My name is Simon Forman and I'm a Permie. I first read about Permaculture in the Whole Earth Catalog. I got a copy of the Designer's Guide and it blew my mind. I eventually took a Permaculture Certification Course from Farmer Dave Bloom, but I've never really gotten to dig in and get my hands dirty. Over the years I've tried about six or seven times. I've never really been in a position to get my own land, so I tried joining up with various other efforts: some techno-ravers bought a square mile of land near Middletown CA and were eager to have someone out there gardening and caretaking, but turned out to be more interested in drugs and partying than ecology. A fellow bought some land in the high mountain desert of NE CA and called it "Permaburn", the idea was you could buy in for $200, get a 1/4 acre, and store your Burning Man kit there in the off season. (Or do Permaculture or whatever.) The guy turned out to have some issues, including a massive whisky habit. (Brother, when you buy your whisky by the crate-of-gallon-jugs y'all got a problem.) I was really happy at the pony farm near Boonville, but the old man there was just too cranky, I tried to talk to him about it and he acknowledged what was going on, but couldn't change. I had to leave. (I've got an old blog I kept about that one, if anyone's curious.) A friend of a friend moved into an old walnut farm in Napa and called me up to see if I wanted to come and help. A few weeks later she literally ditched me on the street corner in Berkeley after screaming at me (I don't know what set her off), she just drove off and kept all my stuff. A friend of mine bought some other land near Middletown, but all he wanted to do was grow weed. A wildfire came through and burned everything down. There were a couple of other attempts but those were the biggies.
So I stayed in the city. I'm a computer geek, so I make good money when I work, but I'm terrible at managing money (at one point I owed the IRS $10,000 but at the same time they owed me $3,000. Just FYI I paid it all off. The IRS will work with you to set up a payment plan and all that. They have a scary rep but in my experience they're not so bad if you play it straight with them.) I managed to let something like a million dollars flow through my hands over the course of my checkered career and I have almost nothing to show for it. I'm not proud of that, I'm just laying down the facts.
Mom got the dementia, so my sister and I have moved in with her to take care of her. (This is relevant because it means I can't get too far from the Kaiser hospital network, when it comes to looking for land.)
Right now I have some peas, beans, potatoes, basil, mint, sage, and cilantro growing in containers in our house. We don't really have a yard. :-( We're also close to the ocean so we get a lot of cold wind and foggy cold days. Tomatoes hate it, carrots and such do all right.
I've been kind of ignoring the Permie community online. Back in the day (like twenty years ago now) there just wasn't that much overlap between permies and techies. Now, of course, youtube is crammed with awesome videos, and things like these forums exist.
I'm really really impressed with Paul Wheaton's work in fostering Permaculture community. If I didn't have to take care of mom I'd called "dibs" on the tipi and be up there like a shot for the bootcamp. I think that it's genius to make a low-barrier-to-entry way for people to acquire the knowledge and skills, and then letting that generate a steady stream of media showing more people that it can be done, that it's fun, is also genius. Wow!
Meanwhile, my sister and I talked it over and we're ready to get out of San Francisco (we grew up here) and get our own place, with enough room for us each to have our own house with a little attached cottage for mom, and chickens and pigs and gardens and all the great and good things.
We've found a likely spot near Redding CA, 44 acres on the side of a hill, septic and well already installed. I've been looking at pictures and maps and falling in love. I'll start a separate thread to talk about that.
This weekend I ordered a pile of seeds, almost all of them late-season crops, and, as a act of faith, I also got some Sequoia Gigantica seeds. ;-)
"The best fertilizer is the footsteps of the farmer."
hey, welcome, good post =)
i can totally relate, change a few genders and names and details around, and i could tell a similar story....only like twenty more run on sentences later i did start getting my hands very dirty, and even managed to find some good people and scenes that were much more functional. hang in there!
just felt like saying hi, and i think thats a great thing if you can ground out the land situation near redding. that area, and especially even further north of there into siskiyou county ( and further trinity county too) are definitely my favorite parts of califonia, the most affordable too, though remote...i lived for quite a while in siskiyou, up in the klamath knot. it's a great place for permaculture, for sure, i would love to see a bunch of homesteaders flock there....
Location: San Francisco
posted 4 months ago
Thanks for the warm welcome! I'm really stoked to see so much activity and uptake, I should have emerged from my shell sooner.
"The best fertilizer is the footsteps of the farmer."
Don't sweat petty things, or pet sweaty things. But cuddle this tiny ad: