Building Our Homestead

We have begun the process of building our homestead. In this section we will highlight projects that are directly related to building our home. Already, we've created the master plan for our off grid homestead, our property survey has been prepared and our fresh water well is underway.
Surveying and Mapping the Land
In order to divide our land from Troy and Phaedra's property we've performed a basic survey and we're now creating computer based scale maps of the new parcel and the surrounding land.
Plan for Our Sustainable Homestead
We've drafted the first plan for our sustainable homestead! It will be located on 2.25 acres in the Painted Desert of Arizona. We plan to be completely off the grid, utilizing solar power as our main source of electricity.
Staking Out Buildings for Our Off-Grid Home
Once we prepared the map of our sustainable off-grid homestead, we wanted to see how our house plans fit the landscape. We took our survey tools up the hill to measure distances, and stake out future buildings.
Official Land Survey
Our official land survey of our homestead is finally complete and we've picked up our survey maps from the engineer who prepared them. The bearings and distances that Patrick calculated were fairly accurate, as was the total number of acres we calculated for our parcel. This article discusses costs of buying land, survey and county fees.
Drilling Our Fresh Water Well
We hired Willis Drilling and Pump to drill a fresh water well for our off-grid homestead. We hit water at 200 feet and drilled to a total depth of 280 feet. We will be installing a 12 volt DC solar powered well pump soon.
Plan for Our Passive Solar Greenhouse
These are the plans for the first structure we are building on our homestead, a passive solar greenhouse. Large South facing windows incorporated along the front of the greenhouse and high clerestory windows are integral to our passive heating and venting strategy. With a wood stove installed we believe that our greenhouse will provide us with indoor growing space for a year round garden.
Homestead Septic System Underway
Digging for our septic system began yesterday! Though many of our friends here in Apache County have sworn that putting one's own septic system in is fairly simple, we decided to hire a local contractor anyway.
Recommended Books
There is nothing like having a good book when you need to know how to do something on the homestead. ByExample offers books on a variety of topics including on strawbale building, do it your self composting toilets, how to dig a water well, building a cob house and building underground houses, as well as DIY septic systems. Find passive solar info, solar water heater plans and homesteading tips in books we've carefully selected based on reader reviews.
Installing Our Well Pump & Fresh Water System
We recently developed a solar powered fresh water system for our homestead. We first installed a Sun Pumps submersible pump in our fresh water well. Our fresh water system includes a 1600 gallon water storage tank, a pressure pump, a pressure tank and an underground water manifold.
Installing Water, Phone & Data Lines
Before we moved onto our land we installed our homestead utilities infrastructure. This photo gallery shows installation of water, phone and data lines.
Pex Installation
We used pex tubing for our fresh water system. This photo gallery shows the pex tubing tools needed to run pex water lines and how to make a pex crimp.
Installing Our Solar Powered Well Pump & Storage Tank
Once the well was drilled we installed our own solar powered well pump and water storage tank. This photo gallery shows installation of our solar powered submersible pump and our 1600 gallon water tank.
Running Lines to Our Septic System
We had our septic tank installed professionally, but we decided to install our own septic lines. This photo gallery shows our septic lines and septic system during installation.
Greenhouse Construction Phase I: Concrete Foundation
Along with a group of friends we installed a concrete foundation for our passive solar greenhouse.
Passive Solar Barn Plans
Our small barn is designed to house egg laying chickens and breeding rabbits. We have already built our chicken coop within the barn and have plans to install indoor rabbit cages.
Map of Our Sustainable Homestead
This is the second version of our sustainable homestead plan. Construction has been underway for over a year and this map reflects the current vision for our sustainable homestead.