Five Ws — WHEN


A Rough Site Plan for 2012

When we set out to find land in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin, we imagined moving into an old farm house.  What we fell for was 44 acres with a south-facing slope that looked to be a promising house site where we would become neighbors to raccoon, squirrels, turkeys, badgers, coyotes, deer, skunks, a chorus of amphibians and flocks of birds.  We wanted to be good neighbors.  Initial research indicated that this would prove challenging. Talk about your shades of green!

I must apply the hallowed Five Ws plus H.

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why
  • How

After walking and talking these 44 acres for five years, we have taken a very deep breath and marked 2012 as the year when we will build our dwelling.

This gives us three years to research, plan and scavenge materials so that this house can embody as many green practices as we can manage  and offer a demo to any others who want to step off  Building’s beaten track.

Also, in 2013, we intend to turn at least five acres into food production when those acres come out of CRP.  As we have daily proof, managing land from 27 miles away is challenging and inefficient.  By the time we can legally farm, we want to be settled on that farm.

We found the architect of our dreams last year and he did a site visit to our land last month, opening a Pandora’s Box of questions about the site we had been fixating on for many years.  Roald Gundersen walks the walk and is breaking ground by using whole but smallish trees that are choking the woods around here. (When I saw his house in Natural Home, it was love at first sight.)  The plan is to get a technical drawing this year, then walk around in it in our heads and fine tune it for the next year, then shift into serious prep mode the third year.

As I just read  in a great post, Carpe Diem – Why you should build your modern/green house now, we all know that among the countless industries lying panting on the floor as the recession deepens, the building industry is getting it in the neck.  Maybe, in general, that’s a good thing.  I mean how many more acres of ground are going to be tortured with trashy, unsustainable, ecosystem-destroying structures?  But this is the time for everyone who wants to build green to step up to the plate and make it happen.  The builders who were already attempting to use green building principals need all the help they can get to stay afloat, and the builders who thought green building was beneath them, may now be having second thoughts if that’s what the paying customers want.

Putting our house on the calendar NOW is daunting, and it’s also exhilarating.  If feels right.

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