Kaye Harris

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since Jul 03, 2016
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Recent posts by Kaye Harris

Quick note for you.

This may depend on your current physical condition (ie. results may vary), but I live in a 10x16 structure and have found the cloth cotton "banana" style hammock to be incredibly useful for a space-saving, yet surprisingly comfortable sleeping situation. It is still light-weight for putting away in the morning and rolling out at night, and it cost me less than 100 dollars.

Note: I am NOT talking about those ropey-wooden-bar-type atrocities that are commonly used in backyards today.
1 year ago
So, I have 40 acres of steep hills with seasonal draws. If you make an "O" with your forefinger and thumb, making a spyglass-type fist, that's what my land looks like, from knuckles to middle joints. It drains and slopes to the south.
Good views. We want to build a house on the "middle knuckle" of the place because it has a view of the valley. The "road" up to it is so steep it requires a 4wd automatic (stick has to ride the clutch down) with GOOD clearance. [We do not yet have said vehicle.]

It is on BEDROCK, and is made mostly of clay and stones. Digging is really not an option unless you have a dozer, and even then it depends on where you're at on the property...kind of like a terrible easter egg hunt for bedrock.
To give you an idea, electric netting isn't a good option here because you have to "plant" it into the soil when you move it. Have fun discovering all those rocks. Maybe in 6 hours you'll find a spot that'll work.

It was logged before we got it, so the wild stuff has taken over and we have felled logs & branches EVERYWHERE.
As for plant life on the property....
FRUIT: wild black raspberries, blackberries, and some grape.
GREENS: Mullein, thistle, sorrel, some plantains, many useless "weeds"
TREES: oak, hickory, redbud, dogwood, maple in draws, sassafrass.
MUSHROOMS: turkey tail, brown witch's butter, false turkey tail, and more.
UNDESIRABLES: broomsedge, pokeweed, many yet-unidentified weeds with and without thorns/spines.
PLANTED: Clover and winter rye is doing OK where I planted it for cover in disturbed soil (dozer cleared spot for tiny house).

If this was YOUR land and you also had a limited budget, what would you dream of doing with it?


I see potential in the fact that the fruit and nut trees are already here. I also definitely see a dire need for goats. Rotating them will be a challenge with the soil and felled trees everywhere.

1 year ago
In your experience, what are the most useful plants and animals you have encountered?

I'm not talking about, "Well, you COULD get x, y, and z from this thing I read about on the internet."

What I AM talking about is this: "I got this breed of this animal, and now have three good yields from it because..."

1 year ago

Cj Sloane wrote:
I don't think half of protein is glucose but all protein over 30% converts to glucose. I recommend tracking with a program like myFitnessPal to see what your percentages are. For someone new to a ketogenic diet it's supposed to be around 5-10% carbs, 15-20% protein, and 70-80% fats.



Woah. That is a lot of fat. How on earth do y'all get that much in?
I have the mental image of using a shotglass of olive oil to wash down a mostly-fat meat cut slathered in egg yolks. *Shudder*
1 year ago
Here was my small-scale experience:

Tilled the garden into existence for time's sake, then put on cardboard and then straw. First round was pretty good.

The next year, we pulled off the cover for most of the beds and re-tilled to "fluff" the dirt and add more worm castings, and re-covered.

That year we noticed a marked decrease in fertility and health in the tilled beds, but a marked INCREASE in the ones we didn't get to. The double-tilled beds didn't have the mushrooms and worms, but had many pests and strangely "blank" dirt-absence of life. The untilled beds made me regret tilling anything.
I would say untilled was better than what we started with, and tilled was worse.

I generally view human-tilling as a form of earthworks. Sometimes it can save you time/money for the initial planting. If your soil is healthy, the bugs do the real "tilling" for you, and not just once a year. Also, tilling some plants like grasses under the soil seems to be a nitrogen problem, but if you used it as surface fertilizer, you attract more free continual-tiller/fertilizers like worms.

Also, tilling is a lot of work. I don't want to bother if I won't get a lot of direct benefit. As it is, it has brought negative stuff so far.

Now, we did this with clayey soil. I wonder if different soils score differently on the success/failure scale of tilling?
1 year ago
You know you're a permie when...

...you're idea of fun is finding new wild edibles to stuff in your mouth on a hike.

...you look at your neighbor's pastures and think, "Man, he needs to get into mob grazing and silvopasture STAT."

...you dream of living without air conditioning or a conventional range.

...animals run TOWARD you more than they run away....even when they may not be yours.

...manicured ornamental gardens depress you.

...you think people are insane for spraying toxic gick on GOOD FOOD like dandelions and yard plantain.

...you purposely buy hilly wooded land in the middle of nowhere with no codes nor soil to "farm"

...you have conventional GMO farmer friends who demand explanation for your insane action buying said land.

...you explain it as best you can, but they still deride you behind your back instead of doing research. *sigh*
1 year ago

r ranson wrote:If you were an animal...

...what kind would you be?

...what kind would you want to be?

...what kind would you never want to be?

and why?




I'll work backwards here.

I would never want to be any kind of insect or very small animal. I do not want to ever be able to count a spider's eyes.

I would LIKE to be a dragon, probably in the middle east. (Hey, it's just an overgrown lizard. It counts.) Why? Because the weather would be fab for my lizard self, the superstitious locals would probably give me lamb on a platter to pacify my god-like fury, and whenever some creature annoys me with it's WHUAAAAHHHH mating calls, it's totally legal for me to swoop down and rip it into delicious little morsels. It would be like being able to snap your fingers and turn the annoying neighbor boy into a delicious pile of bilberry crepes right after he woke you with his obnoxious yelling. Magic.

In reality though, I would probably end up as some fat house cat with a permanent "mean face." Somehow, it just seems more accurate.

1 year ago

mary jayne richmond wrote:hi permies, i've been looking on the internet about frugal ways of life and it all seems to be the same....  turn down your thermostat.....i don't have one of those,   2}use coupons... they never have coupons for 50 lbs of spelt berries, 3} dump your cable.... cable?? really, 4} buy the store brand its always cheaper,... so far i haven't noticed any brands on my vegies in the garden or on my sheep or chickens.   so,  this is the kind of stuff i've been finding... what i really need is frugality for the off grid homestead...   here a few things we do  1} family cloth... 2}we cook and our hot water is with  wood, or solar... 3} our electric bill is about 30 dollars a month and we have a solar electric, we wouldn't need the grid except for my husband welds,.. 4}we grow all of our own meat and most of our veggies, grain is a problem. and of course things like salt , spices, and oils are bought....  so i would like to know what other permies do to help cut costs.



Sounds like you already do bulk buying. If you can find a prepper group in your area, sometimes they group together and all get a huge bulk purchase so they can each get more discount. A local group does hard red wheat, but I'm in the spelt camp myself.
Also, there was a time when I simply didn't eat grains. (Tummy troubles, not money troubles.) It can be done quite naturally after you find tasty dishes that are grain-free...you just kind of forget why you liked bread and pasta so much.

Salt-bulk celtic sea salts is what I do. Still more expensive than sodium chloride but so worth it.
Spices...if you have a veggie garden, I hope you have an expansive herb garden. I miss my fresh herbs SO MUCH. Who needs spices when you can grow your own chives, basil, dill, oregano, cilantro, spicy thai peppers, etc?
Oils....I hear duck fat is superb, and is a by-product of delicious roast duck (developed a taste for that in China-not sure what western recipes are like).

Where is your water coming from? I've learned to clean myself 2-3x weekly with about 1 gallon of water, and I have nearly butt-length hair. If you can reduce your water usage, maybe you can go off grid with that if you don't already.
Also, on the subject of cleansing yourself, I shave with a bar of natural soap as "shaving cream" and actually use biodegradeable dawn dishsoap for my hair, then rinse with a white vinegar/water solution. Very cheap, and no more skin irritations, weirdly enough. (I used to have to pay out the nose for natural shampoos and special creams.)

Laundry...I washed small loads in a 5 gal bucket with dishsoap diluted in the water. Just drizzled biodegradeable dishsoap, poured water in, dumped an armful of clothing in there and used some elbow grease. Single rinse. Hung it on paracord with clothespins outdoors. Total water usage for laundry was around 10 gal a week for my husband and I. Natural fibers will not need washing as often. If you have a bunch of baby diapers....probably not ideal.

I haven't been using a refrigerator/freezer for....about 9 months now. Zero issues, even with storebought foods. Better to preserve in other ways.

What are you cooking on? Wood might be free depending on your situation, next best is propane. Electric is a wallet killer with anything hot.

We share 1 cheap cell phone, get our internet for $2 at Panera once a week or less, and have never owned a TV.

Missed the clothing part in your post. I'm guessing you frequent thrift stores? I got an off grid treadle machine and am learning to sew. My hope is that it will give me more flexibility with cheap thrift fabrics and old clothes so I can save on clothing, blankets, towels, cleaning rags, etc.

I'm not sure if having no debt counts as frugality, but I do spend less in the long run by living debt-free, and I'm not paying a "bill" to the bank or anyone else for the priviledge of using their money. I have never paid interest to anyone.

Reducing vehicle runs as much as possible, and making efficient runs with a planned route can save on gas and wear on the car. We use our gas sipper for townie runs and only pull out the platypus (a baja) when we really need to.

That's all I can think of.
2 years ago
In setting up your place, whether homestead or farm, what were some of the most difficult hurdles you encountered, and how did that work out (or not work out)?

I think mine will soon be this monster of a "roadway" that runs through our wild property...my guess is it will be a make or break deal. It is unbelievably steep, has multiple waterway conflicts, etc. Normal equipment that fixes road issues can't work with it or can't access it TO work with it. If we can't get that sucker to sing for us, we may be forced to sell.
2 years ago
Thank you guys!
I'm so glad to know this might be somewhat normal. I had a book I liked as a kid....something about a train climbing a hill, starting out, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...."
If people have started here and ended up there, I can do it, too, dagnabit.
Sure wish I could reign in that deep-seated voice inside that likes to parrot my less-supportive acquaintances, though. Ha.
2 years ago