Milja Hahto

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since Jul 23, 2014
A newbie in permaculture. Renovating an 60-70's house and trying to create a garden very limited resources and full-time job. Starting point: poor ground, some birches, grassa and weeds, lots of clay and wind. Around 4500m2 / 1 acre in total, 2 adults.
Finland, northern Satakunta
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Recent posts by Milja Hahto

Haven't tried it personally, but I know it was done in the past. When freezing, the air here is usually really dry, so the laundry dries without problems, although 1 day might not be enough. Take into account that freezing makes the wet laundry fragile. I have heard that you should therefore let it hang until dry.

In our climate the dry winter air makes the low air humidity problem inside - even if it was 100% air humidity outside, when you heat it from 0 degrees to a normal 21 degrees, the relative humidity drops to very low. Drying clothes helps to keep the humidity on a healthier level, instead of using a humidifier.
2 years ago
I used soap nuts for some years (store bought), but finally stopped as I noticed for example sheets accumulating a funny smell. In addition even the tiniest stains seemed to need a special treatment. When you have a batch of medium-to-heavily stained laundry, I recommend something else. For wool and other fine stuff it should be ok.
2 years ago
One simple reason for limiting the mortgage: the banks here will only give you a mortgage that you WILL pay off in a certain time. In practise a big mortgage should be paid by the time you retire, or at least nearly so. My hubby is around 50, so we could not make it 20 years as I had wished for - it is 15 years.

I know in Sweden you are allowed to get a mortgage with extremely long time spans, even so that it exceeds your life expectancy, but not here.
2 years ago
When I look at the ideas for residual income streams, think of my skills, and then energy levels, it would take quite some time before I got the residual running. Unless I get a fortune to invest, but probably even some 10 000 € would be better spent on paying a part of our mortgage, making monthly expenses smaller.
2 years ago
Frankly, I am envious for all those of you who worry more about the property tax than mortgage. We have mortgage to pay for more than a decade still with our present income level, and lots of renovation to make, and we could never pay without me having a day-time job. This property is designed for a car repair shop by my in-laws (not inherited, but bought from them) and it will give my hubby all the work his health allows, but I need a job elsewhere to make it. With my health, an office job. I can have weeks in row when I am not able to do physical work - when carrying groceries upstairs is a strain, and vacuum cleaning is too exhausting - but I can usually do my job even then. Even with both at the moment working outside home, we still need to live frugally, so the biggest expense of working for money is time and energy. A high price of both, but we can't pay our bills otherwise.
2 years ago
Oh dear, I definitely like this topic too. Could even say I need it.

For various times I have tried to design a better health. Found some ways that worked, like doing yoga and dancing, but both of those became difficult after moving here (as I feel I need an instructor in yoga as beginner). I have also tried a few diets, but fallen off the seemingly good habit (at least I felt better) I had for a short time. And then I have had to search for ways for better mental health.

One of the issues is how to arrange your life so that there is enough time for everything necessary and your personal energy levels are not consumed too much, that you don't run out of spoons too fast". (I assume you have come across the spoons story circulating in the net.) If you happen to have less spoons per day than an average person, it can easily be the biggest issue of them all.

For example, I cannot trust to be able to run our homestead even 50% self-sufficiently concerning food, not even mentioning how to arrange with all the other needs then. (Especially as I don't have the energy to do the transformation project needed) Therefore I need the outside job, which I am able to do even when my health limits physical work for weeks, and which gives me decent social security benefits when I fall ill. But that has its downsides. Too many spoons are used at work, and nothing I do at work is of any benefit in my life other than money. Well, maybe it also gives me a sense of being useful and accomplishment, but I tend to be a much better worker than I am in taking care of myself. Talk about inherited lutheran/protestant work ethics, although I am athee! Definitely unhealthy. At least, when working = sitting in an office, looking at the screen and papers alternatingly. This is an equation I have not been able to solve. If the job takes 80% of my energy and I cannot integrate it with anything (can't even do the
shopping on the way home)...

And how do you arrange your personal life in a permaculture way, so that it benefits you instead of consuming you - THAT is the big issue.

There are many issues of importance ( this is certainly not an exclusive list):
- diet that suits you (not necessarily the same for everyone!) - benefits
- gentle movement (for me this seems to be bigger issue than tough exercise) - benefits
- amount of rest, and how to wind down sufficiently (any other HSPs around?)
- healthy living quarters, and working place too - above all - not consuming
- not too much stress or stuff to do - how to find synergia, how to eliminate consuming things
- social life - benefits, eliminate consuming things, maybe find synergia?

Oh dear. Writing that list makes me wonder how my spoons don't run out even faster. Maybe time for some serious thinking with pen and paper. Have been done too little of that in the recent years.
2 years ago

Steve Farmer wrote:I like the idea of just letting the weeds grow, have a look at Jesse Grimes's 2nd vid in his first post here Fairly sure a first step is to rip up some or all of that lawn.

(I'm having problems with flash -> no video checked...) If I rip the lawn, the weeds won't grow. We already have an area where this is happening - even weeds barely surviving, definitely not thriving. Nothing to gather from there to the compost.

Need to add some soil first, and that means I need the compost first.
3 years ago

Adriaan van Roosmalen wrote:You could grow your own green manure.

You I would start composting with just the two ingredients I can get now (because, as I said above, we'll get problems with the sawdust if we delay the start), and add the green manure next year?

Adriaan van Roosmalen wrote:When I removed about 30 m^2 gravel from my front garden last autumn, I sowed winter rye and that did quite well. But I am in the Netherlands so our climate is different from yours. I also sowed some patches with crimson clover and that produced a huge mass of organic material.

You say you removed gravel - but what did you have then to grow in? I suppose you added some soil instead? The amount of soil I can afford to buy won't cover a big area, not even as 5cm layer. (The house is taking up most of the budget)
3 years ago

Dan Boone wrote:Milja, my brain is stuck on those leaves that blow away every fall into your neighbor's yard.

Is there any way you can put up the tallest possible fence (or maybe a densely-planted hedge) o catch those leaves and dump them into a windrow at the base that you can rake up and use for mulch?

Alas, not really. The birches extend to the border, even the lightest wind would carry them over any hedge - and the leaves tend to fall during strong winds, as we leave in the middle of fields (which is why our neighbour doesn't care and why we get none from the neighbour on our other side!) But we are also planning to replace the birches with something less high (and less resource hungry).

Dan Boone wrote:The other notion I have is that you could plant a lot of chop-and-drop plants (the one that comes to mind is comfrey, but anything that grows a lot of biomass in your area would work, especially if it has deep roots and doesn't need a lot of high-quality soil to grow in) and collect their greenery to add to your sawdust and manure mix, or to mulch over your mix after planting stuff in it.

If I take the lawn away, there's 0-5cm of soil. Under that, in some places plain sand (where some old buildings were demolished on the 60'-70') and elsewhere plain hard clay (the really hard grey stuff with high clay percentage). Not even weeds grow well there without the addition of some soil first. I could turn the lawn, but then I would need some soil above it to grow in while the lawn composts enough.

And I should start composting the cutter shavings very soon - the sacks are decaying and that will cause problems before the end of summer unless we do something...

(This yard would be a good blanc starting point for someone who likes and has the money to make a garden in the TV-style, fast and bringing in new soil and big plants, but a plain nightmare for anybody with very limited means, with little experience in gardening, and wanting to grow it ecologically.)
3 years ago
I have a yard that is can not yet be called a garden - mostly just lawn, and a few trees (and even the leaves are usually blown to neighbours side by autumn winds). Ie, I get very little to put into a compost, but I am in great need of the end result, as the soil under the lawn isn't very thick. In many places if you dig the grass mat away, that's about it. So, what I need is not a fertilizer for existing plantations but something to plant into, to grow in. Preferably loads of it. Otherwise I will pay more for soil for the plants than the seeds or even seeplings/saplings themselves.

At the moment pretty much the only thing we have in any substantial amount is moldy saw dust / cutter shavings. Maybe even two dozens sacks, some 150-200 litres each. It greatly outnumbers the food scraps and cat litter this household produces, but I have figured that we could probably get some horse manure nearby (probably already mixed with straw).

Do you think I should try to get something else to the mix than the sawdust and horse manure? I don't really know what it could be, though - everybody around seems to compost themselves, and in many cases it does not seem to be much. I'm a newbie gardener (and not just a newbie in permaculture) and it is a bit harsh start to not even have something to grow in...
3 years ago