Rebecca Norman wrote:Where I live in the Indian Himalayas, with pretty cold winters (6 weeks of pond hockey), the traditional root storage method was to dig a hole in the garden every year, deep enough so the sacks of roots could be kept below the frost line, which at my location is about 3 feet. So you lower in sacks of potatoes, carrots, radishes or rutabagas, and cover them back over with soil. .
Rebecca, how do you manage to fetch root vegetables from that pit? Dig it open every two weeks???
Jay Angler wrote:First off - Welcome back Kaarina and I'm glad you made it through.
Second off - Yeah, I get tired of telling all the people who want to live alone with no support network
I'm pretty sure you self identified as an introvert !
Jay dear, it is not my choice to live alone. I simply have nobody to live with. I would gladly sacrifice a limb or two to be blessed with a partner. As I have been brutally honest in this thread, I might as well continue. I am excruciatingly lonely. I try not to think about it, but sometimes loneliness just comes as a tsunami after you have succesfully avoided thinking about it for weeks.
You can successfully be busy with things you love, but when you sit down you would love to share it with someone dear.
Whenever people ask me how are things going, my answer is "brilliant, great". It often is a blatant lie - could I tell anyone that I need friends, companionahip, affection?
I had prepared for every risk: climate change, drought, floods, pests... you name it.
I was even a bit smug about how clever I am.
An WHADAAM. there went my pride down the drain when I got a really severe bout of Covid. Did I pride in my ability to plan for all possible risks?
I live alone on an off grid 10 acre farm in Scandinavia. No electricity, plumbing or other modern conveniences. Wood stove heating. Fierce winters.
So the clever "had-it-all planned" me spent two months whabsmacked with high fever, alone, in a hut heated by logs I had to lug in. I will not even go into personal hygiene.
Food, yip. In all my self-righteous plans I had seen myself cooking wholesome dinners .. The only wholesome part was my hunger. OK, I have been doing my own youghurt but having that and porridge for breakfast lunch and dinner kinda gets tiresome. I did enormous (really! Like 2 gallons) portions of veggie soup. For recipies, please refer to "Root vegetables you can grow" . Oh, and some salt and pepper. Tastes equally bad heated or unheated when eaten 6 weeks in a row.
I had some sweets but run out of them quickly. Warning to anyone planning to live without frequent visits to the shop: take the amount of chocolate you can maximally imagine consuming and multiply by ten.
No, actually twenty. Might as well add a buffer. OK, thirty. After all, we are great at restraint, aren't we?
Glad to be back. I love this forum and have missed you all ♥️
Reading your posts, one thing caught my attention.
Ordered, bought, had installed....
It is, of course, splendid if you can hire somebody to do the things you want. I understand "resilience" as being self-sufficient.
My precedessors were Russian aristocrats. In one year, they went from owning glorious palaces and profitable factories to being happy just to be alive and doing four jobs to support a family living in a dreary flat of 200 square meters. What kept them alive were practical skills.
That lesson has been shared in the family for countless generations. In times of upheaval, you may end up surviving on what you can do, not what you owned.
Lyam Pelletier wrote:As it has been said, leaving some branches on the ground is really good for noofivrrsity
if your land has been used as conventionnal farmland, the soil might be fairly compacted (especially with a lot of clay). A good "passive" way to decompact it, might be to plant species that have large root systems:
Lyam thank you ❤
I have dragged all the branches into a twig fence. It is a veritable Manhattan for all kinds of birds, hedgejogd and insects. In the spring as I was clearing the orchard area I understood it. I had made about 100 meters of the twig fence, when a grouse startet trotting along it. She found a suitable part and made her nest there!
I am trying to make a list of big-root plants. Comfrey, rye, buckwheat...
Peter Ellis wrote:I might use some of the felled birch to make raised beds out in the middle of the space.
This lets you make a ‘small’ effort that can produce large returns. Do not try to do everything at once, it just doesn’t work without limitless funds.
Peter thank you ❤. An exellent idea. The forest is really flat - that would give it some contour. Goat love it, but even sheep like an undulating terrain. I can easily bring some soil with a barrowheel.
corrado de cesare wrote:Hi Kaarina,
Organizing the house layout is a challenge, I am lucky I have been a very small boat sailor for a couple of decades too. My biggest boat was a nordic Folkboat, I think you know what I mean
Dear Corrado, if you have sailed a folkbåt you are perfectly equipped to plan how to live in a small house ❤
I am envious, an old stone house! My advice:
- plan like a sailboat: cooking, reading, eating and relaxing can be done in one room.
- invest in a good bed. Woollen mattress, down blakets.
- storage can be created in every nook and cranny
- about every single thing you have, ask yourself: do I love it and do I need it?
About the sauna:
A separate building with
- a sauna with a wood-heated water barrel and a wood-heated stone barrel (see pics)
- wooden floor with slits so that all water drains under the building
When you heat the sauna, you also heat the hot water. You enjoy the heat and wash yourselves.
But after that, you wash the laundry in a bucket. Hang it to dry in the hot sauna. It will dry quickly.
Of course, you can heat the sauna and water for washing only, but I always combine it.
Jay Angler wrote:
"Industrial" tree plantations are commonly planted with a close spacing as the intention is for them to grow tall, straight and fast.What you have doesn't really qualify as a "forest"
I fully agree. But that is what I got. I searched for a farm 5 years! This filled all the critical points of being accessible without a car, having a river , being in a good growing area (IIA) and being within my budget. So I accepted the military parade of birches 😄
I am asking for help because I see that this birch monoculture is not healthy. And as I plan it to become a lamb pasture in a couple of years, I NEED HELP
Trace Oswald wrote:I wouldn't clean up all the branches in all areas. Birch rots very quickly compared to most trees
5 acres is a big area. I would break it into sections. It may be overwhelming if you tried to do the whole thing, but if you do a small section at a time, it's easier, and it's easy to see progress.
Trace thank you. ❤
A brilliant idea! A couple of hugels or hugel mountains is pretty doable even though I have to do it manually. And the future sheep or goats will like it.
I have ordered some 10 different trees and about 25 different bushes to plant into this thinned birch forest. But there are "super" plants which grow a very large root system: comfrey and rye thrive here. I need to find more species.
May Lotito wrote:Hi Kaarina, does the lack of growth happening in the entire wood lot or more in the center of it? Also what do you plan on the woodlot?
May, The area is full of birch which have been reaching up like crazy to get a chance at their place in the sun. It had been planted too tight, and every tree just sprung up to reach the sun.
After we thinned it, it is pretty sunny because the trees only have foliage high up! All trees have huge stems with a bunch of foliage on the top - not very natural for birch... You and others are right, this birch monoculture needs other trees!
Of course, it is sunnier at the southern side, but now the whole area gets dappled sunshine.
My long term plan is to keep sheep on this forest/meadow. Maybe 3-4 years from now. But as it is now, it is a pitiful pasture 🙄
Please, bear with me, I am still cleaning all the branches left by the foresters. Priority was the orchard and vegetable gardens.
Anne ❤ thank you for the links!!
I was able to get 7 truckloads of leaves and 2 truckloads of horse manure free of charge this autumn. They skip the dump charges and I get free organic material.
But I used all of it for my veggie garden. Vegetables I need next summer, the woodlot can be done more slowly.
You and others are right, this birch monoculture needs other trees!
Actually, did you notice the HUGE amount of wood cuttings lying around? I have been cleaning them all summer - have impressive twig fences around the lot - but some areas look like I had just been lazily sitting in a sun chair with a book all summer 😄
Andrea Locke wrote:
Wood chips, compost and mushrooms are excellent suggestions.
I would also add biochar and leaves.
You might also want to slowly add some more diverse trees to the woodlot.
The area is 5 acres!!! Getting hold of enough compost, wood chips or biochar will take ages or bankrupt me 😄. Plus everything needs to be cartied with a wheelbarrow.
That's why I was thinking about some planting solutions.
My farm has 5 acres of "forest", in other words it is former farmland, which has been planted full of birch in orderly rows. I had it thinned so that dappled sunlight reaches the soil.
The soil is miserable. It used to be traditionally tilled farmland, lots of clay. There are areas where absolutely nothing grows! A weed here and another there. Large areas covered in moss, but no other shade plants.
I calculated the amount of plant species I could find on the forest floor, and got 8! Talk about biodiversity 🙄.
I have ordered two 40 pound sacks of a good meadow mix plus small seed packets of some 30 different perennials. Meadow plants usually do not need a rich soil. No animals yet so that option is not available.
I really need ideas how to get the soil back alive again.
I will add my experience.
I have an apartment in an old house built 1911. The ventilation was supposed to work through the fireplace, but the draught was miserable because it was no longer used for daily heat (the house now has central heating).
I had this wind-powered fan installed on top, and now I have perfect drauhht.
To remove rust, use a wire brush and then sandpaper. Wipe clean with a moistened cloth. I think the rust comes from acidic food spills, since I get small spots only.
To season, you can use many oils, but use them SPARINGLY. The stove gets very hot and you don't want the excess oil to burn. I did it once and learned the lesson! Better too little and a repeat than a room full of smoke.
There are products called "stove black" or Rust protector like WD40, but their instructions warn not to inhale the fumes, not to spill it on your skin etc. So not exactly a mild natural product 🙄
My grandma's wood stove never shone although her cast iron pans did. I think it is unrealistic to get that finish on a stove without harsh chemicals. After all, we cook with pots and pans, not by spilling the food directly on the stove 😄
I was thinking oflover for the paths between rows, they tolerate walking. They are great for my bees. But my berry garden (300 bushes) already has clover around the bushes and I don't want a "permie monoculture" 😄
I could plant the cover crops late in the summer so they would not get overly big before I harvest. None of the three sisters grow here, too far north.
I bought 10 acres 3 miles from the closest town, riverside, good land. Scandinavia.
If you move here, you will be eligible for free government health care within 6 months and a pretty decent society all in all.