Thursday, March 04, 2010

still planning

We are very busy in the planning stages of our new farm. Currently we are looking for suitable land in the area that we have selected and for a suitable price! That is part of our frustration right now...prices. Here we are in the middle of year two of a pretty sizable economic downturn and people are still asking the same prices for land that they were two years ago during the boom. We found a beautiful quarter section in a prime location for a very reasonable price of $2,200 per acre. We made the mistake to think that we shouldn't act on the first piece of land that we come across and in our delay, another offer was made on the parcel. All the while we have been seeing prices that are at least $1000 more per acre than what this guy was asking. The first offer is conditional upon financing, so we are assuming that somebody wouldn't make an offer unless they were certain they could get the bank to agree. Our offer would be unconditional, but since it is a private deal with a farmer instead of a real estate agen, he wants to honour his verbal agreement with the first guy instead of taking our offer. Understandable.

I dont' want to mention the area we are looking at yet, but we have checked out the school and it is near family and still very close to Edmonton. We are still very excited to get to our new farm and start over!

We will keep looking but we are feeling anxious. Our consultant on the off-grid, strawbale house does not want to commence with design until we have secured the land. So, we need to get the land in order to start the process of drawings and other 'house' issues. We are not in a panick yet, just a little edgey.

As far as the house plans are concerned I think that we have settled on a design that we like. We are simply going to re-create our current house except only the main level. We currently live in a 1500 sq. ft. walkout that we designed and built 10 years ago; and over the years we have often discussed that the entire basement level is pretty much unneccessary. Our current basement is fully finished and we are down there often watching tv or whatever, but it is at the expense of upstairs being completely empty! So, we are going to stick with the devil we know and simply build a single level, strawbale version of our own home. I will take a picture of the plans and post them here sometime next week. You guys can give us your opinions on the plans at that time.


  1. I'm curious about how the Organic Certification process works in Canada.

    Are you only looking at land that would be easier or quicker to certify or the process about the same for most farms?

    I have also been wondering what kind of yields (and crops) are typical for farmland in Alberta?

  2. No Rich...we are not paying any attention at all to the certification of the land. We are simply looking for a quarter section of land in the area that we want that is free of rocks and hills and has #1 soil. I suppose if the land was in hay, then all the better because the organic certification would be immediate without a three year wait.

    In good soil around our area it is typical for barley to yield in the 80bu/ac range organically. Wheat would be 30-50. Peas 25. Buckwheat 30. Soft White Wheat 70. Rye 60. Flax 30. No corn around here at least not for anything other than silage. We will be experimenting with sunflowers down the road.

  3. Unless its never been fertilized etc organic certification wouldn't be immediate for hay.

    Basement is a tough issue - expensive to build but has a "free" roof. Also great food, water and tech storage space.

    Good luck with finding a new space, I hope it won't be too stressful!

  4. Hayland in our area is Alfalfa and is almost never sprayed or fertilized. I am not familiar with one single case of someone fertilizing or spraying alfalfa in our area. Around here it is just kind of a given, but you are right about the certification process if inputs were used for some reason.