This is WJ (Jay) and Cathy. The two of us have been together as spouses and best Friends since 1968, but have known each other since the start of 7th grade. Pretty corny, I know.
The "vinekeeper" handle is a rough translation of our surname, but also reflects the sort of mental ground we stand on. We work with many different kinds of plants. Comfrey is one of my very favorites, and we produce a "salve" from comfrey, lemon grass, olive oil and beeswax. We use it for nearly every external condition .... now including relief from arthritis, wrinkles and age spots ! We produce most of our own medicine, food, and energy, and once lived in an insulated yurt without electricity or running water through five northern Michigan winters... lake-effect, snow-belt winters. We also designed and built a 44 foot diameter "earthlodge'out of materials gleaned from the site the lodge was built on, mainly timber thinnings, bagged earth, and stone. Personally speaking, these were among the happiest days of our lives. And we are looking forward to more.
Anyway, we come here to give a glimpse of ourselves to people we are coming to respect on this site. And we also know there are others out there, less outspoken who are also the kind of folks we always appreciate. To those whom we may never meet, if you are among the "earthcare" folks, we sincerely salute you. May you thrive and prosper in all ways.
INTRODUCTION: We are a young semi-retired, university educated married couple seeking a collaborative working relationship with families wishing to develop perennial polycultures (a permanent, soil-building form of low input - high return food and energy production, aka agroforestry or permaculture). We are physically vigorous, enthusiastic, creative and thoughtful people trained by experience in a vast array of estate land development skills.
WIFE: (Cathy) is a former glass artist, interior and exterior designer and teacher of early childhood development. She is a MASTER GARDENER with over 30 years of herbal/floral/organic food gardening. Cathy has professional experience in floral design and has brought beauty to many weddings in northern lower Michigan.
In addition, she is a gifted artist in many media. She is trained in first aid and gourmet and ethnic cooking. She cans and preserves most of her family's food and fills pantries with ingredients gathered from gardens and wild plant populations. She makes and uses many herbal remedies and has practiced yoga for over thirty years. Her knowledge of plants, food, home design, and human cultures is extensive.
HUSBAND: (W. Jay) is a former educator turned research and development specialist in permanent agriculture systems, with overseas experience. He has professional nursery/greenhouse experience with special interest in EDIBLE LANDSCAPE and propagation of food trees and shrubs as well as herbaceous perennials. He is both a MASTER GARDENER and MASTER WOODLAND MANAGER and is experienced in developing orchards, forest gardens, food plots, and pine and hardwood forest management.
WJay is a lifelong student of history, anthropology, philosophy, and cultural history of land use, with broad knowledge of local and regional history. He enjoys working with landscape scale analysis, design and implementation of sustainable forest/farm enterprises.
Thanks for letting us tag along!
Location: Northwest Lower MI
posted 8 years ago
In addition, we would like to offer assistance to anyone considering a retreat to the north woods. These rolling, glaciated hills covered in the main with sugar maples, and small farms with every temperate fruit know growing somewhere in most townships is a gem of a secret.
Those big lakes give us unusual fruit growing potentials as evidenced by the tsunami of new wineries amidst the cherry and apple farms.
There are fine sites available all over the region in Charlevoix, Emmet, Antrim, Kalkaska, Otsego, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Benzie, Wexford, Manistee, etc. counties. We would be happy to scout places for you, guide you around, and in general lend assistance in establishment in low-input, high return forms of perennial agriculture.
Any Permie with questions about this region or the Upper Peninsula should feel free to fire away. Lots of small farms and lots of new people taking up new forms of agriculture.
Campers and tourists welcome.
Location: Northwest Lower MI
posted 6 years ago
For you newcomers, I thought to "bump" this with an announcement that we have a 24' Pacific yurt available for seasonal or year-round use in the midst of a well-established treefarm/permaculture research parcel (80 acres). This is available for little or no rent to the right folks looking to get a running start on daily permacultural engagement. Lots of help and guidance available as needed.
Yurt is fairly well furnished.
If interested contact by regular email:
vinekeeper AT forestfarm.org
Looking forward to a great season. Morels and shiitake coming on soon!.
Location: six miles east of TORCH LAKE, Michigan. Echo township. Very private, yet has full-service villages an easy bike ride away.
Location: Northwest Lower MI
posted 4 years ago
We now have ways of opening homestead sites AND supply natural building materials such as unlimited timber, sand and stone for actual "base camp" type homestead development in an 80 acre enclave surrounded by small farms and many orchards. It is a "foodie" paradise. Sites and allotments are available for long-term (99 year) lease with renewals for less than $1,900 per year ... again, this includes FREE BUILDING MATERIALS. Build a sturdy shelter, heated with wood and surrounded by fine neighbors and gardens. AND BE OUT OF DEBT. Health and happiness in your own free hands.
Additional land for gardens or other permacultural enterprise such as mushroom production, herbal collections and concoctions, plant propagation and woodland services is available at little or no cost in additional to the basic homestead site. Currently building large strawbale and smaller "hobbit houses" in a solar, earth-sheltered concept. Sites are ready for building, or you can choose your own from roughly 20 available.
The "zone ONE" homestead site is 31,416 feet or 3/4 of an acre. Allotment size plots for additional enterprise are limited in size only by the real use-needs of the principals.
Lots of wood fuel for cooking and heating. Free for the gathering. Lots of good graze and fine grass. Water is spectacular. Soils deep and easy to work. Compost from managed treecrops for new garden development. Wood for hugel foundations is also abundant.
No poisonous snakes or insects. No ticks or fleas ... no need for insect repellent. Great for pets and horses.
Free camping (rustic) to check it out.
Located just east of TORCH LAKE (Google image) and Lake Michigan. Maple-Beech complex.