My name is Glenn, I live in northwest Montana, not far from Missoula.
My wife and I just went through some tough times and we are now living in a camper in my in-laws back yard. We both have decent jobs, but got caught up in the spend-more-than-you-make lifestyle and it ended with a financial catastrophe. I look at it as a learning experience and a way to start a new lifestyle. So we cashed in a 401k (although we are not close to retirement age, I am 46, she is thirty-eight) and bought 20 off-grid acres in the mountains for our new year-round home. Also bought an old backhoe. In the spring we'll start building a slipform-ish house, based on solar passive design, spending money as we save it.
I recently discovered permaculture and realized it was a consolidation of ideas I had in mind that I had always wanted to do, and have been reading tons of material and watching lots of videos. I can't wait to get started.
The land is timbered in fir trees and ponderosa pine, has been logged at some time in the past but as far as I can tell the ground has never been tilled. Flat ground, 3000' elevation, but unfortunately no creeks, springs or ponds. However, the well is in place and I have spec'd out and priced a solar powered pump. We have a dozen chickens and a couple dairy goats. Oh and five dogs.
Our goals are to feed ourselves and live in and with nature. I will start an acre-sized food forest, vegetable and grain plots, and rotating pastures for the animals. Can't decide if I want to get pigs or not.
There seems to be a lot of information here, and I hope to pick the brains of you smart people.
I don't know if I am a typical permie; I am simply a person who wishes to be self-sufficient and start eating healthy, live off the land while taking care of it, get away from Monsanto and gmo food. But I am not anti-capitalist, and I would guess my political views are different from a lot of permies. I watch Fox News. Just thought I'd throw that out there, haha. But the main thing is I just want the government to let me keep my money and leave me alone, and let me do what I want as long as it doesn't interfere with anyone else's freedom. So I don't know, will I be okay here (?) or will I get flamed, lol. But permaculture fits in perfectly with how I want to live, so here I am.
Welcome Glenn! You sound like a Libertarian. Congratulations on the property purchase. You've come the the right place for information. I'm finding that the folks on Permies are amazing, and have a wealth of information.
I'm west of Missoula in Mineral County, and looking for others who want to discuss starting an ecovillage. The idea is to own the property jointly via a LLC or Land Trust, operate it like a campus to educate others, yet members will be able to sell their membership (and house) getting their value back out, if they want too.
As a last resort, we may need to camp-out on your 20 acres. lol
Glenn, here's a bit of info that might be helpful... Mineral County has a commercial chipper that it rents out for $50 per day. It is a Bandit with diesel power that self-feeds 8 inch limbs. If you have slash and clean-up already stacked, one day of rental will produce a lot of great ground cover.
The reason I mention the chipper, is because you said you lacked a creek or spring. The following link is a video by a guy who started using mulch on his orchard and garden, and has not had to water his fruit trees for over 35 years even during drought.
The video gets a little long, but the first part is inspirational.
Thanks Wayne. The video I have already watched (the entire thing), and actually it is what led me research more and finally discover permaculture. Then a google search for permaculture in this area brought me here, I guess becuase Paul Wheaton is from here.
The property does have many downed trees and more live trees that I will have to remove to make room for the house, pastures, food forest, etc. Also plan to use some of the bigger trees to build the house and animal shelters. I was wondering what to do for the animals and then I got Sepp Holzer's book and now I know haha I will be building those log shelters. But also I have to let some light in for my future solar panels. Also I am concerned about forest fires. I was already looking for wood chippers on craigslist, so its good to know about the rental chipper and I will probably go that route because I will have a need for mulch also, so you have helped me out. Do you just go to the courthouse to ask about the chipper? I was there the other day talking to Tim about my plans for a greywater system and septic system and he seems to be a wealth of information. Really great guy.
Also I discovered hugelkultur via Sepp's book or this site and will be using a lot of the big rotten wood for that.
Its funny, on my last property (seems like years ago but its really not) I used to burn the deadfall and now I can hardly imagine that, seems like such a waste.