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Brainstorm about 8 acres with me?

 
gardener
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What are the possibilities on 8 acres of land that's currently grass/weeds? I understand more info about the climate and land would be helpful, but bear with me, please.

I've looked at the lists for my area. I've brainstormed. I need a fresh perspective. Even if your ideas are completely unfeasible for my area, they may spur other ideas that I hadn't thought of yet. Or since these threads stick around, maybe someone else will find it helpful in the future.

My father-in-law keeps the land mowed for his use, but when he's unable to do that in the future, we need another plan. My husband and I have no desire to spend our weekends mowing that many acres for no good reason. Ideally, it would make some income to pay the property taxes, but it's not a necessity for this list.

Some ideas so far:  
1. Let it grow wild into a natural forest
2. Plant a food forest
3. Start a market garden
4. Campground, for tents or RVs
5. Have it set up for outdoor parties
6. Create a scenic area for photoshoots
7. Have livestock
8. Rent to another farmer
9. Create outdoor adventures, like a zipline
10. Pick-your-own garden or orchard

What else? Nothing is too outlandish at this point!
 
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"Nothing is too outlandish"  (hehehehehehe)

1. Rent a bulldozer. Form giant earthwork mound snake that might be visible from space. On your earthworks snake, seed wildflowers of specific colors in stripes, so when they bloom, your snake will become a corn snake. Make its mouth open and dug a pond there, so it's swallowing the water. If you build the snake cutting across a slope, it will double as a swale to capture rain run-off for the local water table =)

2. Seed the whole plot with hundreds of fruit and nut trees, perennial edibles, etc. Neglect the whole plot for a couple years. What will survive, will survive. Once the sapling trees wouldn't get mulched by grazing animals, let local farmers rent it to graze on to trim the grasses/plants down in cycles.

3.  Fence off the whole area and farm an unusual animal that needs a lot of space, like deer or emu.

4. Contact your local permaculture/native plant enthusiast clubs and let them know that, if they give you a plan of action and can check in regularly to show that they're abiding by it, they can turn

5. Sell the plot to the federal government to turn into a conservation area or public hiking trail.

6. Build an enormous half-underground greenhouse & grow tropical fruits. Sell fresh oranges & lemons.  

7. Dig an enormous pond. Like, fantastically and ridiculously huge. Basically a small lake. Put an earthwork path leading to a lone, elevated mound right in the middle of the big pond.

7.a.Plant 1 big tree there. Congrats, in 10 years photographers will FLOCK to take pictures of your tree in the lake.

7.b. Build a small castle right in the middle of that lake. Tell your local LARPers that they're free to try to lay seige to, or defend the castle from invaders.

7.c. Build some sort of network of docks around the central earth platform, plant a shitload of reeds & water plants, and let people kayak around, either just to enjoy nature or for combative water sports.

8. Build a vast network of raised bat apartments on stilts. Become the singular host to millions of bats. Plant huge numbers of night-blooming flowers. With a cleared area and a safe platform to have a bonfire, you can promote the area to pagans/witches as a place to do full moon ceremonies.

9. Connect the trees with a series of tree-houses. Arboreal camping.

10. A barn structure with electricity, and some gardens, a gazebo and small pond, flowering hedges - Barn-themed weddings are extremely popular.

11. Make some hills and ramps and a trail that winds around the property and promote it to dirt bikers. There's not many areas for people who like dirt bike sports, which doesn't interfere with hiking.

12. Rent the area to some local beekeepers.

13. Reach out to the local universities to let them know your property is available for any ecological studies or experiments they want to do.

14. Pick an endangered species that lives in areas /similar/ to yours. Optimize the land into supporting THAT species. Get a small population going and get your property recognized as a habitat for (x species) & protected.  - Bonus: it means big factories & junk will have a harder time moving in, because they'd have to prove their operations would not interfere with x endangered species.  

15. Make an enormous hedge maze. Like, an acres-wide hedge maze. Put Versailles to shame. Bonus points for minotaur statues & an enormous fountain/pond, gazebo & flower garden in the middle.

16. Plant trees in a pattern that will make a picture, or spell a word that's visible to people flying overhead in planes.

17. Set up an archery range.

18. Start building the walls & outbuildings for something like a renaissance faire.

19. Reach out to nearby fiber people - look for 'wool and fiber festivals' - let them know that they can rent a parcel of land to grow plants for making natural dyes. (A big problem encountered by many natural dye enthusiasts is that you need a LOT of a single plant, and many don't live on huge parcels of land)

20. Pick a couple plants that are 'endangered' or 'threatened' in states near you. Dedicate the area to growing as much of those as possible, so you can harvest the seeds, travel to their 'threatened' area, and aggressively re-seed.

 
Nikki Roche
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Toko Aakster wrote:"Nothing is too outlandish"  (hehehehehehe)



Ha, I like the way you think! Thanks for the ideas!
 
Nikki Roche
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11. Dog park or doggie daycare
12. Other pet/livestock daycare or overnight stays
13. Petting "zoo"
14. Natural materials and crafter's workspace for rent
15. Demonstration site for permaculture/gardening practices (homeschoolers, school field trips, workshops)
16. Demonstration site of a niche, such as plants for fibers, homegrown sweeteners, pressed oils, etc.
17. Destination site for families -- picnic shelter, corn maze, play area, food
18. Destination site for prayer and meditation -- sheltered sitting areas, fountains
19. Starry nights with telescopes
20. Outdoor movies

What else can you think of? "Outside of the box" ideas are awesome!
 
gardener & hugelmaster
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You could contact the NRCS about converting it into a conservation easement. They have several different varieties of them.

Here is one example.
 
steward & bricolagier
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Toko Aakster wrote:"Nothing is too outlandish"  (hehehehehehe)


Took that as a challenge eh?  
All of those were great ideas, but all of THESE made me laugh like a loon::

  • earthwork mound snake
  • a small castle right in the middle of that lake. Tell your local LARPers that they're free to try to lay seige to, or defend the castle from invaders
  • combative water sports.
  • place to do full moon ceremonies.
  • Arboreal camping.
  • hedge maze.
  • trees in a pattern that will make a picture, or spell a word that's visible to people flying overhead in planes.


  •  
    master gardener
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    This is going to sound ultra easy & boring... but, we farmers, all across the country, are struggling to find hay. Maybe you could talk him into leasing it to a hay farmer?
     
    Nikki Roche
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    Carla Burke wrote:This is going to sound ultra easy & boring... but, we farmers, all across the country, are struggling to find hay. Maybe you could talk him into leasing it to a hay farmer?



    I welcome all suggestions -- boring or fun, easy or difficult, common or creative. Sometimes "ultra easy and boring" can spark the best ideas, so thank you for the reply!
     
    pollinator
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    I love your ideas!!!

    Toko Aakster wrote:"Nothing is too outlandish"  (hehehehehehe)

    1. Rent a bulldozer. Form giant earthwork mound snake that might be visible from space. On your earthworks snake, seed wildflowers of specific colors in stripes, so when they bloom, your snake will become a corn snake. Make its mouth open and dug a pond there, so it's swallowing the water. If you build the snake cutting across a slope, it will double as a swale to capture rain run-off for the local water table =)

    2. Seed the whole plot with hundreds of fruit and nut trees, perennial edibles, etc. Neglect the whole plot for a couple years. What will survive, will survive. Once the sapling trees wouldn't get mulched by grazing animals, let local farmers rent it to graze on to trim the grasses/plants down in cycles.

    3.  Fence off the whole area and farm an unusual animal that needs a lot of space, like deer or emu.

    4. Contact your local permaculture/native plant enthusiast clubs and let them know that, if they give you a plan of action and can check in regularly to show that they're abiding by it, they can turn

    5. Sell the plot to the federal government to turn into a conservation area or public hiking trail.

    6. Build an enormous half-underground greenhouse & grow tropical fruits. Sell fresh oranges & lemons.  

    7. Dig an enormous pond. Like, fantastically and ridiculously huge. Basically a small lake. Put an earthwork path leading to a lone, elevated mound right in the middle of the big pond.

    7.a.Plant 1 big tree there. Congrats, in 10 years photographers will FLOCK to take pictures of your tree in the lake.

    7.b. Build a small castle right in the middle of that lake. Tell your local LARPers that they're free to try to lay seige to, or defend the castle from invaders.

    7.c. Build some sort of network of docks around the central earth platform, plant a shitload of reeds & water plants, and let people kayak around, either just to enjoy nature or for combative water sports.

    8. Build a vast network of raised bat apartments on stilts. Become the singular host to millions of bats. Plant huge numbers of night-blooming flowers. With a cleared area and a safe platform to have a bonfire, you can promote the area to pagans/witches as a place to do full moon ceremonies.

    9. Connect the trees with a series of tree-houses. Arboreal camping.

    10. A barn structure with electricity, and some gardens, a gazebo and small pond, flowering hedges - Barn-themed weddings are extremely popular.

    11. Make some hills and ramps and a trail that winds around the property and promote it to dirt bikers. There's not many areas for people who like dirt bike sports, which doesn't interfere with hiking.

    12. Rent the area to some local beekeepers.

    13. Reach out to the local universities to let them know your property is available for any ecological studies or experiments they want to do.

    14. Pick an endangered species that lives in areas /similar/ to yours. Optimize the land into supporting THAT species. Get a small population going and get your property recognized as a habitat for (x species) & protected.  - Bonus: it means big factories & junk will have a harder time moving in, because they'd have to prove their operations would not interfere with x endangered species.  

    15. Make an enormous hedge maze. Like, an acres-wide hedge maze. Put Versailles to shame. Bonus points for minotaur statues & an enormous fountain/pond, gazebo & flower garden in the middle.

    16. Plant trees in a pattern that will make a picture, or spell a word that's visible to people flying overhead in planes.

    17. Set up an archery range.

    18. Start building the walls & outbuildings for something like a renaissance faire.

    19. Reach out to nearby fiber people - look for 'wool and fiber festivals' - let them know that they can rent a parcel of land to grow plants for making natural dyes. (A big problem encountered by many natural dye enthusiasts is that you need a LOT of a single plant, and many don't live on huge parcels of land)

    20. Pick a couple plants that are 'endangered' or 'threatened' in states near you. Dedicate the area to growing as much of those as possible, so you can harvest the seeds, travel to their 'threatened' area, and aggressively re-seed.

     
    pollinator
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    How much time and energy are you willing to invest in this endeavor?  Can you start now?  Or do you need to wait until your father in law can no longer mow?  Any estimate on how long he can keep mowing?  How far are you from the property?  What is the soil like?  What is grown in the area?
     
    pollinator
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    I'd love to see an amusement park full of food ready to pick. Fresh water to drink almost everywhere. Like these pick your stuff gardens, with some ammenities for kids and friends, a small pond for swimming with a big slide, chickens and ducks walking free around. As if you were back into the garden of Eden. Maybe with a few houses. People can only rent it for a whole week, as to experience this life fully before going back to their slave lifes. No drugs. no internet, only friends (or family), music and gardens full of anything we need.
     
    Nikki Roche
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    Abraham Palma wrote:I'd love to see an amusement park full of food ready to pick. Fresh water to drink almost everywhere. Like these pick your stuff gardens, with some ammenities for kids and friends, a small pond for swimming with a big slide, chickens and ducks walking free around. As if you were back into the garden of Eden. Maybe with a few houses. People can only rent it for a whole week, as to experience this life fully before going back to their slave lifes. No drugs. no internet, only friends (or family), music and gardens full of anything we need.



    That sounds like so much fun! I would pay for that vacation.

    Gray Henon wrote:How much time and energy are you willing to invest in this endeavor?  Can you start now?  Or do you need to wait until your father in law can no longer mow?  Any estimate on how long he can keep mowing?  How far are you from the property?  What is the soil like?  What is grown in the area?


    All good questions and good things to consider. I may start a thread in the future for help narrowing down viable possibilities, but for now I want creativity, outside-the-box, beyond the repetitive lists of "50 ways to earn income from your homestead." Something to help spur my own thinking. So for now, I don't want to limit the brainstorming with too many details.
     
    pollinator
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    More detail about the situation surrounding the land would help
    - remoteness
    - services available
    - any fencing
    - rainfall
    - shape of block
     
    Nikki Roche
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    A few more thoughts:
    21) Set up treasure hunts or scavenger hunts
    22) Wild edible walks
    23) Set up my front yard to be the "community hangout." No income, but it would be great to know the neighbors better. A shaded area to sit, basketball or volleyball setup, free little library, free or honorary produce stand.
    23b) Community garden space
    24) Bed and breakfast, AirBNB, or similar.
    25) Playground suitable for various disabilities

    Dale Hodgins has some awesome threads about his plans for a tourist attraction and workspace:
    https://permies.com/t/19681/Dale-Tourist-Attracting-Gimmicks-Events
    https://permies.com/t/19908/DALE-FIRESTORM-HOT-IDEAS-Includes
    https://permies.com/t/19171/Dale-Business-Marketing-Scheme-work
     
    gardener
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    Just throwing out an idea.  Could you plant it as a wood lot now with fast growing trees that would be good for firewood?  Black Locust comes to mind.  With 8 acres I would think that you could harvest a good amount each year and then leave the harvested part to coppice/regrow.  Maybe you could harvest 1/2 to 1 acre per year.  This would allow 8 to 16 years for regrowing—perfect for a sustainable operation.  You could then sell high quality firewood for profit, at least enough to pay the property tax.

    Just a thought.

    Eric
     
    Gray Henon
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    Carbon farm.  Grow bamboo and turn it into biochar.
     
    You guys haven't done this much, have ya? I suggest you study this tiny ad:
    Cheapskates build their own home--here's how!
    https://tinyurl.com/4kf3yz8d
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