Wolf Mountain Sustainable Homestead Philosophy and Mission Statement
: A map towards a sustainable futureWMSH
is founded on the following ideas and beliefs:Technology
can be used to create a sustainable culture, but itself cannot be the only vehicle to drive humanity towards a sustainable future. Alternative Energy
can only lead to sustainability if coupled with the reduction of demand.
The media endlessly bombards us with news of grandios efforts to creating massive sources of alternative energy, but neglects to even mention the notion of significantly reducing our energy demands by simplifying our lifestyles. WMSH is founded on the idea that lifestyle changes are the most effective methods of creating a sustainable future. Living with less is not flashy or popular. But, remember, Ghandi changed the world in significant ways with simple acts of non-violent protest.Lifestyle
changes are essential to creating a sustainable global civilization. Simplifying lifestyles must be perceived as a positive evolution. If survival depends on it, how can it be perceived as anything but evolution. Attitudes and beliefs
about voluntary simplicity must change. Currently, any reduction in consumerism is perceived as Un-American. Isn't it strange that literally anihillating the country itself isn't considered Un-American? Mountain top removal, the destruction of ancient forests and any endeavor that destroys ecological systems should be considered Unpatriotic.Global Equality of Standard of Living (GEOSOL)
If everyone were to live modern western lifestyles we would need many planets to support everyone's needs. The facts are indesputible; the moral and ethical plan of action is indesputable. Living a modern lifestyle presupposes global inequity. I don't know about you, but my conscience won't allow myself to live any other way that values all humans as equal and deserving of equal standard of living. What is currently pereived as "extreme" voluntary simplicity, it is the only ethical way to live considering the exponential population growth and finite resources.
is essential to long term sustainablilty. We must reduce, if not elliminate, our dependance on goods and products shipped to us from distant places (more than 500?, 50? 5? miles away??) The envirnmental consequences of the burning of fossil fuels threatens our ability to achieve healthy sustainable ecosystems.
Abundance is not a license to waste. Just because we have enough fuel for the next 200 years does not mean we should consume it without consideration for future generations beyond that. This concept applies to ALL non-renewable and
Short term profits must be replaced with long term planning.Consumerism
must go! The current green movement, although well intentioned, is based on on consumerism that is undeniably unsustainable. The green movement can be compared to the the differences between "Shallow" and "Deep" organic agriculture. Shallow organic agriculture is merely conventional agriculture with a new facade. Although "organic" products are produced using significantly less toxic materials, Shallow organic still shipped 1,000's of miles which uses massive amounts of energy and creates massive amounts of pollution. Deep organic agriculture places crop production within an ecological context. The green movement is an improvement, but a futile one. Mix that with the "locavore" movement and now your talking sustainable!
must be, not economics, our number one priority.
-Waste streams must be closed.
-Reducing outside inputs, simple technology
-Education should center around Ecological intelligence of subsequent generations is crucial to our survival. Permaculture centered studies from K-Post PHD! After all, if we can't survive on the planet, what is the point of all the other human pursuits?APPRENTICESHIPS:
may offer you the learning experiences that u are looking for.
I arrived in Giles county in 2006. The land had nothing but a rustic logging road, about 4-5 acres of overgrown pasture and 35 acres of 30 year old forest regrowth. I hired a neighbor to bulldoze a driveway to my upper house site and hand dug about 150 feet of driveway through the bottom pasture where the topsoil is pretty deep. i made deep, muddy ruts every time it rained that my big truck couldn't even get through. I dug two 2' x 2' ruts that i then filled in with gravel and rock from the land. I then built a 40 x 40 pole barn with locally milled wood from this land and a neighbor's. Last winter i enclosed one section of the pole barn to live in. it has one 170 watt solar panel, three deep cell batteries and 1 1/2 watt LED lights, rainwater collection system with three stages of filtration. a sink and a shower stall drain outside via a 4" PVC pipe. i heat with wood. there are pictures of my little "shacky cubby cozy cabin" on my facebook: search "nick kaplan in narrows virginia" and u should find me. there are also a few pictures of my most recent project of building massive raised beds and that are edged with lumber that i milled. i am in the midst of building a cob house. the footer is nearly completely done; the gravel french drain/rubble trench foundation is next. i diverted my attention to more agricultural stuff because a friend of mine, who owns a high end restaurant, wants me to grow for him this spring. he said he will buy anything i can grow. so...the house is on pause for now. i am happy with the cabin so it's no rush really (except for the building inspector and his rules about construction must be continuous) u can see pictures of the footer at: www.wolfmtnearthworks.com
. here are some projects that i have in mind for the near future that u could participate in depending on what strikes ur fancy. you work on projects that interest you. i am just going to be happy to have help at all. everything i have done has been completely by myself (besides the bulldozing). so, having someone to help move ANY of my projects along will be wonderful...and i am hoping some folks will want the opportunity to actually DO the things they have read daydreamed about, but never actually done with their own hands. i have a bit of experience with a lot of homesteading skills, and have all the tools to do it. i have been gathering tools for 15 years to do what i am doing now. I'm a generalist; I'm not a master at anything...i'll get to that later.
1) finish the newest pole barn. the poles are set on homemade concrete piers and most of the framing for the roof and room inside (for interns to live it) is all ready to go. i cleared a bunch of ash trees for a clearing for sugar maples and used that for the framing lumber. man, that is HARD stuff! it's going to have to be drilled because it's too dense to nail. all 12 massive locust posts are bolted in place. i am thinking that an intern may want to work on that and apply several different building methods in order to make it sort of a demo building. i am thinking straw bale for the north wall, cob for some of it, convention framing with clay slip/straw and maybe rammed earth also. the subsoil here is perfect for cob and slip...not so perfect for farming, but thus the 2' tall raised beds. the room in this building will be 8 x 14 and have a roof and loft, rocket stove style wood fired heater, it's own solar panel and battery and rainwater collection. it's a tiny building so it can potentially be a building to try to build just about everything needed for a little off-grid dwelling.
2) beekeeping: i have bee hives and want to get them going. I have not tended the hives for several years and all of the bees have either died or swarmed to another location. I am offering a profit sharing opportunity for all of the bee products we produce and sell. i will be purchasing nucs in April.
3) Orchard and forest gardens: Zones 3 & 4 are still be prepared for plantings. The areas are being prepared with the following procedure. The existing sod is killed by smothering it with used carpet and 12' wide sheets of woven poly-underlayment, rock powders, lime and soil ammendments are spread, the area is subsoiled (not tilled), and then sown in cover crops. If you are interested in design work, I have many "empty slates" to experiment with. I would love interns to work on creating
4) Hoop house contruction: Hopefully by late winter I will have built a greenhouse with 1/2 or 3/4 inch metal conduit. Seedling starting, asexual propogation techniques and tree grafting.
5) Organic gardening & sustainable agriculture: Raised bed and conventional row methods. i have a 30 hp tractor and implements so cultivating the bottom pasture is an option for an intern as well. i have worked with a soil scientist and had extensive soil testing done; i am in the midst of correcting nutrient levels and addressing the clay soils with gypsum and subsoiling, cover cropping/green manure rotations. selling at two local markets is also an option for an intern. i am willing to do profit sharing with any income made from the sale of produce.
6) cob house construction. if someone wants to work on the house that would be great! the footer is dug; it needs the french drain and gravel installed. the building inspector would not allow it to be load bearing so the roof will be post and beam bolted to the concrete floating footer.
7) gourmet mushroom cultivation. i have inoculated about 100+ logs with 4 different gourmet mushroom varieties. they will be ready for soaking and fruiting this spring. i am willing to do profit sharing with that project also.
8) sugar maple tree planting. hundreds of seedlings all over the property in growing tubes.
9) chainsaw mill operation. i can cut 42" wide boards to any length. www.nicksportablesawmill.com
10) metal fabrication. i have a nice MIG welder and can teach someone basic welding and fabrication.
11) woodworking. pretty good collection of hand and power tools. i am especially interested in making nakashima type furntiure with all mortise and tenon joints. i built a woodworking bench from reclaimed oak and used only mortise and tenon joints with pegs only. i can teach the basics of joinery and timber framing.
12) sustainable logging and tree felling skills
13) ginseng (and other woodland medicinals) cultivation
14) fruit tree planting, grafting and pruning
15) bramble and grape vine planting (& building support structures for each)
16) maple syrup production
17) potted nursery stock production; grafting and propagation techniques for local retail sale.
i am a master of no trade, but can teach a wide range of skills for the beginner. if ur into an interning experience that is more like a taste-test of sustainable, off-grid homesteading with an emphasis on making due with the tools and materials at hand, rather than a more in depth "learn one skill" internship then u may be interested in an internship at wolf mountain sustainable homestead. i have a full time job as a social worker. i work on the farm some mornings, most every evening and EVERY weekend. i am available for guidance when i'm not working, but otherwise ur on ur own. the local alternative back-to-the-land scene is nearly non-existent in giles county. if u want community and lots of people around turn your attention to the farms in floyd county. they are listed in the growfood.com site. if ur not comfortable working alone this may not be the place for you. however, there is a cute college town 30 miles to the east and several different interesting farms/homesteads about 1 1/2 hours away in and around floyd, check and pilot. i am very negotiable about the amount of work an intern completes each day. if you want to just hang out and work only when i am around that would be fine with me. if u want more structure and a stipend we could discuss that. if u want to focus on profit sharing opportunities only we could focus on that. i am extremely open to discussing what the internship ends up looking like. like i have said, i am going to be happy just having additional help around to further my homestead's goals. i haven't really worked on articulating a mission statement or series of goals for my place. in my heart i know what i'm doing and why, but to put it into words is really a challenge. my motivation to build a self-sufficient homestead founded in permacultural theory and design has been building strength since my early teen years. everything that i see as "wrong" with the world leads me to feel empowered to simplifying my own life and disconnecting from our modern consumer culture in order to make a positive difference. politics, environmental, spiritual, social issues all enter into the mix when i think about ,"why homestead?". the phrase "Be the change you want to see in the world" has been an inspiring concept for me for many years. if u'd like to chat about a visit or an internship at my farm please be in touch. i look forward to hearing from you. -permaculturally yours, nick kaplan
take a look at some more photos at: