I have a small thermometer in my greenhouse. It does transmit to an app on my phone, but honestly, it doesn't work very well. I have to take my phone to a certain place in my house and refresh it on an app. It's easier just to walk down to the greenhouse. I had a different thermometer that would just display the greenhouse temperature but it broke after about 6 months. The thermometers that I've tried all struggle with the dripping water in the greenhouse and of course they can't be in direct sun, so it's difficult to get an accurate temperature. But I've mostly figured out what the temperature will be like under different conditions depending on outside temperature, wind and cloud cover vs. bright sun.
My property has BLM land on two sides. There is no access to this land without crossing private land. And one side is a designated calving area.
While some areas of BLM land might be useful for homesteading, lots of it just isn't. My property is marginal for homesteading. I'm willing to work with it, but most people I know, other than permies, think I'm nuts. No water rights, off-grid, very rocky soil, little flat land, not easy living.
But the land isn't really managed by BLM, they don't come out here. It just exists without private ownership. It belongs to the bears, cougars, deer, elk and other wildlife that live there, and I'm fine with that.
I have found that my greenhouse just isn't warm enough overnight for germinating. If I had electricity in the greenhouse, I would use my seed starting heating mats there, but I don't. So I start my seeds in a building, under lights with heat mats. Then I transplant and move to the greenhouse to finish growing out.
Some how I missed this thread, nice that it's been brought back. I was just hiking up a dozer trail, interesting that they leave it lumpy on purpose, not that it's going to stop the quad drivers. I'm just looking for morels, but it's too early on that northern slope.
We are working on a lot of wildfire mitigation, fuels reduction and water retention are big for us. My property is on the northern edge of last year's Obenchain fire. People are already saying it's going to be a bad fire season, but they always do.
The floor of my greenhouse is decomposed granite (non-graded sand). I needed to make my greenhouse ground squirrel proof, so I put down hardware cloth. But the weeds started growing through the hardware cloth, so I put down cardboard. And then, I kept tripping over the cardboard and hardware cloth, so I topped the whole thing with decomposed granite, so much nicer.
Our off-grid solar array is fairly large so we just use it for refrigerator, freezer etc. We always have a glut of power in the spring and summer. We are typically in float by 10:00 or 11:00. While we don't have whole house air conditioning, my daughters house has a mini-split that provides some a/c and I have a portable room a/c, though I don't use it much. Mostly we just open up our houses at night and close them up tight in the morning.
While I utilize many other techniques for food preservation, I wouldn't want to do without refrigeration unless necessary.
I think a lot of it depends on where you live. Where I grew up, we had neither heat or a/c for most of my childhood, and that continued when I raised my kids. Some places just have a lovely climate, too bad that's changing.
I was very fortunate to get a number of things from a friend of my fathers that was a retiring handyman. A portable table saw and a chop saw were some of my favorites. It can be challenging to work with older equipment that parts are no longer available for, but well worth it. Happy cutting.
I agree completely, small houses, big outbuildings, at least for rural properties. Another thing that we are going to do on our property is detached bedrooms. That could be done in conjunction with the modular system. Our property came with two houses complete with separate septic systems. Oregon is quite strict about a lot of things, but a house by definition has a kitchen, after that things get more nuanced. So while our houses satisfy all the major rules, other building aren't examined so much. Our goal is to offer rental housing for others at cost, either in money or trade. Ownership isn't possible because of restrictions, but not everyone is looking for that.
I find a seedling heat mat to be invaluable. I germinate my seeds in my solar building, which is just a garage that houses our solar equipment, with heat mats and lights. After germination, the seedlings are moved from the heating mat, to just under lights in this building, then I up-pot good seedlings and transfer to my unheated greenhouse. To regulate temperatures in my hoop house style greenhouse, I added both automatic vent openers, and additional doors covered with hardware cloth, and barrels of water for thermal mass. The automatic vent openers don't provide enough ventilation for my climate so I added the doors. I tried all kinds of different ways to start seeds, but nothing compares with the heat mats. We are off-grid and find the additional power for them to be negligible.
High ceilings are great in hot climates. When I was a child, we would go to Brooklyn every August. My grandmothers apartment had 10 ft. ceilings. It was a life saver.
My childhood home had clere story windows, they are amazing for temperature control as well.
I really like the design of the post WWII housing that is so prevalent in California. It is very functional. Homes are 1000-1500 sf. Rooms are small but very usable. My only complaint is they had only one bathroom, which is a major pain. Although they were not well insulated, most people added that later.
I like straw bale building for insulation. And like others have mentioned pipes are best on interior walls.
Here in Oregon, one lender is more open to give mortgages for off-grid or alternative housing. Talking to lenders, particularly local credit unions might be a good idea.
I have avoided this post for personal reasons, but I just thought that I would offer a saying that has worked well for my family. You are enough, you have enough, you do enough. Best wishes for you and your family.
I did not read this thread as an end times discussion. It's far more likely that we will need food security because of temporary issues, e.g. job loss, short term natural disaster, etc. That is what I try to be prepared for.
Maria - I don't have the goats yet, the goal is next year. So we will see how much they can eat. I have 80 acres, and the plan is to let things grow back, so that they have more to eat, at least in some areas, but it will take things a long time to grow back to our current density. Other areas, I will probably switch species, like in an area that is heavy in oaks and buck brush, I'm hoping that the goats thin out the buck brush enough, so that I can move pigs in to eat the acorns.
My desire for an outdoor canning area is because of the heat that canning produces. I currently can in my kitchen, but I'm not going to want to do that in the summer. The canning area will just be part of my outdoor kitchen. The plans are to include a large sink for washing produce and a cob wood oven as well.
Chuck - In my experience, viewing permies as red or blue isn't useful. I don't see either as being small government, just small in different areas. I prefer government to help when needed, rather than create problems, but that's just me. I, for one, do not fit in any current political party, and I suspect that's true for many of us. In the US, we are very limited with political representation.
I do have my family compound, which I'm very happy about, so sorry that didn't work out for you.
For those of you using it for broth or stock, are you using a single chicken carcass or just a meals worth of pork or beef bones. It seems awfully small for broth. My stock pot is 16 quarts. I've never seen an Insta-pot that large, or maybe I just haven't looked enough.
Our property came with a small hoop house style greenhouse. I love it. I made it ground squirrel proof, added ventilation and thermal mass. Works great for our mild winters and spring. We just got a new freezer after our last one died. I find it invaluable. An outdoor kitchen with a canning area is planned, but not in the works yet. Currently I do my canning in the house. I have a dehydrator, haven't found it very useful, need to play around with it more. There is a cold room under my house, but it needs work. That is a project for this summer. My plan is to build a garage for this house with a room for butchering and cold storage for meat. And another for cheese aging. I definitely need more canning lids, but am planning on doing more fermentation because it looks like it's going to be another difficult year for canning lids at least around here.
Exposed water pipes burst even in our fairly mild winters, I'm zone 8b. The weekend of my grandson's memorial we had a water pipe burst, we lost 3000 gallons of water rapidly. Flooded my crawl space and left me without water for days. Never mind having to call a water truck to replace the water. Our irrigation taps and house water are on the same lines, we can't turn off one without turning off the other. We have valve boxes to turn off certain areas, but they are still in line from the tanks up high down to the houses and irrigation.
John C Daley - I don't have more water pipes and taps, because they are very expensive to install and we don't know where other pipes or electrical are buried. Our ground is 1/3 rock, digging typically requires an excavator and the pvc gets damaged unless you backfill with sand or rock free soil. I'm happy when I can get away with just one 100 ft. hose, many places I have two connected. I definitely would love more taps, but it's low on the list.
Jen Fulkerson - I agree with you, there is no such thing as a kink free hose.
I'm not impressed with the Instapot. We have one, my daughter likes it for beans, but I don't have little use for it. Ours is stainless steel, so that is available. But the whole thing is a pain to clean, especially the top and vent.
Roberta - I haven't found anything to eliminate the ground squirrel problem. Cats help keep them out of certain areas, somewhat. My annual vegetable garden and my greenhouse are ground squirrel proof via hardware cloth. Once they have established tunnel systems nothing is going to get rid of them, even if you succeed in reducing the population one year, new ones will find the tunnels next year. They are smart and work in groups with a lookout. Good luck.
I've actually never seen one of our cats eat a lizard, but my dog has. It made him violently ill. And my dog goes after the snakes as well, makes me nervous.
Our native tree frogs are very small. I can't imagine that a cat would care much about them, other then to play with them, but they are good hiders. I had one in my greenhouse last year. Very cute.
I've had people come out and advise me on my land. And I started with a vision and changed that about a bit. Personally, I've found that just trying stuff has worked the best for me. When something works I add to that. My plan is goats for brush removal and milk. It suits my land. I have an almost endless supply of shrubs and trees that goats love, and I need fuel reduction work done. So it's a win-win. The cost to have the shrubs removed by machine and people would be astronomical, and I have no desire to spend my time that way.
I've found it very helpful to be able to let go of plans that aren't working.
We have a lot of feral cats on our property and haven't noticed any decline in wildlife that we like, but they help keep the ground squirrels from decimating the fruit trees. We have lots of rock piles and areas that snakes and lizards can hide. It's actually the foxes that eat the bull frogs, but they are invasive anyway. I'm actually surprised that the cats aren't killed off by predators. I guess it really depends on what your property is like.
Rebecca-I've had better luck with steaming eggs for hard boiled with both very fresh and a little old eggs. In very fresh, they peel better. In older eggs, you can steam them without a hard boil and have less breakage, at least that's my experience.
If they are dirty, I just wipe them with a dry cloth and then into the lime water. If you are very concerned, maybe look into other ways to preserve them, like freezing, coating with oil or ash. There are many options.
I don't wash my eggs. If they are dirty, I wipe them with a dry cloth. It's worked well so far. My understanding is that some places require you to wash your eggs before selling to the public. I only sell to friends so we just inform them that they are not washed.
This is one of the income streams that we are working on. We are currently listed as a camp site with Hipcamp, no amenities at this point other than access to potable water and a picnic table. The plan is to add amenities and simple cabins with the money that we get from current camp income. I doubt that we will do full RV site rental as there is a lot of that in town, and we are off grid.
We have opted to not allow pets, so that's an option. We have had too many negative experiences with other peoples pets.
Another land steward sells farm products to her visitors, so we are going to try that as well.
It sounds like you are planning on placing them in a front yard. I would be very wary of this. You are likely opening yourself up to all kinds of liability. While I wish it wasn't so, if someone gets stung you could get sued. When I lived in the SF Bay Area even parks were required to disclose known hives (wild). I wouldn't want to take the risk in an urban area, unless you could fence it in.
Mike - the wood is structural. It is quite sturdy. We really have a lot of storage already. We have a very large pole barn, the poles are telephone poles to give some perspective. My daughter also hates the look of it. It's down by the pond and she thinks it takes away from the beauty of the area. The pictures are of the small section that we are talking about using for a goat shelter, it has greenhouse plastic at each end. The larger section is at least twice the size, probably about 100 ft long, and it's completely covered with tarps, no light.
Normally, there is no power or water down there. They rented a generator to run fans. The heat in the summer would be unbearable in there, as it was our greenhouse until I shaded and ventilated it. Honestly, the more I think about it, the more I realize it will have to be disassembled and used in various other places. It's just going to be so much work. Oh well, no rest for the weary.
My neighbors had leased them some land and I have been informed that they are not coming back. It’s not uncommon here. My neighbor has offered to help clean up some of the mess they left, so that’s nice but I would definitely like to reuse anything I can.
Some people that we rented space to have left us with some dry houses, which are like greenhouses but covered with tarps to be dark. We have no use for them as dry houses and have no desire for greenhouses in that location. I'm thinking that I could use the smaller of the two for goat housing. And really have no idea what to do with the larger one. It would definitely have to be disassembled to move. I would love to hear people's ideas.
I wasn't sure what forum to put this in, moderators feel free to move.
We have two cisterns, one is cement and one is some kind of metal. Our water testing didn't show any harmful contaminants. I didn't install them so I don't know the cost. I prefer the cement one, it's larger, about 3500 gallons.
We also have rainwater catchment in above ground plastic. They are not holding up well. I would definitely not get anymore of those.
Our contractor recommends the in-ground plastic but I'm worried that will make gravity feed more difficult.
Great lists, I'm in 8b as well and I'm looking forward to the point where we have fresh year round fruit on the property. We are adding citrus this year, Meyer lemon and some kind of mandarin.
We love feijoa (pineapple guava). I had planted some here, but they didn't get enough water. Hopefully, I can get some more this year. The deer don't like them, so that's great, but the birds love to eat the blossoms.
This is pretty much my plan, but I don't have the goats yet. I do plan on protecting the older oaks that I don't want girdled, and allowing the goats to eat the smaller trees and shrubs. If they like madrone, I have a lot of it. It's kind of a weedy tree, overtakes areas that haven't been allowed to burn and resprouts like crazy. But the madrone is in the mixed conifer/hardwood forest, and I'm planning on keeping the goats in the oak chaparral areas. So it would have to be cut and taken to them.
I've actually never heard of goats preferring pasture, like you would keep for cows. Which was why I was thinking that goats would be a better option for my land.
It's interesting to me that others main concern is safety, mine is definitely wanting help with projects. I really don't worry about my safety, maybe it's because I've survived a lot of horrible things so I know I can handle it. I don't know.
Aimee - the computer and internet thing is an issue. My kids partner coaches e sports and can't live here because the internet isn't sufficient and his computer uses so much power. We are looking at renting some space for him in town with fiber optic.