Bob Gallamore

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since Mar 03, 2019
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building homestead hugelkultur
Just a couple crazy post middle age people building a homestead in the woods.
Southeast Missouri
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Recent posts by Bob Gallamore

Very good points by the OP and others.  We currently drive 8 and 10 miles respectively to get to our jobs and the stores where we do most of our shopping.  We drive about 20 minutes to get to my Dad's place and church.  For at least a couple years after moving from town to our homestead we will be driving approximately 50 miles to and from work until we both are able to retire.  In the short term, that is a huge increase in our carbon footprint, and one we have spent considerable time discussing.  There is also a long term increase because we will increase the distance to my Dad's and church, as well as distance to shopping.  Our answer to that will be to combine trips to work with other trips.  Once we both retire, we will be making very few trips, but those will be longer than the trips we make now.

At the risk of offending people, I do NOT include the emissions from my Harley when I consider my carbon footprint.  It is my therapy ride and vital to my sanity.

1 week ago
Our property is 95% oak and hickory.  As we have been clearing areas to build we have been piling the leaves in an area that I isolated using T-posts and chicken wire.  The leaves have been decomposing quite nicely, and we turn it from time to time as we pile more leaves in.  My Mother in Law swears we are making a big mistake to use all those leaves because the tannin in the oak leaves will turn our garden too acidic to grow anything.  She insists we need to burn the leaves and stick to using a "regular" fertilizer like everyone else does.  From what I've read, the tannins are leached out by rain and broken down by some micro-organisms and pose no threat to the garden.  The biggest issue I can see is that oak leaves are slow to decompose so you have to be patient while they compost.

My MIL won't say anything further about it to me, but she loves to lecture my wife about how I'm going to ruin our garden area if she doesn't stop me from my fool's errand.  What say the good folks at Permies?
1 week ago

paul wheaton wrote:Point noted.  

I wish to stick with the 7 foot tall stuff for reasons.  

To make it a bit simpler, I wrote this thread describing making a hugelkultur that is physically just 3 or 4 feet high, but using material right next to the hugelkultur so that  by the time you are done, there is a path next to the hugelkultur that is 3 or 4 feet deep - thus making it appear to be a total of 7 feet.

Now that makes so much sense that it sent my head spinning.  We are building a homestead in a forest that was last cut for timber over 60 years ago.  There is a beautiful layer about 12-18" thick of beautiful topsoil full of organic material, fungus, and worms that I have been digging down to the clay to stack my logs on.  As I dig holes for foundation footings for our house I'm saving the topsoil for the hugulkultur beds.  I hadn't event thought about digging down through the topsoil to the clay between beds.  That will give me more beautiful topsoil to add to my beds, and it will create natural swales.  Also less bending and stooping.

Mind blown.
1 week ago
We are living in a rented house in a small town while we build our home so we can move out to the woods.  We will be on the grid there and will have county water because both are readily and cheaply available.  Right now its a matter of cash flow.  I can get electricity and county water to my place for less than $1000.  That lets me keep my cash available for building the house without a mortgage.  Once in the house and no longer paying rent, we will put in solar backup for things like fridge and freezer.  The water table is high enough that I plan to put in a sand point shallow well to keep plants and critters watered.  

I've been without power in town for 4 days because of an ice storm and it wasn't much fun.  Gas central heat doesn't work without electricity.  We are taking steps during the build of our place to provide backups.  Interestingly enough, I have a cousin who is a realtor.  She told us that off the grid places are difficult to sell because they are a niche market and too many people don't understand the whole concept.  Grid tied systems are easier to sell, but if it adds to the asking price of a place compared to similar homes people balk.  Amazing how people get into a box and won't look at anything new and different, even if it is good for them.
2 weeks ago

Chris Lumpkin wrote:A fellow Dune fan sent this to me recently, apparently the autumnal weather change causes a shift in coffee shop orders...

That is so bleeping funny!
3 weeks ago
My cousin put in a manufactured home about 20 years ago.  He said he would never do it again because it cost as much as a stick built home and now his manufactured home is basically worth the value of the improved land it sits on.  We were in the process of buying some land and putting a foreclosed and refurbished manufactured home on it when the opportunity came to move to MO.  Glad now we didn't buy that land, because it has flooded several times over the past 5 years, and is currently flooded thanks to all the rain in East Texas.

We are building a cordwood home and doing as much work as possible ourselves.  If we had taken out a loan and had it built for us like everyone in my family thinks we should, we would be in a house by now.  But we are 60 years old, and I don't want to take on a mortgage.  So, we are doing work ourselves, using oak trees I had to cut down to build a post and beam frame, and taking more time.  In the end we will have the house we have dreamed of.  People are absolutely amazed that we would build something ourselves because they would never dream of doing it themselves.  Our only supporters are a cousin who bought a log cabin kit that she and her husband put together and finished out themselves.

I've looked at the kit homes and can see the possibilities.  However, we want something unique, and we want to use the trees we had to clear to make room for the drive, house, and garage/workshop.  I like the idea that the trees we cut down will remain on the land where they grew.
1 month ago
Man, oh man, looks like handling the kickstarter goodies is going to be more work than writing the book!  Glad you've got some help or we would probably find you burrowing into a hugulculture mound some moonlit evening.  I'm looking forward to getting my goodies ($30 level) and learning more stuff.  And I'm really looking forward to reading the book.  Thanks very much to Paul and all the people who keep him from pulling his hair out.  I know a lot of people have put many hours into the book and the kickstarter.
1 month ago
Thanks for sharing that.  We wanted to go but had some family commitments that prevented it.  We are going to have to go visit there some weekend.
1 month ago
If I were to rely on hospitality as an income stream, I'd be living under a bridge!  I'm thinking more along the lines of growing and drying mushrooms, medicinal herbs, and possibly some ginseng.  I've got areas on my property that will make good candidates for growing ginseng.  There is definitely money to be made in renting out a place near a recreation destination.
1 month ago

Pearl Sutton wrote:I made a cheap Berkey filter system. I originally used Doulton filters, they are cheaper, but needed to put Berkey's arsenic and fluoride filter into the system, so shifted to the Berkey filters to make it all go together easier.
I used restaurant food storage containers (they stack well, and I needed them clear) and a float valve, have it plumbed into the water lines (city water, with excess fluoride.)
Water comes in the top chamber, filters through, comes out the spout. Works VERY well, I have been running it for 7 years or so now.

Ingenious setup!  I especially like the float and the plumbing.  Beats having to pour buckets of water into something that high.
1 month ago