There is a fairly ideal acreage for sale in Prairie City, IA, which is 30 minutes east of Des Moines. It is also just 2 miles south of the 5,500 acre Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, where prairie and sedge meadows are being restored along with bison. What a link we could have with them educationally and ecologically.
Here are 80 acres we can't afford, and what I'd do with it if we had another $150,000 - $200,000.
The red lines are the rough property edges, and the yellow lines are future additions to start the business and outreach programs we propose.
1 -- Possible sites for artists residencies that would be off the gird and self supported. We'd only be able to start out with 1, but I hope for 2 or even 3 down the road. Each would be about 200-300 square feet with an efficiency style space -- bed, desk, kitchen, bathroom, covered porch.
2 -- A newer barn already exists for storage / education space. Outside a hoop house or greenhouse would be built, with a parking lot off the main driveway.
3 -- There's a neat little chunk to the east across the road. I picture this as a formal in-the-ground, in rows, prairie plant cultivation area -- for seed gathering or roots.
4 -- A current 50% finished house stands. The space could be used as temporary housing or as an event space for weddings, meetings, etc. It's plumbed for four baths with four bedrooms. The view to the north off the covered porch is stunning, looking down the slope of a long prairie field.
5 -- Our future permanent home -- passive solar design, using grey water, off the grid, etc.
6 -- My future writing shed
7 -- Destination / test garden (1/2 acre)
The fields are in hay right now. There is a creek. So, there you go -- me playing around.