Odonata Hatfield

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since Feb 07, 2011
Ontario, Canada
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Recent posts by Odonata Hatfield


  Chanteclers are a great choice.  I'll be getting some this year.


  I've had Barred Rocks for three years now.  My older Roo got a bit of frostbite on his comb but other then that this breed as served me well in terms of cold hardiness.  This winter they regularly wander around in the snow (except when it's really windy) and lay consistently all winter.   

I'm changing this up a bit this year though and am going to get more ducks (runners) then chickens.  I got three at the end of the summer for the first time.  They stopped laying in January but other then that they're like little snow babies.  The cold and wet doesn't seem to phase them at all.  They even roll around in it.  They're also been great at helping keep the water feeders ice free on top for the chickens. 
7 years ago

  Oh dear.  Books!  I'm a certifiable bookie.  Over the years I've cut down on most every thing but books.  The hardest part about the move I made here was dealing with all my books.  I managed to get rid of several hundred but that was hardly a dent.     My problem is that most of the books I get are reference type books and things I refer back to year after year.  Sometimes I won't look at a subject area for a few years and then blam I'll be pouring over the shelf.  I don't buy fiction at all.  Those I'll get at the library.  I use the library a lot for other books but the unfortunately the system does not tend to carry the ones I really want to read.  I put in buying requests all the time though.  
  I know one of the biggest issue I'll have to deal with if my moving south plans go ahead is dealing with and most likely giving up a lot of my library.  It's gonna be tough.  I don't even like thinking about it.     
7 years ago

Rob S. aka Blitz wrote:
Oh no roundup for me, never!!

The strip Im working on is about 100 feet long and 5 feet wide. Are you saying that I shouldnt do the entire section but just small parts of it? The hardest part is getting all of the existing thick vegetation out of the way so I can get to the earth.



  I'm trying a sort of patch technique to get more native diversity into my meadow like area.  I only started last year so I don't know how well it's going to work.  I didn't want to till or scrape the whole area.  For one there is already some stuff in it and two it's a lot of work.    So what I've done is instead of clearing or digging the whole thing I clear a few 4X4 patches of most vegetation.  Just by digging and pulling.  In those patches I put in some native transplants and thrown down seed.  Then I just put down a thick layer of mulch material around those patches, enough to kill off the (mostly)  grass over a season.  So by late this summer  there will be more area without vegetation for the stuff in the patches to seed and move into more easily.  My hope is that if the plants in the patches get well enough established in terms of volume that they'll eventually start spreading out beyond the patches through their natural mechanisms. 

I also plan to take advantage of the mulched areas to grow some squash.  I've used this technique for the last two years as I've been expanding my actual garden area.  Mulch the area where I want the garden to expand to and just dig out enough to plant the squash.  The squash grows happily over the mulch while the mulch is killing the grass over the growing season and by next season there is a nice new patch of soil to work with.
7 years ago

PaulB wrote:
It's not anywhere near a crazy plan.  Many thousands of 'expats' live in central and south America.  I, myself, plan to be one someday.  Keep in mind that there are only two countries (outside of the carribean islands) that speak english: Belieze and Guyana.  Brazil speaks portuguese and the rest speak spanish, altho French Guyana speaks french and Surinam speaks dutch.

If you watch HGTV, you will notice a lot of people buying houses at prices that rival nicer homes in the US and Canada.  These people tend to be rather spoiled and want that millionaire lifestyle, which can be had, at a price.  If you set your sight a little more frugally, you can find lots of reasonable properties that you can fix up over time.

I agree, growing fruits and veggies year-round is a priority for me, too, and to do it in an ecologically friendly manner is even more important. 

Many adventures await you, some wonderful and some scary, such as insects you have never encountered before.  Make local connections, and find out how they handle some of the issues.

Be prepared for two seasons, wet and dry.  You might want to explore a bit in each of these seasons, so you know what to expect. 

Here is an online magazine that you might enjoy:  http://www.escapefromamerica.com/




Thanks Paul.  Cool that you're thinking about it too.     I think I have read most everything in that particular link already.  LOL  I've been scouring the internet for info for about a year now and corresponding with a few expats on various blogs who are in different countries.    It's been quite the education process.    I don't have any interest in a millionaire lifestyle and have the expectation that I'll basically be transferring how I live here to there with the difference being  more wiggle room with how far the finances that can be depended on will go.   Gated communities with uber nice houses with a maid and gardener are not for me.   More then likely we will end up building it from the ground up and it will likely be half the size of what we're living in now.  I know many people who retiree to the south like to take advantage of the difference in costs and upsize into something they could not afford here. House of your dreams sort of thing.  The house of my dreams is quite different then that.     In the right locale I'd be happy enough in a one room shack.

Have you considered which country you might go to yet?   Right now I've narrowed down my gosee list to Costa Rica, Panama, Belize and Ecuador based on various factors.    There's also an eco-village in Jamaica I'm considering looking into.    I haven't really looked at Guyana or Surinam though.    I'm not too concerned with the language thing or at least it's not a limiting factor that would rule some out.   In my past travels I've found that after spending time immersed in other languages for a bit I pick them up. They make sense in context.     I stink at studying them from books or in classes though.  
7 years ago
   My 'retirement plan' is a bit more crazy.  Here it goes....  
 
My husband and I have a ten year plan.  He a dozen of years older then me so is wanting to retire sooner rather then later.  Are plan most definitely has 'green' involved that's why we moved here a few years ago.   So right now he's working his butt off to pay for the establishment of our little place both resource wise and with the house itself.   It was a fire sale fixer upper type deal that we got for a steal in terms of cash. ( I didn't have potable water for two years. )It should be hopefully paid off mortgage wise next year.  In fact through some hard work and frugal living and planning we should be completely debt free by next spring.     Great, wonderful, so what are we planning to do, get into some more debt.... in this case down south, way down south, way way down south.  I'll be taking a trip next year to check out a few of countries.   I already have a change jar going to pay for the trip.  

  There's a number of  reasons we're considering this.    There's a big  differences in  general cost of living.  He does have a small pension from a stint in the military a dozen years ago which do to these countries wanting retirees to go there it makes it really easy.  Meet the threshold, which for most isn't high, 1000 or less in most and your in.   I can just tag along for the ride even though I'm far from retirement age and it's more then enough to easily live on.   Here living on it is a struggle.  Can be done but it's hard and it's only going to get more hard as years go on.  

I  also dislike winter more and more each year.  I thrive in a more moderate, warm and even tropical climate.   Every time I have traveled to somewhere like that I have felt more at home. More free and more healthy.    I hate wearing big shoes and boots and lots of clothes.   I like the idea of being able to grow something and harvest something year round.   It may sound silly but I really, really love tropical fruit, not the fruit you get here that's been picked unripened, shipped and then ripened.  Bleh.    A trip to Florida to visit my grandparents ruined me forever.  There, for a week I ate tree ripened mangos and starfruit  and there is just no comparison.  I want bananas that haven't been shipped green.   I barely touch any of that stuff now because it doesn't taste as good and it's not local.  I want to be able to have these things as viable local food sources.    Yes I know.  So selfish.    

Another thing is that more and more each year communities are being set up in these countries similar to intentional communities in Canada and NA and all based on green and or permaculture principles.  I've looked into a lot of these options closer to home but have written them off, financially they don't work and in the case of the US it would be difficult to immigrate and then there is the issue of cost of living once you get there.  There's a couple of places in Canada that look cool and we could probably do but that wouldn't address the "I don't like winter much" issue.  
Also looking towards the future where aging becomes a factor this type of living is quite appealing.  I like the idea of sharing a farm and getting the benefits from a farm without being solely responsible for every single little thing.    In the case of other countries it also helps mitigate issues around security.    I also like how this style of living helps with the being stuck factor of farming.  This is the one drawback that I don't like.   Going away for even a few days means a whole lot of organizing to make sure everything gets taken care of.  

Plus the big reason, is my yearning for adventure. I have always loved living in different places and dreamed of moving and living completely somewhere else.  I've always wanted to learn spanish or another language.  I dig different cultures.  Best times of my life have been traveling with a pack and discovering new places.    I'm only going to live once.  Might as well stop just being wishful.  

 So the general plan is to not just jump right in and go.  I'm not able to do that quite yet for a few reasons.  Plus I may end up not liking it and don't want to cut all ties and be stuck.   So I'm planning it in stages.  First are visits to a number of these places to get a feel of what they're like in reality.  Then if I find a good place purchasing a piece and using work here to pay for there and during that time period spending time building what I'm doing here there during the winter months which is the main growing season there.     Whether long term I'll eventually sell everything off here and move completely will depend.  I'm a bit leery of jumping in a doing that right away because I do have aging parents to consider.  Right now their health is fine but it's just a fact of life that they're at an age where anything can happen.   If we do end up going more full time in 5 years time then we may just rent this place out for a few years.  

 The overall plan though is to have everything in place within ten years so that we could feasibly just go and live quite comfortably on the pension that already exists but we're not going to cut off all options here either.    It's also a bit of safety plan for me because  if God forbid something happens to my husband I will at least have his pension.  I don't have one myself and failed to invest properly when younger (corrected that now) and don't have any prospects on the horizon of a career that would lead to some security.  


 I think it's all well a good to consider retirement under the idea that we're both going to be around and both be in good enough health to keep doing what we are doing now to a point.  Who really wants to think otherwise?  Of course I'm going to be on my feet and in my garden until the day I keel over.  I'm working hard to keep my and my husbands health in good order so this will happen.   However realistically I think it's smart to not only plan for that and have nothing else to fall back on.  


So there you go...  my crazy green retirement plan.  
7 years ago

  I've been using bottles as waters for a few years now.  I got the idea after reading about the terracotta pot method.  No way I could afford to buy those pots so decided to try a substitute.  So far it's worked fine.

I plant the bottles in the soil when I plant the seeds or transplants.    I use them mainly for squash, tomato plants and large containers.    I just poke some holes around the base of the bottle and stick it in the ground beside the plant.  I use 2 litre ones for squash and pumpkin and 1 litre's for tomatoes.  In my containers I generally stick them in the middle of it and plant everything around it.  Then if they need water I just remove the lid which sticks about the ground and pour water right in.  They're also great for using things like compost tea or other liquid fertilizing methods.  I waste less. 

I've also used the jamming method with other plants if they look a bit wilty.  Also usually with perennials that have just been planted and are in their first year where they need a bit more water oompf until they are established.  I find I use way less water, the water gets to the roots instead of sitting on top of the ground and I don't have to worry about getting to them everyday.   
7 years ago

Ludi wrote:
I have to point to myself as someone who is doing permaculture the slow and wandering way.....slowly wandering along trying to figure out the better way to grow things in my difficult location.  I've certainly done some things that were "less good" and am now finally employing some practices which are "more better" (hugelkultur!  )



Me too.  I have  quite a few 'well that didn't really work like I thought or that book said' experiences as well as quite a few 'accidental' discoveries.  This is my fourth year in this particular place and I'm only now feeling like I'm figuring it out. 
7 years ago


  Also wanted to comment on the notion of a wrong way of doing it.  There is no 'wrong' way or at least not in the sense that there is some sort of permaculture dictates that everyone everywhere has to follow.  For one one of the foundational principles is that it is a philosophy of place and your 'place' is the determining factor of what's right or wrong.  What works well for some people in one place may not work so well for some people in another place.  Some techniques work better for some situations and not for others. 

What a teacher can provide whether charging money or not are tools, techniques and experience for figuring out how to make it work in your particular place.  They can't tell you exactly how to do it in detail because your place does that part of the teaching.  Your place determines the rightness or wrongness of whatever it is you end up doing. 
7 years ago
 
   I have been doing permaculture for years in one way or another.  Never taken a full course.  Been to a couple of workshops and talks some free some with minimal expense and spent a lot of time learning from other people in person or the net or volunteering, from books and most importantly from nature itself.

As for making a living?  Well it's great if one can manage to find a piece of land big enough and figure out how to feed, cloth, shelter and live without the out lay of any cash or cash equivelent whatsoever and be comfortable within the confines that such a lifestyle would contain.     If not some cash has to come from somewhere.  I don't consider money any sort of be all and end all.   It's just a tool like any other tool.   I don't live to make money.   I live and making some money is part of that living process because I simply can't do and supply absolutely everything from my own tiny piece of paradise without having a bit of cash.   

And as the commenter above brought up.  I have yet to find away to pay my property taxes with carrots or beans. 
7 years ago

RustysDog wrote:
In its original context, Capitalism meant letting your surplus capital generate more capital for you.  (Why should I work if my money can work for me?)



  Yes.   

  And just to get a little more quibbly Capitalism is not defined as something that makes profits.  Where other systems aren't 'no profit'.  It's more about ownership structure and how it's used.    In Capiltalisms case private ownership of the capital that makes that makes the profit (any money above and beyond costs)    A publicaly owned business still can make a profit it's just used differently.    A business, like a farm, that is owned by all the people (a collective or a cooperative)  that work in it still has to generate a profit in order to survive long term just like a farm that is owned by someone who uses employed labor to get the job done.    In either structure no surplus beyond costs means no business long term.

  I've worked in businesses that are set up under a non-profit structure.  The descriptor is a bit of misnomer.  It's not that they don't nesscessarily generate any profit (surplus) it's just that the way it is used and distributed is different.  The employees receive their wages or salary's and any surplus is used for the business or org in whatever way the regulations of that specific business says they will be and usually under the direction of whatever the governing structure is, usually some sort of board of directors.  The business itself 'owns' the profit.

  In an exact same business running under a sole proprietor or partnership structure whether incorporated or not the owners 'own' the surplus(profit)  and decide what to do with it.  Whether that's taking whatever amount for themselves or investing it back into that business.

  In the same business that is worker owned, surplus is owned by everyone equally and the collective decides how to distributed. 

  In the same business that is owned by a State the state owns the profit and decides how it is distributed. 
7 years ago