Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Our Five Acres

So, before we get into what we're going to be doing on the land, I thought maybe we should actually tell you about the property. We do in fact have a 5.3 acre parcel in Lake Butler, Florida. We found these really great guys up in Gainesville, Jim Jean Realty, that deals with owner financed land parcels and pretty much only that.

Doug was our main guy there and he was terriffic at helping us out. Initially, I went up with the kids and put down a deposit on the land. It has a partly wooded area which is great and a low lying area which we could excavate later into a real pond, it's a pond during the rainy season. According to them, these features lowered the price, to us they're boons and the lower price made it even better!

When Rob came home on his 2 week break in Feburary, we all went up again and checked it out and signed the final paperwork. Jim and his family were wonderful with our kids. They're also a large family and familiar with military life. If you're interested in land in North Florida, I suggest getting on their email list. They'll send out updates when they get new comminuities.

Here's a few shots of our land.

As we understand we'll have three neighbors. It already has road access. We'll have to build a well and septic. Electric is present but will have to be hooked up to whatever structure we start with. We can't get a mailing address yet which is very frustrating. We can't have anything delivered without an address but we can't have an address without anything on the property, which makes getting shipping estimates for containers difficult.

The land used to be a sod farm, so there are uneven tracks through out where they used tractors to pull up the beds of sod. We'll have to get the ground leveled and packed. I want to go out soon with the soil testing kit so we know what type of soil we're dealing with. We'd also like to plant some saplings or small trees which have time to mature and throw down some grass and flower seeds which will help to tighten up the top layer of soil.

Early next year, we're planning on taking another trip up to stake out some preliminary positions for structures and get more acurate measurements on tree positions. Then we can map out where we want the drive way and other things. There's a big difference between 5.3 acres and a lot that's 30x100 which is about what we have now. I think we had figured out we could fit 63 of our current sized lots on the new one!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Container Housing


We are looking at using recycled shipping containers for a self-build home on the site. I've been seeing these every day in Iraq and have wondered how feasible this would be. I have CAD templates of 20' and 40' ISO containers and have been learning AutoCAD. My goal is to be able to create plans that would pass any building department scrutiny. I also completed the US Army CSC container inspection course and am qualified to verify the seaworthiness of used containers.

In addition to AutoCAD, we are doing our preliminary floorplans in Visio. I want to use Better Homes and Gardens home design software for doing 3D walkthroughs. The more we can plan out in advance, the better.

We are considering using reclaimed grey water for irrigation, flushing toilets, etc. and using solar to pre-heat the hot water supply for the house.

More to come!