Sunday, March 7, 2010

Wholesome Family Farm

So I need your help. Above is my vision for a farm I'd like to make a reality one day (click on the image to see the detail). From my guess-timate, I'd need at least 10 acres to make it work but 15-30 would be more ideal. I've given this some thought, but I'm hoping someone out there can help improve on this plan.

So the vision is a farm that is highly self sufficient, although realistically, not truly self sustaining. During part of the season, we would allow people to come and pay a fee to harvest their own food directly from the ground. Maybe even have a small restaurant type operation for part of the year. Anyhow, I'm not sure it really matters that the place isn't self sustaining; I just want something sufficient for most of our needs. The house would be about 2500 sqft and four bed rooms. Not very big, I know, but enough for the family and some company. I want it to be single story, large kitchen with gas stove/oven/grill, large central stone fire place, a covered front porch, back deck, and as much open living space as possible. The surrounding yard would be mostly a perennial garden with a stone inner wall and boxwood hedge outer wall. In the front of the house, a line of conifers like Leland Cyprus or something would create a privacy wall. I like this approach because it looks rustic but also refined at the same time. It reminds me of a European cottage or something. I prefer to use well water (which I grew up on as a kid and loved), pond fed irrigation for the gardens, solar panels for electricity, and propane gas for cooking and backup heating. This will require a substantial up-front cost, but very low utility bills. Off the back deck would be an outdoor living space surrounded by herb garden and perennials. This is a perfect place to host guests in the Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Connected to the inner garden would be a series of direct in-ground and raised vegetable gardens designed to produce year round. All of the gardens are positioned for maximum sun exposure, all rows running North and South. The raised beds would also have frames built so that they can be converted to covered green houses which will allow an extended growing season in cool months. A hen house would supply eggs but would also provide pest control and fertilizer for the largest of the in-ground veggie gardens.

A small shed would allow us to keep a tractor and other equipment, while a small barn could keep a few horses, feed, and hay. In the pasture, pole barns would be constructed for shelter for a few cows and a small herd of sheep. The pasture would be split so I could rotate the grazers to the adjacent pasture. Gates would be made to open inwardly to create a chute. A farm pond, which would need to be fairly deep, would supply water for the animals, a place for fish, and irrigation for the gardens. On the back side of the farm a small vineyard with fruit trees. Also chickens (for eating) would help reduce pests and provide another food source. Ideally, behind this, would be a wooded area. The wooded area would be a place for wood and hunting deer.

So, that’s the grand plan. A dream? Yes. I have no idea when it would ever be possible but the sooner the better, in my book. I just like the "wholesomeness" of it. Farm living is the life for me. Amber came up with the name Wholesome Family Farm but it has been used already.  The name just embodies the general idea.


  1. I want to go to there. :)

    Love the idea, Ben. I'm afraid I'm no help on the acreage. But Mark's a Landscape Architect grad, maybe he'll know.

  2. Thanks for the comment PeyPey. I so would love to buy a place sometime soon that I could make into a farm. It needs to happen while I'm still young and able to make something of it.