Jt Lamb

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since Jun 22, 2021
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Recent posts by Jt Lamb

There are some 50-lb bags of pasture seed mixes that have more native (to colorado) grasses and plants, and there are some 5-lb bags that are even better mixtures, but are apparently sold by the ounce. It's slightly possible that I went with the more frugal version, as there was more homesteader in me than permie, at the time.

On land like this property that was 100% pine with thick undergrowth, it was indeed a spot that was destined to burn, and needed only a "perfect storm" (red flag day, lightning strike or an idiot) to get it going.

At the micro-level of our individual properties, there is something we can do about it. Mitigation, in all its forms ... in this thread is one of the answers, and is how we are protecting our current property (40 acres) from that next perfect storm:

1 year ago
Don't think you are missing anything ... to summarize:

1. road access with named, county-accepted road leading to or alongside your property is GOOD ... all you'll need is an address and a driveway permit. This is actually best ...

2. land-locked piece of land, but there is some kind of non-county-accepted road leading to it; you can see this road easement (recorded at the county, and part of your property papers) and it is also GOOD! Read the fine print on the easement details.

3. your land fronts either a highway, or a frontage road next to a highway. This is GOOD (but you might have to jump through hoops to get a state/county driveway permit (with some engineering).

4. totally land-locked piece of property, and no recorded easement, no named road leading to this property ... this is BAD!

5. neighbors ... these are BAD (if you can see them) ... oh, wait ... I'm done with use cases! Strike this last one ...

Good luck!
1 year ago
All rural, undeveloped property typically has a dirt/gravel/roadbase road leading to it from the nearest official county road (which could also be dirt, or asphalt). Could even be just a "two-track" path through the grass.

Before purchasing any piece of land, investigate if the road leading to it is actually easemented and recorded as part of the property deed. Without the easement, the land is known as "land-locked", and is a HUGE problem! As in ... don't buy it!

In Colorado, no land is allowed to be land-locked ... you are always guaranteed to be able to drive over someone else's land to get to the land-locked piece. HOWEVER, the other landowners don't have to provide "free" access to it ... they can charge whatever they want each time you cross their land. Could be a dozen eggs, could be $1000. When their land changes hands, the deal is off and has to be renegotiated. It's impossible to live with and work with, so you just can't buy these things.

We looked at one piece of (beautiful) property, and the realtor never mentioned the land-locked aspect. As I'm digging thru property records, I suddenly catch on that it's in the middle of other properties, with no easement leading out to the nearest county road. Deal is dead, and I now warn everyone about that realtor, if asked.

Your state's laws could be different on this subject, so check those as well.

Hope this helps ... and don't use the realtor we first worked with ...
1 year ago
Note that the equipment is the operator's, not ours ... any equipment I have looks much more beat up and is perpetually near falling-apart stage! Only used equipment on our 40, some of which we unearthed (dug up) and put back into service ...

We paid a day rate for the equipment/operator, and my back cheerfully handed over the money ...!
1 year ago
Given the outlook for a tough fire season this year, with little rain/snow, and my miserable rate of clearing (a few feet at the perimeter per year), we made the decision to bring in a piece of equipment and "mulch-clear" the immediate acre around the house. Equipment operator (a fireman himself) uses a tracked skid-steer w/ Bull Hog mulching attachment (fecon.com)

In one day, all the brush and small trees, basically ladder fuel, was cleared/mulched from around the house, leaving large/viable pines behind which are now well-spaced out. We went from not being able to see 20' into the thick undergrowth to seeing hundreds of feet through the trees.

Lots of mulch on the ground, but now I can get at and work the land. We'll speed up working the mulch into the ground (with water, etc), and get some reasonable grasses and such growing. The sun actually hits the ground, now, instead of stopping up in the treetops. The pine duff layer has been broken up and I can actually see some of the dirt now, and can study and start to repair it.

Per the Colorado Forestry Service, these were suggestions for determining tree density and such:

1. no tree tops touching each other with the wind
2. keep only good/healthy trees; remove double/triple trunks, leaners, etc.
3. try for 80 trees/acre max density

With the brush cleared out, and the homestead structures much safer now, we can study the remaining trees, and selectively thin them out, per something like these rules (these need some research as well).

This, with New Mexico burning up not too far from us (we're eating the smoke on some days).

Hope this helps others, where they can't see the forest for the clogged under-story!
1 year ago
Agree w/ Anne ... some kind of buried utility box, either for water or something else. Can see the "lip" for the (iron) lid. Something like this one:


Perhaps your property's history might yield the clue, or a neighbor. If you've a metal detector, perhaps there are underground pipes leading away from it, and towards the answer.

Hope there's treasure at the other end (and not a meth lab or something)!
1 year ago
Thanks for the thumbs up!

We find the Micro:bit to be very powerful and useful, even outside the classroom;  it's a joy to do these lesson plans, but it's *way* more interesting to see what the children have come up with as additional projects!

Add to that the Permies Marketplace, which allows us to share them with everyone else ... a winning combination!
1 year ago
In S. Colorado, many folks here will "half-bury" the tank, build sides up with their choice of material, and build roof system ... this is for a large tank of 1000's of gallons, which in itself offers a bit of freeze protection for this area (too much water to freeze solid). The more you berm, or insulate w/ rigid sheets, the better.

Rigid insulation might become a highway for termites, or campsite for ants, so protect per your region (or use something different).

We use a grundfos water pump, w/ small internal reservoir, and this gives us about 40psi from our IBC (in a utility shed) to the rest of the system; it takes some power to get spinning, so might need a "kickstart" device in front of it.

Hope this helps ...
1 year ago
Site planning is everything, so much may be moot until you get closer to that perfect piece of land, and can see the lay of things. If you have to live in an 8'x16' space until the "big house" is built, you may not want the IBC & other utilities in there with you.

For water, dig a half-deep hole, plant the IBC, build rock- or cordwood-wall around it, cap with roof/hatch; this should be enough to protect it from 3 seasons (insulate for 4th season). Now your first "shed" is fully available for living in, vs storing utilities.

Given your particulars, I'd build an 8'x16' skid-platform (in a weekend); skids means temporary, so no codes (although you still build it "better than code") & no property taxes. See the "m-permieable" thread, here:

https://permies.com/t/178689/Permieable-TinyHome-Skids#1411968 (this is an 8'x12' platform, although it may get the tipi/yurt treatment until lumber prices come down, if ever)

Two end-walls with two a-frame walls later, you have a full a-frame structure with more than enough slope to shed U.P. snow load. Roof becomes siding, on the a-frame walls. End walls get the cordwood-wall treatment, for experience & visual appeal. If you extend the a-frame walls on either side (half-diamond pattern, if you can picture it), you end up with more front/rear porch area (could be decked later). This becomes guest house when you're done with it. If you are tall, as I am, many a-frame designs out there with a-frame wall "poke-outs", so no a-frame "slope-phobia".

Back half is kitchen/bath, front half is living ... either bed or storage in loft area (if you finish that out at some point).

Truck water to buried IBC, gravity dump ... small electric pump up to a-frame, and fill water carafe w/ 2.5gal jug on it. All utilities on common wall; spin carafe/jug, and it serves both kitchen sink and shower ... instant water supply.

Small gennie, battery-bank, inverter ... instant power.

Depending on your code/zoning, may need full OSSF (septic system ... not instant wastewater) before setting foot on the property, or portable camper toilets & portable blackwater tote ... instant wastewater (greywater onto the ground from shower area).

Did I forget any "instants" ... woodstove for heat (instant hvac, w/o the ac). Should also heat the water.

Really, REALLY helps to have a site plan to figure out how all systems tie together. Scratch one out on paper, adjust when the land is found.

Hope this helps ...

1 year ago