What I actually accomplished this summer:
I built a sun shelter big enough to park a car under. I need to add slats and a sun fabric roof next year. The plastic tarp I used this year was quickly destroyed by the wind.
I put in fence posts and a gate. I need to add t-posts and barbed wire fencing next year, to keep cows out of the “developed” area.
I replaced the gravel in front of the yurt entrance with concrete paving stones.
I moved the shower tower inside the yurt and experimented with a combination shower tower/stove, but it was too unstable without mortar.
Next year I want to plant more trees, since the fence will hopefully keep the cows out. My neighbor’s theory is that I should plant really small trees and not support them with poles, so that they will naturally thicken. I think just buying large trees would work, too, but I would need a truck to get large trees out there. Watering them will be a problem though. I need to find someone who lives in Reno who will swap free camping for tree watering.
My experimental solar water heater worked pretty well at first, but the clear plastic sheeting over the water cistern quickly became cloudy and white due to the UV rays from the sun, so I went back to just leaving the dark blue shower jug out in the sun, and that worked better. I could try using a glass cover next year (from a discarded sliding glass door or window perhaps). My experiment using the garden hose as an external heating coil was inconclusive. I think I need to use a shorter hose.
Possible business schemes:
I thought it might be possible to develop part of the land as a yurt camping ground. People would pay to camp in our yurts. These types of resorts are popular with tourists in Mongolia. There is hiking nearby and you could also offer horseback rides. The view is great and the stars are really beautiful. People could camp from spring to fall. The nights are fairly cool even in the summer. When it was in the 90s during the day, it was only in the 70s or 60s at night. We might need to have a source of heat (that doesn’t involve fire) during the spring and fall.
We’d need to have a building for restrooms, showers and cooking/dining, and we’d need to have the last part of the road re-graveled. We’d also need a well and a septic system, and several heavy duty yurts that are permanently anchored to the ground.
An alternative idea would be to have a business in Imlay, based on our skills and what people living there want or need. Since Imlay is right on I-80, you would have highway travelers as customers, too. Maybe a coffee shop/bakery/internet cafe?