I ran across this site a few days ago but this is the first time I have a free moment to write anything. My wife and I live in SW Michigan, USA. Although she still works I am lucky enough to be what I consider "Semi-Retired". We have a small hobby farm and our children have grown up and flew the coop. I am the import as I grew up in the Adirondack Mountains of New York while my wife grew up 2 miles NE of where we now reside. Our last child graduates from Michigan Tech this semester so we are crossing our fingers that we will have a few dollars to start making improvements on our property from now on. (Probably wishful thinking but we all need dreams...) My current projects are getting two gardens ready for planting and thanks to this site, putting in a hugelkultur bed at the border of one of them. The reason for the bed is that there is a black walnut stump still in the ground that is too large for me to deal with otherwise. I spent the last 3 days cutting up an old burr oak tree to put into it also. Hopefully all the pieces are small enough for me to move into position.
Our interests are simple. We are what we consider "Homebodies" and although we are not survivalists we like the idea of supporting ourselves without having to go into town very often. We have had a large garden for years now and we can most of the things we get from it. We also raise a little livestock here and there so our meat supply is actually good for us. I found this site while researching woodstoves. Our current one is being replaced this fall and I am very interested in the rocket stoves that I'm learning about. Our hope is to install a closed boiler system with old style radiators with the rocket stove helping to "preheat" the water so we don't use much fuel oil to stay warm. I am open to all suggestions as I didn't even know rocket stoves existed 5 days ago.
I was very surprised to find a site like this one. It is really a dream come true in our case. There doesn't seem to be many people around us who want to live this lifestyle. Everyone we know would rather spend their free time being entertained by television shows and game systems. We enjoy reading and being outdoors too much to hook an antenna up to our tv let alone actually spend hours per week glued to a screen. I'm looking forward to becoming a part of this community. Sincerely, Jeff