Introduction Podcast

To better reach our audience we are putting together a podcast to talk about classes, activities we are involved in, education, and topics that we are interested in. This is the introduction to our new podcast where we talk about our homestead, our activities, and the general feel for the show.

Here are some sites that are mentioned in the podcast.

www.midwestsustainable.org

www.selfsufficientgardner.com

www.darbysimpson.com

www.simpsonfamilyfarm.com

www.2midwestguys.com

www.meetup.com/AlternativeGardeningHomesteading

www.geofflawton.com

www.thesurvivalposdast.com

www.preparemag.com

www.aquaponicssurvivalcommunities.com

www.brinkoffreedom.net

www.richsoil.com

www.permies.com

Be Prepared

New project – Tiny house

We apologize for having such sporadic postings.  Spring-Fall is one of our most busy times of the year. Among the normal activities of taking care of animals, gardens etc. we have taken on some additional projects and had some activities consume some time. We had a family member ill and were visiting in the hospital, the new proposed ordinances for Marion Co.and addressing them, Kids in sports, establishing and networking with the Indianapolis Permaculture Group, community garden, podcasting, tours, then a new project a tiny house, time is stretched thin.

We have taken a 18′ by 32′ building which has been many things in it’s life, including an office, a school, a tavern, a railroad station, and now we are turning it into a 5 bed 1 1/2 bath house. The original building was build sometime between the end of the civil war and 1900. We believe we have evidence of it being established as early as 1865. We originally bought the property strictly for the 20+ year old mature fruit trees which has never had any chemicals used on them.

We later were turned onto the “Tiny House” movement, where people were turning spaces as little as 90 sq feet into homes. One of the best and well edited/produced videos I have found was from Kirsten Dirksen. Check out her YouTube channel. After doing some research this looked like an interesting challenge. Because of the structure of the building we were met with some challenges. As we demolished the existing office building guts, we took great time to salvage as much as we possibly could to reuse, and reduce costs. This was NO easy feat as the guy who built the office 30 years ago was an engineering madman. 32 nails in one 2×4. 9 nails in corners of walls that is 9 in the top and 9 in the bottom of studs. This guy built it to last through a tornado, followed by a nuclear blast. The original builders put up double brick walls which is a challenge in itself. We think the roof was replaced at some point as it is newer construction than the foundation and walls.

This is a learning process for us. Old buildings cannot be build into or onto the same way you would with new construction. You have to tie old methods with new methods and still meet codes. We had to run completely new electrical, new water, repair mortar, seal foundation. We had to run a new water main from the street. New kitchen counters (steal of a deal, 1950’s era steel kitchen cabinets we will be refinishing, granted we had to remove for the previous owner). We priced kitchen cabinets and $500-$2500 was out of our price range. We found ours on Craigslist for considerably less than the lowest price we could find elsewhere.  With all the renovations and repairs we are doing the majority ourselves, and on a beyond shoestring budget. Do you know how much windows that will fit the openings from a building of that era cost? 80″x34″. We looked at pricing and would almost have to be custom ordered. That is until we found Habitat for Humanity Restore.  3 windows, that open, double pane, $209 total. One window that size was going to cost around $400-500. There is one downtown, and another in Lafayette. The is NOT one in Avon despite the website says.  We picked up an old fashioned antique double deep well cast iron sink, normally $300+, we got it for $60. From bay windows to tile you can find it. Problem is you need to know measurements, and it is not like a big box stores. They are limited in what they have, and things turnover fast. Sometimes in minutes.

We have been videoing and taking pictures along the way. Sorry for the rough video and lighting. It was my first video of the project and we have been getting better.

Tiny House the beginning

Updates as of 7-27-2014, a little better. Now we only worked for a total of probably 10 days over a 30 day period., and some of those days were only 4-5 hrs. The tiny house is a little over an hour away from our current home. But there is a lot of work completed, and still a lot of work to be done.

Tiny House update 7-27-14

Both videos have narration of what we are looking at, and talking about things, but it was not scripted, and frankly I like the music better. As we progress I will do better now that we made the decision to publish. We decided to publish to encourage others that you can do this too. When the project is done, this home will be 100% free and clear. No mortgage, no building renovation debt, and 100% ours. (well property is never truly yours, just fail to pay taxes and watch Uncle Sam come take all that you paid for away).

 

Projects and Opportunities

Throughout my travels and networking I learn of opportunities and various projects that some may find interesting or a right fit for their skills or situation. This will be an ever-changing page as new opportunities are found and existing ones are filled.

The page is here that list current and future opportunities

If you are interested use the Contact Us page.

Change in date for Medicinal Herb class

Sorry for the late notice. We have had some family in the hospital and the Medicinal Herb class will be postponed until August 23rd.  We can offer private classes or tours if that would accommodate schedules better. Please contact us for details.  If you plan on attending the Medicinal Herb class PLEASE RSVP at the link below so we can get accurate numbers of books to print out.

http://www.meetup.com/AlternativeGardeningHomesteading/events/187516622/

 

Indy Rezone comment meeting Jul 16

The re-zoning committee is having two open comment times July 16th. Noon and 5:30. Not too often is the powers enacting changes open to comments from the general public. I will be there probably for both sessions to just hear what others have to say, and voice my own opinions. If it impacts you make an effort to show. Even if you are not directly impacted show up to support those that want to homestead and be self sufficient here in Marion Co. I would love to have it be standing room only! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE share with anyone and everyone you think could be impacted.

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Medicinal Herb class this Saturday July 12th

Don’t forget the medicinal herb class this Saturday July 12th. We will be having our medicinal herb class and talk about the various plants and herbs you can grow here in Indiana as well as some preparations, storage techniques, and uses. Come join us. PLEASE RSVP at the link below so we know how many packets to print. As part of the tour you will receive a 60 page packet of the information covered.

 

Medicinal herbs you can grow here in the Midwest

Saturday, Jul 12, 2014, 10:00 AM

Wolf-Beach Farms
8418 Chickasaw Ct

3 Gardener/Homesteader Attending

During the last tour people asked for a medicinal herb class and now we are ready. 57 herbs will be discussed that we have growing currently or are in the process of growing, and can be cultivated here in Indiana. The majority of herbs will be discussed are also available to see on the property, some we have grown in the past and we will discuss (O…

Check out this Meetup →

New ordinances for Marion Co

So today I wanted to take some time and talk about the Indy Rezone ordinances that are coming down the line. If you haven’t read them yet the link is below. It is 600+ pages and not the easiest read. You need to also know what your property is zoned as when reading.

 http://www.indyrezone.org/

So my main issue with the new ordinances is restrictions on livestock and gardening in residential areas.

The proposed limit is 10 chickens in a 1/3 acre or less. It does not take into account how the chickens are cared for the size of their enclosure. It is only based on property size. So in theory 10 chickens could be crammed into CAFO style operation as long as under 1/3 acre. I have 0.2 acres and 20 birds. They are allows to run 90% or the property free range. They are happy, well taken care of, and have no issues with smell, disease, etc. They are behind a privacy fence, and are more pets that produce eggs. To arbitrarily say I cannot have more than 10 I feel is a strike against my rights to raise my own food. We are a family of 6 and we do not cull our chickens when they stop laying. They “retire” and live out their lives with the other ladies. We treat them no different than when they were laying. They are still productive in insect control, turning compost, eating our food waste that would go to the landfill, and making rich fertilizer. So as the older birds stop laying and finally pass on we add new birds. But under the current ordinances I have to kill or somehow dispose of my older birds or stop getting eggs because I have hit my max of 10. So why is the number 10 without mention of care, feed, water, actual space to roam etc.  Another issue is the requirement to live on the space where the animals are living. This puts up issues for community gardens, schools that have chickens, some retirement centers etc. You also cannot have your chickens in your front yard. Well some corner lots or properties have no back yard and all the space is in the front. Why such a restriction? Is it because people don’t want to see them? I don’t want to watch my 70 year old neighbor mow in her bikini top or her husband mow without a shirt. But that is their prerogative and if they want to let them. It is their life, and their property.

Rabbits no more than 12 on any size lots. Rabbits take up less room than chickens. 2 foot by 3 foot is average pen size for rabbits. They do not need more space than that. They don’t have to forage (although we harvest weeds and grass to feed them fresh greens). If like us you are breeding them for a food source you need 1 buck and 1-2 doe’s. We happen to have 3 because we wanted to be able to have one with kits all the time and give our does a break between. There is 4. Each rabbit can have up to 12 kits. Boom, you are out of compliance. Now you have 10 weeks for the kits to grow out. In that time another doe will drop a litter and maybe the 3rd.  But this is all in the space of 12 feet by 6 feet. So tell me how is this impacting my property? They eat the weeds most of my other neighbors spray with toxic chemicals for people, pets, and the environment not to mention the well fields and the runoff. I get great fertilizer for my garden and a food source for my family. Again an arbitrary number.

Goats is another arbitrary number. Maximum of 2 for 1 acre or more. Again arbitrary number. Well if you are having 2 dairy goats for your family, they need to be pregnant in order to give milk. Well if you have 2 does because they do not like to be alone, and she drops 2-4 kids, BOOM, out of compliance.  Just because you have 1 acre does not mean that the goats will be able to use 1 acre. I have seen MANY goat operations that use a pen system and are in no way covering 1 acre for as many as 12-20 goats. They goats are pets, are milked, and are considered family. In no way are the goats mismanaged or mistreated. So where does 2 goats per 1 acre come from?  I could have six 200+ lb dogs in 0.2 acres and I am in compliance. Is that best for the dogs? Maybe not, but it is within compliance with the ordinances.

Pigs have not been allowed in Marion Co. I can understand for CAFO operations, but a teacup big, that is potty trained as a pet? What is the harm. I believe they should lift the ban on pigs as pets, or for family food. If it is commercial operation, I would stand with the ban. 2-4 pigs rotated on 1 acre have little to no smell, and take care of additional wastes that would otherwise go to the landfill.

Lastly a garden can only occupy 75% of your property. Well I practice edible landscaping, and have no use for lawn. Why should I be forced to have a lawn if it does nothing for me or my family?

So that those are my main issues. I have others, but that is the biggest at the moment. I have voiced my concerns and to their benefit, as much as I can tell, they are listening to what people have to say. They are soliciting comments. These are not effective yet, and you can help shape how they are written. I do applaud the bio-swales for rainwater runoff and other positive changes. I just had issues when they impact my lifestyle and that of my family. Maybe a tour of areas and show the committee what a successful system looks like. I do also have to applaud the marketing team for Rezone. I have heard the ads on the radio and it sounds like everyone is super excited because change is good, and great, and wonderful. That is until the enforcement of the new ordinances rain on your parade. If you haven’t read them, or checked out the site, I would suggest you do so and get your own opinion, and get informed.

Medicinal Herb Class Preview

I wanted people to get a feel for what to expect in the Medicinal Herb Class Preview, with handouts from the class. This is just one page, and is only the text. There are 56 other plants and bonus materials. We will be discussing in more details during the tour. What we have experienced, and touring through all what is growing while on site.  We will also have live plants for sale, fresh you pick cuttings, dried plants,  and more. Touch,  and smell some different preparations, ask questions, get answers. Disclaimer, we are not medical practitioners, and we are only conveying information we have learned, and have been using as a family.  Seek your own information before using any medicinal herbs.

Calendula– We will also have a chart in the handout of actual pictures of plants from out place.

RSVP – please use this link to RSVP so we know how many packets to put together. You can also prepay online.