living off the land

How much land do you really need to be self sufficient?

With a world food crisis, drought and civil unrest over escalating food prices, around the world, we all have concerns about food security and the ability to feed our own families.  An info-graphic is circulating the internet that tells us that we need a full 2 acres to be self sufficient in food on a omnivore diet, implying less land if one is vegan.  The problem with a graphic like this is that it discourages experimentation, and assumes a one-size-fits all family eating style.  It uses yield estimates taken from mono-cultural commercial agriculture and imposes them on the homestead.  This discourages people who want to attempt to be self sufficient and live a more sustainable life.  2 acres is a substantial investment in a highly productive agricultural belt or near an urban area. And this info-graphic assumes highly productive land — expensive land.

So is 2 acres a reasonable estimate?  That depends where you live and what you mean by “self-sufficiency”.  When Canada was being divided up in homesteading grids — it was assumed that on the Prairies an average family would need a section of land (over 1,000 acres) to be self-sufficient.  In those days, self-sufficient meant to survive to the next year, without grocery stores to fall back on.  In Ontario and B.C. the amount of land necessary to feed and cloth a family was considered a ¼ section — 160 acres.  That area provided water, food, energy, and a livelihood.  Along the St. Laurence and in the Maritimes the amount of land needed was less — due to the proximity of fishing and water.  The closer one is to fresh water, whether a stream or through rainfall, the less land that is necessary to sustain  a family.

Those in the North or at higher elevations need more land to be self-sufficient.  Its hard to grow food — other than livestock and hay — in a growing season that’s shortened by intermittent summer frost.  But it can be done.  Land in these areas is cheaper, too.  You will need 5 to 15 acres to be productive in a Northern area and you will have more land dedicated to raising livestock and hay and less land dedicated to vegetables and fruit.

How much land do you need?

So what’s a reasonable estimate for how much land you really need to sustain your family?

Skip the 2,000 square foot house.  Its unnecessary.  A smaller footprint that builds upward  is a better use of space, and is easier to heat and clean.  Solar panels?  Possibly if you are far enough south and have a good exposure.   Wind? Micro-hydro?  Methane?  Wood?  All are possibilities to explore for energy efficiency.  Each property has to be assessed individually.  There is no one-size-fits-all solution — except the grid.  Cut the house footprint in half.

Livestock?  Skip the pigs — they produce only meat and take up valuable space.  Skip the corn unless you live in the South, where your summer has the heat value to ripen corn easily.  The livestock doesn’t need it and its low on food value — 2 goats and 5 chickens can live on garden surplus, grass and weeds.  5 chickens will feed a family 2 dozen eggs a week in the peak laying season.  They don’t need their own dedicated space.  Put them in a movable chicken tractor and let them till the garden, eating bugs and weeds.  Move them every morning during the growing season and it will improve your soil quality, too.

Goats can be housed in a shed near the house, a lean to onto the house or even the back of the garage.  They only need a small bedding area and can be taken for walks in the hedgerows of your neighbourhood to feed on browse.  They can be given a loafing area or be tethered in different spots around the yard to help keep down weeds.  Protect them from stray dogs and predators and they will give you 8 to 10 years of the highest quality raw milk for drinking, cheese, yogourt and ice-cream.  They can be fed with garden waste.  Or share your field peas and produce with them, in exchange for their milk.  Their manure will increase the fertility of the garden space.  2 full size dairy goats will give your family a gallon of milk a day and 3 kids for 90 lbs. of meat every fall. Live in an urban area? Invest in Nigerian Dwarf goats and half the production rates, as well as the food inputs.

Instead of corn in cooler regions, grow potatoes.  They offer more calories and can be grown in more climates and take up less space.  You can follow a crop of potatoes with kale for a longer harvest season, even in a colder climate.

Don’t forget the orchard

Fruit and nut trees are a must. Nut trees take a while to mature but the increase in protein is beneficial to you, and your livestock — plant them if you have the space.  Dwarf fruit trees will grow on a 6 foot centre and can be trellised along a fence to increase yields per space. If space is at a premium, do consider trellising them — planting 6 feet apart in a one foot wide row.  One dwarf tree will yield 75 lbs. of fruit, once it is mature.  10 trees trellised along a fence with a Southern exposure, blossom sooner in spring and have an extended growing season, and will give you enough fruit for a family for jamming, canning and preserving.

Berries and small fruits take up little space and can offer high vitamins and antioxidants to your diet.  If wild roses and wild strawberries grow in your area than other berries will as well.

Sunflowers are an annual crop that provide an increase in protein for your diet, and can grow on the borders of the garden, taking up very little space.

Raised beds for vegetables

Vegetables, grown in raised beds or containers, give high yields and can be rotated for 3 season gardening — greens from spinach to lettuce to kale can rotate through the growing season to keep your plate full for daily salads and vegetables.  We grow all the greens we need in about 20 square feet this way.  Other vegetables, like cabbage, beans, carrots and beets, need a full growing season but can be inter-cropped with flowers and herbs to feed bees, and provide medicinal plants for the family first aid kit.  With raised bed gardening you could cut down the vegetable area square footage by ½ to 2/3rds   Add a greenhouse and train vines to grow up instead of out and you can increase the growing season and the yields in the available space.

Community is essential

This chart fails to take into account the sharing that inevitably happens between gardeners — zucchinis, squash, lettuces and other prolific growers provide a bountiful harvest that many families can share, at the peak of the growing season.

Rabbits?  Chickens? Ducks?

Put in some rabbit hutches – Each rabbit needs 2 feet by 3 ft. space.  You can give them a grass run and build rabbit condos that offer them a wonderful, natural lifestyle.   3 female french angora rabbits and 1 male will provide your family with a meal of rabbit meat once a week and enough angora to keep your family in mittens and hats for the winter.  They will eat your garden surplus, and grass hay.  In Europe, during WWII, families with back yard rabbits would make hay by harvesting the grass from vacant lots and roadsides all summer.  And they make affectionate pets, too.  Are we eating our pets? No, as a farmer you make pets out of the breeding animals and give the best possible life and respect to the young that end up on your plate.

You don’t need meat every day, but you do need high quality protein every day and this kind of gardening will give you that.

Consider planting field peas for increased protein.  Field peas increase the fertility of the soil and the crop is ready to harvest in August when the ground can be cleared and a second crop can be planted of either peas or a winter vegetables.  The straw from peas is relished by goats and rabbits.

Aquaponics

Consider the addition of an aquaponics greenhouse in the vegetable growing area.  This will yield fish fertilizer, vegetables, and fish for a well rounded diet for you and your garden — along with year round vegetables.  Add a methane digester and you can supply some of your own energy needs as well.  If you can grow meat and vegetables year round, you reduce your dependence on a freezer, which lowers your electrical needs.

My estimate is that in a highly productive area with adequate rainfall, the average family could raise all their food needs on 1 acre of land.  Many did just this during WWII with just a large city lot, by walking their goats and moving their chickens around the vegetable garden.  The key to making this work is to eat what you can grow in your climate — using heritage seeds that are adapted to your growing conditions. With more land — 5 acres — you can move from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture and begin to make some money from your productivity.

If you have more land, grow more food and expand your self sufficiency. But if you only have a balcony in a city apartment, grow where you are planted.  And start in a small way to be more sufficient now.  On the Joybilee Farm Facebook Page, I post periodic links to urban agricultural projects to inspire your urban efforts for self sufficiency.

One of my favorite resources for urban farm is the Urban Farm Guys. Their videos are practical step-by-step guidelines to help you harvest more food from a small amount of land. –joybileefarm.com

Going off the grid: Why more people are choosing to live life unplugged

For people who want to get away from today’s consumerist society, living off-grid can be an attractive option.

Imagine living off the land, producing your own food and energy and getting away from the consumption economy that drives so many of our decisions. For more and more people, off-grid living has become the way to go. Although statistics on Americans who choose to take this route are hard to come by, trends suggest that the number is increasing. Some people do it to be self-reliant or more in touch with nature. Many go off-grid to step away from society. Still others do it because it is the most financially viable option available to them.

“Going off the grid is not a game,” says Nick Rosen, founder of the Off-Grid website and author of “Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America” (Penguin Books). “It is real life and a real choice for real people.”

Rosen says people go off the grid for a variety of reasons, and they vary how deeply they go off-grid. “You can’t get off all of the grids all the time,” he says. “It’s a question of which grids you choose to get off of and in what way and for how long.” Some people live off the grid part of the year for leisure purposes, taking a few months off from their jobs so they can live in a more relaxed manner. Others get themselves off the public electrical or water systems but still participate in what Rosen calls the “car grid” or the “supermarket grid” or “bank grid.”

Off-grid is green
Book cover for Off the Grid by Nick RosenAlthough a desire to go green isn’t usually the primary driver for people going off-grid, the lifestyle has many environmental benefits. For one thing, most off-grid homes or communities are in places where nature plays an important part of their everyday lives. “You become much more aware of the sun and the wind because you need it to power yourself,” Rosen says. For another, people who are living off-grid do not tend to fill their lives with the same amount of stuff as your average consumer. “We’re all consuming too much. One of the big motivations for off-grid living is a weariness of the consumer society. It’s not necessarily anti-consumer, but post-consumer.”

Off-grid homes also eschew the American tendency toward overly large residences. “We’re over-housing ourselves,” Rosen says. “That’s been very big feature of American society since the ‘50s: The overly large house with the big heating and cooling bills, storing vast amounts of unnecessary possessions.” Although off-grid housing varies in size and scope and energy needs, Rosen estimates that the average off-grid residence uses about 20 percent of the energy consumed by a typical American home.

Another green factor is a lowered reliance on transportation. Although people living off the grid still own vehicles, they use them much less frequently. “You may only need it once a week or once a month,” Rosen says.

Other motivations: Fear and finances
Some off-grid people do it to get away. “Perhaps the biggest motivation at the moment is a loss of trust in the government and the ability of social networks to look after us,” Rosen says. These are people who feel as if society no longer provides the sense of safety that they require.

For others, going off-grid is an economic necessity brought about by hard times. “A lot of the people I met when I was traveling around the States writing my book were people who had to hand back the keys to their properties and find a new lifestyle. In one case they bought some land on eBay and moved themselves into a trailer. And they find themselves living a more ecological lifestyle just by the fact that they’re generating their own electricity and growing their own food, but they were motivated by financial matters rather than by more pure desire to tread more lightly on the planet.”

How much do you really need?
Rosen says most families could go off the grid with as little as a half an acre, “as long as it’s the right half-acre.” Ideal locations would have some woodland, an area for agriculture, enough light for solar power and a good source of water, either a well or a stream. “The era of 40 acres and a mule has been replaced by the era of a half an acre and a laptop and a solar panel,” he says.

But even a half an acre can be a lot of work — too much for most people, Rosen says. “You’re giving yourself a lot to do if you’re running your own power plant, dealing with your own water supply, disposing of your own waste and pulling your own food.”

Instead of going it alone, many people form off-grid communities. “The best way to get off-grid is to go off with others in a group of families, so each have half an acre and share resources and skills,” Rosen says. “One is tending livestock and one is growing vegetables, while a third is looking after the power supply for everybody else.”

The next generation?
Going off the grid today doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel. “The existence of the Internet that has made living off the grid a real choice and a real possibility for so many people,” Rosen says. Websites like his own provide lessons and plans and advice for off-grid living, as well as a sense of community for people who might otherwise be physically isolated from each other.

In addition, some off-the-grid communities are ready for new people to join them. “There’s a huge generation of 1970s back-to-the-land movement people who are now getting pretty old and they’re sitting on these huge tracks of land that can’t be broken up,” Rosen says. These communities are looking for young people to buy their way in. “The idea of land trusts is being used as a way these older people can get some new residents to help look after them and then work on the land or take over part of the land as the older generation dies out.”

Rosen says his own ambition is to create an off-grid village of 300 or so homes in his native England, provided he can find a local zoning board willing to allow it. “I think there’s a huge demand for off-grid living that can’t be satisfied because the places where you’d want to live off the grid are the places you can’t get permission to do so,” he says.

Written by: John Platt

anonymous asked:

One thing that bothers me with fanon is when people dumb Keith down. Like, this is a kid who was considered the best pilot of his generation at a military/space place; NASA's people are some of the smartest on the planet and the Garrison is so similar to them! But yet everyone think's he's not as smart as some of the other characters simply because he's more aggressive or because he didn't get the team chant Lance made.

LISTEN I LITERALLY SUFFER THROUGH “INTRO” TO ASTRONOMY AND ALL THE MATHING I MUST DO BECAUSE I CANNOT MATH AND!! KEITH WAS TOP OF HIS CLASS AT SPACE SCHOOL THAT BOY CAN MATH AND HE’S DAMN GOOD AT IT 

So he’s definitely book smart in my mind because I feel it would be difficult for him to be number one in such a prestigious academy otherwise. Particularly in its most competitive program (fighter pilot). There are of course other indications of intelligence, and the primary ones singled out are usually: musical-rhythmic and harmonic, visual spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. So, let’s take a look at what Keith falls under:

  • Visual-spatial: Think in terms of physical space, as do architects and sailors. Very aware of their environments. They like to draw, do jigsaw puzzles, read maps, daydream. They can be taught through drawings, verbal and physical imagery. Tools include models, graphics, charts, photographs, drawings, 3-D modeling, video, videoconferencing, television, multimedia, texts with pictures/charts/graphs.” (source)
  • Evidence: Just take a look at Keith’s incredibly all encompassing and thorough assessment of data he’s gathered from the desert and this is incredibly clear. You’ll see pictures, charts, maps, visually illustrated points of how everything connects–it’s clear he’s a very visual learner. To the point where, when Hunk sketches out the Fraunhofer line, Keith immediately picks it out as a clear match for the mountain range. That demonstrates a true command of visual-spacial awareness. 
  • Verbal-linguistic:Using words effectively. These learners have highly developed auditory skills and often think in words. They like reading, playing word games, making up poetry or stories. They can be taught by encouraging them to say and see words, read books together. Tools include computers, games, multimedia, books, tape recorders, and lecture.” (same source)
  • Evidence: Keith’s funny comment that, “I don’t think you’re using that word correctly,” seems to imply that he’s able to catch onto the meaning of unfamiliar words pretty easily. But more indicatively–“they can be taught by encouraging them to say and see words.” Words hold a certain power with Keith, as evidenced by the way he reverts to repeating Shiro’s mantra of “Patience yields focus,” whenever he needs to calm down and concentrate. He finds comfort in those words and hearing them. This seems to suggest an auditory inclination. 
  • Logical-mathematical: “Reasoning, calculating. Think conceptually, abstractly and are able to see and explore patterns and relationships. They like to experiment, solve puzzles, ask cosmic questions. They can be taught through logic games, investigations, mysteries. They need to learn and form concepts before they can deal with details.” (same source)
  • Evidence: Again, I think “exploring patterns and relationships,” falls under the work we see on Keith’s conspiracy theory board. And as previously stated, his rank at the garrison is most likely indicative of this. He’s also capable of abstract thinking–such as connecting with the desert’s “strange energy” as well as logic-based. The ability to put things together and “solve puzzles” is also clearly shown through how Keith is able to quickly address a situation and come to the right conclusion–such as how something wasn’t right on Naxzela and it’s connection to Voltron
  •  Bodily-kinesthetic: “Use the body effectively, like a dancer or a surgeon. Keen sense of body awareness. They like movement, making things, touching. They communicate well through body language and be taught through physical activity, hands-on learning, acting out, role playing. Tools include equipment and real objects.” (same source)
  • Evidence: I don’t think this one really needs to be explained, because Keith is just deftly skilled when it comes to movement. He’s very fluid, moves quickly, is light enough on his feet to dodge enemies and sidestep disaster. The way he flies Red Lion with focus on speed and agility is a direct parallel to this. And I think that, just focusing on Keith’s own ability, the way he navigates the debris field when his suit is damaged is an excellent illustration of this
  • Intrapersonal: Understanding one’s own interests, goals. These learners tend to shy away from others. They’re in tune with their inner feelings; they have wisdom, intuition and motivation, as well as a strong will, confidence and opinions. They can be taught through independent study and introspection. Tools include books, creative materials, diaries, privacy and time. They are the most independent of the learners.” (same source)
  • Evidence: Keith is often very independent and in tune with his own feelings. And we know from his whole personal quest to uncover more about his identity that he’s very much an introspective person. Intuition is also a huge part of who Keith is, and we see this manifest as a kind of quintessence sensitivity–how he was able to sense Blue in the desert, how he was the only one able to connect with his Lion over a long distance, knowing he had to target Haggar’s ship during the whole thing with Naxzela, ect. 
  • Naturalistic: Seems to encompass environmental awareness. Knowing the lay of the land, practical outdoor skills and intelligence, a deeper understanding of the natural world, a more nurturing personality, ect. 
  • Evidence: Keith living on his own in the desert for a year and later saying that he likes the outdoors because it’s quiet. Seems to be more in tune with the natural world and has more than enough of a grasp of outdoor knowledge to live off the land if need be. Also, does exhibit nurturing instincts–a fierce desire to protect and provide for others 

So yes, Keith is very smart and in a number of ways. And I will 100% always defend that 

The Sims 4: Wolf Pack Challenge

We’re back with another challenge for The Sims 4! This time: the Wolf Pack Challenge. I created this challenge focused on The Sims 4: Cats & Dogs a couple months ago at Sims Camp with my friends Hatsy and Steph0sims and we put all of the finishing touches on it yesterday. We’re so excited to finally share!

I will be doing a let’s play of this challenge on my YouTube channel, and Hatty and Steph will also be making some super cool stuff based on this challenge. Make sure you check out all of our YouTube channels for more Wolf Pack content! 

We have a Google Doc with the rules all listed for you. It might be easier to reference that than this tumblr post so I’ve linked it for you. Feel free to link back to that document instead of this Tumblr post if you’re playing this challenge and linking to the rules.

The Goal

  • Create a single Sim living alone in a household with a “Wolf Pack” of six dogs and one evil raccoon that constantly tries to ruin everything. Your Sim must live off the land on the island in Brindleton Bay, earning their money through collecting, fishing, gardening, and sending their dogs to hunt.
  • The challenge ends when your Sim achieves their goal of building a home worth 50,000 simoleons on the island or when the raccoon dies.
  • Here’s the twist: the evil raccoon is the timer for the challenge. Once it dies the challenge is over. You play on short lifespan and you can set the difficulty of the challenge for yourself by setting the age of the raccoon. It is recommended that you start with an elder raccoon to make for a more difficult challenge. Starting with an adult raccoon will give you more time and therefore will make the challenge easier. Be wary: the raccoon’s actual age is a mystery. You can’t see how many days left until it dies.
  • The raccoon doesn’t really do anything other than make your life miserable. It’s just here to ruin everything. It kinda sucks.

Keep reading

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Tracking a Warming Arctic – From Underground to High in the Sky

The Arctic is warming much faster than the rest of Earth. This warming is creating big and small changes, some of which could ripple beyond the planet’s frozen regions and affect us world-wide – possibly raising sea levels, increasing greenhouse warming and affecting wildlife.

Our Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment, known as ABoVE, just began a 10-year mission in Alaska and western Canada, studying these changes.

Underground: Permafrost is the layer of frozen soil beneath some Arctic forests and tundra. 

Like the name suggests, this icy layer stays solid year-round, so when it does melt, it can create big problems. The soil above the thawing permafrost can collapse, creating this wobbly, unstable surface.

7 feet above sea level: As the permafrost thaws, the soil above it can fall away. 

Along the banks of the Itkillik River in Alaska, thawing permafrost has dripped into the water, eroding the cliff side. Known as the “Stinky Bluffs,” this permafrost contains lots of frozen organic matter from dead plants and animals. As the permafrost thaws, this organic matter doesn’t just smell, it also releases carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, adding to the warming effect.

446 feet above sea level: Wildfires aren’t unusual in the forests and shrub lands of Alaska, but as the climate continues to warm, they burn longer and do more damage. 

People who live off the land in the region help researchers understand where plant life isn’t growing back after fires.

100-1000 feet above sea level: Researchers set up 100-foot tall towers at strategic locations throughout Alaska to measure carbon dioxide and methane emissions from right above the forest canopy. 

This provides an up-close look at what gases are released or absorbed from the trees, or swirl in from neighboring regions. These data are combined with measurements taken from airplanes and satellites to create a clearer picture of how much carbon is entering the atmosphere.

3,369 feet above sea level: Dall sheep live in several Alaskan mountain ranges, where they’re critical to both the tourism and sports hunting economies. 

Credit: National Park Service

Changes in temperature and vegetation can profoundly affect their behavior, like grazing habits, and so researchers study how changing plant life and snow cover affect the sheep.

100-30,000 feet above sea level: Carbon emissions in the air come from thawing permafrost, fossil fuel burning, decaying vegetation and wildfires burning across the Arctic-boreal regions. 

One experiment in the ABoVE campaign measures these emissions with instruments on a DC-8 plane.

About 30,000 feet about sea level: When wildfires burn through vegetation, the effects extend far beyond what we see on the ground. 

Fires release carbon stored in the plants into the atmosphere, where it affects air quality and contributes to the greenhouse effect.

438 miles: Our ABoVE campaign combines research on the ground and from planes with data collected by a fleet of Earth-observing satellites, orbiting Earth hundreds of miles above the surface. 

Data from these satellites provides information on vegetation, atmospheric particles and gasses, and how humans are impacting our planet. With all these data sets analyzed by computer programs, the result is a comprehensive picture of our warming planet.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

I have a desire for a more simple existence. One where I must work hard for my own well being. For this, I am looked upon as if I have committed some unforgivable social faux pas.

I am accused of being antisocial or a recluse because I don’t want to have to rely on other people for my future, my well being, my happiness.

Maybe they are right. But I don’t care.

at this point i’m so exhausted by liberal queer politics that it’s just like…. just leave me out of it…… i used to get so riled up over str8 aces calling themselves queer and at this point i’m just like who cares. the word is meaningless as an identifier at this point and it’s also a slur. i’m not queer, i don’t want to be queer, the ~queer~ community doesn’t speak for me or validate lesbian existence, i don’t even want to be a part of it

And the old gypsy woman said to me, “Draped in your animal furs, protect yourself from the cold, my child, my child. Live off the land the Gods have given us, for they can as easily forge a monster strong enough to take it away. A monster within, my child, my child.”

Yes, this is me, I may start posting pictures of myself to put a face to this blog.

stormpastel  asked:

Ahh hello I'd love to make my own koi-087.01 oc but I'm wondering if there are any specific "rules" that I need to follow ..?? Anyways i love rosemary!!

so, koi-087.01 is actually a planet (koi for short is good). the society of this planet collapsed two hundred years ago and many humans passed away due to corrupt power, war, and finally famine.

the humans who are still there often travel alone, living in overgrown and abandoned cities, surviving off the land. they’re not extremely lonely (internet’s still up and maintained pffft) but most live their lives out never seeing another human.

the main differences between normal humans and koi humans:

  • fertile skin (and yes, they totally will grow food on themselves)
  • lower saturation skin tones
  • hair tints to yellow and green rather than red
  • multiple eyes and cyclops, eyes are above the waist but theyre not limited to the face
  • freckles, rosacea, vitiligo, pimples, and other skin disorders are common, its very rare for them to have clear skin