I have one acre of land. Coming from a city it feels like a lot. I'm sure all the farmers with their hundreds of acres get a chuckle out of that.
Here is how I used my land in Southern NM.
- Water - We have a well, city water, rainwater, and grey water. Only the rain water is potable without RO filtration or distillation. I hope to have a array of solar distillers in our future so we can produce 10-60 gallons of distilled water a day for drinking water, food growing, hair washing, battery refills, and sharing with others. We would have to build a 84,000 gallon cistern to cover our water usage which is pretty damn big.
- Food - fruit trees, cold frames, raised beds. etc. I'm not sure how many square feet of garden I'm going to need to feel self sufficient. We have maybe 200 sq. ft of garden now for two people. That produces lots of food, but not enough to avoid shopping. Maybe 1000 sq. ft of successful garden would be enough for two people to be comfortably independent.
- Power...Yes, food matters, but we have a lot more labor to do if we can't have motors, lights, and computers. We setup a 2kW off grid solar system. By the time we setup the energy shed and panels you use up a lot of land. We also gained a lot of shade from the panels.
- Guest Rooms / Tool Shed / Work Shed / Offices - Outside of the living space we still needed a bunch of structures. We used shipping containers for a tool shed, work shed, and office. That helps isolate or organize the property. Guest rooms are going to be needed for all the folks who want to come and play with you on your acre. That or people scrambling out of the cities due to collapse issues.
oooooh.. an acre of land! I think i would want to have a small yurt to live in, a shed for my surfboards, an herb garden, vegetable garden, a couple of fruit trees and maybe a little chicken coop. Yes! that sounds like utopia.
Hmm .. one acre I would: add more fruit trees, increase garden space, build a better shed and have a special garden area with greenhouse attached to it. I'd build a larger, portable chicken tractor and have two seperate tractors going, I'd keep at least one rooster for breeding (roosters are no-no's here!). I'd set-up a workable rainwater collection system and have it running through the house as well as for the gardens (we are dreaming here!).
Five acres: same principles basically, but would add a Jersey cow for milk. I could go on and on about my love for raw milk! With this I would also include set-up for cheese production. I'd also put in a small pond for fish, recycling grey-water (via a sludge-monster) into the pond.
I've often considered what I'd do, and we hope to move to an acre or two in the future! Of course, the longer season, the better as far as climate is concerned! If I were to stay here in Zone 5, I'd definitely want a greenhouse to carry a few things over through the winter. I've also always wanted a small pond stocked with game-fish with a gazeebo by it for picnics.
That all said, of course I'd love to have some fruit trees (peaches, apples, pears, plums), a chicken coop, and a HUGE vegetable and herb garden. I'd like to set up a road-side stand and sell some of the extra produce, too!
If I had 5 acres, I'd probably get a few horses and some milk cows, too.
I've always had a thing for trees... amazing things these trees.
I been researching the idea of forest gardens. Sounds like a neat idea for sustainable food production. I first read about this in a book called "1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus ". It discussed a bit about how the Native Americans managed the forests for food production. And check out "Geoff Lawton's Permaculture Food Forest" on YouTube.
If I had an acre I'd like to see what I could do with it.
Kickin' it Old School with an 84-year-old woman named Easter. Found this in an Indiana paper and wanted to share her tales of rural life. Not an easy way of life, but certainly a simpler one.
Published: October 22, 2008 6:00 a.m. original article here
Farm life nurtures DIY attitude
The Journal Gazette
Laura J. Gardner | The Journal Gazette
Q. If you could have a meal with one person, past or present, who would it be?
A. “I’d love to have my mother. Some of these girls that mistreat their mothers, it makes me feel sad. If I had a mother, I’d never mistreat my mother.”
Easter Lunney of Fort Wayne has a recipe for a zucchini apple pie that doesn’t use apples but tastes just like a homemade apple pie.
Lunney, 85, remembers the time she took one of her zucchini apple pies home to southern West Virginia for a dinner. At one point, she offered it to friends, and one woman said, “Oh, my husband doesn’t like zucchini.”
He tried it anyway. His thoughts?
“That’s the best apple pie.”
Lunney says her name came about because she was born on an Easter Sunday. Every Easter, her mother, the late Mary Susan Harvey Meadows, would dye feed sacks yellow and make her a dress from them, she says.
“That’s my favorite color,” she says fondly.
Lunney was 11 when her mother died of cancer in her 30s. Her older sister was married and had moved away, so that left Lunney, the oldest girl, to care for a family that included five children.
They lived on a small farm between the towns of Beckley and Hinton in southern West Virginia, she says.
“From my house to Beckley, it was 40 miles. From my home to the blacktop road, it was five miles,” she says.
When her mother was alive, Lunney says, “It wasn’t nothing for Mom to get up and make homemade pancakes and biscuits. We’d have bacon or ham and eggs, biscuits and gravy for breakfast. We had homemade molasses.”
She says she remembers eating leftovers from breakfast as an after-school snack.
“When I’d come home from school, we had an oven with a warming closet. If there was a piece of leftover bacon, cold beans and a biscuit or cornbread,” she says. “Oh, that tasted good heated up.
“You wouldn’t believe what we stored up in the fall for winter,” Lunney says.
“In the back bedroom, in the left-hand corner, it was stuffed with stone jars filled with molasses. We dried apples and made dried apple pies, and, boy, were those good!”
Because the family lived so far from town, storing fruits and vegetables was a necessity, Lunney said.
“Dad (the late William Riley Meadows) would dig a deep hole (outside) and line it with boards and straw and add dirt, and inside was cabbage, potatoes and apples. He would cover it,” she says. “Onions were dried and hung up.”
According to Lunney, you didn’t run to the grocery store if you ran out of something.
“We made everything. We made homemade hominy. We raised a little of everything. We raised buckwheat for pancakes. We had cows for milk. We butchered our own meat. I’ve eaten all kinds of meat: ground hog, squirrel (and) rabbit.
“Also, we … had a peach orchard, and we canned the peaches, blackberries; we made jams and jellies. We made pumpkin butter and apple butter. We canned almost everything,” Lunney says.
Instead of using quart and pint jars for canning, Lunney says they used half-gallon containers.
“ ’Cause the family was so large. A quart didn’t make enough,” she says.
Because they didn’t have a refrigerator, Lunney’s mother had a creative way to keep the milk cool, she said.
“We had a trough-like thing (outside), and (mom) would draw water out of the well and keep water in the (trough) to keep milk cold. We milked the cows twice a day. When the milk s
I just have to throw this one out there for those wanting chickens - you don't need a lot of land to have a few chickens. Our entire lot is almost 3/4 acre, but that includes the house, so the backyard while not teensy-tiny isn't exceptionally large either. We have 6 chickens now. We built them a small coop as well as a "portable" chicken tractor (with it's own nest box) that we move around the yard. This keeps them safely contained but allows them fresh grass and goodies daily.
If anyone wants more info about raising chickens on a small amount of land, please drop me a line! :)
There's a rock climbing shop in Seneca Rocks (it's near Almost Heaven!) West Virginia that I'd love to replicate ... everyone remembers the friendly atmosphere there, how a pot of bean soup was always ready - steaming and delicious - for hungry patrons. I'd add a small open area for stretching, a few walls with climbing holds marked with haiku-poem-routes ("Physical Graffiti"!) of all difficulty levels so everybody could "warm up" together, space to silently meditate, and space for music makers too ... :-)
Outside there'd be a nice garden and greenhouse, fruit and nut trees, chickens, rabbits, goats, etc ... :-)
Plus there'd be room for an occasional musical concert ... :-)
AND ... the name of this "Homegrown Fantasy" would be ...
Well Im in the midwest, Michigan to be exact. I'd setup a self sufficent brewery. im not real sure on the yield I'd get from one acre. but I can make several batches of beer from the 800sq ft plot in my yard. thats growing hops and barley. along with several raspberry bushes for fun. I would set up a cistern and traps for irrigation "we get fairly good rainfall in spring and fall"
and I know I'd have room left over for some veggies, but I'd mostly grow root plants like potatoes since they've got so much nutrition packed in there. with five acres I'd expand the hops and barley crops and probably grow some shade loving crops under the hops. Using some "rough" calculations I figure I could supply ten people with a case of brew every two weeks for a year with what I could produce. of course I could and probably am off in my calculations since there is some wishful thinking going on here. oh and I think I'd throw up some bee hives if i had the five acres. I'd like to raise some chickens but could do without them.