This spring, summer and fall is all about food and energy production.
Cabot and Oliver after we got (with Anna’s help) the frame of our recycled greenhouse up. Thanks to Rob Emmons for that!
Cabot and Anna digging the first of the beds for their round designed garden. Turned out to be very beautiful and functional.
Last summer with the help of volunteers, friends and some heavy equipment we cleared the lower eastside field, and the south field of trees behind the house, prepping them for planting. This season will be all about designing, building and planting the fruit and vegetable gardens,vineyard and orchards south of house to supply our food requirements as well as establishing the hops yard on the eastside field. The upper clearing will be cleared and planted with various grains (barley, oats, and wheat). Between the hops trellises we hope to experiment with oil producing plants like rapeseed. Root cellars will be dug and built to keep our harvest (which we hope to have a lot of) preserved through the winter.
Our goal and hope is to be food and energy self sufficient within 5 years of being here. To that end we must also concentrate on energy production this year. With a year-round running creek on the property, hydro power has been the intention from the get go. As our property doesn’t have the necessary head (drop) to facilitate a Pelton turbine, but loads of volume, seemingly the best solution was an old style backshot waterwheel. Oliver experimented with a small waterwheel last summer and established quickly that the needed power was available via our creek. This summer we plan to start construction on the millrace (the aquaduct that will feed the waterwheel), a larger steel waterwheel and the millhouse that will house it (we want to mount the wheel inside the building) and the tail race (a pond for the water to go before it goes back into the creek). The tail race will also be a place where we would like to start raising trout for the table. An ambitious plan but one that we think will provide plenty of power for the whole property.
Ambitious as it all may be, we feel its needed to make living here sustainable and hope that it will provide us with some of our income to continue to forge ahead.