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Valerie Dawnstar 's Profile
Valerie Dawnstar
Last Updated:
Oswego, NY, United States
Climate Zone:
Cool Temperate

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Thorndon Farm

Thorndon Farm

Sterling, US


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The Living Centre Permaculture Education
Eden Gal Krzysztof Boguslaw Dudek Michael Burns Michael Gurecki Robyn Francis
Geoff Lawton

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February 17, 2011

Posted by Valerie Dawnstar about 13 years ago

studying Holistic Management, building shelter, winter study of my nascent farm

I have been studying Holistic Management with a Beginning Women Farmers group here in central New York.  The course is really aimed at creating a knowledgeable, successful farmer.  It has prodded me to look at numbers more intensely which leads me to really research my intended crops.  I am trying to be mindful of putting one foot in front of the other and not get ahead of myself too much.  It will be much easier to farm if I were living on the farm rather than commuting to it and that also makes it problematic if I have livestock.  Bees, I think, will do all right without constant tending.  

So my real impetus is to create some kind of dwelling there - one robust enough to support us through our winters here.  And then to have winter protection for the animals, too, leads me back to thinking about resurrecting that used-to-be barn in the center of the property.  It has a concrete pad and stone walls so it is not worth the effort to convert it to growing crops.  It is more suited for shelter or storage.  And if it were three stories then there would be room to have my classes there as well.  I think it's a great idea but I haven't savings enough to accomplish that this year and another mortgage is just not an option.  I wonder how much a timber frame would cost...

Today was an excellent day to tromp around out there on snowshoes.  Temps in the 40's (F), overcast skies and very little breeze.  Barley - my dog - loves the freedom of the fields but not so much that there is not a house to go to when he's ready for a break.  The snow was frozen and firm enough for the snow shoes but Barley was struggling.  Many deer trails - they seemed to be able to stay on top of the snow but maybe the trails were from when the snow was firmer.

The landscape was well revealed with the snow covering most of the weeds and brush - the hillside field was steeper than I had recalled.  In fact, it looked too dangerous for the sledding hill I had imagined.  At any rate, there would have to be some kind of berm or hedge at the bottom to prevent sledders from shooting out into the road.  I was pleased to see only a few of the hogweed stalks sticking up through the snow.  I thought if I focus the majority of my efforts on this lower field, I just may be able to eradicate that nasty plant.  It might just be doable to fence that in and run some pigs that would root that out.  The upper eight acres would make great grazing for sheep later.

I studied the north edge of the hillside field where I thought an earth sheltered dwelling might work and while the slope was to the east and south, there wasn't as much of a berm behind it as I had thought.  It was an over grown fence-line of sumacs and brush.  Not as much separation from the adjoining property as I would have liked.

On the other side of that field, the blackberries sure looked a lot tamer covered by all that snow.  I am eager to count the quarts this summer.

I am eager for spring!

The photo is taken from the top of the hill a couple of springs ago.


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