Casey Pfeifer

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since Aug 17, 2014
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Recent posts by Casey Pfeifer

We are a couple looking to rent a homestead-friendly property in East Tennessee (Oak Ridge/West Knoxville area). We visited the area last year, and fell in love with the beautiful landscapes and welcoming people, and moved to SE TN (Pikeville area, north end of Sequatchie Valley) in the spring of ‘23. Our current house has air quality issues (mold we are quite sure) and the land around us has been salted with biosolids (still smells like a porta-potty 3+ months later) and we have our first kiddo on the way...sooo, we gotta go!

What We Are Looking For
A quiet semi-rural/urban fringe property with a 2-3 bedroom/2 bathroom house. We are especially interested in areas within a 40 minute drive to Oak Ridge, TN, since that is where Sammy works these days. The following areas are all within the distance that will work for us: Kingston, Cedar Grove, Midway, Oakdale, Harriman, Lenoir City, Wartburg, Petros, Joyner, Marlow, Clinton, Powell, Heiskell, Friendsville, Tellico Village, Loudon, Blair, Kalida, Oliver Springs, Oak Ridge, Claxton, Karns, Cardiff.

We need a bathroom (toilet, shower/tub), full kitchen (we cook a lot), and in-unit laundry facilities or hook-ups (we have our own W/D). We also now have a dog (~7 year old black lab abandoned by the prior occupant of the house we are currently in) and would need a fenced-in yard. We’d love to have enough space to plant a garden, have some sort of backyard poultry (ducks or chickens) and a small greenhouse (300 square feet or so). We will take excellent care of your property, and leave it in as good or better condition when it is time for us to go. We could furnish our own place, but don’t have a ton of furniture so if your place is already furnished, that could work for us, too. We do need high-speed internet access (or capacity to get it) to run our businesses. We don’t watch TV, so don’t worry about cable hook-ups. We are pretty quiet people, likely to be found reading at night and going to bed around 9 or 10pm. We wake up early and like making the most of our days.

A little about us…
We are Casey and Sammy, and we love creating and working with living things; growing, preparing and sharing great food; our families, building community, and each other.

More About Casey
I love learning and doing things that create more freedom and choice in my life. I am quiet, curious, skeptical and an incurable questioner. I love to build things with my hands, create systems that liberate time and yield abundantly, and love DIY projects that check both of those boxes. I enjoy tinkering with the major elements of fire, water, earth, air and metal. I love growing trees, raising animals, natural building, improving myself, and spending time in hammocks and Nature (for some reason this is where inspiration always strikes)! My passion, mission and purpose is to help liberty-loving people create nature-connected, sovereign homesteads that yield maximum freedom and a high Quality of Life using permaculture design.

I have been self-employed since college, and have been a fitness trainer and CrossFit gym owner, farmer and now design and implement regenerative ecosystems for homesteads, farms and ranches. My business is Sovereign Homestead Design (www.TheSovereignHomestead.com). I’ve also been growing and selling trees for agroforestry systems since 2016 through Honey Badger Nursery (www.HoneyBadgerNursery.com), and hope to expand this enterprise when we get more permanently settled in TN.

More About Sammy
I am a recovering university academic (I earned my PhD studying coral reef resilience and taught college students for 10+ years). I love solving problems and helping people, and all of my work must return to this basic idea, though I have interests and skills that span a variety of subjects. I love teaching and mentoring, especially ecology and other natural sciences, and I focus on instilling a self-directed, independent, and resilient learning style in my students. I love deep conversations with small groups of people, cooking large meals to share with others, studying interconnectedness between people and places (history, ecology, languages, mythology, etc.), and reading quietly by the fire. I am a natural with kids and animals (not as much with plants), and I enjoy care-taking and nurturing. I have also been told I am a natural at sales, as I love to share the things I love with other people!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post, we look forward to hearing from you if this might be a good fit!
3 months ago

I'm glad you talked about aquaculture. We have looked at that fairly extensively and basically decided it was a "after the move" project. My husband is also interested in not just fish but the potential algae or other water plant life that could be harvested for animal feed. In fact, I think the video that really got us going on homesteading/permiculture was this one by Takota Coen. It definitely set alight our minds with ideas.

Takota Coen Pig feeding/Milking routine



Karen ~

YES! Thank you for sharing Takota's video - I can't believe I haven't come across it yet - definitely a great example of aquaculture vegetation being incorporated into terrestrial animal protein system - I love it!

I watched several of his other videos and saw the rotational use of the shallow wetlands and the cattails for forage - brilliant!

I'm going to keep looking for additional examples of harvesting and utilizing these incredibly fast-growing aquatic plants for boosting calories and nutrition for land animals - in particular I'm very excited about azolla's potential - for so many things, but definitely as a feedstock for various types of livestock. Lots of helpful information for those looking to quickly get a grasp of what azolla is and what it can do here:  https://theazollafoundation.org/

As for the silvopasture, that's basically the integration of trees, pasture and livestock all into the same space. This of course can manifest a million different ways, but the potential for creating a "grocery for grazers" is greatly increased by adding multiple layers of solar harvesting, and selecting species based on when they produce harvestable biomass. For the silvopiggery down here, we're looking at trialing the species linked in the spreadsheet below in various guilds and planting arrangements. A good number of the tree species are already present on site, they just need to be optimized for rotational silvopasture with some selective coppicing and pollarding to boost light levels and overall "patchiness" to create more productive edge.

Silvo-Piggery Guild Trial Species Lists: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/16AmOMBuTwPGAP0RpwPqjJVmxF-NobM7UCFY1qvCyUKk/edit?usp=sharing
** This project is located just north of Chattanooga, TN near Mowbray Mountain - USDA Zone 7a with ~ 63" avg. annual rainfall for reference

I have a few blog posts and podcast episodes that are relevant to the discussion of producing more animal protein calories in a homestead setting as well:

- The Sovereign Homestead Podcast - Epi~59 - Sovereign Food Systems - Pantry Ponds (more of a high level "what could be possible" episode)  https://thesovereignhomestead.com/sovereign-food-systems-pantry-ponds-epi-59/
- The Sovereign Homestead Podcast - Epi~58 - Sovereign Food Systems - Perennial Protein From Silvopasture Meat Forests  https://thesovereignhomestead.com/sovereign-food-systems-perennial-protein-from-silvopasture-meat-forests-epi-58/
- High Value Livestock Fodder Trees For Temperate Climates: https://thesovereignhomestead.com/fodder-trees-for-temperate-climates/
3 months ago
Love and appreciate this discussion, and very grateful that it is being had!

We've been carnivore (with varying levels of strictness) for over two years now - and its been amazing.

Regarding the idea of carnivore homesteading, here some things I'm working on at both conceptual and practical levels:

  • First and foremost we need to maximize is the number of calories grown per unit area (per acre, per square foot, per roof, whatever space one has)  if we are to be eating primarily animal products coming from our own properties. This means optimizing the landscape/whateverscape to the fullest extent possible to maximize our use of those freely available resources that go into growing and producing calories - namely water, light, and soil minerals.
  • Second, we need to optimize the distribution of those calories throughout the year (this includes preserving seasonal oversupply/abundance for leaner times) such that high quality nutrition is available to whatever form of livestock we might be keeping or tending.
  • Third - select and stack livestock species that are appropriately suited to the given unique context (i.e. ruminants where pasture forages are plentiful, fish/water fowl/invertebrates where water is plentiful etc). Generally, at least in my own limited experience, that when faced with a repetitive task or "problem" that has to be backfilled with my own labor/time/energy, I'm almost always missing an additional living system - i.e. the solution almost always seems to be to "add more life".


  • I am currently engaged on a project with a homesteader here in Tennessee that is progressing his property towards being a "silvo-piggery" of sorts. He's growing and breeding Meishan pigs (one of the few pigs that can truly gain weight on pasture forages - more about these pigs in this video webpage) but that can also take advantage of other common pig favorites - mast crops, tubers, fruits and berries, and other low-growing herbaceous vegetation. By selecting silvopasture guild species specifically selected to fill in seasonal forage gaps and simultaneously opening up the canopy for enhance light penetration to the ground (and thus grow more grass forage), more calories are stacked physically and temporally into the same space for the Meishans throughout the greatest portion of the year possible.

    Another piece that fits well into the whole "grow more calories in the same space" idea is aquaculture in general, and aquaculture specifically tailored to convert solar energy into usable calories for both obligate aquatic species (fish, invertebrates, amphibians etc) but also for species on land. The sheer amount of vegetative productivity, and consequently how much animal protein can be grown and maintained, is quite impressive on a per unit area basis, especially when compared to strictly terrestrial systems (i.e. ruminants on silvopasture). One of the potential element connections we are going to be exploring for the silvo-piggery mentioned above, especially given that Meishan pigs thrive on forage crops, is to see if the pigs will not just tolerate but prefer abundant aquatic vegetation that  can be harvested throughout the growing season in abundance, even from relatively small footprints. Things like water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica), azolla (Azolla spp), duckweed (Lemna spp) come to mind just for their sheer productive capacity. Even at the small scale (suburban lots) I think aquaculture has a significant role to play in dramatically boosting the calories/unit area part of the equation.

    Another real big lever, for which there is still (and will be always) a lot of experimentation to be done, is stacking species in guilds. Specifically I'm thinking of the one cited by Mollison in the PDM specifically regarding utilization of different foods, wherein a pond if stocked with channel catfish alone yielded 1,400 kg/ha, but when a quarter of their number of tilapia were added to the same pond the total yield jumped up to 1,834 kg/ha - an increase of 31% from the same space! Combine this kind of very intentional species stacking with edge optimization ( i.e. chinampa-style edges, food producing trellises/trees overhanging the water, nocturnally-active solar-powered insect-attracting lamp rafts etc) and some  clever habitat engineering / gating to maximize baitfish / fry survival, and I imagine we really have no idea what the true productive potential of such systems could be. The silvo-piggery has three small ponds on it already, and I hope to be able to report back with at least one anecdote on the potential aquatic vegetation - terrestrial protein production link.

    We're still new on the ground here in Tennessee, but we're hoping to get started with some Muscovy ducks ourselves, and possible some breeds like the Grimaud that are specifically geared towards meat production. From there, I'll be looking to boost their available food probably with some sort of insect or worm-based nutrient cycling that can also yield a harvestable supply of insect protein for the ducks to enjoy.

    Love this topic and am looking forward to hearing more about what others are doing to make carnivore homesteading work for them!
    3 months ago

    Hello Casey,
    My husband and I will be closing on a 50 acre parcel of land on Flat Top, (above Soddy Daisy) that is 25 to 30 min from Downtown Chattanooga in mid May 2023. There is a very old double wide mobile home on site that we plan to demolish at some stage later this year that may work for you.  We plan on living in our RV near the house while we work the land and build our new home. We have two children living with us, a 3 year old and a 18 month old. And one 12 year old that lives abroad but visits every couple of months.
    We have no experience farming and want to turn this raw land into an awesome regenerative / permaculture farm. We would be interested in working on a deal that swapped your assistance on our farm for accommodation.
    Please let us know your thoughts



    Hello Angela,

    Thank you for reaching out to us!

    Sammy and I are actually in transit as we speak - currently in Fort Worth Texas, making our way towards Tennessee. We did end up finding a great place to land - about 15 minutes northeast of Pikeville's town center - so maybe another 30 or so minutes from where you guys are?

    We greatly appreciate your generous offer, and at the very least would love to meet you guys once we get settled - it sounds like you've landed in a great location and have an amazing opportunity to create something beautiful on your homestead! Are you guys new to the area, or moving locally?

    I'll be starting up my tree nursery this year and we are hoping to get some livestock going in the near future (likely sheep, and some type of poultry).

    We wish you guys the very best, and please do let us know if you'd like to meet up - we are always excited to meet fellow permies!

    With Gratitude,

    - Casey & Sammy
    10 months ago
    Couple moving to SE Tennessee in spring '23 - ISO small cottage on homestead for rent / work/trade
    We are a couple looking to build our homestead dream life in Southeast Tennessee (Chattanooga area). We visited the area last year, and fell in love with the beautiful landscapes and welcoming people, and are moving to the area in the spring of ‘23. Our current plan is to rent or enter into a work/trade living arrangement for the first few months, as we get on our feet and explore long-term homestead options. Ultimately, we envision buying property in SE TN and developing several land-based enterprises (e.g., livestock grazing, tree nursery, aquaculture, breeding guardian dogs, etc.).

    We want to offer our skills, experience, intellect, and energy to help you get your property to where you want it to be faster and create a web of enterprises and relationships that sets all of us (you, your homestead, and us) up to thrive in the coming decades.

    What We Are Looking For
    A quiet, rural/semi-rural property with a 1-2 bedroom/1 bathroom cottage or small house. We are especially interested in areas within a 40 minute drive to Chattanooga, though if you have a quiet place in the city proper (especially if it is on or near Signal Mountain!), we would be open to considering it. We are open to shared amenities on the property, but really need our own living space. We need a bathroom (toilet, shower, bath is a plus), full kitchen (we cook a lot), and access to laundry facilities. We could furnish our own place, but don’t have a ton of furniture so if your place is already furnished, that could work for us, too. We do need high-speed internet access (or capacity to get it) to run our businesses. We don’t watch TV, so don’t worry about cable hook-ups. We are pretty quiet people, likely to be found reading at night and going to bed around 9 or 10pm. We wake up early and like making the most of our days. We love working with our hands, which may be beneficial to you if you need help with gardens, nurseries, or animal husbandry (see below for our skills and experiences).

    A little about us…we are Casey and Sammy, and we love freedom, creating and working with living things, growing, preparing and sharing great food, our families, and each other.

    More About Casey
    I love learning and doing things that create more freedom and choice in my life. I am quiet, curious, skeptical and an incurable questioner. I love to build things with my hands, create systems that liberate time and yield abundantly, and love DIY projects that check both of those boxes. I enjoy tinkering with the major elements of fire, water, earth, air and metal. I love growing trees, raising animals, natural building, improving myself, and spending time in hammocks and Nature (for some reason this is where inspiration always strikes)! My passion, mission and purpose is to help liberty-loving people create nature-connected, sovereign homesteads that yield maximum freedom and a high Quality of Life using permaculture design.

    I have been self-employed since college, and have been a fitness trainer and CrossFit gym owner, farmer and now design and implement regenerative broadacre landscapes for homesteads, farms and ranches. My California-based business is 7th Generation Design, and my solo-spin off enterprise that is coming with me to Tennessee is The Sovereign Homestead. I’ve also been growing and selling trees for agroforestry systems since 2016 at Honey Badger Nursery, and hope to expand this enterprise when we get settled in TN.

    More About Sammy
    I am a recovering university academic (I earned my PhD studying coral reef resilience and taught college students for 10+ years) rediscovering life outside of the ivory tower. ;) I love solving problems and helping people, and all of my work must return to this basic idea, though I have interests and skills that span a variety of subjects. I love teaching and mentoring, especially ecology and other natural sciences, and I focus on instilling a self-directed, independent, and resilient learning style in my students (and myself). I love deep conversations with small groups of people, cooking large meals to share with others, studying interconnectedness between people and places (history, ecology, languages, mythology, etc.), and reading quietly by the fire. I am a natural with kids and animals (not as much with plants), and I enjoy care-taking and nurturing. I have also been told I am a natural at sales, as I love to share the things I love with other people! I am definitely a homebody Hobbit, though I do love to have a bit of an adventure ‘off the property’ now and then. I consider myself extremely tolerant and willing to discuss and consider alternate views, though I maintain strong personal values and boundaries.

    Skillsets/Experiences We Bring to the Table (if you’re interested in work/trade arrangements…)

  • Equipment Operation (small farm tractors, mini-excavator, skip loader)
  • Water and Irrigation Systems (design and install) - for market gardens, nurseries, plant propagation, mushroom propagation, multi-species orchards etc.
  • Plant and tree propagation
  • Log-based Mushroom Propagation
  • Forest and Orchard Management
  • Web and Tech (design/management of business websites, e-commerce, media)
  • Whole Systems Property Design (see examples at https://www.7thgenerationdesign.com/ and https://thesovereignhomestead.com/ )
  • Digital Property Mapping (using QGIS to incorporate geospatial and drone data for property design)
  • Aerial Photography and Videography (piloting drones, downloading and processing images and video)
  • Animal Husbandry (experience with caring for chickens, ducks, and pigs; including feeding, sheltering, and processing - but still lots to learn!)


  • Thanks for taking the time to read this post, we look forward to hearing from you if this might be a good fit!
    1 year ago

    Raven Annasdottir wrote:Vet combat medic, herbalist, and midwife here.

    I carry:
    ACE wraps multiple sizes
    Coban
    4x4s (which can be put smaller if needed)
    1 large surgical dressing
    Hemostats
    EMT shears
    Herbs (charcoal capsules, yarrow tincture, black salve, green salve, chamomile flowers, and peppermint leaves )
    Rescue Remedy flower essence blend
    Small tin of salt
    Wound closure strips
    Paper tape
    IV - LR and Saline - these are bagged in 1 gallon bags with the start kits which then serves as a trash bag
    Suture kits
    Multiple cravats
    Sharps container
    Eye cup
    SAM splint
    Hydrogen peroxide (usually in the water bottle pouch of the big aid bag)
    Alcohol pads
    Single use ice packs (we have more risk of heat injuries than cold injuries)
    Disposable gloves in medium and large



    Hi Raven,

    Thank you for this detailed post.

    I'm curious about your small tin of salt - is that for cleaning wounds? Hydration? Other purposes I'm not aware of?

    - Casey
    1 year ago

    A shot of the roadside stand we constructed on the retaining wall below our house and on the road during the first few months of 2020. We were selling vegetables starts to help our neighbors plant gardens during the gardening bonanza of those first few "lockdown" months. It was a trust experiment - I always wanted to know if something like this could work here. Unfortunately, we were seeing between 40-60% theft rates, so....had to move the sales front up the driveway in front of the house. Definitely a bit of a bummer, but good learning nonetheless.
    1 year ago
    I'm not sure where you're located and whether or not this would be a climate suitable option, but there are a number of studies that have been done on vetiver grass for heavy metal bio-accumulation. Most of what I've come across indicates that uptake or binding of the metals is greatly assisted by soil drenches of humic acid. A lot of the studies are lead focused, but copper is consistently mentioned in the mix often enough that it could be worth considering.

    Vetiver would definitely be a multi-year solution, so if you're looking for something faster it probably won't be the best choice.

    Best of luck in bringing your soil back to health!
    2 years ago
    Do you have the water proof LEMs? I didn’t know about them until recently - my business partner purchased a pair and they work great for keeping dry. Not a typical shin-high muck boot, but you already have leather LEMs so you know their profile

    https://www.lemsshoes.com/collections/waterproof-boulder-boot/products/womens-waterproof-boulder-boot?variant=32088926421050
    2 years ago
    We also do line trellising with a single leader for our tomatoes - also seen it called high pruning or high trellising. Works great for supporting the plants and allows us (with limited garden space) to grow more tomatoes in less space while still getting enough sun. We used to take it one step further when I was farming and do the 'lower and lay' technique using Tomahooks supported from overhead cabling in our greenhouse - very labor intensive, but allowed us to grow A LOT of tomatoes in just half our greenhouse.

    We recently shot a video detailing the line training / line trellising / high trellising / high pruning technique for our neighbors - might be helpful to see it if the words don't make sense.


    We also us this technique for our cucumbers and they do very well with it.
    3 years ago