Chris Newton

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since Nov 13, 2012
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Recent posts by Chris Newton

Permies, Friends, Family, and anyone else who's listening...

We are having a wonderful summer. Yes, some things have pulled and tugged us in other directions, and some homestead projects have not gotten proper attention (isn't that always the case?). I worked in a kitchen at a fancy-shmancey restaurant for a couple months, etc. But we have fallen in love with the land, the trees, herbs, birds, and the bees ;o

It is tough starting a homestead from scratch, I can't imagine how the pioneers of old did it. Well, I can imagine it but it wouldn't be very fun. We are definitely a product of a different age. Yeah, maybe we are spoiled but I appreciate the fact that we are able to make it out here with a little help from our friends and maybe an unleaded gas generator to pump water...We have mostly been using hand tools - saws, shovels, wheelbarrows, rakes, and that feels good. To know you can take care of stuff without the farm machinery that seems to always break down at the least opportune times (literally every farmer we've talked to who uses gas-powered machinery has experienced this, not even exaggerating). There was a point in the season where we wanted to put in a hand pumped 'shallow' well, but time and money was not necessarily available for that this year. Actually that is probably the reason we haven't built more of an infrastructure, in fact there's a point where we realized that if we had all the time and money in the world we would have an amazingly efficient self-sustainable homestead that could probably support 100 people or more. But we are just 2 people and we don't have any money.

However we are blessed with an excess of land and resources, and the food from our gardens and our neighbors gardens have been prolific to the point of excess in which we are currently scrambling to cook, and can food in jars, and where I'm wishing to throw a feast of veggies for everyone to attend.

Now we are really trying to finish key projects for the winter, so we have to go, but before that I want to post a short timeline with pics from earlier this season. (I have many more recent pics but haven't been able to upload those yet.)


Cold weather Shiitake greeted us when we arrived in May - the logs were innoculated over 7 years ago!

Little Ducklings have grown since the beginning of June

Chestnut Planting in July

I'm cutting a Red Pine log - We're making a table!

Thanks, and Bye for now

7 years ago
A brief update on our first season with pics -

What a journey! This lifesyle demands one to be present and give it your all. There has been lots of work involved and at a point we realised reality kicked in, where we had many ideas that have fell through. That is not to say we haven't accomplished so much which we are so excited to share with you.

The invitation still stands for people to engage with us on on location or simply express your thoughts and opinions.

7 years ago
This thread has ignited many ooohs and aaahs in me - thanks

This is a pic of 'three sisters' plantings outside our 'earth lodge'
7 years ago
Hey, so it's our first week here, camping in the yurt. A beautiful wood burning oven is giving us some great use for cooking and warmth. It's quite an adventure.

Projects going on; soon we will be harvesting ramps which are growing in abundance, hunting for morrel mushrooms, and hopefully finding some local restaurants that are interested.

We are Preparing/designing garden beds, and starting seedlings.

A bit later this season we are building a good size rocket mass heater in the earth lodge.

These are just a few of the main projects going on this season, more projects keep popping up! If you can dream it, you can do it.

Our goal is to live as sustainable as possible, so any way we can use resources on or around our campsite is of immense value. Any knowledge or skills you can bring in regards to this is well appreciated. Any experience hunting or foraging? We would love to learn more about what you have to offer and your intentions.

Thanks and many blessings
7 years ago
It's really important to be able to work together, we all share common ground. For example, everyone inhabits the earth...

Ok but seriously, more than a few friends have expressed interest in coming to visit / help for a period of time. This doesn't cover the potential we are trying to reach though.

For the beginning, we are hoping to let things evolve naturally, like the start of our trip for instance. Having tried to kick it off with a ride from a friend that couldnt make it. We haven't left yet. Surprisingly we just got a good deal on a car to take us there, plus we can beat this nasty weather by waiting for it to blow over.

As for keeping this thread alive its all about posting, any new post bumps the thread to the top of the page. We would like to share updates as much as possible: it's a great way to get advice or ideas. Make a comment. We would love to hear from you.

7 years ago
Hi Kevin,

We have an open invitation in Northern, lower peninsula, Michigan.

We are moving there now, it is our first season! (Very exciting)

Perhaps stop by and see if it is a good fit. Any questions / more details available if you are interested.

Check it out:

Thanks, Good luck!
7 years ago
I noticed there was some discussion about peeing on compost. Funny thing to comment on, but seriously. Not sure about directly urinating on the compost pile or bin, but many people water down the urine and water their plants with it. I've done it; I think it works great. Works well. great fertilizer.

The ratio is 1:10

Worm castings are also great fertilizer and a product of vermicomposting.

Does anyone know of other forms of casting or feces that works for composting? Rabbit or dog feces, for instance? Those are the animals I have come by and asking this question to myself, wondering if anyone has experience with composting this.
7 years ago
Yes, the ramps and morels seem to be one of the best kept secrets of the area, looking forward to it

Great chance to join us in harvesting, processing, or selling to regional restaurants.

So yes, it is really like winning the lottery, and we are aiming to build a good community to head this amazing research and growing that we are able to do.
7 years ago
For longer term goals there are many options, all of which are inspiring, and would be possible with resourceful minds.

Community is a big word, for us it is an important word. It's good to make the best conditions for the land to thrive. Let's take these 80 acres for example, and care for the land together, because we can't do it alone.

Care for the earth
Care for others
Return excess to earth

What this means is that there is room for people who are committed to spend the rest of their lives there, or at least help design the land for maximum functionality with these principles in mind. In fact it is possible to take care of the land, while at the same time design your life so that you don't have to be on site full time. But if you want to care for animals it requires more demand to be there full-time. Perhaps it would be beneficial for Community to care of animals allowing for everybody to spend some time off or traveling.

Have you ever held a job that you thought 'this is not what i want to be doing right now' and you have interest in building a new lifestyle, something you can be proud of? Then this might be the right volunteer opportunity for you. It could turn into a lifestyle, or you can just learn something to take with you on your way.

Others can help - those needed to cover all bases;

-Others willing to take care of administrative tasks for running the educational non-profit organization
-Science/math minded folks
-Those with resources or vehicle
-Those with experience
-Carpenter type skillset
-Those with skills/crafts/hobbies
(Children welcome)

What we want to do is build a hostel with a cafe, linking the local-regional-global Community and create a hotspot for ecotourism. This should benefit everybody, including local economy.

Another big factor in this long term project is providing education to children, for instance providing programs which are interesting for parents as well; this should draw many people and most importantly educate the youth.

Those interested in living onsite full-time would be willing to build a sustainable dwelling, along with taking care of a number of acres for gardening/forest farming (providing training to the best of our ability). They should be interested in participating in activities with others onsite regularly, and even brainstorm ways to make life more healthy and sustainable such as bartering or creating a currency system. Community meals would also be invloved.

At this point these are some things to mull over, but keep it in mind and if anything peaks your interest please contact us and give us a hand. We are so lucky to have this opportunity, and in the years to come we are planning to see;

-Vibrant gardens, trees, and wildlife.
-A buzzing of energy and stream of people.
-A haven for living and learning close to nature

7 years ago