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Looking for permaculture steward for property near Yelm, WA

 
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We are currently looking for help that could potentially evolve into a long term living situation for the right person. I have 3 different properties that I'm currently splitting time working on, and one of those in particular really needs a full time steward. It's five acres of recently (5 years ago) clearcut land, so it has a ton of potential for someone wanting to participate in restorative permaculture. There's a ton of native food bearing plants already established, but the invasives - blackberry in particular- are working overtime to outcompete them. This is where we need the most help.

The long term vision is to incorporate goats, as they will be instrumental in helping manage the weed situation, but I don't want to do that until I have at least one other person invested in stewarding the property with me. Currently I'm not around quite often enough to justify brining animals in without any backup help. The property is currently off grid, but we will be bringing power in shortly. There is one tiny cabin on the land, which is where I stay when on the property. Water is from rain barrels and also imported for drinking. We plan on drilling a well eventually. Any person interested should have a comfortable RV or camper van that they can abide in during the trial period. They should be accustomed to off grid life and confident in living self sufficiently in a very rustic environment.

The arrangement would be some kind of work trade and/or modest rental fee for the space. The real benefit here would be a section of property you could essentially make your own, doing whatever permaculture oriented projects you can dream up. As mentioned I'm quite busy elsewhere, and I would really like to set the right person up with a situation they can take real ownership of. As  long as the blackberries are being controlled, and when it comes time, the goats are well looked after, there would be few, if any, additional expectations. If things worked out and you came to love this land as much as I do, then we could look at building another permanent structure such as a yurt, another cabin, as well as adding an outdoor kitchen. RV power will be the first main addition, then everything would flow from there.

We don't have nearly enough work right now to keep a person employed in any way, so anyone interested would need to be economically stable and/or willing to get a job locally. Olympia isn't far at all and most people I know commute there for work. Again, we aren't going to require much of your time with the work trade. At first it would be just a few hours a week pulling blackberries, and once the goats are here, helping take care of them while they take over the blackberry work. If it happens that you are working full time elsewhere, we could structure the arrangement however we needed to to accommodate. Most of all, our goal is the create a situation you are happy with!

My personal favorite thing about the property is its location. Being backed up against miles of forestry land, it has a beautiful wild essence and a huge assortment of wild animal neighbors. It's at the end of a long gravel road, and has that serene secluded feel that is hard to come by in this day and age. The land itself is very injured from former logging abuse, but our aim is to slowly help guide it back to a beautiful forest, complete with an abundance of perennial food bearing plants. But we need your help to do it! Feel free to message me if interested. Thanks for reading!
 
pollinator
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Location: Between Tacoma and Mt Rainier in the Pacific Northwest
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Hi near neighbor! Can't help you out with your situation but I'm interested in any solutions to the ongoing blackberry war. We only have 3.4 acres and it feels like half of it is various varieties of invasive blackberries, along with a nice amount of the tiny native trailing variety. We probably spend a week's worth of work every spring in one spot digging up roots. I've thought about hiring a local teenager to at least help make a dent. Getting goats would be effective except how do you keep them from eating all the other plants? Maybe you have an area that is solid blackberries? Ours is too mixed up with all the salal and Oregon grape and huckleberry, etc. I have a feeling those would be eaten first by any goats before they turn to the tougher brambles.

Anyway, I just wanted to say hi and commiserate in the blackberry battle! 😂
 
Brandon Charles
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Hi there! Yes, I've definitely found the main way to successfully control them in an area is to dig each and every one up by the root. Unfortunately, they got far too great a head start on me so the prospect of getting and keeping ahead of them is basically nil at this point. Even if I could, I wouldn't want to. The plan would be to create paddocks for the goats where the blackberries are most prolific, and in places where I have no food trees planted, and just let them have a heyday. My plan is to turn certain patches of my property into pseudo native prairie anyway, as that's actually the most threatened ecosystem in our local area. Forests abound and have no trouble reestablishing without our help, or with minimal help. If I were going for a native forest I would just selectively mow (with a brush hog or heavy duty weed eater) the blackberries down year after year, being careful to avoid the most important native trees and shrubs, until the forest could eventually shade out and outcompete them (and also do some selective spot pulling in areas that make sense and where I have the time to devote). But since I'm aiming for prairie in several areas, I don't need to worry as much about losing some native shrub and tree species. I think the statistic is that only about 4% of the pre-colonial native prairie land still exists today, and since as much of my philosophy is about conservation and regeneration as it is permaculture focused, I have no problem letting the goats do their thing in those specific areas. Other areas they will never ever be permitted in, such as those where there are a lot of native food bearing plants (I have tons of native hazelnuts and at least 5 species of native berry), and obviously where I have my non native perennials planted. It's a very calculated plan, and I've had 4 years of watching the land to come up with it, but time is my biggest deficiency at the moment. And energy I suppose.
 
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