City to Isolation

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7 years 2 months ago #39455 by rhyso
City to Isolation was created by rhyso
Hi all,

I skipped this bit when I joined and went straight to some pertinent questions in the our place section. I should introduce myself now as I will be lingering here a bit I would think.

My wife and I have just purchased 1.3 Ha of bush in Karamea.

We both grew up in CHCH and are commercial skydivers by trade. We have been doing that for about 15 years in NZ and around the world and currently work and live in Dubai in the UAE.

This opportunity (tax free, housing supplied) has given us the opportunity to get land and build a house without getting a mortgage in a relatively short period of time.

We still have a couple of years to go but the aim is to produce as much of our food and energy as possible, while still living a comfortable and modern lifestyle.

I plan on hunting for venison, growing veggies, herbs, eggs, pork, chicken and fruit.

Karamea seems perfect for foraging as when we were inspecting properties, there were untold overgrown fruit trees and vines.

Our property has a 12 metre waterfall and a head of 30 metres within the boundaries. Micro hydro will be our primary mean of generating electricity and we plan on connecting to the grid rather than using batteries so we can use standard appliances. This is yet to be determined.

I am agnostic by nature and religion and love to experience nature. We chose Karamea for it's great climate for growing food, it's relative isolation, water supply (rain) and the school.

We are yet to have children but plan on arriving pregnant to this property with a new house on it within 2.5 years.

I plan on travelling to Australia to work for couple of months each year for cash and spend most of the time gardening, hunting, developing the property and making things. I have experience rearing calves so might be able to pick up a little extra work there each year in spring as well.

Some have asked us why we would want to live there, it is over an hour to Westport... my reply is, why would you want to live in chch, it can take an hour to drive across town.

The dream is to have an electric car on top but lets see how we go... these will become all too common in the coming decade.

As much as we have a great and easy lifestyle now, we both miss NZ very much and are super excited to go home and make a nice family and future in a place that seems unreal. Especially from the vantage point of a desert!

Thanks in advance to all those sharing your knowledge and experiences. This type of information is vital in saving time, money, energy and stress.

Also thanks to the founder of the website... a great resource that will only grow with time.[8D]

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7 years 2 months ago #504961 by kai
Replied by kai on topic City to Isolation
Karamea is a lovely place

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7 years 2 months ago #504996 by kindajojo
Replied by kindajojo on topic City to Isolation
From the west coast, Karamea is nice ...great micro climate...can be quite tripical..
.....just watch the tax situation if you are earning income overseas and have property in NZ.

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7 years 2 months ago #505004 by rhyso
Replied by rhyso on topic City to Isolation
Yeah. Needs to be an abode so am good for the moment.

When we move back I will have to work out the tax implications of working in aus...

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7 years 2 months ago #505005 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic City to Isolation
Do you know about sandflies and mosquitos? It takes some while to become un-tasty to sandflies, and many thousands of bites. I'm not sure if humans ever become immune to mosies :-(. Thus budget in insect screens for doors and windows.
You may be able to grow some of your own vegetables, but it might take many years to get the soil correct for some types. I've had a vege garden for 20 years now, but even in the tiny area that I have some areas are more fertile than others. Some years some things grow well, and next year the seed strike rate is awful, or the temperature a bit cooler, or too much/little water and the success is awful. I can't grow pumpkins well. Carrots used to be good but now aren't, beetroot are still good. Thus don't budget to be self sufficient every year.
Remember that you are not permitted to sell meat, game, fish or shellfish. Thus don't budget this as an income.
Good luck.

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7 years 2 months ago #505014 by rhyso
Replied by rhyso on topic City to Isolation
I lived in Franz Josef for 3-4 years. I know about sand flies and mozzies.

I intend on a reasonably sized tunnel house and establishing raised beds and monitoring pH and fertility.

Establishing good soil will be a challenge for sure. Though not impossible with some work and rotating crops. All things take time but I'm hoping 20 years will not be necessary.

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7 years 2 months ago #505020 by Anakei
Replied by Anakei on topic City to Isolation

rhyso;511345 wrote:
Establishing good soil will be a challenge for sure. Though not impossible with some work and rotating crops. All things take time but I'm hoping 20 years will not be necessary.

Read "teaming with microbes" by Jeff Lowenfels for amazing explanations of soil science and how to build up fertility.

What a great opportunity and lifestyle you have planned! I hope it all works out for you.[^]

Commercial skydiving?? Is that even a job:confused: :D

Urban mini farmer and guerilla gardener

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7 years 2 months ago #505023 by rhyso
Replied by rhyso on topic City to Isolation

Anakei;511354 wrote: Read "teaming with microbes" by Jeff Lowenfels for amazing explanations of soil science and how to build up fertility.

What a great opportunity and lifestyle you have planned! I hope it all works out for you.[^]

Commercial skydiving?? Is that even a job:confused: :D

Awesome thanks for the info. Will read that later for sure!

And yes it is. Look up skydive dubai videos and you can see what we do all day... someone has to do it[;)]

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6 years 11 months ago #509110 by rhyso
Replied by rhyso on topic City to Isolation
So, MPI guy booked, digger booked, bushman (to fell trees) booked and portable mill booked...

I am getting really excited, only a matter of weeks now and I can come back to NZ for a month and begin the transition of turning this beautiful block of bush into a great place to live.

Still a couple of years away from building the house, but that will give the timber time to season.

The digger driver seems to think the trees we will take down are all Rimu, but he is going up there with the guy that will be felling them in a week or so.

When I am there I will be sure to take lots of photos and some before and after shots.

Really, really excited! :D [8D]

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6 years 11 months ago #509122 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic City to Isolation
We were in the same boat, ie had the land and was living o/s (well aussie) with frequent trips back. I planted an orchard in the early days but the darn possums and sheep dealt to it, so had to re-plant when we permanently moved, so delay there in being to harvest our own.

We bought and moved here with similar ideas of self sufficiency but found with the need to rebuild a house, sheds, re-fencing etc there are only so many hours in a day and thus we are not exactly where we thought we would be by now re growing our own supplies. We have installed 24 x 6 kW panels with inverters on the roof which currently feed the mains and intend to install a mini hydro system in due course for additional power. As we bought a spa the same month we installed the panels, we think we are producing around a 1/3 of our power needs. time will tell properly.

So that is my advice to you, be prepared that it might take a wee bit longer. My other wish is that we had bought other property around us when it was on the market to get away from neighbours and their boundary doings. :rolleyes: Sometimes feels like its living in a gold fish bowl on a larger scale.....

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6 years 11 months ago #509155 by rhyso
Replied by rhyso on topic City to Isolation
Well we are not planning on going back to live there until we have enough to have a brand new house finished and off the grid securely. 5kw solar plus microhydro.

The exchange rate is accelerating our plan. For now.

I do not think we will ever have the opportunity to save as much as we are right now so we will stay till the job's done. Freehold.

As they say round here, Inshallah.

Gonna give the trees a go, even if we are 50% successful. Will be good to get some of the perennials in early as well like Raspberries, blue berries etc... Karamea has an interesting climate that accommodates for many different things.

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6 years 11 months ago #509222 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic City to Isolation
If the possums and rabbits don't get them, then the deer and the pigs and goats will. It rather seems like wasted effort if you are not there to guard them.

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6 years 11 months ago #509240 by igor
Replied by igor on topic City to Isolation
You're a real joy germ LR. You may well be right though.

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6 years 11 months ago #509271 by Belle Bosse
Replied by Belle Bosse on topic City to Isolation
LR dont be so discouraging! Even if you are correct about the activities of the joyous possums, rabbits, deer, pigs and goats...

Rhyso,
From my own experience, when we first bought our bare block property we were really keen to get some fruit trees in and established, even though we were overseas at the time... so I can see where you are coming from...
First opportunity we bought 30 fruit trees; figs, carob, peach and bananas... and began with planting the 8 banana plants. And because we were overseas and could not water them as needed, we planted in the wetland edges. Several went under water when the water level rose. We figured they needed some fencing protection, so we did that to the best of our non-fencing- ability too... the rest of the fruit trees we had to leave with our friends to baby-sit till we got back.
Our first planting success rate was 0 us and 8/8 win... for the cattle! About $80 worth of plants were lost in that "fruitless" exercise.

AFTER we returned to NZ, AFTER the orchard area was securely fenced with electric fencing the bulls wont touch, THEN and only then, the original figs and peaches were planted along with over 200 other fruit trees, including another 15 banana plants...
But the 6 carobs we originally bought are still waiting, nearly 3 years later, along with last winter's purchase of 40 Heritage fruit trees. As usual we ran out of time! Only half the orchard is irrigated... ran out of time with that as well.

To start with, in our eagerness and inexperience, our timing judgment was way out as well... everything takes SO MUCH LONGER to do than expected. When overseas we frequently had 3 weeks worth of work planned for 3 days! If we had 3 weeks available we had 3 months work planned. It doesn't work!
Now we have a priority list of developments and are steadily working our way through each project.

Use your time overseas to do all the research and orchard and garden area "dry runs", that you wont have time to do when you get home. It helps knowing how many trees can fit in a given area and what their needed spacings are. That information will also help you with working out how much materials are needed for fencing etc when you get to that project. Or how much space is needed for the amount of rows for garden beds or berry bushes etc...

Instead of purchasing fruit trees and being disappointed at loosing them, start an Excel spread sheet "Orchard Planning wish list", research each plant, its care and requirements and list the nurseries of where to find them for when you are ready to purchase and begin planting. The spread sheet is also use-able as a "plant register" when you begin purchasing and planting.
Mapping your orchard in a notebook as you plant is a good idea too, as the tags tend to get blown off, or disintegrate in the weather.

Your fruit trees will love you to be home before they arrive. It is difficult caring for a young orchard when you are not on-site and have limited time available.

Waiting will give you a better result.

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6 years 11 months ago #509279 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic City to Isolation
Belle Bosse raises a good point re orchard plantings. I have only just mapped ours now and in hindsight I should have gone into researching when each variety is ''supposed'' to ripen to give us a broader eating season of each fruit. Now its 5 years on since I planted out, its only now that I am finding what we have a lot of in certain summer weeks, and not in others.

We also budgeted that we should have acquired enough funds/assets to build here and spent thousands on having an individual house plan designed.

That is still sitting in the wardrobe and its doubtful we will ever get to build that for a number of reasons. Apart from which 6 months after it was completed we both agreed there were aspects we would change.

Something we didn't think about and that is the amount of attachments and farming equipment that is required (for us anyhow being on near 100 acres). We planned on buying a tractor with a 3 in 1 bucket, but then the list grew what else we needed.
We don't like to borrow someone-else gear and we are equally reluctant to lend out our own having had things returned broken or not at all. However the purchase costs of such items was never budgeted for in such great detail and expense.

By all means I am not wanting to put you off at all, but just say expect the unexpected. it didn't work out how we thought it going to, but that doesn't mean to say we wouldn't do most of it again either....

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