Buying ex-Grazing Land?

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by fourth, Oct 20, 2010.

  1. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Solaris, your posts seems off topic and likely to derail the thread. Moderators, is there any chance that Solaris' post could be given its own thread?
     
  2. fourth

    fourth Junior Member

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    Image is oriented to the north.

    I have however moved my consideration to another very similar property in the area once I visited it (The one in the original photo). The one in the map with all the water on it... when visited in the rain on sunday... looked positively dangerous. With two small children, a 4 meter deep gutter across the front, that I had trouble climbing out of was a bit much. The dam was filled to breaking point, or rather had already broken and lost a few sqm of wall and the water was gushing out as no safe passage of water for the dam was provided, so it went right over the wall... The new property were seriously looking at (we're talking money now) is a bit bigger, same price, no dam, but a natural v in the land should give me a good location. It also has a mush flatter water course running across the front.

    The area has frogs! And these tin birds I forgot the name of... the size of golfballs, flying close to the ground in small flocks in the long grass (about a foot now)

    "I'm curious though, how far is it from where you live to the land? Because it's likely that post peak oil will be a descent rather than a collapse"

    2 hours and 2 minutes according to google maps 'directions'. The estimate seems to be correct. Just under half a tank of a Mazda 6, or in dollar terms about $25-30 return. (Hard to estimate due to the diversions in the hunter region lol...)

    I'm betting on the opposite. The decent model is nice, but is ignores the fact that people simple -will not reduce- unless circumstance forces them to. If you want proof, just look at all the alternatives to petrol we're rolling out in a large scale... pretty much nothing. Of course, once we're in deficit, 'investment in to research or infrastructure' for a payoff in 10-20 years will pretty much ensure it'll not happen. When the Japanese had their oil taken away did they turn to gas or coal?

    I concretely disagree with Solaris, despite being geek who reads New Scientist and reads Slashdot. I would love for technology to save the day, but practically speaking, replacing all our cars with a replacement technology would follow a similar rollout adoption to hybrids. For that to be a solution so we get BAU to continue, your car would have to have entered mass production about a decade ago, with the factories built through the 90's. Hydrogen is simply not an option due to storage and generation problems. PV is approaching EOL unless we build more mines, a LOT more mines as we're running at capacity. Beside, the energy return on investment of solar is terrible, and again, you have lithium supply problems(for storage batteries). Plus, how far would we go throwing out all those car batteries every 10 years? We need better batteries before solar is a long term solution. I really do want a magic bullet, I'm a techo at heart, but this techo is admitting defeat.

    I'm betting on a series of collapses year on year, each one knocking the wind out of the world, probably fuelled by resource conflicts and genuine energy supply problems. The first one would be the killer and may not even need peak oil to commence as it will be primarily economic in nature. To me, we're likely to see a GFC 2 in the next few years which will be much, much worse than the original. If oil demand eclipses supply again, as it did in 2007, then we will see another oil spike, and again the multiple sectors will crumble, probably tipping off the economies. I see western countries that heavily use oil in agricultural produce as the hardest hit. In particular because nobody even knows how to grow food. I checked at work re their knowledge. I could plant potatoes in front of all of them and they would starve to death looking at my weeds.

    I only mention above to indicate that I have a reasonable, well thought out model, as well as a written plan on what world events will trigger my actions. When X happens, I do Y. The model I have for what's to come does not really degrade under very high fuel costs as the weekly trip becomes expensive unless we have shortages, but I keep my job which will be an odd situation. If petrol was four times more expensive than it is now that weekly trip would still only account for 1.3% of my monthly income and an economy in that condition would be conducive to food inflation, so I would probably save money anyway, bring back a boot full of grub. My guess is that the next crash will travel at a similar slow motion train wreck speed as the last, only the next one will probably see the US unwind far more, which will be a fair bit worse for the world at large, worse than a Greek sovereign default anyway. Australia will again probably be the last ones hit so we should have plenty of warning(as in months) before things get nasty(China is a large destabiliser). Keep and eye on the US and it's debt balloon, when it starts hitting the mainstream, it'll be time to be planning. (On that subject Bank of America just went tin to receivership)

    I however hold illusions that once the economy becomes so broken that someone like me cannot get a job, it will be time to bug out to the farm for a while, maybe for good. I've been in IT since the early 90's, programming for ~30 years, designing infrastructure as long as I have been IT. I should, by rights as a highly competent and adaptive individual be one of the last ones out of the industry. I imagine, once I'm out there will be no turning back. Hence, the pre planning.

    ... but back from the doom...

    "Having said that, I do think there are issues with leaving farm animals for long periods of time. What happens if you can't get to the land one weekend?"

    Exactly. I was thinking that a small herd of Dexters would be ok, ... I get 2 dexters to an acre apparently, so carving off 5 out of 13 would not be a tragedy. I'll talk to my rural mates a bit more about cows ability to survive on their own.

    " Mushrooms are big for bringing vitality back to the land and can provide a good income..."

    That's an interesting idea. I have been thinking about post collapse tradable items. I do not have unlimited land so grain\meat production is not really viable. Wine\olives in that area are in oversupply. Staple crops initially will be in sort supply, but before long every man and his dog will be self sufficient (or starve to death) so I imagine they will work it out. I was thinking nuts, berries, etc. Nuts might be better as they are small, high value crops that could be moved without heavy transport and would store in a stable manner. Mushrooms and berries would be almost as good, though I guess mushrooms would require more buildings. Interesting idea even if only or a fertilizer. I only considered it for personal consumption in the past.

    "commercial chicken shit (unless from organic growers) is full of stuff you probably don't want on your land on a large scale."

    Good point. I had since read about the age of chook poo as a problem as well with older poo being more lethal. Shame, my turnip crop went gangbusters this year on chook poo... It was like pushing the turbo button. I could literally look at a leaf unrolling in the morning, come back in the evening and see it unfurled, 10cm higher

    "My initial thoughts re: the coal/gas scenario are that anything in that area is possible"

    I have since found out that the Greta Main seam runs directly under then land. It was mined in the 50's, and so far no subsistence has occurred. Ground water is still fresh and sweet when bores are dropped in. (By word of a local who lived across the road.). Apparently the mine was abandoned due to flooding. They hit an aquifier that slopes up towards the local mountains. They couldn't pump the water out as fast as it came in and they abandoned it. The coal is 100m down. Based on this, I imagine that open cut would be the only way to get it out, and they would still have to deal with the water problem. I'll admit it's still a risk. I'll consider how it fits in to my model. Also remember that they have since built a town on top of it. There would be plenty easier flat open spots that ripping up a bunch of vineyards and olive plantations on small (mostly less than 20ac) landholdings on the foothills of a mountain but a whole village. Since I'm on a slope, I guess the risk of ground water contamination would be more of a 'downstream' problem.

    "You should really try to get yourself along to a PDC. Failing that, and you still want to make a start, make sure you undertake a contour survey first."

    I feel almost guilty asking questions without just taking the course now! I had a quick look and there is even a course in my localish area (Alexandria I think it was in Jan?), but now if I get this right... it was a solid 2 weeks or thereabout? That would be hard to organise. Besides the fact that at least in IT, I don't do so well in natural learning situations. I mean no offence (honestly), but I learn quite rapidly as a result of my career and find I often learn at many times the rate of a standard course. IT is kind of like that, and to adapt you have to spend most of your time learning. Imagine becoming a doctor and having to learn to relearn 30% of your uni degree+resident training every year. I would say in IT, 100% of what I know will be useless in 10 years. I'll probably go for books as then I can learn at my own pace, and judging from the training courses I have been on it would benefit the other people on the course not to have me there asking all he day 5 questions on day 1 :)

    I think probably first up is to asses the land drainage lines and work out where all the fruiting trees will go based on moisture requirements. It'll take me a few months to build the shed, so in that time I'd like to have the slow growers building leaves and roots... and that gives me many satisfying pre sleep planning sessions for the other crops.
     
  3. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Let me first declare that I am yet to do my PDC.... I was in a similar mind set as you when I started here about 2 years ago - "I can read a book and use Google I don't need to "waste" 2 weeks of my life and $1000 on a silly course that'll teach me stuff that I don't need to know - when all I want to know is what will work in my backyard". But now I'm in the planning stages of working out where / when / how I can get to a course.
    So what changed? - I heard Geoff Lawton speak and he talked about doing a PDC as an act of generosity to others - particularly in less developed countries where your fees support locals who otherwise wouldn't get to a course. I'm also interested in the social networking aspects of it - as I learn more about permaculture I know that I need a community not just a garden in my back yard and doing a local course would be one way to meet others on the same journey. I'm also interested in doing it for the challenge of going somewhere and living the permie lifestyle 100% for the 2 weeks - sleeping communally, sharing meals off the land, working in the gardens, using the water and electricity frugally. It will be interesting to see how hard / easy it really is.
    I suspect that the questions you would want to ask on day 1 would be the same as the ones that the person beside you wants to ask but is too shy to do so!
    Love your ideas for your place. Hang around for a bit here and keep talking about what you are up to.
     
  4. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    Yay eco :D

    It's a big planet. Too big to try and do it by one's self. 'Community' (at any/all scales) is vital to any permaculture plan.

    fourth: Fast learner or slow, it really does not matter. A PDC is a dynamic and organic teaching/learning/sharing structure, free from the confines of traditional/conventional pedagogues. There is much to gain, for all concerned, in undertaking a PDC.

    Cheerio, Markos.
     
  5. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    I haven't done a PDC and rely on nature, the internet and people to teach me. But I'd definitely do a PDC if I could. You can do them via correspondence now, and use your own property for the project.

    Re peak oil, I wasn't talking about transition to renewables and that kind of descent (I think it's too late for that). Whether or not there is a collapse, there will be a transition period from cheap oil to expensive oil and all the consequences of that, and things like driving that we take for granted now may not be as easy or possible in another 10 years. Yet you may still have a functioning society with a police force and army backing up the council laws. I think it's almost impossible that we will go from being able to drive as much as we like to a situation where there is no local government and we can do what we like with land. Even if the powerdown is relatively quick, say over a year, then you still have that year where you need to be at your job in one place to keep your income and you have to travel a long way to the land to grow your food. It just doesn't make sense to me to do that with land you can't live on.
     
  6. Finchj

    Finchj Junior Member

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    Just thought I'd throw this out there before posting my pictures/plans tomorrow.

    Daniel Nocera and a team from MIT have created a way to separate water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. They call it artificial photosynthesis. He intends for the production to be as cheap as possible so that he can distribute the design to those in the non-legacy world. Check out this short you tube video of a talk:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTtmU2lD97o
    (There are also some longer and more detailed talks out there as well, just search his name)

    They have a demonstrator working already. Gives me some hope. Apparently a team from my alma mater has also created something similar. Maybe not a silver bullet, but makes me feel better.

    I'll post pictures and soil tests of the site I'm working on tomorrow :)
     

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