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Dream is coming true  RSS feed

 
Shalom Eigenheimer
Posts: 20
Location: Down the road and around the bend, Southern Ohio, Zone 6a/6b
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Hi everyone. Been lurking for a couple months, learning a lot and vicariously celebrating other people's success stories.

A little about me: I'm a disabled veteran, Iraq and Afghanistan, 100% service-connected PTSD. Studied math in college. Been dreaming about this since I grew my first tomato in my mom's tiny yard in Brooklyn. In fact, I recall being very disappointed around the age of 11 when I discovered that there aren't really any farms for sale in NYC.

So here I am, several decades later, living in Cincinnati with my partner and our 9-month-old son. Been searching for a place to buy for nearly two years now. For myself, I could care less; I'd live in a hole in the ground as long as it came with land, but for my family I've been way more picky. Looked at hundreds of places online and several dozen in person, but nothing seemed to satisfy.

Finally in late April I received my blessing. It was everything we wanted and more. Humble on the outside, gorgeous on the inside, no structural issues, secluded, sitting on fourteen acres of land, with a garage the size of a barn and a separate apartment in an attached wing.

And yet, surprisingly enough, it was entirely within our price range. VA loan process dragged itself out for several months and we finally closed last week.

The house sits on a hilltop in Southern Ohio and has a big lawn around it. About 10 acres are forested north-facing slope, and at the bottom of the hill a stream runs through the edge of the property along the road.

I've been bouncing lots of ideas around in my head but have been hesistant to put pen to paper until I had keys in hand. Now that the house is finally ours, I have no idea where to begin.

I guess our first priority is zone 0, getting ourselves moved in over the next few weeks. My in-laws will be moving into the side cottage, and they are bringing along a lifetime's collection of tools and experience. There's also a dog and a cat.

The person who sold me the house owns an additional several acres of hilltop adjacent, and we have a verbal agreement for a land contract.

I want to do everything, but one thing at a time.

Kitchen garden, market garden, orchard, willow, wild and domesticated mushrooms, food preservation, chickens, solar panels, geothermal, greenhouse, and so much more...

I look forward to sharing my journey with y'all. See you around.

-Shalom

 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
Posts: 750
Location: Virginia (zone 7)
76
books dog fish food preservation forest garden hugelkultur hunting solar trees
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Welcome to Permies! Glad you're here and thanks for sharing your story. That sounds like Paradise. Congratulations!

You've got the right idea to start at zone 0. Take it slowly. Observe everything and make lots of notes. Map out your zones, mark the shade vs sunny areas through the seasons, general wind direction, water flow/rain runoff/areas of pooling. "On a hill top" could be necessary to install some swales to control water flow. A "stream at the bottom of the hill" may have you considering ways to pump it uphill, or installing a water catchment system uphill. The stream being by the road, do you know if there are times where the water washes the road out? I hope not.

There are many great people on this site, who have lots of diverse experience, willing to help. Many previous posts that are a wealth of information too. I'm sure you already know.

What an exciting time! There's lots to consider. Take your time and plan it out. I look forward to hearing about your future projects. Best of luck.
 
Jarret Hynd
Posts: 52
Location: Sask, Canada - Zone 3b
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That great satisfactory feeling when dreams come true, enjoy it and your new home!

As Karen noted, observe everything and get to know your land. Even though you may have a lot of ideas now, there are probably hidden gems your land has to offer which you haven't discovered yet

Have fun on your new journey!
 
Shalom Eigenheimer
Posts: 20
Location: Down the road and around the bend, Southern Ohio, Zone 6a/6b
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Thank you for the warm welcome.

I highly doubt that there is washout; there may be some much further upstream but on our property the stream runs through a gorge of sorts. A 20-50 ft. wide riparian zone separates it from the road, and on the forest side there is a sharp drop in elevation (see pics). The stream bed is shallow, wide, and rocky.

One concern that I have is the loss of nutrients from the forest to the stream bed over the cliffside via rain and gravity. Slightly downstream from the first photo is a tree laying head-downward on the slope of the cliff, which quite likely fell when the soil under its roots were washed away. I don't know about digging swales through the forest, but I'd like to leave much of the hillside as zone 4/5. I do intend to install a rainwater cachement and irrigation system at the top of the hill, where the gardens will be, and I'll know more when I get the chance to observe the stream during a rain event.

One idea that I had was to install various log/rock structures to encourage ponding and sedimentation along the banks, and creating a guild of useful thirsty plants that like to keep their feet wet such as manoomin (wild rice), watercress, and willow. In addition to what courses through the forest, the stream is fed by runoff from the farms on the ridge. The stream is part of the Mississippi River watershed, and I'm sure all that carbon and nitrogen would be more useful on my farm than in the Gulf of Mexico. I have not yet traced the stream to its sources; and, though I'm curious, I do not wish to trespass on any neighbors' property.

From the top of the hill through the forest to the stream bed is a difference in elevation of ~250 ft. I believe. Average slope seems to be about 30°.
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This is where the stream enters the property. Cliff face is about 30-40 ft. tall.
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Looking upstream from the edge of the property.
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Gonna start by picking up the litter alongside the roads.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
Posts: 750
Location: Virginia (zone 7)
76
books dog fish food preservation forest garden hugelkultur hunting solar trees
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Lovely pictures!
You could also create log/brush berms on contour within the forest to catch water runoff and slow nutrient loss.
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
Posts: 1235
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Karen Donnachaidh wrote:Lovely pictures!
You could also create log/brush berms on contour within the forest to catch water runoff and slow nutrient loss.


As well as throwing a few logs across the stream in some areas.
 
Shalom Eigenheimer
Posts: 20
Location: Down the road and around the bend, Southern Ohio, Zone 6a/6b
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I've been back several times already, mostly cleaning the inside of the house and moving stuff in, but also explored the land a bit.

I discovered this week that I am actually already the legal owner of the other parcel; the seller apparently bundled the two deeds together on the basis of my word alone. Unfortunately I'm one of those weird honest-to-a-fault "I'm sorry I seem to have accidentally received an extra dime in my change" kind of people. (It's a religious thing. Don't ask.)

This parcel is about 5.5 acres, flattish ground on the ridgeline, due South and Southwest of the house and at a slightly higher elevation. Thickly-wooded, thin trees, seems to have been logged recently, dense undergrowth. When I visited in late-spring the entry part of this parcel looked like meadow and had some sort of allium growing everywhere. Now it looks more like savannah, and the undergrowth is too thick to allow for casual exploration.

I'll have maps and sketches coming soon, after we're all moved in.

This parcel is where I plan on putting a good amount of our zones 2 and 3, and probably some zone 4 as well. There's a similar flattish meadow/savannah area at the foot of the hill on the Eastern side, where the cliff face is only 10-15 ft above the stream bed. The realtor mentioned that this would probably be a good spot for an orchard. I was able to venture a little deeper into this part, following the path laid by a truck or ATV.
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The cliff on the downstream side, close to where it exits the property.
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Path through the woods. Electric company easement. This area has lots of edge potential. The allium was also sprouting down along here in the Spring.
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The savannah at the bottom of the hill. Looking in from the road.
 
Shalom Eigenheimer
Posts: 20
Location: Down the road and around the bend, Southern Ohio, Zone 6a/6b
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I did my first bit of heavy yardwork yesterday. Landscaping maintenance. The lawn was mowed while we were waiting to close, but none of the other yardwork was attended to.

The seller put quite a bit of effort into designing the landscaping around the house, and for the most part they did an excellent job. In the island of the circular drive in front of the house there is a wisteria. When we first visited in the spring it was smaller, gorgeous in full bloom, and the bumblebees were feasting; but over the course of the summer it has overtaken an entire quadrant of the island, begun climbing into the gutter, and it appears as though wasps have moved in and muscled out the bumblebees.

I've seen a post on here about what happens when wisteria goes unattended. It's terrible. Some climbers have a hormone signaling system or something that keeps the plant from trying to climb itself, but not wisteria. Oh no, these branches double and triple back on themselves, tangle with their neighbors, and spread out over everything; oh yeah and they send out runners by the dozen.

We don't have any tools to speak of yet. All I really had to work with was a pair of garden shears and a machete, both dull. I was loaned a file along with them; I kinda know how to sharpen a machete but don't really know how to swing it. I don't think I know how to sharpen the shears with a file, but I tried and maybe it helped?? I was able to clear enough to be out of the movers' way, and I piled the trimmings around the base for now.

On my next pass I intend to trim the branches back even further, climb a ladder to get rid of the higher branches, clip the runners, and girdle the trunks. I'll dry it out on the concrete pad outside the garage and use it to start the compost pile. Next Spring I can plant other things to climb the trellis, and keep a sharp eye out for new shoots. ...and there could be a profit potential to the returning shoots in the form of nursery plants for the market. I'l be sure to package them with a clear warning about the dangers of unattended wisteria.

Okay enough blabbing. Picture time. South (front) of the house. Traffic island. Early afternoon.
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Before beginning work. Notice the runners struggling to put down roots in the packed gravel, to some success in the foreground.
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This little bugger was trying to put down roots in the awning.
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The trellis. A simple two posts and a lintel. And a tangle of intertwisted branches.
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Here's another climber that I'll be fighting. My old nemesis the glory of the morning.
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All in a day's work.
 
Larry Bock
Posts: 133
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Hello and welcome. I looks to me like you have found a gem of a property. I'd be happy with it, that is for sure. Kinda weird how sometimes, after some waiting things just fall into place.  I lurked here as well for months, just reading old posts.  One thing is for sure, this forum is a great place to pick up a lot of knowledge.
I had no idea that there were other folks in the world that have chosen this path.  I just PMd someone and mention the fact that, at one time? I actually questioned my dreams?   I stumbled across this sit researching RSMH ,,,,, and stayed
Wonderful piece of property.    Larry
 
Mark Tudor
Posts: 68
Location: SoCal USA
7
bike cat dog tiny house trees
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Awesome property, and bonus acres to boot! I grew up in Cincy, so it's fun seeing others in the area making this work. It seems a bunch of folks have migrated to suburbs in the area, so I'm guessing you are little north like Middletown, or east of Milford? I have lots of memories of fishing as a kid out at Stonelick Lake to the east.
 
Scott Foster
Posts: 57
Location: 6a
2
forest garden hugelkultur woodworking
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Wow, this place is great!  Congrats on finally getting your dream property!
 
Shalom Eigenheimer
Posts: 20
Location: Down the road and around the bend, Southern Ohio, Zone 6a/6b
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Thyri Gullinvargr wrote:Shalom Eigenheimer,
Your post was moved to a new topic.
(This informational message will self destruct in two days)
I split off the plant identification questions into the plant forum. Hope that's ok.


In case anyone after two days wants to know where the rest of the pics are.
 
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