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Aging in place with permaculture

 
gardener
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Location: Longbranch, WA
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Kate Muller wrote:We are go glad we chose to move to a small property in southern NH.  We knew my health would decline as I got older but we didn't know that it would take a big hit in my mid 40s.  While it would be lovely to be further out in the country it would have been a complete nightmare now that I am not driving.  


This brings up choosing community over acreage. 40 acres in the wilderness may be less productive than 4 in a semi rural community like the Key Peninsula where I live.  Strong local community groups have arraigned for senior support such as school bus  transportation  when the empty bus returns to the bus staging area.
To protect the water table land division is limited to 5 acres but there is a large population of subdivision and rich people on the water front to buy the produce from retied people like myself that know how to produce an abundance with small effort.  As older ones age out 100 year old homestead become available with much of the permaculture already established.Comunity resources
 
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alex Keenan wrote:
I think having family close by is one way to age in place.
I am hitting 56 this year and I know how much help my children have been in keeping up with everything.
So for me family is how I will age in place.



I am currently a caretaker for my 92 year old grandfathers homestead so I wanted to chime in. Please regularly check-in with the ones taking care of your land to be sure things aren't too much of a burden. Also, give them the freedom to start some of their own projects on the farm to encourage them that this is "the family farm" and not them just doing you a favor. Be cognizant that as you age there's a high likelihood that your mind may start to go, you need a trusted executor even when you're alive that knows the principles and values you use to make decisions vs exactly what you want. I'll illustrate this by example: there's a large tree in the yard that you've planted long ago, but has since grown to threaten the house. You want to keep it because it's healthy and you've grown fond of it because of the shade and memories you have around it. However you can't really weigh the risk of a bad storm blowing it over or something similar.

Anyway, i know this seems like a rant and maybe i'm making assumptions about your family, but really i just wanted to say please explicitly talk about this with your family because that is better than simply defaulting into it.
 
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Accepting that we all will deteriorate/die at some point is a necessary reality check, in my opinion. Planning for succession is the only smart and logical move. Your comment is VERY valid.
 
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I am grafting many apple trees onto dwarfing rootstocks.  I don't know how much I will wanting to be climbing onto 14 foot tall orchard ladders when I am in my eighties.  

John S
PDX OR
 
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I'm trying to get things planted that are perennial, at least dual purpose, and that can be easily managed, like elderberries. Their flowers and berries are both edible, make for great jellies & wines, are delicious in baking and a couple very effective types of medicine, that work beautifully for a host of health issues, plus the light, hollow wood can be very useful. These really took off for me, this year, and I'm looking forward to being able to harvest them(at least partially) from the comfort of my deck, even when I'm not feeling my best.

We have oak, hickory, black walnut, and possibly other nut trees (I still haven't explored all our land, for tree id) that are simple enough to harvest, by throwing a sheet or tarp under them.  But, hazelnuts are shrubs that can grow up to 20ft, I think and harvested the same way - or can be pruned low enough to reach. They are also relatively quick to produce, at only a few years, compared to decades, for pecans(my all time favorite) and Walnuts.

I scalped pruned my peach tree waaaay back, in January - then after the freeze, in February, I was afraid it wouldn't survive the double whammy. It didn't produce a single blossom, this year.  But, the squirrels were the only ones profiting from it, before. This is our 3rd summer here, with a mature peach tree, and not a single peach to show for it. I think next year may be our year for peaches - with its shorter height, I'll be able to better defend it from the squirrels and chipmunks, with combined netting (after pollination) and a greased collar around the trunk. I think the fruits will likely be healthier, with fewer for the tree to feed and support, and more sunlight getting to them - and we will be able to reach them, without a ladder.

Another year of composing being from the goats, ducks, and chickens should add substantially to the raised beds I built and began filling,  this year, so that hopefully, I'll be able to start more perennial and self seeding 'crops', next year. I plan to encourage volunteers, by intentionally leaving some of the best where they grow, to rot, root, and I hope, grow and produce, without my assistance.

The harshest difficulties on our land that I've not yet figured out how to master, are about the steep hills and ravines, and rocky terrain. The barn is uphill from the house, the pond is in what's essentially a cone-shaped ravine, making access extremely difficult and dangerous, even now. As we age, it will only get worse, unless we can figure out a terracing spiral, down to it, maybe?
 
John Suavecito
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I have seen some trails that spiral down to ponds and lakes before. They worked exceptionally well.  I guess you have some time to continue developing the trail before you would need to fix it.  Good idea.

John S
PDX OR
 
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