ETR Q&A2

Kia ora koutou,
Here is a comment that I received via email from someone who met two of my old friends and mentors in New Hampshire. 
I’ve enjoyed reading your posts at The Automatic Earth, and was surprised a few months ago when you described your former home on Ragged Mountain, as my family and I moved to New London 18 months ago.  I poked around on the internet, looking for Trollbakken, reading an article about you in the Concord Monitor, and so forth.  I mentioned you to my “peak oil” friend here, Larry Rupp, who said, “I know Nelson!”  Then yesterday I caught up on your blog and saw last month’s post about replacing the sill beam at Trollbakken and, looking at the pictures, thought “hey, that’s Rick Estes!” whom I’ve enjoyed talking with when he’s been at my house cleaning chimneys and installing a wood stove.  Not to mention my several Proctor acquaintances.  And that I attended one of Nicole Foss’ early talks when she first hit the road, at Rhinebeck, New York, back in April 2010, I think.  Just thought I’d share, to be filed in the “small world” category.
Congratulations on your baby and best of luck with your many projects.
Thanks for the kind words. We enjoy looking at Google Analytics and seeing where in the world people are reading the blog. I also recently received via email a list of questions from a fellow Frenchman. I answered some of those questions last week, and I’ll continue to answer some of them today.

All photos taken this morning. Please note the picture formatting on Blogger is acting wonky today. Sorry. 




– Is your garden supply all your vegetables& fruits? 
Not at this point, because our fruit trees have have been in the ground less than 2 years, and in some cases less than one. However, we have had apples (4 last year), guavas, figs, lemons and feijoas. This year looks promising in terms of fruit set. 
We have peaches and plums forming, heaps more figs, hundreds of apple blossoms…





… as well as pear, nectarine, grapefruit, tamarillo, blueberry, and orange blossoms at the moment. 


We have already had our first strawberries, and expect continual production from now through Feburary. 

We also have raspberries fruiting, and should have grapes forming soon. 

This year we should get most of our fruit from our 700 m2 section, and next year we should get all of it. 
Regarding vegetables, I’d say we get most of them from our gardens. Although we have had trouble growing potatoes due to cylid aphid. Bear in mind that we started from pure sand, so growing large quantities of vegetables has meant building garden beds with topsoil and compost. We have been continually expanding our garden beds since we arrived less than 2 years ago, including a community garden in our front yard. 
– What is the area of your garden? 
Good question. I have not measured it, and have not intended to. My best answer is ‘big enough.’ 

– How do you keep the water in your garden (use mulch, thickness?)?
We use a combination of top soil (about 70 mm), compost, carbon (newspaper and cardboard), and a little hay/straw. When we sheet mulch, we use ample newspaper (free and abundant) but only enough hay to cover the headlines. This system has worked extremely well for us. Last summer we only had to water the garden once or twice. This would be unthinkable on sand. 

Peace, Estwing
More questions to be answered next week: 
-I haven’t seen such a clever idea for a sun cooker! What is the material of the shell (mirrors? Aluminium sheets?)? Would it be possible to have a draft of the cooker?
-Have you got a workshop in your house? Where did you supply all the tools you needed?
-How much did it cost for your whole renovation? What is your living area (you can include the Deck outside if ou want)?
-What would be your 3 main advices to renovate a house without spending too much money?
-What would be your 3 main advices for a low maintenance-productive garden (fruits trees, chicken moaner, mulch)?
-What were your main mistakes/issues during the renovation?
-How long did it take to renovate the house? (2010 to 2012?)?

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