Daron Williams

gardener
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since Oct 08, 2016
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Hi, I’m Daron, and there’s nothing I love more than cultivating food, habitat, and beauty for my family and the wild critters that share our home.
Home, for me, is the Wild Ride Homestead—the little piece of earth where my wife, Michaela, and I are raising a family and running a business.
Michaela tends to the “home” part of the homestead—turning our harvests into wholesome, tasty meals, and taking the lead raising our little toddler. She also helps out quite a bit with Wild Homesteading, acting as my editor and helping me translate some of the abstract concepts into concise, actionable tips.
Our son Arden is also a cornerstone of our life and work, keeping us smiling and laughing even when times are tough.
Michaela and I both work outside the home to pay the bills—I work as a restoration project manager, and Michaela works at our local public library.
Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
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Recent posts by Daron Williams

Once this all ends... first I want to give my friends and family a hug. And I would love to host some in person workshops/talks. Having to do it all virtually now. And in general just be able to relax more when out and about.
6 days ago
Hello!

I run a blog called Wild Homesteading that gets around 5 to 6k users per month. For revenue I don't use ads at all--never liked them and I feel they distract from the site. I use Patreon where people sign up to support the site as patrons. This brings in $88 a month at the moment which is likely more than I could get from ads. I also use affiliate links both from Amazon and Permies. This tends to bring in $20 to $60 per month. And I'm in the process of creating my first online course which will be an evergreen product and will likely bring in a fair bit more than affiliates or Patreon. Though I'm also getting ready to launch a podcast which I think will help grow the number of Patrons I have. I also recently started doing paid public speaking and that looks like it will also result in me being hired to provide consultation services to people though that is all new for me. But I've got 2 people that are interested. Potentially this could be a good revenue source though it needs more development.

As far as hosting services for the site. I use Site Ground to host my site which is a wordpress site. I like it and the cost isn't bad--though eventually I will upgrade to a better host service to improve my site's load time. But that isn't needed now.

I would also recommend looking at building an email list if you haven't yet. I use a site called Convertkit which I think is really good--there is a free option to get you started with them. Once you get an email list you can use that to market your products and services and start getting sells. As long as you don't spam them and provide good free content people should be happy to consider buying any paid services/products you end up offering.

I'm also exploring writing some books and marketing those in the future. I've got one that is in progress but it had to be put on the back burner for the moment.

To me this overall approach is much better than trying to deal with ads and generally results in more revenue than ads would--plus the user experience tends to be better.
6 days ago
Hello!

Great to see another Thurston County person on here. My wife and I live up in north Thurston on a couple acres and I got family down in Rainer not far from Tenino. I've also done a lot of environmental restoration work in Thurston County and I've dealt with the county rules and regulations a fair bit through that.

First, the rules and regulations around wetlands are all focused on preventing damage to the wetlands not stopping all activities. They generally won't let you build, create impermeable surfaces, or fill the wetland--this also generally applies in the buffer. Though sometimes you can go through a mitigation process but with 12 acres of land outside the buffer I doubt they would let you.

But the rules don't stop you from removing invasive plants and planting native plants in the wetlands / buffers. I've done that a ton for restoration projects that were funded through WA state and even in partnership with the county. The only time we had to get permits was when we were doing earth working within the wetland or removing structures within the wetland area. But we could remove garbage and human made debris without any issues.

Camping in the buffer could be fine depending on the scale of the camping. Setting up a tent won't be an issue but building a raised platform could be if it was discovered. Though to be honest the county doesn't have the resources to really enforce the regulations in every situation. They tend to focus on the bigger violations like some one trying to fill a wetland or build a house in those areas. But I would still try to minimize your impact. If you wanted to build a camping spot I would just sheet mulch an area, put some logs around it and then fill it with woodchips. That would give you a "platform" but the materials would all pass muster with the county--they wouldn't care about that. But using gravel wouldn't be liked by the county and they also wouldn't like you creating a more formal structure. Avoid impermeable surfaces in this area.

You could easily cultivate mushrooms within that area--no one will care about that. Harvesting wild plants also wouldn't be an issue unless you were removing so much that you were essentially clearing the plants from that area. Clearing native plants and cutting down trees in a wetland buffer is generally not allowed. But if the forest is clearly overcrowded and needs a little thinning you could cut those trees down by hand. I would leave the wood there and/or use it for mushroom cultivation in that area or use it to create habitat through things like log piles. Just don't go in with equipment or clear the area--all that would negatively impact that area and could get you in trouble.

Gardening would be defined as a simple vegetable garden. Though a food forest could pass too. I wouldn't put livestock in the buffer area because the county would likely get annoyed about potential nutrient runoff from the livestock and/or damage to native plants and potentially erosion. Hand dug swales could work though I would avoid using equipment for swales. My property has a wetland buffer on it and I've done a bunch of improvement work on it to retain more water and I've planted a lot of native plants. All this work was done by hand and it's fully visible from a major road. No one minds it because the impacts are clearly positive--the previous owners used to run horses through it to the point that the soil was bare and then when they were told to stop they just let blackberries take it over. Since I've greatly improved the habitat no one seems to mind. And the wildlife love the improvements. But I do honor the spirit of the regulations and focus my efforts on creating and restoring native habitat for wildlife within the wetland buffer.

The other thing to be aware of is your neighbors. Potentially they could report you if they don't like something you're doing. So try to stay on their good side just to be safe. But even in those situations the county really doesn't have the resources to investigate every complaint. In my experience they tend to ignore technical violations in favor of focusing on big violations. Though there are always exceptions to this.

Also, if building on that property if you're close to the buffer may require a wetland delineation to confirm that the build site is outside the wetland and its buffer. Though I'm unsure when that would be triggered. I do know a person that does this work for people and I could pass his information on to you if you decide to move forward.

Best of luck and please feel free to reach out to me on here or though my site Wild Homesteading -- there is a link to my contact page at the bottom of the homepage. I'm also starting to offer consultation services to help people in our area cultivate abundance for people, plants and wildlife on their own property. My goal with this service is to help people build momentum and get past any road blocks so they can start taking action. Though I'm always happy to answer questions on here or through email.
6 days ago
I grew up gardening and my parents used to have goats, bees and chickens. So parts of this life was what I grew up with. We always grew a large part of our veggies each year. My siblings all support this sort life though they live it in different ways. My oldest brother does a lot to improve his land down in Arizona though not a lot of food production. My other brother has experimented with rabbits, chickens and now is focusing on growing food in gardens and he wants to plant a food forest on his property. My sister is more focused on supporting local organic farms and eating a very healthy diet--she follows a vegan diet and is very careful about what sorts of food she eats in regards to how it was grown/produced. Her kids also went to a nature based school for several years.

My wife is very supportive of a permies lifestyle and her parents/siblings all think this is cool though it's not how they choose to live. But they love our place and fully support what we do.

We really are very lucky to have such a supportive family while on this journey. I think my wife and I have gone further than anyone else in our family but they're all supportive. Though as we shift to a composting toilet and some other larger changes we will see But they all love our food growing and how beautiful and "natural" our place is becoming.
Cardboard can breakdown really fast if you have good soil life. I've seen it completely decompose in just a couple months. I like to put cardboard down first and then everything else on top of it. If you did cardboard, then compost and then a mulch layer I think the cardboard would decompose quickly.

Last year I put cardboard over a bunch of tough grass followed by compost. I planted a bunch of potatoes in it and then covered it all with a lot of fall leaves. I did this all in February though I did add more leaves when the potatoes had grown up a bit. I never had to remove the cardboard, the potatoes did great with no watering and when I harvested them in the summer there was no cardboard left at all.
1 week ago
Nice! Those are on my list to try eventually. Do you have to peel them? I often use small red, yellow or blue potatoes without peeling them and I was curious if groundnuts could be used in a similar way. Would save time and make it easier to use the smaller ones.
Thank you Stacie! I will make sure to post some pictures in the spring and summer. I'm excited to see how it all comes together. And I really hope it helps to bring garter snakes to my gardens. Hopefully I can get some pictures of garter snakes and frogs using it too. Thanks again!
1 week ago
I just ordered one for my property. I have similar concerns about getting enough summer heat for it to thrive. But another issue is jujubes prefer to have well drained soil. Because of this I'm being very careful about where I put mine since my soils are generally not well drained--lots of heavy silt and clay. But I do have an area that will get lots of sun and is decently drained. Just something to be careful about when picking the location for yours.

Also, keep in mind that there is a big difference between conditions being ideal for maximum fruit production and conditions being good enough to get fruit for home use. I don't expect to get a "full" harvest from mine but I don't need that to make it worth it for home use.

And there are tons of different varieties of jujubes. The one I picked out is called winter delight. Supposed to be very hardy but what really appealed to me is that it's supposed to be an early ripening variety. I figured that would make it more likely to produce fruit on my property. It might be take longer than it would in ideal conditions but hopefully it will still have plenty of time to ripen. It could be a good variety for you too.

Good luck with your jujube!
1 week ago
Congrats on getting the well installed!