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Saana's journey to homesteading

 
Posts: 15
Location: Finland (zone 5)
7
cat dog homestead
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Hello everyone and greetings from Finland!

You have no idea how exited I am to have found this community.. All these resources and you the great and likeminded people! This is my first post here on Permies.com after like a month of lurking, and I'm going to make it a long one. So, without a further a due...

Saana's journey to homesteading

Lets start with the basics: where did our journey start?

In the spring of 2021 we (hubby and me with a newborn) bought a small property from the forests of Southern Savonia, Finland (zone 5). The property consists of:

  • Roughly 1,5 hectares (about 3,7 acres) of land all slightly sloping to south of which 0,5ha (1,2 acres) is a field/pasture that I will mostly be focusing here on Permies
  • A shelter for sheep
  • A chicken coop attached to a old barn with a collapsed run that is waaay too small.
  • A root cellar that needs a bit of work (the doors are currently letting in cold air)
  • Some berry bushes (blackcurrant, redcurrant, gooseberry, raspberry and aronia. Plus the three honeyberrie bushes I planted this summer, if they survive the winter)
  • A good house mostly heated with wood, 60m^2 garage, a hay barn


  • What's the grand plan?

  • To be as self sufficient as possible
  • Make the field into a beautiful food producing.. I guess a forest?
  • Apple, pear and plum trees. I really want to try to grow some apple trees from a seed.
  • Berries
  • Hugelkultur.. Probably a few hugelkulturs.
  • Keyhole gardens.
  • 30m^2 (323 square feet) polycarbonate greenhouse. I would like some kind of heating in it to get a longer growing season. I think I read about someone having a Rocket Mass Heater in a greenhouse... Hmm..
  • Sheep for wool to process and make crafts to sell and get some moneys from them.
  • Chickens for eggs and meat
  • Honeybees
  • To build a barbeque all out of wood. No, it will not be treated with anything and it will not burn to ground. It will be magnificent.
  • I'm already planting by the moon so lets spray some raw milk and stuff to the field too, why not! I like things a bit purple.


  • Where are we at now?

    The first summer we spent mostly renovating the house. Last spring and summer I got some great things done.

    I dug up an old very weedy strawberry area. The black plastics were all grown in to the ground and there were a lot of weeds. A lot.
    What a great workout. Took me several weeks as I was only working a hour or so a day with a shovel while the baby was sleeping.
    I brought in several bags of soil, added some organic fertilizer and planted potatoes. Got a great harvest, we are still eating our crop and there even might be enough for seed potatoes for the coming summer.

    Started way too many plants inside way too early so that the plan of getting huge amounts of tomatoes turned into basicly not getting tomatoes at all. All those sad plants just died inside.

    Totally failed with garlic as the weeds took over.

    Planted the three honeyberry plants. Fingers crossed they survive the winter!

         Then I found about permaculture and no-till and...

    Built two small hugelkultur beds right in front of our house. (2m x 1m x 1m)
    Currently at least the other one is an apartment for a mouse of prolly a few of them. I have no idea what that will mean when the summer comes and I start planting things. Lets not worry about things we cannot do anything about!

    Built a small leaf compost. Oh if I had known about this forum earlier, I wouldn't have dumped in layers of old sheep bedding. I just learned about leaf mold and it sounds so great. I don't know what will come out of my leaf compost thingy, I probably have to ask hubby to pee on it. We'll see when the spring comes and the snow melts.

    Planted garlic and sowed some carrot and parsnip seeds where the potatoes were, hopefully not too early.

    Hubby wanted to till a small section of the field for planting potatoes in the spring so the neighbour came in with a tractor and did that.

    Tried to overwinter jalapeno plants but then came the spider mites. The plants flew out of the door.

    Successful year, I'd say. I'm happy. Lots and lots of learning!

    Plan for the upcoming year of 2023:

  • To contain myself from starting way too many seedlings inside way too early. I have learned my lesson.
  • Plant the hugelkultur beds. The plan was to plant the other one with tomatoes, chamomil, basil and marigolds and the other one probably with strawberries and asparagus (and?).
  • Wonder around the field/pasture and see what is growing in it.
  • Make plans for water retention for the field. Trying to figure out a rough plan about placement of the hugelkultures, keyhole gardens, trees and compost area.
  • Try to figure out where to build up the greenhouse and make plans for the heating. The actual building (foundation, heating system and the assembly of the greenhouse) will probably happen in 2024.
  • Clean up the old chicken coop and make it ready for a flock, extend the run. I'm not sure if the residents will arrive in 2023 or not but I would like to get it ready.
  • Move some of the raspberries and clear a bit of the current raspberry plant mess.
  • Fix the root cellar to function better. Currently we are burning candles under clay pots to keep it from freezing.
  • To get leaves from the town in the fall. I need leaf mold. I NEED IT. Our only maple already has the fungal disease that makes the leaves turn into colorful dalmatians so just bring all the leaves. (Please do tell me if this is a bad idea)
  • To enjoy running after a toddler exploring the world.


  • Okay, I think that was all. Ha, not really. But for now. Did I already say I'm exited? Yay.

    In the next post I will be adding a drone picture of our place and talk a bit about the history and the current situation of the field, that will probably happen tomorrow. Now it is time for me to go to sleep.

    Thanks for reading!

    Oh and if I'm posting completely in the wrong section or something.. Umm.. Staff?
     
    master gardener
    Posts: 4823
    Location: southern Illinois, USA
    1550
    goat cat dog chicken composting toilet food preservation pig bee solar wood heat homestead
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    Hi Saana,

    Welcome to Permies.
     
    gardener
    Posts: 371
    Location: Northern Ontario, Canada
    247
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    What a detailed first post Saana! Looking forward to seeing more of your journey. Welcome to Permies :)
     
    John F Dean
    master gardener
    Posts: 4823
    Location: southern Illinois, USA
    1550
    goat cat dog chicken composting toilet food preservation pig bee solar wood heat homestead
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    This is a very reasonable place for your post.  It is about homesteading after all.  I also took the liberty of adding it to Introductions as well.
     
    Saana Jalimauchi
    Posts: 15
    Location: Finland (zone 5)
    7
    cat dog homestead
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    First of all, John and Cam, thank you, such a warm welcome! While lurking around in Permies I was so heartwarmed when every time someone new came there was at least one person welcoming them here. Such a great community!

    Back to my Journey reporting.. Yep, it's not tomorrow after the previous post. I am currently (actually have been for a while now) been trying to learn two things:

    1. Do not promise to do something in a certain time frame unless I really have to.
    2. Just do things the moment the stuff pops in your head even though things are a bit more difficult with a toddler.

    I was going to do the post the day after the previous post but then I had the master idea of "oooooh I could take pictures of the field!".
    Yeah, didn't do that and suddenly it was too dark. Oh winter and the 3:30PM sunset.
    Here came the evening after that and while browsing around Permies I found out that I have a level in my phone. "Oh how cool would it be to measure the slope!"
    Yes, there is a lot of snow out there. "But hey it will be still level to the slope right?"
    Thankfully there came the fresh snow and sunking my phone in it would've been stupid so I didn't go around measuring the degrees of my slope.

    Yes, I'm hilarious.

    I did try to take photos but failed in the "trying to show the slope" part so lets do that some other time okay?

    But I do have the drone pic!



    Okay I failed horribly trying to upload the pic so here's an edit.

    So the field you can see in the left. It's all sloping nicely to south (the house is basicly facing solar south), the lowest part that is divided by the row of trees with the small woods and stuff has been as a pasture for the previous owners sheep. The whole field is fenced but I don't know if the sheep spent much time in the upper open part.

    In the 1950's or something like that this property was surrounded by fields from the west and south. They all had grown in to a forest and the last owner made the field field again somewhere in 2004 -> I think.
    Oh it has been so nice to wonder around the woods, there are these old huge rock walls that were fencing a field back in the day and you can still see where there once were roads from the growth.

    As you can see, the top left corner of the field is the dryiest part. It's the most level and highest part, the rest is a slope.
    I'm figuring that the compost and leaf mold area will be in the top right corner of the field so that there's a good amount of shade.
    I will make a nice pathway to the field from the top left corner of the house. Maybe make it so that the "main path" goest straigh through to almost to the other side of the field and is surrounded by fruit trees from both sides.

    Okay so now I'm scared that my time to edit will run out so SUBMIT IT IS! I really don't have much more plans for it yet so yay for now.

    Thanks for reading!
    ilmakuva.png
    How cool would it be to be a bird?
    How cool would it be to be a bird?
     
    John F Dean
    master gardener
    Posts: 4823
    Location: southern Illinois, USA
    1550
    goat cat dog chicken composting toilet food preservation pig bee solar wood heat homestead
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    Looks beautiful!
     
    master steward
    Posts: 11086
    Location: USDA Zone 8a
    3302
    dog hunting food preservation cooking bee greening the desert
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    Welcome, Saana

    From your post, it sounds like you have a great journey ahead of you.

    Please keep the forum informed as you transform your place.

    Be sure to ask lots of questions and post lots of photos.

    Be wishes for a great new year.
     
    pollinator
    Posts: 4072
    Location: Bendigo , Australia
    369
    dog gear plumbing earthworks bee building homestead
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    Its a great story, I hope to read more.
     
    Saana Jalimauchi
    Posts: 15
    Location: Finland (zone 5)
    7
    cat dog homestead
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    John C, Anne and John F, thank you all!

    Anne Miller wrote:Be sure to ask lots of questions and post lots of photos.



    It's good that you said this, as I have been a bit hesitant on asking questions and commenting in other threads.. So I'm going to ask about asking questions now!

    As I have been diving deeper and deeper into Permies.com, I have run into great threads that are years and years old. Is it customary here to bump really old threads up and ask and continue the discussion in those or should I leave those threads alone? Maybe try and find a newer one with the same topic? Browse stuff sorted by recent? Just start a new thread so that I wont hijack threads of others?
    I'm also thinking that before asking something I should do more searching so that I wont be asking the same stuff that has already been asked ten times before...

    I'm still kind of in the process of "learning the house rules".


    Well, now that the asking stupid questions part is done, back to documenting my journey:

    More plans. There's actually two chicken coops integrated into the old barn we have. They have really small runs, and I'm thinking about doing one big run area for the chickens and maybe use the other coop as a housing for meat rabbits. Oh yes, I didn't mention that plan yet. It's still in the "I'm not sure about this" -zone but might happen at some point.

    I made an awesome general layout drawing that is probably not even close to scale in Paint to show my plan:

    I still have to find out how tall of a fence I would have to build for the area.
    There's also not much vegetation in the area because the previous chickens that have lived there and partly probably because the area is quite shaded under the trees but the plan is to get leaves from the town and spread a thiiiiick thick layer as a mulch. That would bring entertainment and food to the chickens in the form of bugs and make the soil better as the leaves decompose, right?

    Oh for the snows to melt and to get actual pictures and most of all.. Get to work!
    Oh well, don't they say that well planned is halfway done. I also just started a plan for a first aid kit now that there's not much actual stuff to do outside other than showeling snow. For now I have written down cayenne pepper to stop bleeding and honey to heal wounds and burns!
    chicken-run-plans.png
    Now that I'm posting this I wonder what use is this picture for.. We can think of it as art, right?
    Now that I'm posting this I wonder what use is this picture for.. We can think of it as art, right?
     
    John F Dean
    master gardener
    Posts: 4823
    Location: southern Illinois, USA
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    goat cat dog chicken composting toilet food preservation pig bee solar wood heat homestead
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    Consider all threads to be alive …even if they are a decade old.   Yes, feel free to start a new thread. Questions about operations are best posted under The Tinkering forum.
    Staff note (Jay Angler) :

    Tinkering Forum: https://permies.com/f/11/tnk

    How Permies Works: https://permies.com/w/how-permies-works

     
    master gardener
    Posts: 8134
    Location: Pacific Wet Coast
    3972
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    Welcome Saana! Permies has some great threads full of useful chicken and coop info - hard to read with a toddler around but worth trying!
    https://permies.com/f/59/chickens

    From my experience, multiple smaller runs are more useful than a single large run. It allows you to get plants growing, and then move the chickens there to self-harvest. Chicken shit is high in nitrogen. They need a *lot* of carbon in their run to suck that up and stop it from poisoning the soil so that nothing grows. Chickens will peck at every bit of green they see, so without being able to move them elsewhere while you get some plants established for them, it's very  hard. I would also research what predators will be high risk in your area to make sure that your coop and run will be safe. We mostly use portable shelters for out chickens, but they only work on reasonably level areas with low grass - *everything* is a compromise! However, for moving chickens around in the sheep areas, there are designs that will likely work in your ecosystem in the non-snow season. We built *very* light - most portable structures are very heavy to move and people often give up on moving them for that reason. There's lots of info on permies about "paddock shift systems" and how they build soil and improve the land, but there is no "one right way" - just a collection of different ways that work in different ecosystems and integrate better or worse into different homestead situations.
     
    John C Daley
    pollinator
    Posts: 4072
    Location: Bendigo , Australia
    369
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    Jay, thats a great point about having the small runs.
     
    He's my best friend. Not yours. Mine. You can have this tiny ad:
    Rocket Ovens Movie + Rocket Oven Plans + J-Tube Plans Bundle
    https://permies.com/w/rocket-ovens-bundle
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