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Part-time homestead in NorCal.

 
Posts: 9
Location: Coastal NorCal
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Hey all, I guess I just wanted to introduce myself. I've been lurking here a year ever since we bought a new home and a bit of land. When my partner and I were looking to buy we were in perfect harmony in two things, lots of greenery, and lots of privacy--but aside from those points, deciding on everything else was a struggle. We ended up with a beautiful home in private valley with 4 acres of California bay, alder and coast live oak, with a year round creek running through it. Since then we've been doing a bit of gardening and repair and tree work, but it took me a while to understand what I definitively wanted to do with it all, I think I was stunned by the price tag and responsibility.  But with the world going the way it has, it's become crystal clear that I want to become more self-sufficient, and still keep my day job.

Now I'm thinking mushroom farming, ducks, goats and lots of veggies, my partner is a vegetarian, so we'd all be eating the veggies. And I'll probably be on here asking for advice.


 
pollinator
Posts: 488
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Usually a person starts with earthworks to move water, wind and sun scoops/shade.

You've got a road on the high side so you could create ponds that collect from that road; keep in mind, that road will give you "dirty water" from the vehicles and asphalt. That could be your  "dirty pond" line of ponds (aleast two, one at the highest point one at the lowest point).

Since you also have a high side where there is no road, you can create a series of clean ponds that feed all your plants as water moves through your property ( atleast three with one high, one at the mid point and one at the low point). These can be your clean water that you move through out the property.

You live in a very regulated state; find out the rules for keeping a few pigs and call your ponds pig wallows, find out the rules for ornamental ponds, find out the rules for swimming pools  -then call your ponds whatever you need to in order to have them and make a gesture that suggests this is their usage (like buying/renting one pig).

Tell your neighbors you're creating firebreaks and flood control earth works so their properties will be more safe as will yours, but only if they ask questions.

Prior to digging the earthworks, plan for what plants you want planted on the disturbed earth you'll have, buy the seeds/seedlings and have them on hand to immediately plant after you've completed your earthworks.

Good luck!
 
Juan Montes
Posts: 9
Location: Coastal NorCal
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Thanks for the ideas and input Orin. I'm working on a more detailed map with topography, and maybe it'll spur some more suggestions. You're not lying when you said our area is heavily regulated. I spent most of my years in Nebraska and Texas, and for the most part you could do what you want. Here, though there's so many hurdles:

Law on septic systems.
Riparian ecosystems.
Steep slopes on most of the land.
Wilderness interface laws.
Coastal building laws.
County and specific zoning regulations.
Easements for accessing town well that is already on our property.
Neightbors that are already pissed that I'm not letting them walk their dogs on my easement road that runs in full view from the house. They're mostly very nosy old retired women with nothing better to do than test if I'll yell at them.

From doing lots of land hunting around here, it's clear you can bend plenty of rules, though. And I'm getting a pretty good sense of which ones are bendable. Probably the biggest one is not to get caught with with underground pot-farm, then they throw the gavel at you.
 
pollinator
Posts: 679
Location: NW California, 1500-1800ft,
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Welcome Juan!  Not sure where you are in the vast expanse of what people call “Northern California”, but I invite you to join the Wild Rivers Permaculture Guild. All our in person stuff is on hold right now, which is unfortunate because we were having some great work parties, but we are still doing zoom meetings monthly. We have a great array of people, skills and knowledge to share about what we’ve learned in practicing permaculture on the Northern California and Southern Oregon coast. We’d love to learn from your experience as well as help. Look us up on FB if you’d like.

I am also just starting out on a new property, after upgrading from a much smaller spot near Crescent City. I am happy to share my experience, though up here in Del Norte County (“Caltucky by the sea” some call it) it is a bit of the Wild West when it comes to regulation, with crooked and incompetent contractors and regulators out numbering the good ones, who are swamped with work. In my experience, if I am sincerely trying to help my neighbors (including non humans), I have been successful at getting forgiveness in lieu of permission on the “trellises”, “diversion drainage basins”, and other restoration projects I do.

Best of luck!
 
Juan Montes
Posts: 9
Location: Coastal NorCal
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Ben Zumeta wrote:Welcome Juan!  Not sure where you are in the vast expanse of what people call “Northern California”, but I invite you to join the Wild Rivers Permaculture Guild. All our in person stuff is on hold right now, which is unfortunate because we were having some great work parties, but we are still doing zoom meetings monthly. We have a great array of people, skills and knowledge to share about what we’ve learned in practicing permaculture on the Northern California and Southern Oregon coast. We’d love to learn from your experience as well as help. Look us up on FB if you’d like.

I am also just starting out on a new property, after upgrading from a much smaller spot near Crescent City. I am happy to share my experience, though up here in Del Norte County (“Caltucky by the sea” some call it) it is a bit of the Wild West when it comes to regulation, with crooked and incompetent contractors and regulators out numbering the good ones, who are swamped with work. In my experience, if I am sincerely trying to help my neighbors (including non humans), I have been successful at getting forgiveness in lieu of permission on the “trellises”, “diversion drainage basins”, and other restoration projects I do.

Best of luck!



Hey thanks Ben! I swore off FB a couple years ago, otherwise I'd sign up. I need all the help I can get.

You're nearly as North as NorCal can be and I'm as South as NorCal can be. I'm in West Marin on the coast. We looked at lots of stuff in Mendocino, Sonoma and Humbolt, and aside from a property in Mendocino which the deal fell through on (a 40 acre Ashram), nothing was quite right. Mostly the issue was having access on-property to broadband internet, I work remotely and need it. So this is really, really, not the Wild West. But it's regulated by the NIMBYs to be eternally green and forested, which I'm A-OK with, but I definitely prefer when there are no rules and nobody's watching. There's a little streak still of rural Cali relaxedness here, who knows how long that'll last.
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