Hi all, Kevin and I own a small plot of land in central Wisconsin. 11 acres of woods, a small swamp and we rent about 3 acres to a farmer, which his land is next to ours. There is a mix of farmland and wooded hunting land in this location. I highly doubt the farmer is organic. He uses the land to plant corn feed for his cattle. But Kevin and I have been gardening for a few years now, we raise a few rabbits and have some chickens. My next critters will be a couple of milking goats by next spring. I wish we would have moved onto our property when we were younger and have spent most of our life eating the fruits of our labors and raised our children to eat this way. But life, work and business kept us apart from enjoying our beautiful and bountiful earth. So our time is now. lol
To Paul, I am very thankful to have found your website. I'm amazed with this empire you have built here and all these wonderful people willing to share and exchange so much information. This really takes a lot of energy to keep up and do what you do. Thank You, Sir.
About me and Kevin now. We are early 50's. Kevin is a home builder and I started an internet business in 1993. Which we are both currently retired from. We had lived in the city but owned land in the country where we built a garage to store a couple of vintage vehicles. We made a little apartment upstairs from the garage that we'd use for weekend get-aways from the city. One day, I mentioned to Kevin we should move into our garage and start building on. Our boys were teenaged at that time and took the move very hard, missing their friends, but they survived and doing well. We wound up with a 3800 square foot house by the time the kids moved out! Kevin acquired our land from his parents for $1.00 lol so we didn't have a mortgage to pay off. But when we moved into our garage our only income was from my internet sales. Kevin started working for me. We did custom leather work for folks. It wasn't a steady income, but I did make out fairly well. We didn't want to barrow against our land to build the house and did not want to go into debt and wind up paying double to a bank! Which I'm very thankful we didn't go that route after Sept. 11th and the world changed. Kevin is a crafty do-it-yourselfer and always comes up with some kind of plan to get the job done with the least amount of money invested. His plan was to recycle lumber from buildings people wanted torn down. Amazing the amount of usable good lumber people burn down and throw away. That got our framing built. Next Kevin found a couple of buildings that needed to be removed from the city. He recycled all of the cement block, we spent hours and some hard labor cleaning those cement blocks. But that is our foundation now and to date, is nice and dry during spring thaws. Next we found a store building the city wanted torn down and we got all the drywall and some sheeting. It wasn't nice bright brand new drywall but drywall can be painted over. We had to buy about half of the sheeting and every paycheck I got we'd go buy more building materials, plumbing and wiring. the first furnace we purchased was used. Its a wood burner (boiler type) and supplied us with hydronic heat. But it wasn't big enough to heat a large house like this. A couple years ago we bought a HeatMaster outdoor wood furnace made from Canada. This also heats our hot water. I did some research on forums and reviews before we decided on that model furnace. We use only dead tree's to burn and there is nothing but forest all around us for wood. My youngest son, now 25 is going to college to be an electrical/mechanical engineer. He is planning to put all solar panels on the roof and get us off the power grid in the near future.
We have great well water, its not irony or coppery, its clean and just right. Kevin and I are very conservative and I treat water like it is gold! We collect rain water and use our gray water for watering the garden. We use the manure from our animals, we compost all our organic materials and foodie scraps. The only problem with our house is the septic system. The tank we purchased is too small. The only water filling up the tank is from toilets. We do have the water saving toilets but still, using all that water. So the composting toilet might be something we're going to try. We want to build our own. I'm going to have a lot of questions that I can't find answers to so far. I don't want to fill my food garden with THAT compost! So where else can I use this compost. Is it safe to dump in the forest after composting, because I am on a lot of medication, I worry about how this should be disposed of. I have a lot of questions and look forward to learning and growing with you folks. We're started making a mound for the hugelkultur garden, after last summers drought and our rain fall has been undependable, this seems to be all the answers. My new plans for next summer is to put skirting around my outdoor rabbit hutches to grow worms in their manure to feed my chickens. I don't free range them all of the time because of predators but I still want them to live a better life. So many new areas to grow in to.