Well, in addition to the seeds piling up around my room, I am also thinking about projects on the land a lot these days. Actually, I spend way too much time thinking about PEI, probably because I am working a lot right now, and don’t have time to do too much else (plus it’s a rainy mess outside).
The projects go anywhere from far-off dreams to things that I can do in a day. So far I can’t think of anything I absolutely can’t do either on my own, or with help from friends and research. The exception is perhaps the natural swimming pool, but I am OK with figuring something out for that.
There are free apples to be had all over the place near us; volunteer apple trees grow on our property and on the bike trail nearby. They are probably not the best apples in the world, but would be great as cider. Cider presses cost in the high hundreds and up, but I figure I should be able to find plans for something I could make, or make something up. I mean, it just needs to be something that can crush apples as much as possible. Then: hard cider, cider vinegar, apple wine, apple jack… plus more once some pear trees get established.
A cool, screened in place for sleeping in the summer on the North side of the house
Put wood siding on cabin
I mean, the tar paper is fairly attractive, but…
A glassed-in (eventually) South deck that would be sunnier than the North deck, and more for hanging out when it’s cool. If glassed in it would also provide additional warmth in winter, and as a place cooler than the cabin but warmer than outside may be good for storing some types of vegetables in winter, etc. When it gets really sunny and hot, I imagine it would be useful as a mini greenhouse. Somewhere I’d like to have grapes growing on there it as well…
Natural swimming pool
These can be really extravagant, but really I just want to build a pond big enough to wade or swim in, that attracts wildlife (maybe the frogs will like it better than the holes in the driveway), and keeps itself clear and clean naturally through plants and a few fish (who will also eat mosquito larvae). There is already a wetter area, that I think would suit this project well. http://www.gartenart.co.uk/
This is probably one of the first things to do. I haven’t totally figured out what I want this to look like. I am really committed to using instead of wasting outhouse products (ha ha, I am trying to be polite), and have read the Humanure book a few times, but still am not sure what would work best for me. I’m not very squeamish, but want to be respectful of other people that visit. My idea was that using well-composted human manure for growing trees couldn’t really upset anyone, but my friend Loni mentioned a really hands-off method that sounds simple and easy. What people did was built a light, portable outhouse, and dug a hole in the ground. When it was half-full, they dug a new hole, filled the old one the rest of the way with soil, and planted a tree on top of it. The pluses are that this is really easy and tidy. The minuses are that the compost would not break down as fast since it’s not exposed to much oxygen or heat from the sun. We do have sandy soil, though, so it would have more access to air than if it was clay, and I would add generous amounts of straw to ensure more air is down there. I would wonder about water pollution a bit, since matter in the soil travels pretty quickly through sandy soil as well.
I am pretty inspired to build some cold frames. I’ve sort of thought of it as something to do someday in the future, but I’m reading Four-Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman and that’s convinced me to move cold frames way up the list. The variety of vegetables the author grows (in Maine, a fairly similar temperature and latitude to PEI) is really awesome, and it just seems like a really simple thing to do, do produce more food all winter. Then maybe a scrappy greenhouse?
Gutters + rain barrels
Stall for the solar shower
So it has something high enough to hang on, and some privacy
Front porch + steps
Clay tile floor
I definitely want to make my own tiles when I have access to a pottery studio again, and then tile the floor of my cabin.