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Hi! New homestead owners here (N. Illinois)

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So it begins! I have been lurking for some time, absorbing ideas and information, but I am happy to finally introduce myself and become a more active member of this community.

After looking for more than a year my wife and I just closed on a property in Northeastern Illinois, near Chicago. It is 5-ish acres sharing a property line with a large nature preserve. Roughly 3 acres are mature woods and the remaining 2 acres are home+lawn+meadow. It probably will not be a place we stay for a couple of decades but it is our starter-project and allows us an opportunity to learn and leave a piece of land better than we found it. We are long on ideas and short on execution and knowledge at this point but we are committed to the journey itself. It has been a busy last 6 months as we welcomed a little boy to the world and we want a place to "grow" him as much as possible out doors, close to nature.

Our initial priorities are to work down through the home inspection report to take care of a few items and get the house itself under control, get a garden up and going (or more ready for next season), establish a compost area, and rehab an old chicken coop + garden shed. I want to return the large front lawn to a more natural state since I refuse to mow it and we want it overgrown! I also want to build a primitive meditation + tea structure in the woods. The property itself is quite wild and unkept and there is an abundance of insects, hummingbirds, tree frogs, and wildflowers. I'll try to post a couple photos of the back area.

My wife and I both grew up on farms, and during my youth I had my own garden projects (chemical free!) and via my never-ending curiosity found my way into several permaculture-like projects two decades before I had even heard of the word. Nowadays in many aspects we are "city people" as well, however I have always maintained my connections with our wild world and I look forward to seeing how I handle things this time around.

A few challenges I expect that some of you may be able to shed some light on:
1) Is there a Permie community in NE Illinois? I understand we are not in the most desirable area due to high taxes, short growing season, and an abundance of codes, but it is what we have to work with right now. :)
2) Sorting through the amount of books, articles, and videos is really something. Is there a single book I should start off with immediately?
3) Limited mobility options will be a challenge to me. I own a car but love doing everything by bike through all of Chicago's 2 seasons (Winter and Somewhat Pleasant). While we are close to a couple of local towns, the roads are narrow and biking can be harrowing considering how distracted people drive. Car bounded-ness is an unwelcome challenge for me but I haven't given up finding a way yet. Anyone else faced this issue after transitioning to a more rural-suburban area from the city?

Thank you all for hearing (and be subjected to) my rambles!

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Location: Southern Illinois
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T. Petrel,

Welcome to Permies!

I can’t really recommend any permie groups in your area, but congratulations on your land purchase.  I happen to live in the exact opposite corner of Illinois from you, as I live in deep Southern Illinois.

I have to say that your pictures of your land are beautiful and looking at those, combined with your stated aspirations made me reminisce about making my first gardens on my land about 15 years ago.

Please keep us up to date on your progress as you work your land and leave it better than you found it.

T. Petrel
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Thanks for the kind words Eric
Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons - for you are crunchy and good with ketchup. Crunchy tiny ad:
Devious Experiments for a Truly Passive Greenhouse!
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