leila hamaya

pollinator
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since Jun 30, 2012
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building fiber arts forest garden medical herbs trees foraging
northern northern california
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Recent posts by leila hamaya

H. Weaver wrote:Hi Leila - could you give some more details on how you manage on so little - I would really like to learn. Looking for the same freedom.

leila hamaya wrote:budgeting for the ideal life, or budgeting for a good enough life are different things for sure.

so i suppose it's a matter of how much you are willing to do without, the more you simplify your needs and wants, the easier it is to have a lot more freedom, in a way it is the not spending much money on things which BUYS you freedom of not having to work as a wage slave.

I suppose i should be embarrassed to admit that 12,000 a year sounds like a lot of money to me, and is 300-400% of what i generally make in a year.

I would not suggest my path to anyone else though, it is probably not for the faint of heart !

I think it is just because i am such an odd duck i can feel this is enough to get by on, and valuing as i do my free time, and also my passion for making art and craftwork, that keeps me going.
i suppose it would be strange to most, but regardless of this, i feel quite blessed.



well a little late in answering this question and maybe this is worth getting into and really laying it all out there. the thing is i wouldnt want to gloss over things...but it is sort of the nature of distant types of communication like in social media and here - people do not generally get into the tuff stuff and all the times everything sucks.

that said - i took many leaps of faith and fell FLAT ON MY FACE !!! and did that at least a dozen times. !!!
and of course proving everyone right when they said you cant just run off to the woods and just live on miracles!
so not to say o, this is a snap, it isnt easy. ...and as i said my lifestyle is not something i would recommend to anyone. i do realize that what seems worth it to me, what the tradeoffs i made- would not be that way for most...well for most anyone who has grown up being acclimated to living in the "first world".

i suppose some of the harder things are how everyone thinks youre totally wacky and a loser.. not playing the game at all cause you know its fixed (or whatever other reasons)... is different from just flat out losing it...ah idk. so yeah i guess, you have to have a thick skin and/or truly not give a f**k what people think, cause not only will they think it, but they feel like they should tell you! repeatedly! about how...what you say is impossible, will suck, and probably for them...it would be unbearable...some of it...like just not going anywhere ever...i mean i can hole up for a month or 2 and still keep myself quite content...just gardening, goofing off...going for long walks and no...shopping/town/entertainment (easier now that the internet is such a thing =)

i made myself push myself out there, and in small bits at first...getting myself more and more weaned off all society's normal offerings - grocery store food, junk foods, entertainment, and buying things that arent absolutely essential ...going further and further out into the woods for longer and longer periods of time and picking up skills, foraging, gardening, food preservation, building, etc...and most of it getting acclimated to doing without.

as for specifics - my last two long term living situations have been work trade, and 50 - 100 hours a month depending on time of year... for a humble living space...and both places i had many landmates, sort of community ish, but with more privacy and space.

one was some 18' x 22' ? ish...the last one was some 12 x14 maybe...first one off grid for 5 years...and then moving into my last situation for 4 years - was back on the grid, which i will shamelessly say i was quite happy to be back on the grid and get back to being able to use all those things that were out for so long...even simple things like power tools, and having a fridge...and having missed the whole ten years previously when everyone was online (i didnt have a computer or internet when everyone was already taking all that for granted...)

and into the best things like being able to watch a lot of movies and spend time online without having anything bleep at me, and even being able to get and use a toaster oven, a blender, and a coffee grinder. yes ...i had gotten used to the whole off grid deal by then...to me that was luxury, and especially having moved from being off grid for 5 years...the toaster over, hot water on tap actually plumbed into a structure (!) toilets that flush and you never having to deal with it again......and many other things...did feel luxurious.

previous to these 2 living situations i was way way way out in the woods in a very remote commune, also off grid, and hours and hours of driving to even a store...so being off grid but within a ten minute drive to regular ish small town...felt like that was already a huge conveinance...a big step up in being easier to deal with...

i barely drove my beater truck once a month or so for stocking up on propane, food, and town not being far away in that first situation, and living close enough to town on my last place to walk to the grocery store and back. full disclosure i did and do get food stamps, but even with that AND a huge garden, the end of the month would be tight on food. health care also through the state, but it's...well thats a whole deal...even with the health insurance...just trying to actually find a doctor or worse a dentist that takes the crappo insurance...i mean its not very good health insurance, as you may well know. long waits for appointments if you can even get in somewhere, going to clinics and the like.

so ok yeah thats food, health care and housing, although none of it ideal, but not paying anything for that...outside of 50 - 100 hours of work...doing landscaping growing food and building and maintaining things...which i do enjoy.

was off the grid in first work trade, so no utitlity bills, although i put together a small solar set up...found some "broken" solar panels that i used the friend barter system to get my genuis friend to "fix" for me (wasnt hard he said!) bought another small panel for super cheap, and got together 8 batteries...all gotten as salvage batteries...ones people trade in for 5 $...take my little electricity voltage meter tool dealio...see which ones are holding a charge and get all those for 5 $ each...then buy/salvage all the connector dealios and put that together for about 500$
in my last situation my electricity use (not very much anyway) was paid for by my "employers" /the landowners as part of my work trade. and in that situation i had NO HEAT, only an electric blanket...and lots of sweaters ...

so now what i got is basics set up... a lot of free time, a dozen craft skills and however i can find to market and sell those crafts...making a few thousand dollars a year for...well anything else...get all clothes through thrift shops or free...a few vices, bottles of wine... or coffee out now and again, pizza and movie night...every so often..some travel expenses...and to buy plants and seeds =)
1 week ago
and totally, as you age, especially for women, the tendancy is to plump up.

you re body actually thinks it is doing you a favor! in some ways it is...for women in their 40's and 50's the body stores estrogen and other things in the fat...

plus theres the want to do less and less as you age, more sitting... which as above  - exercise and activity are the key to keeping slim.
2 weeks ago
i would say there were a lot of pleasantly plump people throughout all of our past, maybe not as much "obese", especially by modern standards...
which i think its distorted based on modern memes of skinny women...being some sort of "norm" - which is NOT actually the norm at all!

BUT the main reason i think there were'nt too many obese people was because of the extreme amounts of activity and physical labor they were doing. because no matter how well you eat if youre not active it's very difficult to lose weight.
2 weeks ago
another really simple tip that has helped me a lot is to do cuttings in low light/out of direct sunlight, or at least dappled shade.
once they take root they are ready for real light or sunlight, but while convincing them to root out it works way better for me putting them in dark spaces, with only some light, or a low level electric light...but given them lots of shade or darkness at first.
yeah i agree with the other posters here, the best best use of the bigger chunkier stuff like branches and old logs is in putting it UNDER your soil, as in a type of hugleculture beds....

you can make some quick new gardens that are raised up higher by putting down thick layers of cardboard on the bottom (or not as you see fit but i like it for starting off a new bed right over lawn and keeping grass and weeds down), then piling up all your logs and branches and leaves...then putting a foot or 3 of "soil" on top- whether for bags of stuff you can purchase or soil dug from your own land...and burying all that wood underneath your soil....

but no matter how you use it its...all good..if you can work around the bigger stuff placed around your garden then putting it on top will be good too.

the cool thing about having trees right inside your gardens it that they natural mulch your garden...every year as they shed leaves and branches naturally...the soil underneath is enriched by the mulching...and you dont have to do the work of moving the wheelbarrow all around..
plums are super easy, almost as easy as fig...actually all Prunus species (peach, cherry, apricot others) can be  cloned with cuttings.

of the hundreds of blueberries i have tried i didnt get that many, but it can be done =), just trickier.

have had way better luck with ground layering many perennial edibles... bushes and canes in particular...and definitely all the vines, like grape and passionflowers...thats the easiest way to do those - ground layering them.


Christine Le page wrote:I believe that permaculture will soon become very acceptable in the next decade, between the popularity of the survivalist preppers out there and people like myself 30 to 40 year olds who are quite disillusioned with work culture/jobs availablity/low wage standards will be turning other methods more and more just to make ends meet.

Many of the cooks that work with my man do the best they can with their back yards. One lives in a trailer but has a raised beds squished into his insanely tiny plot. The head chief has made his bark yard into a garden and uses the restaurants rooftop for a herb garden. One of the dishwashers keeps pestering my man for some of my little Rhode Island Reds' eggs and would like to be gifted a chicken for his own fresh eggs.



agree ^^^ this is THE WAY of the future. whether we call it permaculture, or holistic systems thinking, or EVOLVE OR DIE.

also agree do what you can with what you have. we all bring a little to the table but together we have a lot. Stone Soup is also the way of the future.
in my experience, and rather unscientific method, or at least scatterbrained method, of observing...
the fruit coming from plants grown from seed tend to be very similar to the mother.

course i havent been growing apples. i am talking about peaches, plums, etc...

apples are a lot more gentically diverse to begin with...so possibly they could be most similar to the grandparents...or far back ancestors, depending on if they are F2 or F3 or whatever else...hybrids...
8 months ago
ha, pretty good thread about "mountain money" my punny nickname for TP.

yes, one of the traditional plants for this purpose is Hollyhock, actually Hollyhocks were also used as a sign for the outhouse...being so tall, always in flower, and noticeable in big bunches ...they were known to point guests to where the "facilities" were, without people having to inquire. grab a few leaves on the way in =)

and yeah mullien is the other big one...

and another thing not yet mentioned is mosses and lichens of different type, the best of which being USNEA - aka - old man's beard.
anti bacterial, antibiotic, and strongly medicinal, this is an alternative to a pad as well.

but i think the most obvious replacement for TP will be rags/water.
i've been on that system for long periods of time living way out in the middle of nowhere, it is very workable, maybe better.
8 months ago
you may know this, but another thing you could do is bury them each year.

either dig a bunch around their root area and then actually pick them up/ push them over...or take the lighter flexible branches and keep bending them to the ground, ground layering them.

people do this growing figs in new england, usually dig up the root ball area, then make trench for the main trunk, and push the whole tree over for the winter.
and then cover the whole thing in soil/straw/leaves/etc.

then they reverse the process in spring, stand it back upright.

i would do similar, but then just keep it buried, and keep burying lower branches...
and make it into a multi branched shrub/hedge eventually...keep bringing it back to the ground each year before winter.

additionally, the whole *plant the tree at same level as ground* rule of green thumb - doesnt apply to fig. you can just keep mounding dirt/mulch on top of them, keep burying the stems, and mound it up.
it doesnt hurt the stems, the just form new roots where you bury them, and this helps the roots get deeper by adding tons of stuff around them each year.

this makes the roots hardier.
8 months ago