The saw mill arrived and has been getting lots of attention. We have milled up all kinds of lumber from our hefty stand of yellow pine, along with some beautiful cedar. We're trying to stockpile for the long list of building projects around here, but we are already beginning to utilize the wood nearly as fast as we can churn it out. We have been building an incredibly beautiful outhouse on skids. It should be done shortly, and we will quickly post pictures of the building process, along with some of the design details. This is a great example of a permaculture outhouse, and we are excited to share it with the world.
The 32 foot school bus has been gutted, and is soon be insulated. The idea is to have a multi-purpose mobile tiny home. It will be beautiful and cozy enough to be rented out nightly, and practical enough to shelter volunteers as a bunk house. We'll also use it as a mobile base camp, as a hub for projects in distant areas of the land, where it could be filled with tools, food, and other supplies, so we don't have to run back and forth from the other established infrastructure. If this goes well, we intend to do other similar projects like it. We want to create beautiful tiny homes inexpensively, largely with materials reclaimed or found on site, that we could then rent out, or sell.
We have been cutting logs for mushroom and are about to do a major inoculation, mostly with shiitake spawn. We've also organized a Shitake Log Cultivation Workshop on March 7th. This will be our first workshop on the land, and plan to do many more from a broad range of topics. We would love to hear from you, let us know what type of events you would like us to host. There are a bunch of great ideas already in the works.
Our therapy room has been painted, and we are just finishing up some of the décor. It will soon be open for herbal consultations and other therapies, such as moxabustion and cupping, from our on site Chinese Medicine Herbalist.
Another new addition to Interwoven is a worm farm , for high quality worm castings. We will be building soil in many ways, like composting, vermiculture, mulching, hugelkultur, polyculture, animal grazing, keyline plowing, cover crops and more.
On a recent hike about the land, we discovered a beautiful mossy bluff line located on the property. It runs along on both sides of a seasonal creek, with water cascading over rocks and a 7 foot, or so, water fall. There are all sorts of nooks and little caves throughout the bluffs. It's absolutely magical. We also found some oyster mushrooms there, and they were delicious, pan seared.
We are excited to announce that Interwoven now has a website up and running!!! InterwovenPermaculture.com Please check it out. It isn't highly developed just yet, but we plan to make good use of it. Bookmark the page, sign up for our newsletter and stay in the loop!
There has not been much time for winter hibernation over at Interwoven. Things are moving along quite nicely, and we am really pleased with the direction things are going. The Interweb now has an on site mycologist, replete with a fully functioning mobile mushroom laboratory built in a semi trailer (pictures to come). One of the resident on site businesses, Dancing Spirit Herbs, is working with Mycosmith's Mushroom Lab (https://www.facebook.com/Mycosmiths) to include a new line of liquid mushroom extracts. We are gearing up to plant 200+ trees and shrubs come spring. While we wait for our perennials to become productive, and thus profitable, we are working to develop operations that can turn a profit to support the farm and learning center in the short term. Fungus has always had a special place in our hearts. We plan to inoculate a thousand logs, or so, by spring, to add to our previously small scale mushroom operation. We are currently cultivating shiitakes, and plan to include oyster mushrooms, and who knows what else...maybe reishi? More surprises to come.
We have an abundance of yellow pine on the land. We have begun selective cutting to later mill for lumber. Yellow pine doesn't really play nice with other trees, particularly when it was planted as a mono-crop. By selective cutting, we open the forest up for more productive species. We also get high quality timber without relying on the logging and shipping industry. We will plant new trees to take their place, the carbon remains sequestered, and we get massive amounts of building supplies to express our artistic vision. Everyone wins.
We have begun designing, and will soon be building, an outhouse on skids. The goal is to have zero odor, be spacious, mobile, pretty, and clean. There will be a sink for washing inside, complete with a foot pump for water flow. The no-smell requirement will be accomplished by including elements of rocket stove technology! Instead of rocketing heat, we will be rocketing out stink. We want even the most domesticated city slicker to feel comfortable using this toilet. Should we include a stain glass window?
Other building projects that are in the design stages are a mobile shower house on skids and a 7-8 sided community building with a spiral roof. Using material from the land will allow us to build these with low cost and with low environmental impact. The shower house should be done by early spring. The community building will be started in spring.
We finally got around to purchasing a 32 foot diesel school bus, which we have been eyeing for some time. The plan is to convert it into a tiny home, which can be rented, or used as housing for volunteers.
Other happenings include...mulching the gardens, creating compost using the Berkeley Method, main frame property design, wine brewing, transplanting wild nitrogen-fixing shrubs to the completed swale, and butchering chickens for the freezer. We also built a super sweet L shaped work bench in the barn.
We are preparing for our big push of projects come spring, when we plan to rise up like new shoots bursting from the soil.
We hope you'll follow our progress here at Interwoven, and become involved in some way. We'll offer many ways to do so, including offering food, workshops, classes, and events, and opening the farm up for volunteer days/weekends, open-farm days, and more!
We moved into the farm on September 21st. Since then we have been busy getting our home in order and doing farm establishment.
We have built a chicken coop, and were gifted a duck coop on skids along with 12 Muscovy ducks to add the the flock (thanks Louise:). We planted an assortment of 35 or so shrubs and trees including several varieties of chestnut, hazelnuts, apple, plum, honey locust, pawpaw, currants and gooseberries. We have planted a large crop of Jerusalem Artichokes and some Groundnuts, both of which will eventually be available for sale. We have been learning to use our two new practical toys, a Massey Furgeson Tractor and a Kubota backhoe. The Kubota was used to dig double reach, raised garden beds, piling on the soil from the paths (wide enough for a wheel barrow), onto the garden beds. I have built similar style beds by hand, and it is amazing the efficiency that is achieved with some appropriate technology. We believe in using all of the tools at our disposal, including diesel fuel powdered tractors, to jump start our farm's operations, to be ready for the post fossil fuel economy. We filled the beds with several varieties of garlic to be sold as seed stock in the future.
Instead of haying our fields, we decided to just mow them and allow everything to return to the earth, fertilizing the soil. We will eventually have some sort of hayfield management plan that will include alternating which fields we hay and which ones we mow, as to not over-harvest. One day we will have a full farm ecosystem, where the fields are mowed by animals, as unfolds naturally in prairie environments.
We have begun to decorate our home, to express our soul's art. The color of paint has been decided for our practice/therapy room, and we hope to have it painted, decorated, and ready for clients this winter. This room is where I (Michael), will see my herbal clients and do body work like moxabustion and cupping. The space will be available to be rented out by other onsite residents to be used to see clients for their own healing modalities. One day we would like people to arrive on the farm, and be able get their meat, eggs, cheese, fruits, and veggies, as well as treat themselves to a massage, or herbal intake.
We have mostly filled the woodshed, and have already lit many fires in the wood stove. I am getting ready to build my first Rocket Mass Heater to be used in the guest room/work room, which is inside our barn. Hopefully by next winter, we will also be heating our home with a fraction of the wood, thanks to Rocket Mass Heater technology. We are excited about RMH and hope to one day have workshops on their construction.
We are now purchasing a 32 foot diesel school bus, which we are going to convert to a tiny home, which will either be rented out nightly during events, or monthly to a resident.
This winter we plan to cut logs for spring mushroom inoculation, construct large amounts of hugelkulture and other raised beds, convert the skoolie, and observe the patterns and flows of the site, to begin our mainframe site design.
Many more bits and bobs are under way. Thank you to everyone who has been involved and has helped us thus far. We will keep ya posted with occasional updates. Peace!