Monday, January 16, 2012


 Most of you probably don't know that, in my spare time, I draw plans for buildings I'd like to build. It's a strange hobby, I know. Since I know absolutely nothing about building things I end up having to ask Mike if it's feasible and then he changes, fixes or advises a better way. I thought I would show y'all some of the buildings that are in the works around here. (Big fat disclaimer: I CAN'T DRAW. Even with graph paper.)

 First is the pole barn. I actually just finished these up last night. Half of the building (16'X24')  is the chicken coop. It will have 24 nest boxes, 200 feet of roost space, 5 brooding/breeding pens, an automatic water dispenser and food stations. This half of the building will have a dirt floor that can be easily raked, and we will use straw to help absorb...well stuff. The birds will have free access to their run and time to range over the rest of the 10 acres (if we can get the hawk problem under control.) The chicken area will open into the goat barn (16'X16') with 2 pens and an area to milk. Each pen will open out into their run and have food and water. That will lead into the small (16'X8') dairy. It will have a milk fridge, a sink for washing milking equipment, counters and storage for grain. The incubator will also go in this room. Both of these rooms will have a concrete floor. We are also going to have a small hayloft in the rafter space.


 Next is my greenhouse. Now, this is not a plan that is fully agreed on around here. I want it to be built partially  below grade and Mike doesn't like that plan. So let's call this one a "dream solar greenhouse".  It is 14'X30' and built with solid earthbag north, east and west walls to help hold the heat in the winter time. The south wall is slanted and either glass or plastic. It has 3 raised beds, a potting bench, a fish tank (Mike wants to try aquaculture) and a rainwater collection cistern. There is also a sketch in the top corner of a cutaway view that shows how it's below ground.  

Solar Greenhouse

 Now, moving on to the guesthouse... I drew this up specifically with my sister-in-law in mind (she often comes out and spends the summer with us) but it would be great for anyone who comes to visit. It is 16'X16' interior space with either straw bale, earthbag, or cob construction. The bed platform and the bench (which doubles as an extra bed) in the living area will be built in to the structure. It will have a bathroom with a shower and a kitchenette with a small fridge, sink and microwave. We might end up putting in a small wood stove for winter visitors.
 For my last building I'm going to show you Mike's shop. All I have is the basic footprint because, well, it's his space and he gets to arrange it however he wants to. It's 32'X24' and I don't know if or how he will subdivide it. I'll just be happy that he has the space to work on more of the projects I will come up with for him to do.

Mike's shop

  The last drawing isn't a building, it's the current plan for my garden. I have been working on this plan for the last 6 months and I have drawn this up about 100 different ways. This isn't the whole garden, it doesn't include the artichoke bed, the berries, the beans, the melons or the corn and wheat (because I haven't decided where to put them yet.) The 2 beds closest to the back of the house (50 sq ft each) are for herbs. Each of the other 16 beds are 32 sq ft. I will be able to put a chicken tractor directly over each bed so that the chickens can dig up bugs and help turn the soil between crops. The 3 sections of beds are arranged so that I can have a 3 year crop rotation schedule. The asparagus bed will run down the entire side of the house and the potato bed will run right next to it. I'm sure that this will expand as time goes by, but this is what I'm going to be working with this year. I'm hoping to grow as much of our produce as I possibly can and put up a lot of tomatoes and green beans in the pantry. 


That's all for tonight. Sleep well everyone and have a great day tomorrow!


  1. I feel so privileged that I made it into your building planning! Such a cute idea the little guest house! For showers a friend of mine who remodels makes her own shower enclosures instead of paying for the fiber glass ones. I think it is cheaper. It involves more tile or concrete or whatever you are using but is super durable. Also here and in Kosovo they just have a drain in the floor and a little lip built up to keep the water in one area. Then they use a curtain...voila shower! Love love love your plans. Especially the aqua plans and the dairy. There are a lot of Talapia pond projects here. So excited to see this come to pass bit by bit.

  2. These are some pretty fantastic plans that you have going. What is going to be done first?

    Too Awesome! Jen is going to get her own little place on the farm.

    Mike is going to be busier than a bee in a tar bucket!!

    I would love to have all of the fresh produce. I can't grown a thing, tho. I always told the kids that I kill everything livng...they are lucky to be as old as they are...LOL!

    I'm getting excited to see what you tackle next. Keep the dreaming will come to be soon =)

    Thank you for sharing...

  3. @Jen- Of course you factored into the plans, you are our favorite guest! The shower is just going to be a floor drain, a shower head and a curtain. The wall be plastered with concrete and there will be cool colored glass bottles imbedded in it, kind of like a mosaic.
    @Jill- The first thing to be done is the garden. It's time to get seeds in the ground, so hopefully we'll get it done this weekend. The first building we're going to put up is the barn. My Grandpa has the cedar posts we need and we already have the roofing material, Mike is looking for other recycled materials we can use. It's a huge bonus that he works in the construction buisness, a lot of perfectly good building supplies end up in the garbage and he can sometimes get really cool stuff for free.