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Rocket Mass Heater Plans: Annex 6" L-shaped Bench by Ernie and Erica
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Glyphosate Surprise! - a story

 
pollinator
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Just for a little bit of "fun", it's choose your own adventure story time! (Or just skip to the bottom for Q&A time)
-----------------------------------------------------
You've saved up your nest egg, and are getting ready to purchase that big beautiful bit of land to make the world a better place for you and your family, and for those who follow.  You are so close to leaving the rat race, with your mind filled with knowledge after years of studying permaculture and homesteading-related topics, practicing wherever you can.  You and your loved one are about to sign that dotted line, when the seller's agent casually mentions in conversation:

"Oh by the way, there may have been another farmer using it.  You'll have to contact the seller directly."

***

Many hours later, you and your best mate have just finished your first day of camping on your newly purchased parcel having pitched your tents at the edge of a calm field of stubble with small weeds and native grasses starting to pop through.  You imagine how perhaps you'll purchase some poultry, electric netting and seed mix to turn it into a lush pasture or massive garden.  The timing seems right.  Or perhaps you'll do a small survey plan of the grounds and begin your food forest preparations.  Regardless, "what a beautiful blank slate!" you say to yourself.  You finish the evening having explored deeper into this piece of fallow land, along with its surrounding grasses, ponds, and forests.  You both drift asleep, filled with ideas and plans for the season and of course, tomorrow's activities.

You wake up early the next morning to the sound of a diesel engine.  "Wow, that sounds really close..." you think as you toss in your sleeping bag and drift back to sleep.  Later, you hear it again, way too close this time, and you are met with just a little bit of dread.  "Yikes, sounds like we're going to get run over!"  You egress your tents.  Sure enough, it's a big green tractor driving up to your campsite.  "I guess we need to buy a lock for that gate."  You smile and shrug it off: "Well, I guess this is one way to meet your neighbor!"

After exchanging pleasantries and extended conversation, you learn from your new, rather eccentric neighbor that that yet another neighbor had been on the land just a few days ago.  They had their machines out here, too.

"Just great." You think to yourself, "Now I definitely need to hunt down the prior owner to find out what the deal is."

***

Sure enough, the rural grapevine is both one step ahead of the game, and one step behind.  While your friendly and eerily watchful neighbor knew about the recent land sale in progress -- now happily complete -- another local farmer had incorrectly heard word that your recently acquired parcel wasn't being sold, that there were delays or difficulties getting it off the market.  For that farmer, it was business as usual under the previous absentee owner, and that meant preparing the rent-free borrowed ground for...soy.  Can't beat free land!

Your campout turns from a time to explore your land with your family and besty, to a time of phone tag, hunting down who has been working the land, and finding out what has been done to it so far under what agreements, if any.  Hours and then days pass, and information trickles in.  You learn that the neighboring farmer's colleagues had already purchased -- and it would seem, quickly applied -- seed, fertilizer, herbicide etc. to your newly acquired grounds the day before you bought it.

Sure enough, days pass, and the re-growing field you had just camped on becomes as desolate as a Mordor wasteland.  Congratulations!  You camped in a field of RoundUp!  

Furthermore, you are now in the very awkward position where your organic farmstead plans are set back, and you quite likely have zero social capital at the local level as its newest member.  You hate the idea of throwing a wrench into your (presumably) well-intentioned neighbor's colleague's larger agricultural business.  But you also hate the idea of being set back a year, while gaining nothing for your field, all while still being stuck paying for its taxes.

So, what are you going to do?
-----------------------------------------------------

Actual questions:
1) How would you personally go about mitigating the effects of previous RoundUp applications when transitioning a large farm to permaculture methods?  Specifically, is there a length of time you personally would wait before planting or using various crops?

2) How valuable do you personally place social capital compared to other forms, like your time, natural/living capital (aka growies and critters) or financial capital?  As an example, do you let neighbors take and remove hay without nutrient return as a gesture of good will (aka ++social capital) at the expense to your land's long term mineral health (--natural capital), defying the permaculture law of returns?

3) How much do you value a sense of privacy and sovereignty of your land?  Do you let your neighbors walk up onto your land any time?  What about locals who have perhaps casually used your land for years for activities such as fishing, firewood, golfing, or letting loose their dogs?

I'm really curious about where the permie community is on the decision spectrum for such things.  Answers only, no reciprocal questioning!
 
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George Yacus wrote:
Actual questions:
1) How would you personally go about mitigating the effects of previous RoundUp applications when transitioning a large farm to permaculture methods?  Specifically, is there a length of time you personally would wait before planting or using various crops?

2) How valuable do you personally place social capital compared to other forms, like your time, natural/living capital (aka growies and critters) or financial capital?  As an example, do you let neighbors take and remove hay without nutrient return as a gesture of good will (aka ++social capital) at the expense to your land's long term mineral health (--natural capital), defying the permaculture law of returns?

3) How much do you value a sense of privacy and sovereignty of your land?  Do you let your neighbors walk up onto your land any time?  What about locals who have perhaps casually used your land for years for activities such as fishing, firewood, golfing, or letting loose their dogs?
!



I'm probably not with others on your first question, but the effect of roundup is gone near instantly, that is why it is such a well used weedkiller. You can plant what you want as soon as it dries it will not kill anything after it has dried (for organic certification here it would make no difference as you would have to wait 3 years from the date of sale anyway)

The second question, no. if they want the hay then they have to give something in return, that could be money, or time or manure. If I were not using the field then they could have the hay for the price of keeping the field mown and not letting it turn into scrub.

Depends how much land I had, If I had many acres 100+ I would probably not mind people crossing it but I would not allow any fishing foraging etc on my land. as I am with 5 acres no one is allowed on it other than the man who rents the field out.
 
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George,

OUCH!!  And what a dilemma.  I can only address your first question so here is my partial answer.

I would get a new crop growing in the ground ASAP.  The big bad RU really needs to go in via foliage to be effective so getting seeds back in the ground will help get life growing in the ground again.  You can see evidence of this by the fact that many farmers need to keep spraying RU year after year as wind borne seeds make themselves at home.  So the good news is that you can get things growing—and I would recommend growing a diverse selection of plants.  Consider things like legumes (inoculated of course) to encourage nitrogen fixation bacteria and maybe plant hedgerows around your border to have some perennial plants to help anchor soil microbes.  Also you mentioned animals.  Good.  Their manure will help feed the soil to partially replace what RU might have killed.

The bad news of course is that this was not the first time your land got hit by RU.  What kind of acreage are we talking about?  This partially helps explain what you will have the time and resources to use to fix the land.

George, this is a start.  I might add that if you have a neighbor who sprays RU next to your land, watch for drift.  I don’t know if you can put up a barrier that might help control the drift or not but it might be worth considering.

Also, open communication with neighbors is golden!  Granted, being the new guy you may be at a disadvantage, but just establishing friendly relationships with neighbors is worth its weight in gold.  Your neighbor started planting soybeans.  Do you intend to let him continue?  I can’t answer for you but might it be worth while to let him get out one last crop rent free to establish a good relationship?  Food for thought.

George it sounds like you have a bigger project on your hands than you thought.  Fear not though, these are challenges that can be overcome.

Good Luck and please, don’t be afraid to as questions and don’t be a stranger.

Eric  
 
Eric Hanson
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George,

Another thought in privacy,

My personal opinion (you can form your own) is that I consider open land to be free for looking (can’t really stop this) and for walking so far as it is not too close to my house.

I have about 9 acres, 6 of which are open and grassy.  I deliberately keep some walking trails mowed and I consider these to be open to any of my neighbors.  In fact they connect to other trails on other private property that is also generally considered open to neighbors.  I keep these trails a distance from my house so I still have some privacy.

HOWEVER, I do have a neighbor kid who loves his 4-wheeler and he was riding all over my land—regardless of trails—without permission.  We had to have a conversation about that part.

But generally if it is walking—human or dogs—I have no problem with and actually appreciate having neighbors walk my trails so long as they do no damage.  And I have yet to see footprints on grass do any damage.

I don’t know if your land is conducive to this type of use, and of course, as it is your land do what you think appropriate.  But for me walking and taking is a great use of land.

Eric
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Rocket Mass Heater Plans: Annex 6" L-shaped Bench by Ernie and Erica
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