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2. Living Naturally: A Country Home

Jerry Wernick


In 1980, Jerry and Linda Wernick moved to their country property overlooking Glacier National Park in northern Montana. They built a country home using native stone and timber and produce all their utilities from natural resources. Their extensive gardens and greenhouses produce an abundant food supply in an alpine environment. 



  • January 17, 2018
    9:30 AM
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We're going to have to move a little faster but we have all day so we'll go back over some of this hopefully it'll be helpful anyway this is stairs going downstairs another feature of a good country home that would heated. In our opinion you got to have a basement I asked as I was coming to Texas here I stopped and talked to a real estate agent just for fun to find out anybody live in the country around here how much land cost and what you do for water and all that it was it was two or three hundred miles west of here one thing he said is that in eleven years of doing real estate he'd sold one house with a basement in Texas. And you folks are all Texans maybe you can explain that to me later I don't know but if you're going to heat a house the cold there will be cold air you know those great big windows in our front we pay for that because that's cold when it's twenty thirty below zero those windows are double paned and they're insulated Still it's really cold right next to him that cold air is going to come down it's going to puddle at the lowest place and that's my living room floor unless you do something else you need a basement but you don't need a full basement people made that mistake if you have a full basement it's your heat in a whole nother house so the cool air that collects in the house from wherever we have several places but one of the main ones it flows down the steps and it's heading for the heater that way it doesn't puddle on your main floor not the at the bottom you know I was just going to say in Texas you may not need it so much for heat but wonderful cool air also. Realize your ground temperature is much warmer here but it is a cool area and that it does have a lot of uses that you can use but maybe Texas has other reasons they don't I mean we'll show you here in a minute but we have a beautiful root cellar down here and that's another reason you need a basement but at the bottom of the steps if you turn left can't see the door that goes. The furnace room separated the room though the door to the right is a recreation room downstairs and it looks kind of like that and Linda laid all that rock to and Michelle lay it happened to give her she did now I've learned this you teach your children to do things and then they turn around and teach you how to do even better and that's how it's worked with her cell it's fantastic Londoners are very artistic took them a long time I'm not the mason but I'm the hod carrier I lug the stones I mix the concrete they do the important work but this wall and I'll talk a lot more about this in building your own home this walls a foot thick because most rocks don't come in nature just nice and flat and straight and perfect and they make diamond saws you can cut everything and they make fake rock that's all two inches thick and all that sort of stuff if you just want to use native rock and it's beautiful rock has a lot of color and so on they vary from two or three inches up to eight inches and so the back in the all the nicest looking sides in the flat a sides are here the back of them looks like this. You know. Like that so you build a wall behind that a form with reinforced with reinforcing rod and then when the rock walls up a ways you pour concrete behind in the rocks are then poured into a wall makes it super strong and outside of that wall is foam and I have a piece of in the back for those aren't familiar it's burial foam it insulates it away from the ground and the outside cold in that wall again helps heat that rec room because it gets warm and just stays that way. Well are our ground the the question was how it why do we need insulator basement our ground is forty degrees year round there that's where our spring water is that's how we know what the ground temperature is now in this country maybe somebody can tell me what's what's the temperature and. Down ten feet in the ground around here year round anybody know. He's in the fifty's while you're like fifteen degrees warmer than we are we're trying to heat this to room temperature and so forty degrees is better than thirty below which is outside but it's still forty and it would just suck all the heat out of that wall instantly because the grounds everywhere so we insulate it with two inches of foam it's like about fifteen twelve to fifteen our value and then it stays nice and warm and it's not losing much heat because you are working against forty and it works and there's no windows in the day there. Are kids used called the dungeon but I thought it looked all right. Now this is just in the other door and this is a little fuzzy picture and there's a lot going on here we're going to talk about this in depth in the utility section that's our wood heater right in the foreground on the left it's something we designed ourself It's a simple rectangular box it's two feet by two feet by two and a half feet it's made out a solid quarter inch plate steel reinforced on the inside so it won't buckle and whatever all you do is you buy a barrel kit if you know what that is down to your hardware store it's a kit that's designed to go on an old barrel to make a quickie stove we just throw the legs and stuff in the shop don't use them but the door is cast iron so it won't wore that in has a slider on it for air that's what's you can't really see it all showing the other pictures later that's what's on the front so that your door then it has a flue coming out. That heats our whole house with a little aid from Linda's kitchen stove in the fireplace and so on that's where it all starts above it in that insulated box is another quarter inch steel. Hot water heater that we designed ourselves and the flue from this is eight inch well casing which is really thick steel it is welded right through that water tank so when you heat you get hot water instantly automatically we have all. Water we want in fact in the winter we have so much I'll tell you later it we circulate it we have a little stone hot tub in our bedroom I mean you've got water coming out your ears it's wonderful and it's free that's that that's the nice thing about it of the stove at the top it comes out and go straight into that walkway at the top you can't see right now past that is Linda's we have an automatic washer and it runs off our little hydro plant you can see the end of the chute they're coming down from outside so that's where you drop the wood it comes in off and the whole side is stacked with wood the furnace room a small it's only about nine by eleven and if you try to heat a whole basement we know some friends who try that in the north for they have a smaller home burned over twice the wood that we do because their heating the whole basement you don't really need to heat the whole basement you want to heat a furnace room that's really warm and then up the top above that little wood box you see issue going in that's a foot by four feet that's where the hot air goes that's being generated by the stove into the living room and you didn't see it because in that living room photo there is a nice little planter with flowers and stuff that's to disguise the flue and it comes out right where the cold air from the windows coming down. Hot air goes up and it comes back through that stairway and so on this room is foot thick walls also but most of it's stone so it's very inexpensive but behind it's foam because we're trying to insulate this above it is a poured concrete ceiling and that's the floor of the living room. But then you have a door and the reason we have two doors is it's going into our root cellar and if you have a root cellars walled off in your basement it will be too warm and your flour and stuff and beans will start to go bad we've had that happen to a lot of neighbors around some neighbors that we know what you do instead is don't dig that part out that's an earth berm. It's like six feet wide of solid ground it's insulated here the rest of the roof solar is not insulated built right into the hill so you get that forty degree cold and you have almost like a walk in refrigerator it's wonderful So you close the two doors of course. Normal. And this is in the first room we have two rooms and there are a cellar the first room houses most of the canned jars of fruit and we do some vegetables but mostly fruit the vegetables we do have freezers you'll see that we freeze most of the berries we freeze but. We also have the root crops so on the right hand side in the boxes we have to take those and carrots Well carrots how a lot of times we put in the boxes you see at the end of the walkway. Has the news that we're keep through the winter. And we'll show you this in a lot of detail when we in our alpine gardening one How you not only grow food but how you preserve it so you can have a year around food supply the second room is like that and it has it's a little colder here they're just open we have two freezers one is quite large but they just run on our little hydro system and the reason they can run in and I'm going to again I'm going to go through this real quick but there's a lot more detail how this works typically. Homes even the SOLs I think may have problems with this but up north anywhere across the United States there's three big problems in a in all homes in the United States in the north it's cold so everybody shuts all the windows and doors and all that sort of thing so you get stuffy and because your heating However your heating it dries the air out in your home when you're not moving a lot of air. So that there gets dry so people get kind of a scratchy throat to dry and so you dissolution is you're on to Wal-Mart and get a humidifier right in takes more power and then your root cellar if you have one basements tend to. The dam so people are running dehumidifiers down there and more power more expense on his way goes. So here's the solution to all three of those problems he Bill root cellar into your hill on the north side and right up behind the cabbage there is where that little vent goes out that I talked about with a little screen because outside because if you don't have a hole in your house. The warm air in your house is going to try to go up and out every crack it can wherever it can and the cold air it has to be replaced is going to come in around the lower cracks around all your doors of people or even the power companies will pay you to go around what air you know weatherstrip everything just keep all the fresh air out while your house gets DUTHIE then they'll sell you in exchange system costs autonomy and a whole lot more like Christmas all that well here we have we would have a damn Pruett seller we'd have a stuffy house and it needs humidity so what you do is just you put that little vent up there you leave it open all every little crack because you can't seal everything up stairs now what happens it's warm the air goes out rather than coming in so you don't get cold draft and every would help clients in the house suck some combustion air causes a slight vacuum in the house sucks air still to come in and around your windows and doors it comes in this vent because it's wide open as it comes in it's cold cold air can't hold much moisture so it's dry naturally first thing it does it's heavy because it's dry tops right past your freezer keeps the freezer from coming on much because the cold air is porn in there as it comes through the root cellar it warms up to about forty forty five degrees and hold more moisture so it sucks all the moisture out the root cellar you see any mold it's dry as can be in there is now flows under those two doors and head for the heater but now it's humidified air and it's warm day air and it's fresh air and what doesn't go. The heater is heated goes up to your whole house and finally out some little cracks somewhere so the up stairs gets fresh ventilated air that's been humidified and you've got a dry root cellar and it's all natural no fans no pomps no thermostats nothing. If you just we did it all wrong in our mistake house. And we learned and that's how you do it right and it works wonderfully. Because it's under a four foot even the House in those rare times when we might get four or five feet of snow it could we get no wind that we'll talk about that later too in a mountain valley you get almost no wind because the mountains block it so we don't have drifting I've I think maybe once had to clean a little snow. Yeah couple of questions here but we'll try to do them quickly somebody asked about what the buckets are Linda you can tell about that yeah well. But I thought their size there was the lead styles are dried beans rice. There are so I think there are markets for gallon bucket you can see on the edge here this side is full of those type of buckets which have dried goods like flour and I have different kinds of flour. Down there you know anything that I'm storing and it keeps for a long time because we're below sixty three degrees usually sixty eight degrees is where you start having problems with hatching bugs. And so we've had that have that problem yeah if you don't have it cool enough which this never gets above fifty. Down here even in the summers when it is warmer outside we don't have problems with out so actually you can get up in the dead of summer when it's in the eighty's outside it can get to fifty five just for a short time then starts to go down again and that works perfect We've never had any trouble. With bugs and so on somebody else had a question. Well we're going to call you know we usually don't because it's so cold at night it's in the forty's in our valley every night is in the forty's in the summer except for maybe five creep above fifty. That's unheard of I know of down here but that's the way it is and it's in very low humidity so we leave it open now if it stays on for a long time I'm I close a little bit if it gets thirty or forty below zero and this isn't wind chill this is temperature then I usually close it because you it's like a quarter horse fan just blowing air because so cold the difference we don't need that much coal but even that. It won't freeze the root cellar but it would freeze that cabbage and the reason the cabbage is there we've learned and this all be an Alpine gardening to know how to preserve food cabbage are difficult to preserve because they tend to mold on the outside they want it basically thirty two degrees even thirty one degrees because they have so much sugar in there they won't freeze and if you can keep them virtually right at freezing. They'll be fine so that's why you put them there that's where the cold air is coming and that's cabbage we grew in the garden and a lot more in the root cellar later. I just have like three or four pictures of Bill in the house and I have a whole section on building it in how to build your own home so just be real quick this is the root cellar for it was done of course we dug the hole basement by hand and you may think we're crazy can't do that we saved thousands and thousands of dollars and many other things. Our soils for ROCKS So as we dug we just put in will barrels we sorted the rocks the ugly but nice strong ones went into retaining walls for that root cellar because it was going to be poured right into the hill behind it you see where the furnace room would be in the rec room and that's where we put the fault. In any pretty really pretty rocks we kept and those are the ones that you saw in the rec room and all that that we used and we got some from other places too the dirt was wheeled off and made a hairpin turn in our road going up to ten Michelle's place that we really needed so it left the pile you see they're just going to backfill around it left nothing in our front yard to get rid of Otherwise if you have a cat or a big they're going to dump it all over the place and when you get done you're going to have a big build a landscape you want the lawn left and all and it's a mess and we're on a hillside we don't have a lot of places to put it so it worked well for us and that allowed us just to dig the parts we want and now you can see where the little bird. Was between the root cellar and so on. This is Rudy he was a great help we didn't hire any help but he was a neighbor I helped him too but he helped me a lot more. Than i did we poured all around concrete. Yes wonderful guy they live in Michigan today. This is. This is rock I don't know where Shell is cuz she helped a lot on that back. There we are lying rock and we would go up I think Jerry maybe explain just a couple feet at a time so that we could get those rocks to balance and sometimes we. Put two by fours there to help stabilize until they dry in the water would set so once the order was set then we'd go ahead and do the poor behind and we'll do a lot more on that now here a little bit and then of course we framed on top of that we will talk about this in family business we ran a small independent Academy for years at our place because we are teachers and I'll tell you how we started. And the kids out of work program but they only work two hours a day and they were very helpful lifting walls and so on but they weren't carpenters I can tell you that and they created about as much work as they did but they were wonderful kids and they learned a lot I think some of them and how you because when we were going to school full time so when we were building his house it wasn't like we were living on our place in there were multimillionaires nothing to do We were working full time too I taught all morning so on so it was a fight to get this house built in one season because our season Montana is very short we start point concrete in May and the snow came probably first November and we've just gotten it roofed in and close I mean you've got to pack away we're here we're building Rochelle's bedroom or shelves on the left there. We don't use any crane. We don't use any great all no backhoes never had a cement truck. In that so we did the old fashioned way and the beams and I did not mill myself I did for the Celera show you because we had to go a little faster but they came from a family mailed us in the other side of the mountain so they were very inexpensive and to help them in here were lifting them into place. This is what it looked like when we just got it roofed in the snow came. Now when you get snow like this and a lot more lies you saw in that one picture with Chloe you need a secure fuel supply and I think the day will come when you're not going to be able to get wood from the National Forest or anywhere else and I won't be able to buy it you need a wood supply on your own place and so we bought a place that had a good forest and you need enough forest on your own place to to have the fuel you need now here in Texas you need less land I think for fuel because it's warmer but you're still going to need some for your hot water and to cook your food and it does need a little heat in the wintertime we need more heat so don't buy land it's been denuded to trees just flat farmland micro a lot of food but you're not going to have any heat. And we bought land that had a mature forest some of these trees are four or five hundred years old which is very unusual we don't cut those They're beautiful Kasia only one will fall over in a windstorm or whatever and then we use it but around it it has all kinds of little trees Linda standing there next to our largest one we call that Methuselah. It's five hundred years old but behind it are a lot of little trees we we cut all the little ones the crooked ones the diseased ones the ones are too thick and when you get done it looks more like this and this one of our this by the way is that road fill that we dumped all the road from our dirt from our basement goes on up the hill to ten Rachelle. Place but you send out you have a beautiful forest it's safer it's healthier and all the wood ends up in a wood shed and you notice it's mostly small because we're not cutting the big tree so you don't want to split it. That wood shed is right next to our house but we try not to put our outbuildings right by the house and try to keep it a little bit more attractive that way this is probably seventy eighty feet away in the woods a little bit that holds two years supply so you're not going to run out of wood in fact we can heat our entire house with for heating for about five cords in the whole Montana winter and that softwood you have you folks down year I have a lot better deal because you've got hardwood it takes less wood all wood produces the same heat per pound but not provide. In Pine Burns fine some of it's for so on. Now good good homesteads got to have a good water supply and we believe it's important to have some flowing water on your place if you can if you can't you can pump water but no self respecting pioneer whatever bought land where the well was seven hundred feet deep. Or so I don't know maybe some of you have it but you're going to take a lot of electricity and if anything goes wrong. Someday especially if you can't get parts then there's hard we're going to get the water so try to get water at least has a shallow but very pure Well flowing stream is fine but gravity Springs we found our best because they're clean they're pure no pumps nothing it saves you an enormous amount of money down the line not having drill wells and pumps and electricity and all that and there are I understand and a lot better. Machinery pumps whatever available than there used to be a few years ago everything is again you know off the grid living is that way from started out wanting to do this it's amazing the improvement and so you know if the well as how you need to go. That's another whole area we haven't really spent much time and that if you do research I think you know I'm under independent utilities were talking about how you can pump water without using fuel and so on if you need to do that this is one of our springs we have three major spring sources on our place and they don't come out your nice little bubbly spring out of the rock they seep out of the hill over an area in this case it's about forty feet long and we dug this all by hand of course because I was on the hillside it's eighty feet above the valley right I didn't want to have to build a road down there to get a backhoe in there and and if you use heavy machinery and sprains you can sometimes plug them up because they really package good and Anyway I'll talk more about how you build a really good spring system but at the end you see the little intake this one actually is designed to just an imprint produces power. This is another one this is a higher spring it's a little or one that's actually serves our house that's all we need and some people are a gas you don't have a tank and you don't have a cover I mean you're going to get sick you know you don't get sick there's ten thousand gallons a day come out of that spraying it washes anything away and it's beautiful pure soft water and most of it overflows through the mosque there and goes down to a reservoir it feeds us with power you could put a cover there but we never have and works wonderful for us it's only from there it's only like one hundred fifty feet to the house but it's down enough that you have pressure. And what you. Know. Well there's a screen there. In but not micro filter there is a neighbor that took some from the springs are stealing my thunder from Lao. Sorry yeah I got tell you that story later it's about a neighbor who had this water tested it's wonderful sorry anyway this represents about four or five of our springs have come together to make this little stream that's a tiny stream you can see the size of the rocks probably a foot across than where it's actually flowing maybe an inch or so deep that's not a lot of water that amount of water will it creates all our power waters our gardens all our houses and everything that's maybe half of what we have but a good section of what we have comes out lower and we can't really catch it and do anything but just if you're out looking for land you don't need a huge wide thing all you need is a little bit of water. OK from the springs you can see going our property goes clear the top of the hill the springs come out a little over half way down and we've just laid pipes up to them to those reservoirs and pipe down and again all the the ditches were dug by hand because you don't have to put in that deep in the reason you don't is it spring water and so you just let it run a little bit you're around in there or freezes even in Montana part of the reason is we cover it with sawdust and then the soil and I don't want you to think that's how rocky our soil is all the rocks down to gravel sized were picked out of that by hand and use somewhere else so we wouldn't be damaging our pipes only backfill. But you don't have to do that because the springs are forty degrees year around and so they they run if we didn't have that situation we would have to dig probably five six feet to be sure. It all goes down to a little power house and makes a little pond down there the power house is built into the hill so it won't freeze like a kind of a miniature root cellar is what it looks like inside I have one of these water turbans in the back just the turban the runner. I couldn't bring the whole thing is too bulky those are utterly simple they're only about this big around they have one moving part in the middle all the wiring doesn't move brushless all that moves is a permanent magnet in the middle and those two together produce all the power we need even when we had up to ten young people living with us in our school. And I had to teach them how turn off the lights because they didn't come with that skill but. We I run shop tools. Here's the this is a. That's what's in those in the white part that's all there is in there it's a Pelton turban water does hits those spins this and produces electricity it's wonderful. We have two of them for redundancy one will actually run our place but we use usually nozzle needs one. The power just goes into a set of deep cycle batteries those last about ten years for us last if you're on solar because you're deep cycling them into a little solid state inverter which produces normal household power and then from there it's underground conduit we laid just in the ground not very far kind with our water lines goes up to the house over to our classroom and shop and over to the boys bunk house it became a cottage so you know how many wires dangling around through the woods or anything like that. And I've never had a inverter go bad I've upgraded when I thought we needed a bigger one they work wonderfully because they are solid state and the result is you have lots of electricity runs all the bright lights in your home and all your appliances and stop tools and all that sort of thing and at this point I list kind of like to point out if you don't have a mortgage and you don't have rent. And you pay very little for food because you're growing so much and you don't have an electric bill and you don't have a water bill and a sewer bill and you stay off the internet most the time and all that you don't have to make much money when it's set up that's the whole point the problem for most people is getting from the city lifestyle getting the infrastructure built and in that time they give up before all your expenses drop to near zero and then you're home free. But you have to get through that little period and it helps if you can talk to people or work with people in your area whatever who have some experience because. Otherwise you make a lot of mistakes and those mistakes usually cost you money and you can get discouraged but otherwise it works it works really well. Now this is a part on Alpine gardening and we're just going to a little bit here and a lot more later. This was last winter in February and you can see the fountains almost buried but it's still running you see it there even at thirty below it keeps running and it will make a lot of icicles because it's forty degrees it just keeps running and it's not just for beauty it's run over the top of a wall or the water lines and keeps us from freezing so it has a purpose and you see the garden fence out there it's kind of disappear into That's the big outside garden this is we have a circle drive you remember that nice little green spot well and that's that's our year around green house doesn't look like a greenhouse looks like a house kind of and the reason is the north side you don't really want any windows. The only window there is in our classroom. It's on the north side you we did everything we could to insulate it so the part inside would stay warm. And without any outside power a propane ring like that which is a little difficult to do that on this same day a took that picture this is inside. And before you think we're rich those and have a pool and all that we had a real problem when we started trying to build greenhouses in Montana if they were just a plastic greenhouse like so many people have well first the snow would crush them second when it's thirty below and there's just that thin barrier if you have a wood stove in you and you're down there every hour on the hour poking wood at it you might stay above freezing but I wasn't gonna do that all night. And we come back and it could be sixty or seventy during the day come back it was frozen in the morning. How you going to have. A greenhouse a lot of people would say well just don't have a greenhouse just have a season extend or the problem with that idea is you don't have a way to have food through the winter fresh food which this gives us some greens through the whole enter you need a place to start all your plants for your other greenhouses you're outside garden things like tomatoes and squash and melons on a sort of stuff we don't want to be dependent run into a nursery to secure our stuff we grow tons of flowers that we beautifier own place that cost a lot of money if you just go buy em all this gives us a place to start all that and it gives us a place to nourish your soul in the winter because winners are long in Montana. So we had to put thermal mass in there it's the same principles I talked about the house thermal mass heating is wonderful and you got to throw a lot of stuff in there and I learn real quick water's you don't have a lot of water because water has like three times that what's called latent heat or the heating storage ability of stone the rest of it's concrete and stone everywhere the pools of about four thousand gallons I originally put small fifty five gallon drums it is one enough now it's enough and it's solar heated most of the year we have a simple homemade solar heater for it in the winter for about four months or so if supplemented with wood and we can heat as but there's no filter in there there's no pumps to drain in or anything to get water and there's no chemicals we don't so you're swimming in pure spring water it's nice. Though far one is smaller and you can heat it more like a hot tub this one's cooler. But the two together hold heat in that building. You keep it clean is it if you're going to go in and swim you take a shower before you go in. But even so it eventually is going to collect some stuff especially in the summer when it's a lot warmer it will start growing algae after weeks so about every depends two weeks a month when it's time we have a gravity drain again you can see the drain it's actually right right underneath that little hump of that little ladder there you can see well that's the drain and it goes out unfortunately our hillside has clay that holds the springs but on the metal down below it's sand and gravel down about three feet so we just dug a hole in the ditch all drains in there and there's a lot we're going to go through this Alpine Garny more is a lot of issues. And you drain the water might be seventy degrees that's that's warm for us while warm and forty you know lose that heat well it's heat all the soil under our celerity him by dumping the water in there it's more like fifty or sixty. So anyway but in just a couple months it looks like that now the fig tree is all left out we have a huge fig tree in there produces most of the food we actually get and it's some of you down here might have fig trees they go dormant in the winter lose its leaves in December comes back starts in February has two crops hundreds and hundreds of figs I just I'm going to talk very briefly how you heat again to heat a greenhouse like this just a family sized greenhouse you must have a basement under Part of it otherwise the cold air pools right there at the bottom so there's a walkway goes down to the right over there stairs on the left which you can't see over here I'll show you a minute is a great and there's a tunnel that goes down allow the cool air to go down and then all the walls up to where the wood starts and all the ceilings everything pools it's all made out of concrete and stone stone was free again Lyndon Richelle laid all the stone force and we have beautiful stone there Montana free. So it it holds Well now the heater for it is under that over the bridge that patio there that has a little table and what not is actually a ceiling over our little furnace room and. Show you that in just a minute we love flowers if you were desperate some day all these possibly full alleges. Kale and whatever and some of them are now but not not all of them the fig trees on the left there I loved the Bird of Paradise the hex leaves you well in that environment. It's two storey so we could have a big tree in there and down at the bottom just above the bridge right hand corner you'll see little figs there and leaves and that's what they look like. If you can believe this you can see the figs come out there's a leaf stem and then there's a fig every major leaf produces a fig That's incredible Now the last ones don't get mature and they sit there there's just a little tiny ball and they're the first to come out in the summer of this next spring and that's why you get two crops you nerdy spring crop in the late summer problem. Hundreds of those figs here I am picking figs at the trees so tall and so many I put cat walks up in there to walk on you can see I'm up high and our cat that stays in there in the winter she uses those cat walks to we also have a small of a caudal tree which produced a little but it has an awful time setting I don't think it's hot enough in there I don't know we're working on that it's one thing we've we had all the tree that grew fifteen feet tall blossom pro Fuselier bore one all up and I went down California eventually and talked to the all of Qana sewers and they said well some olives are self pollinating and some aren't you got the wrong one and this one's self pollinating so in it's young but it produces actually pretty well and we have a small lemon tree and the most we've gotten is like fifteen lemons. We've tried we've gotten a few oranges and other stuff that is not worth the effort and here. You can talk about what we do in fall oh yeah I don't know if you can see it there is a better way to maybe that shows wheat grain and so from outside there's. Not showing a man I'd put this picture you know to saw the leaves on the Figure Start and yellow This is late in the season I was either late October early November that this picture is taken and it's already really cold outside and so we've already brought in and we have green onions there's kale you can see the char beads now and we can pick up for those all winter they don't actually grow and produce a lot but if you bring enough greens than it's really good for like salads and things you can get little new leaves that are just beginning but it never does a lot of growing and tell spraying and then it just so all winter it won't bolt there's not enough light it grows maybe an inch but you have fresh greens and you can fill all place with fresh greens if you want and we just love flowers too so they're all mixed in. The other thing that we use our solarium for is to produce a lot of flowers we've roughly calculated if we had to buy the flowers we produce it cost two thousand dollars a year and it allows us. Beautifier our place naturally and simply in our daughter uses a lot of two and we sell quite a few which we'll talk about in a minute and that's inside and outside the front windows there Chloe's. Is the little guy and there's a girl I should say there's more pots and it supplements the natural beauty this is natural Lupin The grows in the woods there. Another feature was being able to grow all your own starts so just on the left side that the celeriac is actually you shaped the use on the outside are not greenhouse so it's to protect them from the extreme colds kind of like a double wall and one of those has little Pottinger in that and you can kind of see into the room a little bit we've got starts we first start with geraniums clipping our mother geranium plants. Potting the ends and the six inch. And then later we'll get into doing the seeds and you kind of make a calendar of the order you're going to do all this for the different places you're going to play out. Whether it's other greenhouse and we've got a hot house and so you just kind of cause a juggling match as you can see it's not a huge germination. But anyway this is the first in the process I can see we love country living and we're going to talk so we just got a really speed up and get through this so we can do some of the others will do a little bit more Anyway this is heated by that tank you see there we heat it in the pool heater and that's heated to two hundred degrees water and it heats the whole room to eighty degrees and seeds pop out of the ground otherwise it won't Germany. And how you heat this place I told you about the heater downstairs there's the heater downstairs not real pretty and glamorous but that's underneath that patio it's a homemade hot water heater two hundred gallons and you see the cold air comes down we'll talk about this a lot more later how you get firewood. Firewood can take a lot of time but it doesn't have to we go out in the woods we cut them all bought same length bring him back put them in a homemade jig we cut them all that holds a third of a cord we can cut a third of a cord in a few minutes and then you put in a wheel barrel comes in the celerity in this case and down the chute you stack it this whole celeriac only takes about two courts to heat it through the winter because it's mostly solar heated and we do the same for the house. This is back outside in the building the back is our orchard greenhouse will talk about this some a flip through these real fast this will all be an Alpine garden how do you grow fruit in a valley that can get forty below zero and frost all the time and so on so this is in the early season and these are peach trees a praecox and so on they're all in blossom but above it. Are these rollers and this was our solution to how you have an Alpine orchard. I needed something that would hold four feet of snow so in Crush all the trees and I and all that sort of stuff in the winter but I needed something that would i can move the whole roof in five minutes because I want to be up there and take it all apart this is what it looks like when it's open and you can rule roll those closed in five minutes. No the solarium is in the far back over there this is the Orchard Green House it's another green house this one has an eight month season that has a twelve month season because you want to fruit trees this one looks like when they're closed they stay closed like this all winter snow just builds up insulates it the coldest I've ever seen up there is forty four below zero. When it gets down to thirty forty below it'll still be ten to twenty degrees inside with no heat and that gives them a perfect dormant period for your fruit trees and even down here you can get ice storms and then in the spring you can get rain and you can get a late frost kills your blossoms in here you can control. So you get a crop every year it's wonderful and we're going a lot more details later this is what it looks like midsummer you can see the beams above there just plain would be names and underneath the peaches are starting to ripen you see how you can roll it if you think it's going to be a bad day or a cold night. That's a reliance peaches and that's ready even peaches these are Bartlett pears d'Anjou pears and. Plums here our best crop are apricot they love it in there this one tree will produce up to three hundred pounds you saw him already you can't there's so many apricot you've got a prop stuck up everywhere it's wonderful because it's like this is heaven for it in never gets anything you don't get a mice and rabbits June on deer and I've got to confess twice I think in our thirty five years a grizzly bear has broken in there I'm surprised they don't do more because you can smell it I can smell it outside but they each time they've only gotten two pieces of fruit before we found him and scared him out. I think the Lord help in his little bit too and most of the time Grizzlies aren't interested it's only in the fall when they're getting desperate because they sense winter's coming on that they really go after stuff even. More preparing the soil. In the same greenhouse we're going to be putting green beans in there I would like to tell a doze in the front area underneath the glazing there to the left or raspberries that are just beginning to come out this is probably this is back about early April and if you look down the end you see a white outside still lots of snow outside you would be able to garden for a long time already but in just like six weeks maybe two months it looks like that in the front to see the green beans have come up the tomatoes are up and growing not a lot of tomatoes on them yet but the raspberries stuff pretty much ready to pick we have huge raspberries in there they love it in there and they come on really early and we pick a crop like that for six weeks probably one or two points or twice a week and we saw a lot of them because we have farmer's market we also eat all we can and then Linda freezes a lot of them this is back in the kitchen and we go through this later. Tomatoes Come on about that same time we grow only non hybrid tomatoes we keep all our own seed what will go through a whole section how you keep your own seed we grow four types of tomatoes and this is our big one this is wreckers it's one of the best ones you can area was in the eight hundred eighty S. It's non hybrid keep your own seed and I should just mention here we'll talk about this in Alpine gardening we have virtually no bugs why because we live in those stupid mountains where it's so cold OK It kills everything and about all you have is what you bring in there's hardly any There's a few people trying fruit trees outside but we tried that isn't work otherwise the nearest fruit trees that are bearing I thirty miles away so once you get rid of the bugs that you bring in it's good and that's one of the advantage and down here you've got lots of warm weather but you've probably got more bugs so everybody's got their pluses and minuses. This is we do have to we don't heat this greenhouse in the winter because we wanted to have a dormant period but in March and October the shoulder seasons we can gain two months by having a heater especially when they're starting to. Blossom or something this is our stock burner we call it again it's just a big box we had welded weighs nine hundred pounds and that's the fuel for it you wouldn't be dragging that into your house what we don't waste fuel brush punky wood soft wood stump stumps have a Normas amount of heat in them that's what we put in there and now the outside garden but I think it's time for break again yeah. Right you know oh OK Keep going you may think that we grow all our food in a greenhouse we don't we actually grow most of it outside and this is our outside garden the rows are one hundred twenty feet long. And the fence looks kind of like a prison because everybody in the North Fork is hungry the deer the elk the moose the bears we have black bear grizzly bear all kinds of rabbit everybody wants in so we had to build a really good fence in the background is a hot house and that's our little Texas we learned that some things don't like to have the things moderated they want to be one hundred degrees and really humid like melons and squash that's what we grow there but we have to roll it down every winter otherwise it. Would be crushed on the back there you see all our solar collector is just simply five thousand feet of one inch poly pipes been there for twenty five years I think now they told me it only last a few years that's not true and we run spring water forty degrees in one end about five months out of the year and the other end comes ninety to one hundred degree free water a thousand gallons a day of hot water I mean it's almost like a odd spring and that a lot of times this is that pool system you saw that's another reason we don't have to worry about it keeps you know clean and plus and this is the fans this is the second fence we've had the first one was a bit of a disaster and all rotted away in about twelve years and you know just the top of it has a roof over it that's all that problem and I milled all those top ones to hold the snow I milled those with a chainsaw the rest of the poles all came from the local wood so they were virtually free posts are buried with drain rock so that they won't rot easily and I had to buy those inside we've done a lot with mulching we used to have a weed problem like everybody. And we have a special problem because good plants grow slower when our cold environment weeds grow box the same as everybody else but mulching has solved that problem and keeps the soil so nice and damp We use everything we can leaves and grass clippings we. There you see a big pea crop peas are one of the few lagoons that will grow outside in a frosty environment frost as bottom so we have lots and lots of peace. And there's onions there as well talk about that later our biggest crop is potatoes they are not frost already our solution to that we have a main line coming from the springs ABOVE THE HOUSE comes right through the garden so we have natural pressure there we have these big rain birds in the night I think it's going to frost in the summer I turn them on all night and the forty degree water sprays everything in keeps everything from freezing it's cold in the morning there's icicles on everything but the potatoes actually love damp cold weather they do fine everything else is frost already out there all the grains are tax. We do get some strawberries We'll talk about that a little later too strawberries grow to grow fine but they are like a fruit tree if it frosts when they're in Boston kills the Boston so you have to have a cover something for those we get a few raspberries but it's pathetic how few we get outside compared inside but it does give us some and they don't come on until late in the summer. These are fava beans as the other look well there are cost environment. There some of you may be familiar with them but there are a larger being more like a lima bean and then they'll spot you see that they're big they have kind of a lining in them that almost as like foam lining insulates the bean itself and then the plant will take not a hard freeze but it takes a good frost and it doesn't kill the plant so the. Girl quite well however I'm still learning how to cook stoves of anybody as good recipes I'm open for a lot of people in the Middle East grow these so in Texas they would probably grow I don't know maybe you're all familiar with we've never heard of them yeah they're Frost hardy though for those of you want to call them grown when it's cold or lot of cabbage and broccoli grow well there all summer because they like the cold just a couple things with how we harvest off these are onions the keeper audience and you see the mulch there in the weeds are trying to grow through with the seasons about over and so well to Saul that we probably onions are all hung in the potting room because it's cool and dry there and we can keep them. And now this is late in the season for us that's mid September and here's our little grandson help in his dig potatoes we grow about eight hundred to one thousand pounds of potatoes and keep all our own seeds so you don't have to get any We were told you can't spray him or wash him they all go bad it's not true we spray him off with our spring water and then let him dry in the sun and then they all go to the root cellar and a whole side of boxes there is full of white potatoes the other side Reds these actually keep better but we can keep potatoes all the way through the next summer and August until we get new potatoes and of course they can't be in the sun a long time but just in the day that it takes them to air dry out it doesn't hurt time this is back in the little hothouse in the early season and those are melons out there and beans and squash and this one looks like a few weeks later you just fill that place up but it's only it's a short season four months. We get lots of melons lots of their squash will show a lot of that later we also go ahead run a farmer's market. Course what we have available berries through the summer. That's a good way to get your neighbors to get together and they enjoy it as a social event. They just come. Early and giant they enjoy. This is mid season when the tomatoes cucumbers come on they love the fruit they can't believe there's fruit in the North Fork we've known this one lady Cheryl for probably over thirty years she's a long term residence the lady in the background lives there year round even in the winter. But people have really taken to our farmer's market and new potatoes this is late season with melons and pears and root crops on sort of stuff. And they keep asking if you can do that next year right and I've got a note from one of the ladies all read under wonderful the reaction even if you're not making your whole living if you can have a farmer's market on your own place I realize if you're going to make a lot of money you're going to be shipping out all over but to us it's way better to draw the people to your home it's good for them to see how I have been a slip everybody knows I mean we've had all kinds of programs with our kids there in our home otherwise people wonder why those people are this way they know they're gardeners you know and they like it so it's a good witnessing opportunity and it makes for happy customers the whole net of this whole thing was we wanted to be able to grow a complete food supply that would feed our family if we can buy anything we can do that now we're selling some of it now but with the with the local berries or huckleberries which cover the mountains there you can pick them these are in our daughter's backyard freezer lots of them and all that. We can do that now we eat a lot of potatoes and a lot of vegetable soup and I'd have to survive on fig an apricot smoothies but we would live and I think that's a good goal for all of God's people right now and mangoes and novel Cardoza and peanuts and all that stuff I can't grow but the day will come I don't think we're going to be able to do that and the Lord will work through our country homes to help support it. Not not outside you know Lego I says in another life with another wife I would build another orchard greenhouse and because you could grow from the trees there but we're grown enough right now I think. Yeah. I'll talk about that in Alpine gardening Yes we have. It we grow as well there but harvesting it and so on is more of an issue on a small scale talk about that then OK. Yes with the most we've ever grown in our garden is enough to make fifty loaves which would do us that's almost want to week. And it's one of it for the two it's wonderful bread but like everything else the Chipmunks love it OK So we're dealing with some issues this is a rocky planet were letting it go to seed the second season so that we can gather seeds off of them. Now and Here is more sees that we've collected on the right or the dill and then in the little bags let us. And again an Alpine garden we have a whole section on how to save your R.C. because we're into doing because you're not going to buy seed somebody either and you want seed that's a climatized your area and you can control it and it's very easy to collect seed I want you to know that we don't have topsoil there I took this picture this is a hole in our garden I was going to plant something the top dark soil is all soil that we have built up through composting pole and rocks out of it for thirty years it's beautiful soil now but it wasn't below it gives you an idea what we started with it's it that's the bottom of what we do and we polled rock solid that forever in those went into our road where it was muddy and the area there's a famous phrase of ours everything you need was on our property it was just all in the wrong places. And beautiful black soil was in our spring bottoms we brought the gardens rocks were in the garden we took it to the road and we're still doing that don't be discouraged if your place is Rocky or whatever you can move it all around. This is how we built a garden this is our compost pile one of them we believe in huge compost piles for a. Home Garden because the heat better specially in our cold climate and it's all moved. OK We're going to have take another break and we're almost done with this and we come back let me let me ask you for those of you who are here when we actually get into the detail stuff what would you like to hear about the most you all in your own land could care about you don't care about how to find good land I mean what would you want to do first. Start there hope they will start there but will will we can punch through them a little faster we'll take another ten minutes or so and we'll be back. 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