gift
My PEP Badge Tracker: An easier way to track your PEP Badge Progress
will be released to subscribers in: soon!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • jordan barton
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Steve Thorn
  • Leigh Tate
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Greg Martin
  • Mike Haasl
master gardeners:
  • John F Dean
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Jay Angler
  • Nancy Reading

Ecocamp Project in Upper Midwest, USP

 
Posts: 40
Location: Wisconsin
2
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello. I’ve had a notion for a project that has been driving me for a while. It is obviously more ambitious than what normal people would take on, so curious to see if others here think it would be worth exploring together further.

I’m looking to purchase a fair chunk of land in Northern Wisconsin or the UP and set up a living situation that would house a healthy community that would in turn act as stewards for the surrounding environment. We would seek group cohesion and functionality while maintaining a light footprint. Lots of ideas have occurred to me, but I am working to present just the most basic concepts and leave details to be worked out with others if there are enough willing to commit to making it happen.

The site would have one compact ‘bright green’ headquarters (-thirds?) near the road entrance. This would be common space for everyone to work in tight coordination on group necessities, particularly greenhouse space to produce as much food as is practical. This could be on grid, where vehicles would be kept, include minimal sleeping and cooking space, and where any more ambitious ‘lab’ type activity would happen.

Surrounding this would be a low-tech ‘detox’ area that would aspire to be the main living space. Definitely off grid, hopefully no electricity or complex technology brought in from outside. There would be another central common building here for cooking and eating/meeting. Around that would be space for what outdoor farming could be done in the clime and individual or shared housing. Construction would be geared toward permaculture and hopefully not involve much if any brought in materials or equipment beyond simple tools.

The remaining bulk of the property would be kept free of heavy structures and agriculture. Between this and the detox zone there would be some sort of husp-type situation as I understand the concept from catching up on reading here, leaving a large space for nature to take it’s course around the minimalist structures.

I’m thinking this would work in coordination with a similar set up in another location with a warmer climate to allow seasonal migration for a core group. Or even a third site if there was reason for most to work on other seasonal projects. Along with permaculture goals for building any infrastructure, there would be an emphasis on group dynamics, finding people that will work to build something greater than the sum of their parts, to have a core that maintains critical mass. This is where planning out details becomes near impossible, so just looking to see how many folx care to explore these ideas further.

I’m more than willing to travel to nearby states and meet in person in the immediate future. Ideally I would make the land purchase in the next few months and have something put up to be there through next winter, so looking to move forward as quickly as makes sense. If you have local knowledge on land or regional laws/prejudices that could affect planning, I'm particularly seeking that kind of advice.
 
Coydon Wallham
Posts: 40
Location: Wisconsin
2
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Didn't mean to focus so much on technical details. Suffice to say I have resources and a direction I am heading with them. More important at this point is to develop some understanding of what kind of community would grow around this and some basic principles.

[Please excuse the following gross oversimplification of other people’s lifestyles. For discussion they are made to sound black and white but in reality are shades of grey. It is difficult to broach this topic and not be overly judgemental. Perceptions are limited and sharing our flawed understanding with others lets us live as more than isolated individuals, even if we never perfect that understanding.]

I’ve noticed two extremes when it comes to ‘alternative’ approaches to community. Housing co-ops in urban areas lack a sense of investment and prolonged community. On the other hand, many homesteaders I’ve read about have been individuals or individual couples looking for a type of ‘retirement’ lifestyle, cut off as much as socially/economically possible from other individuals. There are certainly plenty of people in the world today that benefit from either situation, perhaps who engage in them in sequential stages. Seems to me there should be something in between those scenarios that offers more than money obsessed consumerism. Well, more of that something at least.

So is there already general discussion along these lines here? As much as I like the overall design of these forums, the threads are not as clearly organized as I’m used to, so apologies if I’ve missed something in this last month of reading. Seems community organization like this is handled pretty piecemeal.

At this point I’d say my central focus is on health. Health that comes from living right more so than from following a specific diet, having an ‘exercise’ schedule, taking the right ‘pills’, or keeping appointments with a councilor. In my experience healthy people are much more likely to deal with the pitfalls that typically beleaguer social groups, and people intent on suffering from self induced problems make social barriers monolithic.

The best I’ve ever felt about life was eating paleo, not because it sounds badass but because I wasn’t surrounded by people pushing hoards of processed crap at me. I like to "exercise" to accomplish useful tasks, and the less well-oiled machines around the better this feels. All this together with being surrounded by people who aren’t living in their cars shoving Slurm and McBurgers in their face adds up to mental health that comes from interaction with those people rather than with a friend-for-hire or a self-help book.
 
Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Coydon,
There is a small group of us in the Mpls/St. Paul area who are interested in talking to you more about your ideas.  Since I'm new to this site, I don't know if this is going to post on the site or is behind the scenes.  I am wondering if there is a way to be able to chat about this offline?
 
Posts: 7
Location: Michigan
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I like your ideas!

I myself has always wanted to do something more ambitious but it's hard to find others who believe they can pull something like that off!  I think it's important for there to be people out there doing bigger projects to help accelerate the change!

Myself and a couple friends would probably be very interested in what you are doing and we are from the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.  We are planning on traveling and living on the road starting in about a month so there is a good chance that we can come and help out on your project(s) at some point and share any types of info or knowledge and good food and resources we might have!  Good luck to you!

 
Coydon Wallham
Posts: 40
Location: Wisconsin
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Evan Stowers wrote:I like your ideas!

I myself has always wanted to do something more ambitious but it's hard to find others who believe they can pull something like that off!  I think it's important for there to be people out there doing bigger projects to help accelerate the change!

Myself and a couple friends would probably be very interested in what you are doing and we are from the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.  We are planning on traveling and living on the road starting in about a month so there is a good chance that we can come and help out on your project(s) at some point and share any types of info or knowledge and good food and resources we might have!  Good luck to you!


Ideally I would have the land in about a month and be starting to evaluate it for plans, but being ready to jump into straight labor at that point seems like a stretch, unless I find a good parcel that has an obvious spot for a wofati and y’all want to do a bunch of digging. I suppose prepping logs would be an early helpful step, have to look into acquiring the tools for that. If anyone has experience landscaping/homesteading with a permaculture mindset, might also be nice to stick a few stakes in the ground and discuss sand castle possibilities. Regardless if you just want a place to set up camp for a while, I'm guessing that would work too. How long do you think you’ll be around the area?

I feel like I could do a daily blog in this thread about things I am researching, why it should be done, how I am going about stuff, what kind of people I think would fit, etc., but don’t want to bog down with details at this point. I’m trying to distill ideas down to more universal elements. Even with that limit in mind things have been picking up in recent weeks and I’m not finding time to write much.

I’ve been talking with various people about what would make a group situation like this work and some points continue to clarify little by little. One major hurdle is placing an emphasis on direct oral communication. In the end that is what determines if a group actually works, and trying to screen for this through writing or even video recordings is paradoxical. Any time I start to write ‘this is what will work’ or ‘that is what won’t work’, I feel like I need to add ten more lines that start with ‘unless...’

The dailyish email that Paul sent out yesterday resonated with many of my goals, around the idea of how non-profit organizations seem to end up producing more profits and accomplishing less toward their claimed goals than people just doing stuff. I’ve been involved recently with an outdoor school in the area that is known for their survivalist program. At the risk of trivializing the life changing experience that is immersion in a program like they offer, one takeaway I’ve had is that, as useful as it is to know how to start a fire with stuff you find on a forest floor and how to forage enough calories to keep yourself moving, the key survival skill just might be developing sincere and supportive connections with others around you to produce something that matters to the entire group. Finding a way to make that last would amount to prosperity. It seems most of us have lost the ability to value such bonds significantly. Easy money and instant gratification are just so much sexier.

I’m looking for a few other human beings that just want to do stuff the right way, to live a fulfilling life in nature and not stress out about how to force the rest of the world to fit into some massively detailed plan. Political parties and NGOs that try to 'save nature' don’t seem to end up accomplishing much more than feeding the propoganda of their declared opposition. These entities are all building blocks that would be beneficial to learn to deal with in some shape or fashion, but I’m not holding my breath that I’m going to get to Utopia on a Tuesday any time soon. This site is a treasure trove of things we can do for real in our own lives to make things better, so I’ll be looking to connect with others who are headed along the same path.

And I’ll probably be rewriting the ‘goals’ of this "ecocamp" project every few weeks here so that I might eventually figure out exactly what the hell it is that I am doing...
 
Evan Stowers
Posts: 7
Location: Michigan
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Coydon Wallham wrote:

Evan Stowers wrote:I like your ideas!

I myself has always wanted to do something more ambitious but it's hard to find others who believe they can pull something like that off!  I think it's important for there to be people out there doing bigger projects to help accelerate the change!

Myself and a couple friends would probably be very interested in what you are doing and we are from the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.  We are planning on traveling and living on the road starting in about a month so there is a good chance that we can come and help out on your project(s) at some point and share any types of info or knowledge and good food and resources we might have!  Good luck to you!


Ideally I would have the land in about a month and be starting to evaluate it for plans, but being ready to jump into straight labor at that point seems like a stretch, unless I find a good parcel that has an obvious spot for a wofati and y’all want to do a bunch of digging. I suppose prepping logs would be an early helpful step, have to look into acquiring the tools for that. If anyone has experience landscaping/homesteading with a permaculture mindset, might also be nice to stick a few stakes in the ground and discuss sand castle possibilities. Regardless if you just want a place to set up camp for a while, I'm guessing that would work too. How long do you think you’ll be around the area?

I feel like I could do a daily blog in this thread about things I am researching, why it should be done, how I am going about stuff, what kind of people I think would fit, etc., but don’t want to bog down with details at this point. I’m trying to distill ideas down to more universal elements. Even with that limit in mind things have been picking up in recent weeks and I’m not finding time to write much.

I’ve been talking with various people about what would make a group situation like this work and some points continue to clarify little by little. One major hurdle is placing an emphasis on direct oral communication. In the end that is what determines if a group actually works, and trying to screen for this through writing or even video recordings is paradoxical. Any time I start to write ‘this is what will work’ or ‘that is what won’t work’, I feel like I need to add ten more lines that start with ‘unless...’

The dailyish email that Paul sent out yesterday resonated with many of my goals, around the idea of how non-profit organizations seem to end up producing more profits and accomplishing less toward their claimed goals than people just doing stuff. I’ve been involved recently with an outdoor school in the area that is known for their survivalist program. At the risk of trivializing the life changing experience that is immersion in a program like they offer, one takeaway I’ve had is that, as useful as it is to know how to start a fire with stuff you find on a forest floor and how to forage enough calories to keep yourself moving, the key survival skill just might be developing sincere and supportive connections with others around you to produce something that matters to the entire group. Finding a way to make that last would amount to prosperity. It seems most of us have lost the ability to value such bonds significantly. Easy money and instant gratification are just so much sexier.

I’m looking for a few other human beings that just want to do stuff the right way, to live a fulfilling life in nature and not stress out about how to force the rest of the world to fit into some massively detailed plan. Political parties and NGOs that try to 'save nature' don’t seem to end up accomplishing much more than feeding the propoganda of their declared opposition. These entities are all building blocks that would be beneficial to learn to deal with in some shape or fashion, but I’m not holding my breath that I’m going to get to Utopia on a Tuesday any time soon. This site is a treasure trove of things we can do for real in our own lives to make things better, so I’ll be looking to connect with others who are headed along the same path.

And I’ll probably be rewriting the ‘goals’ of this "ecocamp" project every few weeks here so that I might eventually figure out exactly what the hell it is that I am doing...



So true everything you said.  Connections and being able to build connections with other people are the real roots from which can grow human life.  That's the foundation of everything!  

I like where it sounds like your mind is at and I'm happy to hear about it.  Not really certain as to when we would be making our way all the way up to your area of interest but I am certainly going to keep you in my mind and in my heart and hopefully I can do some things to help ya out at some point.  At least you know I'll usually be around the lower peninsula and if you happen to be there your always welcome to whatever it is that I can offer at the time, even if it's just company.  

I appreciate what you're going for there!  I honestly would love to just camp out some time, but for now, I'll wait and see how things roll out for the both of us.  I'll keep an eye out for ya, Take care!    
 
Coydon Wallham
Posts: 40
Location: Wisconsin
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Evan Stowers wrote:So true everything you said.  Connections and being able to build connections with other people are the real roots from which can grow human life.  That's the foundation of everything!  

I like where it sounds like your mind is at and I'm happy to hear about it.  Not really certain as to when we would be making our way all the way up to your area of interest but I am certainly going to keep you in my mind and in my heart and hopefully I can do some things to help ya out at some point.  At least you know I'll usually be around the lower peninsula and if you happen to be there your always welcome to whatever it is that I can offer at the time, even if it's just company.  

I appreciate what you're going for there!  I honestly would love to just camp out some time, but for now, I'll wait and see how things roll out for the both of us.  I'll keep an eye out for ya, Take care!    


I'd be interested to hear about your group and your journey. If you care to share, probably PM me if it isn't something you'd want to start a thread about.

Also, if you happen to know of anyone selling a solid used 4x4 that is manual and has towing capacity in your area, I might use it as an excuse to make a trip that way.
 
Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi! I’m in northern Wisconsin and happy to collaborate and come out to help out on certain projects when you get your land. I’m all about the community connections in the area and since I just moved here (to my grandparents land so I did spend childhood summers here) I’d love to get to know other people passionate about permaculture and community projects.
Personally I’m really into the therapeutic aspects of working with plants and living close to nature.
I’m also happy to help you look for land, I enjoy exploring and looking at pros and cons of properties.
Send me an email if you want: Nahannii@regenerative-mindcare.com
 
steward
Posts: 11757
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
3256
3
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm in Northern WI as well.  I am rather settled but I like the idea and wish for creative solutions like this to be everywhere.  

As for some regional advice, land tends to get cheaper the farther you get from the cities and jobs.  Being close to hardware stores is really nice.  If I had to choose between northern WI and the UP I'm not sure I have the data to suggest which is better.  Building codes might be worth looking into for any area you're considering.  

Having access to a lake/river/stream would be very nice.

Some excellent fall/winter/spring things to keep people on site are wild rice harvesting, ice fishing, firewood cutting and maple syrup.

By any chance is the outdoor school you mentioned run by Tamarack?  I was going to suggest checking them out.  I haven't visited them yet but they seemed related.
 
Coydon Wallham
Posts: 40
Location: Wisconsin
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Nahannii Lukesh wrote:Hi! I’m in northern Wisconsin and happy to collaborate and come out to help out on certain projects when you get your land. I’m all about the community connections in the area and since I just moved here (to my grandparents land so I did spend childhood summers here) I’d love to get to know other people passionate about permaculture and community projects.
Personally I’m really into the therapeutic aspects of working with plants and living close to nature.
I’m also happy to help you look for land, I enjoy exploring and looking at pros and cons of properties.
Send me an email if you want: Nahannii@regenerative-mindcare.com


Hi Nahannii. Plans are shaping up and I'm nearing a decision on some land. It looks like the project there would in large part be about returning a conifer plantation to a more diverse northern mixed forest, but would leave 5 acres to explore natural building and various ways to produce food up nord.

The question of community involvement is still pretty wide open. Minimizing monetary exchanges is a goal that has received support in some preliminary discussion. It looks like I would play the (hopefully) benevolent dictator until something better forms that can overthrow my tyrannical regime. The default at this point would be to have people show up when I am there and to see what develops on the spot, basically an unstructured summer camp. I'm sure I could structure something also if someone knew more of what they were looking for in advance.

My plans would be to start working there end of May or early June. Harvesting timber and building simple structures will be the priority, but any start on the food forest area that can be made off the bat would be similarly important. I've spent a decade on basic small to medium gardening based on the square foot method and organic exploration and helped with a medium organic CSA, but structured permaculture is completely new to me.

I imagine nature therapy can take endless forms, but you might be interested to look into the Healing Nature Center in Three Lakes. I've enjoyed the forest bathing there a few times. They are associated with the outdoor skills school I am working with.

I intend to start a thread about land purchase prospects if I can find a spare hour here or there soon. I'll be sure to link to it from this thread.
 
Coydon Wallham
Posts: 40
Location: Wisconsin
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Mike Haasl wrote:I'm in Northern WI as well.  I am rather settled but I like the idea and wish for creative solutions like this to be everywhere.  

As for some regional advice, land tends to get cheaper the farther you get from the cities and jobs.  Being close to hardware stores is really nice.  If I had to choose between northern WI and the UP I'm not sure I have the data to suggest which is better.  Building codes might be worth looking into for any area you're considering.  

Having access to a lake/river/stream would be very nice.

Some excellent fall/winter/spring things to keep people on site are wild rice harvesting, ice fishing, firewood cutting and maple syrup.

By any chance is the outdoor school you mentioned run by Tamarack?  I was going to suggest checking them out.  I haven't visited them yet but they seemed related.


Yes, I'm working with Tamarack, though the school now operates as a circle of instructors/staff. Tamarack must be one of the most resourceful people I have ever met. I've considered living at the school, but have a few parallel ideas I'd like to explore with this 'ecocamp' notion and feel it needs it's own space. The members of the school have been supportive of the idea so far.

The parcels I'm looking at are on or very near the Peshtigo, so prime fishing/canoeing/etc will be in the back yard. There seems to be enough downed wood around to keep a few rocket mass heaters fed for a while, depending on how much The Duke has over hyped them and how my construction skills turn out. I've had hand harvested Manoomin and syrup made with friends as elements in my diet for a few years now. Ice fishing has personally been limited to a DNR class, and would depend on whether winter was spent at this camp or not.

BTW, not sure if anyone else would be interested but Teaching Drum is offering a Wilderness First Responder course in a couple of weeks: https://www.longleafmedical.com/wfr-may2021-three-lakes.html. I'm more focused on 'alternative medicine' for most aspects of health, but if there's one thing I trust Western Medicine for it is dealing with acute injuries, so I'll get my boy scout badge for this one...
 
Mike Haasl
steward
Posts: 11757
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
3256
3
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Peshtigo should be a decent location relative to outside work and stores (GB or Marinette are reasonably close).  I think the success of the RMHs depends extensively on the structure it's going in (for our climate).  Small and open concept and you're good to go.  Drafty and you're totally screwed.

Returning a conifer plantation to deciduous is admirable but it will take a long time.  There's often clear cut or selectively cut land that's available pretty affordably that might get you closer to your desired end game.  I passed on 120 acres of mostly clear cut land 5 miles north of Marinette with a stream running through it and power at the blacktop road for $95k about a decade ago.

If you're worried about getting enough firewood, don't worry too much.  If you get to know your neighbors or you keep an eye out for wood at the side of the road, you can likely satisfy a few RMHs without needing many trees of your own.  I probably get a cord or two of wood a year from neighbors within a mile who don't heat with wood themselves.  Pine is often just sitting around and the landowners are hoping it will get taken by anybody.  Or watch craigslist.

You might still want to check into local regulations, building codes, etc for your potential location.  It would suck to buy a place and have regulations that keep you from building what you want.

Good luck Coydon!
 
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Coydon,

Thanks for sharing your plans. I'm in northern WI, and have ruminated on similar plans for too long, and have experience "living the dream" with inspiring mentors showing the way(s). I'm equipped with skills, experience, an enormous library, a healthy body with excellent endurance, and some capital to contribute to worthy projects. I'd love to collaborate. PM me to exchange info. Best of luck moving forward in the meantime, and I'll look forward to meeting!

 
Coydon Wallham
Posts: 40
Location: Wisconsin
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Mike Haasl wrote:Peshtigo should be a decent location relative to outside work and stores (GB or Marinette are reasonably close).  I think the success of the RMHs depends extensively on the structure it's going in (for our climate).  Small and open concept and you're good to go.  Drafty and you're totally screwed.

Returning a conifer plantation to deciduous is admirable but it will take a long time.  There's often clear cut or selectively cut land that's available pretty affordably that might get you closer to your desired end game.  I passed on 120 acres of mostly clear cut land 5 miles north of Marinette with a stream running through it and power at the blacktop road for $95k about a decade ago.

If you're worried about getting enough firewood, don't worry too much.  If you get to know your neighbors or you keep an eye out for wood at the side of the road, you can likely satisfy a few RMHs without needing many trees of your own.  I probably get a cord or two of wood a year from neighbors within a mile who don't heat with wood themselves.  Pine is often just sitting around and the landowners are hoping it will get taken by anybody.  Or watch craigslist.

You might still want to check into local regulations, building codes, etc for your potential location.  It would suck to buy a place and have regulations that keep you from building what you want.


This is quite a bit upstream from the city, but the river is still plenty wide here and when we looked it up it was rated as a top trout fishing area. I'm not sure how far from population centers you can actually get in Wisconsin, but the need to plan and stack trips for supplies is something I'm actually looking forward to. Taking the supply chain for granted is a problem I welcome every chance to challenge and minimize.

The parcel I'm favoring has a recently clear cut area that should work good for starting a food forest with minimal inputs. Did a soil test and the top layer looks rich with plenty of sand for drainage beneath. The mature trees in plantation rows elsewhere would be an ongoing project to harvest and supply roundwood timbers for building with, as well as dimensional lumber with a portable mill. I've listened to a few of Paul's podcasts on forests and acquiring land and didn't encounter anything here that would raise a red flag based on his priorities, beyond the desire to recover the conifer desert. Despite the monoculture implications, I kind of like the massive, open, needle-carpeted environment under a relatively complete canopy, so no hurry on the recovery aspect, but any work done would at least be improving diversity there.

I've looked at township, county, and state regulations and nothing has jumped out as a barrier to the natural building techniques I've been looking into. I'm discussing the Managed Forest Law program with a DNR agent, but it was recommended to forgo the minor tax savings and just do the management ourselves. I'm talking with a local real estate agent that was recommended to hopefully catch any peripheral issues that might pop up.

From the pictures I've seen posted here, I'd like to stop by and check out your greenhouse some time if that would work...
 
Mike Haasl
steward
Posts: 11757
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
3256
3
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The building code they enforce (or don't enforce?) may be the biggest limitation.  I built a cabin near Amberg (north of Peshtigo) and still had to deal with minimum structure sizes, full inspections and code.

I'm a bit busy with the kickstarter at the moment but maybe in the fall you could check out the greenhouse.

I'm glad you have some clear cut.  I was imagining just a big plantation.  Good for building material but not much variety.
 
Posts: 105
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Coydon, I like the ideas I saw you express. I do value seeking to live off-grid and moving to more low tech living, and not being as dependent on use of electricity, for sustainability I see being needed in living. I try being sustainable in my choices in other ways too. Growing things for what is needed, and doing some foraging, is very valuable in that. So, you do have ideas for other locations besides Wisconsin or the upper peninsula? I remember in my early years when a little boy living in Wisconsin, just in that time of my life. There were enjoyable seasons. But I never forgot the bitter cold winters there and snow piling up so high, and lakes completely frozen over. I want year round farming for food and materials, and any foraging possible, in natural surroundings. In that northerly area greenhouses would really be needed, if they can be adequate for that. If they are, this could interest me. I would like hearing more from you, as you consider things like those things interesting me.
 
Coydon Wallham
Posts: 40
Location: Wisconsin
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Mike Haasl wrote:The building code they enforce (or don't enforce?) may be the biggest limitation.  I built a cabin near Amberg (north of Peshtigo) and still had to deal with minimum structure sizes, full inspections and code.

I'm a bit busy with the kickstarter at the moment but maybe in the fall you could check out the greenhouse.

I'm glad you have some clear cut.  I was imagining just a big plantation.  Good for building material but not much variety.


Mixed blessing then that the kickstarter is keeping you busy (from a selfish viewpoint).

There are multiple properties in the area I'm looking. Another promising one has more diverse tree growth already and is right on a bend in the river, but has no clearings to start with. Despite more mixed growth and stuff like wild leeks growing there, the soil in the area that would be zone 0/1 wasn't as rich as the other either, and had less topography to work with. Both have a predominantly south facing slope though.
 
Coydon Wallham
Posts: 40
Location: Wisconsin
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Fred Frank V Bur wrote:Coydon, I like the ideas I saw you express. I do value seeking to live off-grid and moving to more low tech living, and not being as dependent on use of electricity, for sustainability I see being needed in living. I try being sustainable in my choices in other ways too. Growing things for what is needed, and doing some foraging, is very valuable in that. So, you do have ideas for other locations besides Wisconsin or the upper peninsula? I remember in my early years when a little boy living in Wisconsin, just in that time of my life. There were enjoyable seasons. But I never forgot the bitter cold winters there and snow piling up so high, and lakes completely frozen over. I want year round farming for food and materials, and any foraging possible, in natural surroundings. In that northerly area greenhouses would really be needed, if they can be adequate for that. If they are, this could interest me. I would like hearing more from you, as you consider things like those things interesting me.


Nothing is planned for other specific properties. The central idea is to make minimal monetary investment in the infrastructure here, to keep construction natural and DIY, buildings that could easily be duplicated or repaired after periodic abandonment or some sort of disaster. There have been hints that some people interested would want to bring money to the project and my thought is that should go more toward finding property somewhere with a complementary climate for semi-nomadic migration (though I could see developing something else in the vicinity also). Right now I'm evaluating prospects of connecting the 'bright green' area to the electric utility vs. how much to invest in solar off the bat. I'm figuring that might be the only significant monetary investment besides the land purchase, or perhaps community vehicles if traveling that way makes sense.

However, given the manpower, skill, and time, I'm planning a sizeable community building that would integrate a greenhouse on the south face. The first few years could involve plastic hoop houses, row cover, cold frames, etc. Opting for external, more artificially sourced inputs to infrastructure like this would have to be weighed against the prospect of driving to buy veggies grown elsewhere, along with ethical and health concerns of a diet heavy on beef and dairy that is the more "traditional" low tech solution.
 
Coydon Wallham
Posts: 40
Location: Wisconsin
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Mike Haasl wrote:If you're worried about getting enough firewood, don't worry too much.  If you get to know your neighbors or you keep an eye out for wood at the side of the road, you can likely satisfy a few RMHs without needing many trees of your own.  I probably get a cord or two of wood a year from neighbors within a mile who don't heat with wood themselves.  Pine is often just sitting around and the landowners are hoping it will get taken by anybody.  Or watch craigslist.


Coming from a wood stove background I've avoided burning pine like the plague. Does the complete burn aspect of RMHs eliminate this concern?

I also wanted to mention I'm considering upping my kickstarter lever, so wondering if you've considered offering a guided tour of your greenhouse as a stretch goal...?
 
Mike Haasl
steward
Posts: 11757
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
3256
3
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well...  I burn pine all the time in my wood stove.  All the info I've read on the subject seems to suggest that if your chimney is cleaned routinely and the pine is properly seasoned, you can burn it just fine.  I think many of the chimney fire stories come from people letting the creosote build up and then they put in some pine and get a hot fire going and they ignite the creosote causing a chimney fire.

Plus there are lots of places way up north where I think all they have to burn is pine.

As I understand it, at Wheaton Labs they only burn conifer in their RMHs .

I've considered what I could offer as a stretch goal but I couldn't come up with anything of proper value to a broad enough segment of the kickstarter audience to bring in more support...
 
Fred Frank V Bur
Posts: 105
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Coydon Wallham wrote:

Fred Frank V Bur wrote:Coydon, I like the ideas I saw you express. I do value seeking to live off-grid and moving to more low tech living, and not being as dependent on use of electricity, for sustainability I see being needed in living. I try being sustainable in my choices in other ways too. Growing things for what is needed, and doing some foraging, is very valuable in that. So, you do have ideas for other locations besides Wisconsin or the upper peninsula? I remember in my early years when a little boy living in Wisconsin, just in that time of my life. There were enjoyable seasons. But I never forgot the bitter cold winters there and snow piling up so high, and lakes completely frozen over. I want year round farming for food and materials, and any foraging possible, in natural surroundings. In that northerly area greenhouses would really be needed, if they can be adequate for that. If they are, this could interest me. I would like hearing more from you, as you consider things like those things interesting me.


Nothing is planned for other specific properties. The central idea is to make minimal monetary investment in the infrastructure here, to keep construction natural and DIY, buildings that could easily be duplicated or repaired after periodic abandonment or some sort of disaster. There have been hints that some people interested would want to bring money to the project and my thought is that should go more toward finding property somewhere with a complementary climate for semi-nomadic migration (though I could see developing something else in the vicinity also). Right now I'm evaluating prospects of connecting the 'bright green' area to the electric utility vs. how much to invest in solar off the bat. I'm figuring that might be the only significant monetary investment besides the land purchase, or perhaps community vehicles if traveling that way makes sense.

However, given the manpower, skill, and time, I'm planning a sizeable community building that would integrate a greenhouse on the south face. The first few years could involve plastic hoop houses, row cover, cold frames, etc. Opting for external, more artificially sourced inputs to infrastructure like this would have to be weighed against the prospect of driving to buy veggies grown elsewhere, along with ethical and health concerns of a diet heavy on beef and dairy that is the more "traditional" low tech solution.



I would gladly work at having things growing for what is needed, as I am quite able though really not young any more. I for one will not take part in demand for meat and dairy, certainly ethical and health concerns are involved in that. Sustainable ways are a large concern I am seeing. I would have a huge variety of what we can have growing, that I really want to be a part of. I wish there were opportunities I could easily see for coming to anything like that when much younger. I only saw my need for such change in recent years and only had this kind of online access not fully a decade ago. When I manage to reach any of this to a good extent I want to make the effort to depend on electricity as little as possible, and I know people used to do well without any, for a very long time. There are other ways for having things like light and heat.
 
Coydon Wallham
Posts: 40
Location: Wisconsin
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Okay, taxes and training are out of the way for at least another year. Sorry to not respond to recent PMs, catching up soon here.

I've been scouting around some more, looking to put in an offer on a property later this week. It would be nice to get more input on permaculture prospects for various land parcels I'm looking at, but just want to have something to start working on in a few weeks. I found one that clicked with me on a few key aspects, we'll see where that goes.

I'm halfway through Paul's "Permaculture Thorns" book on community that came as an ebook with the latest kickstarter. I often have a differnet perspective than that given in the book, but recognize most of the situations from my own community 'experiments' and would recommend it as reference reading if interested in being involved here or in something similar...

 
Fred Frank V Bur
Posts: 105
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Coydon Wallham wrote:Okay, taxes and training are out of the way for at least another year. Sorry to not respond to recent PMs, catching up soon here.

I've been scouting around some more, looking to put in an offer on a property later this week. It would be nice to get more input on permaculture prospects for various land parcels I'm looking at, but just want to have something to start working on in a few weeks. I found one that clicked with me on a few key aspects, we'll see where that goes.

I'm halfway through Paul's "Permaculture Thorns" book on community that came as an ebook with the latest kickstarter. I often have a differnet perspective than that given in the book, but recognize most of the situations from my own community 'experiments' and would recommend it as reference reading if interested in being involved here or in something similar...



Thanks for the update here. Would it be preferable to have further communication through PM? My real input would just be for the importance of having all things growing for needed food and things, greater in importance than how good what shelter we have is. We will need adequate clean fresh water and good fertile soil, certainly, and I would be avoiding the GMO.

And now I am interested in the book that is suggested, so I plan to get it and see.
 
Coydon Wallham
Posts: 40
Location: Wisconsin
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Fred Frank V Bur wrote:Would it be preferable to have further communication through PM? My real input would just be for the importance of having all things growing for needed food and things, greater in importance than how good what shelter we have is. We will need adequate clean fresh water and good fertile soil


I'd like to keep this thread about the main themes and current updates on the project. Anyone interested should is welcome to post some kind of intro here and go into those topics, but best to have more detailed philosophical or technique specific discussions elsewhere.

I'm not foreseeing food and shelter being much of a priority conflict. My general priority with the land is going to be a modest structure with an RMH to have something going for next winter and to prove the building techniques. It would be great if a group came together quick and smooth such that next winter could be spent elsewhere at a more climate friendly camp, but toughing it out here is an important option to have IMO. However, I believe this would involve cutting down some timber to dry as much as possible before starting construction, so time in there to focus on other areas.

To me the food priority is to start some fruit trees from seed and transplant a few more saplings, perhaps some annuals like asparagus to give them all as much of a head start as possible. It would be very very welcome to have others with knowledge and time to add a bunch of perennials to the mix, so PM me if you have an idea of what/how you'd think you could participate along those lines. Hunting/fishing/ricing/foraging are great opportunities to further pool efforts. I'm thinking the question of off grid refrigeration ought to be addressed somewhere in all that.

Enough live water to get Sepp Holzer drunk should be readily available for the hauling/pumping. The soil looks decent where I'm envisioning a food forest, just not sure about the pH with the conifers having been there. Permaculture (non-?)irrigation is also new to me, so would need some advising on that.
 
Fred Frank V Bur
Posts: 105
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Coydon, I did send you a PM just a little while ago, and I mentioned things in it that I was thinking as important to bring up. I neglected to say I would also want to be seeding and doing it as soon as possible at the appropriate times. I would also willingly be chopping wood for what is needed, though I admit I am really not in such great shape, I am older too, but not too old to really want a change to this way soon. The work can go better with others and it is why having others to work with is good, really. Any can contribute some good things, we just need those willing to do so.
 
Coydon Wallham
Posts: 40
Location: Wisconsin
2
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Fred~
Sorry not to reply, I don't recall reading your last post, I thought this thread had dropped into hibernation after my last post. Your PM also never made it to my inbox.

I have been waiting to post here until I had an update on some land. It has been tied up in process for over a month, and I am going to investigate a couple more options next week and hopefully finalize something then. One prospect is near national forest land a ways east of Rhinelander, another is near county forest land south of Ironwood, and another is in national forest land near Lake Gogebic in the UP.

I have solid interest from one other permaculture aficionado to participate in establishing camp at this time, and a spattering of others waiting for details to develop. Hopefully that news will follow in a week or two...
 
Posts: 95
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you haven't yet purchased the property, but have just nailed down an area by region or county, please make sure to investigate the "subdivision" and related zoning laws in that county or area. Different than building codes, this is a real problem for my land (southern colorado, rural county), in that I am limited to just *three families* on 40 acres, due to the "zoning" laws.

Anything more than the 3, in any form (living permanently, camping, rv'ing or tiny homing, etc.) invokes all kinds of subdivision madness, with associated rules & regulations that only a major subdivision construction company would love ... or even be able to finance thru to completion.

The codes/laws appear to be crafted (at least in my area) such that this one gotcha is pervasive throughout ... more than 3 families, or plenty of other such "triggers", catapults any effort you want to do into "subdivision" territory where we just can't easily play. I'm no lawyer, so there is still a chance I'm wrong, but it looks grim ... I've read enough various codes to put any normal person into a coma.

On the plus side, I think I've solved the prison problem ... reading codes/zoning laws would end recidivism as we know it *and* they qualify to become bureaucrats.
 
Coydon Wallham
Posts: 40
Location: Wisconsin
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jt Lamb wrote:If you haven't yet purchased the property, but have just nailed down an area by region or county, please make sure to investigate the "subdivision" and related zoning laws in that county or area. Different than building codes, this is a real problem for my land (southern colorado, rural county), in that I am limited to just *three families* on 40 acres, due to the "zoning" laws.

Anything more than the 3, in any form (living permanently, camping, rv'ing or tiny homing, etc.) invokes all kinds of subdivision madness, with associated rules & regulations that only a major subdivision construction company would love ... or even be able to finance thru to completion.

The codes/laws appear to be crafted (at least in my area) such that this one gotcha is pervasive throughout ... more than 3 families, or plenty of other such "triggers", catapults any effort you want to do into "subdivision" territory where we just can't easily play. I'm no lawyer, so there is still a chance I'm wrong, but it looks grim ... I've read enough various codes to put any normal person into a coma.

On the plus side, I think I've solved the prison problem ... reading codes/zoning laws would end recidivism as we know it *and* they qualify to become bureaucrats.


The purchase has gone through. Not too sure about possible regulations, it is defacto relaxed because of a remote location, but this State holds many a drunken idiot and reserves the right to revoke any unpopular freedoms at the whim of legislative trends. I don't see an immediate problem in this instance, but looking to the future, keeping a light footprint with infrastructure would mean less reason to fear political mobs appearing at the property gates with torches in hand. Short of that I feel it is a duty as a human being to make the best decisions in these matters based on available knowledge (IE working with nature) and to deal with legal conflicts as they arise.

The county website does make clear this property is outside any zoning laws, all that should apply are state universal building codes. I'm hoping to find a way to get along with locals well enough to not have any extraneous issues raised with authorities, the next few weeks of breaking in the location should indicate where that is headed...
 
Posts: 17
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi, I share your project/dream, although am older and have established definite limitations on what I can live with. So, on the 'yes' side: vegetarian, land conservancy, greenhouse, ethical standards, homeschooling (I'm a credentialed teacher); on the 'no' side: no dogs, drugs, vaping, smoking, meat.
Perhaps not quite your plan, or....?
 
Coydon Wallham
Posts: 40
Location: Wisconsin
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Lynne~
My thoughts are to have primitive living be a shared basis to have common ground for everyone to grow from and regroup with when needed. An important part of that is hunting and fishing. Not that everyone would be required to participate in the activity or even diet, but it would be an important source of calories and way to connect with and foster a surrounding zone 5 type environment. I don't think any sort of 'commodity market' sourcing of meat is possible without likely enabling awful ethical and environmental practices and would not be welcome. Animal husbandry lies in a gray area in between, I enjoy it's benefits but question many of the consequences.

Drugs are in a way similar. In Just about every community I've participated where the presence of recreational substances had any sort of focus, they brought universally negative outcomes. Yet I also recognize the importance of ethenogenic experience in traditional cultures. I don't know if there is a magic formula for how to promote genuine open mindedness without inviting a non-stop party atmosphere, but it is a balance I think any group needs to work to maintain. Alcohol is another gray area I have no pat answer for, in a way a dietary element but easily lending itself to abuse.

If that doesn't sound off-putting, do PM for more about details, unless you think it is something good to share here...
 
Fred Frank V Bur
Posts: 105
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I will not want meat or need meat either. I don't drink alcohol and have not for many years. I do not smoke, moreover because of my issue I will need to be away from others who are smoking. I will put all my effort into having things growing from vegetation being used for what is needed, for food or anything, with natural farming. I want this sustainable way in which to live. It can have low dependence on power. I would bring seeds for investing my contribution in that, and I want to have healthy things involved with this.

PM through this has not seemed to work for our communication. If email would be considered I would still be reached through messages to vegrox@aol.com.
 
Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Coydon. i 'm reaching out after reading some of your posts.
would love to hear from you about your progress in finding a spot and setting up community.
I am  long time Permie, studied with Bill M decades ago and taught NVC at N. Cal Perm in Bolinas
Currently looking for home and determined it must be where food growing  and
natural building, conscious, collaborative community  etc. are primary.
My email is martinealgier@gmail.com
Gratefully, Martine
415 306 3152
 
Coydon Wallham
Posts: 40
Location: Wisconsin
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Not much tangible development so far on the land, it is basically a somewhat fancy campsite for the moment. The bulk of my time recently has been logistics of moving out of my city home, organizing and discarding stuff to fit it in a temporary storage locker near the property, and devising plans for shelter, heat, power, and communication for the coming winter. I felt dedicated enough to utilizing Rocket Mass Heaters to ride to Montana a couple of weeks back and join in the brainstorming sessions at Mr. Wheaton's neighborhood of make-it-real (RMH Jamboree at Wheaton Labs). I consulted with some of the bright boys and girls about the best design to put in a yurt to get through a northwoods winter. I'm headed back later today and will start acquiring materials for a 24' yurt to be the starter building of the camp.

Once I have a solar charging system up and a reliable internet connection, I'll focus more on a web presence to share the opportunity with any interested parties. I'm concerned that writing too much at this stage will create a sense of intellectual inertia that might make it more difficult to grow a healthy community at the camp. There is currently a small pool of people who have offered to help with various initial tasks. It is difficult to gauge long term interest without a clearer picture of what will develop. I am thinking about how to make some sort of program outline about joining in the initial pioneering stage of development and will post more on that soon after returning.
 
Fred Frank V Bur
Posts: 105
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It would be an investment for me to come to it from where I am and I would really want to know it is what I want to move into and be a part of for it to be worthwhile. I am following this to learn all about what is being done there and communication will be important for coming to that as the choice to have. Where I would grow things needed from the seeds I gather should be a settled place.
 
Posts: 184
Location: Temperate coniferous forest (Washington) - zone 9a, 22" rain/yr
25
3
trees tiny house solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Congratulations on your land purchase and getting started, Coydon. We have friends not too far from you, on the Bayfield peninsula, who have a great permaculture nursery and a well-established homestead. If you get to visit, they might tell you their stories of starting out the first winter in a tent with fire for heat...
You can find them at: The Draw Nursery
 
They worship nothing. They say it's because nothing lasts forever. Like this tiny ad:
Natural Swimming Pool movie and eBook PLUS World Domination Gardening 3-DVD set - super combo!
https://permies.com/wiki/135800/Natural-Swimming-Pool-movie-eBook
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic