The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Decide on long term goals

This is what our long term goals looked like in 2006. They've changed a lot since then, but gave us a good start.

Based on your assessment of the property, it's time to make some long term plans.  These plans don't have to be set in stone, of course, but they will definitely help you prioritize which areas to work on first and will prevent you from having to move your fruit trees three times.

Burying the water line.Start out with a ten year plan.  What are your goals for the next decade?  To grow all of your own food?  To live in a forest garden?  To be running a chicken hatchery as your full time job?  What physical changes to the property will those goals entail?  Break your goals down into manageable chunks and prioritize each one.

Do you plan to build any new structures?  If so, where will they be?  Do you need to bury water lines or build driveways?  These steps will be easiest if you put them early in your long range plan rather than trying to bury a water line through your vegetable garden, the way we did.

If you want to have an orchard, pasture, or garden, it's best to start planning them now.  If possible, plan your trees where they will shade your house in the summer but won't block passive solar heating in the winter.  Gardens are most effective if they are very close to the house so that you can step out the door and pull a weed.  Make a copy of your map and add your long range goals onto it.

This post is part of our Starting Out on the Homestead lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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