R Scott wrote:I agree to not rush in...
But let's talk options,
How good is your access? Can you get a semi truck to the site? Pickup and trailer? Four wheel drive only?
I am all for building a temp structure--buy a storage shed that you can move if your design changes, or build a shop or garage and add a couple bedrooms for the winter.
thomas rubino wrote:Hi Ron; Welcome to Permies!
Congratulations on getting your land!
That is the first step towards being self sufficient!
Wow quite the undertaking this late in the summer!
I think I would start by figuring out where the rocket mass heater will be sitting and plan my (Shop) around that.
I hear you about being able to build quickly and by yourself but, A frames are hard to heat and not convenient at all space wise. You'll need firewood in WA.
A single pitch roof can be built by hand easier than a conventional roof home.
A family of six needs some floor space. This late in the season I would get a single story building up and plan on "camping" in the shop this winter.
Next spring after snow melt you will have a clean slate to look at and start your forever home then.
Daniel Ray wrote:I wouldn't rush into building anything so quickly. It is tempting to get the construction going, but I have found it very useful to spend at least a short period "living" with the land to determine the best spot for a house and future projects. Is it possible to instead do a temporary structure or a small outbuilding that could be lived in for the first winter? Possibly find a used yurt or a large wall tent that would keep you cozy the first year?
If not, I would say if you have timber and can access an excavator, then go with Paul's Wofati. https://permies.com/f/75/wofati-earth-berm
Check out the different designs, they build quick and don't cost very much if you can get an excavator rented or borrowed.
Cristo Balete wrote:Maintaining a dirt-and-gravel driveway is a real commitment of time and money. It is one of the most important things on improving any piece of land that will be well worth the money you put into it. Look into first putting down road fabric, then some kind of soil stabilizer (like GeoHex) that is then covered over with 1 1/2" gravel. The fabric keeps the gravel from sinking into the soil, and the grid stabilizer keep the gravel from shooting out the sides and creating two tracks of bare ground where the wheels go.
Maybe the first year it can be exciting to be an off-grid warrior, but in bad storms, when it's cold, wet, icy, freezing, windy, you just want to be warm and safe and not end each day feeling like exhausted roadkill.
Cristo Balete wrote:I definitely agree about living on the property for at least winter and spring to see how the water flows, where the ground gets soaked, how the storm winds blow, how much heavy rainfall runs downhill, whether it be down a driveway or down onto a foundation. Also, a septic tank needs to be where it won't get water logged in the winter.
Buying a used trailer with a heater, bathroom, shower and kitchen will really help with the stress of living on unimproved property. It could become a guest room, or it could be sold if/when you decide you don't want it. I would recommend a trailer as opposed to a motorhome because I never could keep mice and rats out of the engine of the motorhome.
You aren't mentioning a permitted building to live in, so be careful about sinking too much money into a building that the county then shows up and red-tags. They could red-tag it because it is illegal, because the fire department can't get to it, because the propane truck can't/won't come to fill a large propane tank (which you would eventually need, because most household appliances need a minimum of 100-gallon propane tank that is filled by a local company.) Check before buying gas appliances that they will run on a 5 gallon or 10 gallon propane tank. Most full-sized gas appliances will NOT, so always check for that.
All of these agencies/companies are connected, and they will alert the county that you are building something. So don't plan on not being noticed by your neighbors, by the PO if you get a PO Box (they are amazingly nosy), and by people in a small town keeping track of what's going on.
You'll also be able to find out just what kind of driveway you'll need when you are walking/driving/hauling things to the trailer. Over a couple of seasons you'll get a good idea about the best location. It almost doesn't matter where you put a house eventually if you can't get to it in the worst part of the winter. You will not want to have to haul in grcoeries, propane, wood, gasoline, stuff for daily living.