Building A Homestead From Scratch
Thanks for the detailed response. I’m water challenged and my soils are very silty, likely going to employ some bentonite clay when ready. I completed by PDC thru Verge Permaculture and just “finished” designing our 27 acre property. Implementation will start once our home is built to a liveable standard. Thanks Nick
were you both onboard throughout the decision and execution process? What external events finally pushed you over the hurdle to take action and change your life?
Having renovated two older urban homes with our two kids around at various ages I know how much “help” they can be, especially if it’s not safe to let them run around outside on their own. But you’re creating invaluable memories and family glue.
Those are great questions. The why? part of the decision was partly based for us on the information provided in the crash course as well as other presentations (Ben Falks permacultute videos) and the LTG standard run charts. The how even though relatively well planned out was considerably a more organic experience. From our research we felt that we would need at least an acre per person to provide the major portion of our sustenance. We also knew that servicing any sizeable mortgage debt would make it very difficult to have the time required to make homesteading viable. We had been meeting with a land group about 9 years ago semi monthly to see if we could co-purchase a property. It wasn’t until I put out a survey about our comunal finances that we found out the group had more debt than cash in aggregate :-/. This group shortly disbanded and we where personally left with some good lessons but without a clear path/financial means to move onward. Fast forward 9 years and we found ourselves with three kids working like crazy slowly paying off a mildly ridiculous mortgage. We where vacationing when I received a call from my mother, we had talked in the past about buying something together but without her willingness to sell her place it seemed like an unlikely dream. She was now ready and willing to do so. This got us talking and looking around our old community to see what we could afford. The spill over from the Vancouver realty market was in full effect and even though our own home had gone up in value 200k there was little to nothing available within our budget. This is when my wife suggested our current area as it’s another ferry further north with a considerably cheaper market. The selling point for myself was the lack of red tape in the building process (no permits, drawing, engineering etc…) we purchased our acreage for 265k split 2/3 us 1/3 my mother. Our original plan was for us to build on our top 6 acres while my Mom would build on her bottom 1/3. As it turns out (this is the organic part 🙂 my Mom is way too much of a city person to live quietly out in the “sticks”. It seems that we will likely be buying her out as finances allow. This has been a point of contention for my wife as she had left her Mother in our previous community only to have mine not go through with her plans. One of the big lessons for us was that some people will generally put themselves first when it comes to a protracted shared hardship. It would have been considerably more comfortable and less stressful to have hired a builder but our budget was 150k to do all that we have done thus far. We’ve managed ok but it has and will continue to be a big effort. There are ups and downs for the family as we are adjusting to our new reality but when we visit our former community we are reassured in our decision.
I would not want to live in suburbia during a protracted crisis.
Hope that helps clarify it Macro.
yes “help” is right 🙂 but if it weren’t for them I’d likely be in India with hair down to my butt or living under a bridge which would likely be similar… they give me tremendous meaningful purpose, without it I’d be stumbling in the dark.
Great story, and great work. I’m in my late 30’s with a 5 and 2-year-old… And a wife that doesn’t buy in. I’ve got about $500k net (mostly retirement savings and RE gains), but life in the city feels way stingier than it should.
These stories are inspiring.
Congrats on the build.
Did you buy a set of plans off the shelf or go custom with your home?
Curious as to sq footage and layout.
I have property just below Vancouver at Point Roberts, Washington. Similar climate and will be building closer to my retirement age.
Here are some things that we, as city folk, didn’t think about 🙂
From Mother Earth Newa:
I live in a place that does not require building permits, drawings, engineering etc… personally I built it by borrowing design ideas from a couple of homes I worked in. It has a footprint of 48’ x 32’ with a 1.5/12 pitch shed roof. We where going to do a rancher but having to go down 4’ to get to hard pan and having a 2’ elevation drop meant we would of had a 4’-6’ crawl space. We decided to bump up the house 3 ‘ and have an unfinished basement with 7’-9’ ceilings. The other main design feature was a 6’ overhang on the south side. The overhang gives us shade in the summer but full sun in winter.
All the bedrooms and bathrooms are on the north side with a large open concept living room kitchen on the south side.
Lots of the decisions where on the spot and organic with regards to Windows and all the interior framing. We didn’t have to submit plans so any changes where easy to make.
Here is a link to a mid build video:
Thx for the reply.
Nice to see you built a reasonable size. These days almost all the construction is way too big and that will be a burden if things go stupid.