Updates. I thought I'd emphasize the direction I'm headed with the farm. When I originally posted "Mini Krameterhoff" I was referring to a few specific things about Sepp Holzer's operation that I would like to attempt to replicate.
One is that I would like to make money. I have personal convictions about living sustainably, leaving the earth better than I found it, be the change I want to see in the world, etc... But I am a realist I need to pay the bills and I like security. Permaculture not only feeds my convictions, but can be used to maximize profit as Sepp has shown.
Another is to be multi faceted... Providing rare and nutritious foods that people can't normally get in this area because of average Ag practices, having eco tourism, selling arts and crafts, foraging.... The list is endless... Permanent... Permaculture!
I'm looking for true wwoofers. I've gotten some responses from survival/bushcraft folks looking to just survive. I appreciate those efforts, but I need people who can help with the labor, the business, healing and herbal medicine... Logistics in building a thriving micro community.
Understand that this is the opposite of a cold climate environment where you spend a short 3 month summer preparing for a long 9 month winter. There is hardly an autumn season here it's 2 months winter, 2 months spring, 7 months of summer and about a month of autumn mid Oct to mid Nov. Desert folks are my best bet, but I'll consider anyone looking to contribute to the same efforts.
I'm a carpenter/furniture maker by trade, plus a musician and a scavenger... Here's the result of a lot of free time after work around 2010 when I lived in a trailer on a 160 acre horse ranch. It had an old junkyard on about an acre (not a landfill, but but old cars and trucks and farm equipment... Useable metal!) Here's one of my creations from that time. Coincidentally, our neck of the holler where my land is now was also used to store vehicles and such by the OG homesteaders and I'm finding much artistic media to feed my creative needs. You'd think I'd have a workshop set up on my own property by now... Time...
Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:What about the pine beetle where you are ? Any effect yet?
The reports I've heard is that the beetle problem is mostly in Colorado. I make furniture and the blue wood is nice to look at, but it's a serious problem. If I remember correctly I think I read that the main plan of action is to log as much of it as possible to try to contain the epidemic. I don't know whether or not if a continuous band of the same trees reaches into California, but presumably all of the American West needs to watch their pine populations.
My favorite of my own is a true accident... Where I bought the land. I knew of many good attributes when I bought, but the one thing I couldn't know is that the national forest behind me was leased by cattle ranchers on a 99 year deal. In addition to fertility from the natural pasture fed cattle washing down the seasonal creek right through a corner of the property, there is a sub-lease to a bee keeping business with maybe 50-100 hives about a mile away. In addition to that the property across the street was at one time used for bee keeping as well and many hives have continued to thrive long after human care has ceased. I have bees buzzing all season and huge swarms in spring. I'm looking to brush up on my bee knowledge and plant some bait hives before next year's swarms.
Another is when I accidentally collected tadpoles from the Creek when I needed water and now I have some growing tadpoles and a small frog community in my garden. Who doesn't love frogs??
I grew up in the suburbs and we always had a dishwasher. To this day my mom scrubs everything before loading the washer and it comes out dirty. She hates every dishwasher she's had. My dad never had one growing up and I noticed at one point in my life that when he washed the dishes it would always be by hand. I also learned later that he was in a sort of state of meditation when he washed dishes. Since high school when I realized all of this I have not used one and can get meditative in the same way when I wash. It taught me about that style of meditation which lends itself well to many permaculture choices... Scythe instead of weed eater, chopping wood instead of using gas, etc.
Well, let me talk about the drought from my perspective. I was wondering if the "California drought" news had reached others around the world. Now remember, I live in what's known as "Jefferson, 51st state of the union" (all counties north of Sacramento). We do not have a drought up here nearly as bad as central and southern California. We would have no drought at all if we were not sending billions of gallons down the Sacramento river to end up in the California aqueduct to feed a ton of Big Ag type farming. The big Ag industry has managed the farmland in the central valley so poorly that wells are toxic, rivers run dry, etc... There's little regard to rainwater harvesting and groundwater restoration there. And Southern California has been a desert for thousands of years. It's only in the last century we've been "greening it" with front lawns and heavily manicured and chemicalized landscaping.
And up in this part of the state it's only slightly better. We have the Siskyou, Lassen, Trinity Alps mountain ranges surrounding us with yearly snowpack and many creeks and springs, but again, we have dammed up a ton of rivers and use the outflow for electricity more than for freshwater. We don't do much groundwater restoration either. We try to manage fish populations with hatcheries, but they need access to the ocean and all the way up into mountain streams to thrive. It's all very sad.
A friend I have known since high school lives very close to me now and works in the wastewater treatment industry. At the local plant the goal is more about sterilizing everything, separating the solids and returning the water to the Sacramento River. The solids are periodically dredged from the outlet ponds, but I don't think they could be used for fertilizer because chlorine is used to cleanse the water, a system that is on its way out it seems in much of the state. Many plants simply use aeration and a series of ponds in an actual bio safe way. I don't know the USDA policy on humanure on food crops, but I believe the solids are mostly absorbed in the soil by reeds and other aquatic plants in the outlet ponds. In many places the reclaimed water is used in landscaping and given to local residents to use in gardening and landscaping. The governor is trying to make the recent water restrictions in many central and southern counties permanent.
"Whiskey is for drinking. Water is for fighting over." That's never been more true in California and as such, this post could be a novel...
Nice, seed tp, over humanure bed, cover with some ashes from the fire, inoculate with urine, all during autumn when the most vibrant and contrasting colors pop out... Makes nature's call that much more pleasant... And natural... And productive...
How about this thought... Charge a seemingly high price for camping/backpacking, but give a discount for every pound/kilogram of clay seed balls brought (and planted). Eco-tourists would love the opportunity to save money and reforest at the same time.
What about seed that wild birds, wildlife and long ranging livestock eat and are dispersed for hundreds of square miles at least. Maybe cows could eat a bunch of seed/grain of things you'd like to plant, then be put out on thousands of acres of pasture to disburse it (with manure) and will be fed on pasture.
Could Gert's story already have been written? I read a book a few months ago; 12 X 12 Life Off the Grid and Beyond the American Dream and I think the character "Jackie" could be Gert... She's a physician who takes a salary of $11,000/year treating native and immigrant patients. Her salary is based on protesting war taxes. She practices permaculture in that she lives on her land with very little outside input or waste. She uses a little money to pay her property taxes, minor expenses and greyhound bus trips to visit with her activist friends in Berkeley from her hippie days in college. She is considered by locals as a person of wisdom, a healer, a loon to some and at the same time a true local "daughter of the South". The book really goes into the author's personal issues, but his experience in the 12 x 12 leaves a permaculture taste in his mouth.
California is out of control with real estate... That said here's my observations.
My cousin in Redding, CA is a real estate agent, soon to be broker. I own land in Nor-Cal and have done property preservation on foreclosed and probate housing all over the area. And I have a friend who is closing on a house Friday. In all of that exposure to real estate around here I come away with this. Permaculture folks have a real advantage in purchasing real estate because we are able to see a piece of land for its potential regardless of things conventionally percieved as lowering the value. For example, I've seen $1Million homes on half acre minutes from a 400 acre property with two year round spring fed lakes with no home for the same price. Most of us can't spend that kind of money on real estate, but can you imagine how easy the choice would be if a permaculture person had those resources available? Let me scale it down some to the working class level. There are homes in somewhat remote rural villages around here with 2bd 1bath on like 1/8 acre and the bank wants $50K cash or it goes to auction. On the other hand my area is 30 minutes from Redding (pop. 90,000) 20 minutes from the post office in Bella Vista (pop.3,000) and not on the map. And properties here? A flat ten acres with no house, $70K. A steep 15 with no house, $50K. With things like terracing, building, forest gardening, etc in the permaculture toolbox these issues that bring the value of a piece of land down are almost welcome if in fact they do reduce the cost to us.
That's where I'm at with it. Or better stated, I would guide you in the direction of buying more rural land, still close enough to town with "issues" that can help lower the cost and then use permaculture practices to turn it into your paradise.
There it is! I saw this when I first started researching the possibilities on my steep land. Seems like the OP is in northern England and posted years ago, but I hope you still see this and can benefit from it. Perhaps if you get a chance to go on a trip and have the money you could travel over the creek to Switzerland and learn from the masters.
Anyway, I love those ziplines! And the music and views across the Meadows, the Alpine shacks where they eat summer sausage, bread and cheese for lunch. Probably a beer too (come on, it's Western Europe... They drink beer with breakfast). It's all the things I imagine about Alpine farming. The only thing missing was the guys with the huge horns shouting "Ricola!"
It has been a while since the OP has posted, but I think perhaps he was speaking in kilometers per hour instead of mph for wind... I think 75kph is roughly 45mph. A friend of mine got a speeding ticket in Canada years ago due to his reading 75 and thinking in mph.
Does anyone have experience with the Alpine style of harvesting hay/fodder on hillsides and sending it in nets via pulley/zipline systems to the barn? I've seen a video on this and it seems it would solve the OP's and my own problem with steep/uneven terrain and storage/wind issues.
Welcome to Permies Oyvind! Hopefully you and Kostas can be like two ripples in a pond starting in Greece and spreading through the world.
Kostas, I was just pondering your situation today and you've answered my question with your latest post. I was wondering why clay cubes were so necessary, but as you've mentioned you are doing billions of plants over millions of acres and so rapid seeding is very necessary. I love this vision and hope it can be successfully replicated on a global scale.
A couple thoughts... And again, I have not read this entire thread so correct me if these have been addressed.
1. Reforestation tourism... Perhaps an effort could be made along with the reforesting to create backpacking trails. While building these trails forest management and reforestation with edibles can be accomplished. Then while backpacking tourists can eat and be given education and instruction on reforesting and asked to plant seeds of what they eat as they continue to travel. This could go in a million directions, but a thought that would appease money makers and environmentalists alike.
2.Have you used any annuals in the "seed bombs" as they've been called? Using annual vegetables when reforesting at certain times will increase (edible) ground cover and the right varieties will reseed naturally year after year in your climate. I can think of many annual fruits and vegetables as well as perennial herbs that would survive year after year in the dry heat if sprouted at the right time and let go to seed.
I am really very excited about the possibilities here...
The fire was before I was on the land, but I don't know that it was entirely a bad thing. The oaks burned, but suckers grew out of the charred stumps into new trees. A few grey pine survived. It must have brought in new species and opened up dormant seeds within the soil because my neighbor told me that there are many plant species that were not in our canyon before then. That is when the Yerba Santa started showing up for example.
The manzanita propagates underground really well, but I will place some berries in the ground when they start falling in autumn and report back with my results after/during the spring rains.
This and one other thread on the forum have really inspired me lately. I read some of this in 2014 and the idea germinated in my mind finally. I am buying apples, apricots, dates, almonds, citrus etc all summer and will plant about 3 acres with the seeds this fall.
I've also read that figs will not seed unless a specific wasp is present, but will root very easy from cuttings. I have a friend in the Bay Area who has huge fig trees near his house. Hopefully I can take and root a bunch of cuttings for figs!
I have nothing to do with the arboretum/gardens and nursery outside of loving the idea!
I didn't know that oak needed to germinate right away. It makes sense though considering the kernel is only 1/3 covered by hard shell. Perhaps a few could be planted by whatever means necessary and they could reforest themselves. My property burned to the ground in 2004 and many of the oak trees now have grown out of the stumps. They are extremely Hardy. You might try Spanish oak seeing as that country is close to you and almost exact in some climate aspects. Spanish, white, red, black, coastal, live oak, central Valley are just a few of the hundreds of varieties that thrive in the wilds all over CA (Oregon to Mexico).
I would also encourage you to try manzanita. Many varieties grow wild in the Sonoran Desert region (Guatemala to Canada) and has many uses. It is medicinal, succulent, produces edible berries, is used in smoking blends and best of all it grows "like a weed" in the hottest dryest environments.
I just stumbled upon this one, but the one I linked to above is much more current and is very inspiring.
Konstantinos "Kostas" seems to be able to put seeds from many fruit trees into the ground in fall and have saplings the following spring.
I'm going to be doing this for life on my property. If I get a tree that bears bad fruit to my taste it can be used for livestock fodder, compost, oils, black soldier flies (to feed chickens) and likely many other uses. If there are ones that taste great I can graft them onto lesser tasting ones... Good all around.
Here's the link to our local botanical gardens and arboretum. My locality is in a Mediterranean climate and the gardens reflect this with multiple world regional gardens including a Mediterranean Basin Garden which encompasses Greece. The whole thing is very educational on what kinda of things from around the world can grow in our climate type.
I would like to see them move to a more permaculture approach with zero pesticides or chemicals and a low-no watering system with rain harvesting, but it is a really good start for a city to support something like this.
Check the site and especially their nursery. Many of the plants listed are CA native, and some are not, but all do well in the hot, dry Mediterranean climate. Believe me... When it's 117°f, there are still green trees everywhere...
You really might try those that I've mentioned. I'm at 700ft elevation, 40.5°N latitude and summer May-October with frequent 110°f and higher days. Oak, grey pine, manzanita and something called Yerba Santa all grow wild like crazy here. The Yerba Santa rots very easily for compost/soil building and is a medicinal herb used for upper pulmonary (throat, lung, chest) problems.
Did you try oak, buckeye or manzanita? I don't know if you are focused on edibles and have not read the entire thread, but those trees/shrubs seem to all grow well together in the same dry rocky soil we have here. We also get little to no rain late may to late September. I don't know your exact latitude or elevation or distance from oceans even, but it seems like we have similar growing conditions.
My grandfather who lived in Los Angeles burried an apricot stone in his yard in the 80's and it grew and produced plenty of fruit every year with zero maintenance. It may still be producing, but my grandfather is gone and the house is out of the family. I've always known apricots could grow that way because of that.
I have a post in the wwoofers forum about my property and some of the things going on here. It is a particularly windy morning and I'm not in the mood to work outdoors so I'm starting seeds indoors and got to thinking as I watched all the trees sway in the wind... We have a ton of volunteer/pioneer/native plants including many deciduous trees that are very useful to homesteading/permaculture.
I'm going to name a few and their uses. Please feel free to chime in if I've missed anything or with your own personal plants and their uses.
Oak - multiple varieties
-acorns for food
-leaves great for humanure
Pine - Gray, Ponderosa, Sugar, White
-timber (mostly the white which is more rare here)
-firewood (outdoor, not in dry season. The pitch causes popping and spark throwing)
Vitamin c tea
Mulch for plants requiring acidic soil i.e. blueberry's...
Can be chewed to rehydrate (bitter/sour)
-wood great for crafting. Burns very fast and crackles/throws sparks
-mainly known for its medicinal purposes. I also use it in my compost mix and hugel projects
-pretty flowers all spring
Having grown up in Alameda County and lived in West Oakland for a few years when I was first learning about gardening this hits VERY close to home. Hilarious depiction of real life in West Oakland... "We can make our cupcakes super local now"... Genius
Well it's the nursery I'm excited about, not just the website! They have so many native plants if that's your thing, as well as a huge variety of plants generally suited to our climate which is pretty much dead on Mediterranean, not coastal, but inland.
Wow, I never knew about A1 vs. A2 milk. That explains my friend who says he feels great when he drinks milk and then feels terrible later. People getting dopesick from milk... Something new every day. There are laws around here that you have to sign a waiver when receiving raw milk from any species stating that it will be used for other purposes than directly feeding people (feeding livestock, making cheese or paint etc are all OK). There are some rebel dairys working with raw milk activist groups that I've heard of, but mostly people find a friend (or cousin) like me and just keep quiet about it. In extreme cases I've heard of cps taking children away in homes where raw dairy was fed to the kids... very sad, I hope those are just rumors and nothing more. We'll co-op a solution. I still like the idea of having a young 4H or FFA student that i can hire part time in the summers. It would be education and income in one and the US needs a younger generation of farmers. If we can instill permaculture practices into the budding generation of aggies to be we might (hopefully) see a stronger shift away from factory style farming.
Do you have any experience with Nigerian dwarf goats? I've read they are typically 1/2 - 3/4 gallon per day and a 7-10% butterfat content. I myself drank 1/2 gallon of cows milk per day when I was about 10-22. I would still drink as much now, but I'm concerned about the quality of you average cow milk from the store even if the carton says organic. My cousin, his wife and their two daughters consume as much raw organic foods as possible and have had a difficult time finding raw goat milk. My thought was to give excess milk to them as well as make cheeses in exchange for feeding animals occasionally while I'm away in the summer time. That way it is family and I can breath easier if I choose to leave. Basically when the kids are weaned and we're not ready to breed yet.
Thank you Brian and Linda! What type of goats do you work with? I know as a whole goats are suited to hot, dry mountain environments like the Middle East. I'm looking to have two dairy does with a donkey or a gang of Guinea Hens to protect them and a buck with a couple wethers for friends. That way meat and dairy for just me (and occasionally friends and family in the area) will be no problem. I need to find a local 4H or FFA student that I can hire to care for my animals after the first year in case I go backpacking or to a pdc or any reason I might want to leave over night.
I also need to have more water. I'm going to bite the bullet and install a 2,500 gallon tank and have a local construction/excavator service come bring 3,000 gallons. The extra 500 will go partially in my 300 gal tank and the other 200 can go to the pond I've been working on. This will get me through the year and give me enough storage capacity to always get through the dry seasons. Check out my hand dug spot for the tank... Looks like a perfect terrace for growing and slowing rain. I'll have to do these all over the property.
That might be the best option anyway... I've read talked to a lot of people who say that pigs are very difficult to contain in a larger area without expensive hog panel fencing. Ducks don't need to be contained as much as protected from predators (like chickens). There was a cool video (I think it was called 4 acres and independence) by the PeakMoment channel where the guy's duck house was on the pond and they had to swim to access it. He said this eliminated most predators, because they are not quick to get in the water for a meal unless absolutely starving to death.
Also check Michael Newby's thread about gleying ponds with pigs. I first saw this done by Sepp Holzer, but the concept is that wherever pigs like to wallow in the mud they leave a depression that holds water. Michael is in the same county as me although higher elevation. He likely has much lower temps and more snow runnof etc, but look at the soil he's starting with. Looks like a gravel quarry. Makes me very hopeful.
I'm with you Tyler. I'm looking for examples as my area is pretty close to what you've described. We have occasional snow in the winter with temps dropping to 20s some nights and VERY hot (110°) and dry summers with 3-10 year drought periods in between monsoon (el Niño) flood years.
My attempt at a pond has been pretty unsuccessful as far as naturally holding water. I'm going to use bentonite when I have the shape roughly how I want it. One thing I've been told is to make the pond overall smaller, but deeper in dry regions to avoid evaporation.
My neighbor has a very large pond that goes dry by August, but by his description of how he spread the bentonite I'm not sure it was done correctly.
Hopefully I don't have to use a liner.
Look up Tom Ward's videos on Keyline water systems on YouTube. He uses liners in many of his projects because of the soil conditions and humidity of southern Oregon being so similar to here... Rocky... Dry... Good for floods, bad for ponds.
It seems like there's a problem with semantics here. I personally consider "farmer" to mean anyone who produces food. My mother is a gardener to be sure, but very little of what she grows is food outside of some raspberrys, some citrus, a few herbs and the occasional annual vegetable or two. 95 percent of her yard is ornamental/landscaping/flowers or beneficial, but not edible.
To be more clear, too many people think food comes from the grocery store or maybe they go as far as to say it's from a food factory, bit those who produce their own food know that food comes from farms and are therefore farmers. Even if they are not professional or profiting from it I'd still call them a farmer. But to me, who cares... I liked the film and would love to see a shift from society chasing money to society embracing life as it seems the subject of the film has done.
Thank you for your reply, Greg. I've written you privately explaining more in detail, but just to put it out there, I wanted to express that I am not looking to have a cannabis grow operation here at the farm. While I don't judge people's personal choices, there are many reasons why a situation like that would not work out.
I also wanted to make a correction that this zone is more like 8b-9a. I have looked at many more maps since the OP and realized this.
That's exactly how my property is. BTW I've mostly worked as a carpenter, but know my way around a chainsaw, ropes and rigging, etc. PM me if you are ever looking for seasonal labor...
I'm going to paste on an email I just got that goes right along with a similar thread of yours that I just posted to. Looks like there is a Redding group that wants to do perma-blitz and potentially co-op type stuff.
I just read your posts on Permies.com but can’t post a reply there yet as I just signed up for an account and it hasn’t been activated yet. I’m new to permaculture but am voraciously learning as much as I can about it.
There is a Permablitz Collective on Redding Meetups that has 103 members. It was started a year ago in February. You have to sign up and attend 3 group work sessions, then you are eligible to have group members come to your place for a work day (after having your project for the day approved by a PDC). It sounds like you are looking for someone to work with you full time but it would be a good resource to connect with others who are interested in permaculture. I haven’t been to a meeting, but my neighbors have gone to a couple and said it’s a nice group of people. It’s organized by a woman named Laurie. She is the only member with a PDC (so far). The website is: www. meetup.com/Redding-Permablitz-Collective/
If this happens in the Shasta area I would be willing to pay dues and put out a lot of volunteer work to get it started. I know you mentioned having a hard time finding people in this area, but I'd be willing to put in some work to help find them. I'll definitely keep you informed as to how my wwoofers request is going. I know there are a lot of folks in the area who want quality organic food, but don't have their lives set up to produce it. A local CSA might be a good addition to a co-op that has fewer members to increase income. In our situation we might be able to produce products the other cannot due to differences on climate and elevation. For example, I want to grow citrus in a greenhouse since we have so little freezing here...
Michael, I am so inspired by your thread about ponds with pigs! I could tell it was a high elevation in the West, but never guessed it was right here in the county! In fact that thread was mentioned on a YouTube video about gleaning with pigs. You and permies.com got some good press there...
Have you run across Luna Verde permaculture? Apparently they are a permaculture farm in the Mt Shasta area. I found some old stuff that is still floating around the internet and sent an email to the contact provided, but have yet to hear back. I would love to come visit and see what you have going on one of these days.
Thank you! Good to know there is someone... My email is in this thread previously. Feel free to message me. I would love to work out some kind of possible trade like a day of work for a consultation? Even a nudge in the right direction from someone more educated such as yourself would be a huge help. I feel like I have such a mixed bag of information from the internet and nothing that pertains to this site specifically. Thanks for the reply.