Kate Muller

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since May 29, 2014
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bee chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
New Hampshire
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Recent posts by Kate Muller

David Singer wrote:I have poorly controlled seizure disorder. I have generalized partial complex epilepsy which not only includes tonic colonic (grand-mal/fits/convulsions) I also have absence (petit mal) seizures and moments of either an altered sense of reality or an uncommonly enhanced perceptions of the truths of reality (joke).

While the tonic colonic are controlled via medications, I still get my 'moments' which can last 1 second to a minute. Most often its only a second or two, but the states appear to have no wiggle room for a driver who might lapse for a second or two.

So I am left with either getting married to someone who can drive (seriously not a good reason for marriage) or I have to come up with a novel way to get to and from town from  my 'remote base of operations' or homestead.

Our current society has developed the means for a person to be remote and still connect to the internet and order things online - I just got a few items from Wal-Mart last month, and was surprised to have the UPS guy at my door with a rake, shovel and 50' long garden hose. I have yet to try it with groceries.

While its now possible to actually live a distance away from a town, the idea of being stranded there isn't a happy one.  So I'm thinking I might get myself a horse or two and live within riding distance of a town/small city.

I have a rare connective tissue disorder that is starting to effect my nervous system.  It historically just made me prone to joint injuries and weird allergies/ sensitivities till 2 years ago.   My mother and sister also have it and both of them are severely disabled at this point so it is some thing we are planing for.  Our choices do cost us more but they work for us and we are designing them to work for us when we are in 70's and 80's too.  Home renovations will be designed for longevity, ease of maintenance, and aging in place.  

When my husband and I took our PDC it taught us to really evaluate what our needs and wants were.   It helped us figure out that it was better for us to buy an existing smaller ranch house on a couple of acres 15 minutes outside a small city.  We found a place on the southeast/east side of a hill that is sunny and zoned agricultural.   We are so glad we sat down and figured out that being closer to stores, doctors, hospitals, and the interstate was something we would need if his parents wound up moving in with us or we stayed here till we in our 80's.   We may not stay here but we want to develop this place so we could. I know far to many people who wound up disabled in there 40s and older folks who have to move because they can't manage in the home they bought when they were young.  

Fast forward 4 years later and my health is causing me all sorts of limitations including not driving. Hopefully it will be temporary but this whole situation would be a nightmare if we had bought a place another half hour to 40 minutes further west.   Friends have been giving me rides to doctor's appointments and my husband has been amazing with all of this but I would go out of my mind with out my social network. Being in an area where you have a good social network is so valuable and should be something to consider before settling down somewhere.  Renting in the area you are interested is a good way to see if you establish a good social network.  
1 year ago
My property is on glacial sand.  We built huglebeds 4 years ago when we first moved in.   The sandy drains so well that the huglebeds dry out fast and we are struggling to get the organic matter up high enough to solve this problem.   They are home to lots of little critters that wipe out about a 1/3 to half of my garden every year.

1 year ago

Bryant RedHawk wrote:Why not get some plastic sheeting and make a small High Tunnel for your herbs and tomatoes for the winter?
You would be surprised at how long a tomato vine will continue to give you tasty fruits as long as you can keep the temps in the range they can endure.


A small high tunnel is not enough protection for tomatoes in Ontario, Canada  nor New Hampshire where I live.  To get tomatoes in over the winter her you need a heated greenhouse and supplemental lighting.  Not only do we have cold wet winters but lots of cloudy days.  
1 year ago
Question about this poll.  Are you looking for staple crops people actually grow or just ones we are interested in?

1 year ago
Since you are looking to relocate to another part of the country I would suggest renting for a year in any area you are considering buying in.  I am in NH and know quite a few people that have moved form out of state and ended buying a house/property when they first arrived.  Since they didn't take the time to get to know the area, culture, and level of government intrusion wound up unhappy.

One of the reasons I want to stay where I am is because I didn't buy a house when I first arrived in NH. It was a good thing since my lifestyle, goals, relationships all changed as I got settled including meeting my husband.  We eventually bought a place together that we love and fits our needs with room to homestead.    
1 year ago
 I am really glad I learned to can, dehydrate, freeze, and cook from scratch before I started planting a large garden.   That way I could deal with the harvest and adjust my garden plan depending on the need to have a crop all at once or succession planted to stretch the harvest times.   We also eat seasonally to take advantage of what grows well in Northern New England.

We have 2 freezer chests and there are only 2 of us in my household.  We are not trying to grow our own meat but we do buy it from local farmers by the whole or half of an animal.  That is what is filling one freezer chest. The other one is full of fruits and veggies from the garden.  

While my basement is perfect for storing winter squash we do want to add a root cellar in the basement with a chill bot for back up in the summer. We could put it in the yard but I want the convenience of dealing with snow to cook dinner.   We will need this in a couple of years once the fruit trees and other perennials come into their full production.

We have also tried to find perennials that don't all ripen at once.  Having early, mid and late season varieties of fruits and veggies is wonderful.  I expands the fresh eating season and reduces waste when life gives you a bad week when you don't need it.   We have laying hens to consume excess production and garden waste.
We can quite a bit but need to step that up going forward. I water bath and pressure can and I want to do more of this going forward.  It is time consuming but out busy season is the first quarter of the year when my husband both mentor an FIRST FRC Robotics team.  Having easy to heat and eat meals that time if the year is a game changer. Plus is will get more food out of the freezers.

Dehydrating is something I start in the spring and work on getting herbs in jars all season long.  
I do some fermenting too.  Having the root cellar will make it easier to do large batches and store them.  

One of the big things to consider is the work level in dealing with all the production.  Do you have the time and energy to do the work.   Could you still manage it if your health declined?  This is where I am now.  I kid around it is a full time job keeping me and my husband fed.   I have some very severe dietary restrictions and I have to cook from scratch and it  helps but I worry about not being able to garden some day so we have to design our  system  with that in mind.   Food processors, motorized food mills, and a huge assortment of kitchen gadgets saves me time, strain, and energy so I keep cooking.  While a good knife and cutting board may work for some I need more help.    

We have been slowly expanding the garden and the production. This has been a good move since my dietary needs have changed it has allowed us to adapt the garden to my needs. It has also given us time to deal with all the food so we have it over the winter.

1 year ago
I am interested in this topic too.  My husband and I are only a few years off from retiring and we are trying to figure out how to get ready for the shift.  We want to stay where we are and get the property ready for us to live here for a good 40 plus years.  The shift to preserving ones assets and creating a more permie lifestyle is daunting.  
1 year ago
If you and your partner can figure out what the most important lifestyle considerations that you both agree on, use that for a basis for figuring out what you need to have a functional happy home. Then build on that for some of the wants that add value to your lifestyle with minimal stress and cost.  Never undervalue convenience particularly if something that needs to be done everyday.  Find out what is important to your wife and why it is important to her.  Once you both have a clear understanding of the needs it will be easier to fill them when you have the resources.  You may find once you have clear set of goals that you both agree on that it will be much easier for you to take advantage of an opportunity when they present themselves.  

It sounds like she has the desire to be a home owner.  Why is this important to her.  Why does she want to be in town?
What are her concern about homesteading?   Is it work load, commuting time, fear of isolation being out in the middle of nowhere? Is she worried that if you insist on building it may never happen because it is difficult to build a house since both of you work and raising a family.   Once you know why she doesn't want to homestead then you can begin to find a solution that will work for both of you.  Make the things she does want of the homesteading life style very important needs. It will show that her input is valued and those things you both agree on are good place to start.  

When my husband and I were saving up to buy our current house we went back and forth over what we wanted and the reality it was way more than we could afford.   We took an Applied PDC course as an anniversary vacation right before we started shopping for our house. One of the biggest things we learned is how to figure out what we needed.   This saved us a lot of money and time shopping for a house. We bought a ranch house on a couple of acres, 15 minutes outside of town.  It is zoned agricultural, has south east solar aspect, and we could afford it.  We are very happy with our choice because it meets both of our needs and is not a huge drain on our resources including time.  

At first we wanted 10 plus acres in a very rural area, a big barn, a custom built home  within commuting distance of my husbands work.  That runs $400,000 and up where we live and way out of price range.  While we were saving up a down payment we started researching the lifestyle. We attended classes and workshops on homesteading skills. We also had frank conversations with friends who built or renovated homes in our area.   We also helped friends who homesteaded with various projects that we were interested in and then took Whole System Designs  PDC before we went shopping.  Not everyone can take a 10 day PDC as a couple everything else we did was very inexpensive.

What we learned is we don't want to harvest our own meat, or have large animals.  If we kept the property to a small scale we could use hand tools and not need a tractor which meant we didn't need a barn or even a garage.   We also determined that being close to the highway, grocery stores, medical care and our social network was an important quality of life factor.   We also wanted a house that we could age in place or have my in laws move in with us if they need too.  While we are in our 40's now we want to have the option to retire here.

We made lists of the foods we wanted to grow, big projects we want to add later(greenhouse), estimated how much time we wanted to put into on a daily basis, and realized that a couple of acres is more than we need.  

The other big thing is the work load.  I have physical limitations due to a chronic illness and my functionality will continue to decline as I get older.  My husband works outside the home and isn't around during the day. We sat down and figured out which farm chores I couldn't do and designed the farm based on what I could do.  This way either one of us could do the day to day chores and not have a crisis if one of us got sick or injured.  

1 year ago
I am looking at slate when we remodel our kitchen.  It is low maintenance, takes heat and just needs a little mineral to touch up the finish.   Scratches can be removed with steel wool.

1 year ago
I live in the same cold wet climate at Ben Falk.  Moisture is a problem in attached greenhouses here in New England.  My husband and I are considering adding an attached greenhouse to the front of our house or a free standing barn and greenhouse combination.   We want to put in a climate banking system to pull the hot air and humidity below ground to reduce the temperature swings inside the greenhouse.  

I also took a tour of Steve Whitman's greenhouse which is also northern New England and his greenhouse uses a climate banking system and it didn't have a musty smell or signs of too much moisture effecting the wood framing.    I was really impressed with his design and how it functioned.  It struck me as a better solution to a grid tied house than Ben's greenhouse for reducing moisture damage to the main building.  

Here is a video tour of his property and he starts talking about the greenhouse at the 15: 20 minute mark.  
1 year ago