Sharing my permaculture/homestead/prepper/survivalist/etc experience.
I am in my mid 40's and have always been interested in the whole self sufficient lifestyle. At least since the 1980's as a child. I had grand visions of going to the woods as a 1800's trapper guy and all that even then.
However life got in the way. Military service, truck driving, Iraq war contracting, Africa work blah blah. A long travel for a Wisconsin beekeepers son to go.
Along the way I ended up on the tropical island of Luzon. Somewhere in the suburbia/shitheadville that is Manila. After the USGOV work ended, I settled down with my bride and built a home on the tropical island.
This is what I call my third (maybe fourth?) attempt at the whole permaculture thing. The thing is, I am a hardcore libertarian, freedom-ista, so this was a trip of cognitive dissonance, but a education in the school, of hard knocks.
Fast forward to 2022 (my how time flies eh?) I have managed to get my little house in the gated subdivision (looks like anytown USA) on the tropical island with the 365 day a year growing season.
No debt, cause I took insane risks with my life in Iraq to earn the big bucks. Bought a small house in suburbia on the tropical island. Tropical island, cause I was preparing to buy a homestead in the USA and saw the prices double in 3 months on a property I was looking at near Phoenix. Damn 2005 housing bubble eh?
So I bought on the tropical island here. 50 grand for a house and lot with a 5 year mortgage was like buying a Suburban in the USA at that time with lousy credit. So I bought the house from the developer.
I had in mind a umm earth-ship kind of thing. Not exactly the hippie earth-ship look however. I mean come on, tire house? Looks like cockroach heaven to me.
So I got a all cement/steel constructed house with bout 1000 square feet of floor room. My neighborhood looks exactly like somewhere in the USA.
But there is the rub.
It may LOOK like the USA but it sure as hell is not the USA. House construction materials aside.
So fast forward to 2022. I have owned my home for 18 years already and debt free for 13 years.
BUT... It took the current COVID issue to really dig down deep and get the ol' house in order.
I managed to get a solar install job for a 28kw project. I earned enough on it to start in earnest my earthship home finalization.
The hardest thing about doing solar is calculating return on investment. But in actuality it could be applied to a lot of the whole permacultre things in our lives. It simply is not quantifiable to put all the numbers in a spreadsheet and say yes or no to certain decisions to things. In regards to the current inflation and food issue (and WW3) issue, we can not simply plug numbers into the spreadsheet and find the answers. Math has no final answers.
So to start, when I started on my prepping thing, I had y2k, 2008 market crash and covid january 2020 to give the experiences of past attempts. I finally decided after a lot of trial and error that I needed a more holistic (how I dislike that term) approach. Maybe it should be called the overall approach. So after the covids I resolved to get my house in order.
I must say, 2400 watts of solar panels is covering most of my power use. Not all. Mainly cause I need more battery to store power for overnight,. I started a vertical garden on my balcony. Basically the space of a one car garage and am growing more greens than I an eat, Not making all my calories in the house, but a substantial amount of grocery has been replaced by home grown. It is incredibaly liberating to finally get to the point where the end goal is in sight. My home providing all my food, all my electric, all my water and not having a monthly bill to worry about. Well I still have bills, but the more I get the house situated, the less I need to depend on the 'system' to earn cash to buy from others (while giving the rent seeing gov a commission they did not earn) and that is completely liberating.
I can share some of the small things I did to get to this point, and you will be surprised (or maybe no) but they involve the belt and suspenders approach to permaculture. I am not where I need to be, but I am way farther ahead than where I was. The end goal is not needing to use $$$ in the first place. But I am getting there. let me know if you want me to keep posting some of the tropical island adventure (and misadventure) here
2400 watts of solar panels sounds like a lot. I wonder if there are some threads here on permies that might help you find ways to reduce the number of watts you need, although I get it that the issue may be more of "watts when I need them" rather than "watts when the sun shines". I'm really watching some of the progress and experimentation being made in electricity storage. It's an area that really needs more creative minds spending time thinking of what might work!
I'm sure plenty of people would like to read about how and what you're producing on your small property.
I think that the suburbs offers a lot of positives for permaculturalists. Getting tools and workers to your property is certainly easier. Biking or buying things at stores is easier. I have to admit that I'm a little fascinated by all of the tropical fruits that you can grow that we who live in a temperate climate can't. I look forward to seeing what you're working on.