The majority of my blogs will consist of what I'm doing around my homestead. I have always lived as self-sufficiently a lifestyle as possible by choice & subscribe to the permaculture way of life planning.
I currently reside within the Hermann city limits, but am fortunate
to live on 8.7 acres of land. My previous home was an ideal 74
acre farm. But I've deliberately downsized & come closer into a town because I am of the opinion that the economy is headed for a severe contraction. I believe that without being a part of a cohesive community, one can not have enough hours in a day to do all tasks required to survive. Therefore I am committed to community building in this area.
If you are interested in being more self-sufficient, I can not encourage anyone enough to just do what you can, where you live now & begin today! You don't need alot of acres to feed oneself & a family. I did not come from an agricultural background so you don't need a farm background to begin. Just start talking to the 'old timers', jump into teaching yourself &/or get with folks that either know certain skills or will learn with you. This is where the HARES site comes into play. To help those that want to learn do just that through sharing our own personal experiences & other resources. We will learn together!
Days like this remind me to revert back to the natural rhythms of life. Winter is a time of the winter camp, of rest & reflection. Time to imitate nature & hibernate. This is also the time of the year when I assess what worked in the garden, orchard & on the patch of ground that makes my home. And what didn't. What do I want to plant next year? What seeds do I need to order? What seeds have I saved from last year's crop? Do I need to grow more trees for my woodlot? What native species are on the grounds that I can work into 'my big plan'. What can I do to encourage more native species?
If one is just starting out, walk about your area, even if it is a fenced in backyard in a neighborhood. Note your south & west directions. These are the directions where the sun will shine the warmest. Also the shady areas, sunny areas, the wet or dry areas. What is growing there now? Try to think about planning on planting both the front & back yards. There is no reason to discount any of your ground, especially if you don't have alot of space.
This year will be my first year having a vegetable garden where I reside. I moved a couple years back to this new location & since the land was raw, was busy building a road, buildings, etc...initially. I did my walk about & have built multiple raised beds from some cedar trees growing on my property & from cedar lumber 2x4s, based on the questions I suggested above. The beds I started last year are actively growing blackberry bushes, strawberries, & asparagus. These are easy to grow & maintain & I recommend anyone starting a garden to consider growing these plants. I also have a variety of fruit trees that are varying ages, ranging from two years to last summer. Fruit trees were the very first thing I planted on my new homestead as the maintenance was minimal, & are another item anyone getting started may consider.
All the above will need time before they produce, some more or less than others. The main point is to GET STARTED with something, preferably something that will not overwhelm you. Planting too much is supposed to be the most common mistake for newbies, for if one's produce is ready to be picked at once, what do you do with it all!?
My next entry will cover more on how to come up with the 'big picture plan', as i like to call it. We will review why I suggested one walk about your grounds to learn the lay of the land & why this is important. Permaculture thinking is based on working with the land as it is, not radically changing the existing fauna, & trying to accomplish complementary systems to save effort & work whenever possible. This is why planning your big picture is critical to me-to envision your complete lay out in the beginning. Stay warm & learn from what nature is doing outside your door!