One of my goals here is to convince all of you preppers and survivalists that it isn’t a good idea to remain in a heavy urban environment if you really want to survive the coming times. I have long said that we are on the threshold of a new age, and as we agonize over the nuclear threat in Japan, war in the Middle East, the coming struggles we are getting into in North Africa, skyrocketing food and fuel prices, dwindling financial resources on the state and federal level and the rise in the virtual world we seem to be moving into, I think you’ll agree with me.

History shows that those who have taken care of their assets, had land of their own, and possessed a diversity of skills have always risen above the failures around them and came out of tragedies in a better place than those who have not. Suburban communities can be made livable in spite of the hard times upon us, but will take more effort to achieve the desired results. The best plan is to relocate your family to a place where you can grow your own food, raise your own meat and breathe the fresh air of freedom.

But many haven’t a clue as to where to start planning for the development of a survival homestead or farmstead. In “Surviving the Times” I’ve shared some of the things we need to prepare for and how, and in my next book, “Survival Homesteading”, I’ll go into more in depth discussion on how, why and where to set up your ultimate survival home for the coming times.

For now, you’ll have to settle for some research material I’ve put together in these posts that can help you get started. This first one, which I’ve split into two posts, deals with farm layout and planning for the construction of needed outbuildings on a farm. You probably won’t be building or planning for a large scale farm as this piece refers to, but the concepts are the same. It’s set on a 160 acre plot of land, which few of us can afford today, but it’s a goal to work towards. I’d like to see an increase in the numbers of small farms in operation instead of the declines we have been experience these last few decades. Small farms, in sufficient numbers, can reverse the problem of food shortages and increasing prices we’ve been experiencing. But more importantly, with enough land, and utilizing heirloom quality seeds, you can grow your own sustainable food supply.

This first piece is from the Breeders Gazzette;

FARM BUILDINGS.

LOCATION AND GENERAL ARRANGEMENT.

The planning and construction of farm buildings should be done with regard to the surrounding outside features as much as to the interior arrangement and convenience of the rooms. It is a common error to see little forethought taken in the placing of the buildings, in their relation to one another or to the surrounding conditions; the total disregard of a fine outlook that might have been had from the windows that are most frequented; many errors in the proper way to approach the house from the highway, and many times the utter absence of any attempt at ornamentation in the way of tree planting—nothing save bare sides and sharp angles of buildings open to all winds, storms and sun heat, or the opposite extreme, burying the house in a dense shade of loneliness.

Now this should not be so. When the advantages and increased value of the property as a whole are considered it is at once apparent. Anyone can distinguish between a nice farm and a place where it would be a pleasure to live, and on the other hand one that is bare and uninviting. The cost is a matter of forethought on the part of the individual at the beginning in the planning of the work, and the actual material to be used in beautifying the grounds almost always can be had for the gathering. One may easily find the time to do the work when once he has tasted of the pleasures there are in surroundings that are made attractive with trees and plants arranged to make a landscape that is ever improving and changing in scene.

When a beginning is made toward embellishment of the home surroundings then there is a new birth given, the feeling of attachment that reflects back into pleasant and longing recollections of the happy lives passed there, and the far-reaching influence of cheerful home surroundings on the character and future life of the growing generation toward the good and high of ideal life is above any estimation, besides being a source of interest and everlasting joy and pleasure alike to the owner and to all who enter here.

Farming is not all corn. There are many fine farms that are only such from the fact that there is a quiet natural park like effect resting over the home place, and if favored with a fertile soil and kind climate how much more blest we could be if we would bring about us more of the natural beauties so abundant everywhere. This need not detract an instant from the economical operation of the farm, but if practically planned should add many fold thereto.

We can assume that the residence and other buildings are already placed, or that building is to be done at some future time. With respect to the all-important question of choosing the house site, the custom in the city seems to be the law without recourse in the country, in that the house must stand facing square, with the best rooms toward the public road. If a better exposure or a fine scene lies in another direction, reverse the order regardless of the highway. Again, houses are dropped in a hollow, carried to the top of a bare hill, or placed too near dusty roads or stables, making things more disagreeable than convenience would compensate. The house should not be put on a poor or waste piece of ground just to gain a little extra tillable land.

Personal preferences should of course be taken into consideration, but as a rule many desirable locations are ignored. Among the specific directions to apply in selecting the home site are good sanitary conditions. These demand air and quick drainage of water. All this is secured on a dryish soil, slightly elevated if possible and fairly open to admit a free circulation of air. Any protection against prevailing north and west winds in the winter season, such as hills, trees or any other natural objects in the track of regular storms, should be made use of, but cool and refreshing winds should not be hinder ed in their direction during the heated season.

The distance from the highway is hardly a matter of importance. If the best place is 400′ from the road it should be chosen over another less desirable, though 200′ nearer. Besides this an entrance approach of reasonable length, if properly laid out among a grove of trees, will add much to the dignity and bearing of the place. The relation of the house and barn should be such that they do not appear as a part of each other, and in driving to the house one is not led first through yards and past gaping barn doors. The barn should occupy a position so that the prevailing winds will carry the stable odors away from the house, and not toward it, as is often the case. The exact position and arrangement of the outbuildings and enclosures will be according to their use, and to be convenient should be few, compact, and not scattered over a wide area. Pens, sheds and stacks should not be conspicuous in a general view of the farm.

In country houses broad simple design is much to be preferred. All about a house of this order there is a quiet dignity and homelike restfulness that is in pleasing harmony with every rural landscape. The rooms should be few and large. The veranda is right if one steps up from the ground and at least 10′ wide, and a porte-cochere or carriage porch should be part of every country house, as it is surely a comfort when rainy or windy to drive up to the door under a roof.

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