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The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Finally bought a house with acreage

Finally bought a house with acreage

Dave C.
Limerick, ME
Post #: 2
A few months ago, my wife announces that she wants to move. I wasn’t expecting that, but ok, here we go. My only criteria was a bunch of land to farm. She has/had no interest in farming, but she wanted a nice little yard for the grandkids to play in and to just look at. After a couple of failed attempts, we finally landed the house we’re in now. We closed and moved on Friday, August 23rd, 2013. The house is nice, but needs some work (what house doesn’t?), it has a bedroom on the first floor for my aunt and a full bath downstairs. It also has three bedrooms upstairs and a full bath. The master bedroom is pretty big and the other bedrooms are decent size. One will be used as a guest room and the other will be used as a craft room for my wife. I’m not sure where my computer desk will end up yet. Right now, it’s on the dining room table - which I’ll have to move in a few minutes for dinner. Oil fired forced hot water heat with two 275 gallon oil tanks that came filled and a wood stove (also in the basement) that’s set up to blow air up through a couple registers in the floor. And a few cords of seasoned wood included. Works for me.

But, now, for the important part. The house came with 9 acres of land! Woohoo! The front tow or three acres is lawn. A few red maples line the driveway and there’s a few flower beds. There’s also three former garden beds that have grown over with grass that will probably be resurrected for farming. The back six or seven acres will become a permaculture food forest. I want to be able to earn a living from this, so I have a TON of learning to do.

My plan (just off the top of my head, could change with more knowledge) is to use SPIN farming for the beds surrounding the house to provide food and income while the permaculture food forest matures out back. After that’s up and producing, I’ll move the SPIN plots into some sort of permaculture thing.

This is starting from complete scratch for me. Neither of my thumbs are green and most of the work I’ve done in the last 20 years involves driving limousines. Just moving here has shown me how out of shape I am. I figure I have until next spring to lose weight and make a couple of muscles. I’m still in pain after a week of being in the new house and we had a moving company do most of the work.

Any help is appreciated.

in Limerick, Maine

David L.
user 41803752
Portland, ME
Post #: 13
First, congratulations!
Second, a few thoughts.....
If you've not done it, a permiculture intoxication course for both you and your wife. IMHO it's important for both of you to at least have a basic understanding. The PDC, for one of you would be very very helpful but in the alternative, you could hire a designer. BUT, perhaps you've done all this, already.

Next, time spent learning your land, the warm/cold spots, dry/ wet areas, sun, soils, etc, etc, is time well spent - even if it takes a year or more!

Lastly, don't write off the front lawn. Two - three acres is a lot of lawn. Keeping some lawn but converting some to other uses - more "formal" then your food forest in the wood lot - is an option. Gardens, perhaps to the sides, such as flower, herb, kitchen, etc; come to mind. Also, this acreage may be, in part, the place to create a fruit / nut tree orchard. Your woodlot may not have all the trees you want / need.
Lastly, don't forget about permiculture zones.
So, just some thoughts - use or discard as you see fit!
Congrats again, I'd love to see your property some time
Best, David
Amy G.
user 44116742
Limerick, ME
Post #: 12
hi david: congratulations on your new home! just wanted to reach out to you as we are also in Limerick and have been for 16+ years. i thought the picture of the house looked familiar!

we have a great sustainability group here in the area called the Ossippee Towns for Sustainability if you're interested. we are going on 80+ members at the moment. the larger group meets once a month on the second wednesday, as well as many smaller subcommittee meetings taking place throughout the month.
please consider joining us. you can contact me for further details at

welcome to a wonderful area!!
Lisa F.
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 2,336
Congratulations! Sounds like tons of permaculture potential and so glad we didn't scare you off your plans in the Intro Course:) Good feedback from David and Jim. I can't overestimate the importance of building connections with your local community and the network of interested folks. None of us is in this alone!
Dave C.
Limerick, ME
Post #: 3
No, Lisa, didn't get scared away. Just had to wait for the right place to come along.
Jim, I sent you an email for info on the Ossipee group.
David, I took an Intro To Permaculture class a couple of months ago with Lisa. The wife? She thinks I'm crazy, but I better make some income with this farming thing...
Definitely haven't written off the front yard. That's where I plan to do SPIN Farming to make some money while I wait for the food forest to mature. Unless someone has a better idea. I'm open for suggestions.
Now that I actually have a place and it's big enough to farm, I need to get out in the yard and see what's up. I'm still unpacking boxes.

Xiknawi M
user 8311780
South Portland, ME
Post #: 97
Hi Dave,
Congratulations! Looks like a sweet place.
Would check out Dan Kittredge's site http://bionutrient.or...­
His bio-nutrient info should be quite helpful to any gardener - maximizing nutrition, minimizing disease and pests.
Most of us learned a lot from his fascinating discussion of the essentials: air, water, carbon, soil organisms and minerals, and how they balance. Key principles are often overlooked by many of us who call ourselves farmers and gardeners.
Good luck
David S.
Washington, ME
Post #: 970
Let me know if you need a non timber forest evaluation to identify plants, bushes, microclimates, mushrooms etc.

David Spahr
A former member
Post #: 40
Way to go, Dave. Remember: with great power comes great responsibility. ;D

user 42149742
Dover, NH
Post #: 3
Congratulations! Based on previous posts, two thoughts come to mind, - I can't emphasize enough how important it is to become familiar with your land from the ground (literally-soils, structure, drainage, etc.) on up throughout all periods of the year and under various conditions, second, farm/outdoor work is hard on the body and if you've not done regular work or workouts for some time, consider a program that incorporates strengthening "support muscles" into your routine (such as those that support your back) and yoga to help muscles stretch and recover from use (and ease your mind). Best wishes in your efforts!
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