Detour Ahead, Delays Likely

Faithful readers will remember that our HOA Permaculture experiment abuts I-94-as in the backfence of my prairie restoration is owned by the D.O.T. There is a long story of us backing out of a farmette due to unforeseen structural problems with it- with only weeks before our house closed and despite herculean efforts we were unable to find another property in time. That was three years ago, and we have managed to make the beginnings of some pretty good lemonade with our lemons.

Back to the D.O.T., or more specifically the letter that we received from them yesterday. It seems that next year they will be doing massive work on a 25 mile stretch starting from our backyard and going East. This is no simple resurfacing: the will be raising bridges, widening exits and shoulders, and generally tearing things up royally. No worries though, the letter goes on to say, as there should be little to no impact to traffic because the work will take place at night. Sleeping will get very hard next summer.

Mia is 100% in the “Hell no!” camp and is dead set on moving before then. Prior to the letter we had agreed on a 3-5 year stay to get our finances in line for the Big Move-and finally get our Someday House on some land. In the mean time I would continue my experiments in permaculture yardening with the explicit intent on making my mistakes here on a small scale to reap the benefits of scale when I move from a 1/10th acre garden to an 1+ acre mini farm. Moving now will be difficult-the backyard gardens will not be show-able for 2-3 years, until then looking like the remnants of a drunken party that somehow involved a wood chipper and some fruit trees…
If we do move now we will need to drop down in home size to make up for realtor fees to stay on track for our 5 year deadline. Making a step up to a farmette in the current economic uncertainty would be foolish. That said, the town next to us allows chickens within city limits so a smaller home there has some appeal, and my harebrained ideas would look less out of place if we did not live in a planned subdivision.
If we do not move I think next year might see some new experiments-this time in green building and energy. I have reached a point where a potting shed/greenhouse would make things much easier, and after a quick search of strawbale construction I turned up the Canelo Project infusing art in their built environment. The “Architectural Control Committee” would go into hysterics over something this “hippy”, though even my pragmatic heart is moved by the flowing lines and soft tones, so something more mainstream would be needed. But I am enamored with the concept of a passive solar greenhouse/shed that is also off grid to power a few lights and charge my cordless electric yardening equipment. If we weren’t moving I would put a 1000 gallon cistern under the foundation fed by the roof and use a solar well pump to pressurize an irrigation system. The thinking is the same as the the orchard-make my mistakes on a 150sq ft structure before I build a 1500 sq ft one.
This is probably all simple musings. I spoke to the lead engineer of the project I am supplying rainbarrels for and the project will continue thru winter 2008 and he is looking for hundreds more. Screw the potting shed-I need a bigger garage.

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