RockSpan Long Term Planning

Over time, we may build a series of improvements at RockSpan.  This may include gardens, a string of lakes, new barns, room for guests, houses for relatives like Brother Mike and Brother Jim and etc.  If we imagine all the electrical, energy, water, waste, transportation and thermal relationships and put them all on one diagram, it might look like this.  Scroll down to see a break-out.  The point is, we need to think ahead so we are not surprised when progress is being made.


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Electrical relationships
The big picture
Thermal relationships
Waste/Recycling relationships
Water relationships

Here is a list of chores that will need attention on our project.  Our first choice is to look at the House/barn/farm with bubble-up consideration for all the other matters listed below.  I don’t want to overlook an opportunity, so all that I can think of now is listed below:

Develop sustainable guidelines and philosophies for the “improvements” being planned.

    energy conservation

    minimize impermeable surfaces

    habitat protection/restoration

    economically viable

    a cultural connection to like minded enterprises

    a teaching/research/learning focus on sharing ideas


    solar/hydroelectric/wind energy supplies

Plan on a “Sketchup Protocol”

    everyone who contributes to design work should output one version as a .skp file.  This will allow to update the website.  We will want to build walk through animations for the house/buildings.

House design

house interior design

Landscaping around the house

LEED specialist

    If we decide to list with LEED, we need a plan/price

A solar barn

    part of the Zero Net Energy plan for the House

HyperTufa assembly operations

    material flow

    final assembly

    storage and shipping


Other future out-buildings

    a dorm for the WOOF kids

    future barns

    Cussin Cousin Rich’s HydroElectric distillery

    wood fired bakery

Tree house plan

    For connecting treehouses

Retreat cabins

    for future eco/agro/aqua tourists to visit


    solar powered


A water resources plan

    well water and distribution to all uses/potential uses.

    stormwater runoff

    rainwater collection and distribution

    spring enhancement

    river restoration and access

    consider a mussel habitat restoration

Waste water plan

    Black water

    Grey water


A plan for the small scale hydro building on the waterfall

    make electricity and distribute it how?

    back to the farm/house

    in batteries?

Roads, gates

    for cars, people, bikes, animals

Walking trail network and signage

    connecting all major and future points of interest

Entry to the property (first impression is important)




    video monitoring


HVAC controls:

    controls and monitoring across all the buildings

Farm layout including

    raised bed gardens

    fruit trees

    animal confinement:  chickens and etc.

Fish farming operations

    Modest outbuildings that cover fish tanks to shield from mercury

    with a tourist accessibility

    solar powered

Underground services

    hot water through insulated piping



    fresh water

    waste water

Forestry plan



    agro forestry

    tree crops

Waste materials flow plan:  collection, storage, disposal


    recycled goods


Parking for visitors


    permeable surface plan

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RockSpan Master Plan Outline DRAFT V. 1.0 5.3.10

1. The local/fresh food movement is growing and it will become a major trend in our culture. This is also true of the sustainable/environmental movement and this is also true of the water preservation/recreation movement.

2. These three movements can be labeled for discussion purposes as AgroTourism, EcoTourism and AquaTourism. They are not mutually exclusive and we will be encouraging cross-over from one to another.

3. RockSpan is a really cool and interesting place. Because it is located close to Springfield and it features a microcosm of interesting natural features, we hope it can become a center for people to visit and do business with us. It will need to maintain itʼs beautiful character and at the same time it will need improvements to accommodate our plans and projects.

Here are some discussion points to consider in a master plan.

4. RockSpan is privately owned and it must be profitable in order to be sustained. In general, our goal is to provide value added products and services to people who will either come to visit or who will buy from us on-line. In addition, we hope to produce products and provide consulting and planning services that develop as we get more experience.

5. We will need a building design/construction standard that includes materials, designs, themes, energy efficiency and simple, practical construction methods that can be reproduced for every project to carry a unifying look, feel and energy performance. For example, a Morton building construction pattern with selected roof design including color, overhang, doors, windows and trim. The wall panels could be specially constructed energy efficient panels that affix to the standard Morton built-up frame wall construction. In this manner, we are using practical, affordable and available materials, but in an architectural style with enhancements that make these buildings more

sustainable. Exotic technologies like rubber tires or hay bales are not practical for most people.

6. Because there are a lot of features to see on a small area, RockSpan needs a unifying visual motif to carry on the gates, trails, buildings, entrances, exits, fences, products, website and etc. This one theme could also carry our farm, environmental and water priorities. In more detail these are:

7. AgroTourism: People can come to visit for seminars, discussions, demonstrations, dining and purchases of locally produced, value added products. Under this category, we would feature a sample water powered gristmill to make milled products, a sample wheat field in the long pasture, wood fired ovens to make pizzas and a one night per week pizza restaurant perhaps in the while barn area. We would also produce and sell value added products to visitors including elderberry products, walnuts, paw paws and etc. We have discussed the idea of applying to the USGS to be the first LEED certified farm. In particular, the “pizza farm” is appealing because it gives us a high margin market for our products and other local producer products that we sell in the form of wood fired pizza. This plan will require provisions for ovens, bathrooms, seating, parking, product sales and hands-on customer contact with animals and plants being grown.

8. EcoTourism: People can come to visit for seminars, discussions, demonstrations of best management practices for the forests, wildlife, alternative energy and low carbon lifestyle. This would include practical demonstrations of solar, wind, solar hybrid, hydroelectric, biomass and water source heat pumps.

9. AquaTourism: The Ozarks are famous for abundant amounts of fresh water. RockSpan includes these water features: the springfed Sac River, a three acre lake, one large spring & several smaller ones, a cascading waterfall, ponds, and several potable water wells. Best practices and interesting projects would include the systematic extraction of nutients from the lake, restoration of mussel beds, restoration of the Sac, riperian restoration, pond habitat restoration, recreational fishing and small spring and seep restoration. In particular, we would like to refashion the spring entrance to the lake. The current work is from the 1920ʼs and it needs an update to improve itʼs esthetics and to provide a living -pre-filter for excess nutrients to the lake.

10. Seminars and visitors. We hope to encourage lodgers and visitors for several activites. These inlcude:

11. Dorm type housing for WOOF volunteers. These are young people who travel the world working on organic farms for room and board. They will help us with labor for our organic gardening and food production and we will provide them with nice/simple accommodations and an extremely interesting place to visit. We will need housing and a kitchen for them.

12. Weddings and anniversaries. There are several lovely valleys on the property that could be restored with best forestry practices and simple cabins built for overnight guests. In addition, there are a number of beautiful sights on RockSpan that can serve as wedding venues.

13. Retreats and seminars. RockSpan should encourage selected small groups to come and visit for retreats, think tanks and seminars.

14. Infrastructure: In order to provide the support for all the activites listed above, there will have to be plans made to provide the following:

a. Administration for the RockSpan property. b. Gardens and greenhouses. c. AgroForestry with irrigation systems. d. Septic and storm water systems.

e. Irrigation systems. f. Water wells. g. Roads and paths h. Electrical systems that can integrate alternatives like solar, wind and hydro. i. Barns with room for equipment and fabrication.

Random thoughts:

15. The Baker Creek Seed Company has done a remarkable job creating a recreation of an old-timey Ozarks village for the purpose of showcasing small scale agriculture. We can admire their work while keeping in mind that our approaches are more modern: current and sustainable technology/practices that are approachable, affordable and available in a remarkably beautiful setting.

Here are some images from a recent visit. Note the combination of visitor attractions and sales opportunities.

16. We own We also own and

Conclusion: Since we canʼt predict the future, we need to make plans that are scaleable, flexible and adaptable. In this case, our master plan should take into account the above possibilities without our having to commit to their construction on any given timetable. We donʼt know how our finances, family interests, market demand and the general economy will trend, so we hope to keep our options open by trying to imagine all the interesting possibilities up front and moving forward as our resources allow.

RockSpan Master Plan Outline DRAFT v. 1.0 5.3.10