2016: Year of Over the Hills and Around the Bends to Tennessee
We started 2016 in San Diego and ended it in Southern Middle Tennessee! It's still hard to believe that we were able to pull it off! So many folks helped and supported our relocation! There is no way that we could have done it without them!
The first half-ish of the year was focused on getting our house in San Diego on the market, packing, and preparing to live in a rural location. The second half-ish of the year was focused on moving and working on our new place in Tennessee.
In the middle of all the fun, I traveled over the hills and around many bends to visit little towns and big towns in Middle Tennessee. Whew! Read the details about our move in my post Don't Move to Portland.
Yes, some folks might think that we left "so much" behind in San Diego but we brought with us all of our skills and experience which are our most valuable assets.
To all the folks who are thinking about relocating or dream of relocating: Yes, you can relocate too! It can be challenging but the reward can be living the dream!
2015: Year of Permaculture Velocity
During the Permaculture Voices conference (March 2015, San Diego, CA) we hosted eight folks for a pop-up community.
We met and connected with some great people! We will continue to design and host experimental events like the pop-up community. Let's cast the net far, wide, and deep for the diversity required for innovation!
In other news: We launched the podcast Permaculture Velocity in June. We continue with the 5-gallon bucket strategy. While imperfect and labor intensive, the 5-gallon bucket strategy works for our small household: 2,500+ gallons of water from bathroom basin and another 1,500+ gallons from the outdoor sinks is diverted from the sewer system annually. The 5-gallon bucket strategy plus the laundry-to-landscape and humanure toilet systems are a decent start but we are always working to do a bit better.
Summer brought the start of discussions to relocate. There was a pile of reasons but it all boiled down to it was time for a change, a big change! We started packing in August. The packing, organizing, and planning continued into 2016 as we worked to get the house on the market and hunt for a new property.
2014: Year of Refinement
We did lots refining in the garden: adding edible plants where we could and propagating plants that required more attention than ordinary garden vegetables.
The concrete patio was removed with the assistance of two fantastic WWOOFers. Thank you, Robin and Sharone! Most of the urbanite has already been put to reuse onsite. The laundry-to-landscape system was installed and now waters six guava trees and a Glenn mango tree. The rest of the front garden is watered with greywater from the bathroom basin. In addition to the outdoor sink pictured, a second outdoor sink was installed adjacent to the hen house for general use but also for hand washing after using the new humanure toilet.
We didn't get to the designs for a tiny house or the geodesic dome inspired canopy so we'll be working on those in 2015. We also ran out of time to design and install an outdoor shower. Projects always take longer than you think!
On December 13, 2014 we hosted an Open Garden, the first event at 107 Garden, and it was a smashing success. A pop-up market, live music, delicious vegan menu, and lots of folks came out to see what the homestead is all about! It was terrific to meet so many people who are excited about chickens, composting, greywater, real food, and outdoor sinks. Thank you to everyone who came out and supported 107 Garden!
2013: Year of Focus
Consideration of the desired result food meant inedible, albeit sexy, plants had to be replaced. Since 2008, space dwindled fast! Difficult choices had to be made. The protea corner was replaced with two pluot trees. The rock garden and all the succulents were removed, and replaced with peach trees and a weeping mulberry.
All enjoyed asparagus, so the asparagus bed doubled in size. Grapes and brambles were added along with twenty comfrey crowns and dozens of medicinal and cooking herbs.
It was time to address the front yard! A pitiful row of neglected shrubs had to go and in its pace a row of artichokes. The quick-growing foliage proved to be an inexpensive privacy screen while we worked on the rest of the yard and its challenges.
The challenges included a yard landscaped with white rocks. Yay! Not! Unwilling to move or replace the rocks, we decided to leave them and simply build up. Now--and many, many loads of mulch later plus lots of plants...the rocks are not even visible. Food not rocks!
2012: Year of the Fruiting Tree
Between 2012 and 2014, we planted 27 fruit trees as part of The Tree Plan. Thus far, out of the more than 30 trees I've planted, only one isn't holding up its end of the bargain: The Sundowner Apple. Miss Sundowner was planted in January 2013, and still hasn't decided if she would like to be between Mr. Dorsett and Mrs. Anna.
In February 2012, The City of San Diego approved goats, bees, and chickens under local ordinance revisions. We happily added the first chicks to the homestead and began working on a hen house and run.
The hen house design snowballed from a simple A-frame or tractor to a 3-level hen palace and run. Construction began in March 2012 and the human-sized door crossed the finish line 18 months later.
2010 & 2011: Years of Maturing
Yes! All those fruits and vegetables are part of the real yield at 107 Garden! The garden really took shape by 2010. We were in the swing of things and ready to move on to other plans including The Chicken Plan. We were hopeful that the City of San Diego would approve chickens and we spent many hours pouring over books and websites to select breeds for our first city flock. The Tree Plan was fruiting with plans to enjoy fruit every month of the year. When in doubt plant a fruit tree!
2009: Year by the Seat of Our Pants
In San Diego, you can keep count of the frost nights easily in your head, there is nearly no rain and snow is a rarity.
There were many challenges, much to learn, and most importantly, resources to be located. How to conserve water? Where to get adequate organic material to support the soil microbes?
One of the resources we most needed was compost--and lots of it. We simply couldn't generate compost fast enough or in adequate quantities. If only we had known about compost tea!
A connection with Daniel, who describes his business as "selling shit so my wife can buy shit", solved the compost dilemma. He is a purveyor of worms, worm products, and compost. And we love Daniel and so does the garden! We currently produce the compost we need on site.
We spent hundreds of hours spreading compost and mulch. We planted and planted more and we sowed seed and sowed more seed. Some plants flourished, and became rock stars of the garden, while others just didn't make the cut or didn't survive.
2008: Year of the Beginning
107 Garden started as a plan to grow a few vegetables in early 2008. We spent months debating the finer details of the design while observing the sun's journey over our property. We pushed the go button in late Fall 2008.
The raised beds were become a reality while we largely ignored The Other Side, which was overrun with weeds and volunteer plants heartily anchored onto the parched, sandy soil.
The first tree, a Sicilian fig, was planted in December 2008 on The Other Side. The Other Side is now happily The Tree Side.