I might be in a special situation, but I am getting far more exercise. I am on the property much more than I used to be. I am catching up on all those odd projects that I was going to get to. My wife has always been the bread baker. She, also, has always tended to have endless variations in her product. I tend to be the one who cooks dinner. Lately, I try to introduce one none routine meal a week. I figure I might as well take advantage of the many volumes of cookbooks we have.
Bindweed is horrible stuff, trying to get it out to plant vegetables in my parents' new property and it's literally everywhere - the lawn, the beds, the alley, not just our property but all over the neighborhood. I'll do what I can but I think my parents will be fighting this one for a good long while.
Another one I haven't seen mentioned is spiderwort. I guess people grow it as an ornamental, but it looks horrible after it flowers, reseeds everywhere, is difficult to pull, regrows from roots, likes to root under cracks in sidewalks, etc.... I fought it for 5 years at my last property and my parents have some too, lucky them.
Diagnosed with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever(RMSF) last July, and four months later (!?) Infectious Diseases specialist disputed the dx on grounds I should be dead. Symptoms can also mimick tetanus, Covid 19, etc. We've all been taught that a fungal growing environment is better than bacterial, and RMSF is a bacterial infection. I wonder if anyone knows of research that one such type would support tick populations more than the other?
Here's a story: Three years ago, I was admiring the scenery on a forested path in central Virginia. About the time my hiking fellows reached me I glanced over my shoulder and saw three, maybe four ticks sliding down on one of those strands that silkworms leave hanging in the trees. One tick was holding onto the line with a hind leg, his front paw securely fastened to the hind leg of another, who was holding onto another...My friend quickly picked them off me, but THAT was a truly amazing sight.
No need to feel guilty. My experience has been that a tractor helps one get more exercise and not less. This is simply because it is easy to do more projects and not every step of the project can be done from the tractor seat—you have definitely not sold out.
Regarding the ergonomics, when I first went looking for a tractor, it was ergonomics that drew me towards John Deere. Not trying to start a Green vs. Orange war, but since I was looking at sun compact models (mostly for cost reasons), the Kubota simply was not going to fit me. I am 6’3”, and the BX I was looking at was 10” shorter than the JD2305 I purchased. On top, the loader based control meant I couldn’t mount/dismount from the right side and the placement of the pedal meant my right knee actually rubbed the steering wheel.
These issues may not have mattered to a person with shorter legs and I am really glad to see that Kubota moved their loader control to the right fender which opens up the right mount/dismount option, something I do regularly. And a larger frame than the BX may ease up on my knee hitting the steering wheel.
Sounds like you got a nice tractor and I am sure you will get some good use out of it. And please, if you do modify it, please let us/me know—I love hearing about tractor modifications.
Let us know how it works out, I love hearing about this stuff!
I used to work up near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, back in the mid- 1980s. The Amish and Mennonites around there, cooked inside Summer Kitchens, built separately from their homes, so their houses would not get over-heated in the summer months. Some were more Spartan than others, but all were separate from the main house.
There and then, I said to myself, "I'm gonna build a Summer Kitchen someday."
It took me until 2012 to get it done. I started construction back in 2009. It took me three-years to complete, as I didn't want to borrow money, so I just set aside $200.00 each month to buy building materials. Some things, like the concrete slab, cost almost $1,000 so things like that took several months to save for.
It took a long time to accomplish, but it was money well spent. I built it 14' feet by 26' feet, so we could host Thanksgiving dinners and Birthday celebrations out there. My only regret is that I didn't build it 16' feet wide (that extra 2' feet of space would make all the difference, once I got cabinets on the walls. We use it way more than I ever expected we would. I put a commercial stove, a commercial refrigerator, and a commercial freezer out there. It makes great storage for items that we've caught on sale over the years. and when we need two ovens for Thanksgiving and Christmas, it sure frees up a lot of kitchen space, so my wife and I can cook and not be stepping on one another's toes all day long.
I put a section of french drain pipe (3 or 4 inches diameter) straight across the lower level of one of my piles and it didn't seem to do anything. I didn't realize that you should actively inject air.
We bury ours in the deep leaf litter in our run which is basically just a form of insulation as most practical solutions I've seen are. The very top still freezes when temps go into the teens but I can easily put a boot heel through the ice when I do morning feeding and checks. There are tons of active worms composting whenever I turn the bedding on warmer days. We tried ping pong balls in the water which were an epic fail. Tried a bird bath heater but the geese chewed the cord and I wasn't comfortable with having electric out there.
This is not the best pic as I haven't changed out water this morning but it's illustrative enough.
Love reading everyone's ideas! Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!
Not exactly permie based, but we stopped at a tile warehouse to ask if we could buy his stacks of pallets. He said we could have them as he was retired and not really trading any more. Hmmmm. What is he going to do with all those tap and shower samples. Sell them at cost. Done! Shame he isn't still in business because we LOVE those floor tiles..... he can get them for 10 euros a square metre (about 10 sq ft) .....instead of the 28 euros at the store in town. Done! A saving of nearly 2000 euros. No taxes to pay because he is retired. Would we like to come back if we need more...Eeerrrrrrr....still got upstairs to tile!
good luck in this endeavor. i remember being taught the palmer style in catholic school back in the 70s and today i think legible penmanship is over rated because of all those drills we had to do everyday 10 minutes before class was dismissed.
being a 'goth' (i hate that term) back in highschool, i came up with my own 'creepy' handwriting style and i still use it today for all non-electronic personal correspondence.
Im having a issue with the soil that I havent experienced before. When wet the soil is just mush which is to be expected since its all leaf mulch but as soon as it dries out it becomes hard as a rock. I am having compost delivered to raise up the rows to aid it drainage but the pathways are a mess. I was thinking about planting a type of short leaf fescue that doesnt spread to add some soil structure to the pathways. everything that isnt planted in vegetables is getting cover crop to help condition the rest for next year. Does anyone see any issues with the fescue between the rows or have a suggestion of something that would work better?
Thanks for the feedback those who have given it a test run...
This is the first announcement of V2 of TheGreenDirectory.net!
I have now completely rebuilt the website https://www.thegreendirectory.net/ - it is now much more scalable to handle 100s of thousands of listings and has a few more features than V1, there is also the beginnings of a blog of some of my musings that will grow over time.
Jan White wrote:We've been living without for almost three years now. No running water, minimal electricity, wood heat, propane burner outside for cooking, and cheating on refrigeration.
Jan I'm really glad I came across your post as it's really helped to both inspire me and to confirm that the ideas I have about making my newly acquired property livable with a lot less are more than doable. I just purchased wooded acreage which has a geodesic dome shell on it and there is a sandpoint well inside.
I braved 3-4' of snow to hike back to the dome last weekend and I could see water down in the well and with the freezing temps we've had for weeks I was surprised to see that. The dome was put up 20-25 years ago and is still standing strong and while there are small signs of leaking in a couple spots, they are very minor. It surprised me considering all I've heard about how geos leak and leak but the wood is sound, nothing rotten and it's dry as a bone inside. Not even a cobweb.
Will likely take the little propane range/oven unit from my old 1977 travel trailer to use for cooking.
I will have a wood stove for heat and plan on just heating water on the stove for bathing and dish washing.
As the property is completely wooded save for a tiny clearing in the front of the property (the dome is half way back on the property, maybe 350 feet from the clearing) I'm not sure how effective solar would be but I'm hoping I can get a small system set up and run mostly 12v and have enough for LED lighting and charge laptop and phone and be able to use my sewing machine for a bit on sunny days.
I'm hoping I can also get some kind of pump and filtration system connected to the sandpoint well and connect that to a small kitchen sink and the bathtub.
I'll have a simple bucket composting toilet.
I have had nothing but bad luck with refrigerators the past few years and honestly I hate them. I hate the noise they make, the room they take up, etc. And I have a small apartment sized one and even that bothers me. I travel to the UK often and every place I've stayed had a small under counter unit and it was more than enough. So, my idea is to get an old ice box and retrofit it with a closable vent directly to the outside and take advantage of the 4-5 months of winter temps to cool the unit and use frozen water jugs the rest of the year. My folks live just up the road so figure I could keep a rotation of water jugs in their chest freezer.
I would position the bathtub and kitchen sink on opposite sides of the same interior wall and close to the exterior wall in order to have a single, simple grey water drain leaving the dome.
I think it's all doable and the simplicity of it all is something I'm really excited about.
I just noticed what look like wood stoves embedded in the base of the terrace wall. What a brilliant design, where you can warm yourself, your coffee and lunch with the wood stove while working in the garden in the winter, and warm the soil at the same time.
i completed my firepit using rocks found on or near our property in october of last year...my first stoneworks...it was a horrible job which took me 6 months to finish and i never wanted to do it again...but...i don't make the rules round here...and since have done...a back porch, and wood stove foundation...still have two more rock projects marty has given me...that i haven't gotten to yet, lol...all the while i have been wondering about what to do for the path that i wanna build for the firepit ...after seeing jans post...think ill do it that way...it really does look great, and i love it and for me it is free...i just didn't know how it good it could look...now i do--hard work, i know...but jan, yall did a good job--inspiring :) !!!
TO J DAVIS:
Thank you, it was a a bit of a gamble to be honest. We had been looking for land a while to no avail. Everything had chicken houses super close, no creeks or springs( which I really wanted), was too small, no privacy, etc. The cons always outweighed the pros. Then after getting a little down about all the failures up to that point, we saw this pop up. First day it was up, we went. We were told we were the first ones to call/look at it, and we immediately started dealing and setting up the contract to "secure" it. It worked. We had a little time to explore and think, but not much, yet the pros definitely outweighed the cons on this one. Now it's ours, mwuahahahaha.
Native plant wise, yes, I'm a little experienced in it, but I have family who are fairly knowledgeable about it as well, so I have that covered for the most part, yet thanks for bringing it up, because that would be a very important step if not already covered. I appreciate the thought of it. Still may look up Bonnie and maybe give her a call just to chat.
TO ERIC HANSON:
Yes it is, thank you!
My plans have changed in details since getting more familiar with the land, but the overall plan of things has stayed the same. First priority being getting something to live in out there. Probably in the valley seems best for us which is also where the food forest would be, just around us. A pathway down the valley and past the spring would be a great yard with the spring feeding ponds on one side and a continuation of the food forest on the other, all leading to a small bridge across the creek(which we can hear well in the valley, especially after some rain!) to the lower land which is ideal for normal gardens. Lots of cool areas up on the ridges to make nice hang out spots as well as down on the flat land. Those are the beginnings at least, I'll do more after all that has been started. Lots of potential and in the end, I plan on using all 10 acres for something or another!
My need of a tractor is on hold until the more important money sinks have been done, but all the things I want to do early on can be done with my lawn mower(which has a raising hitch and five various attachments for heavy gardening) and my trailer. I have access though, from family and a neighbor, to bulldozers, bobcats, bush hogs, so I'm set for moment, but in time I will be investing in my own. Until then though, it's low on my list of research(although it's high on my father's list), but if you have some quick suggestions for brands and types, feel free to name them off and I'll save them in my notes to look at. On the same note, my dad had gotten a front loader as a gift, but about a week before we got land, it began seizing up. It was an old one from the 70's but man it would be useful now, haha. Maybe he'll get it fixed soon.
TO MIKE BARKLEY:
Nice! Good to know and thank you. I look forward to reading that hillbilly stuff soon. Mountains of TN, huh? I won't say exactly where, but I live near the Ocoee and Hiwassee Rivers. If you are familiar in those parts, we may have passed each other swimming or hiking!
TO PEARL SUTTON:
You are in luck, Pearl! Although the idea of renovating the house is a no-go, we do plan on tearing all the additions down and just fixing the cabin part up, because like you, we like that stuff too, haha. We thought it would be a neat place to have guests over, she can work out of it, or we could sell things out of it being on the corner of the road like that. I've been told that it was erected around 1900, but everything else was built and added in the 40/50's. Most of those things have to go though. They are already falling down or hazards. Luckily none of it is particularly history worthy, just the cabin and the mini silo(which is awesome).
Sorry to hear about your old house. That is a shame. I thank you for your advice though, and plan on heeding it. One day, I'll post some pictures of various areas as they are for reference to what they become eventually. Thank you!
TO DAVE DE BASQUE:
Thanks Dave! I sure hope I spend a long time here. Yes, the 3D view is much more telling.
I took that full overview and added it to my notes. I really, really like that idea. The spring is looking like I can cap it further up the hill(After 3 days of rain and checking it out, the land above my initial point of ground spring was jetting out more water and overflowing the center of the valley, good news and...bad in way.) I will definitely need to get a pro out there to look it all over before I go a poking, but all in all, your suggestions is great and possible since the initial spring ran it's way to the creek, so I could step it down like that, but it would be close. It's not a very steep incline there, but depending on where it's starting, it's possible.
Aquaculture was something I was reading into and I think would work here, but at the moment I'm not sure if I have the room for a fishery since it's in the same area as where the food forest would be and not sure how big I can really make the ponds/chinampas. It'll be thought about hard before I start messing with it, since house and food forest get started. Yet, in my head, I want some kind of water usage there, so I'll make something of it, just not pegged down the details yet.
The water is crystal clear coming out by the way, but I know you mean with the chinampa in place. Just saying though.
Thanks you very much for that great overview of a possibility. It'll be in my mind when I get up there in the morning, haha. They appealed to me greatly! I will enjoy and thank it, my wife and I are loving it more every time we go up!
Not much to say on the land front, really. Valentine's Week is a BUSY week for my wife, so I've had way more babysitting duty than usual, so my time on land has been limited, but after this week's rain, I'll get back to my main projects(using the rain to do indoor/building cleaning, so I'm using my time even if I can't do everything I want at moment. Being on tin roofs, tearing down barns isn't a smart thing in heavy rains.)
Since buying it though, I've met a couple neighbors who have talked me up and down giving me history on the land and it's previous owners. Through them, I've met many more or random ones will stop by and chat for a bit. Everyone is very friendly and helpful so far, and have given us a lot of information on the surrounding area and it's people. Also, plenty of friendly dogs have been by, including one that shows up and plays every time I'm there. His owner is a 92 year old man down the road, and he loves getting to run after us, haha. The dog, not the man, haha.
As per Pearl's history speech, I'll get some pictures of the nicer buildings and some of the land features and post when I get a chance.
Again, thank you all for your posts/insights. I look forward to them all!
I only have rainwater to use for the household.
Within Australia it is common. filtration is not essential, but large tanks to hold it are the best way to have good water.
First flush systems take away the dust and detritus and a large tank allows plenty of time for the water to clean itself.
People who want disinfectants, etc are just panicking
There are a few good books on the topic: "Root Cellaring" by Mike and Nancy Bubel is a classic. Also "The Complete Root Cellar Book" as well as half a dozen or more on Amazon. I have and would recommend the first, but there are a lot more out now and many of those may be as good or better.
Lots of possibilities. From insulating and venting part of your unheated basement, to burying cans/barrels/etc, to digging and building a cellar from scratch. It is useful (IMO) to read a book or two and talk with some locals who have done it in your area and then decide. Solutions are similar everywhere, but what works in one climate won't necessarily do so everywhere.
I did "play around" with a buried chest freezer, prior to building a "real" root cellar" on our property. Dead chest freezers are easy to come by, and if you get one with a metal interior should be rodent and insect proof. It did need insulation up top otherwise things would start freezing in Jan, but at 8000+' in the Rockies it may be colder and windier here than your locale. Anyway a chest freezer type setup or the like might be a fairly easy way to test the waters and see what works and doesn't for you.
Be advised, managing food storage in a root cellar is a learned experience. There's a lot more to it than buying frozen food in the supermarket and throwing in the freezer when you get home. In addition to getting the cellar's building details right, one needs to know how to manage it, get it cool quickly in the fall, keep it from getting too cool or wet, and keeping it from getting warm in the spring. There also is some learning as to what varieties of things to grow for storage and how to grow and harvest them properly. None of these are that hard, it's just that we need to relearn a whole lot of knowledge that was just common place in our grandparents or great-granparents time.
I see those isolation rules as rules to be broken because hybridization is desirable. Among closed flowered varieties I can plant them side by side and my rate of crossing will still be very low. To have a decent chance of crossing naturally tomatoes need to have open flowers. I would suggest purchasing some seed for Big Hill from Joseph Lofthouse as it seems to be the most reliable domestic tomato I've encountered so far for the trait. Most tomatoes with the trait tend to have it part of the season on part of the population. It seems consistent in Big Hill. Joseph is working on something even better for this but it involves half wild tomatos that stir joy in my heart, but may not be the thing for everyone yet.
We've been doing the humanure thing for 5-6 years now and we had the most awesome looking tomato plant come out of a previous year's pile. No wilt or other problems and even though it was mostly shaded there, it did produce tomatoes. I couldn't bring myself to try one though as I never have gotten around to getting a compost thermometer so I don't really know how hot the pile got, aside from the heat felt when giving it a stir to dump another load. I also haven't used it in our garden. I've been putting it around trees but a couple of those trees died, presumably because they were native trees and the overload of nitrogen killed them but they were also understory trees that were seeing a lot more sun due to me clearing trees around them, so that may have caused it too.
We do have a peach tree so I might try a little around that this year. Two of the piles are in a spot that is now a god pen and I must say, one dog just loves to lay on top of the piles. Nice and cushy I guess and maybe he likes the earthy smell. It's not due to warmth as the piles no longer gets hot.
I need to get a couple of compost thermometers this year. Even then, being that the piles never get turned, I wonder about the stuff around the outsides. I suppose one could turn them at the right time and not raise too much of a stink.
Greg Martin wrote:One thing that occasionally goes through my mind is having a log that gravity feeds down to a cutter that grates the log into small chips that are fed down a chute to the burn pot. Would use more electricity at the home, but it must use less power than they use to make the pellets. That and then fuel would be nearly free. Because of the complete burn it wouldn't be a problem to burn softwood. How hard could it really be to make something like this?
Another idea I have thought of, and I doodled up some drawings a few weeks ago, is a way to incorporate firewood and solar into an automatic system. I am not a huge fan of outside wood furnaces, but in this case an outside furnace (not an outside wood boiler), would pump its hot into a solar furnace. The solar furnace would be large enough to hold several cord of wood.
When the home called for heat, a blower would come on and draw heat out of the solar furnace and heat the house. IF solar was working, and the solar furnace hot enough, a thermostat would keep the draft fan on the outside wood furnace from coming on. But at night, or on cloudy days, the temperature would drop, and the draft blower would come on and stoke the fire. When the plenum temperature got up to temp, it would then start filling the solar furnace with heat.
The firewood stacked inside the solar furnace, would simply be drying out until it is needed to burn. Until the moisture level got low enough, it would act as a natural humidifier for the home. If the firewood was replaced with green wood as the firewood was depleted, firewood would constantly be drying via kiln action, and also humidifying the home.
All this does NOTHING for automatically filling the firebox, but utilizes every BTU produced!
Roberto pokachinni wrote:Another thing that I have used a few times this winter (though it has not been an especially cold winter), is my heated vest. As an outdoor welder, this battery-powered bad boy will keep my core warm even in a blizzard if I layer up properly around it. I'm sometimes sitting in one spot for hours (thus not generating heat from muscle action) and, being a small guy I don't have a lot of body mass to hold any of my heat. Usually, I layer up starting with a base layer, then the vest, then heavy wool, then a cotton hoodie, with hood on over a wool balaclava, then a windbreaker of either fire resistant plastic or heavy leather (depending on the moisture content of the snow blowing on me). I don't rely on the vest, however; I always have extra layers of wool in the truck, and I know how to create heat fast with certain body movements like deep squats, lunges, or (if necessary) short sprints.
That's really neat having for extreme cold weather.
It's awesome too like you mentioned about the exercises to
generate heat quickly.
For our cold here, usually a good face mask, tobagan, and really thick jacket will do.
I'll never complain about putting on one jacket again!
Chestnuts DO need cold stratification. Commercial nurseries do sell the saplings. I have some nuts in the freezer to attempt to start some from seed. There is some specific info in that 600 year thread from experienced growers. Quite a bit of info online elsewhere too.
Grab the bee hive starter, shake it out onto the empty bee hive.
Cover it back up and that is it. Never harvest it.
But maybe in 2 years, you will learn how to harvest honey, but at least it will already be there waiting for you.
In the ideal bee world maybe. Starting with a small amount of unadapted commercial bees in NY that would be a stretch.
Same here (old fashioned life) if I cannot afford something I either save for it or do without, never owned a credit card in my life and because of this attitude I have a very poor credit rating which is just fine by me, I'll stick with my "make do and mend" life.
I think MREs have something added as they all seem to have a similar taste. Kind of tin like. I imagine they're packed in a nitrogen atmosphere as well. That's actually something that can be purchased. It would require a lot of nitrogen which is cheap as far as bottled gases go but still, the bottle, regulator and the sealing chamber with heat strip etc would cost quite a bit. It would be cheaper to just buy the MREs I think.
Get a hold of a steel barrel and use one of the kits that convert them to a wood stove. You'll need a drill and some hand tools and a way to cut the holes in the barrel. Know any handy blue collar type people?
$44.00 but you'll still need stove pipe which isn't all that cheap
That's still as cheap as it gets to get into wood burning.
There are many different versions of these lights now using the 18650 battery. And the price difference is on account of how many LEDs are included. I paid twice that price a year ago for the 28 led version directly from China via AliExpress. The first ones I bought split so that you could move the panel away from the light. I did that so that my panel was inside my solar tube for charging, and the light was in the room. I then bought cheaper ones that had 15 LEDs but the battery panel was accessible. And finally I've bought some 48 led versions that light outdoor pathways. The latest ones come with a remote control that also allows you to change the mode, and I've only just ordered those. I've only had one dud and the vendor replaced it without my having to send it back to China.
Bathroom lighting - light split - 28 leds
Joined gate light, 28 LEDs
15 led version with accessible battery. This goes under my bed so it turns on when my feet hit the floor at night.