I bought the 81 acres I showed in my last post and have come up with the name for the property.
A view from the hill on Notalottawata Farm.
This is high desert that gets less than ten inches of precipitation, snow and rain combined, per year. The terrain is sage and cheat grass covered. No road into the property has been put in as yet.
I have the beginnings of a plan.
- First order of business is to make sure I know exactly where the property lines are.
- Next, start the establishment of a “road like” trail in the 30 foot easement (15 feet into each property along property lines) and onto the property.
- Water will be needed so, I plan to drill a well myself using a temporary “cable rig”. This is the method developed by the Chinese about 4 thousand years ago and is still used today by many commercial well drillers. It can go through the toughest of soil and rock. The Chinese have “drilled” as deep as 3,000 feet with this method!
- I’ll need to have a place to live on the property and I plan on purchasing a used travel trailer for temporary housing until I get a more “normal” house built.
- Electricity will be provided using solar panels and small wind turbines to charge a bank of batteries that will feed 12VDC directly to some lights and appliances and also to an inverter for my 120VAC needs. For power hungry things like tools, I’ll have a generator.
With water and electricity taken care of, all I’ll need to look into is propane for heating during the winter.
After the basics of living are under control, the real work of the farm can start!
Notalottawata Farm is not going to be a place where I simply plop down and vegetate until my dying day!
There is to be a purpose to this plot of land and my use of it! I am going to experiment constantly in farming for subsistence on arid, poor, ground! There are many, many things already in the public domain on this but, perhaps those things could be made better or used more effectively.
Small water source development is an area of interest too. On this property are two places I have found that indicate water fairly near to surface. I’ll be making a video, along with copious notes, about what I see and how I go about determining if water is there and how to develop that into a viable source.
Another aspect of providing water on arid land is to make use of the natural precipitation when getting ground water is not an option. I think there are many ways to do that with limited resources. I’ll be looking into that as well and will document EVERYTHING!
This hill has a fairly steep side to the south and a more gentle slope on the northern side. The rock it is made of is volcanic. I’m determined to make use of that hill!
Looking at the hill from the south property line
The expenses should be minimal. Cost of sinking the well will be tools, minor machinery such as a concrete mixer, water pump, generator, pulleys, wire or fiber rope, pipe,most of which will be used again for other things as I develop the farm, should not run more than about $1,000. To hire a commercial well driller would cost $4,000 minimum and could go as high as $10,000 with no guarantee of a good well!
The largest single expense, believe it or not, is going to be the septic system! It’s county code and I can’t avoid putting in a septic tank with good drain field. Because of the depth of excavation needed, I will probably hire this part to be done.
Every thing I do to get established on the farm, successful or failure, will be well documented! This will all be made available to the public.
What all do I plan to do?
- Establish small (5 acre or less) plots for experimentation as simulated subsistence farms.
- Find methods to amend soil for improved growing conditions. This should incorporate amendments that can be gathered from the local environment or that are produced by livestock.
- Experiment with vegetable crops to determine the varieties that perform best under harsh environments.
- Experiment with methods to preserve vegetables during winter to include canning in glass jars and drying / dehydrating.
- Experiment with limited livestock. This could include chickens, rabbits, sheep, goats, cows.
- Experiment with the use of livestock for both food and clothing.
- Attempt to raise crops to feed livestock on available land.
- Save seed from the best of the vegetable crops for planting the next year. When I am convinced of the viability of each variety of vegetable, I’ll save more seed in order to be able to offer those seeds to other people.
- Any excess crop, vegetable or animal, will be offered to charitable organizations for their own use. I only need to feed myself so, there may be quite a bit of excess!
- Experiment with growing sources of fuel for heating and cooking as well as building and construction. I’m thinking of bamboo here and there are a couple of varieties that do well in harsh environments.
- Experiment with various methods of irrigation and water storage! Though I will be using quite a bit of modern gear such as subsurface irrigation and plastic water storage tanks, I feel there should be other methods that someone with limited resources can use.
Well, that’s about it for now. All of the lists above will surely be expanded upon as time goes by! I’m considering trying some crowd source funding to get things underway more quickly.