future homegreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
We are planning a homestead on 160 acres in Southern AZ. We have our choice of a parcel bordered on two sides on paved highways; one a major. It has no well. The other 160 acre parcel is on the paved side road with a well. Both parcels will have access to electricity, phone and natural gas. Which one would you choose? Does anyone have ideas about what type of homestead to build? We are torn between building or getting a mobile home. We also need a barn to house our 5th wheel trailer in winter. What is the best plan for positioning the house, barn, garden and a possible pond? We can face the structures in any direction as the property is in a square configuration. We are at 4,200' elevation but the winters are relatively mild. What is the best place to obtain information about positioning the garden and livestock areas in relation to the house? The property is flat with scrub mesquite trees which will have to be removed before any work is done. Any ideas what to do with the trees and brush? The previous owner ran cattle on the land about two years ago. We are a retired couple and want to live off the land.
-- Hank (email@example.com), March 26, 2002
I would choose the lot with the well.
Bordering a major road is not a benefit unless you are starting a retail business. I would feel safer getting away from any major road.
-- Rick7 (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 26, 2002.
I used to live in Arizona and there are a lot of people who have to haul water to their waterless outposts. By all means choose the one with the well but make darn sure of its volume, reliability and purity before you buy. Water is going to be as precious as gold in those southwestern states in the not too distant future because so many people are moving there. Seriously consider this before buying in that region.
-- bruce (email@example.com), March 26, 2002.
Hank: 1) Take the one with the well, but have it tested. If oth, a well can be drilled cheaply (less than 400-ft), inquire as to the possibility; 2) How far are the utilities? More than 1000-ft? You'll probably have to put everything underground which costs $$, vs poles. Depends on what the electric company says. Check before you buy; 3) Build a pole barn. Far cheaper and easier to combine shelter for the rv and use as a home. Build one big enough for both. 48x40 (1920-sqft)x14H 4) Facing southwest for maximum sunlight even in the winter; 5) Build close as possible to the well. If that's not feasible, pipe the water to the structure or build a cistern; 6) Take out only the mesquite you need to and leave the rest alone. Critters need shelter from the sun too; 7) Plan on using low-water everything. Water is too precious to waste; 8) Garden? Unless you have really good soil, I wouldn't waste my time on a garden. Use a hydroponic greenhouse, so you'll have no problems with weather, bugs or other critters.
Good luck, al
-- al (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 26, 2002.
Check the usage of the surrounding property for several miles. Are there other "farms", if not there is a reason. Cows per acre (?) carrying capacity, probably 20 acres or so per cow for winter usage. Greenhouse's in southern AZ would need air conditioning in the summer and a good share of the winter. Probably little if any snow and judging from the trees little rainfall. Be aware of the illegal immigrant problem plaguing all ranchers in southern AZ.
-- Joe (CactusJoe001@AOL.com), March 26, 2002.
When thinking about building, think about future possibilities as well. I wouldn't build anything with stairs, and I'd build doors and halls wide enough to even accomodate a wheelchair. Access ramps rather than stairs at entrances. Even if you wouldn't stay there if you were permanently crippled, it's easy to break a leg, or get a bad back (my situation), or perhaps have to take in an elderly relative. It's cheap to build it in, it's expensive to modify later.
-- Don Armstrong (email@example.com), March 26, 2002.
P.S. Don't be too quick to clear the scrub - it might be just what goats and chickens need. For sure you're choosing a dry region - anything that grows naturally there has value, and you can't count on underground water sources to irrigate long-term if everyone is moving in and drawing on them. Save your water for orchard and garden if you can.
-- Don Armstrong (from Australia) (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 26, 2002.
Doesn't matter whether you build a mansion or live in an old bus it all boils down to WATER--WATER--WATER. Make sure you have it.
-- merle (email@example.com), March 26, 2002.
Thanks for all the help. Utilities are all close by. I like the idea of the ramps. Thought about the barn/house combo but would be too expensive to do like we want.
-- Hank (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 26, 2002.
Make sure that the well has good water, not just water. Most of a mesquite tree is underground, like 3/4 of it, so can't cut them off at surface level, have to dig out the long tap root. Creating good soil in the desert is a major undertaking, nothing to compost, unless you buy it and bring it to your land. I'd build with summer cooling in mind first and then consider how that works with your other plans.
-- BC (email@example.com), March 26, 2002.
Hank, If you think the barn/house combo is too expensive, you haven't been shopping lately. A brand new double-wide on a permanent foundation is likely to cost about $65-95K. The pole barn in comparison is about one third of that. And it will be on a slab with everything but furnishings, swamp cooler & heating source.
-- al (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 27, 2002.