Pennsif’s Progress #622 – Security in Numbers – can we build a community on our homestead

Harking back to the topic of security once again might seem repetitive.

But security in all its forms and manifestations is fundamentally what prepping is all about.

Security of food, security of water and security of us – my family, our animals, our homestead.

Picking up once more on the comment by @bobydimitrov in a previous blog :

Your food stockpile is just a club swing away from being someone else’s. … Even if you keep an arsenal in your house, you cannot possibly keep a band of marauders from taking your stuff and your life.

This fact is so totally true, and must absolutely be addressed. In any ‘Bad Times Scenario’ it will most likely be a safety in numbers game. As @bobydimitrov says :

People will never survive as loners, or single families. At the very least I’m thinking groups of 10-15 families living together in a small space. And even that probably won’t be enough to fend off marauders.

I spoke in a previous post about [the importance of local community](https://steemit.com/steempress/@pennsif/pennsifsprogress627-security-itmuststartwiththelocalcommunity-b0myt42qpz). That will be important but it can only ever be part of the whole security solution.

We are blessed, and lucky enough, to be stewards, guardians and owners of a largish house, an attached coach house, two barns and 17 acres of land.

That was not just by chance. From the beginning of our time here I have always had in mind that the property might eventually become home for more than one family.

Although financial, time and family limitations have so far held back any major developments, we are soon entering a “new phase” as our children begin to move away to the next stages of their lives.

This presents the opportunity for developments I have long been contemplating to turn our property of one family into a community of several.

The starting point has been the old barns (and there is another one on the other side that this photograph doesn’t show).

These could readily accommodate at least eight people. Of course for planning reasons, in the here and now, these would not be permanent residences but temporary accommodation for holidaying family, friends and guests.

We even have had an architect draw up full plans for the renovation and conversion. He got rather carried away though and came up with a Grand Design costing over US$ 350,000. This included such embellishments as a glass atrium and even a lift.

This was a somewhat more extravagant development than we had envisaged. His plans have been carefully stored in a strong cardboard tube and instead we have begun the work in a more piecemeal, practical and affordable fashion.

The coachhouse at the end of the house has also been planned up for a more modest conversion to accommodate another couple of people.

With a fuller utilisation of existing buildings we could with ease accommodate 4 families, or around 15 people.

That still leaves the 17 acres around us. Erecting new buildings will be difficult with planning regulations but less permanent structures would be quite feasible.

I have long had a dream to build two cabins of some sort – one tucked in the corner at the end of the old pig garden, the other down by the lake.

Exactly what form these buildings might take I am not yet sure.  I have been looking at a number of options – straw bale houses, log cabins, timber framed, extended sheds…

On The Alternative Lifestyle Show last week I listened with great interest to @basicstoliving’s plans for aircrete dome houses.

Another route, which would certainly be easier from a planning point of view, would be to go for semi-mobile tiny houses.

It is certainly going to be an interesting journey exploring alternatives and eventually turning them into actual dwellings of some nature.


Who will live in them?

Once all the living places are complete we should be able to accommodate 6 families with around 20 people in total.

That still doesn’t achieve @bobydimitrov’s suggested 10 – 15 families but it is a step in the right direction.

The big question is who would live in the various buildings?

In good times some would be reserved for our children and their future families. The rest would be ideal for AirBnB lettings which would also bring in a little extra income along the way.

But what about if the Bad Times come.

The starting point of course would be our children.

By the time all these developments come to fruition they will likely be starting their own families. They will be given first refusal.

Our extended family are all in other countries and other continents so it is probably unlikely and impractical that they would want to come here.

The next port of call would be friends. We don’t have a large circle of friends. And many of our friends live on similar properties to ours and would likely be staying put.

So that begs the question who would want to come here and who would we want to come here?

It is a question that best needs answering long before Bad Times might come, not when they happen.

I wonder, I wonder, I wonder…

Maybe we should start a little steem prepping community?

Perhaps some sort of steem ‘timeshare’?

There was a very good project proposed some months back on steem – Kin-Shep – Steemit Hospitality Engagement Platform – for people to swap temporary ‘work’ for accommodation on homesteads around the world. Alas it seems to have faded away, but I think the concept still stands strong.

This is just the beginning of this story.

Much, much, much more thought, contemplation, discussion, exploration and perhaps experimentation needs to come next.

Whichever way it cuts and falls it presents some very interesting possibilities.

I would be happy and a half to hear your thoughts and ideas on this..



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[ all images by @pennsif ]