Anne Pratt wrote:Cheli, Margaret, welcome! So happy to have you here.
This thread has had some discussion of modifications we can make to our practices to make gardening accessible as we get less strong and mobile, and I would like to encourage more of this talk!
What else, folks, can we do to make our homesteading lives last longer?
We talked about higher raised beds. What about specialized tools? Modifications to pathways? Perennial vegetables and flowers? Congregate living?
Mari Henry wrote:
Also, room to put a bench to sit on to rest.
roberta mccanse wrote:As I have noted in previous discussions, I live in an earth sheltered home, basically a cave with large south facing windows. It's is easy to heat in winter with about 2 1/2 cords of wood per Montana winter. And I stay cool in summer, the house is seventy degrees inside, the garage sixty, while daytime temps outside have been one hundred plus lately.
Aging in place is important to me, I retired ten years ago at sixty eight having built this house with aging in mind. The rule was no stairs, which worked until I added a retaining wall with additional access that required shallow steps. "You don't want to slide downhill on your butt." said the concrete guy. I can still avoid steps down the driveway and through the garage. I raised electrical plugs to eighteen inches above the floor, toilets are raised, and my favorite feature is the dishwasher that is raised eleven inches. Halls and doorways are 36 inches wide, bathrooms and one shower are wheelchair accessible.
I garden on the roof, leg muscles stay sturdy. Hauling wood chips etc. up hill requires a sled with smaller loads. My gardens are all raised, initially to foil the evil ground squirrels but now theymake life a lot easier. We wrapped my wooden boxes, on top of pallets, in sheet metal, I plant tomatoes in stacks of tires (with more metal cuffs) and I have a series of bathtubs, mostly from Restore, on concrete blocks. The game camera caught a snowshoe hare in one of the boxes but otherwise I think that we have outsmarted most would be thrives.
I understand the back thing. Shingles a few years ago left me with some kind of neurological damage that triggers episodes of a charlie horse cramps if I overdo, and sometimes just for no good reason at all. So I have to pay attention to early signals, medicate before heavier jobs, and try to remember my limitations without getting really pissed off.
Thank you for the ideas. Your place sounds amazing to me
In the meantime I continue to garden (my beans didn't do a darn thing this year either), I do Zumba in the park, volunteer at an animal shelter two days a week (pre medicated), and do an occasional hospice visit. Covid-19 has meant that I get less exercise than usual but my property is surrounded by Forest Service land and I can walk the dog as far as I want to go. I also believe that community involvement is important and I serve on City/county planning and zoning committees where I encourage increased green space.
In the meantime I have a couple of kids planning to build here, I have a good mountain view and about ten buildable acres. They listen politely to my architectural suggestions, they are also getting older, but so far mine is the only cave we will have. I am urging them to drill a well first, mine is adequate but two would mean better water security. My daughter is anxious to leave Florida. We have the virus here too but it's a little easier to breathe in the woods.
It will be good to have family within reach. My oldest son was a sawyer and he enjoys visiting here. He faught forest fires back in the nineties and is knowledgeable about such things. Of course a cave isn't going to burn down but we did evacuate in 2017.
I will try to attach a couple of pictures. We hauled bathtubs up to the garden on a sled. Note that I am not visible in that picture.
Purity Lopez wrote:75, single woman farmer in the high desert of Cali. Actually not much has changed for me - for the most part still doing all the things I've always done. But because there is just me here I no longer opt to pick up more than 50#'s and walk it somewhere. I now have a hay bale dolly and some wagons. I try to be a little more conservative simply because I can't afford to take chances on getting hurt - who would take care of all this? So, not quite as reckless as I was decades ago. For instance, I got this little contraption that anchors my ladder that I use to get on the roof - it keeps the ladder from falling, either while I am on it, or while I am on the roof. Because I have so much here, over 50 fruit and nut trees alone......I took the time and dug them all up (they are dwarf) and put them in 5 gallon home made air pruned pots - they are all in one area now, instead of all spread out over hill and dale, and I pruned them into bushes which makes taking care of them and harvesting....a snap.
I spent some time over the last two years organizing things better - like things in like areas. I was surprised how much it cut my time. I was working outside 10 hours a day, now its half that. I built a little house, put in a home made solar evaporative cooler - bought Hidden Harvest LED grow lights and now grow a lot of summer veggies inside - concentrating on micro dwarfs. Much more fun to grow, nice to work inside when its 110 outside.....they aren't as stressed and we are all happy as clams with this arrangement. They are happier, they are easier to take care of....and like wise provide me with more than enough summer produce. Because the plants are smaller, I have more variety.
I also bought more tools. Instead of a hand sheet-metal nibbler I bought a Makita that will cut any gauge I would be using. Got me so inspired at the ease of use I am going to tackle re-roofing my cabin. For me I have been looking at things to make life easier so that I don't have to work outside 10-12 hours a day. I now water by hand instead of using irrigation. I do it before sunrise, or just before sunset and its a nice time - just lazy time doing a chore - I've never had that before and quite frankly it seemed like I was fixing the irrigation lines somewhere or nother.....continuously. And my water bill shows it. No more broke lines that go unnoticed.
If something doesn't grow here in 2-3 years, I take it out. I use to fuss and fuss with something, sort of refusing to admit that for some reason the plant or tree wasn't happy. I took it as a personal slight - LOL. I remember transplanting this one tree to different places about 5 times. Now that's silly! Now I just say okay and move on. I was spending a lot of time trying to save things that in the end did not prosper. Now, farming has become fun again.
Lauren Ritz wrote:
Mari Henry wrote:
Also, room to put a bench to sit on to rest.
This has become one of my big needs. I spent so many years putting seeds in the ground, putting plants in the ground, growing STUFF STUFF STUFF! and now I find I want to sit and enjoy it...but with no place to do that. Nothing is built in to the plan for just sitting.
John F Dean wrote:The older I get, the more concerned I am with clutter. It seems to be a never ending problem. It makes sense though. The longer I live, the more stuff I have.
The older I get, the more concerned I am with clutter. It seems to be a never ending problem. It makes sense though. The longer I live, the more stuff I have.
Remelle Burton wrote:I love reading these replies! You all just helped me feel better about my decision to age-in-place on my tiny half-acre just south of town. I know I know - it is not a lot of land but I am making it my haven. This was supposed to be my second-start home, after my divorce in 2013. I would fix it up and then buy the land I always wanted, assuming I still had my good-paying job and no other debt than the house. Alas, a geologist in the oil and gas business in northeast Wyoming has no chance at security in a job for very long - especially a female over 55. Anyway, after chasing all over Williston and looking for better paying work, I am back in my same house and back at my old geo job in Sheridan, Wyoming, at half the pay, so the debt load is atrocious but my homestead-ette is coming along. It is a one-story house with gardens and chickens and I plan to make every inch accessible by walker or wheel chair, just in case. I have deer, turkeys, geese, pheasants, rabbits and doves at the place most of the day. There is a lot to do but it is a hoot to come home to my paradise-in-the-making and know that if I need to sell all my furniture and record albums and music CDs, etc, to make the mortgage payment, it will all be worth it. I, too, use raised beds, hugelkultur, a million large pots, 4wheeler, 2 wheeled wheel barrow, and my neighbor's wood splitter. They love fresh eggs, so there you go. My bulk buying is in 5 gallon buckets which I scoop into half-gallon canning jars for storage. I "hoard" lentils and durum and spring wheat. I plan to can those things that will last for 5 years at a time and hope to find a friend to split the ownership of a freeze-dryer with me. I love having freeze dried foods for hiking and storage, since I can't pack the weight that I used to. I plan to put gutter covers on the house to keep out leaves and keep me off the ladder too much, and add some solar panels to the extra well on my place.... I do have power backups in place. Another plan is a metal roof, metal siding and ramps instead of stairs. I use free wood pallets and old lumber to make my raised decks. This year the green house will get put together from a kit, the medicinal garden will have it's own yard and hopefully I will draw an elk tag again, as my 2015 bull is just about eaten up. Thank you for this group!!! I am happy that I found you.
John F Dean wrote:That looks like and old hot tub or "garden tub" being used as a raised bed. What a great idea!!!
Welcome to permies, Ginger! May I suggest that you wander on over to the SKiP forum - https://permies.com/c/skip - and look at some badge bits you can work on. A big part of that program is doing hands-on skill mastery to demonstrate to an aging homesteader that you have the skills they need/want. One section is specifically for people without land access.
You might need an able body to live on your property to do the chores that your body doesn't like anymore.
Ed Waters wrote:Remelle what greenhouse kit did you decide on? Wyoming is known for their winds. We live on the coast of Maine and the winds can really blow for days on end and kind of gave up on a greenhouse, opting for a couple of cold frames. In our previous lives we built 3 greenhouses and would like to have one again
And I hope you thanked him profusely! Someone like that sounds worth making a "friend" off, or at least a "friendly acquaintance" of and if you end up with extra produce at some point, offering some to him!
John F Dean wrote:Yes, once I get better organized, I plan to use him for another 4 hours.
Welcome to Permies, Emme! You've come to the right place to learn lots of ways to make this a good decision!
emme Reilly wrote:am i out of my mind for thinking about starting a permaculture homestead as my retirement??? i have five years left on the job, and will be leaving my rental home in a tightly packed suburb of NYC about three with an eye to purchase some acreage well north of where i am currently. that will make me 60. yeah -out of my mind. gonna do it anyway.
Yeah. What he said. Totally. Wait. What? Sorry, I was looking at this tiny ad:
"Permaculture Now! - Desert or Paradise?" movie by Sepp Holzerhttps://permies.com/wiki/137395/Permaculture-Desert-Paradise-movie-Sepp