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Tracking my Progress

 
Posts: 49
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So I'm a relative newbie to the permaculture/homesteading thing. I'm loving it, and the people. But I have a habit of not keeping at things unless I'm accountable. So I've started a blog.

And yeah yeah I know, self promo partly. But I also want to let you guys know I'm doing it so I'll be more accountable lol. Help me!

Also I want to know if there's anyone else on the site who'd love the enormous food jungles I'm seeing all over the forum, but is making do with what they've got for now. And are any other single twenty-something women doing this? Or am I crazy like my parents say?
 
pollinator
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Cool Blog Alexis! I feel ya about the small car - I can fit 2 pallets just barely into the back of my Yaris hatchback, but hauling long lumber or tree seedlings, etc. will not work.

 
Alexis Richard
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Dustin--isn't it disappointing!? I want to build things! Grand things! But unless I want to drag the lumber ten miles from the hardware store that's just not gonna happen sadly.

Once I transported tree seedlings... I got dirt in places I didn't know existed in my car lol.

BTW- I found your website (I think). The ChickenShaw is RAD.
 
pollinator
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Hi Alexis.  The bad news is you're probably crazy, but the good news is that it's the best kind of crazy.

My advice to anyone is to try to make a go at whatever they love to do, so it's great to see that you're doing that.  Most people you talk to about it will think you're nuts.  One of the things I really hate about people is how many (most?) of them try hard to discourage anyone doing what makes them happy.  I don't even talk to my family about what I do or want from life.  Just ignore it and do your thing.

I'd suggest looking for a small, possibly foldable, trailer for your car.  Buy used (buy everything used) and get some help checking them out if you need to.  You can probably pick up a trailer for a few hundred dollars and it will make it much easier to get materials home.  You can probably pay for the trailer very quickly by picking up free stuff that you couldn't have taken advantage of before.

Best of luck with everything.  I'll make sure to check out your blog.

 
Alexis Richard
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Timothy Markus wrote:Hi Alexis.  The bad news is you're probably crazy, but the good news is that it's the best kind of crazy.

My advice to anyone is to try to make a go at whatever they love to do, so it's great to see that you're doing that.  Most people you talk to about it will think you're nuts.  One of the things I really hate about people is how many (most?) of them try hard to discourage anyone doing what makes them happy.  I don't even talk to my family about what I do or want from life.  Just ignore it and do your thing.

I'd suggest looking for a small, possibly foldable, trailer for your car.  Buy used (buy everything used) and get some help checking them out if you need to.  You can probably pick up a trailer for a few hundred dollars and it will make it much easier to get materials home.  You can probably pay for the trailer very quickly by picking up free stuff that you couldn't have taken advantage of before.

Best of luck with everything.  I'll make sure to check out your blog.



Hahah thanks Timothy! My motto in life is to live so I won't look back and say I wish I'd tried. As my psych would say, I'm trying to live BOLDLY lol.

I was looking into getting a small trailer for my car but my friends keep saying I'll fry the transmission. My listed tow capacity is 1000 lbs, but that's still their opinion. What's yours?
Oh it'd pay for itself fairly quickly in that way to be honest. There was so much lumber on the side of the road the other day.... I almost cried because I couldn't take it hahah.
 
Timothy Markus
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Alexis Richard wrote:
I was looking into getting a small trailer for my car but my friends keep saying I'll fry the transmission. My listed tow capacity is 1000 lbs, but that's still their opinion. What's yours?
Oh it'd pay for itself fairly quickly in that way to be honest. There was so much lumber on the side of the road the other day.... I almost cried because I couldn't take it hahah.



TSC sells a folding trailer that weighs 260lbs, leaving 740lbs for cargo, though the trailer is rated for twice that.  If you always kept the load to under 800lbs, I think you'd be just fine, and that can be a lot of cargo.  If you need to move more than that, you can make more trips or rent a truck, but free stuff at the side of the road is usually less than 800 lbs.  To me, the ease of loading and unloading, plus the capacity for large items makes it worth while, even if you are hard on the tranny, which you shouldn't be if you're within the limits.  You are going to want to make sure your breaks are up to stopping the additional load.

You may also be able to get a larger tranny cooler installed.  Most towing packages offer larger tranny and engine coolers, but they can be added later.  If it were me, I'd just get a light (250-400lb) trailer and live with it.

I've got a Honda CRV, with a rated towing cap of 1500lbs.  I did some digging and the European models are rated at 1500 KGs, or 2.2 times more that the North American model.  Turns out that Honda de-rates the cap for the NA market due to legal claims; if they say 1500 lbs and you go over that, you've got no case.  I've trailered about 4000lbs with the CRV, though only twice and only because I had to, but I didn't have any issues.  The way you drive is also a big factor with a trailer.

So, I'd say get a trailer and pull manageable loads.  If you find it isn't working, sell the car and buy something else, preferably a Japanese vehicle, but you'll be able to get started and, if you do have to do repairs, you're still going to be ahead with all the stuff you can get with a trailer.  

Just FYI, you can fit 3 telephone poles into a CRV if you cut them up a bit and take out the back seats.   You could probably get 4 in if you cut them into small chunks.  In a lot of ways I liked my minivan better than my pickup.  If you can get it into the van, it's covered and better for moving fragile things.
 
pollinator
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I would look into your specific make/model of car; if the transmission is a known weak link, maybe switching vehicles before adding a trailer would be wise. Otherwise I'd go for it.


A roof rack, or some old couch cushions and good long ratchet straps, is also helpful; you're not going to tow the trailer without a known need, but sometimes that thing on the side of the road is not gonna wait for you to get back!

Making sure you have quality ratchet straps is key. For roof loads, a system to secure front and back to solid points on the front and back of the car is wise, too.


I'm on my own farm now, but I did plenty of making do for the previous decade of apartment and van living. Pots, a raised bed in the side yard of the shitty rental complex, gardening on the weekend at my parents place... at a bare minimum it was good stress relief and experience, and many of the trees/plants I propogated then are finally getting planted on my farm this year!
 
Alexis Richard
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This is great guys, thanks! I think I'll definitely have to get a trailer then! As far as I can tell the transmission isn't really a problem on my car, thank goodness. So I'll probably bring it to the auto shop and have them install the towing stuff. I'll get it tuned up just in case, then get that trailer!

I really wish I had those bars on the top of some cars honestly. That would rock. I'm 4' 11" though, I'm not sure I could get anything onto the top of my car hahahah.

I'm glad I'm not the only one making due. I feel a little like I'm not trying hard enough sometimes. But at the same time, I know I'm doing a LOT. Especially for one person who has a full-time job outside home.


I also updated the blog today! First no-till beds in place! There's more room to plant in those than I'm taking advantage of, but my onions/potatoes needed to be planted like yesterday!

http://www.alexisrichard.com/starting-a-no-till-garden/
 
Timothy Markus
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I checked out the blog and it's great.  You write well and the pics show what you're doing.
 
Dustin Rhodes
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Alexis wrote:I found your website (I think). The ChickenShaw is RAD.



Alexis - I SO wish I was Justin Rhodes(chickshaw guy) - amazing person, wonderful content; but I am not.

I'm cursed to have a name-doppleganger in most of my interests:

I wrestled in HS, who also is a wrestler? - Dusty Rhodes(Golddust)
I play Country Music? - Dusty Rhodes and the River Band
Baseball? - Giants' hitter James "dusty" Rhodes
Permaculture - Justin Rhodes

If there's a woodworker named Dusty Rhodes, I'll be all out of potential for notoriety :(
 
Alexis Richard
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Timothy Markus wrote:I checked out the blog and it's great.  You write well and the pics show what you're doing.



Thank you!

Dustin Rhodes wrote:



Oh no! That's a hilarious coincidence lol. I used to do art locally and it turns out there was ANOTHER girl who looked just like me that was doing art around me! We had some confused customers for a while!

If you've got a website/blog thing going as well, throw it at me!
 
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Alexis Richard wrote:Dustin--isn't it disappointing!? I want to build things! Grand things! But unless I want to drag the lumber ten miles from the hardware store that's just not gonna happen sadly.

Once I transported tree seedlings... I got dirt in places I didn't know existed in my car lol.

BTW- I found your website (I think). The ChickenShaw is RAD.



UHaul rents pickups for $19.95/day.  They also have small to medium size box trucks for $29-49/day.  I've rented a truck for a day to pick up material to build my grandkids a play fort/swingset, pick up 2800 sq ft of laminate floor, and plywood and 2x8 to do a floor repair.  In a few months we will be going to a building surplus and salvage store to buy windows for the home we are building.  I'll rent a box truck to go pick them up.  They have rails along the sides so I can tie the windows against the side so the don't move around.  We drive smaller cars with great mileage for daily drivers, and for those few times a year I need a truck, I just rent one from UHaul.
 
pollinator
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I went and checked your blog, well done.

I can totally relate to the single person vs family homesteading.

There is so much that while not hard just an extra pair of hands really is needed. I thankfully have some good neighbors I can call on when needed, but I try not to call on their help too often.

Something else another person helps with is just simple motivation and companionship. Doing work with someone else helps keep you on task. All alone it is easy to just decide to knock off for a long break to watch the birds or chipmunk. When I have a neighbor up helping me out, I find I work a lot better. I become focused and stay on task. The time goes by much faster as well.

But single or not, the important thing is getting out there and doing what you dream. It might be a bit harder alone, but the pay offs are just that much bigger because you know you did it yourself.
 
Alexis Richard
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Bob Gallamore wrote:

UHaul rents pickups for $19.95/day.  They also have small to medium size box trucks for $29-49/day.  I've rented a truck for a day to pick up material to build my grandkids a play fort/swingset, pick up 2800 sq ft of laminate floor, and plywood and 2x8 to do a floor repair.  In a few months we will be going to a building surplus and salvage store to buy windows for the home we are building.  I'll rent a box truck to go pick them up.  They have rails along the sides so I can tie the windows against the side so the don't move around.  We drive smaller cars with great mileage for daily drivers, and for those few times a year I need a truck, I just rent one from UHaul.



Would you believe that actually never occurred to me? In my mind, renting a vehicle has always been something that has got to be really expensive. I never thought it may be within my price range! That's actually a life-changing realization, thank you! Wow, I could go pick up animals! I could go actually make a day trip to another state to pick up things people are giving away! THIS IS AMAZING!!

Devin Lavign wrote:



Isn't it crazy how that works? Things that were simple to accomplish when I lived with my parents are now so much more complicated. Even when their participation was limited to "hold this up so I can nail it in place". I've rigged up some truly horrendous ways of propping things in to place so I can secure them. Some day I think they'll find me dead under a pile of debris!

I find the same thing about focus as well. I like to decompress at the end of the day and talk about what I'm excited about. I find it harder to get excited at all when I've not got someone to chat with.

I will say though, you're right that it's extremely rewarding! I'm really proud of everything I've managed to do so far.

Oh, and I've got a new post up if anyone's interested. It's about everything I've got to get done BEFORE the chickens get here lol. I'm an impulsive person sometimes despite my research habits. It's hard for me to not come home with four cute chicks now!
 
pollinator
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Bob Gallamore wrote:UHaul rents pickups for $19.95/day.  They also have small to medium size box trucks for $29-49/day.  I've rented a truck for a day to pick up material to build my grandkids a play fort/swingset, pick up 2800 sq ft of laminate floor, and plywood and 2x8 to do a floor repair.  In a few months we will be going to a building surplus and salvage store to buy windows for the home we are building.  I'll rent a box truck to go pick them up.  They have rails along the sides so I can tie the windows against the side so the don't move around.  We drive smaller cars with great mileage for daily drivers, and for those few times a year I need a truck, I just rent one from UHaul.



Also the big box home centers (Home Depot, Lowe's) also rent trucks, and they are right there at the store...make a purchase, rent a truck to take it home.
Plus, when you return the truck, you get a second chance to pickup those things that you forgot...
 
Alexis Richard
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Kenneth Elwell wrote:

Bob Gallamore wrote:UHaul rents pickups for $19.95/day.  They also have small to medium size box trucks for $29-49/day.  I've rented a truck for a day to pick up material to build my grandkids a play fort/swingset, pick up 2800 sq ft of laminate floor, and plywood and 2x8 to do a floor repair.  In a few months we will be going to a building surplus and salvage store to buy windows for the home we are building.  I'll rent a box truck to go pick them up.  They have rails along the sides so I can tie the windows against the side so the don't move around.  We drive smaller cars with great mileage for daily drivers, and for those few times a year I need a truck, I just rent one from UHaul.



Also the big box home centers (Home Depot, Lowe's) also rent trucks, and they are right there at the store...make a purchase, rent a truck to take it home.
Plus, when you return the truck, you get a second chance to pickup those things that you forgot...



I feel like this is one of those things my dad should have mentioned when I bothered him about borrowing his truck. I KNOW he knows.
 
Devin Lavign
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LOL, btw I just noticed your signature. Love it.
 
Devin Lavign
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Just read your new blog post.

So very true about being prepared. I see way too many people bring home animals without having anything ready for them.

Here is another things about animals a lot don't realize. They tie you to the land. You can't go away without finding a responsible animal sitter. While animals are great, they are a responsibility that is 24/7. Their care is in your hands and because you take on that role you have to be there to provide it.

This is why I have yet to put in gardens or get animals. I am working on building infrastructure first. If I had animals I would not have been able to take this 1 month vacation to visit family. But because I don't have them it was not a problem to leave my land for an entire month, and miss the worst of the winter storms this year.
 
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I knew someone who years ago had a Honda Civic Del Sol (about as small of a car as you can get) that had a trailer hitch attached and pulled a U-Haul trailer about 500 miles when she moved, and it was fine. No idea how much that weighed, but as long as you aren't trying to haul a literal ton of stuff then adding a hitch to your car could be an option. Obviously more strain on the engine and brakes, and if you don't plan your stops to be longer you could end up rear-ending someone too. But a little trailer for hauling say a couple dozen 2x4s or a few sheets or plywood would be fine, just avoid high speeds and make sure that when loading a trailer the center of gravity is between the trailer wheels and the hitch, so you maintain moderate downward force on the hitch. If weight shifts too far back it can lift up on the hitch, either detaching or making the back end light enough to cause dangerous swerving.
 
Alexis Richard
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Devin Lavign wrote:Just read your new blog post.

So very true about being prepared. I see way too many people bring home animals without having anything ready for them.

Here is another things about animals a lot don't realize. They tie you to the land. You can't go away without finding a responsible animal sitter. While animals are great, they are a responsibility that is 24/7. Their care is in your hands and because you take on that role you have to be there to provide it.

This is why I have yet to put in gardens or get animals. I am working on building infrastructure first. If I had animals I would not have been able to take this 1 month vacation to visit family. But because I don't have them it was not a problem to leave my land for an entire month, and miss the worst of the winter storms this year.



Thanks! Honestly that is why I'd held off until this point. I was doing a lot of travelling selling artwork, and it would have been really hard to handle. Thankfully I do have a chicken mad friend who's willing to be recruited to feed the chooks when I (if I) take a vacation in the future.

I'm cursed with a little practicality working overtime to reign in my boundless enthusiasm.

Mark Tudor wrote:



Oh that's good to know!! So in the meantime I can rent a truck... but I should be good for small loads in the future! <3
My car's a veritable workhorse, so I'd hate to get a new one if I don't need to. It's never given me problems (knock on wood).
 
Kenneth Elwell
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One downside to a trailer is that you need at least a registration/license plate for it, and maybe excise tax if they collect that there... both ongoing expenses for the convenience of owning the trailer.

One major upside to trailers is that you can unhook from the tow vehicle and unload it later, or load it ahead of time, waiting to hitch up and go!

With a couple people, you can also wheel it places you couldn’t drive it... like it was a giant two wheel wheelbarrow.

Another option for hauling big stuff with a car is to get a set of roof racks, such as Thule or Yakima makes, which gives a solid grip to the car and level surface for lumber instead of a curvaceous car roof! And you can haul a bike, boat, skis... if you get the right brackets.
 
Alexis Richard
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Kenneth Elwell wrote:One downside to a trailer is that you need at least a registration/license plate for it, and maybe excise tax if they collect that there... both ongoing expenses for the convenience of owning the trailer.

One major upside to trailers is that you can unhook from the tow vehicle and unload it later, or load it ahead of time, waiting to hitch up and go!

With a couple people, you can also wheel it places you couldn’t drive it... like it was a giant two wheel wheelbarrow.

Another option for hauling big stuff with a car is to get a set of roof racks, such as Thule or Yakima makes, which gives a solid grip to the car and level surface for lumber instead of a curvaceous car roof! And you can haul a bike, boat, skis... if you get the right brackets.



Oh shoot you're right. Dangit. Hmmmm. I didn't know you could get roof racks if your car didn't come with them! Wow I'm learning a TON of things here!!! I'll have to look that up.


By the way guys--I've posted a few more things! If you're looking for new books to read, I've got some of my recent favorites!

 
Alexis Richard
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So I found a book on biodynamics at my job. And decided to start looking into it. I'm admittedly in love with the woo-woo side of things so that definitely wasn't a deterrent for me!
I totally didn't know before I wrote this post... but evidently biodynamics is considered "purple permaculture" now. Oops.

Oh well, I've always loved the color purple lol. Check out my conclusion here!
 
Alexis Richard
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My mini hugulkultur rows are having widely varied results.... The areas with more small sticks under the dirt are doing better. But the areas with larger chunks seem very under-grown. :(
Ah oh well. You can't find out what's wrong until you fail, right?
 
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I have lead a life the you are trying for about 40 years.
I can say a trailer or more than one is a great tool to have.
I have 9 all different sizes generally and used for different things. # are similar in size 6 x 4 feet and are good for shifting many items, loads of rock, sand etc. I also have a few pickups, called utes in Australia, each one a different size starting with a small Hilux with a canopy to a C30 Chev with a 10 x 7 drop side tray deck with racks.
Between all these combinations I can move lots of stuff.
I get lots of items from the tip and roadside and the combination of vehicles and trailers mean there is not much I drive past, if I can use it.
 
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