I have no experience growing onions. But I planted potatoes and some flowers using Eric's fertile hole suggestions (essentially a hole filled with compost and the onion set). You don't need as much bagged stuff to do that, so you can spring for a more expensive compost. Add some shredded leaves, maybe, or leaf mold if you have some of that.
I had moderate success with the potatoes. Some of them rotted, so I conclude that (due to the drought) I was watering too much!
I, too, know someone (who burned brush without knowing there was poison ivy in it) who landed in the hospital, struggling to breathe, and had a long, slow recovery. Do not burn it!
If I have to be anywhere near it, I cover my hands and anything else exposed with Technu. I put plastic backs over my shoes. I immediately throw all my outside clothes into the washer, before taking off my gloves. Then I throw my gloves in, and then I wash off the Technu and begin scrubbing. I have had bad cases that required courses of steroids to bring down the swelling.
I did get rid of some by covering it with a heavy tarp and mulch for two years. It did creep around out from the edges, and I covered those creepers up too. Spraying never helped. I like the borax idea!
People allergic to PI should also avoid raw cashews. The itch comes as it leaves the body . . . I will spare you any other details!
I'm so glad that the options are becoming clear and you're able to get both the antibiotics and the herbal medicine.
Rest. And don't fret too much about the cognitive difficulties. That's easy for me to say; I am retired and was able to extricate myself from the work I had committed to. But although it took several months to get completely better, it did steadily improve. It was nice to have my brain back. Too bad the forced isolation of the pandemic has caused this brain to wander again!
The idea is that I can decide to do a savory, Italian, or Mexican dish, with "fresh" herbs, on a whim. I make use of all the organic, fresh herbs I have and use them at their best. I used a savory disk to flavor a small meatloaf last night, for example. If I want to do marinara, it's one package of generic tomatoes, onion, celery or bell pepper + 1 Italian disk. Chili? Same thing, except use Mexican herbs.
I thought of this while driving by a house that has one. Maybe you'll want to use an outdoor wood furnace or boiler in the house when it's built. Buy now, temporary hookup for the trailer? I'm not sure it's possible, but it probably is. A boiler would require some sort of water-based heating system inside the trailer.
I live with an overpowered wood stove in a small house, and our biggest concern (aside from roasting ourselves) is creosote buildup, since we tend toward smaller and less hot fires than the stove was designed for. And we paid special attention to the fireproofing over, under, and around the stove, because it really produces more heat than we can use except on the coldest days. While it costs more, the insulated stovepipe has been really good for helping us sleep at night.
Is there a road in to it? You need to price that in. You can find out from the electric company how much it will cost to run electricity out there. Ditto a septic tank - find the company that will install it and get an estimate. If there's a well or other water available, have it tested. You would be amazed - we installed $5,000 worth of water filtration to remove all sorts of unlikely things, including radiation! (Granite in Vermont often has little bits of radium in it - who knew?)
Is it close enough to where you work for you to continue your day job? You described it as "the middle of nowhere;" you'll need income to pay for it all (shelter, seeds, equipment, tree seedlings, and all the rest). Will you build your own shelter? Off-grid? Solar? Talk to the zoning administrator in the town to find out what sort of shelter will be required. Check zoning laws for whether livestock is allowed.
Is there any forest on the land? Harvesting wood can be helpful for building and heating. You mention avocados and lemons, so perhaps it's warm year-round. Find out the history of the land - make sure it wasn't someone's hazardous waste dump or something.
Start reading about farming! Try Joel Salatin - his books are well respected and give you an idea about what needs to be done, and what is possible.
Best of luck! When you need more specific advice, include your geographic area (USDA zone in the US, or state, no need to be super-specific).
I've never had Lyme. But last year I got another tick-borne disease, anaplasmosis. It wrecked my judgment very badly (I couldn't figure out how to work my digital thermometer that I'd had for years). Thus, I waited too long for medical treatment and ended up hospitalized with sepsis.
While I was physically quite sick, and had the worst headache of my life (think: railroad spikes into the skull), the worst symptoms were the loss of cognitive functioning. I was doing occasional work as a forensic psychologist, and a month after I got sick, I found myself completely unable to finish a report that was due, and very aware that I was utterly unable to get on the witness stand and testify. (Not because I couldn't do that normally - it was my career. Because I couldn't concentrate and my judgment was impaired.)
It DID get better! It took months.
But that was my disease, and I'm hoping it's not yours.
My advice? Take the antibiotics, all of them, and get more if the symptoms haven't disappeared. The treatment for leftover Lyme disease (many people seem to have an extended set of symptoms, kind of like Covid, after they've "recovered.") is long-term antibiotics, and you don't want that if it's at all possible to help it. So take the meds and eat yogurt or other probiotic food, especially right after you finish the meds. The accepted wisdom in the medical community is that this doesn't exist (the long-term symptoms). So be sure it's knocked out now, so you don't have to fight with doctors later.
I wasn't aware of or thinking about any alternative treatments when I was sick, but it seems like a good thing to investigate. Be sure to check for drug interactions with the herbal remedies. drugs.com has a great tool for interactions, and includes many supplements; it might help. You sure don't want to be taking anything that messes with the actions of the doxycycline, or whatever you're taking.
My heart goes out to you! Wishes and prayers for rapid healing! (Most people do.)
Lorinne, thank you so much. My little Chihuahua, age 20, is declining. He is going blind and deaf and his sense of smell seems to be failing, as well. I have felt guilty for wanting to end it because of his incontinence - I clean up multiple times a day.
His sole joy is lying in the sun on the porch. I expect he may die peacefully at home soon, but your post (particularly about joy) makes me think I should consider euthanasia now regardless of his incontinence.
He can’t frolic outside any more because he can’t see well enough. Even last week he sometimes still did that. So little joy. It might be time.
I’ve seen people “train” summer squash to climb, sort of. But it’s not natural at all. I have butternut and turban (buttercup) both climbing on trellises this summer. I have saved some mesh bags (like onions and potatoes come in) to support them if they get big enough to need it.
I doubt they will. First frost expected this weekend, and they aren’t even close.
Any solar warmth you can add to the coop would be a plus, as would insulation. But don’t shut off the ventilation. They could be in danger from a buildup of ammonia inside the coop. Not that you were planning to make it airtight, just posting a general warning.
If you go the way of nipples, only use horizontal nipples. The vertical ones can freeze up.
I have a small (2 gallon?) heated waterer. It’s thermostatically controlled. It was a lifesaver from having to go break the ice repeatedly. They don’t love drinking from those nipples, but they do it. Mine also get mash made with warm water in the morning, and this is a big favorite. They also eat snow!
It’s hard to add anything to what Jay has advised! It’s hard to raise your chickens from afar. There are several ways to get them all in before closing the door at night, but not if you are off site.
Having a light inside the coop that goes off after the door closes, as Jay advises, is a good method. They’re attracted to the light, can see their way in, and as long as it goes off before they go to sleep, it shouldn’t disrupt them.
Can you shut the barn doors and make it harder for them to go elsewhere?
Many people will tell you that landscape cloth does let the roots through! I think it would work. Just don't use it for its intended use. It keeps weeds down for a year or so, then the falling leaves, mulch, and whatnot join with weed seeds to grow on top of it. Pulling that whole mess up requires serious strength! So at least for crabgrass, creeping Charlie, and dandelions the answer is yes, the roots will go through!
I don't know much about air pruning, but I'm sure someone will be along who has experience with it.
I think it's going to be essential to stay dry. Wet and cold is a disaster. And have a contact, someone who (when they don't hear from you when you are supposed to check in) will send the rescue folks. Cell phone service is likely to be quite hit-or-miss; you might want to consider a satellite phone.
Getting around in the snow/ice of winter is so much harder. Snowshoes and microspikes are important. You're in for broken bones if you're traveling on ice without cleats. Yaktrax are great for around town on ice, but in the woods you need to step it up a bit. As others have mentioned, keeping warm will require more calories. And hot food makes a huge difference.
I'm jealous. I wish I had done this, when I was younger. Not so likely now.
Knowing nothing about the land in your part of the world, I can only suggest that you plant native species and give them an extra boost. Maybe amend a small patch, water it (not too much) and give your favorite natives a chance to catch hold. Maybe they will build a fertile or even a water-harboring spot and take hold and spread.
This post reminds me of the homestead
Featured in Gaia’s Garden, where the family carefully directed their water and created an amazing, lush, shady, beautiful homestead right in the middle of the desert!
Researchers have pondered this question, and looked into what is likely to happen in a major disaster. They look to what people do in disasters of smaller scale.
People have a tendency to band together, help each other, and promote community in disasters. Of course there will be outliers - there are always people who feel outside of their community. The television, movies, and even "Lord of the Flies" teach us that it's every [wo]man for himself. That's not how it tends to work out.
Cam Lee wrote:
The logistics are the hard part. Living in an urban area, I’m wondering how to go about this kind of intentional neighborliness. Knocking on doors doesn’t seem quite the same when we’re all living I apartments and triplexes. Plus with covid-19, I’m not keen to organise an in-person block party. Still brainstorming things to start with in these times... any suggestions welcome :) how do you plan to (intentionally) make those connections?
While they can sometimes be superficial, lame, or mean, local virtual networks or Facebook pages can be a good way to begin connecting during Covid. One option is nextdoor.com, which sorts people by neighborhood. In Vermont, we have a statewide set of neighborhood emailing lists, frontporchforum.com.
These are exciting organizations that set up spreadsheets with needs requested by members. Such things as dog-walking during an illness, dropping off a grocery order, and the like have been lifesavers during major lockdowns, and have built networks of caring in urban as well as other neighborhoods.
At 67, I'm joining in the chorus of elders discussing "the rheumatism," that gets worse in the cold, "liniment," for the rheumatism, you see, and proximity of first-class medical care. I've discovered that despite my attempts to keep healthy and fit, I'm slowing down and needing to lift less heavy loads, and having more appointments for physical therapy.
My back-to-the-land dreams at 62 are different than the ones I had at 22. We purposely bought a house with a first-floor bedroom and bathroom. I moved to Vermont because I love it here and always wanted to move back. I'm not truly homesteading, and I've never lived off grid. I'm a permaculture gardener and chicken keeper, and we heat with wood, but otherwise living a somewhat conventional life in the country.
It is so hard to imagine ourselves as less energetic, more frail, and more frightened of falling/getting a deadly virus than we were 10 years ago. But it does happen. Make sure you have an exit plan.
In my experience, asparagus spreads slowly. I'm growing a variety called Jersey Knight, I think. It hasn't spread yet! except to add a stem or two, in two years.
I like to put garlic around the outsides of my raised beds. It does get in the way a little bit, but it repels a number of pests. Deer repellent that you buy in the store has a lot of garlic in it.
A trellis on the stump will shade some of your bed. It isn't until late in the summer that my beans, squash, and cucumbers are thick enough on their trellises to create real shade. The carrots, kale, and tomatoes that catch a bit of shade don't mind it in August.
Your first garden won't be perfect. Hooray! Worry less!
And look around at photos here of gardens. Some are aesthetically divine, others are more of a Jackson Pollock jungle. If you ask for advice, you’ll get frank advice, but shaming is not allowed here. So if you have a question that should be illustrated, add photos!
We were all new once. Not something to be embarrassed about!
When I was eradicating some very persistent poison ivy with smothering, I asked a friend for advice. "Cover it with black plastic for two summers (and the intervening winter etc.)." I was stunned, but then knowing how many times PI has come back after being sprayed, dug, apparently smothered, etc., it turned out to be good advice.
This sounds (unsurprisingly) like my husband and chicken math. He was kicking and screaming before I brought home 4 chicks, begrudgingly built a coop, and complained incessantly. We lost two (including his favorite) this spring. I recently bought (with his great encouragement) two new pullets! I can tell he thinks about letting our oft-broody Buff Orpington hatch out some eggs, and she has been somewhat appeased by getting to mother the 7-week-old pullets. The question turns on getting meat birds (I think he can't quite handle "no attachment), or building a new coop that's bigger, and how heartbreaking future losses will be. But he is definitely hooked!
My experience with poison ivy prompts me to say, yes! mulch the hell out of it. And probably lay down cardboard before you do so. Always wear gardening gloves and wash often.
Perhaps you are not as allergic to poison ivy as I am!
Also from my own experience: yes, plant garlic! I can't seem to plant enough. I vowed to myself during harvesting this year that if I were ever going to grow a crop for cash, it would be garlic. SO EASY! (Though I'm sure there are issues I haven't encountered yet.)
I noticed that Edible Acres has a sale on their plants (including perennial vegetables) beginning after Labor Day. Maybe perennial vegetables aren't appropriate on your friend's property - that's for you and your friend to figure out, I suppose.