans.
In the coming weekends, we'll be doing some major lumber work and I'll be posting about our trials, successes and what we're learned on this fun journey of building a homestead in the country.
If you're reading and you're personally been through this sort of experience or know someone else who has, we're open books and empty sponges right now, very willing to take any advice you have.

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