Athena Parker

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since Jan 11, 2013
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Recent posts by Athena Parker

Hello! Last year we raised several khatahdin sheep and some poultry and are looking to expand this year. We have a great housing system for our chickens and guinea hens in our orchard and are building a fenced field area with several paddocks for livestock. We are going to have to build a barn if we get more livestock---currently we are thinking about getting a few sheep, a few goats, and a few guinea hogs. My question is whether you all know of specific breeds of livestock that do better living together in a barn? We are hoping to build one structure for them all and would like to have animals that can get along. We are open to having separate pens in the barn but would want all the animals in the same grazing area. We would also like animals that tend to be pretty good foragers!

Just for your reference we are located in Central Virginia.

Thanks for feedback in advance,
4 years ago
Did you ever figure something out? I've been thinking about the same thing!
5 years ago
Both seem like great options---I do like bacon..

Any thoughts/plans for using the displaced soil for an earthen greenhouse?
5 years ago
Hello! I have a 5 acre property in Virginia and am hoping to dig a pond in the next year or so-- we're planning a 1/8-1/4 acre pond. I'd like to avoid using a liner and would like to be able to raise fish in this pond. I've been reading some about pig seals, gleying, and such and there seems to be a lot of diverse opinions on what will work. What would you all suggest for a completely new pond? My current thought is a bentonite floor but am wondering if aquatic plants will be able to grow? Sorry if these are silly questions---I'm learning

Oh--I'm also considering using the earth from the pond digging to build an earth sheltered green house. Let me know if anyone has experience with this!
5 years ago
I appreciate it! We are hoping to be making an offer in the next few weeks. I do realize this is premature--I have a handle on a lot of home repair sort of stuff and am trying to think through the things I don't know much about before making our decision. Of course, things will not work out the way I expect but I'm sort of doing my due diligence if you will! Once we are in and have more information I will absolutely be asking
5 years ago
Sorry for the delay on replying! It is great to hear from others with similar ideas and even some in good ole Virginia. I am currently looking at an old (1800s old) farm house that is about 800 sqft. It is for sale for quite a good deal and it may be the direction we go as there is a great dirt basement, small living space, original wood beams etc. If its been standing for the past 150+ years I'm thinking its built to last. Not everything is up to code but the local ordinances grandfather in older houses which would solve some issues.

We are still considering natural building, but as said before, work/children/families/growing food limits my ability to attend surprisingly pricy workshops! Frieda and Aaron---keep in touch and let me know how things are going! We would also be interested in following your journeys. How are things going for you all?
5 years ago
I'm considering a old Virginia farmhouse from the late 1800s. It has a partial dirt basement with sump pump. No concrete. I would like to keep it dirt and use it as a root cellar, that said I would also like to make any improvements that would help make it a little less scary looking and ,more importantly, critter proof.

I'm thinking a hardware cloth floor covering with a layer of gravel and whitewashed walls?
5 years ago
Thanks for both of your input. I would prefer to do something like straw bale or an earthship, but I have spoken with the building department and I really don't think that I will be able to pass their codes. I am looking at more main stream, greenish options that are in my price range to be more energy efficient.

Thanks again!
5 years ago
I stumbled upon this building sysyem and am considering it. Any thoughts?

http://www.thermobuilt.com/Compare_to_SIPs.html
5 years ago
Thanks for the advise! I haven't look into building codes in several years as I've been abroad. My husband and I were in the Peace Corps in a 400 sq.ft. home for 2.5 years and loved it. We now have a infant (the third person--I guess 2.5 people might be more accurate) and think that the extra 200 ft should be enough for now though we are considering going closer to 800.

I appreciate your advise with insulation and the link to the cooling site--that was my next big thing to look into! We will be investing in quality supplies and doing most of the building ourselves.

5 years ago