well, if you're looking towards a positive ROI and are not too far from a metro area, how about building a tiny house (on wheels or not, depending on your zoning regs) up in the woods and then doing an AirBnB? city folk like nothing more then to get out into nature for a few days.
on a tangent, next time you're in the city, go to the hippest area in town, walk into the boutiques/cafes/restaurants and keep your eye out for what is there that your land could now/potentially provide.
also, with that much forest and cash, i would definitely consider investing in a portable sawmill. and some infrastructure to harness energy from your environment.
wow, look at that, another dastardly "invasive" with supposedly super-medicinal properties
"Amur cork tree bark has a strong bitter taste and is best known as diuretic and cooling herb that stimulates the liver and gall bladder. It has been used traditionally to lower fever and to reduce blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
It has a strong antibacterial effect and has been used internally to treat diarrhea, dysentery, enteritis, vaginal infections, acute urinary tract infections, abscesses, tumors, jaundice, night sweats and skin diseases"
also, "A yellow plant color can be obtained from the tree’s inner bark. Oil can be extracted from the seeds and used as an herbal insecticide. The wood is hard and strong and is used in furniture making. The bark is often used as a substitute for cork."
sounds pretty useful. here's an interesting article on its invasive qualities:
"Once established, other Amur cork trees cluster around the original specimen and colonize the area. In this way the Amur cork tree is spreading rapidly through the forest.
Another reason why the Amur cork tree is on the rise is because it is not being targeted by foraging deer. While deer will occasionally browse on this exotic species, they generally prefer native species. The only native tree that Morgan observed to be on the increase in the New England woodland areas is the American beech, which is actually deer resistant and has a suckering habit."
so it behaves like the beech without the suckers but with possible supposed alleopathic qualities (further down in article). what i don't understand is, if both species produce a monoculture if left undisturbed, why the beech is okay and the amur is not okay, other than the beech is "native" and amur is "exotic".
it would seem to me that, as long as one is practicing proper land management, one would want any tree sapling that isn't going to be eaten to death before it has a chance to develop into maturity. in the case of the amur, it seems that proper land management would be to harvest the females for useful purposes (of which there are many) and leave the males. at least with the amur, there is not a suckering issue, like with the beech.
cris : have always thought that creative uses of kudzu could not only revitalize the textile industry in the South (they used to make a silk-like fabric from it in Japan), but also provide a legitimate source of fuel (there's a guy in TN doing just that, but i forget his name).
alder : been thinking in the exact same manner. the species that's causing the most damage to the trees in my neck of the woods is the wild grape, a native.
on a tangent, how do you feed your goats the cuttings you bring home? do you just throw them in a pile or do you have a feeder that's lifted off the ground?
john: yes, agreed, natives should be an integral part of every layer. that's not necessarily the issue, rather the apparent dogmatic approach of many native plant enthusiasts to the point of killing everything in sight that's not native with poisons without even considering why they're there in the first place. and vilifying anyone who doesn't agree with that approach and seeks to find alternative solutions. the more i think about it, the more i agree with paul's hypothesis of the herbicide companies in the background stirring the pot to stimulate an aggressive fear-laden response latent within a certain group of the population. that's how ideologies are born, no?
deer overpopulation and their consequent destruction of native habitats is the missing variable in all of this methinks, but that might be a can of worms best left unopened for now.
of course, we always should be thoughtful on what to introduce and where. as much as i would love to have a giant grove of running bamboo at my place like "crouching tiger, hidden dragon" (and could if i chose), and even if i could effectively manage it during my lifetime, that bamboo's gonna be there way after i'm gone, and i can't say for certain if someone after me is not going to let it get out of control and wreak havoc on the rest of the ecosystem.
think thrice (then think again), plant once.
this is exactly where i believe the argument goes askew into counterproductive land, where both sides harden into dogmatic positions. meanwhile, the discussion as to why those plants have appeared there in the first place gets lost in the thicket. why multiflora rose? why russian olive? why japanese knotweed? why tree of heaven? what are those plants telling us? aren't they a symptom of a deeper sickness that is going on?
as people who are passionate about that loose discipline called permaculture, perhaps we should be begin to be brave enough to start asking others those questions and take the thorns as they come.
the entire subject makes me so frustrated at times, i just wanna go plant some kudzu
(just kidding, for the record)
thank you for putting this out there. this subject has been at the forefront of my thoughts & conversations for the past 6 months. unfortunately, most people I've been speaking with refuse to even consider the viewpoint that you put forth. and even more unfortunately, those people have official sounding titles like "Arborists" & "Foresters". one of them who claims he's a "permaculturist" even he tried to convince me of the benign aspects of glyphosate to control the japanese siltgrass, even though he claimed he would never use it because it's against his company's "ethical principles". i surmised that he said that because the clients of his lawn care business complain every fall when their lawn turns brown (siltgrass is an annual that dies back every year).
the autumn olive is usually the conversation stopper, especially when i mention that it's a nitrogen fixer. they don't care, it must be eliminated, even though if you observe the tree (shrub), it does not outcompete other seedlings that are growing there and in fact, stops growing berries and dies back once the canopy fills in.
even the dreaded multiflora (can't tell you how many times i've cursed that plant) has its benefits. i've found several red & white oak seedlings growing admist the thorns of a mature bush -- seedlings that would have otherwise been decimated by the deer. i've asked this question several times : even if we could wave a magic wand and all the "invasives" would instantly disappear, what would grow in its place that could survive the deer penetration? the only answer i get is to put up an 8 foot deer fence. of course, they don't say how that fence is going to paid for, other than to do a tree harvest (out of which they will get a 15% cut naturally).
all of this to say is that i begin to wonder how much of the stubbornness to consider both sides of the issue is driven by selfish ulterior economic motives. sorry to say this, but i can't help but thinking it. especially when the people with official sounding titles are the ones who the people with official sounding titles who write regulations of what you can and can not intentionally cultivate on your property listen to when writing those regulations.
(disclaimer: munching on some tasty dried autumn olives while writing this rant.)
riffing off of Allen's idea of fern dishes, how about wild rice as well? i believe there's a species that grows well in climates like yours (remember seeing a bunch of people selling seed from MN).
on the medicinal tip, there's jewelweed (an annual, so you have to get seed, but you may have some already growing around). also, prunella vulgaris (self-heal). btw, i have found this summer that nastertiums thrive on the wet edge. also, river oats, though not sure if they'll survive the winters that far north. beautiful plant though.
you could also consider inoculating those logs with mushrooms or better yet, just wait for the mushrooms to show up. i bet at the least you'll get some turkey tail.
awesome subject...have a good chunk of woodland wetland as well that we're plotting. hopefully others will chime in with some good ideas.
@judith, re: jewelweed, you may wanna try cooking it up with some vinegar (apple cider or other that you don't mind putting on your skin) and sea salt. include the stalks of the jewelweed (that's where a lot of the good juice is, like aloe). use as much as you can without destroying the plant (so that it can seed next year).
then take the brew, throw it in a jar and stick in the fridge. when you get an itch (any itch), dab some on a cotton ball, and rub fairly vigorously. a little dab should do ya. i've used the above to amazing success this year, and i'm incredibly allergic to PI, and it's everywhere here (and i mean everywhere).
it's gotten to the point where when i find some PI, i just slap on some disposable nitrile gloves and go to battle with it, whereas i used to break out at the slightest touch.
also, if you got mugwort, i've also got in the habit of rubbing my hands and arms down with leaves first thing when i go outside, as i read somewhere that it may act as a preventative measure against the oils in PI. old witches tale maybe, but seems to work...and to keep the bugs away as well. i've gotten to the point where i'll make a garland out of some stalks, John the Baptist style, before i go out into the bush.
one last thing: stay away from the oil based soaps. Cetaphil works for me as a substitute.
of course, everyone's body is wired differently, so YMMV.
p.s. we got a monster wisteria as well. we've been ripping the vines up as we encounter them (not too difficult as they run close to the surface), stripping the leaves to throw in the garden as mulch. the problem is the solution, yes?
in case the other one was too nutty, a more conventional question:
there's been a long, unresolved discussion on permies on the reservations regarding the predominant use of conifers (pine, spruce, fir, cedar, etc.) in hugel-style earthworks due to their various alleopathic, acidic, anti-fungal & microbial properties. however, as i understand it, the Krameterhof was at one time a monoculture of conifers (fir, i believe, ja?). if this is correct, then were the conifers that were taken down used as the dominant material in any of the original earthworks that Sepp constructed?
if so, then was there any observation of any of the above properties and if so, how long did the effects occur? was there a remedy that was successful in mitigating them? was there a better alternative use for the conifer wood that was discovered in retrospect?
any thoughts to share would be very helpful to those who face a similar situation in rehabilitating a conifer desert on their land.
greetings everyone. yearlong lurker, first-time poster. first, want to extend a brief thanks to the permies crew & collaborators for the creation of such a valuable resource here. i've turned on so many people to these forums who have come away inspired & educated. you're having a profound effect in ways far grander than some of you may realize. this is truly a special place, thank you all for sharing.
please forgive me if my first post is from somewhere out in left field (hopefully not too far out to be considered an insurgent heretic first time out), however i've been noodling on a potential solution to a problem some of us are facing when constructing earthworks in the hugel style (whether beds, mounds or berms) and wanted to run it by the experts to see how crazy it really was.
here's the issue :: once one has a slash pile of smaller branches set up above the larger logs, some -- whether (a) they live in an urban/suburban area, (b) are building on top of the ground vs. digging a pit, and/or (c) want to construct at the heights that Sepp recommends -- are finding it difficult in procuring enough organic matter to fill in the gaps between the branches. and those who have enough, but in the current form of leaves or other raw fast decomposing matter, are concerned about the large amount of shrinkage in the first season as that raw material composts.
now here's the crazy idea :: (assuming that, for the purpose of this discussion, the materials are completely safe and non-toxic) could potentially other unconventional materials that would otherwise go into the wastestream or be "recycled", say glass bottles & organic textiles (old blankets, pillows, sweaters, etc.), also be used to fill the gaps between the branches in the slash?
the rationale behind it :: (1) to help those who have easier access to "trash" than organic matter build their mounds without having to buy & haul soil in, (2) to provide medium-term (textiles) and longer-term (bottles) stability to the mound, (3) to create underground water & air pockets/reservoirs (depending on directions they are placed), (4) to slow down the leaching of nutrients and (5) to add more texture/edge for the roots and the microbes.
thoughts are welcomed, even if it's to say that it's way too crazy to give it a second thought and stop wasting our time with such foolishness.
thanks for reading either way.