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Archive for the ‘Land’ Category

Off Grid Supply Hauling

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The tractor got stuck at the bottom of the hill because we didn’t get chains for the tires.  We have to walk all of our supplies from the road up the the cabin.  It’s a decent hike and it is not fun to carry a heavy load back and fourth.  This utility sled makes things a lot easier, but it is still hard work.  We are getting our exercise for sure.

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Just having some fun sledding here, but if you look in the background you can see the chimney on the cabin.  This is just to give you and idea how far we are from the road.

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The tent is right behind me in this picture.  The road is at the bottom of this hill.  If you look closely, sort of in the left upper corner, you can see a wind chime hanging.  Behind that is our neighbors school bus that is parked just off the road.  As much work as it is to live that far back in the woods, it is so nice to have all that privacy.  We really did pick the perfect piece of land and a great place to build a cabin!

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The last post I did, I described the area where I plan on building my library and observation area.  Behind this building I will put in a naturally shaded area to relax and read or anything else we want.  The shade will be provided by about 10 wisteria plants and will extend on either side to grape arbors.  There will be a butterfly garden on one side of the building as well.  Sorry if I a repeating myself from the last post.  I forget exactly what I said.  The area on the other side is going to be my vegetable garden at least for next year.

I had planted wisteria in the spring and it had to be moved so today, I replanted them.  Since the whole area is along the cliff side I lined the edge with rocks to attempt to hold everything in place.  Next I lined up some big rotting trees along the rocks.

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I placed all the wisteria plants in the spots I wanted them along with a currant and a gooseberry plant.  I had bought these other berry bushes because they were shade tolerant and had been waiting for a good place to put them.  Since the wisteria will shade everything, these should do pretty well here.  I placed more rotting trees all around the spots where I wanted the plants to go.  Kind of making a hugelkulture bed.

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I pretty much just took the plants out of the pots and plopped them onto the ground among the rotting trees.  This area is all ledge so I can’t really dig too much.  Hopefully, this will still work.  I plan to add some shade tolerant plants along the edge that have roots that will spread and hold all the new soil in place.

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Then I covered the whole thing with leaves.  This should help hold in the moisture and break down to make some nice soil for the plants.  I will continue to add more leaves as they settle in place.

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Right next to one of the wisteria plants is a young maple tree.  I decided to leave it in place for the wisteria to grow up.  This may very likely kill the maple, but it may not and either way the wisteria needs something to grow up.

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I’m not entirely sure how we will support the other wisteria, but I may be able to put posts in the ground on the side of the cliff.  There may be enough ground below to dig holes that will support the posts.  I don’t really have time to get this done right now since we are focused on the house, but I did need to get these plants in the ground before winter.  I will have to mulch them quite a bit more to keep them protected from the cold over the winter as well.  Fall shouls give us a ton more leaves, so this won’t be a problem.

 

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DSC_0158This is part of our building site.  I doubt you can clearly see, but there are bees living there.  They cannot be there, but the bees have enough problems as it is.  I don’t want to kill the bees and I don’t want to use harsh chemicals.  We don’t want to do anything that we don’t have to do.  We did a little research and found that bees don’t like garlic or citronella.  So now there is garlic powder all over the building site and a candle burning nearby.  The odor should offend the bees enough to get them away from the site.  It is too soon to tell if it really worked, but there does not seem to be as many bees in the area.

DSC_0167Here is the site.  Kind of flat, but it’s as good as it needs to be because the house will be up on pillars.  We had to use the pillars because our lot is all rock.  Huge rocks, probably the size of our whole house.  Basically, we can’t move them at all.  The man made a bunch of trips up the hill carrying the building materials to the site on the tractor.  We were able to borrow some forks that attach to the bucket to bring everything up.  We are finally on our way to starting to build.  Haha.

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Here is a quick tour of what we have been doing around here in the past week or so.  We haven’t got any big stuff set up yet, but we are here and starting to settle in.

These are some views of the wall tent with our basics set up inside (before the kids settled their toys in):

DSC_0002 DSC_0004 DSC_0001 DSC_0003Our lovely, quick setup grill.  My favorite part.

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We have to walk up all kinds of hills to get between the areas of the property, so I am starting to set up a staircase from the tent to the play area, kitchen, and future cabin.  We have tons of slate everywhere so there will be many more stairways of this kind in the future.

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This is the site we have cleared for the cabin.  We were talking about cutting down some trees so that we had a view, but we decided that the trees were more valuable as a wind block.  This area is also a great place for bats.  We have a few of them circling around devouring mosquitos.  The trees will also do very well as places to hang the bat houses we haven’t got yet.

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I finally have a clothesline.  Not terribly easy to access, but it is a clothesline.

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Shower house and composting toilet.  The other bath house had to come down because we put it in the loggers way.  I guess it will make good firewood.  And now I can build another bath house.  Good practice I guess.

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A little decorating to make this place more homey.

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Hopefully there will be much more to share really soon.

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The Logging Begins

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The soggy driveway

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These trees were already dying

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The new tractor arrived last weekend and we have barely been able to use it.  The big trees that the Man is trying to get down are putting up a little bit of a fight, grabbing on to other trees and things like that.  But he wanted to try out the new toy, so he started moving some dirt around, making a flat spot for the tent.  There are still a few more trees to take down, then get the stumps out, and then he can finish flattening.  Then we can finally get the tent up.  We have until June 1st.  That wouldn’t be so bad if I did not have to work three 12 hour shifts a week.  We sure do have a lot of work left to do.  I hope there are plenty of sunny days ahead!

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Most people plan their gardens to be perfect squares and line everything up in perfectly straight rows.  Not in a permaculture garden!  A straight line is the shortest possible distance between two points.  If you plant your garden using more of a random pattern, you are actually getting more plants in the same amount of space.  Try staggering the plants.  One of the ideas for a garden layout commonly used is a “keyhole” shaped garden.  Making a round garden gives you better use of space and the keyhole access allows for easy reach to everything in the bed.  Rather than planting in rows by type of plant, you mix everything up and are then able to use every little bit of space available.  Here are a couple links that can better explain than I just attempted to do:

Inspiration Green

Ecological Garden

Permies.com

The shape of my garden is based mostly on what the landscape will allow me to do.  I am building the garden right into the hillside using all sorts of weird shapes and patterns.  Whatever is there naturally is what I’ll be using.  Any idea how much effort it is to put a square garden into a hillside that is the farthest thing from straight you could possibly imagine?  Not to mention the rocks that I would have to dig out.  I do think a couple of the beds I have created may be just a little wider than they could be, but I guess I won’t know until I start planting.

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The picture here is my garden beds looking down from the flat area above the hillside.  There are all in various stages of hugelkultur, and if they were finished you couldn’t see them anyways.  Either way I outlined them so you could sort of see what I was trying to do.  All the beds were in big holes that I filled with rotten logs etc.  I am hoping that spring fills the beds with water and aids in the rotting process and I have these beds al ready to go come planting time.  There are a couple more beds that you can’t see, but I think you get the picture.

 

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