Travis Schulert

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since Aug 23, 2013
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dog fish food preservation forest garden hunting tiny house
South Central Michigan Zone 6
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Recent posts by Travis Schulert

*Below there are links to my interview with Diego Footer from Permaculture Voices, as well as our WEBSITE, and links to all of our social media pages so you can see in depth what we have had going on! Come follow along, add me on Facebook to see day to day operations around the homestead.*

Alright so it has been a crazy busy year! HOLY S&%t! 1 year ago this week, we were putting an offer on the land we are now farming. We started the moving of the farms in late September, and we still have things we left behind that we would like to still get here, like our tiny home for starters...

We put in a 1/4 acre No-Till market garden, which has been producing tables of produce since the 22nd of May. We made it to the first week of market this spring, with having nothing but 2' tall grass and a mat of roots in late March when the grounds thawed. We took it in one season and made it the best garden I have ever had, with big thanks to landscape fabric and fully automated drip irrigation. I worked my ass off over the winter to save the money to invest a few grand into the garden. The lack of weeds and the extra time gained from not having to water has allowed my wife and I to produce twice as much food as we ever have, on less actual work. We have outgrown our niche market at our 1 farmers market, and are now looking at all possibilities to sell our extra produce around town.

It is a very bright beacon of hope, that this farming thing could really work out. Its just until the farm is producing enough to live off, I need to continue running my construction company. I cant be on the farm full time until then.

I have planted about 25 fruit trees that I ordered from Greg and Susan Burns of Natures Image Farm. And I plan on planting several hundred trees this fall and next spring.

I don't plan on doing too much earth works at this point, as the land features really don't call for it, so I am not going to waste money on it.

Our property is on the edge of a very fertile floodplain, with a river on the back edge. I plan on doing fish ponds as well as polyculture food forest throughout the rest of the 10 acres that we are not doing the market garden on. Though I have been catching good size bass, blue gill, perch and bowfin every time I have fished in the river this summer. So if that keeps up I may just not even bother with fish ponds and op instead for just using the floodplain to grow fruit and nut crops for storage and market.

The goal is to be working from home and starting our family by 2022. I will be 33... But better late than never, and for us its better to raise our kids on farm than it is for me to have to go to work every single day. But we have a ton of work to do in the meantime, lots of plantings, a couple swales, we have to have a natural swimming pool really soon, and possibly a levy in the future.

Please stay tuned in and follow along with our story, its turning into a pretty exciting, fulfilling ride, and we want to invite you all to come along.

Please listen to my interview on The Permaculture Voices Podcast with Diego Footer to hear our story in my words You Can Listen HERE

One way to help us out is to head over to the website and sign up for our newsletter, I would greatly appreciate it! Visit The Website Here

Follow us on social media, and let me know what kind of content you want to see! That alone would help us out exponentially. all of our social media links are in my signature below.

1 year ago

Scott Reid wrote:This has been an awesome read.

I am in a similar situation with little in the way of resources/cash and with debt I am trying to get rid of.
Gives me hope that my plans at least have a chance of working.  

In the area I live in there is a ton of land available.
Some of it easily attainable (5-10 acre lots @$250 down/$250 month) but you are paying a premium per acre (nearly $10k/acre).
There are other plots of varying size that come up for sale at better prices but not always a owner financed situation which is what we need.

My goal, for whatever land we buy, will be to have it paid off within a 5-6 year period.
So still looking, praying and hoping.

Keep it up man, you got a good plan.

We have since had an issue with the local authorities on our old property,last summer we basically had to pack up and go. It was perfect timing because we literally found the perfect property for the price. We moved in in October, and have been fixing it up all winter, and now have the garden coming along and seeds starting in the basement. We have several feet of topsoil with over 5% organic matter without having added any compost yet. We are truly grateful and feel the hard work has begun to pay off. A lot of this is possible by not having any debt, we didn't go to college, instead I learned a trade. I actually only have a 9th grade education on paper, I was a drop out because I felt like school was just a prison forcing me to become a worker ant. I am no fucking ant. So this high school drop out got ahead of the game by working my ass off and learning as much as I could about life. Utilized the internet, libraries, and plenty of books. Offered to go work on other's farms for free for a day just to try and pick up some techniques.

You are on a good path, just keep up the hard work. I find myself being bogged down by laziness at times, but burnout happens in this business. Just gotta get over the hump. Thanks for the inspiring words.
2 years ago
Got an email from Geoff. I'm signed up! Whose coming with me?
Couple more for design purposes.
2 years ago
Figured I'd add a couple more pics.
2 years ago

Steve Taylor wrote:

Travis Schultz wrote:

Peter, I know where your coming from as I've had animals on leased farm land in the past. And for me personally it's not worth it at the current time, please let me explain why.

through the life of the animal I am inevitably working, doing chores, to some extent, to keep it happy and alive.

I can help the neighbor who has chickens by buying her eggs, and the other neighbor who has grass fed beef by buying his beef, also there is raw milk near me that I can turn into all the wonderful dairy products, all while building community and supporting my neighbors.

Now for the bulk of my meat, is venison and squirrel. They raise themselves without fencing, are not always as dependant as livestock, but literally cost me nothing.

Hey Travis, I'm in agreement in you here.  It's my opinion everyone starting out should really think through all aspects of animal ownership.  They can really set you back from establishing a profitable farm in the beginning.  Which is hard enough without heart break and financial losses associated with animal loss or injury.

Thanks for sharing Travis and best of luck to you in Michigan. It's a beautiful state and dispute being rivals from Ohio we are state neighbors. Glad to see practical permaculture start ups relatively close by.

Maybe we can swap perienniels in the future, or seeds if your interested.  I will be starting up a plant and seed exchange In the Akron Area this year.

Sounds good Steve, thanks. And you're spot on about the loss that can accompany early animal production, I experienced it myself with chickens, it sucks...  

And fyi, I could care less what our college football teams do, so you being from Ohio means nothing lol, glad to be in your neighborhood.
2 years ago

Me Remington wrote:Congratulations!  This is an interesting book that I found at my public library:

The book details out how to create a farm for profit (well, a really small profit).  It is written by a former Wall St. broker, now full time farmer.

I agree with you that you should wait a year before making large plant investments.  We've been on our land for four years and have barely planted any long term items.  Thank goodness we waited.  Each year has brought a new set of lessons in how this land works and the multiple facets of our climate (we live in Maine).  This summer will mark the first major investment into zone two of our 5 acres.  

We also had to wait because we have to spend a lot of cash in deer deterrents.  I've lost 80 percent of my garden every year to deer.  This may be an issue for you too.  It is a shame to plant such nice, native trees only to have them chewed to the root by deer.

Anyway, congratulations on taking the first step!

Yeah I don't know how much area your trying to cover, but electric fencing is really economical if you don't live in a really dry place.

I use 12' 4x4 posts for my corners, and then use 8' T posts for in between. The only wire that's above the 8't post is the top wire. And using poly wire you can span much greater distances with less tension. The fencing covers a 1/4 acre at a time, but could be moved every couple years after trees have better established themselves.  Use a strip of foil on the lower wires when you first install it, and smear peanut butter, molasses, honey, etc on the foil. Deer get one good zap trying to lick the foil and don't come back to test it again for awhile.

Re do the foil thing in a couple areas (mainly the places the deer are exiting cover to feed on your trees or garden), re do it monthly or bi monthly. I have had almost no deer damage with that setup in 3 years, and have a huge herd in my area.

Of course this was the place I just moved from, I don't have anything set up at the new house but you can bet that's how I'm doing it come spring.
2 years ago
Am I able to sign up still for the course?? If so please show me where. Geoff has nothing that I can tell about the pdc.

Thank you.