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One young man, 2 acres, and a dog.  RSS feed

 
Posts: 28
Location: Southern Oregon, 6a/6b
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So as the title suggests, I'm a young permie pursuing my passion for permaculture on a couple of acres!


My intention is to explain (with a balance between brief and thorough) what I intend to do with this land, and to get any opinions/constructive criticism/words of wisdom regarding my plans, especially from anyone in a similar position.

What I'm working with!

My dirt!
My couple of (VIRGIN) acres in southern Oregon is well treed, softly and southerly sloped with deep sandy loam soils most of which are covered in 4-8" of freshly decomposing organic matter, it is high elevation (somewhere close to 5000') and my growing season is somewhat limited in duration. What's lost in air temperature is in part made up by the 300+ average days of sunshine received by the area each year.

My resources!
I've been working other peoples land for a living for the better part of 10 years now in addition to studying sustainable agriculture and recently obtaining my PDC, so that'd be the brief description of my skill set. In addition to that my father is an experienced carpenter with some knowledge of alternative construction and I'll be able to make use of both his experience and his tools on some rare occasions.

In short I've got: Myself, my tools, a modest income, and access to my father and his tools when necessary.

What I intend to do

First I should say I will be traveling to and from this property from my current residence on a (roughly) bi-monthly basis in order to facilitate work, so the housing on my land is going to be temporary, (travel trailer, water/food brought in, no electricity) a lifestyle to which I'm fairly accustomed. So my plans are based on the long term goal of moving onto the land full time next year. Also as I mentioned my income is a very modest one supplemented with frugality and resourcefulness.

Mapping
I'll be doing my own soil,vegetation, terrain, land use and water shed maps to use for this process during my first days back up there next month.

Water
Initially I'll be bringing in my own drinking water in 5 gallon jugs as it's just myself and Thor for 3-4 weeks at a time, long term I intend to do rain catchment and planned snow melt off to obtain my water.

I've not seen or heard of anyone doing the latter but basically I want to reposition the snow on my land over the course of a winter so that when it melts it runs into catchments, percolation areas, and garden beds. I think this is appropriate since the area receives most of it's water in the form of snow now rain. I'd also have all roofed structures fitted with basic catchment set ups however I think that will be a small fraction of my water harvesting efforts as my structures will be few and far between. I also figure that my efforts to collect the snow with landscape features will be conducive to rainwater collection when I do get rain instead of snow.

I've also got a culvert pipe running onto my property from the unused land above me, it appears to form a somewhat noteworthy flow in the wet season from the road down on through the lower portion of my land. I'll likely find less than code-abiding means of collecting this water as it runs onto national forest land after a couple of small unused lots below me.

My reservoirs will be ferro cement tanks but I've not yet calculated my size or shape. I'm anti-plastic whenever possible and the area is not prone to seismic activity.

Garden
I want to use hugelkultur as a means of starting a number of organically shaped raised beds with swales or other water retaining features and terracing (on contour of course) due to the fact that I've got an abundance of partially rotted logs immediately available and water is scarce. I'd then start to use the decomposing beds the following warm season with limited irrigation (drip or hand).

I figured I'd do a very intense warm season planting followed up with lots of canning and another intense cold season planting, then I could make use of a small (rocket stove) wood heated green house area that I'd be living in temporarily that would ultimately be converted into primarily a greenhouse/tool shed which would supplement my winter needs.

Also lots of cane berries, and I'll need to do more research on any edible tree foods (nuts?) that can be grown at that elevation.

Livestock
In short I'll be raising dual purpose chickens for eggs and meat, rabbits for meat and fur, with the possibility of dwarf dairy goats if I felt I could sustain them on the land without bringing in feed which I'm quite opposed to. I intend to keep the chickens and rabbits in a series of medium sized areas where they can forage and to grow a portion of the garden specifically for their feed. Maybe a half dozen of each hens and rabbits as it'll just be Thor and I most of the time.

Energy
Long term I'd like to have a small solar array to supply a couple of night time lights and a laptop/cell phone, no electric refrigeration, cooling, or heating though so I expect this will be one of the least complex aspects of my homestead. If anyones knowledgeable about wood gas electric generation, or any other more sustainable methods of energy production/harvesting I would LOVE to pick your brain as this is an area I'm fairly ignorant about, but I know enough to know, that there's A LOT that I want to know.

Housing
Short term is my travel trailer, modest, not to beat up, a happy home for now. Long term is probably the big project for the land, designing a 200ft^2 structure to be my sustainable home, I'd like it to be an earth berm home taking advantage of my ideal southerly faced positioning for passive solar benefits as well as the slope to tuck into for passive thermal benefits from the ground. Other than that the picture is still quite vague!

Security
I'll be installing a split rail barbed wire fence on the property as well as a tool box bolted to a small foundation for valuables, but other than that I'm not terribly worried, I met my neighbors down the road a ways, and lots of people in the general area, most peoples property was only fenced in for livestock otherwise it wasn't fenced in at all, and my property is the only one being used on the cul de sac, and on the road for about a 1/4 mile so it's pretty darn secure as is. Also Thor is kind of small bear sized so that helps.

What am I missing, what should I know, what do you need to know in order to help?

I'm sure I'll add to this pretty regularly with any support. I intend to document my process pretty thoroughly.
Land.jpg
[Thumbnail for Land.jpg]
Just a picture looking down from my Cul De Sac to give you an idea of what I'm working with.
 
Posts: 196
Location: Perkinston Mississippi zone 9a
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Welcome to permies Zachary, I look forward to seeing the systems you go with and updates.
 
steward
Posts: 4400
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
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Howdy Zachary, Looks like a great place. What kinds of trees/ shrubs are already in place there?

You said "I want to reposition the snow on my land over the course of a winter ." What are you thinking there? Are you moving the snow with a tractor or putting up snow fencing to capture it in drifts?

Will you be using keyline swales with ponds as catchment?

I am in a similar situation. I travel to my place for a week each month. I have an old camper with no electric. I do have a good spring for water . Still working on clearing trees and snow fencing to capture water in the dry areas. I use those solar garden lights for lighting. They work pretty well for me.
 
Zachary Morris
Posts: 28
Location: Southern Oregon, 6a/6b
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Miles Flansburg wrote:Howdy Zachary, Looks like a great place. What kinds of trees/ shrubs are already in place there?

You said "I want to reposition the snow on my land over the course of a winter ." What are you thinking there? Are you moving the snow with a tractor or putting up snow fencing to capture it in drifts?

Will you be using keyline swales with ponds as catchment?

I am in a similar situation. I travel to my place for a week each month. I have an old camper with no electric. I do have a good spring for water . Still working on clearing trees and snow fencing to capture water in the dry areas. I use those solar garden lights for lighting. They work pretty well for me.



Mostly different conifers as far as the trees go, the main shrubs are foreign to me, and the under growth is a little sparse at first glance, but when I walk through the area there's gotta be more then 30 different kinds of ferns, herbaceous annuals along with the perennial grasses and young shrubs. So basically I've got my work cut out for me in regards to plant identification!

I'm hoping to use some naturalized snow fencing (avoiding the plastic snow fence) to capture drifts combined with a lot of back breaking snow shoveling. Fortunately I'm working with a relatively small area, the upper acre would mostly be fine where ever the snow falls, the lower acre comprises most of the really heavily forested portion which I'll be leaving primarily as a zone 4/5 area assuming most of the snow will be held in the canopies anyways.

As far as the pond goes I'm still up in the area because I don't like plastic pond liners, or any other plastic on my property if I can help it. With sandy loam soil I'm not sure what kind of natural catchment options will be feasible. I might need to settle for a lot of well placed percolation, and a lot of extra effort to get my water into a reservoir coupled with a whole lot of conservation!
 
Posts: 13
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Hey where are you located in Southern Oregon? I'm down there near the redwood highway. Anyway regarding your water, 5 gallons jugs won't be enough. Myself I can survive on 2 gallons a day (bucket shower, dishes, and food) _barely_. Typically its 7 gallons per person per day. Until we got the well working a few days ago (and after it cleared up), we were using about 10-12 gallons everyday (thanks to my neighbor we could fill up our water). When our seasonal creek was flowing, we used my mini-washer machine which uses 15 gallons per load and filtered drinking water. My advice is to buy those 55 gallon plastic water barrels. Until I run the water pipe up to my place right now I fill one up in my pick up truck and then I siphon that into another one on the other side of my property where my camper is. Then I siphon 5 gallons out at a time. Anyway you can buy these barrels between $15 and $25 each. For 3 weeks, at 7 gallons a day thats 147 gallons, JUST for dishes, a bucket shower and food. You would need to fill up three barrels and siphon (or unload them) to three more on the ground. You can get a well drilled for about $2500 and if you do a lot of research you can get a well head (pump, tank, fittings, wiring, cables) for under $500. And you aren't even talking about irrigation yet. Good luck!
 
Zachary Morris
Posts: 28
Location: Southern Oregon, 6a/6b
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david james wrote:Hey where are you located in Southern Oregon? I'm down there near the redwood highway. Anyway regarding your water, 5 gallons jugs won't be enough. Myself I can survive on 2 gallons a day (bucket shower, dishes, and food) _barely_. Typically its 7 gallons per person per day. Until we got the well working a few days ago (and after it cleared up), we were using about 10-12 gallons everyday (thanks to my neighbor we could fill up our water). When our seasonal creek was flowing, we used my mini-washer machine which uses 15 gallons per load and filtered drinking water. My advice is to buy those 55 gallon plastic water barrels. Until I run the water pipe up to my place right now I fill one up in my pick up truck and then I siphon that into another one on the other side of my property where my camper is. Then I siphon 5 gallons out at a time. Anyway you can buy these barrels between $15 and $25 each. For 3 weeks, at 7 gallons a day thats 147 gallons, JUST for dishes, a bucket shower and food. You would need to fill up three barrels and siphon (or unload them) to three more on the ground. You can get a well drilled for about $2500 and if you do a lot of research you can get a well head (pump, tank, fittings, wiring, cables) for under $500. And you aren't even talking about irrigation yet. Good luck!



Klamath County. I use under a gallon a day on camping trips no problem. Shower in the nearby creek, wash clothes there once a week, unfortunately I couldn't even get within 500' of water for $2500.
 
Posts: 505
Location: Eastern Kansas
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For what it is worth, this year I mowed my lawn and I scattered wheat seeds. I got something of a crop and I cut some this morning: you might do the same for chicken feed. I also have alfalfa, though it took some hovering over while it was small. Once it got large enough nothing much bothered it!

Out here, farmers plant wheat in the fall instead of in the spring, and indeed the area that was seeded in the fall did better than the grain scattered in the spring.
 
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