Michael Littlejohn

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since Sep 26, 2009
Hi to all,

Currently working to develop a small property in Summers County, WV (Zone 6B) not far from the New River. Interests: A Log cabin work shed, pole lathe, blacksmithing, rocket forge, aquaponics, mushroom cultivation, a small tree nursery, rabbits, soil improvement, solar, "near perpetual motion machines" for energy production, developing a Permaculture site as a model for the community what can be done on a small space to help address food insecurity in the community especially among seniors. Bicycles, smoke poles, fiddle playing, astronomy, RC aircraft, Arduino, and community.   Looking for more land in the near future to expand.
Summers County, West Virginia
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Recent posts by Michael Littlejohn

Hi Danny and Anyone else reading,

Mike here, 62 and took early retirement to take another stab at Permi-living in wild wonderful green West Virginia.  I own two small properties there in need of development.  I am a budding blacksmith and have always
had my hand in creative pursuits, including furniture, musical instrument and boat-building, even textiles, creative writing, filmmaking.  Southern born, Northern raised.  I'm an individualist smart enough to know I need
community.  If anybody is interested in West Virginia I know some interesting nooks an crannies, and you can still get some remote, rural land there for a decent price if you are watchful, although it may not last into the
next decade.  Community for rural gay men has always been challenging, I'm looking for correspondants, friends, allies and community in all its various forms.

Neither here nor there, but I am also a fiddle player and half asssed guitar player, but I enjoy it immensely and am interested in all sorts of musical forms.  Id like to develop a supportive network of GLBTQ rural folks in my state and neighboring states as well.

Best, and best  of luck with your journeys wherever they may lead..

10 hours ago
Hi Lana,

                             "The Longest Journey Begins with a Single Step"    
                                                                                                                       Lau Tsu

Sounds almost overwhelming. But that kind of frustration has some good at its core--a little anger helps us get busy, its good motivation. Im not wise but here are some ideas:

(1) Transportation is important. Got a car? A light truck is better, or a van if you can drive one, 8 cilynders is best it means you can haul a tiny camper/home and that gives you freedom. I recommend something like an 8 cillinder Ford F-150 pulling a tiny camper home. If you cant find a camper home get a toy hauler (little trailer) and outfit it yourself. Achieve the "ability" to leave anytime you want and explore:  By the way some people live out of their van, there are all sorts of rehab videos out there. Be like the snail that carries its home on its back.

(2) Skill Development makes others want YOU:  Woofing/experimenting/house sitting/community gardens other permie projects happening all over: There are opportunities out there to experience rural p-culture based life, the idea is to exchange labor for knowledge. Its an eye opener and not always easy. Unless you are anti-meat I strongly urge you to get practice w chickens and rabbits and growing your own food.  The ability to grow plants from cuttings is a pretty good skill too. Lots of tutorials on that all over the place.

(3 )The longest journey begins with a single step:  Feeling bummed out by the musicians and their culture? Go to the store and get some ugly potatos that are beginning to sprout. Cut them up in four pieces each and dry them. Plant them, anywhere. Plant them even somewhere you dont own, in a ditch, an obcsure place, a vacant lot. They will probably grow.  Start your connection with nature. It may be symbolic but it is symbolic of your self-evolution.

(4) Try looking on Zillow and Craigslist for a little snip of land someplace that you might call home. Strange little unwanted pieces of land that might be just right for you for you to begin your new life on. You can do Permaculture on a 1/4 acre properly placed.

(5) Cultures that fish generally have more food security. Make sure your little piece of heaven is near a river with good fishing.

(6) Bicycles: If you are able, get a good basic bike and learn to fix and maintain it as a backup to the truck. It can be a life-saver.

(7) Acquire some hand tools at yard sales and swap meets. Go for rusty an cheap, orphan tools,  and clean them up with some flat coca cola as solvent and a wad of aluminum foil. Or white vinegar works for that too. A good box of tools is a lifesaver. I've found great tools put out at the curb, rusty and unwanted.

(8) In some parts, there are so many trees that homeowners advertise free firewood for the hauling. That can also be the nucleus of a stackwood or cordwood house....just a thought...

(9) Develop community on boards like this.  Start taking pics off your digital device and document it for others, you may find some interest if you are able to tell your story visually.

Some ideas, not all will work, hope something hits the spot...best with your journey.  


Hi to all,

I am pleased to announce that I finally have my first instruction in blacksmithing coming up in early October.  Exciting stuff.  To date I have only done home experiments, some better than others.  I would be up for more instruction or even finding some community of like-interested people to learn more and maybe teach later when I have something to share.  I think metalworking is awesome, expressive and practical.  Question: How many Permaculturists are blacksmiths or metal casters?  Also, anyone who is not presently involved,  interested in blacksmithing?  


1 day ago
Thats interesting could I know the company or kits name that I could the a look? Thanks
5 days ago
Thank you for that John, I keep that as a possibility, but how much does it cost to move a house?  I would have thought the price would have been 10x that, or perhaps you meant he was short 5 bills.  But thanks. Okay 1 on the list: Move house.

Best, Mike
5 days ago
Hi to all,

Although I have grander plans to create a more interesting habitat as time goes by I am not a spring chicken anymore and with some health issues here and there, Id like to be settled in a house sooner than later.   I have land but no home. If I rent somewhere while I build Im draining off valuable capital which I might otherwise be spending on my home.   Question:  Are there any prefab house kits under $10,000 that are particularly interesting?  All I need is 1 bedroom to start, and I can add out buildings later. Id consider buildings not intended to be a house if I thought I could bring them within code. Any resources most helpful. My little piece of heaven is in Southern West Virginia. Many thanks.

5 days ago
Thank you for that Carl and the science behind it. So for purposes of building a greenhouse  it seems you're saying that think a slightly leaky system would help move any possible radon gas out and laying down a barrier would be of additional help.
6 days ago
Thanks Thomas I had thought of that in terms of a dampener on the top, which could be constricted to slow burning and pulled back again to let it rip. Also some projects call for lower or higher temperatures depending, annealing, spring and tool making etc, require some temperature control, so there should be a number of hot spots for different for different things......Traditional blacksmiths forge usually have some sort of forced air source, Ive seen a couple of rocket stoves that were used for backyard cooking and was really impressed--I know where it got its name "rocket" looking at the flames eminating.  I may not need any forced air. But we will see. Maybe I'll want to melt iron one day?

Thanks great thought.
6 days ago
Thanks Erik, I'll check them out, I appreciate that knowledge. Mike
1 week ago