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Looking for 4 seasons land near permies  RSS feed

 
Robbie Asay
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Hello, I've been a member for a bit now but it wasn't until I read Mr. Wheaton's thread about his quest for land located at the link below that I was compelled to jump into the "quest" myself in more than a casual looking way:

http://permies.com/t/46594/labs/Quest-Land-advice-permies-homesteaders

I'm looking for either land or "space" on someone's land and have been very intrigued by the ant project but also deep root as well. However, intriguing though they may be I would not be a good candidate and I am in a similar boat as a couple of the ladies in this thread regarding being disabled:

http://www.permies.com/t/24259/labs/BUY-Smaller-lot-farm#195684

Right now I live on a 38 acre rundown and overgrown old family farm with a house that's disintegrating from the inside in WA that I have no chance to purchase(about $400k not including about $300k in additional required property upgrades) let alone pay the property taxes while trying to make the required improvements with inspectors up my rear. Even though the owner has pretty much given me free rein there's a lot of things I can't do because it's on a reverse mortgage so no neighborhood farm stand, no blackberry u-pick, no selling eggs and no firewood business. Basically I get to enjoy the wildlife(the black bears are back after a decade!) and play around with my pallet projects while planning some sort of tiny house and world domination of a few acres. I get disability so I don't have to worry about income and I've been taking web development classes online. That being said I know I can't stay here forever and should the time come for the owner to depart to the great winery in the sky, I'd have to vacate rather quickly.

What I'm looking for is a small piece of property(2-5 acres) where I'd get to experience all 4 seasons. Crazy as my arthritis considers me to be, fall and winter are my favorite times of the year. I LOVE snow! My knees, back and neck do not but despite their stiffening protests I go out and shovel, build a snowman and then drink hot chocolates for the 2-3 days it takes to recover from the pain...with a huge smile on my face. I have no idea why but no matter how much pain I'm in it's always a wondrous and peaceful day when the snow is falling. But no I can't afford Alaska so I'd need to stay in the lower 48. I prefer the west but I've lived in the southwest and north east and liked both. Unfortunately I can become sick easily in heat and high humidity so being able to use an air conditioner becomes essential in that kind of weather.

I'd need good internet access of some kind at the property(I use a TON) but I'm probably asking the impossible because I'd love to live somewhere with little to no restrictions, building codes and expectations about my performance. Some days I feel invincible and some days I can barely get out of bed. I considered urban farming but most places are too expensive and some that I'd be interested in are so archaic and slow regarding creating/modifying regulations that I wouldn't be able to sell my produce. The city of Santa Fe recently did this to an urban CSA and the city was on my list to consider until that.

I don't need much land because I won't be raising large livestock. I might have some small livestock and maybe a horse(which yes is large) but they will be tools more than food. I have to balance what they do, my enjoyment and how much feed will cost.

I'm also looking for space that wouldn't mind my dependence on non-permie sort of things until I figure out ways around them. I'm in a constant state of experimentation to adapt tools and processes into less painful and more productive alternatives and that can take a lot of time and patience. Propane frightens the hell out of me(yes I have good reason) so I'd need to use solar and a generator to cover not using propane. I'll have to use raised beds where I can easily reach everything.

I was thinking that I'd like to be around Missoula somewhere so I'd at least be able to come out for learning, share some of my adaptations, human interaction, trees and views, etc. I've also considered buying a few lots in the land scam area west of Taos, NM as it would definitely be incredibly affordable($250-$1k per acre) but then I wouldn't be near anyone permie related. I also happen to really like conifers and there aren't any out on the mesa. However both locations would put me within a couple of hours of visiting family and friends unlike where I live now, I would be able to stabilize myself with healthy food and land I can work.

I have a 1956 Massey/Ferguson tractor with a front end loader, a grader blade and a sickle bar mower and I LOVE my electric chainsaw! I found out I can't manually split wood using traditional tools so I'm going to have to get some kind of hydraulic splitter or have a manual one welded together. I'll have to be able to live in an RV or trailer until I can get my house built.

My goals are to integrate myself into living with the land as much as possible and to adapt as many methods as I can and document them so that others like myself who are disabled(and not unable), are also able to take advantage of a more personally fulfilling lifestyle that is as free as possible from dominant cultures trappings.

As far as money goes I can't "save" much such as in a bank because of some of the programs I am on right now where you have to prove being destitute. I'll have to buy low or rent low enough where I can save money and work my way up. I can provide rental references for the last 5 years if it's that kind of situation.

Thanks for any advice, referrals, questions, etc.
 
Robbie Asay
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I'm responding here to a question I asked from another thread:

http://www.permies.com/t/16424/desert/High-Desert-forest-garden#486232

because I had forgotten about this one I started.  Ooops!


Thanks so much for answering me Paul!  I had sent some PMs to others that mentioned they lived or owned property west of Taos but I hadn't gotten an answer.  I've been in contact with two other persons outside permies who own land in the area(Carson Estates).

Paul Gutches wrote:Check with Kit Carson Coop and Taos Net for their broadband coverage and plans.

I'm currently using line of site with Taos Net and it's doing the job.  I don't think I have their max bandwidth option.


I spoke with TaosNet and they claim I can use their service for what I do but I have an idea I'll be dealing with a TON of latency.  That's going to make using them extremely painful until I can get hooked up to fiber optic.  I got really excited when KC posted their interactive fiber optic map!  The only bad part is that I'm required to be a KC customer to get the fiber and since I need good interwebs I'm stuck with the grid for now.

I'm a spoiled cable internet customer so when I hear "high speed" if it's not at least 50mbps it's middle speed to me.  If I'm not getting at least 50mbps the lag can kick my uploads/downloads and game playing offline.  I take classes online so it's imperative I have good access and for as much as I use a phone data plan wouldn't be economical so TaosNet it is until the residential fiber drops start happening.


Paul Gutches wrote:Do you have a budget and a min acreage target in mind?


TBH this is flexible.  I'll have to have owner financing if payments are involved and I'm trying to keep my payments around $100 a month.  At first I was looking in the land scam area because of how cheap it is and the idea of not having payments is incredibly intriguing.  I know in Carson Estates there's a community well and the border road got paved on the east side of it, but...no high speed internet.  I also know I'd have to stay away from units 4 and 5 and if I can't buy at least 8 adjoining lots I defeat my purpose for wanting to move there.  I understand the risk since the state has never set forth plans to "settle" the scam area.

I'd love to get 5 acres but I was referred to a little subdivision up in Tres Piedras(by one of the people that owns lots in Carson Estates and also owns/lives in the subdivision) that has everything I need/can use and the owner carries but it's only 2 acres(payments are too high for the 4 acre lots) and part of a POA.  It's $15k for the more expensive 2 acre lots but with the fencing and other property line requirements it ends up being about 1.86 acres I can use.  I prefer treed property but I have a sagebrush budget.

I don't want to get too far away from Taos so I can take advantage of the farmers market(both in selling my own crops and buying what I don't grow myself) and was hoping to find at least 3 acres so I could put in a decent fruit and nut orchard but I have to go with what I can afford and the internet access.  I'm open to any suggestions!

And yes, I do realize I'd be farming on the high desert. 
 
Paul Gutches
Posts: 106
Location: Taos, New Mexico
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Well, there is certainly a lot of relevant info I can share with you.

I've lived in Taos county since 2004, and on the mesa adjacent to that newly paved road. 
I've got 6 acres and I'm selling 3, but it doesn't seem like I'm in your target range.
I've been gradually testing permaculture design ideas and a very large variety of plants in this area for about 5 years now.
I am now on the cusp of implementing some of the things that are working well on a larger scale.
I know a couple people here and there who are also practicing, but the community is largely just on Facebook.

Immediately west of the bridge, having a well drilled is almost certainly out of the question (prohibitively expensive)
So, depending on where you end up, you'll need to figure in devoting a percentage of your land to diverting runoff.
On a very gentle slope with no land uphill from you to contribute to your runoff, figure at least 1:1 runoff to growing area.
That's bare minimum I think.  I'm currently planning closer to 2:1. 

In most cases I'm diverting the water into a low or sunken wood core bed to hold the moisture where fruit trees can still reach it. 
Otherwise, the soil here is so fast draining that I suspect it may travel out of reach of anything but the deepest rooted perennials and taproot trees.
I've got a plum tree on the north side of a low wood core bed, and it is working very well at keeping it happy through the longest dry stretches, which can last from 1 to 2 months.
Typically, we don't go more than a month without at least a little rain, but sometimes it's not enough to make a difference.
Even after a recent near 2-month stretch without rain, which is rare, it doesn't look water stressed, even though I haven't put up my windbreak fence yet to protect it.  That's a very promising sign.

A 1:1 / 2:1 will begin to push the functioning rainfall consistently toward 20 inches a year for your plants.
I've been measuring rainfall for 5 years and so far it has never been below 10 inches for the year.  Otherwise it's been anywhere from 12 to 16.  Granted, it's a short term sampling.
Fruit trees need at least 20".   Take the wind off of it, mulch heavily, and things can start to happen.

Nut trees, other than piñon, are an experiment here.
Our rainy season is the summer, so just when you need the extra heat units for nuts, things start to cool down again.
I don't know anyone successfully producing any kind of nut here besides native piñon. (Yet)
I have a friend who has gotten a hazelnut to establish, but it's not vigorous.  Still worth experimenting with though.
I've tried growing Walnuts on a few occasions and have so far had no success.  Both European and Arizona types.
Rumors are they grow down in the gorge near Pilar which has more water and heat.

The soil is probably too alkaline and too shallow for chestnuts.
Oak trees are a possibility.  I have 2 burr oak trees slowly establishing this year.
And burr-gambel scrub oak seems promising for shadier locations.  Once established they are very tough.
I plan to test yellowhorn and chinquapin nuts at some point, as well as have another go at hazelnuts.
And one of these days I'll try walnut again.
If  they ever take, they still may not have enough heat units here to produce.
This is all frontier research in these parts. 

If you want to farm more of your land, I'd look at sloped treed land (pinon-juniper) in Tres Piedras and Cerro Montoso where you can get a lot of free runoff upslope.
Those areas north of town also tend to receive more rainfall as they are higher in elevation, and the rain patterns seem to favor those areas.   The tradeoff is even longer and colder winters. 
But... if you find a south facing rocky outcropping you might crank up the heat units during the summer for nut production... 

You may be able to get land especially cheap on Cerro.  It is a bit more of a trek to town from there, I believe.
And you'd need a very capable 4x4 vehicle to travel during mud season.

Hope this helps!
 
Robbie Asay
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Paul Gutches wrote:Well, there is certainly a lot of relevant info I can share with you.

I've lived in Taos county since 2004, and on the mesa adjacent to that newly paved road. 
I've got 6 acres and I'm selling 3, but it doesn't seem like I'm in your target range.


Oh my goodness I definitely want to chat with you more about the area! 

I really don't know how good or bad TaosNet is so that's really up in the air at this point.  One of those "I won't know until I try it" situations.  What is the most you've done online?  Do you stream TV or anything like that?  One thing I do like about them is they don't have a cap on how much you use.


Paul Gutches wrote:I've been gradually testing permaculture design ideas and a very large variety of plants in this area for about 5 years now.
I am now on the cusp of implementing some of the things that are working well on a larger scale.
I know a couple people here and there who are also practicing, but the community is largely just on Facebook.


I picked up Julie Weinberg's book "Growing Food in the High Desert" and was going to use it as a springboard for my experiments.  There's just so little information about high desert farming and yet there seems to be a lot going on.

Paul Gutches wrote:Immediately west of the bridge, having a well drilled is almost certainly out of the question (prohibitively expensive)
So, depending on where you end up, you'll need to figure in devoting a percentage of your land to diverting runoff.


From what I understand of the wells that have been drilled in the area they went down 700-800 feet and yes that would be horribly expensive.  I know that a large portion of Carson Estates south of that ranch is okay to use the West Rim well but that's all I know about it.  Since there are indigenous prairie grasses on the mesa I wanted to experiment using the no till soil regeneration that the Brown's have done, but using diverse ground cover and grazing(sheep! chickens!) that was more suitable to growing on the mesa.  As the soil improved the cover crops could be adjusted.  Has anyone in the area tried something like that?  He claims that it can be done pretty much anywhere plants can grow with at least 2" of rain a year.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkoCY4E0Fj4

Paul Gutches wrote:In most cases I'm diverting the water into a low or sunken wood core bed to hold the moisture where fruit trees can still reach it. 
Otherwise, the soil here is so fast draining that I suspect it may travel out of reach of anything but the deepest rooted perennials and taproot trees.


I wonder if the method above would help?  It holds moisture closer to the surface and the ground cover slows evaporation.  What is a wood bed?  Sorry, just learning permie lingo over the last couple of years.  What other fruit trees do you have besides the plum?

Paul Gutches wrote:A 1:1 / 2:1 will begin to push the functioning rainfall consistently toward 20 inches a year for your plants.
I've been measuring rainfall for 5 years and so far it has never been below 10 inches for the year.  Otherwise it's been anywhere from 12 to 16.  Granted, it's a short term sampling.
Fruit trees need at least 20".   Take the wind off of it, mulch heavily, and things can start to happen.


It really looks as if the no till soil regeneration would help.  Ground cover crops aren't affected by wind and their life and death would serve multiple functions well except the rattlesnakes may not care for a humid environment.

Paul Gutches wrote:Nut trees, other than piñon, are an experiment here.
Our rainy season is the summer, so just when you need the extra heat units for nuts, things start to cool down again.
I don't know anyone successfully producing any kind of nut here besides native piñon. (Yet)
I have a friend who has gotten a hazelnut to establish, but it's not vigorous.  Still worth experimenting with though.


Indeed!  I'm all about experimenting!  I've heard that the Idaho walnut was adapted for severe climates although I don't know exactly what those "severe" climates are.

Paul Gutches wrote:The soil is probably too alkaline and too shallow for chestnuts.


It's my assumption that with proper ground cover growth more nutrients will be added and balance out the alkalinity but don't quote me on that.  I'm coming down with a mountain of dreams and little money but I'm very tired of sitting on my thumbs.

Paul Gutches wrote:This is all frontier research in these parts.


I'm game!

Paul Gutches wrote:If you want to farm more of your land, I'd look at sloped treed land (pinon-juniper) in Tres Piedras and Cerro Montoso where you can get a lot of free runoff upslope.


Coincidentally the property I'm interested in at this time is in Tres Piedras.  I sent you a PM.

Paul Gutches wrote:Those areas north of town also tend to receive more rainfall as they are higher in elevation, and the rain patterns seem to favor those areas.   The tradeoff is even longer and colder winters. 
But... if you find a south facing rocky outcropping you might crank up the heat units during the summer for nut production...


It's at an 8k ft elevation but no rocky outcroppings that I can see from Google maps.  It's right off Rt. 64 and I don't need a 4x4.  I really don't want to get that much farther away from Taos if I can help it.  Thanks so much for responding!  I'd love to continue this conversation!

 
Paul Gutches
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I am a web designer / developer, so I spend a lot of time online.

The most intensive thing I do is watch streamed video content for movies I want to rent. 
Netflix works great and many other on demand movie rental services work very well, except for iTunes, which seems to take forever to download.  And I'm a Mac guy.
I'm also not using the highest bandwidth package they have.

Robbie Asay wrote:
Paul Gutches wrote:Well, there is certainly a lot of relevant info I can share with you.

I've lived in Taos county since 2004, and on the mesa adjacent to that newly paved road. 
I've got 6 acres and I'm selling 3, but it doesn't seem like I'm in your target range.


Oh my goodness I definitely want to chat with you more about the area! 

I really don't know how good or bad TaosNet is so that's really up in the air at this point.  One of those "I won't know until I try it" situations.  What is the most you've done online?  Do you stream TV or anything like that?  One thing I do like about them is they don't have a cap on how much you use.


 
Paul Gutches
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I'll check that link out.

There is no doubt you can revive the native grasses and ground covers if your intention is to raise animals under a rotational grazing scheme.

Alfalfa grows without issue simply by throwing seeds in ditches.
Yellow clover does very well too.

I'm not too familiar with the grasses because I'm not focussed on livestock at the moment.

But I am probably going to try birds (chickens, ducks and/or turkeys) and maybe even alpacas someday. 
Once the place starts generating calories and protein.

The well serves a very large area, extending all the way up to TP and down to Pilar and Ojo I believe.

Right now it's a 1-time fee of $250 for a lifetime membership, but keep in mind it is technically for domestic use only. 


Robbie Asay wrote:
Paul Gutches wrote:

Paul Gutches wrote:I've been gradually testing permaculture design ideas and a very large variety of plants in this area for about 5 years now.
I am now on the cusp of implementing some of the things that are working well on a larger scale.
I know a couple people here and there who are also practicing, but the community is largely just on Facebook.


I picked up Julie Weinberg's book "Growing Food in the High Desert" and was going to use it as a springboard for my experiments.  There's just so little information about high desert farming and yet there seems to be a lot going on.

Paul Gutches wrote:Immediately west of the bridge, having a well drilled is almost certainly out of the question (prohibitively expensive)
So, depending on where you end up, you'll need to figure in devoting a percentage of your land to diverting runoff.


From what I understand of the wells that have been drilled in the area they went down 700-800 feet and yes that would be horribly expensive.  I know that a large portion of Carson Estates south of that ranch is okay to use the West Rim well but that's all I know about it.  Since there are indigenous prairie grasses on the mesa I wanted to experiment using the no till soil regeneration that the Brown's have done, but using diverse ground cover and grazing(sheep! chickens!) that was more suitable to growing on the mesa.  As the soil improved the cover crops could be adjusted.  Has anyone in the area tried something like that?  He claims that it can be done pretty much anywhere plants can grow with at least 2" of rain a year.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkoCY4E0Fj4

 
Paul Gutches
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Location: Taos, New Mexico
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I can't offer any insights into the restoration method you refer to as I'm unfamiliar with it.

My intention is to create a lot of texture and slow the wind down dramatically and create shade.

The grassland approach certainly sounds like it could work.  I'm just not sure if a grassland with fruit and nut trees planted directly into it would work.
In fact, I'm sure that would need run off or other supplemental source of water to make it fly.

There is a guy north of me who has been restoring a grassland on a large acreage for several years.  I think I have the list of grasses he's using somewhere.

Robbie Asay wrote:

I wonder if the method above would help?  It holds moisture closer to the surface and the ground cover slows evaporation.  What is a wood bed?  Sorry, just learning permie lingo over the last couple of years.  What other fruit trees do you have besides the plum?

Paul Gutches wrote:
A 1:1 / 2:1 will begin to push the functioning rainfall consistently toward 20 inches a year for your plants.
I've been measuring rainfall for 5 years and so far it has never been below 10 inches for the year.  Otherwise it's been anywhere from 12 to 16.  Granted, it's a short term sampling.
Fruit trees need at least 20".   Take the wind off of it, mulch heavily, and things can start to happen.


It really looks as if the no till soil regeneration would help.  Ground cover crops aren't affected by wind and their life and death would serve multiple functions well except the rattlesnakes may not care for a humid environment.



 
Paul Gutches
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Location: Taos, New Mexico
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I would personally be surprised if a ground cover crop would be able to change the pH of the soil here in the short term, unless it was dense enough to jump start a lot of biological processes under it.

That's been my strategy.  To keep food and moisture in the soil as long as possible so that biology is working as close to 24/7 as possible.  That will definitely begin to change the pH and lock up salts within a season or two. 

We have a very loose silty soil that is actually not the product of the bedrock, but has blown in from the Carson dunes (along with many other desiccated nutrients).
(does not apply to TP)

The true top soil took a permanent vacation after the land was overgrazed by sheep.

As you approach TP from Taos, you'll start seeing a lot more exposed rock.  on the east side of 64, but then in all directions as you get closer to TP.  The piñon really seem to like growing in close association with the rocks. 

I took this to heart when transplanting piñon to my land, and they have all survived.  kept them a little higher and surrounded the base with stones.   They all have cones ready to yield this year.  Not that I need them on my land.  I can go anywhere to forage them.  But they are really beautiful trees. 

Anyway, don't let my thoughts on pH sway you.  I'm quite unfamiliar with what ground cover crops along can accomplish. 

Thanks for the mention of Idaho walnut.  I'll have to check into that.

Ya... TP is more accessible, until you travel off road to specific properties.   Cerro Montoso would require a longer more arduous off road trek. 

Robbie Asay wrote:
Paul Gutches wrote:Indeed!  I'm all about experimenting!  I've heard that the Idaho walnut was adapted for severe climates although I don't know exactly what those "severe" climates are.

Paul Gutches wrote:
The soil is probably too alkaline and too shallow for chestnuts.


It's my assumption that with proper ground cover growth more nutrients will be added and balance out the alkalinity but don't quote me on that.  I'm coming down with a mountain of dreams and little money but I'm very tired of sitting on my thumbs.

Paul Gutches wrote:
This is all frontier research in these parts.


I'm game!

Paul Gutches wrote:
If you want to farm more of your land, I'd look at sloped treed land (pinon-juniper) in Tres Piedras and Cerro Montoso where you can get a lot of free runoff upslope.


Coincidentally the property I'm interested in at this time is in Tres Piedras.  I sent you a PM.

Paul Gutches wrote:
Those areas north of town also tend to receive more rainfall as they are higher in elevation, and the rain patterns seem to favor those areas.   The tradeoff is even longer and colder winters. 
But... if you find a south facing rocky outcropping you might crank up the heat units during the summer for nut production...


It's at an 8k ft elevation but no rocky outcroppings that I can see from Google maps.  It's right off Rt. 64 and I don't need a 4x4.  I really don't want to get that much farther away from Taos if I can help it.  Thanks so much for responding!  I'd love to continue this conversation!

 
Robbie Asay
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Paul Gutches wrote:I am a web designer / developer, so I spend a lot of time online.


I'm taking web development classes online.  Just a rookie learning html 5/CSS atm.

Paul Gutches wrote:The most intensive thing I do is watch streamed video content for movies I want to rent. 
Netflix works great and many other on demand movie rental services work very well, except for iTunes, which seems to take forever to download.  And I'm a Mac guy.
I'm also not using the highest bandwidth package they have.


I was thinking of using a Roku and SlingTV with Hulu.  I also play World of Warcraft and while it doesn't use a lot of resources it's very susceptible to latency.  It's my cheap entertainment and how I keep in touch with friends so while I won't "die" or bust into nerd rage if I can't play it, it is an important social connection for me and a way to unwind from a heavy day.

Paul Gutches wrote:I'm not too familiar with the grasses because I'm not focussed on livestock at the moment.


Me neither!  Having some is a part of the soil "fixing" process.  I'm considering a couple few sheep for the wool and the fertilizer pellets.

Paul Gutches wrote:But I am probably going to try birds (chickens, ducks and/or turkeys) and maybe even alpacas someday.
Once the place starts generating calories and protein.


Definitely helpful as well.  I'm looking at sheep because of cost.  I can't afford alpacas.

Paul Gutches wrote:The well serves a very large area, extending all the way up to TP and down to Pilar and Ojo I believe.

Right now it's a 1-time fee of $250 for a lifetime membership, but keep in mind it is technically for domestic use only.


It would take me a few years to get up to pace regarding water catchment so I wouldn't even consider anything more than a small garden and seeding ground covers until I had a full cistern in operation.  That would also give the soil some time to balance out.  I looked at the West Rim bylaws and the area is bigger than I thought.  Thanks for that info.

Paul Gutches wrote:I would personally be surprised if a ground cover crop would be able to change the pH of the soil here in the short term, unless it was dense enough to jump start a lot of biological processes under it.

That's been my strategy.  To keep food and moisture in the soil as long as possible so that biology is working as close to 24/7 as possible.  That will definitely begin to change the pH and lock up salts within a season or two.


That sounds like the timeline would fit as it would take about 3 years for decent remineralization of the soil to leach down deeper.  With how fast you are saying it drains maybe it is a good thing as it will allow nutrients to really get down in the silt and build into/condition it.

Paul Gutches wrote:Anyway, don't let my thoughts on pH sway you.  I'm quite unfamiliar with what ground cover crops along can accomplish.


From what I understand quite a bit when done properly.  I'm also fairly certain there are some native hedge style bushes that with proper trimming could block some of that sand from blowing in but don't quote me on that.  I'm still learning about the area.  I was originally going to come down to check out the tax sales but it appears I'd be better off actually being there for them unless a decent chunk of dirt came up for sale beforehand.  It can be tough in that area since you can't get a loan on that kind of property and cash talks.  As always, the budget dictates what I can afford.
 
Paul Gutches
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to follow up...

wood core bed meaning hugelkultur... but since what I'm doing isn't the kind of hugelkultur sepp holzer does, I just call it wood core.  Same concept, different form.

Basically... the wood core (just various sizes and types of buried tree trunk and limb, both green and older) is doing a number of different things at once.   It's absorbing the rainwater that reaches it and keeps that moisture (and oxygen) within a couple of feet of the surface.  It's also feeding the soil, and jump starting mycelial fungi which will help deliver the water in the wood to the nearby trees and plants in the most efficient way possible.   It also helps to keep the soil cool, which is the way the mycelium like it.

Sepp builds his wood core beds very tall.  That would be a liability here.  Anything above a foot would desiccate from the winds and UV if I built them high.  But about a foot and the terrain starts to create enough turbulence that all sorts of local wind born seeds get deposited.  Many of them are helpful plants too.   I don't mind the sand and silt coming in.  There's a lot of good stuff in it too... leaf bits, insect parts, desiccated animal residues.  But once they get to my land they fall out of the air like gold flakes in a sluice box.  And they will fall into terrain niches that hold moisture, are shaded and protected from wind.  I look at it as free fertilizer. 

I've got all kinds of grasses growing here.  They just start reestablishing because of all the new favorable conditions you start creating. Mostly clumping grasses.  I have no idea what the benefits or liabilities of each grass are, but anything green and vigorous is welcome at this stage.  I love to see the biomass building up, which means lots of organic matter below soil too.  And I find it very easy to deal with weeds.  Anything I don't want gets chopped and the dropped right on top of itself to block the sun.  Very effective.

The biggest liability here is the hard pan I hit about 1-1.5 feet down.  It's caliche, formed by the endless cycles of wetting and drying out to depth. 
An oak might punch through it.  A walnut tree might struggle. 

Hopefully, keeping the soil cooler and more evenly moist for longer periods of time will start to chemically dismantle that caliche layer and lower the pH.

Bottom line is that it's very doable here.  A steep learning curve for a unique and harsh environment, but once you get to know the ways of this place, the possibilities start to open up.  Just need to remain flexible and creative, and not chained to a specific vision.  The land is telling me where she is willing and ready to go. 

What ground covers are you considering?

So far my favorites are alfalfa and yellow sweet clover.   I'm going to  try lathyrus latifolius, the everlasting sweat pea soon.  A very tough perennial.  And all of these will feed birds too.

Peace


 
 
Ryan Tollmann
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Very cool stuff paul and robbie, Im in the same boat..i jumped in and took to the road in an rv i bought in California after a five day bus ride from Florida..yeeash. But its all or nothing sometimes. So i drove the RV from Cali to flagstaff, the closest 'city' to my potential land purchase 40 miles nw, just south of the grand canyon 30miles.
I have a trade (masonry) which theoretically makes it easier to stack cash for ventures now that my expenses are down to food/water/fuel  (fuel is 2.15/gal in flagstaff btw)
Im waiting to hear back from a mason company. Work till snowfall, hibernate then boom spring time planting cover crops and digging warrens for rabbits and a cistern.
Shame all us frontier types cant live closer together... seems collectively our knowledge would make a success of any terrain.
Look forward to more tales from the west.

P.s anyone consider solar+dehumidifier+ceramic filters+uv lighting for pulling potable water from thin air ? Just a thought.

-the new guy
 
Paul Gutches
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Ahh... but alas, the internet does a fine job of distributing our knowledge
At some point I'll start posting diagrams and photos of what I'm doing.

Funny you should ask about pulling water from the air.

It's something I've been thinking a lot about over the years.
Often, we have a decent amount of humidity here, and diurnal temperature swings anywhere between 20 and 40 degrees.

I have an idea I am planning to try that just might work.  No moving parts, and very cheap.

Will keep you posted.

What's the annual rainfall where your land is (or will be) ?

Paul

Ryan Tollmann wrote:
Shame all us frontier types cant live closer together... seems collectively our knowledge would make a success of any terrain.
Look forward to more tales from the west.

P.s anyone consider solar+dehumidifier+ceramic filters+uv lighting for pulling potable water from thin air ? Just a thought.

-the new guy
 
Ryan Tollmann
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Collected 2 gallons from the rv roof runoff in 30 sec, when it rains it pours
 
Ryan Tollmann
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Coconino County, Arizona, gets 15 inches of rain per year. The US average is 37. Snowfall is 47 inches. The average US city gets 25 inches of snow per year.
 
Ryan Tollmann
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https://gismaps.coconino.az.gov/delinquenttax/


Nice interactive map ap.

Cool temps, and cheap land. 1.25acre roughly for about 500$-1000$ in back taxes. Rural undeveloped and alot of choices, seems perfect for a community of permies to show what can be done.
 
Paul Gutches
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So, assuming a 10:1 ratio of snow to rain equivalent, you're getting close to 20 inches of liquid precip a year?

You could do a lot with that.

What's the soil like?

My mom lives outside of Vegas.  I might be inclined to have a look when I head that way.

P


Ryan Tollmann wrote:Coconino County, Arizona, gets 15 inches of rain per year. The US average is 37. Snowfall is 47 inches. The average US city gets 25 inches of snow per year.
 
Paul Gutches
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nice.

what's the scoop on building codes, restrictions, water collection and use?

average well depth?

any drilling and fracking going on in the area?

Thanks


Ryan Tollmann wrote:https://gismaps.coconino.az.gov/delinquenttax/


Nice interactive map ap.

Cool temps, and cheap land. 1.25acre roughly for about 500$-1000$ in back taxes. Rural undeveloped and alot of choices, seems perfect for a community of permies to show what can be done.
 
Ryan Tollmann
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They have one or two county inpectors, the only touchy thing i can see is wells and septic...the rest is basic rural regs. Permiting is easy, inpector only goes out once a week if asked. A bit slow. Still reading up on codes, but i think its fairly basic 'permanent structures'stuff. They actually just loosened codes regarding backyard animals, and home slaughtering in the city...rural doesnt appear to have any restrictions to chickens/ rabbits other then standard 'cruelty'laws..
Im still reading up..if i find something ill post it.
Im no soil expert, but its a platue 7-8k'with lots of juniper trees and scrub brushes..until you go a bit more east on 180, then its a massive forrest of pines/firs mostly..hope that helps.
Average tax lien is about 350$, if a handfil of permies get adjacent spots...it makes it easier, alot of codes/regulatory stuff relies on neighbors complaints..no complaints means a freeer hand
 
Paul Gutches
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Do they allow an outhouse or humanure instead?

Sounds like septic is required.

Thanks for the info.  Always curious about different areas.

Ryan Tollmann wrote:They have one or two county inpectors, the only touchy thing i can see is wells and septic...
 
Ryan Tollmann
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I didnt get into the weeds of the building codes, but it seems freestanding under 6' requires nothing, 12' requires at least a general permit and an explanation as to function...hoop grrenhouse under 15' no permit. no restrictions on water catchment that i could find, they pretty much go with international biulding codes, except when they want to ignore one lol they note it.
Interesting note however they have a dept for alternative building/living etc... minimum living space is 200sq' for single family...and the area is zoned AR (agricultural/residential)

Ill try and find the name of their 'alternative'dept seems it would help avoid alot of explaining when it comes to permiting, they are familar with earth homes(earth ship?) and a few new ideas, i reckon that why the special dept.
Still...they want to see how and what your up to..but their focus is safety and they do know the area conditions better then us, so its a good idea to find out if certain things would work in the conditions of this area... like strength per sq ft for snow weight etc.
 
Ryan Tollmann
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As to septic, just use a composting toilet. Problem solved. Until your established.
 
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