New member from Minnesota, USA

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself Here' started by Tchaka, Feb 23, 2016.

  1. Tchaka

    Tchaka New Member

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    Hello, and thanks for having me as part of the forum.

    I am a 55yo married woman living in rural Minnesota, USA. Hubby and I are retired from our careers and are now stay-at-home parents to our 4yo daughter. We own and live on a 240 acre farm. Most of our tillable acreage (around 110 acres) is leased to a conventional farmer, a situation which we would like to change. We cut and bale hay on part of the farm, and the balance is in woods and swamp.

    We have a large organic garden and a small orchard. We grow a lot of our own food, and do a lot of canning, drying, fermenting, and other types of preservation. We raise Buckeye chickens, keep bees, and occasionally raise rabbits for the table.

    I am a Certified Master Composter and teach courses and workshops on composting, vermicomposting, and bio-recycling.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016
  2. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Welcome Tchaka,
    You're already doing so much .... are your woods comprised of hardwoods?
    What plans are you preparing for the tillable acreage?
     
  3. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    hi, welcome, sounds like great fun! :)
     
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  4. Tchaka

    Tchaka New Member

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    Hi Bill-

    Thanks for your note.

    I have done a lot of little things, but am a long way from implementing anything on a large scale. sigh. I am trying to figure out how I can get to a PDC- thinking that would help a lot as far as the farm goes. I have done a lot of reading and research over the years, and understand the concept of permaculture, but need some help with some site-specific projects.

    Our woods are a mix of mostly hardwoods, with a few conifers scattered in amongst them. We planted a few thousand trees when we bought this place, around 10 years ago. Most of them went into windbreaks and shelterbelts, so there are some conifers there as well.

    My ultimate goal for the farm is to get some large areas planted in perennial food crops- both for humans and for animals. I did some fruit tree guilds out in our orchard last summer, and started a very, very small chicken food forest in one corner of it, which I will expand as I have more perennial plants available. I also raise guinea pigs, which are on pasture during the summer and in my greenhouse during the winter, so they graze out in the orchard as well, weather permitting.

    As for the tillable acreage which is now leased out, we are thinking about doing some sort of rotational grazing with beef cattle, and possibly goats. Still toying with ideas. Hubby had a grass-based cow dairy for 8 years so he has experience in that area, but this farm lacks the infrastructure to keep livestock at the moment, and we are undecided as to whether or not we want to make the financial commitment at this point. So, really, just looking at options right now, trying to decide what makes the most sense for us.
     
  5. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Conifers are such a relief to the eye during winter months! I wondered about the hardwoods as they're so critical to winter heating (in a rocket mass heater, of course!). We're nurturing some pine nut varieties along with our more traditional Austrian Pines in the windbreaks. Mark Shepard's work with savanna agroforestry in Wisconsin has always been inspirational to me for temperate climates.
    Have you considered Geoff Lawton's online PDC? I can attest to the depth of knowledge imparted in his course (without the ongoing interruptions inherent in a classroom setting) and the dvd's are available for future review (no I'm not really affiliated with the course but I got to follow along with my partner's course and compare it to the in-person Geoff Lawton/Darren Doherty PDC I took).
    Darren's wife Lisa produced the newly released movie Polyfaces and it's now available online for dvd purchase or streaming at: https://www.polyfaces.com/
    I ordered my copy but haven't seen it yet ... should be good!
     
  6. Tchaka

    Tchaka New Member

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    Hi again-

    Yes, hardwoods are very important to us for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that we heat our home (in part) with wood. Our farm was a cow dairy farm for 80+ years, followed by sheep for 3+ years, and then, no livestock for another 3 years before we purchased it ten years ago. The guy who had the sheep pretty much wrecked the place :( By the time we got here there had been no tree seedlings for several years, on top of which, he cut down huge stands of mature trees which formed windbreaks around the house and barn yard. We replanted right away as soon as we got here. We put in several thousand trees, but lost many of the hardwoods to drought, deer, and rabbits. One of the projects which is high on out list right now is to replant in some of the places where we lost the hardwoods.

    If I had to choose a model from all of the permaculture-type installations I have seen and/or read about, it would be Mark Shepard's. I love what he does and would love to do something very similar here on our place. I ordered some nut trees from Badgersett here in MN and will be planting them later this Spring. I also want to get some of Mark's Korean Stone Pine trees. I am going to get a few trees planted this year, for our own eventual use, so that we at least have some coming on while I figure out what to do on a large-scale, farm-wide basis.

    I have considered Geoff's online course, but am holding off on it at the moment. Trying to figure out how to get the most bang for my bucks, so to speak.
     
  7. Daniel Halsey

    Daniel Halsey New Member

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    Welcome.
    Keep in touch. Lots to do and learn.


    Daniel Halsey
    Permaculture & Agro-Ecology Design
    [​IMG]
    612-720-5001
    SouthWoods Forest Gardens
    Southwoodscenter.com
    Southwoodsforestgardens.blogspot.com
    Permacultureplantdata.com

    17766 Langford Blvd, Prior Lake, MN 55372
    Spring Lake Township, Minnesota
     

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