Tuesday, January 24, 2012


This property came with a lot of things that need repair or remediation. We're just starting to attend to the most important and obvious things but are making big to-do lists of all the little stuff too. We're starting to dream as well, finally envisioning all the things we've wanted to be doing but now with a real piece of land as the framework.

Off the top of my head, things that need attending soon:
  • The Springhouse pumping rig needs to be converted to solar and have it's piping re-run such that the spring water no longer mixes with the nearby creek water. This weekend I'm going to a solar water pumping workshop at Sierra Solar. Hopefully I'll find  the info I need to really flesh out a plan to take care of this.
  • Overhead power line from house to workshop has several old trees that are thinking about falling over on to it. These should be cleared before winter sets in too heavily. I put in a request for a quote from a tree guy that I saw at the Food and Farm Convention last weekend. 
  • The Forest needs thinning. Unless I'm totally wrong, for both forest ecology and wildfire safety reasons we need to thin out the dead trees in the Forest area. The large cedars are so big that all the small trees that do sprout in the understory die off after a few years. These would make great fire-ladders for a brush fire to climb up into the canopy.  I think the tree guy will be able to help with this.
  • The Workshop (cinderblock, some wood siding and tin roof) has several things that need attention before they deteriorate further.  In particular a few pieces of the tin roof have come unnailed and will probably blow off during the winter if I don't nail them back down. The workshop is a big project in general and we'd like to get it fixed up and remodeled to make it much more useful than it's rusty, leaky state right now. This season is about not letting it get worse than it is.

The House! We have some very lovely tenants staying on in the House until the end of March. After that we'll have a whole new set of  to-do items before we can get ourselves moved in. We're hoping to move in by Fall 2012.
  • The septic system is over 100 years old and is too close to the creek to meet code right now. There's what seems to be a great place to dig a new septic system in the Backyard. Haven't explored this any yet but have plenty of contacts to be able to more or less do this ourselves.
  • The house's electric heater is in an unknown state. The tenants have been using the wood fireplace for heat. Given that the old heater is under the house we want to replace it before moving in. 
  • There is a solar water heater unit on the roof that's currently disconnected and due for some sort of maintenance. This needs lots more exploration. It's not a must-have before moving in but it would be a lot easier to work on if we weren't depending on the hot water system at the time.
Really, this year will be all about getting the obvious stuff fixed up. We're following the permaculture principle of observing the land for a full year before setting any concrete plans into motion.  Eventually we'll build up a food forest around the old pear orchard, have grazing areas for goats, have a good size chicken flock and coop, expand the beekeeping operation already in place.

In the past few weeks as the realities of all this work has started to set in we've begun talking about this whole homestead as a life-long project, one we're intensely excited about :-)

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