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Want to help us make some long-term goals?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hey, all you country folks! Maybe you would all like to give me some input. We currently have a country house in the midst of suburbia. The land generally surrounding our area is environmentally protected due to law at the moment. We have a well and septic. (We have a long unused but still functional outhouse, as well.) There is not too much land (about 1/2 acre, rocky and hilly) and what we have is very shady, although recently a neighbor removed two large trees and suddenly we have a sunny spot for a fairly large garden. We also have what looks like a root cellar near what will be our garden, although we are not sure what it was originally intended for. Our goal is to move towards independent, off the grid living, althoiugh it is very unlikely that we would ever obtain it completely. We like living here and the house is almost paid for AND we have many of the most marvelous neighbors who have similar values to ours. Almost an unintential intentional community, so to speak... Anyway, our goals at present are to: Fence our new garden (we trash-picked some fence), create raised beds for vegetable planting, install a clothes-line and a woodstove, and install some solar panels (that can only create a fairly small amout of power at present). I am pushing for installing the emergency handpump on our electric well pump that Lehman's sells, but I have not convinced my husband yet! We do lose power fairly often and with it all of our water supply : We live a quite simple life, homeschool our kids and have a limited independent income. Any other ideas? Let me have 'em!! Gee, I love Mothering.com!!
post #2 of 8
Wow, sounds like you have some great plans and I great place to get started! About hand pumps, I would also recommend talking to your well drilling pump people, we know one who is able to fit a hand pump as well as having a stadard electric pump. Apparently he did it to a lot of wells around y2k, so he had experience with hand pumps. I would start small and cheaply, get the garden going, the clothesline, the fence, etc. I would read as much as possible, I like Story's Country Skills as a good reference book. Backwoods solar are a really great company and very helpful, so you may want to call them about solar panels. You can occassionally find nice used woodstoves for lower cost, just make sure it is well sealed. It is great you have neighbors with similar values, and it sounds like you have some great goals.
post #3 of 8
For your garden, I would suggest getting heirloom seeds. This way you can save your seeds from year to year. The open pollenated ones aren't really meant to be seed-savers.

I would write down how much of each veggie/garden product you consume now, that way you have a good idea on how much to plant.

Hmmm... can't think of to much more. Looks like you have a good start right now!
post #4 of 8
Sounds like you're doing way better than we are already! I would love a root cellar.

My suggestions are all gardening ones.

How about planting an orchard ?

I'm a bit biased on the next suggestion :LOL you could always get some chickens for eggs & compost. I think it was farmer mama who had a glasshouse & chicken coop all in one which I am so doing in the future.

Not sure where you are, but you could look into planting the rest of your garden out with local native species - especially the threatened ones.
post #5 of 8
Wow, you are doing terrific!

I love this site - www.pathtofreedom.com - they are doing amazing things on a very small lot.

Warm wishes,
Tonya
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the great ideas! I never thought about having our plumber just install a handpump. I would love a small orchard, but I think we would need a bit more land (and more sun) that we have... I might be able to squeeze in two fruit trees, though. Actually I always wanted some kind of nut tree, but I don't know... Chickens would be lovely for their eggs and their insect eating capabilities. I was thinking that we could install some rain barrels (I actually trashpicked three of them last year!) on the little shed I am chosing to call the root cellar and use rain water to water my garden. OceanMama, thanks for the thought about the native spieces for the rest of the yard. At this time, the yard is pretty much native except for a few flowering plants. One of my goals is to find a way to introduce a mix of low growing weeds into the small area of yard that we have (and use heavily!) There is a large recreational field across from our house and it is such a lovely mix of grass, clover, dandelions, and other small flowering plants. We lost all of our grass during a hurricane that washed out all of the topsoil in our grassy area, so I am trying to find a seed mix that will give us this kind of a "field" (the area will be mowed). Anyone know of any sources?
post #7 of 8
You might want to check out peaceful valley http://www.groworganic.com/browse_se...?sCategory=370 They have pasture seeds, lawn seeds, native grass seeds, wildflower mixes, etc.
post #8 of 8
You can buy fruit trees on dwarfing rootstocks & you can also espalier these onto fences & house walls. We can get trees too which have two varieties grafted onto the same root stock which save on space. While I remember, what about some berries ? Some of the heirloom native berry species I've seen listed in plant catalogues look really yummmy. I read a book called something like "creating a forest garden" which was really good. Very inspiring, except we have possums so it is a problem. Some permaculutre books could have good ideas. I found a book by Rosemary Morrow which had lots of nice pictures in & was easier to read & understand than the Bill Mollison ones.

If you weave or basket make, you could plant plants to use for this. I've got flaxes & pikao but you could plant basketing willow or hazel that you can coppice.
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