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|[+] cooking » The Perfect Kitchen (Go to)||Stacy Witscher|
Dish soap ---- non-permie Dawn. Because it cuts grease well, which is a plus for clean up after butchering a pig or lamb. Dawn also does a good job as a sticker/spreader for my homemade bug killing concoctions.
Just to ease the minds of the offended permies, we do use homemade soap for showering. We have several local makers of very nice handmade soap in my area. And ya know, if Dawn disappeared I'd just switch to using the homemade soap. It's just not as easy to rinse off of things.
|[+] cooking » The Perfect Kitchen (Go to)||Stacy Witscher|
I now live in the tropics and live a much more simplistic and permie lifestyle, so my "perfect" kitchen is far, far different than I would have dreamed of 20 years ago.
... Outdoors. Under a roof for rain protection. A garden hose nearby for clean up afterwards.
... A double sink. Two prep tables. A rat & bug proof storage cabinet for items I don't want to keep hauling out from the house.
... A source of electricity. Running water, preferably with a hot water too.
... A propane stove that doesn't require electricity to operate. It would be in a large protective cabinet that would open up for use, so that the stove would be protected from the weather, acidic air, and rats.
... A large steel pot for brothy soups and steaming veggies, a cast iron frying pan and a good wok, a few heavy pots for general cooking, a tea kettle for heating water for tea & coffee. I'm not fussy about brands as long as they are functional and last.
... A couple of solid wood cutting boards.
... A heavy serrated bread knife. Assorted paring knives. Yup, that's all I use.
The frig and freezer are both Sundanzers and would stay indoors to protect them from the acidic moisture in the air. Same for all other appliances.
I don't desire or need high quality much of anything. As long as it is durable, that's fine. Ive been in kitchens that had 20-30 different pots and pans, 2 dozen assorted knives, special whisks and other hand tools, all sorts of kitchen gadgets......don't need any of that. I just keep it simple though not totally minimalistic.
I don't presently have this kitchen, but it's in the plans. Once I'm finished building the rest of the house (should be done by next year), I fully plan to create my outdoor kitchen. I'll still keep a mini kitchen indoors, but the bulk of food preparation will be done outdoors.
|[+] frugality » Sourcing coffee for way less than a buck a pound: my one weird trick! (Go to)||Ryan Hobbs|
Dan, I'm with you. I'm not fussy about coffee, though I do indeed enjoy a cup of the good stuff. In fact, the only coffee I had trouble swallowing was in the UK.....Kenco. But if I had been able to add chocolate French vanilla creamer, I think I could have drank that stuff too. I'm always willing to be frugal.
|[+] cooking » Gonna cook Peruvian dish. Needs suggestions! (Go to)||Su Ba|
I don't recall all the food being distinctly different from what I was already used to, but the few things that were unique were....
...Guinea pig. The meat had been roasted in some fashion then added to a stew-like stir fry dish. Tasty, but full of bones.
...llama steak. Tough but tasty.
...poke. I think it's called ceviche there. Diced up raw fish marinated in acidic juices, citrus in flavor, rather than vinegary. Hot peppers, onions, garlic. Very much like Hawaiian poke.
...spicy or sweet peppers in most dishes.
...Inka Cola. We saw this being sold everywhere.
...roast chicken that had been marinated with soy sauce, peppers, and spices. We had several variations of this and it was always good.
|[+] eastern usa » Who has bought land, or something similar, sight unseen? (Go to)||Mike Jay|
Buying sight unseen via photos is common enough here in Hawaii. Some of the time the buyers are happy with their purchase. Other times they are aghast! It's not uncommon to see new people arrive here, then the house is in the market within 30 days.
|[+] cooking » Favorite Sandwiches ... What is Yours? (Go to)||F Agricola|
I'm not a big sandwich eater, but when I when I bring home a loaf of bread from one of my "food swaps", I'll go on a sandwich binge for a few days. Part of the loaf goes for cinnamon toast and honey toast. Sandwich-wise, I'll go for....
...peanut butter, banana, cherry jelly. That's my dream, but in reality it becomes macnut butter, banana, and whatever jelly I happen to have. This is a real comfort food for me.
...pickles, tomatoes, and mayonnaise. Yum. I'll have this one for dinner.
...cream cheese and green olives. I haven't had this one in years simply because I seldom have the ingredients in the house. But I sure do love the combination.
...gravy sandwiches. Homemade gravy over fresh bread, wonderful comfort food. Yeah, I'm a cheap date!
...watercress, tomatoes, mayonnaise.
...thick slab of tomato with mayonnaise. Simple and heavenly.
I don't have an ultimate favorite. Since I tend to eat what we produce, forage, hunt, or trade for, I'm pretty happy with any of them. They are all a special treat.
|[+] fruit trees » Are cooked seeds viable? (Go to)||John Duda|
I agree totally with Joseph. It's been my own experience that cooked seeds do not germinate.
|[+] forest garden » Global community food forest survey (Go to)||Su Ba|
Thanks Xisca. I see now that if I answer no, then I get a different survey, but I still have questions that I cannot answer since they don't apply to me. And to give an answer other than "not applicable" will give a skewed result. Perhaps I should simply pretend that I'm located in urbanized Germany?
In addition, many of the questions either lack definition or contain two or more "truths" for which you have to pass judgement I could agree with one half of the statement but not the other, so how to answer? Plus it's difficult to answer when you don't know what he means by "recover', "spirituality", etc. And personally, I question the lumping of animals, birds (aren't bird animals?), and plants together when discussing "rights". Is a four year college grad really not aware that birds are animals?
I'm not comfortable with this survey. For a master thesis level, me thinks the author needs to have his advisor review his survey.
|[+] forest garden » Global community food forest survey (Go to)||Su Ba|
Considering this survey is part of a research masters thesis, I find it to be rather full of presumptions. His has base premises that really don't exist, such as multiple established commercial food forests within urban perimeters which allow residents to harvest food. While I know of some botanical gardens and preservation gardens that include food forests, they are for display and education only. Plus these gardens are not located in urban situations. I also feel there is a flaw in that there are no escape answers for sone question, such as "I don't know", "not applicable", etc.
From the questions in the survey, should I conclude that cities in Germany have multiple established (thus named) food forests open for public at-will harvesting?
While the survey targets just urban food forests, it fails to account for non-urban ones. The failure to track urbanites who go outside the urban environment to visit food forests is a weakness in the research. Plus it fails to consider forest forests that are non-commercial, such as community gardens, non-profit gardens, open farms, PYO, etc.
I did not fill out the survey because there are zero public access, harvestable food forests in my entire state. But I regularly harvest food from forest situations, both natural and manmade. This survey fails to account for my state and I could not convey that information for his research paper.
|[+] forest garden » What do I do with all of this summer squash? (Go to)||Scott Foster|
Per permaculture ethics........share the excess.
In my area, people often share their excess. It's not uncommon to go to town on market day and see a box of limes with a free sign sitting outside the coffee truck. Same with tangerines, bananas, avocados. People will drop of excess garden harvests at the senior center, the local health clinic, our local small hospital and nursing home. The churches often pass along the free produce that gets shared. I've seen boxes of all sorts of garden items sitting at the church door in Sunday mornings, with the free sign in it. Maybe this sort of gesture is unheard of in other areas, but it is common enough where I live.
|[+] forest garden » Breadfruit: a forest from one tree (Go to)||Su Ba|
It wasn't until I moved to Hawaii that I learned about breadfruit. I don't know which varieties we have in Hawaii, but sadly none will grow at my farm location. I'm told that my elevation is too high. Luckily I have friends who have trees and I'm able to trade for breadfruits.
Breadfruit is quite good eating. We prefer it green, where it makes a super mock potato salad. But we also like it riper and fried for a dessert. But there are plenty more ways to prepare it.
Storing excess harvest is simple for me. I just pop the whole, unprocessed breadfruit into the freezer. No need to peel it, cut it up, or blanch it. Can't get easier than that.
|[+] forest garden » Planting Food Forests Over Multiple Years (Go to)||Xisca Nicolas|
Hi Greg! My own development of a food forest has been in progress for 15 years. And I'm still adding, modifying, expanding. Personally, I prefer the slow approach. I gives me a chance to see what works, or doesn't. I can modify things to my liking. Discover which things I will actually eat and which I don't. Discover what I would like to add more of. I can expand into areas that I've learned I don't wish to use for other purposes.
Another big, big reason for the slow approach is that I prefer to do things myself and by low tech methods. Rather than use a bulldozer, backhoe, or hydraulic hammer, I use hand tools and small power equipment. Thus I don't disturb the land as much and I intimately get to know each plot that I plant. I create a real attachment to each tree or section of plants. I like the mental connection.
I can appreciate the need most people have for instant success, instant production. I've seen it in my gardening students. I lived that sort of life in my younger days. But I've left the desire, drive, and stress behind. My own contentment comes from the slow, intimate hands on approach......not the "it's completed!" goal.
|[+] decision making » Top 3 things for new homesteaders to focus on? (Go to)||Bryant RedHawk|
Speaking from experience in regard to starting my own homestead farm....
#1- Positive ----- observe and take notes. I noted which way the sun came up and set, what the angles were during the various months, how long and at what hours the sun typically was out full. I recorded the amount and days of rain, plus the daily highs and lows. I watched the wind ... direction, speed, frequency, time of day. I recorded humidity. I noted when I saw dew. I observed how all these factors interacted. I walked the land, checking the ground conditions, the soil, the types of plants, the types of insects and wildlife.
#2- Positive ------ I wrote down a fundamental farm plan. I debated with myself all sorts of pros and cons, played all sorts of scenarios in my mind, and eventually deciding where to place the barn, run the driveway, put the pastures, place the main production gardens. The fine tuning and smaller additions came later.
#3- Negative ------ I put off planting the fruit and nut trees for 3 years while I did other things. Looking back, I should have made developing the orchard a first year priority. As a note here since it has been mentioned in previous posts, I did not need to develop a hydrology plan. My land does not create rain runoff and the only water issue I had was a small area where I previous owner had purposely compacted a small spot for a barn foundation. A simple drain trench took care of that. The only place where rain water runs off is the compacted driveway, and that water was easily directed to banana patches planted atop hugelpits.
My first year was spent observing and developing a plan, building a house, installing an acceptable electric and household water system, and clearing the massive overgrowth of grass and saplings.
|[+] decision making » Making Changes as a Senior Citizen (Go to)||Fay Weller|
Welcome, Sue! I didn't start my adventure to become a farmer until I retired. For the past ten years or so I've been learning quite a bit, including permaculture methods. It's taken several years, but I now have a homestead farm that can supply us with all our food and numerous resources. I let other newly retired folks know that it's not too late to start gardening, growing food, raising livestock, whatever. If it's something you really want to do, then go ahead and do it!
|[+] decision making » What little & big things do you do to make positive changes in your community? (Go to)||Joel Bercardin|
Hubby and I are fairly proactive when it comes to our community, although we are very private people when it comes to our home. I'm not going to toot our horn with all the things that we do, but we have helped plenty of people with their problems, given emotional support to people dealing with a crisis, provide our opinions when asked for them. We attend community meetings, festivals, and activities. We try to support small local businesses. What little food we buy, we buy locally from people within our community when possible.
Little things that mean a lot and make little changes on the personal level include...
...offering to pick up a neighbor's mail when I'm going to the post office (we don't get home delivery here)
...offering to pick up a couple items when I travel into town to Costco (2 hour drive away)
...making a "good morning" phone call or text message to a few seniors that I know who live alone, just to check on them
...making a point to compliment people or simply briefly chat when I meet while I'm waiting in line, at the post office, at the trash drop off station, etc.
...offering to take trash to the dump for people without cars (or really shouldn't be driving)
I've been known to plant flowers along the roadside and in public areas. I'm a stealth planter of my excess banana starts and papaya seedlings. It's fun to see people harvesting the "wild" fruits.
I pick up trash along our road, plus will stop to pull out an invasive weed if I spy one.
I don't have a lot of time for volunteer work, but I make a point to get involved one day a month. Sometimes it's volunteering at a spay/neuter clinic, other times it's joining a coastal cleanup group.
|[+] projects » Running a gas stove on propane (Go to)||Joseph Lofthouse|
Most gas stoves can be converted from natural gas to propane simply by change the gas orifice. I say 'most" because I've heard of some brands where the orifice cannot be changed. But the majority can.
A appliance repair service should be able to match up your stove with the correct parts to sell you. You'll need the make and model to match up the correct orifice. Most parts cone with instructions. If not, then google the instructions online or search YouTube for a how-to video. Instructions call for checking the gas flow pressure after installation, but frankly, people in my region convert their new stoves without doing the gas pressure check and things have always been fine. But that said, you might be able to rent the necessary tool from an appliance store to check that, .........or just have the appliance repair place install the new orifice and pay the bill.
I'm a do-it-yourself type person and converted my natural gas stove to propane myself. I have a Premier stove which required a propane orifice and an adjustment to the 'turn on" knobs for each burner and the oven. That adjustment was simply turning a switch from one side to the other. Simple. One direction = natural gas, the other direction was for propane use.
|[+] dogs and cats » Help! C. Difficile in a Schnauzer puppy off a reservation (Go to)||Chris Kott|
Chris, this is going to sound weird.........
While working in veterinary medicine, I occasionally saw a pup that was non-responsive to treatment. We would end up keeping the dog on antibiotics for months, perhaps years, with a medical diet and regimen. The slightest thing set these patients into long bouts of liquid diarrhea and their overall health would decline even more.
I sometimes had good results with these type dogs by resorting to a trick that an old-timey veterinarian showed me when I was just a teenager working for him. He would feed the dog a mix of....
..a cup of raw meat (you can't use supermarket meat nowadays since its most likely contaminated. You'd have to use your own home reared meat or get it from a safe source. There are safe raw meat products available in high end pet stores, like Petco. It's frozen.)
...about 2 to 3 tablespoons of dirt taken from a doghouse or kennel where a healthy, parasite-free dog lives
...about a tablespoonful of fresh poop from that healthy dog.
Mix it all together and feed to the sick dog. Sometimes just one treatment did the trick, but usually it had to be fed daily for about two weeks.
Ive seen this work in young puppies and bring a lifelong cure. The older the pup or dog, the longer it takes to effect. Just as with people, fecal transplanting in older dogs often needs to be repeated twice a year or so.
Don't know if your sister would be willing to try this old time remedy, but it surely wouldn't hurt.
|[+] fruit trees » Banana trees (Go to)||don duncan|
First, a small correction. Although people call it a banana tree, it's not truly a tree. Just so you're aware of that. So expect the "tree" to die once it produces a bunch of bananas. But don't worry, it should have already sent up a replacement sucker before it dies back.
Here in Hawaii, the bananas grown for eating don't produce seeds. Thus we propagate them from suckers. There are plenty of banana varieties that do produce seeds, but because the seed dominates the fruit, they are only grown as ornamentals. Occasionally I've heard of someone finding a seed in their edible banana, but I haven't found one in my own bananas on my farm. I've got hundreds of banana trees growing here.
How long will it take before your banana flowers? I really don't know because I've never grown one from seed. When I transplant a partially grown sucker, it takes around 12 months. A lot depends upon the amount of water and nutrients the tree gets, what the air and ground temperature is, and the humidity. When conditions aren't ideal, I've seen trees sit there for a few years before flowering. Once it flowers, it takes my trees 3-4 months before I can harvest the bunch.
|[+] introductions » Hawaiʻi, Lava zone 1, Kīlauea (Go to)||Joe Kern|
Aloha Joe. Sorry about your loss. It's a bummer. But it could have been worse, you could have already built your cabin. That doesn't help mitigate the tragedy, I know, but there's not much else to be said about it.
I'm over in Ka'u by Naalehu, so I'm safe from the lava (at least until Mauna Loa erupts). But I have been dealing with ash in my livestock pastures, vog (which has lessened since Halema'uma'u drained), and acid rain. Not nearly as bad as your situation though. We've seen a number of Puna refuges come to Ka'u looking to rent or buy homes. I talked story with one nice women who was looking for a few acres in order to restart a homestead. As you know land is pretty pricy but I heard that one of the locals here is thinking of selling her 8 acres at a very fair price, well below what the real estate agents are pushing.
I watch and read the daily updates about the eruption. It's impossible not to. I watch with a mixture of horror & grief, and awe & excitement. As much as I am dismayed at the loss of homes and properties, I am fascinated by the lava fountains, the lava river, the entire eruption.
I hope you'll be able to find a spot to restart your dream, though Kapoho was special and will be hard to replicate. Or better yet....with luck the eruption will stop in the next few weeks, then after a couple months you'll be able to return to your land. Your adventure then will a real testament to permaculture as you bring your kipuka land back to health and production. If you do get back to your land, it would be one great and inspiring story to tell!!!
|[+] alternative energy » Engine Modification - increase power - lower emissions - save money (Go to)||Jason Vath|
Jason, I haven't visited that website, but your endorsement sounds all too like the cover of the old J C Whitney automotive catalogs........save 20% on your fuel by using this item, save 15% by using this other item, etc. If you used them all, you wouldn't have to use much gasoline at all it seems. Ha, ha, ha. My brother was an auto mechanic and saw plenty of engine damage caused by those J C Whitney gadgets. Yes, the owners saved a few bucks on fuel (not as much as claimed), but lost big bucks on engine repairs. When we were young, my hubby bought one such item and a few fuel additives out of that catalog. They never did much, and if I recall right, the engine was short lived afterward.
|[+] food choices » Introducing Culture to Food Again (Go to)||Sonja Draven|
That's a great way to use one's homegrown veggies and herbs, especially when one's garden is small. When I only have a little of this or that, I've been known to mix them in with something abundant (whether I grew it myself or it came from off the farm, makes no difference), such as mashed potatoes, farmers cheese, mashed beans, scrambled or hard boiled eggs, rice, pasta. That way we get to enjoy the tidbits that are not enough to make a meal out of by themselves. We've discovered some combos that we have come to really like and purposely make now.
|[+] food choices » Introducing Culture to Food Again (Go to)||Sonja Draven|
I didn't realize until I read your post that I haven't looked at any of my cookbooks for over ten years. Ten!!! Wow. And it's been those ten years that we've been pretty much eating off of what our farm produces or what we can get locally via trading, foraging, etc. I just didn't give it much thought, but I too have developed a food style that has little to do with the numerous cookbooks I have. We've come to like that various seasonal combos I whip up. We're comfortable with the fresh herbs now. Looking back on it, I don't think we would have eaten this stuff 15 years ago. I was more in the mindset of cookbook meals -- Italian, French, Greek, Southern, whatever.
My Ww oofer is even more "eating off the farm" than I am, making stir fry combinations out of what is on hand that day. He's not into preservation, so eats everything fresh-picked or acquired. He has developed his own style, along with his own recipes and preferences. He probably could write his own cookbook by now.
|[+] homestead » 2100 AD: Best U.S. Homestead Locations (Go to)||Daron Williams|
Worrying about current climate and climate change may not be the most important factor when thinking about homesteading 80 years from now. If you factor in the out of control population growth, along with its accompanying cascading need for more food and resources, I wonder......something to think about. Plus, with the escalating effects of population growth and its affects on climate change, what will climates be like 80 years from now?
The economists I've read tend to predict the urban and suburban areas dramatically increasing due to the simple fact that all those extra people have to live and work somewhere and the rural areas don't offer the jobs anymore. Thus rural areas may offer the best option for homesteading activity.
That being said, I'd be looking at remote mountain areas where "modern" people tend to avoid due to the fact that "modern" resources are scarce and more difficult to get to those areas. Forested mountains indicate a water source somewhere, somehow. Homesteaders tend to utilize local, natural resources rather than buying everything at the store. Forested mountain areas might sustain homesteaders best, and if they are within a few hours transportation to an urban area, then even better. An hour from a suburban area might be better yet since the homesteader could sell their excess or goods to the mainstream population living there.
I'm homesteading on an island out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. My area is a poor rural district that offers very little of interest to the wealthy. Wealthy people drive through.....don't buy houses here. Thus this is a good area for homesteading. Remote enough to keep the housing boom away, but a steady stream of buyers for excess farm products. Wealthy residents a 1 1/2 hour drive away. Adequate rainfall due to the mountain behind our farm. Moderate climate, even if it gets a tad warmer. Yup, I landed in a good spot. And while this area may increase in population over the next 80 years, I don't foresee extensive development. There are other locations on this island that are far more appealing to the wealthy. I don't intend to move, but if I did, I'd try to replicate my situation ---- semi remote & rural, mild climate, a mountain to give rain, wealthy population an hour or two away.
|[+] repair » Making gaskets for equipment (Go to)||R Jay|
I recall as a young child watching my uncle make replacement gaskets and flapper for the hand water pumps out of leather. I also remember him making gaskets for some other thing (don't recall what he was working on) out of cork sheeting. Interesting.
|[+] projects » Wrong Way Farm (Go to)||Maureen Atsali|
It's so nice to hear from you again, Maureen! I was always interested in the things we're doing on your farm.
|[+] urban » 1 gallon - 5 liter bottles for hydroponics (Go to)||Su Ba|
Like Jay, I've had good results growing lettuce in a non-circulating system. I started out using gallon plastic milk jugs that I had spray painted to keep out the light. Then I eventually switched to gallon glass old wine jugs. I made slip on covers for the jugs out of old denim pants that effectively keep the light out. I've grown lettuce for home use this way for about ten years.
Another way that I'm growing with non-circulating hydroponics is by using a medium to support the roots. In my case, I'm using tumbled grass chunks (pieces are 1/4" to 1/2" diameter) that I got cheap from our recycling center. I can clean them between crops, so I'll be able to use them for the rest of my lifetime. Right now I'm using large (2 liter) wine bottles that I cut the tops off of. Then I fill them with the tumbled glass and plant the seedlings into that, then add hydroponic solution. So far I've been growing mini bokchoy and assorted Chinese greens, with great success. I'm planning on trying other crops.
The reason I'm using hydroponics is that we have a nasty parasite in Hawaii called rat-lung disease. My hydroponic set up is protected against slugs, the vector for this parasite. So with the hydroponics I feel safe eating raw veggies that I produce.
|[+] homestead » Trash on potential property? (Go to)||Michael Cox|
Trash on a property has never bothered me. In fact it's beneficial in that it acts as a bargaining chip on the price. I've purchased several properties in the past by including "trash does not need to be removed" in my offer. I've always been able to knock off at least $1000 off the purchase price for trash the size I could haul away myself for free or cheap. In fact, one property had an old car and a small airplane on it, plus old trailers and storage tanks. We knocked several thousand off the purchase price by agreeing to allowing the trash to stay. After moving in we offered free scrap metal to anyone who wanted it, you cut it up and haul it away. Got every bit removed for free with no work on our part.
|[+] ethics and philosophy » Would you take a GMO Mushroom as a cancer cure (Go to)||Ryan Hobbs|
First of all, I haven't read the article yet. But I'd like to at least give a simple answer to your question. Would I take a GMO mushroom (or any other thing) to cure my cancer.
You betcha!!! No hesitation!
I was only 33 years old when I discovered I had a form of aggressive beast cancer. Back then cancer treatment wasn't as sophisticated, and tumors weren't tested and analyzed like they are nowadays. But I willingly opted for any treatment that might save my life. I was young, scared, and didn't want to die. I also had had a friend who died from breat cancer metastasis at only 21 years of age. GMO options didn't exist back then, but I would have willing tried it. Needless to say, I was lucky and survived.
Would I still make that choice today knowing what I now know? You betcha!!! I'm not ready to die yet. I might be old, but I still want to live a few more years before I give in to the inevitable.
I don't think anyone who has been faced with their own mortality and eminent death would ask that question, assuming that they want to go on living. I've had plenty of friends die from cancers and most desperately wanted a cure. They would not have hesitated a second to try a GMO treatment.
|[+] meaningless drivel » Blog Topic Ideas - What are you interested in? (Go to)||gir bot|
My own homestead farm has incorporated all those topics except guilds. Part of my own success involved a few other topics that I feel are important.....at least they were for me.
...establishing a local bartering system in the community
...taking advantage of diverse small income sources
...utilizing local resources. In my case, I'm referring to green waste, deadwood, livestock manures, stable clean out waste, fruit tree waste, wild bamboo, excess forest duff, rock and gravel, clean fill -- all obtained free and with permission of the land owners.
...developing resources on one's own land -- utilizing "waste" or unused land for growing biomass crops, growing saplings for poles, etc.
Here's a wish that you'll enjoy doing your blog. Let me know the address so that I can visit and glean a few tips it's to bring back to my own homestead. Thanks.
|[+] farm income » anyone here make money from permaculture? (Go to)||Peter VanDerWal|
Tim, your post provokes thought. That's good! But your conclusion may not be entirely accurate. It is the same argument I heard made about organic style farming decades ago. My ag agent said that organic farming could never be profitable. It was for hippies. It was a niche fad. You could never make a living at it. In addition, no bank back then would loan money to an organic farmer. No government money was available either. Of course, all that is changed now. Organic farming is indeed profitable and recognized.
As with all farming techniques, one can practice permaculture on a level ranging from hobby to subsistence to small business to large business. Plus a farm doesn't need to be 100% permaculture. It can just incorporate those methods that benefit the farm.
My own farm is a homestead farm. Over time it has become more and more permaculturely oriented. It has gone from costing me money, to supporting us and paying its way.....and is now on the verge of making a modest living beyond subsistence. As it grows it should provide us a comfortable life.
I talk story with local farmers all the time here. Some just want their farm to give them a basic comfortable life. Some others aspire to making lots of money. What farming method they are using makes no difference in their goals. Some of the modest lifestyle farmers are conventional farms, others are not. Same for the aggressive big farming outfits.....some are conventional and some are not.
|[+] trees » trees just for fun (Go to)||Anne Miller|
Hi Ben! I too have planted some trees just for the fun of it. Can't upload photos right now, but I'll try it later when I can
Cinnamon tree. I'll probably never harvest any bark in my lifetime, but it's just fun to have the tree growing here.
Allspice and clove trees. I initially planted them just for fun, but have since learn to use a few leaves in cooking here and there.
Bilimba tree. Called the pickle tree around here, it's just a fun tree to plant. I can't imagine ever really eating the sour fruits. Maybe the next owner will try eating them.
Siranam cherry tree. I don't like the fruit, but I planted one anyway.
Variegated lemon. I surely don't need more lemon trees, but who can resist a variegated one? So I planted one in the orchard.
|[+] homestead » women peeing outdoors (Go to)||Helen Butt|
Maybe it's the squatting position while urinating that initiates the I uncomfortable safety instinct. I now pee standing up, so I no longer have that feeling of a need to "hide" in order to urinate.
Like some women, initially I found it impossible to separate urination from defecation. It took some training on my part. Even so, there are sometimes difficulties but not very often. I find it best to urinate first, getting that over with, then defecate. So all in all, I have little problem anymore. Perhaps it is the standing position that makes it easy to separate the two functions, but once squatting, my body takes the signal to do both.
At home on the farm I use a funnel to pee into a gallon jug. And a strip of rag to dry off. The rags go in with the routine laundry for washing and re-use. Standing to urinate seems very normal to me now, but it did take training. The truth of the matter, I prefer to stand. It's easier on my body now that I'm almost 70.
|[+] personal care » Have any of you stopped using soap/shampoo? (Go to)||Tim Kivi|
I work hard on on my farm just about every day. It's not uncommon for me to take two showers a day because I'm not interested into going into town soiled and smelling like a ram. So yes, I use soap. No apology.
Where I live in the tropics, skin infections are common among people who don't bathe daily. Bathing with soap is the easiest way to prevent skin infections. I can always tell when my wwoofer has run out of soap by looking at his face and feet.
In addition, I routinely pick up hitchikers. It's a common practice here. My rule is that ALL hippy types ride in the truck bed. They smell too bad to ride in the cab. Sorry, but that's the truth.
On the other hand, I can believe that people can over do soap in certain situations. So using soap wisely is the thing.
|[+] gardening for beginners » survival gardens (Go to)||Ed Benfer|
Ed, I'd look for grafted trees. In my own experience, they produce quicker. In my early and mid 60s I planted several types of citrus, macadamia nuts, avocados, apple, peach, and mangos...all grafted trees. I also planted 3-4 year old seedlings of mulberry, Surinam cherry, guavas, and sapote. I'm now pushing 70 and all the trees are producing except for the sapotes. Not big crops yet, but it's a thrill to pick my own dozen or two of apples, 2-3 dozen each of the various citrus, a five gallon bucket of macnuts. Every year the trees double what they produced the year before. It's thrilling.
My suggestion is to get those trees in this year. Don't bother to try to make the perfect food forest, just give it your best guess and get the trees planted.
|[+] solar » My off-grid dilemma (Go to)||S Bengi|
....."Then no monthly bill afterwards but the panels need to be replaced eventually."
It's not the panels that need replacing. Ours are 20+ years and still doing fine the last time we tested them. It's the batteries that will need replacing and maintenance. Plus the back up generator. We replace ours every 5-7 years. And if you've never run a solar system before, you'll most likely ruin your first battery bank rather quickly. We did!
Hopefully your system will never break, but I've heard of people here who have had to replace expensive components, such as the inventor, when they quit working. We upgraded from a Trace to an Outback after 10 years, so that was an expense. You need to be aware of these things in order to factor in total expense of the system. Being on solar doesn't mean that you have free electricity. Instead of monthly bills, you pay for it in chunks here and there.
Most solar off-grid people tend to become very efficient in their use of electric energy. Certainly a Volt would never grace their driveway. The first time you get 3 cloudy days in a row, you might realize why.
|[+] conservation » The little things (Go to)||Peter VanDerWal|
...Phantom loads....I simply don't keep things plugged in. Nor do I use appliances with clocks or computers. Where it's difficult or inconvenient to plug and unplug, I have the outlet on a handy switch...kinda of like having your garbage disposal on a switch. Simple. Flick on the outset when you need power. Keep it shut off the rest of the time.
In addition to things already mentioned:
...I have a friend that has an electric clock in the wall of just about every room in his house. No me. Not one clock. I use a wristwatch.
...no electric power gadgets. I see folks with all sorts of electric powered do-dads in their homes. Electric air fresheners. Mini water fountains. Bubble lamps. Strobe lights on their Christmas tree. Nothing exists like that in my house.
...I don't need central heat, but when we need heat to take off the morning chill, I use a wood stove.
...When the wood stove is running, I use it to heat water for coffee, dish water, or to cook something simple.
...I use a solar oven for cooking and dehydrating.
...I use a homemade rocket stove for cooking the chicken food. I've been known to cook our dinner on it too at times.
...I keep lights turned off when not in use. And no outdoor flood lights on all the time.
...I have an on-demand propane water heater. The old one had a pilot light which we did not keep on. By only turning the unit on when we needed hot water, we saved 3/4 of our propane. Incredible savings. Our new unit does not use a pilot light, which is even better.
...my propane range does not have pilot lights. Pilot lights are energy hogs.
...I changed my habits!!! I stopped needing to use hot water more than twice a day. I stopped using items that used lots of energy of I didn't need them. I seldom ever use the microwave, toaster, oven, etc. I hang my wash out on a clothesline. I use a chest freezer and a chest refrigerator. We gradually switched over to eating more non-cooked foods, like salads, fruits, or assorted finger foods. For example, dinner tonight was garden celery stuffed with freshly made cheese, crackers, bananas, beef strips previously cooked in the solar oven, and a few macnuts. For tomorrow's dinner I'm considering boiled potatoes (cooked on the wood stove) rolled in my own dehydrated herb mix (previously dehydrated in the solar oven) & macnut oil (our own. No electric needed to produce it), hard boiled eggs (previously cooked in the wood stove), the rest of the cheese, papaya slices, avocado slices, and cherry tomatoes.
|[+] solar » How can you calculate solar savings? (Go to)||Dawn Hoff|
Generally, I agree with Galen. Installing solar doesn't mean that you'll be saving lots of money. I live in Hawaii where the cost of grid electricity is mind boggling expensive, and even so, the cost of installing most solar installations (including tax incentives) doesn't equate to cash savings for years and years. There needs to be other reasons for installing solar other than quick cash savings.
Our homestead is completely off-grid. People mistakenly think we have free electricity. We installed a small system that cost $20,000 in hardware. (We install and maintain it ourselves.) Every six years or so we need to replace the battery bank ($800 to $1000). We need to buy and maintain a back up generator that gets replaced when we replace the battery bank. (Just because the gas engine runs doesn't mean that it's putting out the electrical rating we need. These things wear out.) That's around $800 to $1000 buy the new generator. I'm not sure what the gasoline, oil, and maintenance parts come to, nor the distilled water for the batteries. Our solar panels are 20 years old this year, so heaven knows how much longer it will be before we be thinking of replacements. Luckily our inverter, charge controller, and the rest of the equipment has never failed, but they could, thus requiring expensive replacements.
No, solar surely isn't free. It costs to install it and maintain it. And for newbees it's even more expensive because they make mistakes while learning. For example, we killed our first battery bank in 3 years simply because we didn't know what we were doing.
The reason we went off grid was strictly economics. The electric company wanted almost $30,000 to run power to our house. Going was DIY solar was an immediate savings for us. But for folks already on the grid, changing to solar may not be a savings for years, if ever. And if they go with a grid tied system with no battery back up, then they aren't any better off......except that they may feel better about "going green" (whatever they think that is).
Grid power gives the homeowner flexibility and reliability. Plus the ability to budget monthly expenses fairly accurately. Off grid means that you need to think about how much power you are using and when you might need to use more than normal. For example, I know that I need to run the generator when I use high energy consuming equipment, or want to do the laundry on a cloudy day. I know that my system can't maintain a heated spa, so I'd be crazy to buy one as a Christmas present for hubby. I need to be mindful about the running of my power, because I can't even consider running the water pump, washer, freezer, frig, microwave, and hair dryer all at the same time. Being on the grid, a homeowner wouldn't even have to think about that. Plus budgeting isn't easy. Cash layouts will come in big chunks, not little bits each month.
People going from grid to off grid (usually grid tied) need to look carefully. Saying that you save money is usually ignoring the upfront purchase cost, or end-of-lease expenses. Others reasons, like Galen's, might be a good reason going solar. One of our friends installed a grid tied system because he wanted his wife to be able to afford to stay in their home after he died. He is significantly older than she is. He has the money now to spend on going solar and knows that she will have a low monthly income after he passes. So installing solar gives him peace of mind.
|[+] village » who owns the farms in villages in other countrys. (Go to)||Joel Bercardin|
I can only reply based upon my own experience. While living in New Jersey and Hawaii, I was friends to many farmers and learned about their land situations.
In New Jersey, some farmers worked land that they did not live on. Most owned that land. They would live in one parcel, and just farm the others. Some rented land from or leased the land from a private owner. I was not aware of any restrictions that prevented people from living upon the land that they farmed. Housing could be upon any of the land parcels. So it wasn't uncommon to see a house built on the corner of a farm.
Hawaii is a little different. First of all, some land is fee simple, meaning that the owner actually owns it. A lot of land here is leasehold, meaning that a large entity owns the land and the homeowner or farmer has a lease for using it for a specified number of years. Most leases are 30+ years, though some are far shorter. Most big farms and ranches use leasehold land. Small farms might be either lease or fee simple. Parker Ranch is an exception in that much of their land is owned outright. Many of the big operations use multiple land parcels sitting side by side. So it looks like they have a farm consisting of hundreds, or thousands, of acres as obit big unit. In reality they may have numerous individual parcels .....the problem being that the leases on each parcel could vary and the restrictions on each parcel could be different. Makes for some interesting business manipulations!
Hawaii Island has lots of open land in farms and ranches. One of the reasons it is so open and beautiful here is that there are restrictions. The land cannot have a residence in it. Thus many farmers and ranchers do not, cannot, live on their land. At times this is causing a lot of problems and issues for the farmers and ranchers. But that's another story. So if you come to my island and see farmers & ranchers living in town, it's because they are not allowed to build a house on the land they work. They may lease it, or may very well own it, but may not reside upon it. But if it is a small farm, then the farmer often lives on that land (or maintains a house on it that he rents out for income).......... There is an exception to this generalization in my own area. Most of the Ka'u coffee farms are on leasehold land that has residential restrictions. The farms are small (5 to 10 acres). But a drive-by person gets the impression that it's one quite large coffee farm because of the lack of houses.
|[+] cattle » organic valley coop cow types? (Go to)||Su Ba|
Dairy farmers generally don't retail market their own milk. They sell to a milk coop or consolidator (some "dairies" actually buy milk from other local dairies, for example, Stewart's Dairy). The entity buying the milk has its own requirements as to the least amount they will pick up. Yes, there are small coops who have in the past picked up or accepted milk from one cow, as long as it passes all the other requirements. This doesn't mean that there is one in your particular area. You may wish to make some phone calls to find out.
As for the breeds, I've never heard of one restricting the breeds. Milk buying depending upon the quality of the milk, taking into factors such as protein and butterfat content. Some small dairies will have several different breeds in order to try to produce their preferred protein, butterfat, and poundage goals.
|[+] intentional community » living by yourself vs in cohousing. (Go to)||Johnmark Hatfield|
Forcing people to share large tracts of land is just as bad as forcing people to live close together in villages while leaving the land open. Just my opinion. Personally, I like elbow room.
I attended a public meeting a couple of years ago where our county was considering consolidating a large sprawling subdivision of 1 acre lots near me, forcing people to move together, making a loosely made village. The vacated land would resort to county ownership and stay permanently non-residential use. The public was up in arms! The meeting hall was packed with angry residents, with half the attendees not fitting into the building, but spilling out into the parking lot. The county officials called all the local police in to maintain the peace ( an angry but non-violent peace). I was surprised not by the crowd, but by the number of police. I didn't know that we had so many in my rural community.
People live where they can afford to live and where they are comfortable to live. I would prefer to live on 100 acres but I can't afford it. So I live on 20. I have in the past lived in close housing areas and row homes. I hate the close quarters and it caused lots of unhappy stress. I am far happier with lots of land. My brother is the opposite. Sprawling land around him makes him apprehensive. He's happier in his close condo housing area. To each their own.
While it may appear that there is a shortage of land, I interpret it as a shortage of cheap land in desirable areas that are close to all the preferred infrastructure. The land is there, though no necessarily affordable to most people. Desirable land is priced accordingly (expensive), while undesirable land is too (cheap). Requiring co-habitation of large land parcels won't make it any more affordable. The United States has lots of vacant or open land, available for private ownership or leasehold. Other countries have far less, such as the United Kingdom. I have no experience in other countries. But I suspect that land is there if you can afford it. It may not be exactly what you want in your dreams, but it is there.
I, for one, would not want to be forced by regulation to a limited amount of land.
Besides, who's to say just how much land a person needs? If you're an herb grower, should you be limited to 5 acres? If you're a vegetable grower, should the limit be 20? If you have a goat dairy, are you allowed more land? If you are raising grass fed beef, then could you have 200 acres or more? And on the opposite, if you raise nothing, should you be confined to an apartment or condo? Sticky questions.