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New to West Washington  RSS feed

 
Posts: 50
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Hi Yall, I am new to West Washington. Specifically Mason County. I am in homesteaders heaven here I do believe... I have access to a bay, mountains, rivers, beach with clams, oysters...

I moved here to homestead, and now it's time to really get started. Can y'all help me out with tips on priorities, a to do list, and how to approach the execution of these various missions?

Currently I'm not sure what species of animals I should be focused on hunting and fishing to fill my freezer in time for winter. Are there any small game I could focus on and get a lot of easily while I get more familiar with the hunting of large game? Also what kind of animals should I be focused on raising for food? Obviously chickens, but how about a small fish farm? Trout best in a tank here? Or do people grow Tilapia with heaters in a green house all winter here? I guess goat, pig, cow is all a matter of personal preference, I would like to get them all. I also plan on doing meal worms and redworms... plus I am learning the plant species as quickly as I can, is there a good plant identification app or website you recommedn, aside from the facebook group...? Wow I have a lot of work ahead of me, so I need to get my TO DO list prioritized and I am hoping you might offer me some good guidance/wisdom from experience on how to get my homestead set up quick on a shoe string budget using natural resources, and craigslist/ebay... I figure it's gonna take me at least all year to get set up, but hopefully I won't waste any time with your help. Thanks.

 
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Location: Pacific Northwest
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I'm not one of the most knowledgeable people here, but I would say, in terms of small livestock, to get ducks. Looking at the average rainfall of Mason county, you get a lot of rain, even more than my 50 inches. Ducks love water, they are more disease resistant, many breeds lay about 300 eggs a year, and their eggs are twice as large as chickens. They also are not nearly as noisy, and they lay for more years than chickens do. They also forage well, eat your likely-ever-present slugs, and don't tear up your garden like chickens do. Some great duck breeds for eggs are Golden Layer 300s, Anconas, Khaki Campbells, and Indian Runners. We love our ducks! They do poop quite a bit, but that can be managed, and is good fertilizer.

The first thing, I think, for you to do when setting up your homestead is to reaaaaaally get a feel of your environment and climate. Watch where the sun goes. Where is it shady? Where is it hot? Where does the fog and frost settle? Where are the wet/wetland areas (look for rushes and sedges and swamp cabbage)?

I think, if you want to get the ball rolling in your garden, try and find places to plant your fruit trees. Those are the first things you want going, because they take so long to produce. For affordable trees, you can check with local county conservation districts for sales. I didn't see one in Mason County (though they apparently had one in 2010). King and Snohomish Counties have them (here's King County's website: http://www.kingcd.org/pro_native.htm) in the spring, and you can get some pretty affordable bareroot native plants there, many of which are edible, such as mountain huckleberry, thimbleberry, saskatoon/service berry, dogwoods, salal, oregon grape, and hazelnuts. I wish I knew more places to get affordable fruit trees, but I like buying local rather than paying for shipping from places like Raintree (http://www.raintreenursery.com/) and Burnt Ridge (http://www.burntridgenursery.com). Those are both large nurseries that sell direct and are in our climate.

As for native plant identification, here's Mason County's native plant list: https://www.masoncd.org/native-plant-resources.html. Facebook has Pacific Northwest Wildcrafiing group that is really active and helpful: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PacificNorthwestWildcrafting/?pnref=lhc .

I hope some of that helps! I'm sure there are many others who have great ideas!
 
Nicole Alderman
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Location: Pacific Northwest
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Ah-ha! I found Kitsap County's Plant Sale site here: http://kitsapcd.org/latest-newsletter. That's prorably a lot closer to you than driving to Seattle for King Country's plant sale!
 
pollinator
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Location: Victoria BC
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First advice: slow down! The designers manual suggests a full year of observation to aid in design. Get to know your land before positioning things that will be difficult to move later on. Walk around, observe the light at different times of day, check out the soil a foot or two down, watch where things die back from lack of water in late summer. Get familiar with the prevailing wind patterns. Look at a good contour map, and see if it is actually correct for your land. Snow and frost will be very informative as well.


How much land do you have? What is it like?


Along with buying trees, this early stage is a great time to play with propagating your own trees, which would mostly happen later in the summer, or as they go dormant in the fall.


I second Nicole's suggestion of ducks. I really don't like raising cornish hybrid chickens for meat, and the alternatives are all less efficient. Ducks grow fast naturally. If you're selling, they're more of a premium product, too. My experience was with muscovies, and they were quite good all around, though we had trouble finding the eggs sometimes.
 
Vincent Alexander
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That's all great advice guys, Thank you!

Nicole Alderman, thank you for the links! I will get on those for plants, and yeah propagation has been on my mind, now I'll have a great list of natives to focus on propagating THANK YOU

Ducks! Awesome! Can't wait to learn more and get that underway.

I feel overwhelmed at the moment knowing that its ALL ahead of me.. I haven't really even begun yet, so I DO need to slow down spend more time observing the landscape and climate (Thank you Dillon Nichols), but yes this gives me some priorities to focus on for now.

 
Dillon Nichols
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If you provide some details about what you're working with, as you observe your property, I'm sure you'll find people happy to provide some more specific advice.

As far as specific native plants go, a couple things:

Hazelnut blight(eastern filbert blight) has made it to Vancouver Island; my guess is if it's not in your area yet, it will be later. Resistant cultivars would be a very good idea.

Up here, blue elderberry is nominally native, though scarce. Red elderberry is much more common. Blue is safely edible; red has seeds which will create cyanide while being digested, so most sources say 'not edible'. Both are great for wet, somewhat shaded areas. I had a hell of a time propagating elderberry even though it is supposed to be an easyish one; turned out that vermiculite with a layer of peat moss on top worked, while none of the other combinations I tried would work at all.
 
Posts: 15
Location: Kitsap Peninsula, Washington
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Hi Vincent,

My wife and I also have bought acreage in western Washington to homestead on (Kitsap Peninsula.) Another resource for you is the Bullock Brothers Homestead on Orcas Island. They've been at it for almost 40 years and their property is amazing to visit. They offer tours and are very helpful and forthcoming with information. We also took advantage of Terra Phoenix Consulting (Doug Bullock and Dave Boehnlein) who came out to our land and did a 4 hour walkabout advising different strategies and planning--very worthwhile!

Good luck, Anthony

 
Vincent Alexander
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Hi Anthony, let's keep in touch and exchange ideas since we are in the same climate. I am new to the area and just learning how to adapt to homesteading here.


Anthony Hardt wrote:Hi Vincent,

My wife and I also have bought acreage in western Washington to homestead on (Kitsap Peninsula.) Another resource for you is the Bullock Brothers Homestead on Orcas Island. They've been at it for almost 40 years and their property is amazing to visit. They offer tours and are very helpful and forthcoming with information. We also took advantage of Terra Phoenix Consulting (Doug Bullock and Dave Boehnlein) who came out to our land and did a 4 hour walkabout advising different strategies and planning--very worthwhile!

Good luck, Anthony

 
Anthony Hardt
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Location: Kitsap Peninsula, Washington
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Hi Vincent,

Did you receive my Mooseage reply yesterday?

Anthony
 
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