February 2016–searching out a place to plant our proverbial roots– Camille and I (Riley) set out on a cross country road trip to explore the country’s various landscapes, climates, and communities.
Though we allotted ourselves a full year for travel, by September we had made up our minds: After working on farms and homesteads in Florida, Alabama, North Carolina and Oregon, as well as traversing much of the east and west coast, and spending time visiting friends and family in Idaho, Iowa, California, Arizona and Texas, we ended up right back where we started: Central Florida.
October 14, 2016–roughly 8 months after we started our journey–we moved into our new home: A 3 bedroom, one bath, set on a beautifully landscaped, well lit, quarter acre: a perfect canvas for our future food forest and urban homestead.
There were several factors that influenced our decision to settle in Florida, and more specifically, urban Florida. We considered things like length of growing season, yearly rain fall, real-estate & land prices, local culture and community, as well as availability & ease of access to resources.
While just about every place we visited had its own unique perks and appeal, ultimately Central Florida (specifically the Tampa Bay area) proved more so than any other location, to best meet our needs and desires.
Since moving in, we have been observing the property–making note of things like the sunniest and shadiest spots; where water tends to pool after rainstorms; wildlife; micro-climates; weather patterns, etc. Keeping all these things in mind, we have been brainstorming, envisioning, and playing around with ideas–plotting and moving around various design elements on our hand drawn base-map.
Below are several pics of the property from different angles as it was on the day we moved in. (Excuse the duplicates). I will document the various stages of the design implementation, including updated pics, in future posts. So stay tuned!