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Heya! Combat vet turnin' farmer John!

 
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Hey all, wanted to introduce myself, as I've been reading through the forums for a week straight now, and decided to join in.

My name is Lex, or Glint, or a million other things. I just recently acquired 20 acres of nothing, in the good ol' county of Pershing, here in Nevada. I'm not even on-site yet, and I'm already probably one of the Building Inspector's least favorite occupants. Haha

Anyhow, I'm a disabled combat vet, through Iraq, with a family of three, including myself. I intend to build, grow, and thrive enough on our own from the land. It's nice and completely flat, with maybe a foot or two elevation across the whole lot. Perfect conditions. /Sarcasm

I'm interested in using the Pep/skip template as a way to develop my earthly skill, and a whole lotta google fu to reinforce that.

Hope everyone is well, and I look forward to annoying you all with too many questions in the future!
 
pollinator
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Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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Hi Lex, welcome. I think you will find this a great place to learn, discuss, and contribute. Many veterans have seen things nobody should have to see. Grounding yourself on a piece of land is a good way to establish an anchor you can count on.

BTW, please don't be offended if our volunteer moderators ask you to re-register with a less cutsey moniker. Everybody here is trying to avoid "Rest of the Internet" syndrome, and create a place for honest and tolerant discussion. God knows it's a mess out there. Cheers mate!
 
pollinator
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7 AHS:4 GDD:3000 Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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I see the news and it says that alot of farmers that were depending on their wells for their farm, are having problems now. How is your water situation? Do you have a stream or "moist" creek bed, I recommend planting a 1 acre polyculture orchard along it.

What were you thinking about growing on your farm, and animals? Will it mainly just be for the household or is it mainly a market garden to sell to the community?
 
Lex Eastwood
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Hi Lex, welcome. I think you will find this a great place to learn, discuss, and contribute. Many veterans have seen things nobody should have to see. Grounding yourself on a piece of land is a good way to establish an anchor you can count on.

BTW, please don't be offended if our volunteer moderators ask you to re-register with a less cutsey moniker. Everybody here is trying to avoid "Rest of the Internet" syndrome, and create a place for honest and tolerant discussion. God knows it's a mess out there. Cheers mate!



Thanks! The cutesy moniker has legitimately been the name I've had since basic training. I don't even remember anyone calling me Lex anymore. I was deemed Glint because I was a "knock-off brand" of Clint, according to my Drill Sgt. If it becomes an issue, no big deal to change it.

S, As far as the land is concerned: I pretty much dumped my entire life savings into purchasing it, and a 5th wheel trailer, because the rat race was keeping me well below the local poverty line. 1bd 1bath apartments where I live are as much as I make with my entire pension (80% disability, medical retirement thanks to a bomb in my second deployment) so I pretty much bought in before society swallowed me whole. It was a "now-or-never" thing. Planning hasn't been in the cards quite yet, but now... I'm finally able to start taking inventory of the situation, and moving forward.  

Water situation is terrible. I'll be taking delivery in until I can establish secure water sources. We get less than 10 inches of rain yearly, so it's going to be fun.

As far as what I'm going to be planting, and raising, etc... The answer is yes. Whatever I can comfortably support within my means, I'll be doing.

My initial walkabout on-site was promising (or, at least... Hopeful?), despite it being flat and barren.

I'm medically retired, so I got nothing but time to fiddle around with all the things. Weather and land permitting, of course.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
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Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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Lex Eastwood wrote:The cutesy moniker has legitimately been the name I've had since basic training. I don't even remember anyone calling me Lex anymore. I was deemed Glint because I was a "knock-off brand" of Clint, according to my Drill Sgt.


Haha, great story and you have definitely earned the moniker. Welcome aboard, Glint!
 
Lex Eastwood
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Haha yeah, I've gotten just about everything with my last name. Thanks!

They pinged me already, by the way. Lol
 
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Location: Amador County, California
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Hello. What is your elevation, that is high desert? You can get nice organic hay down south of Carson City. A lot of farmers grow grain up around Alturas, CA. What livestock do plan on? There is a nice farmers market in Carson City, it is closed now because of the fires. Start looking into a pretty sturdy greenhouse, the wind blows up there. We are about six hours away in Amador County, on the other side of Lake Tahoe from you. It is beautiful out there, I worked on all of the cell phone towers from Reno to Salt Lake City for a few years. Good luck.
 
pollinator
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Location: Japan, roughly zone 9b - wet and warm climate
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That's not a lot of water. Fortunately there's a lot of information about making the most of little water. There's even some pretty amazing condensation harvesting you can do, basically just like moisture farmers in Star Wars.

At least you don't have to worry about much in the way of mold or mildew! Those are my biggest enemies in the wet here. Well and the mosquitoes.

Good luck! I hope the rest of your life brings you the peace you fought for.
 
Lex Eastwood
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Jeff Campbell wrote:Hello. What is your elevation, that is high desert? You can get nice organic hay down south of Carson City. A lot of farmers grow grain up around Alturas, CA. What livestock do plan on? There is a nice farmers market in Carson City, it is closed now because of the fires. Start looking into a pretty sturdy greenhouse, the wind blows up there. We are about six hours away in Amador County, on the other side of Lake Tahoe from you. It is beautiful out there, I worked on all of the cell phone towers from Reno to Salt Lake City for a few years. Good luck.



Heya, thanks! I've spent probably the last ten-ish years in Reno, and am currently staging in Dayton to prep for the big leap! Spent a lot of my childhood here in Northern Nevada as well.

Elevation is 4100'. We're a hop and skip and 2 minute walk from a bunch of alfalfa pastures. And I mean BIG ones. As far as livestock is concerned, we're not super super sure yet. We've spitballed the cost for chickens as a start, and are slowly working our way up the list, determining whatever we have in budget compared against our monthly and overall expenses. This stuff is pricy, so we have plenty of time to plan things out before we can even afford to pull triggers on them.  haha

I mainly want to get a stable foundation down where I can feel comfortable in my ability to produce feed for any livestock we intend to bring on later. Grocery stores will still be on the to-do list for a while, but the gameplan is to slowly remove the reasons for going until it's no longer necessary. One step at a time, as they say!
 
Lex Eastwood
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To get an idea, this is home sweet home, via good ol' google. I'd share a video of the on-site, but I use some colorful language when talking about the dirt. Haha
Screenshot_20210906-233430.jpg
[Thumbnail for Screenshot_20210906-233430.jpg]
 
Lex Eastwood
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L. Johnson wrote:That's not a lot of water. Fortunately there's a lot of information about making the most of little water. There's even some pretty amazing condensation harvesting you can do, basically just like moisture farmers in Star Wars.

At least you don't have to worry about much in the way of mold or mildew! Those are my biggest enemies in the wet here. Well and the mosquitoes.

Good luck! I hope the rest of your life brings you the peace you fought for.



Thanks! Yeah, it's not much. There's going to be a lot of creative things done in the name of water, for sure. Especially so, considering how against permaculture the county is.

One of my next major steps going forward is definitely going to be focusing on shaping up some cooperation with the land. I feel like my only means of pulling this off is going to be paying a LOT of attention to moving earth around, and creating shapes that combat poor conditions.

I'm perfectly fine without the mosquitoes. You're welcome to keep them to yourself. Haha
 
master pollinator
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Welcome to Permies Lex!

10 inches of water, Eeek! My first thing would be to set up a rainwater harvesting spot. Maybe a metal roof for a shaded porch over over your trailer's door. Maybe a tarp. I don't understand all the set up needed for such a thing, but others here have the knowledge.

 
pollinator
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Hey buddy, I live just over the hill in California. Nice to have another Iraq vet here. Good God will that work ethic come in handy trying to turn THAT place into a farm, hahaha. I wish I had something to offer ya, like a tractor. But I'm broke too. Oh well, start diggin!

 
Lex Eastwood
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:Welcome to Permies Lex!

10 inches of water, Eeek! My first thing would be to set up a rainwater harvesting spot. Maybe a metal roof for a shaded porch over over your trailer's door. Maybe a tarp. I don't understand all the set up needed for such a thing, but others here have the knowledge.



Hey, thanks! Yeah, it's not great. Haha

My initial plans for water collection is a big ol' tarp sloped to pvc pipe, dropped into an IBC, while we situate a cistern. Our USGS says there's water closer to surface for a well, but I'm not holding my breath. Murphy's Law, and all that jazz. I got two 16x30 tarps to work with, totalling around 960 sqft collection space.  I have 3 structures that are a "must have" on my list. A shop, shed, and a greenhouse. Which will add significant collection surface. This will be enough to take care of house needs and a small garden, but we're going to have to get creative for the "whole thing" for sure.
 
Lex Eastwood
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Dan Fish wrote:Hey buddy, I live just over the hill in California. Nice to have another Iraq vet here. Good God will that work ethic come in handy trying to turn THAT place into a farm, hahaha. I wish I had something to offer ya, like a tractor. But I'm broke too. Oh well, start diggin!



Heya howdy! Whereabouts in CA?

I was an army grunt. If there's one thing I'm good at... It's digging. Haha

I honestly feel like I pretty much dived into "hard mode" for this whole thing, but with enough finesse, and colorful language... I'm confident.
 
Jeff Campbell
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Be careful over planning. It is dirt. There is always water, you just have to keep drilling until you hit it. Spend a year out there and see where the surface water wants to go naturally. Build your chicken coop on the high ground. Get to know your neighbors growing the alfalfa, figure out there schedule. Then you know when they are planting harvesting or spraying. They also know about the water well situation. You might find someone that lets you fill your tanks close to home. I keep about 200 pigs 40 goats 50 rabbits and 100-200 chickens and we use about 50000 gallons a month in the summer. We get 0 rain in summer, so that keeps a little patch of grass green and a small garden.  Start searching for the info on the wells around you, they should be registered and you can find out the depths and water flow rates.  Life is short, trying to turn the desert into an oasis is not a quick thing. Find a local farmer to source your feed is one of the biggest drop in costs.
 
Dan Fish
pollinator
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I live in Nevada County, CA actually. When all the gold ran out the miners here went to try their luck on your side of the hill. So they named that Nevada as well. I wasn't a grunt but signal so I got to dig with the pioneer tools on my truck at least and way less often. It really is all about the digging... My best advice I guess would be to hand dig stuff for a few months and get an idea of what your working with and then go rent a machine for a day or two. That will get you going.
 
pollinator
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Lex Eastwood wrote:To get an idea, this is home sweet home, via good ol' google. I'd share a video of the on-site, but I use some colorful language when talking about the dirt. Haha



Google...Earth?  Er um...moon?  

Always happy to see fellow vets around, Glint!  Check out FVC for farmer veteran resources, discounts, mentorship, marketing support, and community.  They don't have a Nevada chapter, but a California one is in the works.  #TYFYS, and welcome aboard!   <--Obviously a former Navy greeting there, because some of us need to be around the water!

Edit to add:
P.s. I'm blessed to have the gift of time as well, and I've also found PEP to be a good framework for community and productive motivation.
 
gardener
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:Welcome to Permies Lex!

10 inches of water, Eeek! My first thing would be to set up a rainwater harvesting spot. Maybe a metal roof for a shaded porch over over your trailer's door. Maybe a tarp. I don't understand all the set up needed for such a thing, but others here have the knowledge.



There's a Youtube channel for a couple that built a homestead in Arizona, and he built something big like 1500 square feet of metal roofing at the highest point of the property, around 2-3' above the ground with a gentle slope using 2x4 frames, into a rain gutter and that ran several hundred feet down to half-buried cisterns, around 10,000 gallons. The first 2500 gallon tank acted like the settling/first flush, and when it was almost full it would start filling the other 3 tanks. That might be a good way to gather all your water and then you have a series of filters for water heading to the house. You could start small and add on using small roofs and 55 gallon barrels, and if down the road you can do some earth works to maybe mound up a space a few feet above grade, then you could have catchment there and gravity takes it into tanks.
 
Lex Eastwood
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Jeff Campbell wrote: Be careful over planning. It is dirt. There is always water, you just have to keep drilling until you hit it. Spend a year out there and see where the surface water wants to go naturally. Build your chicken coop on the high ground. Get to know your neighbors growing the alfalfa, figure out there schedule. Then you know when they are planting harvesting or spraying. They also know about the water well situation. You might find someone that lets you fill your tanks close to home. I keep about 200 pigs 40 goats 50 rabbits and 100-200 chickens and we use about 50000 gallons a month in the summer. We get 0 rain in summer, so that keeps a little patch of grass green and a small garden.  Start searching for the info on the wells around you, they should be registered and you can find out the depths and water flow rates.  Life is short, trying to turn the desert into an oasis is not a quick thing. Find a local farmer to source your feed is one of the biggest drop in costs.



Great advice! We're definitely not looking to go anywhere near that big, probably ever. But who knows what the future holds. We've talked at length about three or four cows, three or four  pigs, and maybe twenty or so chickens. That's probably around where we're going to stop. Maybe double that in twenty years time. But our first few years are going to be much much smaller. No plans for animals that weigh more than me (again, this could change. Who knows.)

We're primarily focusing on getting the land situated and planted, in hopes that we can start creating some water retention, fertility, and the like.

I know that animals will significantly help this along, but slow and steady wins the race. I don't want to have more than I can care for. Especially in the beginning, while trying to find rhyme and reason. I'm new to it, and while a lot of people I know who want to do this sort of thing as well aim for the moon, I'll be much more satisfied with just reducing cost to exist. Everything afterward is a reward in itself.

When we math'd it, we only really consume about (a little less than) 500 gallons of water monthly, as a family, since staging in the fifth wheel.  We're going to be doing the numbers for the garden soon, but my guess is it's going to double or a little bit more. But, we will be supplementing grey water with that. My goal is to generate three months at a time with an inch, while being able to hold a minimum of 5 months worth total.

When we do start looking at animals, I want to scale water first.

My USGS groundwater research shows that within a mile of me, there have been two wells drilled at less than 50 feet. While that gives me a little hope, I'm still expecting the worst.

Unfortunately, a lot of this is "you won't know til you try" stuff. So we'll see.
 
Lex Eastwood
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Mark Brunnr wrote:

Joylynn Hardesty wrote:Welcome to Permies Lex!

10 inches of water, Eeek! My first thing would be to set up a rainwater harvesting spot. Maybe a metal roof for a shaded porch over over your trailer's door. Maybe a tarp. I don't understand all the set up needed for such a thing, but others here have the knowledge.



There's a Youtube channel for a couple that built a homestead in Arizona, and he built something big like 1500 square feet of metal roofing at the highest point of the property, around 2-3' above the ground with a gentle slope using 2x4 frames, into a rain gutter and that ran several hundred feet down to half-buried cisterns, around 10,000 gallons. The first 2500 gallon tank acted like the settling/first flush, and when it was almost full it would start filling the other 3 tanks. That might be a good way to gather all your water and then you have a series of filters for water heading to the house. You could start small and add on using small roofs and 55 gallon barrels, and if down the road you can do some earth works to maybe mound up a space a few feet above grade, then you could have catchment there and gravity takes it into tanks.



I believe I know the channel you're talking about! The guy actually talks about how he got the idea from the guy I got the tarp idea from. Haha!
 
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Hi,  Welcome. Thank you for your service, and welcome home.  

When I first moved I had gotten to know my neighbors pretty quickly. Most appreciate homemade deserts and candy. My bride and I got to talk to quite a few folks and were able to gain local knowledge. Very important to keep those relationships as we help each other out. Sometimes even without asking. I've seen farmers do things for neighbors, like putting in fencing, or making driveways, at the farmers expense I might add.

Anyway local knowledge is great, but the that is the way we've done it for 100 year mentality exists. Take some time to plan, to enjoy, to socialize, and to ask for help. I hope your rv is winterized.

At 50 feet you might be able to point a well yourself. Or you can make a homemade well drilling apparatus.  

Enjoy what you do, and do what you enjoy
 
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