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T.E. Joseph

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since Jul 07, 2016
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Recent posts by T.E. Joseph

I'm kind of going through the headache of this myself in my own county

to which there's only one incorporated city, but no real county offices nor anyone that's quite sure...

if it's off the grid, then here they seem to toss it under "hunting and fishing cabins"... which most states seem to have set standards for (albeit difficult to find the details of online for some.) but it's a lot more lax than typical housing quality standards.  (then there's the mention of permits by some... but through regulatory organizations that seem more akin to housing associations than required by law. I'm getting the sense that is if you want to formally rent it out or do so in certain communities and if you're particularly close to more recreational areas.)

partially or fully on the grid, then it's ensuring everything is up to codes and regulations towards the access of those utilities...

albeit, the closet one might get to some information or guidelines, in the states, is going through the united states department of argiculture > rural development

most of which relates to loans and rentals... but it's in govt speak and doesn't really get down to the nitty gritty. I should go exploring taxation codes next, I'd imagine.

It probably also doesn't hurt I'm cataloging homes in the area, their visible standards (and a few more detailed specs via real estate sites) and cross referencing with nearby protective services (adult/child)...  
4 years ago
we're kind of focused on other projects at the moment... so our own setup has been reduced down to a more temporary setup utilizing a tractor.

but I thought I'd mention one of my friends' solution for nighttime predators; a method she calls da do run (ron) run (ron) -- she has an extra run around her chickens -- initially she had guineas but she didn't get along with them and would rather her pasture dogs stay near the goats and cattle than run back to towards the house to see whatever mouse fart set them off. So, she then set a couple barn cats in it -they come to feed at night, so she pens them up like her other dogs now, the cas mostly live in it now - but she did have to create some shelters and a couple 'trees' to encourage them to explore and stay along the parameter a bit more. And outside of that a run for the house dogs (well, really it's just more of a fenced in space of the house's yard.. the cats seem to do better with a narrower space and it is enclosed at the top. the dog's fence does have an outer gate but all the runs attached to a large shed (small barn) - two doors to the cats, two doors to the dogs, one door to the chicken yard (she rotates within their access to different parts of the yard and they've got a house in the center) one door to the outside and a sliding door blocking the dogs & cats door from her chicken room (incubation, medical, storage) and the chicken's yard door.  

the costs are impractical when she primarily uses the chickens just for her family's needs. It became her 'mission' .. honestly, for a while I thought she was going to open up a squirrel farm as every few weeks she'd gift me with a package of squirrel meat. She wasn't much of a hunting person, nor a cat person, but that changed pretty quick. The squirrels had no fear, she calls them furry cockroaches. While most of the other predators were more of a seasonal... which a floodlight was enough to drive most of them off. she also pitches up a picnic umbrella in the summer. She didnt seem to have problems with hawks or owls, but if nothing else they get a little extra shade.

I'm thinking I might try a more budget friendly version when we get our shit together... but out here, this season, we've had more problems with armadillos than anything...  
4 years ago
I also gotta wonder what is your layout like?

the simplest for you might take a larger initial investment.. but it's what we're working on for our next project.

which is building another home on the property... viably you could do a small granny flat or even just create a solid rv (tiny home) port

sure, you might not need to do that.. where you are for the latter bit. But it's generally nicer, you could go for a two for one.. get a bit of rent not only for leasing out that space but a bit of your yard as well in a sharecropping like capacity -- work something as a very small scale intentional community. That's generally good for working with other newbies. Albeit, if you've got neighbors or nearby cityfolk or townies, the same angle might play out.. rent out a space of your yard plus get a few extra hands to help you with your projects.

do the former, especially if you take your time with and well, there's something to be said about charging people to help you to build alternatively... albeit, it's usually good that you've taken a couple classes yourself or work out a deal with someone else to come out and host for it.

taking on an intern or a wwoofer, there's a lot of crap gigs out there.. so you could pull just about any stunt and probably get a bite. But you might get a better selection by specifically reaching out to community colleges and universities that have degree or certification programs in sustainable farming, eco tourism or outdoor adventure.. and looking at the available "internships" in your region with the surrounding farms and businesses; one of those three majors is likely going to have some overlap with the others and a bit more skills for your project. In this way, you're just offering them housing out in bfe that might be better than a flop house, tho, most farms don't offer even that. So, you can  reduce or eliminate the rent substantially based on their skill level and gigs... even potentially write it off on your taxes -- so, you can get someone with a bit more knowledge helping you out with getting your project up and running, while for something so small, they're likely also working with other people in the region or having actual gig.

of course, you're likely to find all kinds of skilled labor that just needs a space to rent. . . and many ways to barter that down to your projects need. If you want to bypass most of the rental or other potential restrictions, like with people living in rvs or tiny homes on your property.. if you're in an area with restrictions, then aim for seasonal or weekend 'stays'... that usually gets around most of those limitations. Plus might get you a variety of people to offer you a more rounded skillset, if you're unable to reach out or invest in educating yourself.

either way, it might give you some income or save you some cash towards funding your other projects.
4 years ago
raising pigeons for meat (squab) is good for an acre... they'll pay off a lot more if you're willing to process them yourself.

and agreeing with someone up this thread.. saving: if you're going to start using dry goods... you might look into getting a good dehydrator (albeit, there are alternatives; toying around with solar ovens can be a bit of fun. But there's also more variables in its use.) and in addition to that dehydrator, get a good grinder can handle grinding beans - (electric would save you some time, but it's easier to find an old turn crank these days that can manage it than that many electric ones and they tend to be in the more affordable range, but it can be time consuming and strenuous)- you can make 'flours' that you can bake with but also use to create 'instant' stocks that may cut down on your cooking time/resources... among other things.

same to go with building a smoker (really, it's relatively simple build. Although, you can find small scale, portable ones for a decent price.), a dry house or even a cellar.

the use of spices makes a ramen budget seem a little more grand. Also on that note, making your own infused oils and booze for cooking extends both your oils and spices as well as up scaling down home meals. Everything is quite variable to your own dietary needs...

if you've got cats, particularly the indoor variety, some recommend switching to clumping chicken feed instead of using litter.

If you're thinking of making homesteader crafts and goods, the pet and livestock market is a good way to go... say if you head towards the soap and skincare racket. It doesn't have to be quite so pretty. And its usually an under served market. A bit easier if you've got a couple goats, tho... seeing more of a trend for goat milk products, particularly in pet care. But that's the kind of investment that might be better to consider further down the road.

and also, like fowl and other things... focusing on the specialty, rare and heritage breeds.. to well, breed is decent enough for small operations.  Like with chickens, you'd do better with raising them to just about breeding age (about four months) and selling them off as breeding pairs. Of course, you should probably focus on a single breed for the 'pure' racket - raise it up to show quality (or whatever standards are set for the abuse) while those you have to cull.. tossing into your lower stock to crossbreed.  Albeit most of the other breeders might prefer you humanely dispose of them and have a big breakfast than risking those not up to standard somehow making its way into the general market under the title of the 'pure' breed.

specialty herbs and hybrids - especially for the local markets; mint hybrids are one of the easier to grow and there's demand or at least novelty with some of the hybrids out there. Jim Westerfield's being some of the more quirky and prolific ones.

Quite a few people offer classes to others, too. And if you really want to work the scene, start networking with the local farms in the region... from workshopping to monthly cooking clubs / events... if you're in more of a rural area, you might consider investing in a van or trailer and working the barter & trade scene... we occasionally play that game out here, not necessarily door to door but usually some central stop that's just outside of the farmer market territory. With that, we tend to have more of a market with the isolated families and often it relates to more generalized goods... mostly dealing with used plus size clothing & baby clothing/equipment along with the occasional odd or end and just general time savers but haven't quite taken it to the 'fashion truck' level yet.  

For some of the old school off the grid crowd, we also run personal shopping services and occasionally taxi...  which is one way to obtain affordable access to things you wouldn't otherwise be able to. And it can build up a decent word of mouth network.
4 years ago
if using wood or wood byproducts...

you might go over the toxicity lists :

if you've adapted or are unaffected by what you're using, you might also keep in mind, your guests might not be...

some of the most common allergies are with the two most popular choices due to their tendency to mask the scent

cedar and pine

the scent of pine alone can triggers breathing and asthma related symptoms

while with cedar, many tend to break out or swell through contact with as little as dust particles.

And of course, if you're using humanure for composting for your crops.. there are some wood that might inhibit plant growth in excess quantities.

Though, I'm told a mixture is usually a little safer all around...

In general, if you're going to have a guest outhouse.. making it a bit more roomier inside tends to be helpful for the uninitiated. And it doesn't hurt to have an 'adjustable' seat or more than one place to sit for your super sized friends (might need some reinforcement), just enough space for great grandma and her walker (so maybe some rails) or little timmy being a risk for falling down the pit toilet (and so a ladder down the hole for those that are willing to swim in the sludge for lost wedding bands or iphones).

And with you frugal builders, it should have a rear view mirror and set of tweezers.

of course, you could just keep some blue bags on hand... certainly might help for the my poo is more holier than thous crowd. Although, I get it, there isn't much use for it in and of itself. one of my friends has attempted but hasn't had much luck with trying to redirect that waste to heat to the edge of her property when snowfall reduces the effectiveness of her fence by a couple feet.
4 years ago
Well, depending on your porch side crowd, William Elliot Whitmore might have a few songs that would fit:


4 years ago
the early works of the Indigo Girls is usually safe enough..
Indigo Girls : Lyrics

Indigo Girls - Album: 1200 Curfews - Playlist

and some of the most annoying pop songs have been converted into folky/country versions. . .

Steve Poltz has a talent for that, but also comes up with some inspiring (and less so; number 9 is a better start.. although 12 sounds like a campfire song.) works of his own; Steve Poltz Live at American Legion Hall on 2006-04-08 : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive

Victoria Williams ... maybe Century Plant?

songbooks for Simon & Garfunkel are easy to find.. more than a few catchy ones there and most are easy to play.

same with unitarian universalists - a blending of traditional hymnals, sometimes of abrahamic religions, sometimes not.. some non traditional songs make their way into those circles. many may be appropriate for a campfire setting;

and there's always showtunes.. every dreadful earworm that will haunt one and all for ages to come. 1940s to 1960s were really the best years... usually a good set of years to send teens into eye rolling seizures.

The 1970s disco for catatonia & 1980s pop for suffering second hand embarrassment.

The 1990s just causes a generational rift between the GenX'ers with their apathetically angsty nostalgia and the millennials everyone just wants to smack -- there's quite few quirks of the decade in every genre, but it's also the height of the disney's animated musicals -- perhaps not easy to learn but it does tend to be in the collective consciousness... inescapable soundbytes.

after that? there's the indie, emo scenes.. but it all gets a bit screechy.

Minnie Driver - Seastories

a more dementedly cheerful little ditty:

4 years ago

(I should get around to making an actual post here... eventually.)
4 years ago

and as it started with a bird, it should probably end with the other one you might need after all that...

4 years ago