I hadn't thought about the possibility of an llc. At one point, we did create a business entity, thinking we might pursue a farm business. We've still got the name, so we could potentially resurrect that.
Does anyone have any thoughts of a good place to learn more about the possible benefits/problems with taking it in a non-profit vs. for profit direction? My main reasons for wanting to go one of these ways vs. simply renting straight out would be to be able to offer the opportunity at a cost significantly below the going rental rate in the area so that it would be affordable to those choosing to live a life not dependent on 9-5 work, but at the same time make it possible for my family to do the same.
As for stimulating interest, we live in an area that on one hand is very built-up suburban sprawl, but that on the other has a vibrant local food community and a few really good connections organization-wise that I think we could use to help get the word out. I'm hoping?
I really am not sure where this question best belongs, so please feel free to move it as needed.
My family (DH, two kids) live on 2.75 acres in a suburb with a rural setting. We've been here 7 years and have been developing it into a working homestead (garden, orchard, animals, solar, greenhouse, etc.). For a couple reasons, I have been kicking around the idea of potentially renting it out for a year to someone/a family who would like to either give living on a homestead a try, or someone who doesn't own land but has a project that would fit within our vision for the place that they'd like to try (maybe playing around with forest gardening, or mushrooms, etc.). The idea would be to find a way to share what we have here by providing a space at low cost on a temporary basis to someone who could benefit from the experience and then find a way to pass along that benefit by teaching others, or sharing some of the results of their work.
My questions would be:
1. has anyone done this or know of someone who has
2. do you think there would be a market for this
3. any idea if there might be grants out there/a way to create a nonprofit of sorts to help make the cost of rent minimal, so as to make it a possibility for folks who don't have lots of money
In the interest of trying to be brief, I'm sure there are lots of details I've left out and I'm happy to fill in the blanks.
I'd like to get our well water tested but am not sure the best way to go about it. Our county will test it, but only for bacteria, lead & nitrates. I'd like a much more thorough check - with pesticides, VOCs, metals, etc. I found a national lab that does that, but it's so expensive! So - not really knowing what I'm doing I wanted to learn more about what kind of cost I should expect, if there are any particularly trusted labs, &/or anything else that would be helpful to know. Thanks!
Thanks - that's really helpful. I'm definitely leaning toward optimizers as the way to go, as we will have multiple orientations and possibly a small amount of shading on a portion.
Are there any downsides to optimizers?
Sean Kelley wrote:As far as maintenance if you did ever have to replace an optimizer or micro it usually involves removing a few modules to access the problem child, which is not a big issue as long as you have that detailed in the contract that you sign will your installer.
Can you explain what it would look like to have that detailed in the contract?
Thanks - that's what I like about the micro inverter system, from what I know. But also a concern about more parts to have trouble with. I've been told that central inverter systems are more efficient - anyone know if this is true? We might also have a split between south and west, and I hadn't thought about how that might be a good reason to go with micro, based on the different faces.
I also just learned in conversations with two different companies today about optimizers - a hybrid, it sounds like, between micro & central? Anyone know more about this? Any idea if optimizers would address the issue with the split between south & west facing arrays?
Apologies if this topic has already been addressed - did a quick search but didn't find the answer - feel free to point me to it if it's out there.
My husband and I are working on contacting local solar companies about our options for a grid-tied system. So far we have had one company quote on a micro-inverter system, and one on a central inverter system. They've both told me the reasons they do each particular type. But I'd like to hear from folks who are objective, and who have experience with one or both re: pros/cons/things to consider.
Happy to provide any info about our site/needs that would be helpful.
Thanks everyone! I did go ahead and partly disassemble the wheel, then wipe it down with a wet rag soaked in a mild soap/rosemary & tea tree oil mix. Once it was dry I rubbed it down with tung oil with some rosemary & t.t. oils added. So far so good!
My husband and I are doing some thinking about what route we want to take going forward with our homestead. One of the ideas in play is to buy some land and build a small house largely on our own. But - it seems like an overwhelming process to even think about. We'd love to connect with someone(s) who have had the experience roughly in the NE Ohio/W PA area, though a bit farther afield would be welcome, too.
We have lots of questions, from what to look for in a piece of property, to how to go about planning and siting the house, to the building process. Any input would be great - thanks!
Yes - sewing machine oil just on the moving parts! I've already got it, so that's why I'd use that.
I really don't think the wheel has a finish on it, though I can look around to see what options might have been available - it just doesn't feel or look like it's got anything on it.
So I'll just plan to use a mix of soapy water with some anti-fungal essential oil for cleaning (will take a look at the diagram - I was lucky and it came with the manual - to see about taking it apart or cleaning as is). Then rub some wood oil on. I think we have some tung.
I'm not crazy about plastic bags, either, but as "everything" made of natural materials seems to be molding at the moment, it's the best solution for now. I'll try adding some lavender oil, too.
The wheel is an Ashford Kiwi - a good compact fit for our small house. It was a craigslist deal, used briefly by a man of many interests and he just decided it wasn't worth it for the small amount of time he used it (funny enough, I think he was a weaver, also, and found himself spending more time on the weaving).
So - I believe that it is not finished at all (which, I realize I probably should remedy, but feel intimidated by doing - and when I got it, I just wanted to start spinning...)
When I clean it with a damp/soapy cloth with some vinegar/lemon juice, should I take it all apart to make sure I get it all, or do you think I'd be fine just leaving it together?
And then yes, I'm hoping to get back to using it a lot
Then re-oil it with a mix of a good furniture oil (compatible with what is on there already) and anti-fungal essential oils of your choice.
What about sewing machine oil? That's what I've used before. Also, about the anti-fungal essential oils:
1. I only have a small amount of experience with eos - what are some good anti-fungals?
2. Do you think it would be ok to add a few drops to the soap/water/vinegar cleaning mix? Though the air is starting to dry out such that it might not be an issue - I've cleaned so many moldy things this summer that need to be cleaned again after a week or so - if there is something I can do to try to prevent having to re-clean the wheel, that would be great.
I think I would be more concerned about moths showing up in the wool on the bobbins........I use a little lavender oil in any wool that I store. Is the wool moldy or mildewed also? I think that will weaken it.
How do you apply the lavender oil to the wool? After I realized how moldy my spinning things were getting, I did bag up all the wool that was skeined that I've spun in plastic zip-lock bags. Is this protection enough?
I'm not positive about mold/mildew - one of the bobbins does smell/look like there is some on the wood. The other (the one I'd really like to save) - doesn't look as obvious. Would it be possible to wash it with some gentle soap and anti-fungal eos?
Last winter I was gifted a spinning wheel, and when things got busier this spring and summer, it sat idle for a few months. We have a real problem with mold/mildew, and by the time I thought to look, it already had quite a bit of growth (though not sure what I could have done, had I thought of it earlier...). We've started to fire up the woodstove again, so the air is drying out and I'd like to take the wheel apart and clean it thoroughly so that I can spin again. Any tips? (And what about the singles that I had stored on bobbins on the wheel - should I wash these now, or let them be and just wash once they are plied?)
I just want to say, first of all, thank you so much, to everyone who has responded! The amount of information and ideas has been more than I expected, and very helpful. (A little overwhelming to take in all at once, but very helpful!)
I will have to go back and read things over a few more times probably, but a couple quick things:
1. The idea of looking into a home performance contractor makes much more sense, and I'm in the process of finding someone local. I never would have thought of that, but I think the holistic/systems approach makes a lot of sense.
2. Something my husband mentioned that I hadn't thought of in terms of changes to the structure of the house is that x number of years ago (maybe a decade?) the previous owners put in a patio that butts up to the back of the house. We've noticed some heaving of the pavers right against the outside wall (this is the side of the house over the crawl space). So that's something to look into, too.
3. As far as fracking/well drilling - could be. I don't know of any right nearby, but this is a big area for it, so could be? OH! I don't know if this could have had any effect, but just thought of it - 2 summers ago, I believe, there was a waterline put in along the road in front of our house, and our house is pretty close to the road. We talked to someone prior to the work about possible effects on the foundation, and were told there would be no negative effects. Not sure if that could be an issue, though?
4. Matu - no worries. I get it - I'm tired of this and frustrated with the ongoing issues and part of me does want to just move on and start fresh somewhere that doesn't have this issue. But - this house does have a lot of meaning to us, so for that and other reasons we want to do our research and figure out what we're dealing with and what it will take to fix it before deciding.
5. Why don't install a vapor barrier on the stone foundation? We were considering one on the basement ceiling, not the foundation - but curious why.
He'll tell you, "You've got a moisture problem in the basement, causing mold growth downstairs and upstairs. You should get it dry so we can remove the mold for you."
This is the thing - while I can understand why a remediation guy would want things dried up before they remove the mold - I have cleaned and recleaned enough things to have experience there... So obviously we need to deal with the source of the problem and take care of that before any real "final" cleaning/mold removal can happen. But what about the meantime? Assuming we talk to someone, figure out a plan that will address the root issues and decide to go ahead with it. That would be months, before we'd have it "dry". I'm concerned about what we're living with/breathing in in the meantime. Hopefully things will get better, as we're getting into winter and the wood heat will dry things out. But I really want to understand just how much mold we're breathing in, and if it's something that's going to have any real negative effects on our health. None of us is obviously very sick from it, but we do have allergies, and I do notice my throat burning if I stay too long in certain areas of the house, etc... None of that can be good. Not sure if that is something that a home performance contractor would be able to do?
Again - I imagine I've missed some things - I'll have to read through it all again. But thanks!
Brian - interesting idea about a home performance contractor instead - I've no doubt the home could benefit from an energy audit - but right now the mold/moisture is a much bigger issue, I think - not sure that a home performance contractor would be the best to help us figure that out?
Is it possible to do our own radon test, or does that require a contractor/inspector?
Bill - as a certified mold inspector - can you give me an idea of what it would look like to have a certified mold inspector out? What would that person look at, what would they be able to tell me in terms of 1. the extent of the problem and 2. what specifically we would need to do to a) fix the source of the problem and b) clean up the existing mold?
Allan - thanks so much for such a thoughtful and detailed response! We do have gutters on both eaves, and just replaced the downspout on the back with a larger one, found where it drains (into a creek maybe 100+ ft from the house) and cleaned that out so it is able to drain more fully. We also extended the drainage for the front downspout.
We have a sump pump in the basement already. We're looking at opening up some windows that were sealed in order to add some ventilation.
The basement is not a walk out, though it has outside cellar doors.
The house itself sits up on a hill. It's possible that some regrading would need to be done, but there's no obvious slopes toward the house - something to check out though, as I'm sure even slight grades would be an issue.
There are no areas of standing water in the yard, even after heavy rains & spring snow melt. The closest we come would be in the NW corner, maybe 50 or so feet from the house, the ground stays muddier longer.
We replaced the roof a year after we moved in - complete tear off of the cedar shakes (i.e. "topsoil") and replaced with standing seam metal roof. So I think it's safe to say there are no pipes going down into the cisterns. Our best guess is groundwater seeping in through cracks?
Driveway is gravel, not immediately next to house (20/25'?) and it the sides rise up higher on both sides - we get a little bit of a river running down it, to the road, but nothing obviously pouring off the sides.
No porches/etc. have been removed from the house.
We do have vegetation close to the house that needs to be removed.
Right, no vapor barriers at this point, so that's one thing we need to look into - both in the cisterns (&/or filling them) and on the basement ceiling.
We do have a fan in the bathroom to help with the moisture. I'm sure we could find a more efficient one.
Getting a humidity gauge would help too, or at least be interesting to see how high the level is...
Does anyone have experience working with any professionals for either an evaluation of existing mold problems &/or remediation? Anything I should look for in finding/working with someone?
Matu - obviously moving is an option (though not sure what the interest level would be fore potential buyers if the reason we're leaving is a mold problem...) and it's one we're considering. But it seems to make sense to get a professional opinion of what we're looking at.
Alex - thanks for the ideas re: fixing the source of the problem.
Kate - I'm curious about the UV light - I've never heard of that - can you tell me more about it, or point me to where I could learn more?
Yes, we absolutely have a moisture problem. Our basement is constantly wet - not just seasonally. It's got stone walls, built on the bedrock/dirt and it's a matter of if it's just muddy or if there's a little stream running through it. It's obviously too wet. We have two large unused (but still filling with water) cisterns against the house on one wall, and our understanding is that these are likely a big source of the water, so we've got it on our list to have someone out to give us ideas about how we can deal with that.
But - the other thing is that the basement moisture is not confined to the basement, especially because there are cracks in some places between floorboard (original flooring in several rooms) where you can see down to the basement. So there are all kinds of places where the moist air is coming up. The bathroom is an issue, but I really think the main issue is the basement. So that's what we would need to look at for fixing the source of the problem.
In terms of the mold/mildew in the living space though, that is my big concern, is that it is everywhere. It is on books, furniture, cloth, walls, etc. etc. Not an easy clean-it-with-bleach fix. And what I do clean is moldy again shortly afterward. There are certain places where if I sit for too long, my throat starts to burn because of breathing in the musty/moldy air. So what I don't know is where to start, to find out just how pervasive a problem it is in the living space - and then what would be involved in dealing with the existing mold once we dealt with the source (which is a whole other issue).
Hi - I'm new here, so taking a stab & hoping this is a good place to post the following - feel free to redirect me!
My family & I live in a wood frame home built in the 1830s. We've been here 5 years, and have always had some problems with mold/mildew. It's getting much worse, to the point where I'm concerned about the health ramifications. My husband and I are in the middle of discussions about where we're headed in terms of dreams/goals and where we are living is of course a big part of that picture. We both love the house and there are a lot of reasons to stay put. But - that said, the mold is a huge issue that we need to look into before we could decide to stay here long term or not. So, my initial question is first how to go about getting an understanding of the extent of the problem (i.e. is it really as big & insidious an issue as I suspect, or am I blowing it out of proportion. I could look around for a mold remediation specialist, but I'd be concerned the answers we'd get would be biased, especially if I go into an evaluation without knowing the important questions to ask, etc. The other concern then is what might we be facing in terms of the actual remediation & possibility of it lasting. We've got a "river runs through it" type basement built on the bedrock, which is no doubt the main source of the problem.
So - I would love to hear from anyone with experience dealing with mold (old house or not), or any ideas for steps to take, questions to ask, resources to check out, etc.
Just learned about this site from my husband as we were talking about what our next steps are. Very short intro: we live in an almost 200 year old home in the rural suburbs of NE Ohio with our boys and are looking to create a homestead. Well - really we have been in small steps for the last decade or so, but after 7 years of getting into the swing of having kids, etc., we're at a point where we're looking to figure out what our dreams are now & make some changes to work toward those more intentionally and in a real way. So we're in the midst of figuring out what that looks like now.
So glad to have found this - just the short time I've had so far to look around, it looks like it will be a wealth of information! So, looking forward to that, and would also love to connect with some folks roughly in the Cleveland/Akron area, if there are any around...