land ho!

A 4.5 acre farm site has been found. Going through the paperwork this week!

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Ohio River Valley

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I am back in the Ohio River Valley and searching for land to purchase! Looking for property that will meet my needs with less start-up work in forming a food forest. Just thought I’d list here some of the things I’m considering, and some thoughts if you’re also searching for that perfect spot!

My top 5 Property Search Concerns

  1. Acreage. Important to me is at least a 2-acre property, 5-acres ideally, mostly cleared and preferable not cleared recently. In my area the advantages to this include an easy planting start-up and no need to worry about longstanding Black Walnut trees. Disadvantage is open land previously used by local farmers very likely has chemicals in the soils.
  2. Paved Road. Purchasing virgin land in a farming community means that many of the lots are from broken up larger family farms and now have non-county maintained roads leading into the areas. Wanting to have a farm stand and working my bookselling business, I need paved road access to my property line.
  3. Topography. The area I’m in is quite hilly and there are many cave systems in the area, thus sinkholes. Sloping hills are great for starting 30 foot wide swales, but of course I’d rather find a spot that has at least an acre or two that is relatively flat for my homestead.
  4. Improvements. Finding a property that is vacant but with septic, water, and electricity is a plus. While I plan to make my homestead off-grid, septics are required in my county, even when gray water recycling and black water composting is set-up. Locating a ready property will allow for less money down and a faster start-up and build.
  5. Access. Many of the properties available have large, old growth tress along all of the fence lines, if not covering the entire lot. This means clearing to make access for bringing in equipment and supplies, and for building a farm market stand with parking.

my path

living on a permaculture farm in Hawai’i

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It’s been quite a while since I have posted here!  But, I had a very eventful year for 2016.  I moved to O’ahu, Hawai’i, and lived on a permaculture farm in Waimanalo.  I also attended culinary courses in Honolulu at UH Kapi’olani by Diamond Head.  The campus is famous for it’s permaculture practices including vermiculture and aquaponics.

skyaboveLast November I made a presentation to the Good Earth Master Gardeners of Washington County, Indiana, about permaculture and my experiences.  The link includes a PowerPoint Presentation and a Photo Slideshow with over 60 photos!

Enjoy!

Dusty

 

 

and miles to go before I sleep

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With change comes the freedom of travel!  I’ll post updates as we go on the permaculture, gardening, and sustainability aspects of our trip.  For our tourism and community visits, you can follow us at traveling tUUsome.

transitions coming my way

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As life changes so often for all, so goes it for me.  Now is a time that I find myself moving on from my little budding forest garden and back into my gypsy life on the road and traveling around our beautiful country.

A determined gardener, I have always, and will yet again, travel with a mini-garden, pets, and an eye for learning and expanding my knowledge of gardening and permaculture.

Launch date is August 19th!  Hope you’ll come along for the ride!

natives save the garden tour

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DSC02852This past week I quickly became known at the ‘native plants/perennials’ girl.  Although my property had 10 daylily, 4 daffodil, and 2 iris beds before I arrived, I’m keeping not only the perennial tradition, but adding edibles and identifying the existing edibles and medicinals among the many native species on the acreage.

But, with spring ending and summer not here yet, most of my bulbs were not blooming for our annual garden tour.  My specialty?  The beautiful woods around me!

That said, there are a few pretties planted, veggies, fruit bearers, and natives.  Enjoy my bounty!

 

 

 

a very busy season

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Plant labels for my property

Labels I made for some of the medicinals/edibles on my property!

I’ve been busy collecting photos and identifying plants for this blog and for a garden tour my home is being featured in this Saturday, June 13th.  Insanity has been my partner as I’ve neglected my garden journal but only because of the many hours that I’ve spent in the gardens!  (And brooding my new bantam chickens!)Zen garden

Above is one of my many projects this spring.  The spot between house and sidewalk refused to allow growth.  Even weeds wouldn’t settle there!  I couldn’t add soil without going over the sidewalk height and couldn’t use a tiller because of gravel from the house build.  So, I took this space and made it into a small spot of tranquility.  I love it!

love tip #12: spring wild edibles and medicinals

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It is so important to know what is already growing nearby!

I’ve been busy combing my woods lately and I’ve found many new edibles and herbals/medicinals.  These are all early spring/spring bloomers.

Bloodwort/Bloodroot

Bloodwort/Bloodroot

Bloodroot/Bloodwort — (Caution: Bloodroot must be used with extreme caution and under professional care!)  Medicinal uses: mainly for bronchial problems and severe throat infections, pharma uses mixed with other compounds to treat heart problems, treating migraines, and in dental uses.  The paste is used externally for skin diseases/cancer, warts, tumors and ringworms.  The root has many uses as a dye and anesthetic/expectorant.

Trillium

Trillium

Trillium — The young unfolding leaves are edible raw or cooked as a pot herb.  The root has many medicinal uses as an antiseptic, diuretic, and ophthalmic and can be boiled, grated, and/or made into a poultice for external use on the eyes to reduce swelling or to reduce joint aches and inflammation.

 

 

Dragonfly Columbine

Dragonfly Columbine

Columbine — A flower that is both beautiful and edible.  The flowers are high in nectar and therefore can have a hint of sweetness.  The roots are used to stop diarrhea and the flowers and seeds are used for the liver, jaundice, and kidney stones.  Leaves are used for aches and mouth/throat sores as lotions.

 

 

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Eastern Redbud

Eastern Redbud Tree — Another pretty flower that is also edible raw or pickled while also rich in vitamin C; buds can be used as a caper.  The inner bark can be made into a tea creating strong astringent.  Redbuds are also used to treat fevers, diarrhea, dysentery, whooping cough and congestion.

 

Please remember to use home remedies with caution, and to always ensue proper identification.  The information here in no way substitutes professional advice for ailments and/or use of the plants listed!


 

Spring chores …

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… find me busy at work in my gardens and woods.  Putting up fences, building new planting mounds, and transplanting volunteers that need divided or are just growing in the wrong places!

These are three plants needing division because they are crowding themselves.  (The hostas in the middle were divided last year but need moved out from the house also.)

The ornamental grasses are best burned down in the spring but this large one is right next to an evergreen pine so I have to use pruners on it.

Fence going up at back patio.Fencing is going up around the back patio for the safety of two groups of animals.  I have many stray dogs on my property and they are not all friendly to my dogs.  I’m also brooding chicks and they will be free ranged.  Since I’m not sure how my dogs will behave with them, the fence works two-fold.  (One dog is a little terrier that gets too excited and the other is a Labrador puppy mix that doesn’t know her own strength yet.)  The fence is lined on the inside with rabbit fencing.

I also have some front porch pretties and a new container kitchen garden that I bring into my sunroom in the winter.

Tulip Poplar for transplanting

And one last little transplant that I love!  I had many volunteer Tulip Trees (Poplars) in my flower/veggie gardens last year.  In the one year they grew beautifully and now I’m sharing them with friends and moving them to an open field to create some shade areas.

Hope your spring is looking as bountiful!

 

first sign of spring

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Photo taken today in the first of my garden beds to show green!'First sign of spring in my flower beds!'