192 Square Feet: Part 3

    Previously: Part 1, Part 2 I shared about the first year of my tiny house life. Building the tiny house, setting up the garden and food forest during the first summer. Then, of course, learning about living in the tiny house during winter and what that means for keeping warm and keeping things working.

    The following spring and summer were spent extending the garden, building a chickencoop-greenhouse and raising chickens and guineas, and setting up a bee hive. Oh, and some local farmer friends brought me an orphaned fawn. We also built the kids’ cabin, the third cabin, for Kerry and Greg’s kids. A wild goose showed up mid-summer and adopted me.

    The chicken coop greenhouse came first for practical reasons. I needed a place for the young chickens! The idea was to have the two attached. In theory the greenhouse would help keep the chicken coop warm in the winter and the proximity of the coop to the greenhouse also made sense in terms of composting the chicken coop straw bedding that was full of chicken poop. I could haul the straw just 25 feet to a compost pile between the greenhouse and the garden.

    Then the bees which were set-up in their new hive in late April. More about beekeeping an a future post. All went as planned. Until it didn’t.

    Petunia the deer came to live with me in early June after a new farmer friend. Luckily we had a safe, enclosed area for her. More photos of her in another post.

    I also set up 6 rain barrels on a frame behind my cabin. Each barrel held 50 gallons and they were upside down with a PVC pipe connecting them all via the built in screw lids. This arrangement allows the barrels to all fill at the same time because they are filling from the bottom up. The photo below was taken before everything was finished so the run-off was a haphazardly arranged salvaged gutter that carried water to my swale which was mulched and planted with pawpaws and rhubarb a well a a few herbs.

    A small building with two halves. The further half is a chicken coop, the near side is a greenhouse. There is a small green table with chairs near the door of the greenhouse The newly finished chicken coop greenhouse. A brown chicken in the foreground and many other chickens in a slightly blurred background Happy chickens! A person in light colored clothes wearing yellow gloves and hat with mesh covering face is working with the frames of a bee hive Setting up the new bees in their hive. In the foreground a mount of green herbs growing within a border of cantaloupe sized rocks that form a border. In the background is a green cabin.. The scene is set in a shady wooded area Herb spiral bed in front of my cabin. A tiny house in construction, the image taken at night with very dark blue skies, there are lights inside the cabin illuminating the framed roof and walls. As well as the tree branches above The kids’ cabin before the roof A small, spotted deer fawn on grass. In the near background is an undefined wood structuree Petunia moves in A straw mulched garden area with a fence around it. In the background are a couple of small buildings The spring kitchen garden, fully fenced in and mulched with cardboard and straw Various mulched paths with grass on the right side, two tiny house buildings in the background Mulched paths taking shape! A mulched path with a lantern hanging in the foreground. In the background a green tiny house is barely visible behind a small tree, all in a wooded setting Paths A mulched area with squash in the foreground. The background consists of forest The early food forest interplanted with squash Foreground is a garden area mulched by straw with bark paths. Planted in the straw are small fruit trees. Grass is visible in the foreground and background. Further in the background is a small structure and tree line The food forest in front of my cabin with a mix of peaches, plums, gooseberry, currants and comfrey. Mulch with straw between small seedlings. Paths are defined by small logs and covered in bark and wood chip mulch. A Canada goose stands on a rock surrounded by mulch, grass in the background

    True story: Loretta the goose showed up one day in the summer and followed me to the outhouse which is back by the chicken coop. As I’m the only one here full time I leave the outhouse door open while doing my business as it’s a nice view. Well, this goose follows me up into the outhouse (3 steps) and proceeds to turn around to face outward and sits down on my feet. I almost died right there. When it was time to go I stood up and she did the same and then she stepped out ahead of me and followed me back to my cabin. And that was that, I’d been adopted by a Canada Goose. She spent the rest of the day hanging out around my cabin and left at sunset. I didn’t know if she’d be back but hoped she would.

    She was back the following morning and spent the day with me. She just hung around outside the cabin, near the little pond I’d made for the frogs. At sunset she flew away. This was the daily routine for the next couple of months. She’d follow me around as I did my chores during the day and occasionally take a dip in the pond. There were times when I’d be doing chores and there would be a line behind me: the chickens, Petunia the deer (who was now free ranging) and Loretta the goose. On at least one occasion when I had guests over for dinner outside she stayed later than normal and as we stood/sat around a little fire after eating she stayed next to me making her various adorable little utterances. It seemed to me that it was her way of being in the conversation.

    In late November or early December we had a few cold nights and the lake started to freeze over. As far as I could tell she didn’t spend any time in the lake but it seemed to be a cue to her. She flew off one evening and I never saw her again. I loved her and I still miss her.

    A pale gray tiny house, 2 stories, A-Frame style The mostly completed kids cabin A beardy man with glasses and large fuzzy black hair is cutting a cantaloupe. A girl with back to camera is standing next to him Cutting up a cantelope with my niece, Emma Rain barrels and swales collecting rain in the food forest behind my cabin. The system wasn’t complete when the photo was taken hence the crazy arrangement! A basket filled with freshly cut green basil and one tomato A basket of tomatoes and basil

    With 10 days of no or little rain, full sun and high temperatures, I’m glad I’ve got all of my young fruit trees (pawpaw below) heavily mulched with cardboard, grass clippings, leaves, and branches to keep the soil cool and moist.

    A small tree is heavily mulched with grass clippings, sticks and small logs

    Solar Punk

    Three months ago I fell down a rabbit hole on a topic I’d heard of but never investigated: Solarpunk. And really, I’m not sure I can say exactly how I ended up there but I suspect it started when I was doing a bit of research looking for a small battery back-up and solar panel. But, in any case, it did turn up and I started looking into it and what I found is a very inspiring, interesting genre of art and fiction that sits very well with permaculture and social ecology, both of which I am very familiar with.

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    Swales and ducklings

    In June of 2015 I was living a different life not too far from my current home1. During my time there I spent a month digging a series of seven swales for water harvesting which I wrote about here. I’d also made a little video for YouTube which gets a new comment every three or four months. I had one today and thought I’d rewatch the video. There’s something very satisfying about working in a landscape, creating a new, beneficial enhancement of the ecosystem with the intent of providing for other creatures.

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    192 Square Feet

    A note about writing this. My initial intent was to post a bit about what it’s like to live in a small space but as I worked on that post it occurred to me that for my own purposes I’d like to have a more complete story of this process. I thought it would be interesting enough to offer more details is a series of posts so, I present you with part 1.

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    Spring 2016 Garden Update

    Been busy gardening and made a good bit of progress in March and April getting things reestablished. Lots of natives put in for wildlife habitat as well as small food garden consisting of hugelculture beds. The kale and lettuce is looking great. Just got in a few peppers one tomatoes too. Oh, and two blueberries. Not as large as the gardens I had before but a good start at getting things going again.

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    Video: Swale Update

    We started putting in the swales in the middle of April so they’ve had a bit of time to mature with clover as well as a variety of edibles ranging from perennial berries to rhubarb to annuals such as kale and cow peas. As luck would have it our muscovy ducklings hatched just days after the swales filled for the first time. They wasted no time and began swimming in the swales on their first day.

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    Permaculture Poster One

    The first in a series of permaculture themed posters. Read more at David Holmgren's Permaculture Principles.

    Permaculture Progress

    Three of four planned water harvesting swales are in and partially planted.We've been making great progress in our effort to implement a permaculture design at Make-it-Do. Until recently the process has been one of observation. Kaleesha put in a very nice veggie garden when she moved to this property in 2006 and has expanded it ever since. In addition to the gardening she and the kids began learning about the plants growing around the property.

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    Permaculture at Make-it-Do

    Halfway through the dig!A few years back I wrote about putting in my first swale . About a year later I offered up an update. In May of 2013 I left that site behind when I jumped into life with Kaleesha at Make-it-Do Farm. This spring we’ve been getting busy taking some important steps implementing permaculture here at Make-it-Do. In the past couple of weeks we’ve added blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and 12 fruit trees including peaches, plums, cherries and pears.

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    Crab apple!

    Planting our first tree together! A crab apple for aid in pollinating the Arkansas Black. That's three apple trees total. Of course we'd like more fruit trees but it's a start! As usual I can depend on Kaleesha to write up a beautiful post about it.

    YouTube Channel

    I set up a YouTube channel a few years ago but never made it a point to post much. A couple months back it was pointed out to me that one of my YouTube videos had gotten quite a few views, 29,000+, and that perhaps I should invest more time in developing my channel. so, this is me putting in some time creating more video updates. The funny thing is that I actually enjoy putting them together, its just something I need to work into my routine.

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    2014 Spring Garden Update

    We've been making fantastic progress this spring! Thus far: potatoes, rhubarb, comfrey, goats, a new raspberry trellis and duck pond!

    Bringing Permaculture to Make-It-Do

    Hugelculture herb spiral in construction. Leaves and wood used as organic filler, topped with soil and compost. Let me start by saying that Permaculture is not a new concept for Kaleesha and she's been putting various elements of it into practice for several years. What is new though is having me around and my thoughts on how to go about things. Probably the biggest change is going to be a change in goat management which is both a permaculture driven change as well as a very practical need.

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    Just to let you know

    A couple posts today… this first is just to let folks know that I WILL get back to permaculture/homestead related writing at some point! But the simple reality is that in the winter there’s not a whole lot going on in that area. At the moment my day-to-day routine consists primarily of reading, occasional freelance web work, starting fires and keeping them going, tending to critters, and getting the telescope out on clear nights.

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    Pondering the Future

    Specifically my personal future and also thinking a bit about this blog. I’ve obviously not been very consistent with updates. Honestly, I put some of the blame for that on Facebook. I’m sure I am not the only one who spends too much time there. While it is great for sharing I thing the downside is that much of that sharing is just reposting. I am also leery of so much content being under one roof so to speak.

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    Free Range vs Pastured Chickens

    Here’s a great video about the difference between “free range eggs” and pastured eggs. This is why I raise my own chickens which are, of course, pastured!

    Hugelculture Illustrated

    A great article and series of illustrations explaining hugelculture.

    Video Tour

    In celebration of my four years here at the homestead I thought I would share a little video!

    Four years at the Homestead

    It has been almost 4 years to the day since we began work here at the lake. In fact my first post was made on May 5, 2008 just after completion of our outhouse! It has been an amazing four years and we have come a long way. We built my cabin by mid May 2008 and I moved in on the 24th though the cabin wasn't finished until the end of the summer.

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