So many people have asked us why we wanted to move to Arizona. What will we be doing? What the heck is Permaculture? Not even the built in proof readers recognize that word! Here are some answers to those questions, if you’re still interested anyway.
Why Arizona? Well, to put it succinctly, affordability. This is a state and an area that we had usable land in an affordable price range. Sue was able to sell her house in California and purchase a home on 9 acres, with wells, and out buildings; fenced and cross fenced, in a beautiful area (see some of our photos in the gallery) and have funds left over to begin this enterprise. NO- it’s not in the desert! We’re located in a small “town” called Hereford, our house is around 4800 feet above sea level, nestled in the foothills of the Huachuca Mountain Range, with Oak , Mesquite, Manzanita, Sycamores, and many other beautiful native flora. We have deer, bears, javalina, some type of wild cats and many really cool bugs! This area is considered a birders paradise. Come visit us and see for yourselves.
What are we doing? Our desire is to start a “homestead” built around the principals and ethics of Permaculture.
What is Permaculture? Permaculture is a way of living that embodies certain principals that mirror relationships that we find in nature. It’s about paying attention to how what we design- be it dwellings, gardens, communities- affects us, our animals, our environment, and taking steps to make sure that what we do is positive. When I was in college, it was called “Environmental Design” ~ and that was my major! So, you can see how excited I am to be a part of making Sue’s dream a reality. For a more in-depth look at the principals of Permaculture… take a look at this website permacultureprinciples.com.
To What End? What are we hoping to achieve? Our big picture, or over-arching goal, is to be able to provide quality, whole, foods to those who may not normally be able to afford it. Those who can’t walk into a Whole Foods and purchase organic, free-range duck breasts whenever the mood strikes. So many people are trying to make ends meet and feeding less than quality food to their growing families, because they cannot afford any thing else. We want to be able to offer good foods to low income families, those on food stamps, military enlisted, retirees on fixed incomes, single parents, or whoever needs help affording fresh foods.
We’re starting with chickens, to produce organic, cage-free eggs. We’ll graduate to having chickens for meat, then maybe turkeys, and produce. Long range goals would be, perhaps, goat meat, goat cheeses, honey from our own hives, fruit from our trees, olive oil from our own olive grove (we currently have about 15 olive tree starts that are years away yet from fruiting). We’ll do all of this using the guiding principles of Permaculture. We hope to sell at Farmer’s Markets or to Restaurants to begin with to have a small income that will help subsidize our main goal, then work with churches, the Army Base here (Fort Huachuca), schools, or wherever we can find Community Organizations that provide foods to our main target families.
It’s going to be a lot of hard work! Boy, you betcha! It’s already been a lot of hard work! Sue came in July and has worked her buns off getting things going. I didn’t come along until October 1st, and I am severely behind! We did have a few chickens to start with, they came all the way from California! My seven little Bantums (5 hens and 2 roosters) that I love. They are laying now, two to three eggs a day, which sounds like a lot, but it takes 3 bantum eggs to equal one large chicken egg! We also have 17, 5 week old chicks. They are a hodge podge of heritage chickens: Buff Orpingtons, Barred Rocks, and Easter Eggers. These guys should be laying by the spring. Sue purchased a straight run, so we’re not sure how many roosters we’ll have. We hope to keep one of each breed, then we can raise some chicks of our own!
This blog… As I mentioned, I’m a bit behind, and that means I have a lot to catch up on in this blog. My goal is to update it everyday, until we’re caught up here. And then up date anytime something (we think) is interesting, or fun, happens. Not sure that anyone but family and friends will care… but who knows??? Thanks for reading.
Leah Finley said:
I wish only the best of luck to your enterprise! Maybe someday it will grow large enough for me to join you! Love you both and miss you!
Jerry Edge said:
Sounds like you and Sue have a great start. Good luck with your farm and future. We miss you both.
Wow! I had no idea you want to bring heathy food to others! What was I thinking ..it’s Sue, and Joanne ! God’s speed !
Anne Copeland said:
I used to live in Arizona in a lesser area of Scottsdale, and I have been all over to go camping and canoeing and fishing, but have never been to this area. It is beautiful for certain. I don’t know that at my age (76) I can start something like permaculture, though I definitely believe in it, but I do want to try to find a piece of land in an area in the northern part of the state perhaps where we can afford to have a mobile home but with at least an acre and hopefully more if possible. I would do the gardening I am able to do and I would love to have some chickens for their eggs, and have had a chicken and rooster before in Southern California, but not where I live now. And I would like to have bees and have rescued and raised them. And perhaps a pig or two and some sheep, but if we ever butchered them, I would have to have someone else do it because I tend to love all the animals I live with. I am good at growing and caring for things despite my age, and it might just be the best thing I ever did. Thank you so much for this good column. I have not had a whole lot of time to read it, but when I am able to read it, I love your approach to it and your writing.
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