This page is a project to compile information about starting a largely self-sustaining farm lifestyle, sometimes refered to as Permaculture.
When trying to live a self-sufficient lifestyle you will want to know what exactly it is you need and figure out how to do it on your own. There are many things that we forget we use because they are very much part of our lives that we take them for granted. Therefore it's important that, before trying to become self-sustaining, you compile a list of things you will need and figure out how you will obtain these things. Here is an ordered list of steps that can be taken to be prepared:
- Compile the list: Take 1-3 months to compile a list of things you use. You can do this by writing down everything you buy during this time. It's important that it be at least a month since you may purchase certain things irregularly. Also note that this includes services, not only products.
- Eliminate excess: Go over your list at the end of this period and for each item ask yourself whether it is truly something you need. It's true that you're not trying to live in a cabin in the woods, but neither will you be able to live in complete luxury.
- Find solutions: For the items that are left on your list try to find ways of obtaining them that ideally do not require monetary payment. If you can make it yourself, try to do that. If not, think about making a deal with someone in the community. Avoid any non-personal agreements.
- Test solutions: Before actually going out, you may want to test many of these solutions first so you don't get them wrong when you go out to live on the farm. This should improve your chances of success.
Standard of Living
- You can buy a solar powered well, and it will pump water for you.
- You can catch a swarm of wild bees, and contain them to make your own honey for free as well as pollinate your crops.
- You can go around town collecting food waste, as well as any of your spoiled crops and feed them to your hogs, so that any ruined crops are still utilized inside of the hog, this can also work with other animals as well.
- You can make chocolate out of plants on your farm
- Perhaps I can use the gelatin from the pigs feet to make gummy candy.
- Crop rotation can be used to make full use of the land, year after year. Since certain plants take certain minerals from the soil (and return others when used as compost), this can be taken advantage of in order to plant crops using the remains of others.
- Mormons are really big into canning and food storage, can we own our own canning machinery to build up food storage?
Means of production
- Open Source Ecology offers libre farm machinery can be built at very reasonable prices, some of the machines you can also buy prebuilt. Their machines include a tractor, backhoe, and even an earth brick press.
- You can get a peanut butter grinder that will take your peanuts and turn them into peanut butter.
- Wood is a very versatile source of energy, not only for burning to keep warm and cooking over a fire, but for the creation of charcoal, which is very useful and can reach much higher temperatures than wood alone. Charcoal can be made by burning wood in an air-constrained cavity in order to limit the availability of oxygen. This will carbonize the wood.
Lime is a very important substance used for a wide variety of purposes (a lot of which are covered in Lewis Dartnell's The Knowledge), such as hygiene and water purification.
- Agricultural Lime (calcium carbonate): can be obtained by mining chalk, or from coral/seashells. It's very useful for crop productivity, able to help neutralize pH levels in acidic soil.
- Quicklime/Burned Lime (calcium oxide): achieved by roasting the calcium carbonate to 900°C (a kiln would be useful), and is useful for burials of human remains to isolate odors and diseases.
- Hydrated Lime/Slaked Lime (calcium hydroxide): calcium oxide is very reactive to water (so be careful), and when combined it creates calcium hydroxide. Often used in hot climates for an outer coating for buildings in order to keep cool by mixing with chalk, as well as being able to bind small waste particles together in waste water to clean it for further treatement.
- Bio-Diesel You can make your own biodiesel with a centrifuge like this, some of these can make as much as 2 gallons of biodiesel a day. You can create an oil algae farm to get the needed inputs for it to make free biodiesel.
- You can make your own ethanol, likely for less than what it would cost to make bio diesel, but you will need to mix gasoline with it. However the machinery for it is a lot cheaper, doesn't require electricity to distill, no needed centrifuges, but in the US at least you need a permit to distill it but the permit is free, you can read more about it here .
Free/low cost materials
Theoretically you could grow bamboo on your land and use it to build a house, or any other structure you may need. Here are some species of bamboo mentioned to be good for these purposes
However one thing is missing, is that you can import the bamboo, but it's not yet known where you can buy seeds for these plants. Here is some other reading material on this subject:
Nicotine is a pesticide, which is a natural biproduct of tobacco. Here is a list of natural pesticide mixes, a noteable one uses garlic, which is easy to grow and can grow all year round.
- The Knowledge by Lewis Dartnell: contains information about post-apocalyptic survival and (more importantly) the reconstruction of civilization upon new foundations. Much of the information it contains is useful for building a self-sustaining lifestyle for small groups/individuals up to small towns in size.
Oswald Vineyard is a blog that talks about all kinds of things a person who lives on a farm does/can do.
Ways to Make Money
- You can put money in a Certificate of deposit, or bonds, which will get you interest and with en ough money stored in them the interest alone can pay for your property tax.
Problems we still need to solve
While we have thought a lot about the farm, we still have not solved some issues regarding self sustainability:
- How do we power the house without batteries, or at the least not being so reliant on batteries? A battery that can be easily repaired with materials sourced on the farm would be acceptable, it should be noted that we can have a generator that is powered by biodiesel.
- Ways to easily make what little money will be needed on the farm.
If you are interested or have comments on the content of this page, feel free to contact us:
- bkeys -at- bkeys -dot- org
- nortega -at- themusicinnoise -dot- net