As you can imagine, even though we have not taken ownership of our new house, I could keep my mind from working on plans, or at least ideas for plans, for the 2+ new acres of land I will be taking stewardship of for only so long. For the last week or so I've been really trying to be honest with myself about what it is that I'd like to accomplish with this opportunity and how I want to work toward accomplishing it. I've not yet hammered out a specific ” mission statement” or anything, at least not so far, but I've really been giving the idea of permaculture and specifically some sort of permaculture food forest a lot of thought.
Some of the realities I am dealing with are:
1. I want to make my new home-scale farm a profitable venture.
2. For the foreseeable future, I will need to maintain a ”day job” in order to cover our day to day expenses. It's just a fact, may as well wrap my head around it.
3. I have maturing family. I don't mean that we're getting old, (although trust me, some days...ugh) but rather that my kids are growing up. I only have so many more years to enjoy them and I intend to take advantage of those. Also, as they grow up and find their own ways out into the world, I lose a valuable labor pool from which to draw.
4. As much as I love gardening and raising animals, I also love enjoying life. That's shorthand for ”I don't want this project to take over every spare minute of every day.”
Those are potentially big hurdles to get by and still have a productive home-scale farm and they're a big part of the reason that I'm leaning in the direction of some kind of a permaculture solution. From what I have read and in my experiences so far, finding a balance with the natural world is not only as productive - many would argue more so - than traditional agriculture, it's also a lot less energy intensive. And the energy going into a productive farm is not only in the forms of electricity or fuel, it takes the shape of time and manpower; both things that are a premium for our situation.
My goal is to maximize design and planning in the short term in order to free up time and energy later on. I learned a great permaculture term the other day - relinquished power - that essentially means building processes so that they have not only low energy input required but, if possible, become autonomous in their maintenance. Planning around designs like that would truly help me to maximize my time investment and allow me to get the must done with the energy available.
I don't know if our whole workable 2 acres will become permaculture, or if that will just be some part of it, but it gives me a lot to think about as I research more and more of the possibilities. I'd love it if any of you reading this would pass on references that you've found helpful to you, as well as ideas that you have that I need to consider. I've put myself on a sort of self imposed planning holiday for this season to keep myself from making big decisions that I haven't had time to thoroughly think through. This will be my season of learning, planning and deciding.
So then, what do you have for me? I know there are some permies out there with a ton of info. Don't hold back, no idea is out of bounds.