Mary McCune

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since Aug 01, 2018
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Recent posts by Mary McCune

I'd definitely be interested in a workshop like this! We currently run a very old Lopi woodstove and I would love to reduce the amount of firewood we burn. The woodstove allows us to heat the house comfortable and keeps the electric furnace from running, but the costs of firewood are always rising it seems. Love the idea of RMH!
6 months ago
Greetings from the Mid-Atlantic! I'm in central Maryland, on a 1/3 acre suburban plot, working slowly on transforming my backyard into a food-producing zone. There are definitely challenges, but slow and steady progress is happening.

A little background - I was raised on a 3 acre 'homestead' that my parents bought when I was a child - 3 story stone house with major renovation needs, nine outbuildings and a lawn that hadn't been mowed in years. Dad was an engineer who loved to solve problems, so he always tackled anything that needed to be done with a 'can-do' attitude, with my brother and me as his mostly willing helpers. Plumbing, plastering, electrical, roofing and lots of gardening - all in a day's work. At one point in its history, the property had been a dairy farm, so the soil was rich though horribly neglected. Within the first year or so, about an acre was turned into gardening space and we started enjoying our own fresh veggies. Dad was into organic gardening long before it was fashionable, so our fields were only amended by our compost piles. We also had the ability to fix just about anything that broke down, thanks to having a small forge, a metal lathe and a welder. My adventures on that old property will someday become a book, but suffice it to say that my background there has proven invaluable.

But today, I'm working with much less land and a far steeper slope - the east-facing back yard slope is about 20 degrees, a fact which saved me several thousand dollars when I bought the place because it's not much fun to mow the hill. No real erosion problems but my goal is to turn that hill into something more productive. At this point the only things growing on the hill are several pathetic blue spruces, an apple tree and a grape vine. Down on the flatter portion of the yard, we have a 60 by 20 garden area with kale, tomatoes, green peppers, some beans and some popcorn (as an experiment). An expanding raspberry patch has been providing a nice crop for several years. Onsite herbs: oregano, basil, sage, peppermint, spearmint, cilantro, lavender, parsley, stevia, and probably a few others I can't recall at the moment.

Currently, I work second shift (4 to midnight) at a local clothing maker, to keep my days mostly free. Former work experience focused heavily on IT and financial services and I still do a bit of website development work, mostly using Drupal. I've been a linux user for years and enjoy helping others move away from other operating systems.

I've been reading Permies now for about a week and really look forward to learning more - this definitely looks like my kind of place!

6 months ago