[permaculture] Where/How to start?

Margaret L Wilson booldawgs at cavenet.com
Mon Oct 28 14:10:20 EST 2002


   I am thinking seriously of converting one of the old barns into a straw 
bale house.  The barn is post and beam constructed of  native wood.  I have 
talked with the old gentleman that built it.  His grandparents bought this 
place in 1928, when he was 6 years old.  He built the barn himself after he 
came back from WW II.  It has a metal roof that is still in reasonably good 
shape and I think the timbers are (mostly) still sound.  We had intended to 
salvage the 100 year old barn but I am not sure that it is possible.  The 
old shingle roof has been neglected too long.  It has some huge old hand 
hewn timbers that are sound and some that are dry rotted.  My thoughts are 
that combining the two would make a very comfortable lovely home. The newer 
barn also has excellent solar exposure and is ideally situated in the best 
part of the property.  It just feels right :-))

The old man told me that the back 20 acres was wooded and they cleared it 
for more pasture.  The areas that have Sedge? grass were wetlands with 
willows and trees that he cleared with a team of horses.  I want to restore 
the wetlands and start planting trees as soon as possible.  They tell me 
that the whole ranch used to stay green year around. But that could have 
been before they logged the watershed around us too.  I feel it is most 
important to restore the land so it holds water rather than having to get 
irrigation water out of the creek.  It is an important salmon/steelhead 
creek that we have irrigation rights to.

   At this point I am not controlling grazing.  The animals do not go out 
to the back and we have a lot of coyotes and a mountain lion that has 
killed a lot of livestock in the area.  I put all of my animals in the barn 
at night and so far I have only lost one lamb. I am feeding hay in places 
that need the most improvement.  They manure the area and leave a little 
hay.  I am anxious to see what the difference will be when it starts raining.

How do I find my local PC group?  I am not very far from Williams, Grants 
Pass and several other towns in SW Oregon.

Thanks very much for all of the advise.  I have a lot to learn.  I would 
like to eventually have some farm income that would help support us.  It 
would be much better if my other half was able to help me here rather than 
working away from home.
Margaret SW Oregon

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