The Backyard Homestead, a project.

Discuss lifestyle changes to better survive disasters. This category is for topics pertaining to being self reliant such as DIY, farming, alternative energy, autonomous solutions to water collection and waste removal, etc.

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Merovech
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The Backyard Homestead, a project.

Post by Merovech » Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:57 pm

I will be moving from central Alaska to a nameless area of USDA Zone 7.

I am going out of my way to look for a home without a Home Owners Association so that I can do what I want within local laws and regulations.

I am also looking for homes that have a decent sized backyard, but will likely end up with something 'normal' sized, neither tiny or huge.

That being said, I am looking to have everything in the back yard producing some sort of sustinence.

I WANT to keep a handful of chickens as well, but I am fairly certain local laws will prevent this.

The GOAL: The Goal here is to supplement and sustain long term, NOT to be able to survive solely out of my back yard. (baby steps) The secondary goal is to teach myself and learn horticultural skills, that may be applied more large scale later on.

The Worry: I do NOT want to be a bother to my neighbors or attract attention.

The Plan: Here is the plan so far,

I believe I will have room for two trees, possibly three if I put one in the front yard.

Tree #1, Backyard: Blenheim OR Moorpark Apricot Tree
Tree #2, Backyard: Dwarf Elberta Peach OR Scarlet Prince Peach Tree
Tree #3, Front Yard: Needs to be something small, but pretty. I was thinking some sort of dwarfed Almond Tree?

Bushes #1 and #2: Rabbiteye BlueBerry Bushes supposedly grow well in zone 7, I am thinking two of these.

Certain things would need to be brought in during the harshest areas of the winter, but only for 2 to 4 weeks I believe.
These should be able to be grown in 5 Gallon Pots with rollers or a maybe bit smaller in certain cases.

Potted/Dwarfed Tree #1: Improved Meyer Lemon Tree
Potted/Dwarfed Tree #2: Nules Clementine Tree
Potted/Dwarfed Tree #3: Key Lime Tree (Need Some Fresh Limes for My Corona)
Potted/Dwarfed Tree #4: Considering an Arbequina Olive Tree

This would give me Olives/Olive Oil, Limes, Clementines, Meyer Lemons, Blueberrys, Apricots, Peaches and possibly Almonds on a semi-regular basis with standard care and without replanting every year.

The next step would be a sustainable garden, This Garden would be the bulk of the maintenance, I am currently planning this part in my head and will include more detail after some feedback and more thought. However I was thinking a standard grouping of:

Crop #1: Tomatoes
Crop #2: SEVERAL types of Peppers.
Crop #3: Maybe a small Row of Corn
Crop #4: Cucumber
Crop #5: Cabbage

As well as a standard Herb garden.

Look for this post to expand, with pictures and such once I get going.
What does a month worth of food really look like?: http://tinyurl.com/pvymvrw
Suburban Family Tornado Shelter and Preparation: http://tinyurl.com/na8qsfr
Cast Iron Skillets for Everyday Use and Beyond: http://tinyurl.com/onu62yj

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Merovech
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Re: The Backyard Homestead, a project.

Post by Merovech » Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:58 pm

Reserved.
What does a month worth of food really look like?: http://tinyurl.com/pvymvrw
Suburban Family Tornado Shelter and Preparation: http://tinyurl.com/na8qsfr
Cast Iron Skillets for Everyday Use and Beyond: http://tinyurl.com/onu62yj

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Merovech
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Re: The Backyard Homestead, a project.

Post by Merovech » Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:58 pm

Saved for Later Expansion.
What does a month worth of food really look like?: http://tinyurl.com/pvymvrw
Suburban Family Tornado Shelter and Preparation: http://tinyurl.com/na8qsfr
Cast Iron Skillets for Everyday Use and Beyond: http://tinyurl.com/onu62yj

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Re: The Backyard Homestead, a project.

Post by riverjoe47 » Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:14 pm

I have seen grape arbors trained into fantastic and space saving shapes through the years . In a little museum type town (Amana Iowa ) many of the houses have trained them into cool shapes on the south side of the house .
Mine never did so well since I have very little sunlight .
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Re: The Backyard Homestead, a project.

Post by spacecop » Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:48 pm

We are doing just what you are talking about. We have 4 chickens in a coop with an enclosed run. Many cities will allow you to have a few chickens as long as you don't have a rooster. We have a raised bed garden with "lettuce, tomatoes, cabbage, cucumbers, red and green bell peppers and radishes (which we just got our first batch of). We have 6 beds that are 4x4 square and do not take up that much room. If the garden does well we are going to expand it. It is amazing what you can do in a subdivision backyard. We are also going to plant some blueberry bushes along our privacy fence and have plans for a couple of more fun things.
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Re: The Backyard Homestead, a project.

Post by ViciousFishes » Mon Mar 28, 2011 6:33 pm

Heya Merovech,

I have neighbors about 40' away on one side and was pretty worried about the chickens disturbing them. And they did...If you start with chicks your going to get the odd rooster by mistake. My wife would not let me harvest the roos, but was fine with the craigslist add of free rooster to a good home or good cook :lol: Anyhow giving the neighbors a half dozen eggs every couple of weeks is cheep(sorry) insurance as even the girls make some noise when they are especially proud of the egg they just laid. If those neighbors have kids your golden as they will love to visit and feed the chickens treats.

Its very little work and the eggs are WAY better than store bought. Think twice about free ranging, we've lost chickens to a fox and to a neighbors dog.

The average family moves every seven years, are you going to be living there when the trees are mature enough to start producing?

G'luck man
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Re: The Backyard Homestead, a project.

Post by jackba » Mon Mar 28, 2011 7:04 pm

Good choices
Last edited by jackba on Mon Mar 28, 2011 7:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Backyard Homestead, a project.

Post by American_Infidel » Mon Mar 28, 2011 7:14 pm

Of the ordinances I have researched concerning keeping chickens in the city limits, all that I have read have prohibitions on four legged farm animals. None I have read prohibit chickens. Of course this in a couple of cities in SoKy so YMMV.
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Re: The Backyard Homestead, a project.

Post by jackba » Mon Mar 28, 2011 7:21 pm

Squash can give you a hell of a bang for the buck.

Hardy Almond from Halls, heck I get all our trees from Hall's are the hardy version for up to zone 4-5. Good selections I think, also a carpathian walnut, good protein. Chickens WITHOUT a rooster are pretty damn quiet. Apples and pears also hardy and if you get the dwarf variety you can get a pretty good bunch in the back yard.

I buy a 25 lb sack of rice about 3 times a year. We eat one, we store the other two. Same for white, pinto, and red beans. LOTS of tomatoes, can you can??????
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Re: The Backyard Homestead, a project.

Post by quazi » Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:09 pm

What kind of preservation methods are you planning? Canning? Drying? Freezing? Root cellar? Or are you not planning on preserving what you harvest?

If you're going to have a root cellar (I love root cellars and think that anyone who can have one should) then I would recommend potatoes. Potatoes are forgiving and you get very high yields in a small space. Then again being from Alaska maybe you're sick of potatoes. :lol:

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Re: The Backyard Homestead, a project.

Post by jackba » Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:41 pm

Canning is a bitch and heavy, but its the only way. That's why I like nuts and fruit that can be DRIED.
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Re: The Backyard Homestead, a project.

Post by Horned One » Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:15 pm

Have you considered aquaponics? It's a blending of aquaculture and hydroponics where the fish water is used to water the plants, and the plants provide nutrients to the fish.

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Re: The Backyard Homestead, a project.

Post by Red Tamarillo » Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:36 pm

Some fruit trees need another similar tree to be a pollinator- so might pay to check what's in neighbours back yards.
I've got a self pollinating Almond tree, but it's more normal to need two, so look out for the self pollinating ones.
Go the corn.

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Re: The Backyard Homestead, a project.

Post by magdelaina » Sun Apr 03, 2011 4:26 pm

Merovech wrote: Crop #3: Maybe a small Row of Corn
Wind transfers pollen from one corn stalk to another, so make sure you plant a block of corn rather than a row. If your corn isn't pollinated, you'll see "blank" spots on the ears. Here's some info: Sexual Dysfunction in the Corn Field

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Re: The Backyard Homestead, a project.

Post by Ducky » Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:04 am

My advice. Stay in Alaska.
lol Everyone knows that zombies are slower in the cold. :lol:
But seriously. I moved from Healy to Anchorage for college and then to Texas for work. I really miss it and wish I hadn't.
There are plenty of places out in palmer and wasilla that have lots of land and no HOAs. And we all know that the grond is good for growing out there. [img]1232755670485-1[/img]
As far as chickens, it would take a little more preperation as far as keeping them alive in the winter.

Just my 2c
I plan on moving back as soon as I can.
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Re: The Backyard Homestead, a project.

Post by riverjoe47 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:28 pm

Merovech wrote .......
I am going out of my way to look for a home without a Home Owners Association so that I can do what I want within local laws and regulations.

Be careful that you're not in the city limits of some restrictive zoning board . One of my rentals on what appears to be a country road is actually in the city limits and is subject to city ordinance .
One of my tenants tried to have a few chickens for eggs etc. and the zoning boys were out forthwith . Ordinance is against farm animals of any kind . The tenants told them they were pets but they would have to go before the zoning board to state their case and they decided it wasn't worth the hassle . If I were you I'd check with zoning before making any commitments . The lower 48 is no doubt going to be more restrictive then you're used to with some exceptions most notabley Montana IMHO .
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Re: The Backyard Homestead, a project.

Post by zombie_dog » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:11 pm

Ducky wrote:My advice. Stay in Alaska.
lol Everyone knows that zombies are slower in the cold. :lol:
But seriously. I moved from Healy to Anchorage for college and then to Texas for work. I really miss it and wish I hadn't.
There are plenty of places out in palmer and wasilla that have lots of land and no HOAs. And we all know that the grond is good for growing out there. [img]1232755670485-1[/img]
As far as chickens, it would take a little more preperation as far as keeping them alive in the winter.

Just my 2c
I plan on moving back as soon as I can.

if there aren't some major changes in alaska it's going to get pretty ugly up here; we have several critical problems that have made me consider moving as well.

though I'm going to wait till after 2012, as I don't want to be in transit or trying to "set up" my house with the crazies going crazy over that time frame..

for the OP:
check into the permaculture green houses, I'm at work so I can't access most web pages, its something similar to this site: (http://www.fishyculture.com/Home_Page.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) basicaly using fish to fertilize water to grow food, part of the food you grow is used to feed the fish, a nice little closed circut, apparently there's guys producing HUGE amounts of food per sq/ft
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Re: The Backyard Homestead, a project.

Post by quazi » Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:27 pm

Ducky wrote:There are plenty of places out in palmer and wasilla that have lots of land and no HOAs. And we all know that the grond is good for growing out there. [img]1232755670485-1[/img]
As far as chickens, it would take a little more preperation as far as keeping them alive in the winter.
I'm not sure about in Healy, but you'd be surprised by the number of HOAs and covenants in rural areas. My brother bought some land miles off of the road out in Petersville. There was only one other person who lived in the area and a couple of weekend cabins. When he went to sign on the deal it turned out there was an HOA. :shock:

As far as chickens go, they aren't much trouble in South Central at least. As long as they're in a decent coop they generate most of their own heat. We've had it down to -40 with no cold related injuries. We leave the door open during the day with a piece of clear hanging loosely in front of it, and we have a light bulb in there for light and a little additional warmth. It might take a little extra effort in the Interior, but not too much.
zombie_dog wrote:if there aren't some major changes in alaska it's going to get pretty ugly up here; we have several critical problems that have made me consider moving as well.
Could you fill me in as to the critical problems? I'm not aware of anything too dire (that's not a problem everywhere) but I'm probably just ill-informed.

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Re: The Backyard Homestead, a project.

Post by zombie_dog » Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:29 pm

quazi wrote:
zombie_dog wrote:if there aren't some major changes in alaska it's going to get pretty ugly up here; we have several critical problems that have made me consider moving as well.
Could you fill me in as to the critical problems? I'm not aware of anything too dire (that's not a problem everywhere) but I'm probably just ill-informed.
ok, but just quick summary as I'm at work ;)

Image

Oil production:
with the pipeline currently flowing around 620k barrels a day & the physical limitation of 300k a day or less as the bottom end we are close to the threshold.
Last year one exploratory well was drilled, this year it looks like none will be, it takes about 3-8 years (depending on red tape) to get a well producing and putting oil in the pipe line and at our current rate of decline (via production) we are looking at around 3-4 years before a "panic situation"
Paraffin buildup in the pipeline is happening at a far faster rate than previously predicted, currently there is a 4" build up, its so sever that smaller "pigs" have to be used to run down the line, this is due to the low volume of oil allowing the temps to drop, the oil is exciting the pipeline at around 37 degrees at Valdez, which is FAR too cool and is leading to a rapid buildup of paraffin.

We also have a terrible tax structure that is still in place, so no new exploration will happen until that changes.

Why is this important? because the state functions (90% of it anyway) off oil taxes.

Natural Gas:
Currently all of south central is powered and heated by Natural Gas (most our power plants run off it, most houses are heated by it etc...) and our natural gas system is running at its upper limits, its so bad that they have (this year and last year) run tests asking people to "power down" for a day to see if we can reduce consumption enough to stave off an emergency if/when peak demand pushes the system to a failure point (if you lose pressure in the Natural Gas lines you can't just "turn it back on" there's various reset measures that takes a while & its possible that even more effort will be needed).
The loss of point the LNG (liquid natural gas) plant @ Nikiski pulls a small safety net out of the picture, as we could have used them as a fall back during peak demand.
if we loose one Natural gas compressor during the winter there will be some serious issues as people's houses become too cold to live in, pipes freeze etc... bad things..


Food:
And (I don't see a solution for this one) Alaska is extremely dependant on imports, if there was ever a significant disruption to the daily influx of food and goods things will get ugly, I think its been calculated that there is enough food on the shelves in anchorage and the valley to last 3 days (discounting panic buying, so realistically 1 day) and I expect the average household does not have enough food for more than a week or so, I'm sure you can see how that scenario would play out.

so those are my three major area's of concern right now.
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Re: The Backyard Homestead, a project.

Post by akraven » Wed Apr 06, 2011 1:59 pm

Definitely some good points Zombie dog. You can help relieve some of it with establishing your own garden and having wood heat options. On the bright side we have a whole lot less people :)

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Re: The Backyard Homestead, a project.

Post by zombie_dog » Wed Apr 06, 2011 2:57 pm

akraven wrote:Definitely some good points Zombie dog. You can help relieve some of it with establishing your own garden and having wood heat options. On the bright side we have a whole lot less people :)
Yeah, I'm definately generalizing a lot there, obviously there are pockets of the population that won't be affected as greatly as others (for instance LDS groups that already have a 2 year store of food etc..)

and I don't mean to sound "doom and gloom", I don't lose any sleep over that info, I just see possible weakness there; something that people should be aware of (except the oil thing is starting to be worrysome)

Honestly I'm more worried about a large coronal mass ejection (CME) coming our way... I'm too addicted to the interwebs for an EMP event!

this one that happend on sunday ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtyPZ3dXQhs" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ) if it was earth directed would have caused some serious havok with GPS and satelite coms, possible more.


as far as the homestead project, I think AquaPonics (as mentioned above) is a VERY viable thing, but it would be tricky in alaska.
“He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.” ~Aeschylus

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Re: The Backyard Homestead, a project.

Post by akraven » Wed Apr 06, 2011 3:21 pm

zombie_dog wrote:
akraven wrote:Definitely some good points Zombie dog. You can help relieve some of it with establishing your own garden and having wood heat options. On the bright side we have a whole lot less people :)
Yeah, I'm definately generalizing a lot there, obviously there are pockets of the population that won't be affected as greatly as others (for instance LDS groups that already have a 2 year store of food etc..)

and I don't mean to sound "doom and gloom", I don't lose any sleep over that info, I just see possible weakness there; something that people should be aware of (except the oil thing is starting to be worrysome)

Honestly I'm more worried about a large coronal mass ejection (CME) coming our way... I'm too addicted to the interwebs for an EMP event!

this one that happend on sunday ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtyPZ3dXQhs" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ) if it was earth directed would have caused some serious havok with GPS and satelite coms, possible more.


as far as the homestead project, I think AquaPonics (as mentioned above) is a VERY viable thing, but it would be tricky in alaska.
If you were coastal living and could do the oyster/salmon farm thing it would be nice but I wonder how difficult the set up on the page you linked would work here?
Don't forget the "Little Su aquaculture project" :D
Other options are rabbits and chickens. Cheap, easy to feed and self reproducing. Living without convenents and HOA is the key.

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Re: The Backyard Homestead, a project.

Post by navarre1095 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 7:26 pm

Aquaponics? Damn you! Now I have to build one.
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Re: The Backyard Homestead, a project.

Post by mr.trooper » Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:49 pm

dont forget that some very common "landscaping" shrubs are edible.

For example juniper berries, while potent, contain important vitamins, fatty acids, and even a little protein. They are also diuretic.
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