AuthorTopic: Vision Statement for the' 'Stead  (Read 4474 times)

Offline Eddie

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Vision Statement for the' 'Stead
« on: November 16, 2013, 04:26:56 PM »
Part of our PDC design is to craft a vision statement for our project. My project is just a piece of the whole, and not a comprehensive plan for the 'stead, but I was moved to write this:

Vision Statement

To create a retreat community that will serve as an enduring model for small scale sustainable living in an environment of declining energy and severe climate change, using principles of permaculture and transition.

To create a place of physical and spiritual refuge, that combines recreation and comfort with systems for producing abundant food and water.

To create a retreat where writers and artists, and artisans can reside and produce their work without requiring major inputs of energy or money from outside sources.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2013, 05:24:33 PM by Eddie »
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline roamer

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Re: Vision Statement for the' 'Stead
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2013, 06:56:36 PM »
Eddie,
I like the vision :emthup: :emthup: :emthup:, need to get down to texas and see your stead, too busy roaming around building towers trying to stash up some cash at present though.   Got your wind turbine up yet?

Offline illdill

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Re: Vision Statement for the' 'Stead
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2013, 02:17:45 AM »
Part of our PDC design is to craft a vision statement for our project. My project is just a piece of the whole, and not a comprehensive plan for the 'stead, but I was moved to write this:

Vision Statement

To create a retreat community that will serve as an enduring model for small scale sustainable living in an environment of declining energy and severe climate change, using principles of permaculture and transition.

To create a place of physical and spiritual refuge, that combines recreation and comfort with systems for producing abundant food and water.

To create a retreat where writers and artists, and artisans can reside and produce their work without requiring major inputs of energy or money from outside sources.

Sounds promising. What sort of place do you have?

Because we are geared that way, and it is the most 'free' approach, I am attempting to demonstrate how a family unit can survive off of 1/5th of an acre using permaculture principles.

http://futurereferencefarm.blogspot.com/

Our project is in it's early stages of course, but it is moving along nicely.

We have several tropical fruits that we grow in our sun room. Outside we have McIntosh and Arkansas Black Spur Apples, Elberta Peaches, Nectarines, Stanly and Victoria Plumbs, Moonglow and D'Anjour Pears, Apricot, Bing and Black Cherries, Cherry Plumbs, Hazelnut and Almonds. Also, Blueberries, Red and White Raspberries, Blackberries, Goji Berries, HoneyBerries and Hairless Kiwi. Most are still very young.

We have a perennial garden that currently includes Horse Radish, Sun Chokes and Artichokes as well as a small Asparagus bed.

We have three large growing beds for annuals. We are learning all of the processes we can for long term survival, preserving as much of the harvest as possible by either drying or jarring. We save seeds as well.

We also have chickens which are great for fertilizer, but we are not yet at the point where we are keeping the chickens sustainably. We need to buy their feed because we have to keep them in their corral while the plants mature to a point where the chickens will not be a danger. After the plants are matured they can forage for most of their diet. Also we will eventually need a rooster so they will start reproducing.

The other thing which I am saving for now is a well and metal roofing for rainwater collection. We are reliant on city and irrigation water at this point.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2013, 02:42:28 AM by illdill »
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Offline Eddie

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Re: Vision Statement for the' 'Stead
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2013, 08:51:31 AM »
Eddie,
I like the vision :emthup: :emthup: :emthup:, need to get down to texas and see your stead, too busy roaming around building towers trying to stash up some cash at present though.   Got your wind turbine up yet?

Thanks roamer. The wind turbine is not up. I am currently still shopping for a tower. I am leaning (pun intended) toward something made out of repurposed rohn 55...but I also saw some used parking-lot light poles the other day that looked like a possible for a tilt-up with a permanent gin pole.

All my projects have been slowed down a little this fall by the commitment I made to get the PDC, which is finally almost done.

You gotta see the PMA welder project I'm building. It's almost finished. I hope to  put it  in into service building the pole for the turbine. It's a ZENA driven by a gas engine, and it also has 12 and 24 volt battery charging capabilities. Another back-up for the back-up.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2013, 10:26:55 AM by Eddie »
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline luciddreams

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Re: Vision Statement for the' 'Stead
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2013, 09:28:25 AM »
Part of our PDC design is to craft a vision statement for our project. My project is just a piece of the whole, and not a comprehensive plan for the 'stead, but I was moved to write this:

Vision Statement

To create a retreat community that will serve as an enduring model for small scale sustainable living in an environment of declining energy and severe climate change, using principles of permaculture and transition.

To create a place of physical and spiritual refuge, that combines recreation and comfort with systems for producing abundant food and water.

To create a retreat where writers and artists, and artisans can reside and produce their work without requiring major inputs of energy or money from outside sources.

Sweet...the Toothstead now has a vision statement.   :icon_mrgreen:

Offline Eddie

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Re: Vision Statement for the' 'Stead
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2013, 09:49:29 AM »
Part of our PDC design is to craft a vision statement for our project. My project is just a piece of the whole, and not a comprehensive plan for the 'stead, but I was moved to write this:

Vision Statement

To create a retreat community that will serve as an enduring model for small scale sustainable living in an environment of declining energy and severe climate change, using principles of permaculture and transition.

To create a place of physical and spiritual refuge, that combines recreation and comfort with systems for producing abundant food and water.

To create a retreat where writers and artists, and artisans can reside and produce their work without requiring major inputs of energy or money from outside sources.

Sounds promising. What sort of place do you have?

Because we are geared that way, and it is the most 'free' approach, I am attempting to demonstrate how a family unit can survive off of 1/5th of an acre using permaculture principles.

http://futurereferencefarm.blogspot.com/

Our project is in it's early stages of course, but it is moving along nicely.

We have several tropical fruits that we grow in our sun room. Outside we have McIntosh and Arkansas Black Spur Apples, Elberta Peaches, Nectarines, Stanly and Victoria Plumbs, Moonglow and D'Anjour Pears, Apricot, Bing and Black Cherries, Cherry Plumbs, Hazelnut and Almonds. Also, Blueberries, Red and White Raspberries, Blackberries, Goji Berries, HoneyBerries and Hairless Kiwi. Most are still very young.

We have a perennial garden that currently includes Horse Radish, Sun Chokes and Artichokes as well as a small Asparagus bed.

We have three large growing beds for annuals. We are learning all of the processes we can for long term survival, preserving as much of the harvest as possible by either drying or jarring. We save seeds as well.

We also have chickens which are great for fertilizer, but we are not yet at the point where we are keeping the chickens sustainably. We need to buy their feed because we have to keep them in their corral while the plants mature to a point where the chickens will not be a danger. After the plants are matured they can forage for most of their diet. Also we will eventually need a rooster so they will start reproducing.

The other thing which I am saving for now is a well and metal roofing for rainwater collection. We are reliant on city and irrigation water at this point.


I'm sort of like a John the Baptist of Doom, crying out in the wilderness, trying to get my tribe to get ready for the big change that's coming.  Or maybe more like the Kevin Costner character in Field of Dreams. My family doesn't quite get it yet. But I'm building it, and I believe that they will come. Or come around, at least.

At the moment my efforts are split. I have several experimental gardening projects at my house. A wicking bed, a keyhole garden, and currently I have 8 raised beds which are my variation of the square foot style, but deeper, with wood and cardboard on the bottom to  make them work like a hugelkulture bed. I also have my emergency food stash there and a pool that holds 25 or 30 thousand gallons of water.

I am mostly still raising annuals, but an asparagus bed is on my to-do list, and I'm interested in trying sunchokes here too. My belief is that with a little attention to the weather, that many annuals can be kept alive indefinitely here. I do have some of my large family involved in the gardens, and they are eager to get chickens, but I have to figure out how to fly them under the HOA radar. I have 8/10 of an acre with some tree cover that blocks the street view. I might try it soon. Chickens are very popular here, and a fight is going on in the city right now over the rules for raising chickens inside the city limits. I live outside the city, but have a very tough HOA and rich asshole neighbors who want to keep their property values up.

The piece of property I refer to as the 'stead (short for toothstead, a moniker given by RE and the denizens here) is a 38 acre parcel with live water about fifty miles outside of the city out in the ranch country. That's my field of dreams, really. I am slowly but surely getting it ready to receive permanent tenants, which I hope will include me and some of my family, and become a nexus for building a local transition type community. When it is fully realized it will be energy self-sufficient for the mid-term (25 to 50 years expected from solar PVs).  There is approximately ten acres of deep bottomland that can be farmed, and the rest is basically goat pasture.

Currently I'm getting ready to renovate the existing cabin out there and build a solar outdoor shower. I'm also beginning to work on a master permaculture design for the entire place. My PDC project is an upslope water catchment plan that uses swales, rock terraces and check dams to divert some of the water that feeds a big dry wash. I have two such dry creeks that I hope to turn into beautiful water features that harvest rain.

I am now propagating fig trees from cuttings that I'm getting off some scraggly old, old plants that the pioneer ranchers planted on the place over 100 years a go, and which have proven their ability to resist drought. I hope to plant many of them on the edges. My place has some wonderful edge, some mature forest with dozens of ancient pecan trees, and a few walnuts.

I have an old hoop house that I hope will someday be a place to grow winter greens and house an aquaponics set-up.

My plans are long term out there, but I hope to be living out there and able to unplug from the matrix almost entirely within the next ten or so years. If fast collapse happens, my plans will have to be adjusted. I am trying to collect as much of what I need now as I can afford to . Much of my power generating equipment is warehoused at the moment, and I'm still acquiring some of the parts.

I have a well, and I am also getting the parts to convert it to a solar pump jack that can run it off panels with no battery.

Eventually there will be another house or two out there, but right now i am trying to dream up the right kind of barn/studio/workshop that can be functional and esthetic. I intend to start building that within the next several months.





« Last Edit: November 17, 2013, 10:09:23 AM by Eddie »
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline jdwheeler42

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Re: Vision Statement for the' 'Stead
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2013, 10:38:27 AM »
My belief is that with a little attention to the weather, that many annuals can be kept alive indefinitely here.
LOL that's a common misconception/sloppy use of language.  True annuals cannot be kept alive, no matter what.  Their life cycle is fixed for one season and they automatically die off.  What you're thinking can be kept alive indefinitely are actually tender perennials that are grown as annuals.  Tomatoes and beans are the easiest to demonstrate the difference.  Annual tomato plants are called determinate varieties; tender perennial ones are indeterminate.  Similarly, bush beans are the true annuals, pole beans are the tender perennials.  And just because something is a perennial doesn't mean it will last forever, either; many perennials will only survive 3-5 years without propagation.  Strawberries are particularly notorious; a strawberry patch can be managed to produce basically forever, but individual plants peak at about 1 year old.
Making pigs fly is easy... that is, of course, after you have built the catapult....

Offline jdwheeler42

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Re: Vision Statement for the' 'Stead
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2013, 10:43:09 AM »
Eventually there will be another house or two out there, but right now i am trying to dream up the right kind of barn/studio/workshop that can be functional and esthetic. I intend to start building that within the next several months.
What kind of soil do you have there?  Is it caliche?  I'm wondering in terms of using as a building material.
Making pigs fly is easy... that is, of course, after you have built the catapult....

Offline Eddie

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Re: Vision Statement for the' 'Stead
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2013, 10:44:44 AM »
Yes, JD. You are correct of course. I know that true annuals have a fixed life cycle. Sloppy usage on my part for sure. But even true annuals can often reseed themselves, no?

My goal is to keep plants that are difficult to grow here producing throughout the year. Like tomatoes, for instance. I realize that the individual plants will have to be replaced from time to time. I should have said it differently. It's still a worthwhile pursuit.

Thank you for the correction. You are my favorite critic. Kind but firm. LOL.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline Eddie

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Re: Vision Statement for the' 'Stead
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2013, 10:50:27 AM »
My belief is that with a little attention to the weather, that many annuals can be kept alive indefinitely here.
LOL that's a common misconception/sloppy use of language.  True annuals cannot be kept alive, no matter what.  Their life cycle is fixed for one season and they automatically die off.  What you're thinking can be kept alive indefinitely are actually tender perennials that are grown as annuals.  Tomatoes and beans are the easiest to demonstrate the difference.  Annual tomato plants are called determinate varieties; tender perennial ones are indeterminate.  Similarly, bush beans are the true annuals, pole beans are the tender perennials.  And just because something is a perennial doesn't mean it will last forever, either; many perennials will only survive 3-5 years without propagation.  Strawberries are particularly notorious; a strawberry patch can be managed to produce basically forever, but individual plants peak at about 1 year old.

This is a perfect example of why I love to write stuff here. I get corrected when my thinking is a little off, which it often is. Fortunately for me, I'm willing to learn from my errors, and I don't take legitimate criticism as an attack. JD, you are a great teacher.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline Eddie

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Re: Vision Statement for the' 'Stead
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2013, 10:59:36 AM »
What kind of soil do you have there?  Is it caliche?  I'm wondering in terms of using as a building material.

Lots of limestone, very alkaline. But the bottom is not really caliche. It's not that rocky. Its about 70/30 blackland prairie clay/sand, with a few limestone pebbles. I wonder if the true mission of the ash juniper is to acidify the soil, and that's why we have so much of it. Too bad it has so many negatives that go with that.

Up on the high ground it's very rocky, with caliche and bare rock.

I think my bottom was once a hay meadow, back in the cattle days, when the  place was a working ranch. But they might have farmed it for food too. In doing my basemap, I looked at aerial views of all the surrounding area, and it's a bigger, better patch of riparian soil than most anything else I saw for miles around. I got lucky.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline Eddie

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Re: Vision Statement for the' 'Stead
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2013, 11:08:31 AM »
I showed my soil samples to the guy who taught us how to make cob, and he said he thought it would work for that. I just have so much rock to work with, that I think it might make sense to build some buildings with that technique the Nearings used. I can't think of what it's called. I'd bet you know though.  ;D

Or...I have a bunch of big timbers similar to the ones Peter was using under that cabin he was renovating. I might build a pole structure with those set in the ground, and use rock to build a perimeter wall up  a couple of feet.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline luciddreams

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Re: Vision Statement for the' 'Stead
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2013, 11:09:23 AM »
JD, you are a great teacher.

I agree.  He's a bastion of certain plant/permaculture knowledge, as well as general trivia it would seem. 

Offline jdwheeler42

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Re: Vision Statement for the' 'Stead
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2013, 01:30:15 PM »
What kind of soil do you have there?  Is it caliche?  I'm wondering in terms of using as a building material.

Lots of limestone, very alkaline. But the bottom is not really caliche. It's not that rocky. Its about 70/30 blackland prairie clay/sand, with a few limestone pebbles. I wonder if the true mission of the ash juniper is to acidify the soil, and that's why we have so much of it. Too bad it has so many negatives that go with that.

Up on the high ground it's very rocky, with caliche and bare rock.

I think my bottom was once a hay meadow, back in the cattle days, when the  place was a working ranch. But they might have farmed it for food too. In doing my basemap, I looked at aerial views of all the surrounding area, and it's a bigger, better patch of riparian soil than most anything else I saw for miles around. I got lucky.
I showed my soil samples to the guy who taught us how to make cob, and he said he thought it would work for that. I just have so much rock to work with, that I think it might make sense to build some buildings with that technique the Nearings used. I can't think of what it's called. I'd bet you know though.  ;D

Or...I have a bunch of big timbers similar to the ones Peter was using under that cabin he was renovating. I might build a pole structure with those set in the ground, and use rock to build a perimeter wall up  a couple of feet.
I would definitely avoid using that valuable bottomland soil as a bulk building material.  For small projects like a cob bench as part of a rocket mass heater I would definitely consider it, but not for entire buildings.

Slipform stonemasonry like the Nearings used definitely sounds promising for your site.  Basically you're just building concrete walls with really, really big aggregate.  It is only a little more difficult to build than a concrete wall, you're essentially dropping big rocks in as you pour it.  One nice thing is that with abundant limestone on site, it would theoretically be possible to make the concrete even after TEOTWAWKI.  The major drawback, though, is it IS a concrete wall.  You'd better be VERY sure you are going to want a wall where you put it for generations to come.

A pole structure is an excellent idea if you want flexibility.  It is definitely something to consider for a multipurpose building like a barn/studio/workshop.  Since the weight of the structure is supported by the timbers, the walls can be pretty much anything you like, and you are quite free to change them as you need them.
Making pigs fly is easy... that is, of course, after you have built the catapult....

Offline jdwheeler42

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Re: Vision Statement for the' 'Stead
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2013, 02:26:32 PM »
Yes, JD. You are correct of course. I know that true annuals have a fixed life cycle. Sloppy usage on my part for sure. But even true annuals can often reseed themselves, no?

My goal is to keep plants that are difficult to grow here producing throughout the year. Like tomatoes, for instance. I realize that the individual plants will have to be replaced from time to time. I should have said it differently. It's still a worthwhile pursuit.

Thank you for the correction. You are my favorite critic. Kind but firm. LOL.

It's a fine and noble pursuit.  Every year I bring some tender perennials in and try to nurse them through the winter.  I generally make it through March.  The first nice day in Spring comes and then they start putting out new growth.  If I put them out, a frost gets them, but if I try to keep them inside, something else always seems to happen to them.  I enjoy the challenge, but it's definitely not for the faint of heart.  And I would hate to see someone work against genetic programming trying to keep a true annual plant alive.

As to reseeding, that is of course a wonderful thing.  Most of my lettuce, all of my arugula, some of my tomatoes, some barley, some sorghum-sudangrass, even a few marigolds I got to enjoy this year without planting this year -- they all came up from seeds that overwintered in the ground.  The only thing I did was allow them to go to seed and not pull them out.  And of course that's not counting the leeks, chives, onions, garlic, rosemary, etc., that were not annuals.

Thank you for your kind words.  They mean a lot.
Making pigs fly is easy... that is, of course, after you have built the catapult....

 

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