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Permaculture - What Is It?

More and more people are awakening to the realization that the current system of living and providing food for our population is a tenuous and fragile system.  The demise of honey bee populations may be a visible sign of how our current monoculture mega farming techniques are not the best methods for a healthy eco system.  They are inherently dependent on large applications of petro-chemicals to produce yields of crops that are shipped vast distances on trucks to consumers that are thousands of miles away from their food source.  Bees are trucked thousands of miles and then placed in a virtual food desert where all they see for miles and miles is 1 type of plant on which to gather nectar and pollen.  Imagine how healthy you would be eating only oatmeal 3 times a day, for a month or more.  Regular yes, healthy no!

Permaculture is a growing trend not only herein the U.S., but worldwide.  Pioneers in this field like Geoff Lawton of Australia have been instrumental in teaching and developing and applying the developing principles of Permaculture throughout the world.  Through applications of reshaping and forming the land to enhance and utilize its contours, you can develop a method of conserving and utilizing water that eliminated the needs to use pumps for irrigation.  Permaculture strives to mimic the diversity found in a forest, where man is not required to annually apply fertilizer and spray trees with pesticides in order for a forest to grow.  Left to its own designs a forest will grow without man doing anything.

Permaculture farming strives to develop a sustainable and robust food forest system that once established will grow and improve without man continually applying petroleum based fertilizers or pesticides.  The living food forest will, over time, improve the water table, improve the soil fertility and allow a diverse array of food crops to grow together better and healthier than they do individually.  One of the tenants of Permaculture that really appeals to me is the fact that during feudal times, the only people that had lawns were the monarchs.  Peasants farmed what land they had to feed themselves.  Monarchs as an outward display of opulence could afford to use farmland for nothing more than growing grass.  On a small scale worldwide people are turning back and front yards from barren lawns to nutrient rich food forests where they can pick fresh fruits, nuts, berries and more and eat it right off the vine in their own yards, and never have to cut the grass again.

There are many good books on the subject of Permaculture.  I've read Practical Permaculture by Jessi Bloom & Dave Boehnlein as well as The Resilient Farm and Homestead by Ben Falk.  Ben's book details his homestead from the land purchase to building the home on a plot of undesirable land in Vermont.   He through the application of Permaculture techniques is even able to grow rice on his property in Vermont for his families use.  There are numerous websites and YouTube videos on the topic; in short Permaculture creates a more sustainable food source and lifestyle on our planet.  What's not to like about that?

Comments

  1. Rick Theriault on

    Colleen thank-you for your words regarding my recent post on the subject of permaculture. If you take a look at my bio on the United Country Lifestyle Properties of Maine site, http://www.mcphailrealty.com/meetourteam.htm you will see that my interest pretty closely mirror yours. Maine has what you are looking for. Our agency usually has several properties that would appeal to a person looking for sustainable living. Leaving the world a little better off by what we do as stewards of the land is something we all should strive to do. Feel free to contact me any time at the email address listed.

    An Amazing Off Grid Home

     

    Eagle Lake Maine Home

     

    With over 600 acres of land this 3,600+ square foot quality home has a lot of luxury to offer in an off grid setting. The land consists of 50+- acres of open fields and the balance of the 634+/- acres is a mixture of diverse timberland.

     

    One of four fields

     

    The open fields surrounding the home would be perfect for organic farming or grazing pastureland for livestock.

    From the home the views to the east are of the surrounding hilltops with no other homes in sight.

    The property has a lot of sugar maple large enough for tapping.

    Two small trout streams run through the property one complete with a beaver pond.

     

    The home has a wrap around porch offering panoramic views of the largest field. Moose and deer are regular visitors to this part of the property.  The property sports a large barn with stalls for horses. A tractor barn, tool shed, power supply building and other storage sheds plus a two car garage provides space for all your storage needs.

     

    Barn

    Barn

     

     

    Beaver Pond

    Beaver Pond

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Electric power is made on the property with a combination of solar, wind and propane generator. Heating is a mixture of wood, oil and gas allowing you to use whatever is most economical in the market place.

     

    Solar Panels

    Solar Panels

     

     

     

     

     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ftMfXX1Myg&feature=youtu.be

     

    The 11 room 3 bedroom 2 bath contemporary farm home has features rarely found in an off grid setting. Ten foot ceilings on the first floor, hardwood flooring throughout, large open kitchen and dining room complete with an antique cook stove.

    Cook stove copykitchen 2living2 copy copybed 2

     

     

     

     

    This property is priced at an unbelievable $525,000. Hurry and call Rick Theriault at 207-731-9902 today before you miss this rare opportunity to purchase the most amazing home and land combination for sale in Maine today.

     

    How To Choose A Logger

    Is it time to harvest your timberland in Maine? If so and you do not have the experience, equipment or desire to do it yourself, do you know how to find someone to do the harvesting for you?

    Choosing a logger is a very important process in the management of your timber investment. Done properly, harvesting will pay a return on investment with competitive stumpage checks, improve the growth of the remaining trees, protect sensitive areas, provide habitat for game animals, open views and possibly make road improvements. An improper harvest may do just the opposite of the above. So how do you go about finding a logger you ask?

    If you have a forest management plan you should start with your Maine professional forester who prepared your plan. He or she should know some reputable loggers who they could refer to you. Once you have a couple of names ask some questions.

    • Ask for references from other land owners that the logger has worked for. Call them and ask how the job turned out.
    • Ask for their certifications. The better loggers in Maine will have been through the Certified Logging Program (CLP) or the Master Logger Certification (MLC). Both of these credentials show that they have some working knowledge of proper forestry and safety techniques.
    • Ask them to show you that they are insured for workers compensation in case of an accident. You do not want an injury on your land to become your problem.
    • If you can, visit a couple of their past jobs sites to see how they left the land.
    • Once you have decided on a contractor get a signed contract for the job. This will give you and your logger have a clear understanding of how the job will be done and what and when you will be paid for your trees.

    If you get an unsolicited offer in the mail or over the phone be cautious. That logger may or may not be good at what they do, to be sure use the above questions.

    As always I would recommend that your independent forester be part of the process. Their assistance in the process will most likely pay dividends for the future of your forest.

    For more information on timberland see http://investintimberland.com/

     

    Piscataquis Overlook

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    The 5.74+- acre lot is situated along Maine's Piscataquis River.  This surveyed parcel has public road access and is just 5 minutes away from I-95, yet is quite private and quiet.  The property has 1200+- feet of river frontage and sits high on a bank overlooking the Piscataquis River.

     

    Driveway Entrance

    Driveway Entrance

     

     

    The lot has been soil tested and there is plenty of room to build a river front home or cottage.  The lot is heavily treed with a mixed growth of softwood and hardwood species.  Tracks of deer, moose and other forest creatures have been seen on outings to the property.

     

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    Hard Fighting Smallmouth Bass

     

     

     

     

    The lower portion of the property that extends to the river's edge benefits from heavy spring runoff which has deposited nutrient rich soil along the river's edge.  This area in the month of May erupts in green growth of one of Maine's wild delicacies, the fiddlehead.  This fern emerges as temperatures rise and waters recede and are a delicious and nutritious delicacy.  The waters of the river are home to many fish species from brook trout to smallmouth bass.

     

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    Matteuccia struthiopteris - aka ostrich fern or fiddlehead

     

    The property benefits from being located close to I-95 which makes it very accessible.  It is just 30 minutes from Bangor, ME with its shopping opportunities, world class health care found at Eastern Maine Medical Center and a multitude of dining opportunities.  Bangor International Airport makes travel to far off destinations convenient.  Educational opportunities abound at The University of Maine located just 25 minutes away.

    This property is waiting for you to make it your home.  Convenient, quiet and pristine, the Piscataquis Overlook is available for you.  Call today and make this Piscataquis river front lot your new home.

    Cold Stream Pond - Central Maine's Premiere Cold Water Lake

     

    Cold Stream Pond View

    Cold Stream Pond View from Webb Cove

     

    Overview - Cold Stream Pond is one of the finest lakes in central Maine. It is very scenic with views of Mount Katahdin to the north and the "Bluff", a large elevated peninsula that separates the southern and northern basins of the lake. This large lake which is partly located in the towns of Enfield, Lincoln and Lowell, is probably best known for its incredible water quality and clarity. The water quality is so good that the state of Maine established a fish hatchery in Enfield using the lakes water via a pipeline.

    The lake is supplied water by springs and also fed by the outlet of the two Upper Cold Stream Ponds located in Lincoln. This outlet is Smelt Brook and enters Cold Stream Pond in the northern basin. A few other cold brooks enter the lake including Miles Brook and the outlet of nearby Trout Pond in Lowell.

    Size, Depths and Boating - The surface area of the lake is more than 3,600 acres. The upper basin is approximately 704 acres and max depth of 56 feet. The state lake survey says that the upper basin has good water quality but can suffer from lower dissolved oxygen levels in the later part of summer. This is a quiet place to explore large rocky coves with a kayak and is usually the first area of safe for ice fishing in the winter. The lower basin contains about 2,924 acres with water depths up to 104 feet. This is a deep round basin perfect for boating, water skiing and sailing.

     

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    Depth Map of Cold Stream Pond

     

     

    Fishing - Lake Trout are native to CSP and naturally reproduce in the spawning beds within Webb Cove and other locations. No stocking is necessary to maintain this fishery. The lake is known to occasionally produce a trophy lake trout in excess of 20 pounds. Landlocked salmon and brook trout are maintained by a stocking program. One fish not mentioned on the online survey of the lake by Maine DIFW is the cusk. If you have never eaten this fish you are missing a real treat. The odd looking fish in the Cod family is somewhat difficult to clean unless you know how. Google search some videos on how it is done. I recommend the technique of skinning then filleting. Fishing regulations for Cold Stream Pond include no taking of smelts in the lake or tributaries, no size or bag limit on bass and daily bag limit on salmon is one fish. For all regulations click on this link to Maine 2015 open water and ice fishing regulations. CLICK HERE FOR MAINE FISHING REGULATIONS

     

    Maine Lake Trout

    Ice fishing for Maine Lake Trout or "Togue"

     

     

    Boat Landing and Beach Location - Cold Stream Pond has one improved boat landing located at the south west corner of the lake at its outlet. There is a concrete ramp and parking area located at the end of Old Hatchery Road near the center of Enfield. The ramp is located in the outlet and is sheltered from wind and weather. Large boats can be launched at this landing but use caution when exiting the channel of the stream as there are a few large rocks.

    There is a public beach located on the western shore known as Morgans Beach. It is a beautiful sand beach and an excellent place for swimming and a family picnic. Traveling north on the Lincoln Road from Enfield village look for the signs for the beach on the right.

    Real Estate Types & Values - Property types around Cold Stream Pond include small seasonal cottages and cabins which are mostly on the west shore of the lake. This was the area first developed nearly 100 years ago. Some of these properties have since been converted to year round homes. Finding land for building is rare on this side of the lake. Cottages will range in value from $125,000 to $250,000 depending on lot size, building and lake front quality among other variables. Year round converted properties will sell from $200,000 - $300,000 on average.

    The eastern side of the pond was not developed until the late 1980's. Lots on this side of the lake are much larger because of changes in zoning regulations and required setbacks that went from 75 to 100 feet in residential zones and 250 foot lake setbacks in the resource protected areas of Enfield and Lowell. Most of the properties found on this side of the lake are much newer and larger than the west side. Most are year round residences. Property values on this side of the lake currently range from $250,000 to over $400,000.

    Getting Here - From I-95 you take exit 217 and head east on Route 155 about 6 miles to the boat landing on Old Hatchery Road. The landing is located 39 miles from Bangor, Maine and 272 miles from Boston, Ma.

    If you are looking for a perfect central Maine waterfront property see our listings linked CLICK HERE FOR MAINE WATERFRONT PROPERTIES.

    Update on Waters of the United States

    The senate recently passed an amendment to limit the EPA and Army Corp of Engineers play to bring additional waters into their jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. This was hotly contested last year by concerned parties from home owners to industry as overreaching the intention of the Clean Water Act.

    The provision was introduced by Senator John Barrasso of  Wyoming and co-sponsored by Roy Blunt of Mo.

    For more information about the amendment see Senator Blunt's site linked HERE

     

    Realtor Land Institute Conference 2015

    This past week Peter McPhail and I attended the Realtor Land Institute National Business Conference in Tucson Arizona. We were among a contingent of United Country Real Estate ALC's and RLI members from Maine to California to attend the conference. The 3 day event featured national expert speakers on the economy, instructors on new real estate training and technologies plus networking opportunities with over 200 of the best land brokers in the country.

     

    economist at RLI

    Dr. Mark Dotzour Speaking at 2015 RLI Conference

     

    The conference opened with Lawrence Yun, The NAR's chief economist, KC Conway Senior VP of Sun Trust Bank and Dr. Mark Dotzour of Texas A&M. The three gave the group their predictions on what we should expect from the economy in 2015. Here are some of their predictions; o The U.S. GDP will underperform again this year staying below the historic norm of 3% growth, while Europe will remain around ZERO. o Interest rates will remain low but will increase slightly midyear. o Farmland prices are expected to fall with lower commodity prices o Foreign investment in US dollar assets will increase o Supply chain will switch from West Coast to the East Coasts more modern and efficient ports o Oil prices should remain low throughout this year, but gas predicted to hit $3 per gallon because of a lack of refining capacity to keep up with demand o None of the three are concerned with inflation with one predicting deflation for 2015 All three economists feel that the recovery is being slowed by the 2010 Dodd/Frank legislation that came in the wake of the banking meltdown of 2008. All agree that the legislation should be loosened to exempt smaller local banks from much of the restrictions intended to keep TOO BIG TO FAIL BANKS in check. Small banks simply can't afford the legal army needed to wade through this complex law. They have become more selective than they want to be in making loans because of fear of the new laws. These banks were not at the core of the financial crisis and most are doing well. Ask your state senators to get behind reforms to Dodd/ Frank which will encourage lending to home builders and new home buyers.

    ATV Trails and Land Use in Maine

    People purchase property in Maine for many reasons but at some level the recreational opportunities are always a factor.  It doesn't matter what time of year, if you enjoy the outdoors there are always activities available regardless of your age. Winter in Maine offers snowshoeing, ice fishing, cross country skiing, downhill skiing and snowmobiling.  The clear blue skies and fresh white snow draping the landscape is a sight to see. Spring in Maine, a welcome season after a long winter brings some of the best brook trout fishing in the Northeast.  Ice out on our lakes brings anglers a cure from the cabin fever and trolling for salmon can be very productive. With the spring thaw comes our mud season and once things dry out the ATV trails open up (usually mid May) over 6,000 miles of club trails across Maine.  As an outdoor enthusiast, I am very thankful for the private landowners that allow multiuse trail systems to be used across their lands. Between snowmobiles and ATV's, businesses across Maine realize a big economic boom from these types of recreational activities.  An economic study completed by the University of Maine in 2005 showed a net spending of $156 million for the 2003-2004 season. If you enjoy ATV riding, we have some of the most affordable properties in Maine for sale with easy access to the trails and you can see them at LandBrothers.com Some things you should know and prepare for to make your atv trip in Maine safe and enjoyable are as follows:

    1. Make sure your ATV is registered and properly marked front and back with the registration number.
    2. Children must be at least 10 years old, have passed a state ATV safety program, wear an approved helmet if under 18 years old and riders between 10-16 years of age must be under the direct visual and audio supervision of an adult (21 or older). Approved helmets must have a "DOT", "SNELL" or "ANSI" sticker.
    3. When riding, stay on market trails and for unmarked trails you need landowner permission.
    4. Plan your trip of where you will be riding in advance. Make sure you have trail maps and more importantly call the local club trail master to check on trail conditions and technical difficulty of each trail. Trail maps do not indicate the difficulty or skill level needed to traverse any given trail number so it is critical to your safety to contact the trail master and ask what trails will get you to where you want to go safely.
    5. Use the buddy system and never ride alone. Make sure you leave a map of your route and travel plans with someone outside your party in case of an emergency.
    6. Check the weather for the area you will be riding and bring the right clothing. Always bring a first aid kit, survival kit, and tool kit. The biggest killer of people recreating outdoors is hypothermia from spring to late fall. The nights in Maine do get cold so be prepared, especially if you are taking a long ATV trip on remote trails that are miles from services.
    7. The day of your trip make sure you have filled the gas tank and perform a pre-ride inspection of your ATV. The web site www.offroad-ed.com has some great videos on safety, pre-ride inspection and safe riding techniques.
    8. On multi-use trails be sure to respect the right of other non ATV riders to use the trail system. If you meet someone on horseback, please pull off to the side and shut your machine off. Wait until they have passed a clear distance or if they waive you on.
    9. Remember, using these trails is a privilege and not a right. You are enjoying these trails by the good graces of the land owner. If you see some trash on the land and can pick it up, please do. If it is a large amount of trash, call the Maine Warden Service, Landowner Relations Program and report the area.

    Be safe and enjoy the great state of Maine!

    Recreational Land Investment For Sale Somerset County

    This newly listed forested lot for sale in Concord Township, Somerset County has all of the components for quality recreation and investment. When buying land many of our customers have a list of similar requirements. Here is a list of the most commonly requested features which this lot enjoys.

    1. Good Access - A parcel of land that you cannot legally get to has reduced value. The savvy buyer will be sure the acreage they are looking for has a good deeded right of way or fronts on a maintained public road. Care should be taken to certify an apparent access is a legal one.
    2. Power - Some customers will consider off grid locations, but the majority of people like the convenience of being on the grid because it is simply cheaper and easier.

       

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      136 +/- acres Concord Twp - Little Houston Brook Road frontage with electric at street.

       

    3. Dry Land - Maine buyers know that finding a large parcel of property that is completely free of wetland is probably impossible with all the streams, ponds, vernal pools and forested wetlands in our state. They look for a good percentage of dry land with soils that promote the growing of trees and other plants. The dryer the land the more options for building sites and future development there will be.
    4. Water Frontage - Almost every potential buyer either wants to be on or near some kind of water. Man is naturally drawn to wild rivers, streams, lakes and ponds for the recreation, views and resources.

       

      Frontage on Houston Brook in Winter 2015

      Lots of Frontage on Houston Brook

       

      Interior Roads - On larger tracts of land having a road or trail system is a great advantage to better use the land. The best parcels have a road through the property that makes available different building sites and a reduced cost for managing the timber on the property.

    5. Views - It is difficult to put a value on great views, but most customers hope to find them on the parcel they purchase.

       

      Nearby Kennebec River in Bingham Maine

      Nearby Kennebec River in Bingham Maine

       

    6. Nearby Recreation - When buying a property location is a big consideration. For those investing in land for recreation, things like maintained trails for snowmobile, ATV riding and hiking are a big benefit. Nearby waterways for fishing and boating appeal to the outdoor minded buyer. Another important  consideration is the culture in the area. Do the local residents also appreciate the natural environment and are there nearby businesses and services catering to the rec buyer.

       

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      Nearby Groomed and Maintained Snowmobile Trails

       

    7. Timber - Not all buyers are focused on commercial timber value, but few desire to own a recent clear cut. As an investment, timber has always been a pretty safe bet for the long run. Healthy stands of trees of various ages, quality soils for better growth and the proximity of nearby markets for the harvested timber all will be considered by the educated investor.

    If you are reading this and are like many of our other customers looking for the features listed above, this new listing in Concord Township has all of these features. It contains 136 +/- acres of wooded land with frontage on a 4 season road, electric at the street, frontage on a mountain trout stream, some quality trees, interior road and just minutes from the Kennebec River and other recreation. See more details at our LISTINGS or call or email for a complete property information package.