We live on a 1/4 acre in the city proper, it's a 4,000 sq/ft house that we heat exclusively with wood ( looking into converting over to a rocket mass heater now that I know what one is ), and we're looking at additional options to take the house off the grid completely. Most likely that involves a TEG generator running off the wood furnace (later, RMH).
We've identified about 20 acres of land sitting fallow, and we have just over 145k in vegetable seeds. Yes, One Hundred And Forty Five Thousand seeds.
I'm currently assembling an 800 sq/ft greenhouse (earth berm side walls, filled with soil-less soil to around 45 cu/yrds, rebar and EMT sidewalls, and greenhouse poly, it's heated by wood from the attached garage, where I also use the wood burner as a forge for making machetes and bowie blades from truck springs, as well as a warming bed coil of distilled water with the heating coil wrapped around the burn barrel - double barrel set up -) to start seedlings, have lettuces and over fresh veg in the cold climates, and to grow industrial hemp, though stunted in height, for CBD medical tincture. Wish I could open farm industrial hemp though, sooo many medical benefits from the CBD (cannabidiol) for pain, celiacs diseases and type II diabetes.
Since it is Detroit, I also have an 8 camera CCTV set up, most of which are built with Raspberry Zero computers, solar cell/battery powering systems and WiFi. Going green shouldn't mean leaving the tech behind should it? Just find low impact methods of powering it, no?
In my spare time, I use my DIY Chainsaw Mill to take fallen trees in the City and slab them into 2" and 3" slabs and people buy them for tables and whatnot. I'm also in the middle of milling a 36" wide black walnut into 33" x 1" x 12' planks to relay my kitchen floor. The 33" is so I can remove only the heartwood.
Another project is converting a rescued 1941 refrigerator into a Peltier unit (TEG generator run backwards).
Hello, James! I'm out in Ypsi, but thought I'd pop in to say hi to a fellow southeast Michigander. Sounds like you are up to some awesome things!! I am especially jealous of the greenhouse setup. I am hoping to put in a small hoop house this fall for starting seeds and such, and someday build a more permanent greenhouse, but that's probably a ways off. We have been focusing this year on setting up our garden area, including building a bunch of hugel beds. I'll be planting fruit and nut trees soon (now that we have a fence up to keep out the darn deer), and we are tentatively planning to get ducks next spring, so that entails another bunch of fall projects (cleaning out the outbuilding where they'll live, borrowing a backhoe to enlarge a small pond for them, etc etc!).
I'd love to see pictures of your projects! I've been bad at posting pics here, but I use Instagram to document what we're up to (@ypsipermie). I met another permie out in Livonia when I bought some plants he'd posted on craigslist, but so far I don't know anyone else doing this stuff in Detroit proper (although I'm sure they're there!).
Hello, Katy! Pleasure to meet you. I used to live in Ypsilanti, and Ann Arbor for a few years combined. Nice digs around there, sounds like you're more outskirts than I was, and probably where I should have been. This lil spread is nice. With the lax rules and lack of detailed governorship by the City itself, ( a process we lovingly refer to as "You do You." ), we do what we do to improve things until told otherwise. So far, no one has as much as cleared a throat as barked about anything.
Next year is going to be a great year here. Since finding this site I'm already amassing the materials for a small RMH forced air furnace in the garage now instead of the barrel burner I now have ( and would take a lot more wood and energy to maintain based on what I see of RMH designs ). Nice things about living where there are a ton of demolished, falling down or burnt houses in a 100 year old neighborhood is free refractory brick. It's literally laying on the ground like mana.
I'll be renting ( unless a kind Michigander has one? ) a bobcat in a few weeks to excavate the new parking pad area ( sized for 6 vehicles though we have 3 ), fill it in with reclaimed asphalt millings from a repaving around the corner, and pave it with 100+ year old orange clay bricks from a downtown historical district. Then use said bobcat to put that excavated earth into making the berm walls for the greenhouse. And just dropped off was 2 dump trucks of Chinese Elm that my chainsaw mill will turn into rounds and planks for tables. I love having this large lot right in the city. Pleeeeeenty of free things people are willing to drop instead of paying for dump fees.
I recently moved to the northern reaches of the detroit metro area from the pacific northwest and have been looking to find some permaculture community in the area. I'd be interested in helping out on some of your urban farm projects, and I do have a little experience in RMH building. I took a workshop when I was living out west from Ernie and Erica and have started a home build at a family member's house.
I am brand new here and, yes, I live in Detroit proper.
I am also looking for like-minded individuals with whom to trade ideas, equipment, skills, work, etc. Although I live in Detroit, I recently acquired a house in Inkster at the tax auction. It's an anomaly—a small farmhouse with a well and septic tank (that don't work!) in the middle of the city on a quarter-acre lot. Anyway, I am hoping to fix it up (it needs work from top to bottom), in an eco-friendly way, on a shoestring budget. Specifically, I'd like to cob the interior/exterior/floor, possibly thatch the roof, and build a couple of cob outbuildings, including a garage/workshop. I'm at the beginning of this journey, so I don't even really know where to start. Nevertheless, I am putting my wish out into the universe, in hopes of finding a few others who are interested in learning with me. Alternatively, I'd love to provide the site/project for a natural building workshop.
I'll be posting my wish in a few other related forums, as my post here is really a reply to let the world know that there are other Detroiters interested in permaculture and sustainable living.
I've just moved back to metro detroit. I'm in the suburbs now, although I've been scouting properties in Detroit. I finished my PDC last summer and have been trying to learn as much as I can since then. Would love to meet up with a fellow permie, hear about your plans, and lend a helping hand if you need one!
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