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Hello from the home of John Muir  RSS feed

 
Mountain Krauss
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Location: Northern California
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We have 4 acres of wooded hillside that we've been farming for about 2 1/2 years now. Until recently, I didn't know what to call our style of farming, just that our heroes were Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm and Karl Hammer of Vermont Compost Company. About a year ago, I discovered Masanobu Fukuoka and his approach to farming. Somehow or other, I stumbled onto this website, which has been a wealth of knowledge and fits well with what we're trying to accomplish.

We have just over 100 chickens running around all day, and recently added 3 goats. We bring in hundreds of gallons of food waste every week from local restaurants and farmers markets, and the animals feed themselves and help us turn it into compost. The soil was pretty barren when we got it, but we've been able to add hundreds of square feet of gardens without purchasing any inputs, and should be able to continue adding every year.

Just learned about hugel beds and am very excited about adding them to the mix-- should speed up our soil remediation significantly. Hope our farm sounds interesting, and hope keep learning from the forums.
 
Cassie Langstraat
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Sounds fabulous. You in the bay area then?

Are you selling the eggs?
 
Mountain Krauss
Posts: 130
Location: Northern California
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Yep, we're in the Bay Area, 20-30 minutes east of Berkeley/Oakland. Selling eggs, and hoping to start selling tomatoes next year. So far, the garden stuff has just been for our own consumption.
 
Cassie Langstraat
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Sounds awesome! I'm in the north bay. If you ever need any volunteers or anything let me know.
 
Mountain Krauss
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Location: Northern California
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That would be fantastic! Free labor is great, but the most valuable thing would just be fresh eyes on the farm by someone who knows a bit about permaculture. I grew up a city boy, so this is all new to me-- I've learned a lot in the last three years, but just enough to realize how much more there is to learn.
 
Cassie Langstraat
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Yeah unfortunately my permaculture knowledge is relatively new. :/ I just started learning about it in detail about 6 months ago. I probably wouldn't be of much help in the 'looking at your land and figuring out good permaculture design' area. Although I didn't grow up in a city, I grew up on a massive cattle ranch in Montana so none of my experience really can be applied to permaculture that well..
 
Mountain Krauss
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Location: Northern California
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Well, luckily, I'm not too concerned about expertise or even good design-- I probably should be, but I'm not. I like trial & error, observe and adjust. I didn't know a thing about chickens or goats when I started, and those have worked out wonderfully. My big interests right now are hugel beds, brush dams, and starting trees from seed-- none of which I know anything about. But I'll learn by trying.
 
Cassie Langstraat
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Yeah my worst trait in the world of permaculture is my impatience. I just want to do things and try them without planning first.. So is it just you on the land? Or do you have a small community?
 
Mountain Krauss
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Location: Northern California
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Just me and my wife, 2 (human) kids, 3 (goat) kids, 3 rabbits, 4 dogs, 106 chickens (+7 eggs being brooded on), and innumerable lizards, squirrels, and who knows what else. So, it's a small community of sorts.
 
Cassie Langstraat
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That is really amazing! Sounds like quite the gang! Thanks for clarifying about the types of kids.

So do you sell the eggs at a farmers market?
 
Mountain Krauss
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Location: Northern California
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Not yet. We sell to friends & family whatever we don't eat ourselves. An informal CSA, I suppose. We're looking to add a 30-acre parcel that's about a mile away. Once we get some chickens going on there, we should have enough eggs to justify a stall at the farmers market. We'd also like to arrange with a landscape company to haul their plant waste, and let the goats go to town on it. The chickens could clean it of bugs, too. I figure whatever is left after the goats & chickens work it over would make a good base for hugel beds.
 
Cassie Langstraat
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Yeah definitely! There is a CSA that I get my veggies from up here in the northbay who gets huge loads of leftovers from costco and they said one time they had tons of organic raspberries from I think it was, that costco gave them and the pigs ate and then the pork tasted a little bit like berries! They said it was good but I think it would be strange.. haha

Anyway I almost thought you were them when I initially read your post because of the part about getting leftovers from local grocers.
 
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