My husband and I and our three children live off the grid in a house we built out of our own wood, logs cut by Dennis and milled on site. Upcycled materials and creative solutions made our energy efficient lifestyle. With a vision of self sustainability, we built a barn, chicken coop and started veggie gardens, fruit orchards and flowering shrubs were grown cheaply from cuttings. Chickens, dogs, cats and ducks followed. We already had the horse.
Then I read one book on permaculture, and at the same time read “Animal ,Vegetable,Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver. These ideas inspired me to develop much larger gardens to be able to eat year round . Wanting to work to feed , educate and inspire our community. We built the brick oven which seemed naturally to attract people to the eggs, bread and organically grown flowers. I would like to inspire people to eat and cook from the garden in season.
Our permaculture idea was to build the vegetable gardens near our kitchen. Grow a wide variety of vegetables, fruit, and flowers for our own sustenance and enjoyment with extras to trade, gift .
Most importantly creating a closed system of organic inputs where we knew the source of everything we add to the gardens. The animals provide the manures for an active compost. We enrich our poor sandy clay soils with organic amendments, compost and cover crops, creating rich hummus soil to grow better vegetables . Our grass is beginning to grow around our 100 fruit and olive orchard trees. The grass will be encouraged to to move outward from the house and gardens. Hopefully sustaining our animals more and more as our poor soils improve.
I, Katie, have been a landscape gardener working over thirty years on very large estates and big projects. i bring an ornamental horticultural background to farming. Not growing in long rows, but more in patches with flowering plants, fruits and many perennial vegetables in between. This is biointensive, a method started by Alan Chadwick another Landscape Gardener. Growing vegetables requires such rich soil and so much attention to a very short lived plant. We eat wonderful vegetable laden meals, rounded out with local meats. Caning many products, fruits and jams, pickles, tomato sauce and salsa. Living in California, we garden year round. Our naturally leavened, sourdough, organic bread , rounds out our diet. Our bread bakes have become a community event where we usually bake loaves in our wood fired brick oven. We hand shape the dough.
My husband Dennis was born in a traditional farming community and farmed prunes on his families farm as a kid.He drove equipment all his life and also logged.Preferring to live out in rural acreage and developing many traditional skills. He can do ballet with a backhoe and we wouldn’t be able to do what we have done without his skill and incredible support.He’s also a Vietnam Vet with PTSD.