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Wisconsin permies

 
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Hello Wisconsinites!

My boyfriend and I want to start an off-grid homestead (building our house ourselves) and we're hoping to find forested land (10+ acres) in southwestern Wisconsin. We're trying to narrow down our search before we do things like visit in person, contact a realtor, contact the county office etc, and are looking for help to figure out where in Wisconsin we'd find like-minded people. What counties do you SW Wisconsiners live in? Are there any counties in particular that are more open to off-grid green building techniques?

We appreciate any advice and help!

Thanks!
Katie
 
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Hey all! Just live west of Wausau and will be moving back that way this spring. New to permaculture - Sepp Holzer's books have been inspiring. Have gardened for a while and am looking for land to build a sustainable home on. Would love to discuss ideas, trade seeds, etc.
 
steward
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Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
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You're likely to find like-minded people in and near Viroqua.
 
Julia Winter
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Hey Wisconsin permies: any advice on finding a buyer for our suburban permaculture inspired property? It looks like we might need to move, something we never planned on. I've been planting trees, bushes and perennials for more than a decade, and the only thing that breaks my heart more than leaving them behind is the idea of the next land owner ripping them out because fruit trees are "too much work."

Our property is in the village of Waunakee, which is just north of Madison, WI. It takes less than half an hour to get to the capitol building, central city, etc. We are immediately adjacent to the village's middle school, high school, library, elementary school and intermediate school, so kids can walk to school from K-12. The property looks like a pretty normal lot from the front, but is actually one acre in size, with a large outbuilding out back. I've been keeping chickens here for 11 years, sort of under the radar, but if a subsequent home owner continued to have hens (no rooster!) it should be fine. I've been building soil here for over a decade--any advice on finding a buyer that values this?

I'm going to start a new thread on this topic, but wanted to put this here for those people that get email notifications of activity in certain threads.
 
Posts: 60
Location: Westboro, WI Zone 3.5
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Hellllllo!
My wife and I are new to the site and permaculture. I'm thrilled to find there are other Wisconsinites out there. We are North West of Wausau and live in a small down of less then 900 people. Our plan it to purchase a nice piece of property we have been looking at once we raise the funds. We are looking for like minded individuals that want to talk about the subject and compare notes.
 
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Location: Central WI
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Hello all,

Me and my girlfriend are moving to the Madison area soon. We are graduating college and are looking to find a community of people with similar interests. We're interested in starting a small farm, and looking to rent land. Are there people in the area who have any advice?

Thanks
 
pollinator
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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I would recommend staying out of Monroe county. The taxes are very high compared to other counties and they seem to worry about the building codes much more, particularly in some towns.
 
Julia Winter
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In case Wisconsin permies are reading and not posting to this thread--if you work near Madison, have I got the property for you! Ours!

You can read about it here.
 
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Location: Mondovi, WI
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Hello fellow Wisconsinites!

So happy to have found you! We are in Mondovi, WI - about a half hour south of Eau Claire.

Learned about permaculture two years ago when I attended what I thought was another innocent grazing workshop that ended up touring Mark Shepards farm and heard presentations from University of Missouri - I had no idea what I had gotten myself into! Anyway, Mark was at our place a few weeks ago and we got some swale lines in, about 20 acres (of our total 150, hey he was there less than a day). Heavy equipment should be coming next week to help get the ponds in and finish the swales/berms. I started my elderberry "nursery" (plants from Paul Ottens place - Natura Farms in MN) and we hope to get the rest of our lines and ponds in yet this year. We have about 30 acres that are all woods (Oak, hazelnut, elderberry....classic WI - but it was logged a few years before we bought it and the cows were removed for about ten years, so old pastures are mostly poplars now and the understory is all black caps/raspberrys and buckthorn). We hope to start some clearing of the woods this year to take pressure off the big beatiful oaks that were once in open pasture and to continue our berms/swales - essentially get grass in the trees and tress in the grass. We bought the farm with 60 acres at the end of 2009 and before I could get my house redone the land next door came for up for quick sale so we added about 90 more acres (to our original 60 and now, forever, crappy little house). Since then we've begun rebuilding the soil, converted everything to organic, started our beef, pork, sheep and poultry (intensively grazed). Last year we got our big perimeter fence up, and our walk in freezer. We now have on farm housing finished too! We've pretty much exhausted all of our financial resources (calling all investors!) but have a girl that's been doing farmers markets for us this year. It's way too much to have a day job, two little girls and do markets on the weekends!! So, she is truly a God-send. Anyway, that's the gist of what we are doing at our place.

We definitely are going to be looking for another God-send and so you may see a future post from me about that. But...I can't resist saying something now: We have an ad on WWOOF that goes into a lot more detail. But basically I'd like to find someone who wants to either take the permaculture bull by the horns and/or who wants to essentially use our place to start their own enterprise that we will help with - financially to an extent, but mostly in terms of using the land, current equipment, knowledge and markets. I also have potential opportunities for grant writers. This is wide open for discussion and I have some pretty great ideas. We are hoping that next year is the year my husband can quit his day job, but it may be the year after that (the weather has been about as un-cooperative as it could possibly be with this little dream of ours). But, I'd also like to work with other WI'ites (or nearby Minnesotans) to do workshops, demos, share cuttings and perhaps go together to purchase bulk orders of things (namely trees). Basically to work and act together like a community. (We, are, as the name implies....all in this together!)

Anyway, I saw the post about Wisconsinites so wanted to get something up here. Hi Everybody!
 
Damian Jones
Posts: 60
Location: Westboro, WI Zone 3.5
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Damian Jones wrote:Hellllllo!
My wife and I are new to the site and permaculture. I'm thrilled to find there are other Wisconsinites out there. We are North West of Wausau and live in a small down of less then 900 people. Our plan it to purchase a nice piece of property we have been looking at once we raise the funds. We are looking for like minded individuals that want to talk about the subject and compare notes.



Just wanted to post a quick follow up...we finally own the land we coveted Now to put the plans in to actions. I've been on the land a week and I never want to go back to a life without it..
 
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Currently living in Dousman but we are trying to close on a property in La Farge. It isn't the kind of place we had originally planned on buying when we started saving for our homestead. The original plan was to buy ten acres and build a small cordwood round home. But plans in my life have a funny way of twisting into something completely different. Now, we're buying an old home on a city lot that needs a lot of work but has a lot of potential for a greenie. My wife and I can't wait to dig in and meet some of the other driftless members here.
 
Posts: 6
Location: Appleton, Wisconsin
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Hi all,

I'm newly signed up on this site, though I've been lurking for awhile. I live in Stevens Point. It's nice to see a few other people on this site from my part of the state!
So, after years of thinking that we were going to move out to the country, we realized that we actually like living downtown. It's a nice little neighborhood we live in and within walking distance to most places we want to go, stores and parks and the farmers market. So my main concern is in community-building, because we want to get to know some of the people we've been living near for years. Also, now that we've decided that we're going to stay, taking an interest in civic improvements (like making the town more bike- and pedestrian-friendly) would be an avenue I'd want to go down.
As for my home, I live on a 1/6 acre lot, which I eventually intend to make full use of with some intensive gardening. We have a small garden that is very gradually getting bigger year by year. Also, there is a vacant lot next door that I'm thinking about sneaking a few plants onto. My hope is to eventually buy that lot and also our home, which we are renting. (We have been discussing it with the landlord, who wants to retire from the rental game anyway. so it's looking good for us. )
So that's me in a nutshell!

Stacy
 
Posts: 140
Location: Coastal temperate deciduous forest (Boston) - zone 6b - 44" rain/year
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Ryan Quinn wrote:Hi All! Stockholm, Wi here! Right next to Maiden Rock bluff. That is kind of west central wisconsin across from Lake City, MN!

Would love to get to know some permies in this state and region.

Would love anyone to stop by if you're in the area. And maybe we could do a MN/WI potluck here on the farm.
Ryan



Ryan, any get togethers happening on your farm? We're about two hours south in Viroqua, would like to visit your area again.

Jerry
 
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My wife and I just purchased a 1906 homestead in Gordon, WI that we would very much like to develop into a more sustainable property embracing the historic and natural assets. We are very new to this and working on a shoestring, but realize we need help in planning to take advantage of the many options available to us and best utilize the land. The home has not been occupied since 1966 and is badly in need some foundation work, yet the interior of the home stands largely unmuddled from it's original configuration including a Root Cellar, Cistern, and Ice House.

Please log into our Facebook Page to see more about this project and what we are doing- https://www.facebook.com/PeterNelsonHomestead


We are seeking advice and mentoring from experienced individuals who may live nearby and would be eager to entertain any visits to or from nearby projects..
1267293_229234220575057_2133340659_o.jpg
[Thumbnail for 1267293_229234220575057_2133340659_o.jpg]
 
Jerry McIntire
Posts: 140
Location: Coastal temperate deciduous forest (Boston) - zone 6b - 44" rain/year
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Hello Joel, good to hear about your project. Gordon is in a great location, near small lakes and not far from Lake Superior. How much land is with the house? Will you live there full time?

Jerry
 
Joel Baird
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We have a little over an acre. I am living there full time right now and work PT in Duluth but my wife stays and works from our Minneapolis home. If you visit the Facebook page you can see that the property is rather "rustic" although it is within the City limits and we have sewer access just across the property line that we hope to tap into this fall. We have been slowly working on this over the summer and plan to get some chickens and small livestock as well as start a few more crops next spring (although it will take some planning with the sandy soil we have here). We really love the area. We are several blocks from the Eau Clair and St. Croix River convergence and love the natural beauty of the area.
 
Jerry McIntire
Posts: 140
Location: Coastal temperate deciduous forest (Boston) - zone 6b - 44" rain/year
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Joel, mulch! Gather as much as you can: wood chips, straw, old hay, manure, dry leaves, sawdust, grass clippings, ... Pile it deep where you will garden next spring, 12 - 18" isn't too much. That sandy soil needs organic matter.

I looked at many of your pictures, you're doing a nice job. I hope you can fit plenty of insulation in for the winter.

Jerry
 
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I am in North West Wisconsin. Big town near me is Hayward. I met one person so far outside of Spooner. Any others around this area?
 
pollinator
Posts: 262
Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
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Stacy Zoozwick wrote:Blessing from Wisconsin Rapids. My husband and I are just in the infant stages of changing the way we live. We have always been geared towards organics and living a simple life. This site is a great tool for our growth and education. Our goal over the next 3 years is to buy 40 acr a small farm house that we can homestead. I already have my horses for the heavy work and to run to town, chicken for meat and eggs. Can’t wait to get land so we can get goats sheep and cows. Thank you Permies for your awesome site!


Great to know I'm not the only one in Wisconsin Rapids (well, South of Kellner, actually). I have a friend in Nekoosa, and she is raising all her crops organically too. I'm in the process of getting rid of the dying oaks. (As long as we pay taxes on 7 acres, I'd like to make the most of them). I have a big garden and the 2 acres to the south are in irrigation. I could use all the advice you can give me on permaculture (since I'm brand new at this), fruit trees and other perennials to make the most of what we have, but without using pesticides (I have honeybees). There is so much to learn and I always like to try odd things. Like, I have aronias, Jerusalem artichokes and mulberries for example. There are mushrooms in our woods and I want to grow some more. I hope to connect with you and others in Central Wisconsin for permaculture.
 
Posts: 323
Location: Pittsburgh PA
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Moonwiseherbs.com/about-us/ great couple from wi.
 
Posts: 519
Location: Wisconsin
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Anyone in SE Wisconsin have True comfrey shoots to sell? Bought a few that got eaten by squirrels, have some seeds that are taking long to sprout, want to get them in and growing this season. Will buy or barter.
 
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Permies forum follower since 2012 located in SC WI Beloit. In the last year my spouse and I were fortunate to become homeowners of a profitable piece of real estate located on less than 1 acre in the city. Our plan is to eventually sell this house and become land owners. Until then we have some work to do improving our current property with permaculture implementations. I would love to turn my city home from a consumer to a producer. I am amazed to see so many fellow Wisconsinites here!
 
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Location: Milwaukee, WI
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Hello! SE Wisconsin (Wauwatosa) here. Last fall I spent 5 months living/working/learning on a developing permaculture project in Sheffield, England; we put up a toilet block, sauna, 9x30m polytunnel, and a strawbale barn/bunkhouse was in it's last steps when I finally left. Now that I'm back in the states, all I want to do is get involved with more projects, get more experience, and eventually get my own natural building company started! So far I've found Bear Paw, Acorn Enterprises, and Midwest Natural Builders, but otherwise things seem pretty sparse in the state when it comes to professional outfits.

If you're looking for a set of hands on your project, or have land that you'd like to see some development on, let me know! I'm also trying to find a ride to The Energy Fair (6/17-19) for one day or the whole weekend
 
steward
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Thanks for resurrecting this post Paul! I'm North of Wausau a bit. Always looking for permies within an hour of here to collaborate with. We took over a 1960's homestead and are bringing it into organic production. Big garden, orchard, woodshop, greenhouse, sugar shack, remodeling the house, etc.

When you say you want to get involved with more projects, what do you mean (volunteer, pay, other)? I have plenty of projects

We're also going to the MREA fair but from the other direction. Should be a good one! Last year was our first time and we only went on Sunday. This year we're doing all three days. Previously we didn't realize that it was more than just renewables. The alt construction, gardening, organics, health, holistic and other varied topics made it a perfect fit for permies...
 
Paul Matthews
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Location: Milwaukee, WI
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Glad there's folks reading out there! I just landed back in the states a couple weeks ago, so I'm still figuring out my next steps. I'm definitely willing to do a work/room&board exchange if funds are short, but I would need some time to sit here and save up a bit first. If you're looking for the full summer/starting quicker, I'll want to work out some sort of stipend/pay so I have some funds to work with once it's time to move on What kind of projects are you thinking about for the coming months?

This'll be my first MREA, but I can't wait! The workshop schedule looks fantastic
 
Mike Jay
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Paul, I'll send you a PM...
 
Posts: 33
Location: Dubuque, ia
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Hello from Dubuque, ia, the back yard is all garden and the back porch is happy chickens, a good combination. I would sure like to do an undercover hugelculture in the fall- 1 foot blocks of wood on end covered with topsoil ( although my soil may be better than anything I can buy, at least the worms are happy). Keep it going!
 
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Hello from Franklin! It was so nice stumbling across this thread. My boy friend and I bought 5 acres in January. We've put in a 50x40' garden, started a baby food forest w/ sugar maple and crab apple, and have eight healthy chickens at 17 weeks (counting down until eggs)!
 
Mike Jay
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Welcome to the forum Kelsey!  Hopefully you got to the Mother Earth News fair in West Bend last weekend.  We make the long drive down and had a great time.  Congrats on your purchase and it sounds like you're really moving on it.  If you have room in your forest you may want to consider a few soft maples for syrup as well.  They grow a fair bit quicker than sugar maples.  Their sap is more dilute but they give more of it.  So you can get decent yields but you have to boil more.  But it might have you in syrup in 20 years instead of 30.  Just a thought if you have the room.  Welcome!
 
Kelsey Ruth
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Thanks Mike! I will definitely look into soft maples. We got our seedlings from the Manitowoc UW Extension Tree Sale they have at Camp Tapawingo (seedlings for 2$!!) and we had to choose from their selection for the year. The UW Extension has been an incredible resource for us in Milwaukee County, especially since we are on a tight budget. Right now I am trying to get me hands on some comfrey - any local suggestions?
 
Mike Jay
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Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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$2 for seedlings is great, congrats on the find.  If you find a soft maple tree somewhere there are likely baby trees around it that you could dig up.  

I don't know of a comfrey source in Milwaukee.  But I'm sure there are some permies in that area that would have some you can borrow.  On my homestead we found that it grows wild.  I believe there's a permaculture group in Madison.  They probably have members from your area.  Or maybe there's a Milwaukee group as well.  Good luck finding them!
 
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Paul Matthews wrote:Hello! SE Wisconsin (Wauwatosa) here. Last fall I spent 5 months living/working/learning on a developing permaculture project in Sheffield, England; we put up a toilet block, sauna, 9x30m polytunnel, and a strawbale barn/bunkhouse was in it's last steps when I finally left. Now that I'm back in the states, all I want to do is get involved with more projects, get more experience, and eventually get my own natural building company started! So far I've found Bear Paw, Acorn Enterprises, and Midwest Natural Builders, but otherwise things seem pretty sparse in the state when it comes to professional outfits.

If you're looking for a set of hands on your project, or have land that you'd like to see some development on, let me know! I'm also trying to find a ride to The Energy Fair (6/17-19) for one day or the whole weekend



Hey Paul! Hello fellow wisconsinites! I'm Dana! I'm new to posting on permies but have been reading a while. I'M SO STOKED THERE'S SO MANY OF US IN WI!!
This is going to sound familiar, Paul, but I just landed back in the states from Wwoofing in Australia! While i was there I had a stay with David Holmgren! Didn't get to meet Bill though! Im in Friendship, near the Dells! Also looking to meet up with some permies and check out permaculture, b/d, natural building, and other awesome  projects in my home state! I'm a lady in my mid 20s and get along with all age groups saving for land, soaking up knowledge, and hoping to make a difference along the way! Make the movement move!
 
Mike Jay
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Welcome Dana!!  The more WI permies the better  I'm up north but I'm sure there are some folks near you.  I think Todd Parr could be decently close to you.  
 
Dana Gabiga
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Thank you Mike! I will send him an email
I'm sure there are quite a few around Madison! I'm headed that way soon!
 
Mike Jay
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Yup, there's a bunch in Madison.  They have a group that you may want to join  Madison Area Permaculture Guild
 
Kelsey Ruth
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Hello again! My boyfriend and I are in the thick of buckthorn removal. Just at the cutting down and piling stage. I'm sure as Wisconsin permies some of you must have some environmentally friendly tips for us as an alternative to RoundUp! We have heard of the buckthorn Baggie and are curious if anyone has had good experiences with it. Be are in for a serious job as we have five acres of heavily infested land, nearly impenetrable thanks to the buckthorn. Let me know!
 
Dana Gabiga
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A good goat'll do that!
Flamethrowers and mulch are fun too!!
 
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HI my names Brandon. Im from Milwaukee but am currently on the north coast of California. Ive been learning and working as a natural builder for 2 years now. I am soon going to be moving back to Wisconsin. Im planning on taking a pdc this coming spring or summer. Im also waning to get into urban agricultural and community projects ( something outside involving growing food) Im hoping that there is some long term paid work out there. If anyone knows some places or anyone who is into stuff like that, I'd really like to know. I'm really flexible.
 
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Location: Duluth, MN
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Anyone is Superior? I currently live outside of Duluth and would be very happy to meet some local permies, Minnesotan or Wisconsinite ;P
 
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Location: Bayfield, WI
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Hello northerners. We live in Bayfield, along the big lake. I see some members from the Duluth area. We have many organic young farmers in our area and a permaculture business just around the corner. Any one else up this far?   Carol
 
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