Bought 22 acres undeveloped- Where to start? *pics*
Hey everyone! So I just bought 22 acres outside of Atlanta and I'm moving my 9mo prego RIDSH (and 3 others) and the end of this month/early feb.
I set up electric, got an address, water meter and spigot will be in in 2 weeks and I'm making a couple-acre foal paddock with a 24 x 12 foaling stall/run in for mom and baby. I have barn and house plans, but the boy and I are working on construction loans, so it won't be started for at least a few months. I'm getting a camper to put on it as well this weekend.
So for everyone that has been in my shoes, I'm over the moon excited, but almost just as overwhelmed. What should I focus on next? Perimeter fencing is 5 string barb (I know, I know, let the horror stories commence, but my girls have been in it before I owned them and they never touch fencing, regardless of what kind). I know it will be improved eventually, but is that the next step (expensive)? What about a tractor? I've never maintained pasture on my own before (dun dun DUN) and I can call and hire people in the mean time, but eventually I'd like to handle it. On that note- silly question, but what's the best way to get the grass shorter than the current bush hogged length (pft..amateur 26yo blonde ) ?
If the zoning in your area would allow it, I would consider building a barn first with an apartment above it. That way you will have housing for your horses and yourself and can delay building the house. Once the house is built you could rent out your barn apartment for extra income.
We built a 5 stall metal barn with a 12 foot raised concrete center aisle, tack room with toilet, hot and cold running water and electricity (no apartment, however) for about $40k.
Wow....great looking piece of land! And you actually have grass. My big 4 acres
is turning into a mud lot (we just had a bunch of rain) but two years of drought has done a number on what grass we did have.
I can't see your pics, but why bother taking the grass down?
How high is it?
I'd think your horses will do the job just fine and save you some hay money in the process.
IIWM, I'd want that fencing replaced first thing after you get your run-in and foaling paddock finished.
Look into using the existing posts and replacing the wire with electro-braid.
You & SO can do that yourselves.
And I'd absolutely Kill to have a barn w/LQ. As long as zoning allows that would be my #2 priority.
*friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon: Steppin' Out 1988-2004 Hey Vern! 1982-2009 Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
I think living on it for a while in a camper is a great idea, it is very easy to put a structure in the wrong spot, if you rush. Live there a bit, thru at least one season to get a feel for the place. Find out who owns the dogs that bark constantly, and who has to leave on a 'cididiot' light (a dusk to dawn light that never goes out) so you can place your homestead appropriately.
You can mow your grass so it goes back into the soil, and helps to enrich it. Being unfamiliar with the South, I don't have any other suggestions there, other than to pick the brains of your local ag agency. That is why they are there, and why you help to pay their salary.
Now go out this weekend, take a ton more photos for your before and after album. Take them every time you do something, so when you are tired and discouraged, you can see how much you have already accomplished!
Do you have a survey? Look at it and review any elevation data. From the picture it looks like you might have a swale or flood area running NW to SE. If you do then you have a problem. If this is just a "photo artifact" then you're probably OK.
I presume you're already checked your zoning. What are you? What limits does that put upon you?
Get your local County Extension Agent to make a site visit and tell them what you want to do. It's a "free" service (you've already paid for it with your taxes). They will also have relevant information on many things in your area like zoning, land use restrictions, etc.
Does your deed have any restrictions?
Do a site plan after you've reviewed the survey and walked the land carefully. Do not limit yourself to thinking in terms of squares and 90 degree corners when you lay out your pastures; your land is not very "regular" in layout!
Don't worry about grass height. Your horses will deal with that in good time!!!
Talk to AgCredit or FarmCredit about financing. They are easy to deal with and understand the needs of an agricultural operation (which you are). Your Extension agent will have their phone number; if not they are in the Yellow Pages or on line. Or call your local Farm Service Agency and get the numbers from them.
Keep money in your budget for equipment. You'll need a tractor (30hp range), front end loader, and bush hog at a minimum.
You've just gotten your self a big apple; don't make your bites too big and you won't choke!!!
Congrats! Lucky you to have pasture! (My 20 acres is mostly wooded.)
There will probably be some planning and zoning rules that only make sense for subdivision lots: outbuildings must be *behind* the house for example.
So before you pick the location for the barn, make sure they are not going to fuss about where you put the house in relation to it.
The best advice I got (that I did not follow) was to wait a year before building, to see the property in all the seasons. At a minimum you really want to know where the water goes! Looks like there is a pond, so that's a big hint, but when it rains hard, you don't want water flowing across the barn yard, etc.
You've just gotten your self a big apple; don't make your bites too big and you won't choke!!!
Fabulous words to live by, Guilherme! haha!
Wsmoak, I rent 8 acres in Canton (north of Atlanta), and the land I bought is west of Atlanta going out I-20. both an hour or so to work in Atlanta, and west isn't the high end direction obviously, so much cheaper for my work-too-much-to-support-my-horse-habit budget .
BUT since I have "fallen off the map" over there as the county commission lady told me, the zoning (res and ag) and permit limitations are all but nonexistent. Crazy, but true. "If you own it- you can build whatever you want, where ever you want on it. Just don't run to us if it falls apart." No joke...
I'm curious about the living in a camper for a while to get a feel for everything theory. Of course I'm anxious to move forward, but this seems like a good idea if I can survive it- haha! I do have an almost-civil-union worthy boyfriend and 3 dogs in the mix, but he could live in a teepee and be fine.
Question: In a decently sized full camper, how long have you or people you've known lived in one comfortably?
and point made- I'll at least electrify the outside and get rid of the barbs. the 4 board and no-climb may have to wait though lol.
My advice would be to take your time deciding on where to locate the house and the barn before you install anything permanent. For the barbed wire, if you are worried just run a temporary strand of electric tape along with it to keep the horses off of it.
Choose your house site near, but not directly on top of, the prettiest place on the property. You want to save the prettiest spot to hang out in, not plunk the house on top of it. Avoid a low spot, and consider where your driveway will run, and how far you will have to run your water and electric to the house. Consider which direction the sun shines and which way the wind blows when deciding which direction to face the house.
Then site your barn. Good access from the house, but not too close. Again, think about drainage and which way the wind blows, how you will run the driveway to the barn and how you will run your water and electric. Think about how you will pull in and turn around with a horse trailer or a hay truck.
Then, think about paddock layout. Ideally you want to minimize the distance from each pasture gate to the barn. You will probably want a variety of paddock sizes.
Personally, I'd start by putting in a run in shed that can be sectioned into "stalls" with gates that also has water and electric. This will quickly and inexpensively give you a place to store feed, hay, blankets, etc, or a place to confine a horse for some reason if you urgently need to do so.
Next, I'd put in the house. That will get you living on site and able to supervise everything. Personally, I would not put in an barn with living quarters. IMO, it is one of those things that sounds really great, but the reality is that the building codes to do it properly and to correctly separate the living area from the barn area can cause a lot of extra expense and it can be a very expensive per sq. foot option. Other people have different opinions on this. Secondly, I don't know too many people that I would trust enough to allow them to live in my barn. I am a landlord and I know all about this firsthand. Even if you have the greatest renter in the world they are bound to have a problem SO, problem guests, or a problem pet. Things that are minor issues in freestanding houses (like chain-smoking guests) could be disasters in a barn. As an aside, if you are going to put in an arena as well, you might consider doing this at the same time as your house to combine your arena financing into your mortgage.
Lastly, I'd put in the barn. The barn is a priority, but OTOH barn design is complicated and you want plenty of time to think about what you want.
I would not worry excessively about barbed wire. I've had it as a perimeter fence around about 100 acres for more than 23 years and have never had a perimeter fence injury. Since you are really out in the country it might be worth remembering that a fence has two jobs: to keep something in and keep everything else out. Barbed wire is pretty good on both scores; four board and no climb fence...not so much!
If this is a concern then run a hot wire or two around the perimeter on "stand off" insulators. That will strongly discourage "casual inspection" of the fence by a horse.
No zoning restrictions? Welcome to the America that still enjoys liberty! With liberty comes responsibility (mostly to yourself). This means take care in what you plan and then how you execute your plan. If you are in real ag. country you MUST contact Farm or Ag Credit and talk about financing. They are not always the cheapest on loan rates but they are definitely the most straight forward. They don't "flinch" when it comes to financing bare-land construction. Not every lender fits that model.
When you build make sure you build to code. While your county may not have a code requirement the state probably does. There may not be a legal reason to follow the various codes but there are safety and economic reasons to do so (especially re-sale considerations; these might not seem important now but they are).
Locate your local volunteer fire department and make a donation. You'll be glad you did.
I'll say it again: visit with your County Extension Agent. You'll be glad you did!!!
They'res campers and they'res campers. They can be little more than towed beds and they can one step short of the Taj Mahal. One alternative is a small mobile home. Buy it now, live in it, and when you get your house build you can put the mobile home by the barn and have a place for live-in barn help, guests, etc. Or sell it when the house is built; your option.
The barn with apartment approach has some merit along these same lines.
Don't forget the equipment.
Spend a lot of time with your "yellow pad and pencil" before you commit to anything.
Me and DH lived aboard a 34 foot cabin cruiser for about eight years, and before that in a series of boats and campers with a converted tool shed thrown in. Ten years total. We also had a storage space. No dogs, no cats, no kids.
It was my experience that nothing will make you more miserable than a leak, and campers do tend to get them. One way to fix that is park them indoors by building a free floating roof - this will also give you a dry place outside for the dogs. Having the dogs inside only works when it's not raining/wet out. They'll bring it in and you'll be trapped in there with smelly dogs and mud. A Carolina carport could work for something quick. Or you could construct it with an eye to being a future run in shed.
Also unless you buy a Class A or equivalent, you'll need somewhere decent to shower, plus you have to get rid of your sewage no matter what.
Anyway if this were my place the first thing I'd do is find out where you can best put the septic system so you can start to think about where to put in the house (barn apartment, great idea), or both really, if you want the house at X will you be able to put a septic close enough to be inexpensive or do you have to use one particular area to be the least expensive. Running electric and water pipes all over costs money and is a huge PITA if you spring a leak. You want them short and simple.
Ky has no state building code, they default to the federal rules regarding setbacks of buildings and stuff like that, which is one of the reasons double wides are so popular here. Now, I live in a double wide, and they are good housing but not necessarily the best investment. They aren't built like houses, they are killers in tornados and are built a lot more like a . . . you guessed it, camper. Plastic water hoses rather than pipes, acrylic tubs and bathroom sinks, oddball sizes for the water heater plus no cut-off valves, when ours blew up we had to shut off the water for the house and reconstruct the closet to be larger to fit the new heater. Luckily for us the frost free hydrant was split off ahead of the house so it stayed charged.
When we brought the horses home here, we put up EB twelve feet inside the existing barbed wire and made smaller paddocks. That worked well. But, without a barn where do you plan to work with the horses? With EB on t-posts I had no where to tie the horses safely, we put up cross ties between two trees but the footing is dirt which turns to mud and it isn't dead flat. We put a stall mat out there but it slips downhill. When I backyarded it as a kid we already had a spacious cement floored carport built on to the side of our house, water spigot right there and a great place to hang shelves for grooming tools, plus store feed and hay in small quantities.
Rain and moisture are right there when you don't have a nice climate controlled house or nice dry tight roofed barn. And last but not least, racoons and possums and skunks and deer. They LOVE feed and at least skunks will dig under the door to get into your storage area and raid your feed. Get trash cans, dead freezers, metal lined bins, whatever.
Not trying to be Debbie Downer here but living in a camper plus without any secure storage buildings - well these were problems we had.