Kay Barry

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since Aug 21, 2012
Pendleton County, WV. Zone 6A
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Recent posts by Kay Barry

Hi Eric! I would suggest you check out wild, wonderful clean and pristine Pendleton County, WV. It's just over the VA line from Harrisonburg VA - home of James Madison University and the land is beautiful and inexpensive. Hubby and I are building a permaculture learning center/homestead there too, so we would love to have like-minded neighbors nearby! We are surrounded by National Forests and there is no coal or natural gas in the county. We have a growing zone of about 5B on the top of our 2,000' ridge - and the mountains are similar to those in Galacia and Asturias, Spain!

Here is a recent news story about Pendleton:

http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/wireStory/bucolic-west-virginia-county-markets-remoteness-30440722

Hope to see you in our little part of heaven!
Buen Camino!
Karen
3 years ago
Because I haven't seen it discussed on this forum yet, just wanted to let anyone who might be in or near the Blue Ridge biozone of the Eastern US - there is a thriving and valuable permaculture forum based in Central Virginia called the Blue Ridge Permaculture Network. They send out fairly regular emails with local events in and around the Virginia region - I found my PDC class through them!

Check it out if you're in our neck of the woods:

http://www.blueridgepermaculturenetwork.blogspot.com/

Cheers!
Kay
6 years ago
Connor - let me caveat my response with the disclaimer: I am no expert and won't be attending my PDC until March, but I have a similar situation to yours on our land: lots of trees, difficult access, and a desire for some open grazing space.

That being said, we are looking at hiring some equipment to clear trees/brush and stumps out of the prime level areas too. I have also considered the issues you face about soil compaction whether this is the "right" approach from a sustainability point of view.

Currently, I think hiring equipment for the initial scrape and hugelkulture bed digging is the right one. I expect that I will spend the next several years trying to undo the compaction from the heavy equipment through the addition of deep digging, addition of amendments, and allowing a few forage animals their run of the land to add their own fertilizer and keep down the pioneer brush species.

IF, after my PDC training in March, I realize that this is completely the wrong way to go, I will come back and tell you! I'll be curious to hear what our instructor recommends.

Cheers!
Kay
6 years ago
Chris - My husband and I were looking for almost the exact same thing, and found it just over the border in West Virginia. The land is significantly cheaper and covenant-free compared to the Old Dominion. Depending on where you look, it is clean, clean clean too. We found our dream 30 acres in Pendleton County and are now working to set up our own retirement homestead and educational facility to teach classes in alternative energy, gardening, natural building, beekeeping, etc. Would love to have like-minded semi-nearby neighbors! Good luck in your quest.

Cheers,
Kay
6 years ago
I'm very interested in the answer to these questions too!

Kay
6 years ago
Thank you so much for mentioning persimmons! I am drawing up my list of things that should be considered for our food forest, and that makes a wonderful addition. I love your description, especially about the drought-tolerance qualities. How many years did it take until they bore fruit?

Kay

6 years ago
Just discovered this nice little guide to income generating forest products in my search for information about starting our Appalahian sustainable homestead, and thought some of you might find some value. Looking forward to starting my own shitake, ginseng, elderberry and paw-paw groves.

http://asdevelop.org/programs/non-timber-forest-products/

Cheers!
Kay
6 years ago
Hi Mike! My husband and I just recently found a gorgeous property on which to build our ideal permaculture homestead and we have been exploring the options available for building an energy efficient and cozy home in which to spend our retirement. We just became aware of your building philosophies within the past week or so and have had some excited conversations about it.

I did want to relay a funny story about the videoclips on your website though.

At my office job, I do not have sound on my computer, so when I clicked the link to the youtube clip of you were giving a tour of your abandoned earth-integrated greenhouse, I did not realize that I was looking at a non-used gardening building, I thought I was seeing the inside of your underground HOME. I hope you can appreciate that it was not a good way to convince a lady to sign-on to the idea of using your methods to build a pretty little retirement cottage. It was with this misconception I scowled at my husband as he rhapsodized about the "Ridge House" you are building - all the while I was envisioning the old abandoned greenhouse. I did not understand his excitement.

Yesterday I rewatched the video clips on your website, and the greenhouse tour was the first one I watched. Now that I understand it was not your residence, I am absolutely delighted with the concept. The video of your original $50 home was inspiring too, but yes: now that I have seen what is possible with the Ridge House, I am MORE than open to the concept of making our own earth integrated home and would love to learn more.

As I am new to this field of building, I am certain most of the questions have been asked before, but I am curious about the amount of effort and specialized equipment that is necessary to build a Ridge Home. The property we are considering has steep hills leading up to the building site and I wonder if large earth moving machines would be able to make the ascent.

Thank you for your good work Mike.
Kay
6 years ago