The Plan – In the beginning there was “The List”

What do we want to accomplish?

You know that saying  – Put it on the list? Here’s mine.

The idea is to be off the grid and self sustainable with surplus. The plan is for me to keep my job in the City and for Farmer Bob to keep his part time job (remote IT work) and work the land. I’ll commute in by train and use the time to do email, writing and reading.

This is the start of the list that will rule our lives for the next 5 or so years. These are what we hope to accomplish and learn about along the way:

  • Off the grid solar system. (OTG)- The system must be scalable to accommodate our needs now and into the future. We will likely live in the main 2BR house and either add on a room or convert one of the larger outbuildings into additional bedrooms for our 2 teenagers, our ageing parents or guests.
  • 2BR becomes 3+BR – Ideally we have 3 bedrooms for the immediate family and at least one guest room.
  • Renovate the studio or museum outbuildings to be liveable.
  • Fencing and Animal Shelter. – We plan to agist the land until we are able to understand what animals we will have in the future.
  • Chookens! – I grew up with chickens and would like to get a flock for eggs to keep and sell. I have researched and will likely get 25 rescued battery hens. This will mean a chicken coop, fencing (maybe) and nest boxes.
  • New Kitchen. – I love to cook and want to be able to have a large, lovely kitchen. The existing stove is on the old side so a new one is in order. At present the only option is electric where I would prefer dual fuel – gas range with electric oven. This means gas bottles as plumbed gas is not available.
  • Energy Efficient Appliances. – If we are going with OTG solar, we will need to investigate the energy demands of our current appliances and determine what to keep and what to replace.
  • Heating and Cooling. – At present the heating is a series of fire place (for true!) and no cooling. We need to investigate what our options are.
  • Grey Water – There are several tanks on the farm as well as a bore. Only one of the tanks is currently used for rainwater to drink. The largest tank collects from the roof tops of 3 sheds and is not used (is actually bled out to keep levels low). There is also a lemon tree that reportedly uses quite a bit of water.
  • Dogs– Apparently fox and feral cats are a bit of a problem. The current owner traps the cats and then drowns them. This doesn’t sit well with me (being a cat owner myself) so I would rather deter the pest animals than kill them.
  • Cats on the Farm – I am a little concerned about how my 2 furbabies will adapt to life on the farm. One is 15 and rather sedentary – He’ll be fine. The other is 5 and very stupid! I don’t want them to be pests and I don’t want them to become pancakes or dinner to something else.
  • Hot Water. – If we get bottled gas, is it more efficient to go gas or on demand water heating?
  • Farm Equipment. – Something tells me our little $50 push mower is not going to be enough to handle 14 acres. Right. Do we need a tractor? A ride on mower?
  • Farm Tools. – This is where we get to go shopping for a chain saw. And a mattock. We need to understand what we need and how to safely use them.
  • Building Stuff. – We both like to make things and have renovated our city kitchen, built decks, tiled floors, replaced a toilet, laid bricks and installed screen doors. We both want to keep this momentum going and learn how to as opposed to getting someone to. This will involve investment into tools.
  • Cold Storage. – Growing veggies means more than you want all at once. This leads to a need for storage, preserving or canning. What sort of storage do we need? Above ground or below? How much space?
  • Honey. – Farmer Bob loves a bit of honey in his tea. Also a good way to earn a little money.
  • Veggie and Fruit Gardening. – We need to understand the soil, the water and the sun. What do we need to do to enrich the soil? What can we and can’t we grow? Our goal is heirloom veggies and fruits and organic where possible.
  • Composting and Worms. – The goal is zero waste. One of the ways to do this would be a happy healthy family of works and a series of compost bins.
  • Raising Animals for Meat. – If we are going to eat meat, I would like it to be kind meat raised to be happy, healthy and as natural as possible. This might mean bartering with neighbours or it might mean a cow and a few sheep.
  • Guest Houses. – What are the opportunities for using the space we now have to make money to help support ourselves. Can we rent out some space for a yoga studio? Take borders? Agist the land to someone with animals?
  • Fire Readiness. – We will need a fire plan and we will need to understand how to fireproof what we have.
  • Managing a 130 year old house.
  • Not getting lonely or feeling isolated in the Country. 
  • Whatever else that I’m sure I’ve forgotten! I’m sure that we will have successes and failures and learn a lot in the process.

So… not much really 🙂

(Photo: The farm from overhead)

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