I caretake a private redwood forest preserve off grid in Cahto territory, in northern California. I also work on conservation deals in the region, scouting and ground-truthing and playing realtor.
Right now I’m organizing to stop a logging project in the watershed where I live and get the entire watershed protected. I’m optimistic but it may take a few years. This is the most meaningful work I’ve ever given myself to and it feels so right on so many levels. More on that at www.savethecoho.org.
Before that got going in the autumn, I was mostly focused on homesteading and tending the garden and land here. We have a big perennial garden and I do annuals too. I made a nice solar dehydrator and make compost tea and lots of other permie-y things. Got 200yd of tanoak woodchips delivered to my garden for free which I'm most proud of. We have some communal infrastructure, although it’s usually only me and sometimes one or two other people living here, we occasionally host people for things to do with the forest. We finished a guest house last year and are wrapping up the last building (open-air cob kitchen with strawbale pantry) right now. I've been here three years. I probably will build a small cob/timber home of my own nearby at some point, but the room I have now is quite nice and I have more pressing work at the moment.
I really love my normal routine here. Growing food, foraging, preserving food, cooking, crafting, building, chopping firewood, learning and tending the forest, and being part of the community. The local community is strong and connected, and I’m part of several local farmers markets. I picked 900lb of strawberries over the last two years and had to share. I'm surrounded by wildlife, and the forest stretches for many miles in most directions with few or no humans. I photograph some of the beauty here: http://flic.kr/philipmcg. I love going on long reverent jaunts through the forest and observing everything. There’s so much you can see when you are in the same place a long time, you start to notice the unique and transient things that happen, and so much does happen! And then there’s the sky, the wind, the rain, the snow! And the salmon returning!: https://youtu.be/d0stel7ExTY. I feel that good permaculture on this land will focus on the health of the tanoaks (acorns) and on the habitat for salmon and other wildlife. So to me, protecting the watershed from logging and reintroducing fire in a managed way before we get a catastrophic wildfire that kills big trees are the top priorities here.
I’m good mechanically and engineeringly. I can build and fix and maintain and figure out things; I take care of the off grid infrastructure here. Ideologically I’m a luddite though and wish we’d never invented most of our modern technology.
I’m 6'4", fit, and very healthy. In the last 10 years I’ve only had a couple medical visits, for spider bites, and have needed no medications. I’ve only gotten sick a couple times in the last three years, and only for a few days each. I plunge in the creek almost every day even in winter. I’m outdoors almost all the time normally*. I eat pretty much only organic unprocessed food, much of it from the land or grown by friends, and mostly I cook from scratch. I don't use caffeine or alcohol or marijuana or tobacco. Food and exercise and beauty and community is my medicine. (And occasionally psilocybe cyanescens, haha). I stay off social media. I sleep well.
In March of 2020 my right eye suddenly went from being nearsighted all my life to being perfectly sharp at long distances, which is amazing. I could not have asked for a better gift. I can see treetop foliage now in crisp detail and I love it. I still wonder at this every day.
My temple is the forest. I really desire to live with the land in a healthy and respectful way. To me this means a lot of listening and being humble and slow to do things that may impact them, asking permission first. This forest is completely magic. Majestic redwoods, sweet smelling douglas fir, gorgeous mossy tanoaks, smooth hard madrones, lots of water, rich soil, abundant wild food with a rich spectrum of flavors.
I love kids. I would be a good dad. With the right partner I would love to have kids, but to me that’s a decision to make as a team, and I know I can be just as happy without - being a "lit uncle" as my brother says. If I did have kids, I would want to spend a lot of time with them, and homeschool or do some kind of local community school. Whether or not I have kids of my own, I do want to mentor/teach kids about the forest more than I do now, and I see that happening here over time as I connect more with the local community.
In a partner I’m looking for a woman who
- Is healthy and prioritizes her health (physical/mental/spiritual)
- Is really into the land, loves trees and plants and fish and mushrooms and rocks and all that ;)
- Is aware that life will become more difficult for humanity from here out as our society declines, and wants to meet that challenge with good humor, rather than denial or despair
- Has integrity and is grounded
- Has a dream that could mesh with mine in a good way
I’m pretty sure anyone that I’m really interested in will love this land, it is magic. If you are already rooted somewhere I suppose it’s possible you could pull me away from here if we were an awesome fit, but we'll see. I might convince you that "my land is best". Haha.
My purpose is to serve and protect the forest. I’m only just getting started; there is so much opportunity here in the redwood region. For example we need to bring back fire to this landscape and I will get to be a part of that happening. There is so much this forest needs from people, and so few people with time to do it, that a capable person who cares can really do a lot of good.
While I could easily see myself being rooted here till I die, I have other options if I must change at some point. I could buy land nearby, and there’s another forest preserve a couple miles away which I could caretake in the future. Or something else. I grew up in rural western New York and have lived in California eight years now.
If you’d like to talk, email me at email@example.com or send me a message by clicking https://permies.com/forums/pm/sendTo/261775 or post here. I like to talk on the phone more than typing, if you're into that. If you’re coming through my neck of the woods, I’m glad to meet up! And I’m normally able to make road trips on occasion, so if you're not too far... ;)
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