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Kitty Leith
Posts: 143
Location: Oakland, CA
11
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Hi folks!


Happy to find you. Hope to do you proud one day.

I've wanted to homestead for as long as I can remember. Probably since I first received Little House in the Big Woods when I was in about third grade, and the rest of the Ingalls-Wilder series, which was four decades ago. Growing up around the suburbs of Detroit, I was a "different" kid, which goes without saying, as I was the only Korean adoptee in my redneck town. But I also loved all the Hillbilly folk who lived in my neighborhood, and I loved their stories of simpler times. When I got freedom with my first bicycle, I discovered the library and The Whole Earth Catalog. I hand copied everything applicable to self-sustainable living from all the Foxfire books, and subscribed to Mother Earth News when I was in 6th grade. I began to collect every book I could on homesteading, organic gardening, raising livestock, and alternative energy, etc. by spending all my money on used books, and by the time I graduated from high school I had two boxes full.

I carried those books around with me for another full decade, despite dozens of moves. But my circumstances were always really challenged and all my energy went to moving up and out so my kids would have a chance. Until one day I just figured I'd have to put my dreams aside, as they didn't pencil out and I'd invested so much to get where I was. So I gave the books away.

Two decades later, and I'm trying to recover all that reference material and inspiration. Only the world has changed a lot and the amount of information out there now is overwhelming! And it was like the skies parted and angels started singing when I recently discovered the existence of permaculture, remembering how the rototiller my dad used never made sense and throwing away edible "weeds" like chinese lanterns and purslane and lambs quarters didn't make sense, and digging out each and every single dandelion from the lawn didn't make sense...After walking away from my career and spending four years in the country of my birth and getting uncomfortably closer to retirement with nothing saved and nothing to show for a life in the rat-race, I've realized how my homestead dreams were not a frivolity that I should have kept to myself, but instead my freedom and salvation.

I have been a Marine Electrician and am an unlicensed Architect and generalist. My upcoming job I will be doing web development, and I will be in the Oakland area near my grown kids. Not terribly social, but believe in community. I'm quite adept at anything requiring attention to detail and fine motor skills. I love to get dirty and not afraid of hard work.

My new goal is to get some property and build a house in the next five years. Hopefully I can have it mostly paid off before I'm eligible for social security. Would be nice to have a partner in crime as well.

That's my intro - thanks in advance for putting up with me and teaching me things!


Suki

 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9741
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Hello and welcome!

 
Kitty Leith
Posts: 143
Location: Oakland, CA
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Thanks for the welcome!

I currently live in the Korean countryside, btw. It's really beautiful in the mountains here. I'm aghast to see farmers walking around with pesticide tanks strapped to their back. No permaculture, but some companion planting. Those in apartments will plant anywhere there's unclaimed land in the craziest places! Many a roof is a pumpkin patch here. Last year monsoon floods wiped out the kim chi cabbage. This year a drought has stunted all the growth.

I buy my food at the traditional street market (it rotates between villages every 5 days) because I'm poor and they don't sell organic at our local supermarkets anyway. 10 cucumbers for a buck. six heads of lettuce for a buck. ten tomatoes for five bucks. One can eat for cheap out here. Hoping washing will do the trick, but my main problem is there's too much to eat for one person before it goes bad. If only I had my own garden, that wouldn't be a problem. Sigh. My students tell me one of their chores is to bury food scraps. There's not enough land to support pigs, but that's the main source of protein. I don't know where or how they are raised...

Anyway, here's a photo of farmers in the country. The older ones are permanently bent at a 90 degree angle...City folk make fun of how they dress, but I bought a couple of these sunbonnets anyway, because they are genius protection from the harsh rays, and a reminder to keep my goals in mind.

And this is the homestead outside my apartment window, another reminder...
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Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
Posts: 1422
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
17
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Hi Suki and welcome to permies! I'm going to use an old cliche and say "It's never too late" .

I'm a late bloomer myself but I think I'm appreciating it now much more than I would have during the first 3 or so decades of my life.
 
Kitty Leith
Posts: 143
Location: Oakland, CA
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Thanks for the supportive comment! It's nice to know others my age and older are making it work.
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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Congrats on having your sun shine on you again !

Is very helpful to wash your produce with a light hydrogen peroxide solution, and air dry in a cloth bag. will help it last.

look at grow bags, and at Gardners Supply, the soft patio planters.
should be able to rig up something similar there.

if you want an income stream, you could start making the tiered, vertical patio planters , and sell them there.
prob lots of folks nearby with industrial sewing machines, you just need to start a co-op to get em working with you.

amazed the drought is getting there too.....

arctic storms starting already, be ready for early snow, and cold winter.

 
Kitty Leith
Posts: 143
Location: Oakland, CA
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Congrats on having your sun shine on you again !

Such a lovely way to put it! I despair because I know so little about plants...

Is very helpful to wash your produce with a light hydrogen peroxide solution, and air dry in a cloth bag. will help it last.

This is fantastic and very helpful. Nobody in Korea lives by themselves except foreigners so none of the produce is sold in quantities for the single person. Been here almost four years and I only just discovered where I could get hydrogen peroxide. (the pharmacy - and you have to ask for everything) Thank God for English/Korean dictionaries on cell phones.

look at grow bags, and at Gardners Supply, the soft patio planters.
should be able to rig up something similar there.


Unfortunately, my apartment hasn't much natural light and attempts to grow haven't gone well.

if you want an income stream, you could start making the tiered, vertical patio planters , and sell them there.
prob lots of folks nearby with industrial sewing machines, you just need to start a co-op to get em working with you.


This is an excellent idea! You would do well as an expat. A venture like this would be short-lived, though, as this is the land of copying good ideas. I've seen some cute tiny versions here but they are pretty worthless for production. Industrial fabrics are super cheap as well. Actually very few people have heavy-duty sewing machines like I do and those that have machines are using them for mundane hobby crafts or trying to be fashion designers. Products from China are super cheap, so there's no reason to make anything yourself here. If I were going to stay, I would try this. Though because of the language barrier I'd have to sell wholesale and wouldn't make a whole lot. A venture like this would be short-lived, though, as this is the land of copying good ideas.

But I will be back home soon. 199 days to go...but who's counting...
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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would do the verticle system anyway, while you have access to the industrial fabrics.
figure out which ones breathe the best, and hold up to UV, and seam allowances.

That way you can work out the bugs in the patterns, and just take those when you head out.

Will give you an instant income streamwherever you land , and can sell em at farmers markets, for much better money than you can make trying to sell veggies.
 
Kitty Leith
Posts: 143
Location: Oakland, CA
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thanks again for your good idea! just looked on-line and they are ridiculously expensive!
 
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