Good points from everyone. Said database may be better organized by climate/soil type. Like a landrace seed sharing network and one could cross reference, "dry, clay, zone 7" or "silty loam, wet, zone 5", etc. It is correct that going simply by state would not be particularly useful. I am presently in Oklahoma and the quantity of highly varied microclimates here is significant. An hour or two east and I am in the forest and foothills of the Ozarks. An hour or two west and there are sand dunes. Still, I think the folks here could pull it off. Here we have the compulsive seed savers and as was mentioned above, after about three seasons one has the beginning of a serious landrace variety. Maybe I will make a separate thread for this. I think it could be super cool to have a network of folks sharing/selling/trading landrace varieties.
I'll be honest. Definitely didn't read through the whole thread but I just wanted to express my agreement about landrace seeds. Particularly if we want to have plants that can adapt to our changing environment(s). They are hard as hell to find though if you are wanting to get your garden started as such. Obviously, landrace seeds need to be locally cultivated. I was thinking that maybe we could get a database going or something that can show who is cultivating landrace varieties (and selling the seeds) and organize it by region, state, etc. Just a thought.
Our primary goal in creating our forest farm/homestead is to remove money from our lives as much as possible. I do not want to take part in exploitative and amoral economic systems any more than I have to. Additionally, I just don't feel like human beings are meant to live this way. We are animals. We are nature. We should be living in harmony with it. Not in juxtaposition to it. The "rat race" leaves me horribly depressed and empty. I have no interest in it. Granted, the systems that be will not disappear any time soon. So that leaves working within it. Sort of. But food, water, and energy security can go a long way toward freeing a person. Allowing them to be human again. Not just another serf for our modern day feudalism. Let's not be fooled, it is still feudalism. We just changed the names and added steps.
We have some plans to make a bit of money. Enough to pay the tax man and buy some things we can't make ourselves or trade for. Ultimately though, we are trying to put ourselves in a position to grow, raise, or barter/trade for as much as possible. It has been a dream for a long time and we finally have the land to do it. Projects start this year.
So if anyone is interested in some "networking" for this sort of thing, hit me up. I'm in Oklahoma at the moment but our farm is (will be) up in northern VT, near Newport.
My friend and I used to busk in Asheville, NC. We mostly played originals or just went on some trippy jams. Honestly, we just wanted to play music and played what we liked. We made some money some days. Not so much on others. Definitely weren't going to pay the rent that way but we often covered our bar tab.
One thing to mind is that busking, particularly in certain areas, often requires a license. Which is absurd. Let people play music, ya know? But it is a thing. So, if you are going to go out busking, mind that you aren't going to be harassed by cops.
If one were to buy 'conventional' seeds and grow them organically (no synthetic inputs), how long would it take for those plants to become 'organic'? How many generations of growth before the traces of synthetic fertilizers and whatnot are removed from the plants composition?
What are the potential ramifications of non-organic seeds grown organically without intent to harvest? Should one still consider the 'conventional' seeds for soil building and tillage or would it make it impossible to grow anything organically by leaching said chemical fertilizers and pesticides into the soil? If so, how long before the soil has cleansed itself? If ever.
I am looking at a seed company that specializes in native grasses and wildflowers but they are not grown organically and it got me wondering.
Bugs always seem to find their way in. I doubt you will run out of creatures trying to eat the plants in your greenhouse. If for some reason you do, then some of the predators will die back and then the 'pests' will return. If not, open a window/door for a bit and I am sure you will acquire some new ones. Probably of both varieties.
Ben Zumeta wrote:I have never raised large livestock myself. However, in research I've done on their management to prevent erosion and desertification, grazing is restricted to land with less than 5% slope. In addition to the increased need for vegetative cover on ground of steeper slopes, it also becomes very difficult to fence steep and irregular terrain. So the way you would avoid overgrazing by rotating pastures would seem to be quite difficult to do on such steep ground. In the Loess Plateau restoration videos, it was mentioned that any land over 15% grade was kept as permanent forest, largely conifers. This was because conifers provide their full erosion control year round, whereas deciduous trees are far less effective in winter. Just my 2 cents.
Wouldn't pretty much any deep rooting vegetation accomplish the same goal? I know that in some parts of the tropics they use vetiver grass to keep slopes from eroding and causing landslides. Not a lot of conifers down there. At our place, we have a whole lot of slopes well over 15% that are being held in place by northern hardwoods and various herbaceous plants and ferns. We have some conifers but not a lot. A deciduous forest will have a lot more rooting things in it than just the trees though. There is significantly more life on the forest floor than in a dense coniferous forest. I worry about erosion issues as well because I have some minor earthworks projects for my own woods. A la Sepp Holzer but smaller scale. Don't you think one could mitigate some of those issues with some well placed plants and very selective soil compression?
Sounds like the OP and I have a pretty similar topography (including a NE facing slope) and some similar goals as well. So I definitely want to follow along with this one.
Lots of good advice and thoughts in this thread so far.
Anyone growing Fukuoka's Happy hill rice? I would like to get some seeds of this. I was growing these some time back, but lost the seeds. These seeds if kept uncultivated for a few months, does not germinate in my climate (Kerala,India). I still have some seeds, but they don't germinate any more. But they are amazing seeds, some photos of my earlier cultivation can be seen here https://farming-experiments.blogspot.com/2016/05/happy-hill-rice-2016-monsoon.html
There are two possibilities of getting these seeds, one from Japan and one in US. There is a seed company which sells this in Japan, but they can not ship it internationally hence some one in Japan has to buy it and then send it to you, in turn you can send a few seeds to me also
Another source is in US, here also, US citizens may be able to get this and send a few seeds back to me
Let me know if it works out for anyone here.
So here's my thought -
Didn't Happy Hill Rice come about because Mr. Fukuoka spent many seasons keeping seeds from his best faring and yielding plants and propagating them the next season? Over time he had a rice that was especially suited to his soil and climate and subsequently thrived.
So my thinking is that it would be better to find a locally cultivated seed and to save back the seeds from whichever plants fare best. Then repeat that process for a few seasons. Over time, you should wind up with your own "Happy Hill Rice" that is particularly suited to your soil and climate. It seems to me that just because a type of rice thrives in southern Japan, does not necessarily mean it will thrive elsewhere. Even if it was bred by the master himself.
Just my two cents. Good luck with finding what you're looking for!
Trace Oswald wrote:Keep in mind that Milwaukee tools are made in China now. I like Rigid myself, but to each his own.
Aside from the national economic benefits of buying American, Chinese stuff has really improved. So the "made in China" go to doesn't necessarily imply poor quality anymore. It certainly can but I have also gotten some amazing and durable products that were manufactured there. The last decade there have been some really massive improvements in the quality of goods manufactured in China. I have also bought a lot of absolute crap that was "Made In America" with a label half the size of the product saying as much. In my experience, these days - it is about the same. Some great products made in USA. Some garbage. Some great products made in China. Some garbage.
I have virtually no experience with Rigid but the couple of times I have used one of their products it seemed just fine. I would definitely be willing to give them a chance.
Joshua Rimmer wrote:Personally, if I had $5K for homestead tools, I'd be looking for an ATV and trailer, or the rarer but more useful garden tractor with loader. I am in my late 40's, abused my body before and during my military career, and would not be able to do many essential tasks without my "heavy stuff movers"!
ATV is definitely on the list. My issue is that our soon to be farm is located about 1800 miles northeast of my current location. It's a long story but we are not actually going to be living there full time for a couple more years. Just a lot of back and forth in the meantime. Plague allowing, of course. So I don't really have anywhere to keep an ATV there yet, no one to mind it, and I don't want to have to drag it nearly 2k miles when we move. So, we are waiting on the ATV. That being said, if you know someone looking to sell a Honda Foreman for cheap up in New England. Hahahaha.
I am no spring chicken myself anymore and riddled with old injuries and latent issues from neurosurgery on my spinal cord almost 20 years ago. So I understand what you mean quite well. I am gonna need an ATV to move logs out of our woods and haul assorted whatnots. That's about as big of a machine as I want though. Hand tools take longer and are harder but there is something very peaceful and meditative about using them, I think. I love my chainsaw and all, but I would rather use an axe and some sort of hand operated saw when I can. No fuel, easy maintenance, no extra noise. It just speaks to my soul a bit more, ya know?
That being said, there is a balance to be struck because I am a bit janky these days and not getting younger.
Jennie Little wrote:When our power is out we still have a working stove. I wash our dishes the Hopi way, then dip them in a stew pot of simmering/steaming water. Sanitized! The dishwasher is easier because I don't have to keep a pot of water going and don't have to stand there clearing, cleaning, rinsing, sanitizing. But during our longest power outage we were also melting snow for water, so I always had a pot of water simmering on the cookstove.
It did make me yearn for an old fashioned cook stove with integrated hot water.
We are looking for a good wood cookstove with a boiler. I have heard good things about the Pioneer series. Have you got any in particular that you think are better?
I am hoping to get a pretty substantial boiler as I have an idea involving radiators and radiant heat.
Also, have to ask - what is the Hopi way of washing dishes?
Good to know. I'll have to see how the ones I have hold up. I may check out the Milwaukee Sawzall instead though. What about Makita? There was an old Makita drill that I liked but it was corded and for a lot of the work I have to do, I would need an extension to cover a few acres of space or have to haul a generator around with me.
And yeah, the two wheeled wheelbarrows are where it's at. No more torquing ones back trying to keep a heavy load from tipping over on uneven ground.
Melonie Corder wrote:I use a battery sawzall often for quick pruning or cutting up larger branches, easy small tasks. Ours is an old 18v DeWalt but they aren't what they used to be. Try for Milwaukee or Rigid. A grinder of the same type is another handy thing to have. A good dolly get's used a lot here, wheel barrow or wagon with sturdy wheels. Good quality fencing pliers, wire snips, t-post puller, post pounder, splitting maul, post hole digger. I don't have brand recommendations but always try to go with mid grade price wise and made in the USA when possible.
I am big on the hand tools and anything where I don't have to replace blades or anything like that but man... I do love a good sawzall. I am eyeing some now actually. I was inclined to go with DeWalt just because I already have a 20v hammer drill/driver and impact driver from them. Battery interchangeability is a big bonus. I know some of their models have been deemed less than what they were but my understanding is that the XRs are pretty solid. I have also heard that Milwaukee customer service can be a huge pain in the butt. Although I have only heard good things about the tools themselves.
A dolly is an excellent suggestion. I had completely spaced it but they do get used all the dang time whenever I have had one. Got a favorite wheelbarrow? A friend had a two wheeled one I liked quite a bit. Although it was absolutely gigantic.
Mike Haasl wrote:Good point, it's time for an update!
I've given up the idea of compost heat (within the greenhouse). The way I did it did not lead to any appreciable heat but it did give off gasses that made me wonder if they were healthy.
I put in the Active Heat battery system (per the above update) but neglected to protect it well enough for a cold night (12 degrees lower than forecast) and the radiator split open. I soldered it up a week ago and it's now ready for action. But then I found that it would take a tremendous amount of antifreeze to keep the system from freezing at 20F.
So my current plan is to move the heat battery into the area where the compost pile was. That area is also closed off as a mini greenhouse for the tropical plants. With a tiny electric heater. So the barrels of water will stay above freezing in there. I finally figured out if I reroute the heat collection piping I can keep all the liquid within the mini greenhouse and avoid any antifreeze. But it will take more work to implement so that might not happen before the coldest part of winter is past.
This week is going to be pretty cold (-20F at night and 0F for daily highs) so I'll see how cold the greenhouse gets at night without the moveable insulation. My guess is around 20F.
I'm planning to plant trees in the ground in the greenhouse this summer. Figs, peach, pawpaw, almonds, etc. And also use the greenhouse to extend my growing season. I struggle mightily with aphids on peppers so I haven't done well with them the last two years.
I could elaborate, what are you interested in Patrick?
How much luck are you having with the tropicals?
I have been contemplating some designs for an attached greenhouse in a very similar climate. I would like it to be as low energy use as possible as our place is off the grid. So as much passive heating and insulation as I can muster would be the thing. So my current plan is a vertical style greenhouse kind of like the attached example (although attached to the south side of the house). The version I had in mind is a bit taller and sunken down to below the frost line as well (so about 40"). Reflective insulation on the inside of the side walls and the inwardly angled top portion of the back wall. The rest of the back wall would be painted a dark matte black. I was going to utilize a scattering of dark rocks as well as the black rain barrels on the north side of the wall. It will have be a vertically layered situation. For the "windows", I was thinking corrugated polycarbonate or some real heavy clear plastic for the outside layer, with a couple of additional layers of 6 mil plastic sheeting behind it. So 3 layers (heavy duty on the outside) with maybe about a .5" gap between them. There is also a small pond that would be just outside of the greenhouse area. So I was considering ways to bring that inside of the greenhouse a bit. A neighbor has a trout hatchery and I am hoping to utilize the pond to irrigate the greenhouse somewhat for a small aquaponics sort of setup. We are also going to utilize the Chinese greenhouse blanket over the 'windows' at night thing. If all that fails to keep a moderate enough temperature, which it probably will when it is hitting -20 to -30f, I was also thinking about some radiant heating from a wood boiler. Either an exterior boiler or from the boiler attached to the wood stove. Although the latter is also being used for showers, cleaning, probably radiators, etc. so more likely an additional small external boiler somewhere. Anyway, all these thoughts are hypotheticals. We won't start building the greenhouse until much later this year at the best. Next year is more likely. I am just trying to get a good plan in order for a really super efficient greenhouse. The goal is to be able to use this one to grow plants that need more warmth year round. It would be awesome to get squash and tomatoes in the winter still. We are going to build a more standard high tunnel sort of deal a little further off from the house as well but that is going to be mostly just for getting things started and for veggies that are far more cold tolerant. I'll have to sketch something up at some point to make all that more clear but I would love to hear your experiences with some of this stuff and your thoughts.
Lorinne Anderson wrote:Truthfully, the machine is ridiculously expensive for what it is; a stand that holds a carbonation bottle and a place to screw on an also very expensive bottle. BUT it is the only option out there for simple home carbonation.
We have had ours about 4 yrs now, not a lick of trouble and works well. I just HATE anything that uses proprietary stuff; being locked in to purchasing from a sole supplier...
I have a feeling that someone on this site could macguyver one out of an old paintball gun or something but I don't think it will be me. I am with you on the proprietary stuff. That and built in obsolescence are two of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to the marketplace. I'm still considering one though. hahahaha.
Maybe some celebrity will make a tiktok video about it or something and they'll become popular enough for other companies to get interested and it'll drive the price down for a while.
In the meantime, homemade carbonation infuser thingie may become a new homework subject.
Silas Rempel wrote:A good flashlight is always useful. My favorite is an Olight s1rbaton2. It has 4 settings ranging from 1 lumen to 1,000 lumens. I have used it to read a book in the dark (1 lumen) to tracking down chicken predators in the dark. It has a two way clip so you can mount it to the bill of your hat and have a head lamp. It has a rechargeable lithium ion battery and a magnetic charger and base on the battery so you can stick it to something metal. (This has come quit in handy fixing heavy equipment where I work) couldn't recommend more highly!!
I actually have some good flashlights. One ridiculously bright led one and a green one for hunting. They were gifts and I couldn't tell you the brand but they have rechargeable batteries and work damn well. I also have an old school maglite. Can't go wrong with those. I do need a couple new headlamps though if you have any favorites. I'll check out the flashlight too. You can never really have enough good flashlights and the magnetic mounting feature sounds super handy. Thanks for the suggestion!
Lorinne Anderson wrote:We coughed up for a soda Stream (carbonates water) a few years ago and after the toaster oven and microwave, is likely our most used counter appliance.
This eliminates any and all soda cans/bottles. The secret is NOT to go with the "trade in" option on the CO canister but to refill it at a place that refils paint guns. HERE that means 6 bucks a fill instead of $20+ for a "trade in.
Of note both canisters and bottles have a quit date where they can/should no longer be used for carbonation due to potential failure.
Soda concentrates can be purchased, but we use concentrated juice or juice syrups (frozen lemonade concentrate is fabulous!) like Ribena or homemade. I think it is healthier too!
I was considering one of the soda stream thingmajiggers. Y'all like it a lot?
I have a weakness for the fizziness but I don't really care much for most sodas. I'd sure love to be able to make my own from fruit juices and whatnot. Wasn't sure that it was worth it but if it is, ooh boy! It's on!
So a few years back basically all of my tools were destroyed in a flood (Harvey) and I have been very slowly rebuilding the arsenal. My wife and I finally bought our land and are starting in on a lot of tasks this Spring. Therefore, I am going to need to renew the tool collection and add to it some invaluable homesteading/forest farm/garden/building tools. At the moment I have about 5k that I can drop on this stuff. Some things we have, I ordered a Meadow Creature 12" broadfork, I have a couple of hammers and screwdrivers and whatnot. As well as a hammer drill/driver, a small axe (I am looking for a good felling axe), a 20" bar chainsaw, and a couple shovels of moderate quality. So, my question to you, Hive Mind, is what are your most invaluable tools, your favorite tools, the most durable, etc. and what are those brands? Keep in mind, due to plague and present location, if I can't curbside it or have it delivered, it isn't happening. So while I know old rummage and estate sales are great places to find good high quality stuff, I am not going to be going to any anytime soon.
We are starting projects up at our land in late March or April sometime and I would like to have a good amount of what I need with me already.
First tasks will be sowing in cover crops in a 2 acre meadow (simply for soil building. no harvesting), beginning a hedgerow around the property (~50 acres), getting the orchard planted, getting some slow growing forest perennials going, and inoculating some dead wood with an assortment of fungi. Basically, getting all the things that take forever going.
Get at me with your favorite tools, brands, and weapons of mass regeneration!
** extra brownie (apple?) points for tool suggestions that do not require fuel or electricity **
*** extra EXTRA brownie points for brand suggestions **
I finally found a steel insulated french press. A biggun too. That thing is one of my favorite possessions. Fairly indestructible and keeps my coffee warm for ages. Which is good because I am excellent at breaking things and get easily distracted.
So we really just don't produce that much garbage. At the moment we are still in Oklahoma City and in our neighborhood, my trash can goes to the curb about once for every 3 or 4 times that my neighbors have their cans filled and out there. Basically, everything that can get recycled does get recycled. We repurpose a lot of stuff. We don't order out much and I cook from scratch pretty much every night. Scraps either become stock or get composted. We eat very little that comes out of a package. Just that keeps our trash production pretty low.
Chris Giannini wrote:Hello, I've just gone through the process of buying land and I'm still in the process of building an initial dwelling on it for the purpose of starting a homestead. My wife and I are new to homesteading but it has been a dream of ours for some years now and it looks like it's just about starting to come true. We are always looking to connect with like minded individuals who are interested in homesteading and permaculture especially those who live in the same neck of the woods as ourselves. I would be happy to share our experiences thus far and perhaps assist you in your planning. We live on a 20+ acre property in VT and have almost completed constructing a small log cabin as our home. We plan to start our gardens in the spring and are saving our plans for livestock until next year. What are your visions for the land and homestead?
Our place is also in VT. We are kinda stuck in Oklahoma at the moment but will hopefully be up there this Spring to do some work on the place. Feel free to give a holler.
Joylynn Hardesty wrote:I have no pie. But I like to support permies when I buy stuff. For us with no pie, can the vendors also post in blatant advertising? For myself, I may be interested even if no discount is offered.
I had pie. Then one day I did not. I guess someone ate it.
but yes, I would also like to support Permies folks.
Bret Mayo wrote:http://www.easydigging.com/broadfork.html
I have used mine to break up compacted soils and lever glacial boulders the size of large watermelons out of the soil. These things are tough.
Did you go with the 12" or the 14"? I am thinking the smaller one for convenience and so my wife can use it as well but I didn't know if there was a significant difference in what one can accomplish with the 12".
For us, a lot of consideration went into what we were willing to compromise on and what we were not. Our area is pretty low restriction wise but there are state septic rules and rules about how many homes and what defines a home vs. a camp and all that. Some stuff can be skirted a bit or a workaround found but some stuff not so much. However - culture, access to goods and services while still being somewhere quiet with stars at night, state politics, potential for making an income from the farm, etc.. All of that was pretty important too. So I guess it comes down more to which regulations/restrictions you can put up with and which you cannot. There are very few completely unrestricted places left and they are going to be far far away from any degree of civilization (which may be just fine for you). The flip side of a completely unrestricted area is that while you may be wanting to be a steward your land and to care for it and improve it, your neighbor may not be so progressive. No restrictions means for everyone. Including the folks who think climate change is a Chinese hoax and think the best solution to any animal getting on their property, domestic or not, is to shoot it.
Go hang out in the off grid/homesteading fb groups and think about those folks with zero regulations. It could be disastrous. The other day there was a lady asking what to do with about 80 acres of wetlands on her property and most of the responses may as well have said, "pave it and soak it in roundup". And what about regulations for loggers or tar sands or anything else like that? I am all about my freedom but there are definitely some individuals and some companies that I would worry about were they to have unfettered access to exploiting nature however they see fit.
the Permies folks would create something incredible without regulation.
r ranson wrote: ... Looking at your lovely list of animals I think to myself, that's a long list of animals. From personal experience, it may be challenging to start with that many different kinds of animals all at once. If I had to start farming again, the one thing I would do is have fewer animals. I would probably have one kind of animal, maybe chickens, then watch the land for at least two years while I learn how to care for the chickens. Then, add the next animal to the equation - sheep. spend a couple of years letting the sheep train me how to keep them in optimum health before getting the next animal. There are so many things to learn and so many things that can go wrong - I've seen so many farmers get over excited and fill their farm with animals, only to have the animals health (and the farmers') suffer for lack of time and knowhow. Of course, if you are already familiar with keeping livestock, you know all this already
So, I have a question regarding this exact thing. How does one find the balance between having animals early on to help improve the land and prepare it for growing all the goodies and taking time to acquire animals because of the difficulty that can arise in caring for them?
We have been considering this conundrum ourselves. The plan is to start with a few birds (chickens, guineas, quail) though probably not all varieties at once. Hopefully, shortly thereafter add in sheep and/or alpaca. I have another thread about that quandary. The question is, how early is too early to add in the ruminants? I should add that we have both spent time caring for livestock before though we would be new to sheep (a bit), alpacas (entirely), and the quail and guineas as well. We have both helped raise chickens, cows, and horses before. Though it has been quite a while.
Summarized - I have heard both ends of the argument, that animals should be acquired early on in order to help improve the quality of the land/soil more rapidly and that one should wait because animals can be difficult to care for. Where do you think the middle ground lies?