The problem we keep trying to escape from: we have an enormous amount to do and with 4 kids under age 10, a 4-H club, various communities, and a full-time job between us, we realized we needed to get organized and plan out our projects. The goal: a clean an organized household that can be staged to sell and that will provide us with a place to experiment with growing food for ourselves and others. Our strategy to achieve that goal: We will start by organizing our current positions loosely using the KonMari method and then spend a year completing our comprehensive list of household projects.
Our property can logically be divided into 19 spaces. Outside we have: west side yard rose garden, hospitality garden, microfarm, the west front yard, the front porch, the back deck, the driveway, the east back yard, the pergola, and the east front yard. Inside we have: kitchen, garage, dining room, entryway, bathroom, living room, playroom, nursery, and master suite. Our entire property is only 7,400 sqft. I shudder to think about the gargantuan task of organizing and completing a project list of the much larger space that we want to eventually move onto.
We listed all the projects that we could think of for each space. Then we compiled each list into one giant 114 item list, alphabetized and removed the few redundancies, and assigned each project a type (woodworking, organizing, planting, etc.), primary material, finish, and priority (0-3). After playing with sorting the list in various ways, we consolidated the projects into groups of similar projects. Here is our list of 46 projects. We will attempt to do one project every week following 6 weeks of organizing our house.
In the 5 years since we last posted anything, we’ve bought a small house near to where we were renting, and added two children, chickens, a 4-H club, another cat, and a minivan to our lives. Our new space has plenty of backyard space which is divided into the east side and west side by a deck. The west side was almost entirely lawn when we moved in and the east side had raised, irrigated beds which we promptly planted with enough food that we had to cancel our weekly farm box. Unfortunately, pregnancy and new jobs (paid and unpaid) resulted in a lack of time for the garden and it has been taken over by weeds. We’re finally getting back on the horse and have been working on both projects and refining our vision for our future.
We want to develop and live on a sustainable, biodiverse farm easily accessible to residents of Livermore and the surrounding area. We would pursue carbon sequestration via restorative agriculture, intensive farming enabled by automation and agrobotics, and community supported agriculture. Our farm would be a place for ecotourism, agroecology education, and demonstrating and testing strategies for growing food in a changing climate.
We will be using educational drones as part of an upcoming 4-H project on agricultural robots. It’s a low cost Parrot Mambo drone which doesn’t have a very good camera but it’s good enough to illustrate the concept and has a block programming interface.
These are some “before” images ahead of our plans to get land back into production shape this fall.
from our little tree and they taste pretty good. The year we moved in to our rental property, we only got 3 pale, tasteless oranges. The year after when we had done some pruning and watered the tree over the summer, we got a half dozen. This year we topped the tree, gave it citrus food and watered regularly. It seems to be working. It also is now growing more blossoms than years past.
When we set out on a project, we jointly come up with a crazy goal, and then I come up with a crazy design which my husband then builds. It works for us. Our current goal for our living space is an affordable, off-grid, low-ecological impact, creature comforts machine. Eventually, we’d like to build our house. We’re hoping to do that in 5-7 years, after we have saved the capital and learned as much as we can about off-grid, low-impact, homestead living. In the meantime, we rent. I’ve been chewing away at the best design for our space. The house we rent is a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom 1200 sqft 1960s house with an attached 468 sqft garage on a 6000 sqft lot. We are allowed to do some things like paint and garden, but anything we do should be possible to undo unless we check it with our landlord first (getting rid of the lawn is out, sadly). Continue reading →