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Start over with homestead on burned land and no home

 
pollinator
Posts: 339
Location: northeastern New Mexico
85
wood heat woodworking homestead
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Good day friends
Sheesh what a nightmare this is... Trying even under these circumstances to find hope that we can start from scratch after the US Forest Service burned our house and homestead and 240 acres of our land to the ground. I probably won't post photos as we don't need others getting depressed over the way the US government does business these days.
To say we have a clean slate to start with on property our family has owned since 1971 would be ludicrous. The entire Ponderosa pine forest  we've been stewards of all this time has been burned. Some of the 90 to 100 year old trees still have needles and may survive or at least that is one of our hopes.

We've felled a hundred os more trees around the RV we're living in in the long drawn out interim before FEMA pays us for the destruction the forest idiots created. I'm not a guy that waits well and waiting for FEMA is down-right infuriating.

Yesterday we had friends ours to try out the new chainsaw mill we setup on a 90 year old tree near where our home used to be. That was a really great day with family and friends.

I'm making plans to rebuild our property using exclusively perma-culture principles. with no trees  or ground cover to block the surface of our land I can see where we needs swales huglecultur mounds and wind breaks in order to make a concise plan for bringing life back to our property.
I need all the help we can get and your comments can add to our lists of hopes and dreams.
Looking forward to hear from everyone.
Brian and Nell Rodgers
 
gardener
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Brian,

Sounds awful!  Do you have any resources left on the land?  In my head I am picturing 240 acres (at least.  I guess really it would be thousands of acres) of blackened land with a few scorched trunks standing plus a few trees that might optimistically make it.  I assume you don't want to touch those still-standing trees with needles (just how many survived--just asking out of curiosity).  Are any of the burned and dead ones any good for lumber or wood chips or anything?  I don't live in fire country, so I am just not familiar with what is left when these acres burn.  As I said, I imagine a scorched wasteland.  So sorry to hear about it.

Eric
 
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Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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Good lord, what a disaster! Such destruction must be a heartbreaker.

Brian, it sounds like you're the right person to restore the land. I hope you'll continue to share your journey with us.
 
master steward
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I was saddened to read about what happened when you firstwrote about this happening to your home.

Having a chainsaw mill is a great start so that you can mill your own lumber.

I am guessing that you want to start with the home first.

This thread might give you some inspiration to get started:

https://permies.com/t/7/165626/Tiny-House-Build-picture-heavy

When you do get started you might want to start a thread in the projects forum:

https://permies.com/f/69/projects

Please ask some specific questions so we will know how to advise you.
 
Brian Rodgers
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Location: northeastern New Mexico
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Eric Hanson wrote:Brian,

Sounds awful!  Do you have any resources left on the land?  In my head I am picturing 240 acres (at least.  I guess really it would be thousands of acres) of blackened land with a few scorched trunks standing plus a few trees that might optimistically make it.  I assume you don't want to touch those still-standing trees with needles (just how many survived--just asking out of curiosity).  Are any of the burned and dead ones any good for lumber or wood chips or anything?  I don't live in fire country, so I am just not familiar with what is left when these acres burn.  As I said, I imagine a scorched wasteland.  So sorry to hear about it.

Eric


Thank you for your comments Eric
Yes we have the best timber in this county. I've visited many properties in San Miguel and Mora counties during my time as rural and mountain WiFi installer and tower tech. As stewards of this land since 1971 we created a highly manicured forest park, enjoyed by hundreds of friends  who've repeatedly attended our memorial Day 4 day camp out during its fifty year run.
I've calculated that myself, my father, brother and son have 45 minutes of attending to each and every tree on this property. This has been certified by the expert witness Arborist who recently spent a full day with me as we hiked our property documenting the condition of the property prior to the fire. He said he saw no evidence of dead and downed trees anywhere in our forest.

Unlike all the neighboring which hadn't had any forest stewards with similar age 90 year old Ponderosa Pine trees over there were forty feet at most, ours were 60 plus foot tall gorgeous specimens. I have not counted the trees affected by the fire. However the arborist has. He said the timber was worth a million dollars and I was correct to add 45 hours of work at $35.00 an hour to create such a beautiful forest.

I've recently attended a town hall meeting where FEMA and the Forest Dis-Service spoke, as you can imagine FEMA spokesperson continually lied trying to get peoples hopes up that they were going to make us whole. Currently FEMA is encouraging people to leave their attorneys and take what they offered, instead of holding them fully accountable.

I contained myself through the FEMA BS waiting to see what the new chief of Mora and San Miguel counties was going to say. It was more insane than I could have ever imagined; He told an audience of around 75 people who lost everything like us that his plan would help seven people!  He had told Those  7 were ranchers who leased public land for grazing cows, that there were too many fences were down in the high country down to safely run cattle, but his plan would solve that problem by creating virtual fences. The forest idiots have contacted those seven lucky ranchers letting them know that all they had to do  was train their cows in the use of...  wait for it...shock collars. I had had enough of this nonsense and stood up and interrupted when he started into his next plan to cut all the trees on all the roads righaways, "Excuse me, but your credibility is at an all time low now and can you tell us what criterion you used in lighting that fire?"   After turning beet red and bowing his head for a moment he said, "I Don't know." adding the same BS they used to start the Cero Grande fire the destroyed the town of Los Alamo, "it was going to burn with one lightning strike..." I interrupted again and let him know that our trees have been struck by lightning many times yet started no forest fires. That shut him down completely. I walked out to the sounds of many people asking similar questions. I was interviewed in the hallway away from the six uniformed state police about what happened. One person I did not recognize, but my son in law did was Brian Colon former  NM state auditor  now working for our attorneys. He said I was wonderfully civilized  and asked a question everybody wanted an answer to.
 
Brian Rodgers
pollinator
Posts: 339
Location: northeastern New Mexico
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Good lord, what a disaster! Such destruction must be a heartbreaker.

Brian, it sounds like you're the right person to restore the land. I hope you'll continue to share your journey with us.


Thanks Douglas I intend to share my plan. This plan uses the first principles of permaculture; Observation!
 
Brian Rodgers
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Anne Miller wrote:I was saddened to read about what happened when you firstwrote about this happening to your home.

Having a chainsaw mill is a great start so that you can mill your own lumber.

I am guessing that you want to start with the home first.

This thread might give you some inspiration to get started:

https://permies.com/t/7/165626/Tiny-House-Build-picture-heavy

When you do get started you might want to start a thread in the projects forum:

https://permies.com/f/69/projects

Please ask some specific questions so we will know how to advise you.


At 69 and seventy years old my wife and do not have time to rebuild our house. The one that burned was the second house I built took us 25 years to build. We will buy a new single wide modular home. We got help from Neighbors Helping Neighbors foundation which was used to excavate our earth-sheltered home and aquaponiic unheated attached year-round greenhouse in order to place our new home once FEMA gets off their collective behinds and pay us what we deserve for destroying our house.

Next on our shopping list is a massive contractor built greenhouse to enable us to grow food in this wind blown wasteland.  Onne these two things are in place and we own a small excavator and skid steer we're planning on creating a large huglecultur  mound greenhouse capable of growing an orchard of tropical fruit trees.

For the now devoid of life land around our new home I'll get a surveyor possibly with the help of soil conservation (government agency) if they can play by my rules, to develop massive swales  to slow down rainfall starting at the top of the hill on our property and gently draining from one swale to the next all the way down the hill. In the first portion of this plan we already slowed the water down to a point where there was once a deep arroyo that has filled in with topsoil creating a beautiful meadow.
The second stage will in the adjacent destroyed Pinyon forest. Pinyon pine was our only fruiting trees feeding the wildlife here. Sorry about the spelling of pinyon I always thought it was spelled pinon tree

Here as well I'll create swales unfortunately, my dad called that forest the "rock pile" and I'll need to bring in topsoil from a valley to the west of the rock pile. This is an area where through permaculture observation I posted about a few years ago here that I realized had a watershed of several hundred of acres and it all drained across our property in two placed. S one of the things I am going to need help with designing a concrete dam, which should fill the little valley I spoke of  removing the top soil from for swales in the rock pile. I always loved a two birds with one stone approach The dam will irrigate the swales on the rock pile. This should expedite growth of our new permaculture food forest.
Haha no one ever wonders if I have a plan or a five year and ten year plan. I'm certainly not going to let the government hold me back for long.
We're hoping two million dollars will help this bigger than ever plan come to life. I will need help filling in all the fiddley  bits, as in Hitchhiker guide to the galaxy. They messed with the wrong people.
Lets show them.
Brian and Nell
 
Anne Miller
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I am glad to know that you have a plan.

Manufactured homes are a good route.

I have owned two that were very well-built.

Since you seem to understand construction, take some time to find the homes that are better built rather than the ones that look pretty.

Best wishes for your future.
 
Brian Rodgers
pollinator
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Anne Miller wrote:I am glad to know that you have a plan.

Manufactured homes are a good route.

I have owned two that were very well-built.

Since you seem to understand construction, take some time to find the homes that are better built rather than the ones that look pretty.

Best wishes for your future.


This is great advice, thank you Anne
 
pollinator
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I cannot say anything to explain my feelings well.
We have the same trouble with Forest Officials not controlling fires and destroying property.

The old Aborigines used to use fire, but they only burnt small fires that could never build up to unmanageable.
They somehow burned into firebreaks they had burnt previously and the fires never build up to something with 300 ft flames.
Its nice to see you can think forwards, despite the damage.
 
Posts: 122
Location: Oh-Hi-Oh to New Mexico (soon)
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Any updates Brian, Hope you and yours are well and back on your land with some permaculture greenhouses and all.
 
John C Daley
pollinator
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I have followed up the issue of forest burning without creating a disaster.
They set a fire in a spiral manner so it can only grow as far as the spaCE TO THE NEXT Spiral, and not getting too hot.
I have to learn about the final ring and how that is controlled, maybe because the fire is small it can be extinguished.
From; cool burns
‘Cool fire’ can be used to promote a particular type of growth through frequent burning, for example clears undergrowth, promoting diversity in plants, good for better access for people and animals, looks after large established trees, promotes grass and new growth, which attracts animals.
Plants that grow after mild fire tend to include more species than before fire. But the practices for using fire in this way are nuanced and complex, and require a detailed knowledge of the land.
Burning frequency varies, depending the plant community – whether it’s grass, shrub, forest, and what type of forest – some monthly, some yearly, some every 10-15 years.
 
Anne Miller
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Hi, Brian

I am curious, did you get a home?
 
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