June 19, 2011

Plans for homesteading...

Looking at options and opportunities in Maine, and really amazed at the amount of resources for those wanting to farm in Maine... apprenticeships, classes... organic, local, and small scale is the norm!
 From large scale to 1 acre operations, I am just SO impressed with the community of farmers!

2 off grid ways to obtain vegetables = garden / greenhouse
2 ways to obtain sufficient "protein" hunting / livestock (eggs, milk, cheese)
2 ways to preserve a harvest = canning / drying

Since the horrible winters in Maine is the one thing of which no one ever fails to reminds me. 
Woodstoves. Propane. Oil, electric... how many ways are there to heat a home?  2 off grid ways to heat = wood / propane...  Large, southerly windows for sunlight?
A woodstove for cooking sounds lovely, but primary heat, but maybe starting off with propane or oil, supplement with wood for awhile... plant a lot of trees with the intention of harvesting. I'm thinking that Black locust is an easy, renewable and fast growing hardwood, and after planting in succession, in 5 years, we could start to get serious about using that as our primary source of heat.  Excellent for coppicing, stinky when burned but excellent to use in rocket stoves.  It is shallow rooting...  in high winds when limbs break, or if it is uprooted, it will sprout new trees wherever it lands... and need cut back... It creates good protective cover for small game and ground nesting birds.  Very hard wood.  Used for boat building.  The flowers taste like peas.  They look like tiny ballerina slippers and have a heavenly smell...
Anyway, by the time we have 5 years of growth, I'm guessing we'd also be more familiar with the quirks of our particular woodstove(s), the localized climate, and the "final" amount of space we need to keep heated ... so it's hard to depend on wood I guess is what I'm getting at. To heat my mother's 30 x 60' space, it takes one little wood stove and about 4 cord of wood a year. Based on that, I'm going to start off guessing that a space half that size will require twice that much wood in Maine's climate.
Everyone thinks, well, just buy some acreage with timber, and cut firewood... but a great deal of the timber there is white pine, too soft for firewood. So hardwoods are precious resource.

3 off grid ways to cook, = woodstove / propane gas oven / outdoor firepit.  I want a cookstove, for day time use in Winter. Summers, I really love to cook outside...and A propane gas stove for indoors...

Off grid ways to obtain water, = Rain water catchment cistern / hand-pump well / pond or flowing water on property.

Just my thoughts on these things... :)

1 comment:

  1. We often use white pine (what a great aroma, like copal in mesoamerica)...it burns hot, so it's nice to have mass to store in the heat. We also use a variety of other woods, much that is waste wood from the local lumber mill. I do use hardwoods for cooking, but they are short pieces of branches, generally...our cookstove (a jotul 404) is cast iron and airtight...very efficient, and perfect for up to four people...nice to chase the chill from the kitchen without needing to use the main wood stove. Thanks for your blog.