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DIY 5 acres?

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by viehmann7680, Jun 27, 2014.

  1. viehmann7680

    viehmann7680 Centralia Active Member

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    So I somewhat recently moved and now have 5 acres. I was wondering what kind of Do It Yourself type projects you guys would do. We already got a large chunk of the garden up and going. We lucked out with having a couple of mature apple trees. I'm looking for some summer projects to do. We have talked about doing rain catchment on the barn. I also have about 3 & 1/2 acres of fields, with a small creek that runs right down the middle. I've wondered bout doing a small pond as well. But anyways, any help would be great!
     
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  2. JB25

    JB25 SW Washington Member

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    How bout a berm that nwfa members can shoot at
     
  3. Sodbuster

    Sodbuster Beaverton, OR Chief Cook/Bottle Washer

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    Water catchment, cistern, totes, however. Good thing to have way too much of. After that, some craigslist solar panels to store in some deep cycle batteries via charge controller.

    You could also look into the Eden's Garden methodology for gardening (using layered bark -- never have to till your ground again).

    And if you run out of things to do, think about a root celler as well as below ground green house so you can garden year round (or close to it).
     
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  4. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    I'd for sure have some chickens and perhaps a milk goat.
     
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  5. viehmann7680

    viehmann7680 Centralia Active Member

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    Haha A backstop for shooting is planned later this summer.

    I am planning on doing the rain catchment. The wife and I were just talking about doing solar, especially with it getting cheaper. I have never thought about craigslist for it. I'll give it a look. I know harbor freight sells kits for a decent price... just don't know how well they work. Also I'm not sure about batteries. Which ones to get and how long do they last? and lastly... how do you hook it up to your house? Or just leave it for certain items?

    I've wanted to do a root cellar... I just don't know much about being able to set it up. And the cost. I'll youtube it maybe. The greenhouse sounds nice. I wonder if you could put the door to the root cellar in the underground greenhouse?

    Goats and chickens are on the list. I have some things to tear down and prep some areas first.

    Does anyone have any experience building a small pond? I have the stream that comes through the middle. I would like to put a small pond right next to it or connected. I don't know anything about building one though.
     
  6. Sodbuster

    Sodbuster Beaverton, OR Chief Cook/Bottle Washer

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    Check out Amazon.com for the Storey Wisdom books. Excellent guides to get you going in a lot of areas. Here's a link to a listing of titles.

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_s...words=storey wisdom&sprefix=storey+wi,aps,293

    As far as batteries -- search on-line for photo-voltaic systems. The vendors will have them for purchase (not cheap). One of the good sets are Trojan deep cycle, they can hold a LOT of amp-hours. You can also check out inverters to change the 12 or 24 volt system storage to household current. Or you can keep it at 12 volt and purchase items running on 12 volt.
     
  7. MikeE

    MikeE Portland Well-Known Member

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    If you haven't done it already, plant winter veggies now:
    Kale
    Collard greens
    Cabbage
    Swiss chard
    Overwintering Broccoli

    Later plant:
    Pac choi
    Spinach (will grow all winter under light cover)
    Lettuce
     
  8. EZLivin

    EZLivin SW of PDX Well-Known Member

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    It sounds like we are in a similar situation. Our property has a lot of potential, and already has a bit of infrastructure (off the power grid though), but the potential for projects is almost endless. Before you buy one of those Harbor Freight kits take a look at these:
    http://www.amazon.com/Solar-Panel-S...ie=UTF8&qid=1403974293&sr=8-5&keywords=renogy

    The first setup I bought was from Harbor Freight, but have since bought two of the Renogy monocrystalline 100w. More power for the $, a better panel, and better electronics. Am using it as a stand-alone system charger for our internet (deep cycle & inverter), and as a deep cycle charging station to run a small 12v pump. Am using a generator for lights (latest LEDs) and appliances.

    Pond: My wife wants one, and since I have plenty of other work for a couple of years (at least), she has been given the "pond project." She likes the info on this link, but I have not read much of it so can't comment. http://libertynaturepreserve.com/p5.htm

    Other than that, this year is rain catchment at various locations on the property, upgrading security, enhancing on-site communications, developing a greenhouse site, building a shooting range, re-digging an old well and developing a gravity flow water source... (sounds optimistically good in theory, but all in 4 months? We'll see ).
     
  9. viehmann7680

    viehmann7680 Centralia Active Member

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    Good links. Those solar panels are the same price as well. If they work better, I'll order those. I might try it out with my pump house. I think that may be the perfect place to start. I still need to research it a little though. I don't know how much i need to power the pump and everything.
     
  10. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    A few notes before I make my suggestions:

    1) Avoid Harbor Freight solar panels... a few things they don't tell you about them: they are amorphous panels which is among the oldest of technologies, and they degrade over time with about a 5 year lifespan. For the price they are asking, amazon has many offerings of 100W panels (the HF panels are 15W) for less money.

    2) Any solar system requires deep cycle batteries, most of the systems I've built in the past used 6v golfcart batteries that were in series and parallel to bring them up to 12V with about 800Ah of juice. These systems usually last 5-8 years, after which they need replacement. I've currently been looking into Iron Nickel (Fe-Ni) batteries which may have a 100+ year lifespan, but you pay for it by needing 10 cells (each cell is 1.2V) at a much reduced Ah rating. The chemistry is tame enough that you can make them yourself, or there are companies that sell ready-made cells and batteries, most of these systems are about 1000Ah but cost about $10/Ah, however I'm sure they could be found less expensively.

    3) Ponds, I've done a few ponds, what I would recommend is putting your pond away from the stream, and then putting a pipe in and feeding your pond with it. Pond construction is fairly simple if you have a tractor or back-hoe. Depending on how porous your soil is, you may want to line it with bentonite clay.

    My suggestions -

    1) Farm Fuel - since you already have a barn, you should pick up a farm fuel sled, usually they can be had for about $1000 on CragistList (CL) and are in the 300-500 gal size. This will allow you to buy gas direct from the local coop and allows you to buy when gas prices are low and use your stockpile when prices are high. Be sure any gas you buy is ethanol free.

    2) Trees - Fruit trees are an investment you make now and reap later. Apple, pear, cherry, pomegranate, oak, etc. These will feed you, as well as the wildlife (which can also feed you). I've been buying the really cheap bare root trees, and then planting them in places I like to go in the anticipation that some day, there will be fruit trees there.

    3) Incinerator - usually these can be made from a few old 55gal drums, essentially this is a way you can control your trash by burning it on-site. Sometimes this is a value-add, sometimes not, just depends on your climate. At my cabin, burnable trash goes into a drum, that has a steel lid, and a flue-pipe, there is mesh that hold everything about 1' off the bottom, and the bottom is full of air holes. When the drum gets too full, just throw a lit match in it.

    4) Green house - growing summer fruits and vegetables all winter...
     
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  11. richdav

    richdav oregon Member

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  12. Jamie6.5

    Jamie6.5 Western OR Well-Known Member

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    The fruit room/root cellar turned out to be the best investment we had when we were on 10 acres.
    It was amazing how much longer fresh veggies/fruit and taters lasted in there.
    The walls were a foot thick and full of vermiculite, but it stayed about 50-55* in there in the middle of 90* summers, and about 40-45* degrees in winter when it was freezing out. Just keeps trips in and out to a minimum, and make sure the roofing material is white, or as close to white as you can get it.

    Plum and pear trees bore the best for us, with the least attention. Unlike the apple and nut trees (filberts) we never had to spray for bugs with either.
    We had three different kinds of plums, red, black and italian prunes, and two different kinds of pears.

    ETA: And when you trim/prune those fruit trees, don't throw the wood away. It's great for smoking!
     
  13. simpleguy

    simpleguy Clackamas Active Member

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    I would start by researching and hiring a permaculture designer to help map out your property and turn it in to a food producing machine. This will give you a plan that you can put together a bite/bit at a time. However I like the berm idea too.
     
  14. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    In the old days, many of our fathers would use ye olde doctored fertilizer to blow/create a new pond.
     
  15. ikemay

    ikemay WA Well-Known Member

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    A pole building that can keep several cords of split wood dry and/or drying out. Make it big and tall enough to split it as well. Doesn't have to be anything special, just a relatively dry place. Mines large enough for more than just wood, I have room for tools and other stuff. Also, don't put it too close to your house, various critters like to live there. Mine's about 100 feet from the house.

    Mike
     
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  16. Cogs

    Cogs Washougal, WA. Volunteer Coordinator Staff Member 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Besides the shooting backstop, I'd put a horse on it. And ride the hell out of it!
     
  17. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    The best way to do this kind of thing these days are with cratering charges... the kit comes in two parts, first a shaped charge to dig hole, and then a heaving charge to make a big crater. I think the real limitation to this approach is you end up blowing the dirt everywhere, when what you want is the high side to be moved to the low side to form a depression and a dam. Unless you're in a real hurry I'm sure you could hire the local backhoe guy to come dig a pond in an afternoon for a few hundred bucks.

    The thing I've found with these guys in the past is you get your wish list out and see what you can get done. Few years ago we hired one to dig our septic, then while we were putting in the septic tank and the leech field, he was off making the trench for our water line. When he was done with that, he came back over and buried the septic tank while we went to work on the water line. This worked out well as we had the line in by the end of the day, and simply kicking dirt into the trench was something we were quite able to do on our own.
     
  18. Swedish K

    Swedish K SW Washington Moderator Staff Member

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    If you build a green house you might check Craig's List for free glass - I picked up enough to fill the bed of the truck and the guy said he had more every few weeks (in Portland). I guess he gets it free and strips off the aluminum frames for scrap. Just make sure you don't take the Low E glass and tinted stuff as they are counter productive compared to regular old glass.

    If you are a car guy or have lots of wood/metal working tools and equipment you might build yourself a shop.
     
  19. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Before you build a pond on your property, find out the local/state codes in your area.
    Also, find out who owns the water rights to the stream that would be diverted to it.
     
  20. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    This is why I wouldn't put the pond in the course of the stream. Otherwise EPA will come in and say you have a navigable waterway and want to regulate you and monitor your pond for endangered species. King county can be a-holes about this also, but that's less an issue for you.
     
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