Mike Patterson

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since Mar 02, 2013
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building fungi kids cooking trees foraging
Currently building up a 10 acre homestead in northeast Missouri. Put in a pond and some hugel-swales, planted 100's of native trees, and building a roundwood timber frame with trees from our forest. Originally from outside of Cleveland Ohio on Lake Erie, spent many years traveling and working on organic and permaculture farms in Oregon, Hawaii, California, Arizona, Missouri, and Ohio. Was also exposed to different natural building styles; cob, strawbale, quecha, post + beam, bamboo-y stuff. My partner, Julia, learned timber framing and other skills at yestermorrow in Vermont, and also spent many years doing natural building in Thailand. We now have a 3 year old daughter and infinite homestead projects ahead...
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Recent posts by Mike Patterson

Frugal shaving....
1 day ago
Shouldn't hunting be separate? When I think of or hear the word foraging I'm not picturing hunting animals. It seems like one could be a very proficient hunter with little plant foraging skills and vice versa.

1 day ago

What sort of stuff do you do at your place? Do you do any gardening, livestock, orchard/food forest?

Well there are a number of different "homesteads" I guess you could call them and each one is implementing some sort of permaculture design. So yes, pretty much everyone has at least one annual garden. 100s if not 1000s of trees have been planted, some of which you could call an orchard of cultivar varieties, others in more of a food forest/polyculture setting, and lots of native species planted all over the place. A few of us keep chickens/ducks and often trade off chore duties if needed. We've raised weaner hogs in the past and would be open to doing that again. One community member has a dairy cow with two calves so there's always plenty of milk. There have been goats around in the past but none at the moment. There is a team of draft horses on the land that a few people work with. We're not quite to where we are farming with them, but they're certainly useful for mowing and hauling stuff around. Some stocked ponds were already here and a couple more have been added. There is a good mix of open pasture/prairie land and forest with very little tillable acreage.

Personally at our leasehold we have 2 large gardens, one hugel-swale food forest with around 15-20 cultivars, one decent sized pond with young fish stocked and aquatic plantings, plenty of wild fruit and nut trees and shrubs, mushroom cultivation, and random things planted all around. We also make syrup from black walnut and silver maple trees. And endless building projects everywhere. Essentially a little bit of everything.

What about at your farm?

1 week ago
Hi James, thanks for the interesting conversation. Just for a quick summary... I'm an '86er, and I moved onto this raw land in 2012 when I was 25. When I was 20 I dropped out of college after a year and a half (before I could accumulate any debt) and began wwoofing and travelling to different farms and communities. It didn't take long before I knew I wanted that sort of lifestyle, so I started looking for places to settle. For a variety of reasons I ended up in rural NE Missouri. The land prices and taxes are quite affordable and there are few laws preventing one from pursing an off-grid DIY path. But really the bigger reason was the other people in the area who shared similar interests and were committed to creating community. Even if I found cheaper land that was "better" or something somewhere else, I wouldn't be interested in doing what I'm doing without the context or support of an extended community. I met my partner within the context of this community, and we were able to acquire our land without any savings because of connections made through this community. We've had to work extremely hard in order to build what we want here, and for many years that meant spending up to half the year in the city working to save up money for our homestead. Since we were willing to live in a tent for extended periods of time and weren't in a huge rush to get infrastructure built, we were able to slowly acquire materials and build things as we could afford. Some of it could be credited to good luck or being in the right place at the right time, but it did not require having savings or inheritance or other things like that. (If you're interested in what we've built here, I documented most of the first few years in this thread)

We, as well as all our friends and neighbors, are still constantly trying to figure out how to pursue our dreams of community and homesteading and all this permie jazz while still making ends meet and not have to work in town full time. Everyone is for the most part within the millennial window. One thing I do notice in these circles is that there tends to be a thread of varying degrees of Luddite-ness in the people who choose this lifestyle. What that looks like is few people I know who are doing what I'm doing participate much in social media, including forums such as this. I'm not saying that's good or bad, but since that's a primary way most people connect and network these days, it does seem to make it harder to find each other. Even in my own community I'm not sure if anyone would know about permies.com if it wasn't for me talking about it, and even then I don't think any of them ever visit here. Going further, there even seems to be active judgement of many modern technologies including all types of screens and internet etc. I don't necessarily agree or disagree with any of those opinions, but it does seems to present another hurdle in responsibly utilizing those resources and technologies to build community and all that.

That being said, I don't know anyone who I grew up with, went to high school with, or went to college with who are doing anything remotely like what I'm doing.

Also if anyone is interested... we are in the final stages of going public with our Community Land Trust. It will be called Bear Creek CLT and hopefully within the next couple weeks we'll have a basic website with pictures and descriptions of who we are, what we're doing, and available openings for future leaseholds. I'll be making a larger post about it soon with more info somewhere in the community forums.

1 week ago
Thanks Alicia. After a couple more soaks I've called it good. I tried to roast them in the oven but it might not have been hot enough. They're dry though, and I'll probably just grind into flour with my blender.

3 months ago
Hi everyone.. just a quick question and I apologize if this has been covered already.

When you're hot leaching, how long do you tend to let each round of water boil or simmer or whatever before transferring to the next batch of clean water? Also, how clear do you want the water in order to know it's done? I'm currently trying to leach my first small batch at the moment. They are white oak acorns, probably a quercus alba with maybe some bur oak genetics, but pretty good sized acorns. I didn't really chop or grind them up before leaching so some are still whole or at least split in half while some got more crunched up during the shell cracking. I've done at least 7-8 water changes already and its still pretty dark every time and the meal still seems kinda astringent. I'm happy to keep going but if it always takes this long I might just try cold leaching instead.

Sorry for no pictures, but if that would be helpful I'd be happy to take some.

3 months ago
I really appreciate all the responses, and I'll take the time later to give a longer reply.

Just quickly... the pond we had dug back in 2012 was all done with a good sized dozer by a local operator and it took him 18.5 hours and cost us around $2800, including a frost free hydrant under the dam wall. The pond is just under 1/2 acre.

I believe our neighbor's pond will be larger.. maybe closer to 1 acre? And it has quite a bit more trees that would need to be removed. They are getting quotes from $6-12,000. I'm 99% that renting a dozer is indeed an option around here, we're in rural NE Missouri... pretty much anything goes around here.

Also, it is indeed heavy clay soil, so any sized hole quickly becomes a pond with no added inputs or effort.

Thanks again everyone!
8 months ago
Hi everyone,
My neighbors are getting quotes for a pond that seem kinda outrageous, especially compared to what we paid for our pond about 6 years ago. This got us thinking why don't we just rent, or possibly even purchase our own bulldozer and figure it out?

Does anyone have experience operating dozers or have any feedback or ideas about this?

8 months ago
Maybe a variety of waterleaf?
1 year ago