Tag: moving

Getting ready for Phase Two

Loading has begun

Prepping for Phase Two is hitting a fevered pace.

The water totes have been power washed, sanitized, and loaded. The grill has been sandwiched between totes for stability. The RV has had some much-needed maintenance and repairs, as well as some spit and polish. Tools have been sorted and boxed. Books have been sorted and boxed. Water, toilet, and power have been accounted for.

I have left my job here in Ohio for the final push on packing and loading, as well as some home maintenance on the Ohio property. We’re also prepping the kids for their duties in taking care of things while we’re gone. I have faith in their ability to do what needs done, but I’d like to make it as painless as possible.

The adventure is imminent. I am both excited and worried about forgetting things. Oh well. Sally forth!

Culvert and 911 Address

We have set things in motion with the county seat to get ready for the driveway installation. In Benton County, they have a 911 address form to be filled out and mailed in and the Transportation department installs the culvert for you once you purchase the prescribed size. We expect that these should be completed mid to late July, in time for the driveway installation.

In the meantime, we will be working on getting the RV ready to move. It has sat in the same place for a few years now and I’m sure it has issues that will need to be addressed. If anyone knows an RV tech near Cincinnati, Ohio, feel free to reach out.

Goats (Zone 1 – 4)

At the new farm, we want to get Nigerian Dwarf goats. We’ve had a pair of goats in the past and we were not at all ready with infrastructure, but they did the job we asked of them (clearing briars) and they moved on to another home.

This time, we want them for milk. We like the ND for its small size, milkfat ratio, and the fact that they’re adorable is icing on the cake. We don’t yet feel ready for a dairy cow and the sheer volume of milk they produce.

We are planning for their fresh water needs, minerals, forage, and browse. Does will need alfalfa and grain in the last month of pregnancy and while in milk, bucks or wethers will need grass hay, but not alfalfa (too rich), and kids may need some grain for the first 6 months while growing. I think the bucks may live with the rams in the ram base as their diet is similar. Bucks will need some loose copper mineral and the rams won’t be attracted to it.

I’d like to rotate the does with the ewes during the day and bring them in at night to be milked in the morning. Maybe even milk the sheep. The handling system for the sheep should also work well for the goats.

Property Progress: May/June 2022

We had a property visit from Nick Ferguson and he helped us locate the best spot for our driveway based on our desired homesite. He also helped us site some other important infrastructure on the property once other things are in place, but his visit led us to the place where we could engage someone to break ground for us.

We have scheduled a highly recommended excavation expert to start removing trees and cut out our driveway and homesite. He breaks ground for us in August. From there, we can start moving things down to the property and begin making it livable.

Now that we have at least the beginning to a timeline and concrete knowledge on the terrain, we can begin updating our Transition posts with more details.

Stay tuned!

We bought a property in Tennessee!

Map
Lots 2, 3, and 4

Oh my gosh! We are so excited and impatient to get started!

The property is hilly, forested, and has a small watershed that we can use to collect water.

We have entered into an owner-financed contract to purchase the land and avoid the banks.

Our restrictions are that we can’t remove any trees over 15″ diameter except to site a house, driveway, or barn/garage until such time as we’ve paid the property off or we pay for the trees removed. We are happy to keep as many big trees as possible so that’s not really much of a limitation for us.

We are not permitted to raise hogs, pigs, swine, or poultry commercially, but homestead use is fine. No junkyards, trash, etc. The seller retains the deed until we’ve paid off the property and does not want the land to lose value in the event that we default on the contract. I believe what they really don’t want is a CAFO on the land and we totally agree with that.

We are planning our next trip down to take soil samples, water samples, and map out the topography of the property so we can site the driveway, house, barn, and RV. I’m hoping to get the expertise of a Permaculture Expert to help us with site planning to be sure we are not making more work for ourselves than we need to.

Water

The lifeblood of a farm is water. Without water, everything will die. Luckily, Tennessee gets a lot of rain (50 to 60 inches). If water is not available on-grid (and maybe even if it is) we will want ways to capture and store rainwater.

Humans
We will need potable water for drinking, cooking, bathing, dishes, and laundry. Water catchment entering the domiciles will go through a filtration system and then into a holding tank. For water heating, we may install a propane or electric system. A solar water heater could be installed to preheat water. There will likely be experiments with thermo-siphoning heated water to a tank on an upper level for showers.

Gardens/Greenhouse
This captured water will not require the amount of filtration that the potable water will get. Rainwater is much healthier for plants and soil life. By using a combination of hydroponics and wicking beds, water use will be minimized in the greenhouse system and nutrients can be added directly to the water supply.

Barn
We will need water for servicing livestock in or near the barn. The Drinking Post waterers from Timeless Posts are interesting and might service some of our livestock. If we’re on grid, we’ll also get a frost-free hydrant for work that requires a hose or bucket.

Acreage
For getting water out onto acreage, you’ll want multiple water sources. A stream on the property would be ideal. Ponds that catch rainwater runoff will probably be needed as well. To get that water to the pastures and livestock, Joel Salatin recommends an irrigation system called K-Line Irrigation. It’s modular, expandable, and cost effective. You can put it where you want it with no digging and no affecting your fencing or trees. In freezing weather, you just drain it, roll it up, and store it in the barn until the spring thaw.

Water Storage
Tanks and water lines will need to be protected from freezing. The frost depth for Tennessee is 12 inches according to this website which is a great improvement to our current depth of 32 inches. For water pressure, we will need to either raise the holding tank or install a pump or water pressure tank, or some combination of the two.

Pigs (Zone 2, 4)

Pigs need access to fresh water, minerals and lots of feed. Our Tamworths ate six pounds of feed daily per head. They also appreciate a shelter to get out of the rain and will build wallows to cool off in. They are strong intelligent beasts that will test the strength of your builds at every opportunity. Do not skimp on infrastructure with full-size pigs.

I am of two minds with pigs as far as zoning goes. I want my breeders close so they appreciate human interaction, are easy to care for through the winter, and can be put to work converting food waste into bacon seeds. Feeder pigs would be ideal to manage through a woodlot as they’d excel at keeping briars and other understory growth under control. Perhaps paired with goats, the woodlot would stay a pleasant place to walk. They can also forage a lot of their feed needs there, depending on the size of the woodlot and any mast drop.

We are currently considering downsizing to a smaller breed of pig. We are not raising them commercially, a smaller breed would reduce feed costs, would stretch pasture further, and would be easier to handle and fence. I would also recommend having milk and egg overproduction to help with feed costs.

Permaculture Zoning

Permaculture design uses the tool of zoning to reduce labor and increase efficiency of our time, effort, and money inputs. At this moment, I am planning in which zones I believe our infrastructure will need to live to be convenient and save money. Once we have a property, we can start drawing out zone maps and make sure that outputs and inputs compliment each other. This will be a living document and updated as things progress. (Last update: 01/10/22)

Zone #Basic Parameters: Time (T) = frequency (f) x duration (d)
0Nexus of human activity, typically a dwelling
1As close to 0 as possible, T is characterized by high f and d
2The next distance out, T is characterized by moderate f and d
3Distance from 0 is a major factor, though T input can vary. E.g.: high f but low d
4 Distance from 0 may be a major factor. E.g.: very low f but high d
5A wild zone where human intervention is ideally zero. T input varies widely.
Reference for table: https://www.permaculturenews.org/2015/12/11/permaculture-zones-of-use-a-primer/
  • Zone 0: The family dwelling/s.
    • Input
      • Water
      • Food
      • Electricity
      • Stuff
      • Climate control
    • Output
      • Rain catchment
      • Grey water
      • Manure
      • Food scraps
      • Shredded Paper
      • Cardboard
      • Garbage
  • Zone 1: Deck, porch, kitchen garden, pathways to other areas, barn, greenhouse, cold frames, potting shed, root cellar, worm farm, rain barrels, firewood storage, workshops and sheds, in-ground garden
    • Input
      • Water
      • Electricity
      • Sunshine
      • Rain
      • Planting
      • Maintenance
      • Fertility
    • Output
      • Herbs
      • Rain catchment
      • Grill space
      • Leisure
      • Storage
      • Fertility
  • Zone 2: Perennials, long term annuals, compost bins, beehives, ponds, poultry housing, farrowing area, ram base alpha, goat milking area
    • Input
      • Water
      • Feed
      • Minerals
      • Bedding
    • Output
      • Rain catchment
      • Eggs
      • Milk
      • Meat
      • Manure
  • Zone 3: Orchard, management intensive grazing, animal tractors, dams for irrigation and animal water
    • Input
      • Fertility
      • Maintenance on fence and structures
      • Planting
      • Pruning
      • Daily Rotation
      • Water
      • Occasional Mowing
    • Output
      • Fruit
      • Nuts
      • Meat
      • Milk
      • Pasture
  • Zone 4: Managed woodlot
    • Input
      • Planting
      • Pruning
    • Output
      • Wood
      • Fuel
      • Forage
      • Bedding
  • Zone 5: Wild zones we simply enjoy.
    • Input
      • Watch for diseases
    • Output
      • Beauty

Sheep (Zone 2 – 3)

Hair sheep require no shearing

We have learned much about sheep and ruminants in general these last few years. They need fresh water, minerals, and careful pasture management. They appreciate shade and shelter from rain and wind but if you have trees they can get under, it will suffice.

Unless your sheep are very tame, you will want a handling system to be able to get your hands on them. This can be as simple as some cattle panels and quick links and luring them inside with alfalfa pellets. We’ve used this on our sheep and had eight inside at one time for the vet to do a blood draw. For the next farm, I want a proper handling system for sorting skittish sheep and being able to hold them and goats for general care and maintenance tasks.

Our current favorite breed of sheep are the St. Croix. They are a hair sheep rather than a wool sheep and require no shearing. They simply shed their winter coat in the spring. They have been bred over generations without worming medications and have no need of such if their pasture is rotated properly. As they are not a wool breed, they do not need grain to maintain their health and feeding them grain only makes them grow hooves faster. Without grain, we don’t need to worry about trimming hooves as much.

We have learned much about fencing and the next farm will benefit from that knowledge. We will have high-tensile electric fence around the perimeter, poly wire and temporary posts for paddock divisions. We will also have a solid woven fence area for the rams to keep them separate from the ewes in the off-season.

The next farm will have a great deal more acreage and the sheep will need more protection than what they have here. We will be getting livestock guardian dogs to live with the ewes 24/7. The Ram base will likely be close to the barn.

Ducks (Zone 2)

Rubber-free Duckie

Much like the chickens, they’ll need fresh water, food, and shelter from the climate but they are much more tolerant of wet weather than chickens. They absolutely need access to water deep enough to dunk their heads in to keep their nostrils clear. Ducks can be trained to a house but may need motivated to head to bed in the evening, unlike chickens who will put themselves to bed if not impeded. Muscovies like to roost, but they don’t need one in their house.

You will need water access for your ducks and planning to water plants in the area when you have to dump a dirty pool or water container will help capture the rich nitrogen that your ducks leave behind. Try to locate your pools near trees, gardens, or shrubbery that need water. Whatever containers you use, if you have chickens, make sure that it’s not so deep that a chicken can’t hop out. Chickens can drown themselves in a five gallon bucket.

You don’t really need to tractor ducks to get them where you want them. Just plop a kiddie pool in the area and toss a few treats in the water and they will hunt in the area.

The duck hens have created duck nests in various inconvenient places, but were easy to find. One in the bottom of the chicken coop, one under a bush, and the last in a tote stored under our rabbit cages. We shall see who manages to hatch anything out. Our ducks are seasonal layers so winter will be less of an issue.