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Hello, my names Richard and I'm 21 and just bought a travel trailer and moved it out onto 15 acres of property with my girlfriend (28 ) and her kids (5 and 7). I've lived In the country and been an outdoorsy and diy type of person my whole life. We plan on getting Nubian goats, chickens, and doing aieroponics. We have water and electrical hook ups so were not worried about alternative energy right yet- but we will be taking those steps shortly I hope. Were using this as a step into actual 100% homesteading in The mountains in Co. I was just wondering if you guys have any pointers, or things you would like to tell that I could learn or benefit from. Thanks in advance.
 
pollinator
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Location: Victoria BC
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Hi Richard, welcome to permies! Congratulations, you must be pretty excited!

What sort of trailer did you get? I'll be living out of a tiny little 1975 ~14ft fibreglass 'Carefree' trailer this summer.

A couple thoughts:
The observation and planning stage sometimes doesn't get enough attention; layout and positioning of zones, plants, access, infrastructure, etc... all important stuff! Saving even 1 minute on something that you need to do/access twice a day will add up to 12 hours a year; 12 hours a year for 50 years is nearly a month!

Is this a first step on land you plan to build a permanent home on, later? Or will you be looking elsewhere when the time comes for the next step? If this is a temporary location, think about what you'll be able to take with you when you; aside from experience and portable creatures/equipment, a source of trees/plants that you can propagate from can really be a leg up. If permanent, ASAP is always a good time to plant slow to mature things like nut trees.

Travel trailers can get pretty cold in winter; if you'll be there then, you might want to think about auxiliary heat, maybe check out Paul's electric microheat article. If your trailer is on the larger side, you could also look into adding a woodstove, though I've seen some *incredibly* unsafe woodstove installs in travel trailers... If it/you won't be shifting anytime soon, you could build a small addition to accommodate such a woodstove.
 
Richard Holdeman
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Hi (: thanks for the response.
It's a 28' bunk house keystone Laredo 2006.
The land we are at is in northeastern Oklahoma, and is owned by my grandfather- so no land payments, or property tax. We plan on living here a few years and learning the ropes, and gaining more experience. (This life style isn't completely new to me) My grandparents homesteaded in Anchorage Alaska, and have done the permaculture life since day one, and I was raised across the street from them so hopefully I'm going to learn a lot of good pointers from them. We plan on settling in south Colorado in Canton county in the mountains. We were lucky enough to get a trailer that's insulted on the bottom so were not going to have to worry about pipes freezing in the winter. I am going to check out that heat source you left for me, so far I was considering a small quartz heater since we would have an electrical outlet.
 
Richard Holdeman
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And the time thing really set a good perspective.
It hit home because I've always been the work smarter, not harder type. So I believe going out of my way for something that I could benefit a few minutes spare time for. We have a few nut trees on the property as well as a pear, apple, and mulberry trees. Is there any other trees you could recommend?
 
Dillon Nichols
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Sounds like a great low-cost way to get started!

Fantastic that you've got some nut/fruit trees already there, especially mulberry. Given the time-frame, grafting onto existing trees could be a real help to let you alter the harvest times or change the varieties to suit your preferences.

Looks like you're probably a 6b or 7a hardiness zone. Tons of options! I personally will be trying for a very wide variety of apple cultivars; not exactly exotic or exciting at first glance, but it's such a versatile fruit with an incredible range of flavours, uses, and harvest times...

Beyond that, all the usual suspects... I'd be adding peaches for sure. Plums. Sweet/sour cherries. Asian pear unless fireblight looks like an issue.

A bit more exotic: autumn olive, good chicken food and a nitrogen fixer even if you don't like the berries yourself. Excel fig, which apparently can set fruit in zone 6. Arctic kiwi, actinidia kolomikta

Beyond trees, berry bushes, especially canefruit that will do the work of propagating for you, would be high on my list!


As far as heat goes, it might be challenging to use microheat with 4 people... but the savings are pretty significant! My little trailer just has a propane furnace, which is not my favorite option by any means... but it's a 14' trailer, and like yours has an insulated floor, so it doesn't take much to heat. I'm hoping to get by with bodyheat and a good sleeping bag most of the time.
 
Richard Holdeman
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Approximately how long does it take fruit trees to start producing their fruit? And ours is propane heat ready, but I think were going to just keep the propane for the cooking.
 
Dillon Nichols
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Location: Victoria BC
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Time to yield is going to vary by a bunch of factors; species, rootstock if applicable, cultivar, soil/sun/water/microclimate....

For apples, you can see fruit in 2-3 years for the most dwarfing rootstock, vs 6-10 for fullsize standards. So, you see why I say grafting can give a nice head-start! For most of the trees, in your shoes I would be thinking of them as practice/future sources of cuttings rather than something likely to provide a lot of fruit while you are still there.

Still worth doing, especially if you experiment with growing from seed or other free/nearly free sources like taking cuttings for the species that can be propagated that way(mulberries, fig autumn olive, for starters), but not something I'd want to put a bunch of money into if I was expecting to walk away from it...

Autumn olive grows very fast; I bought a rooted cutting last spring, one branch, perhaps 18" high and thinner than my little finger; here's a picture of it in October, about 5' high. They supposedly do take a few years to fruit despite this explosive growth.

Out of that whole list, the canefruit would be the quickest thing to yield.
P1050388-1.jpg
[Thumbnail for P1050388-1.jpg]
 
Posts: 132
Location: Maine, USA
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Hi Richard.

Firstly - AWESOME!

There is nothing better than starting off homesteading...and you can't beat the price (no mortgage or land tax). I hope you hug your grandfather a LOT! And the kids will love you forever having such a wonderful experience at such a young age.

There are so many things to consider when you start. I have to second the 'take time to plan' notion as it will save you time and money later on.

The VERY first thing I would get is a homesteading journal so you can start recording your plans, activities as you go. It really is an essential tool for keeping your ideas all in one place. See this article about them: http://startoffhomesteading.com/using-a-homestead-planning-book/

Good luck and keep us all posted on your journey

 
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