I have since left Montana and returned home (end of summer 2015) as well as officially resigned from being an ant. I essentially worked and lived at home, kept chickens, got a few things planted in the ground... but my focus was to work 40/week and save money. That came in handy when I went to pay for my first semester this past fall (2016) and massive list of tools when I started towards getting my AAS Degree in Diesel, Truck & Heavy Equipment. At 19, I paid my my entire bill (plus a small loan) with money that I earned over the previous year. That right there is what teaches perseverance, and the meaning of hard work. I'm proud to say that I maintained a 3.8 GPA thus far, but this isn't a community that focuses on institutionalized education. So why diesel mechanic? The demand is extremely high, especially for someone who can diagnose problems safely, quickly, and without causing further damage/wasting the customer's money, and the field is much much broader than that of an auto mechanic. But why a career with a salary? I found that its a good idea to have a back up plan, a skill that can be mastered, pays well, and can be taken anywhere... literally anywhere from the busiest cities in the country to the middle of no where logging towns. My goal is to one day own a shop/work out of a service truck and service a community of farmers, obviously preferably permaculture farmers, but beggars can't be choosers. Not that I think I'll be begging for work; a smart man with his wits about him is forever learning. The skill sets associated with working on tractor trailers and equipment can easily be applied to fabrication/welding/machining for various custom projects and or making things for sale in general. And the principles of an engine are largely the same whether it's found in a excavator, a locomotive, a car, or a chainsaw.
I currently attend Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor, Maine and live at home in southern, New Hampshire. If you have questions, and are willing to trust advice from a student/apprentice, I'll see what I can do.
Not a fun thing to happen as it is dangerous to contact skin or eyes.
I don't think its as dangerous to just make contact with the fluid as it is dealing with high pressure leaks. The same goes for any fuel lines going from the high pressure secondary fuel pump and the injectors on any diesel engine with a 'common rail'. It doesn't matter if the engine is off; its still pressurized. This means that a fine mist can easily turn into a skin piercing jet of fluid (look up hydraulic fluid injection injury, it's not pretty.) Please be careful.
I'm trying to think of an invasive as an indicator. If a group of people invade your country, they probably want something that your country has. If a plant invades an ecosystem, it 'wants' something from that ecosystem. But since plants have no cognitive abilities, it does what it is genetically programmed to do: grow, reproduce, die. The same effect can be seen with diseases, bacteria, viruses, cancer, the human body, ect.
Climates, ecosystems, weather patterns, grazing patterns, food chains, genetics, ect. are constantly shifting, changing, dieing, and growing. It might not seem like it, since humans tend to not live all that long. But a few plants taking over a few acres is peanuts. A few plants taking over several hundred acres is only a slightly bigger deal. So... For anyone to have the audacity to assume that they know enough about an area to call a plant native is, IMO, incompetent on the subject.
Nature does just fine without us. Permaculture is about making it do better. Until we can accept that the only static thing in the universe is the concept of math, we aren't getting anywhere.
I think my two favorite plants from Arizona were yucca and agave. I couldn't tell them apart, but a Navajo guide said yucca used to be their "hardware-store-in -a-plant". Another person said agave only blooms once every 100 years (?).
I've also been formally diagnosed with high functioning Aspergers and ADHD since 6th grade. At that time, I was shifting into middle/junior high school, which meant shifting into the next tier of education and workload. I would find myself having panic attacks because of this change and eventually it got to the point where I would barely get any homework done at all, because I was hyper focused on the fact that I wasn't getting anything done, how my teachers would react the next day, and how it would affect my grades. My English class seemed to have a particularly heavy workload for 6th grade. By the end of the year, I had a D. Despite that, the teacher who taught my English class was the one who immediately noticed me and played a huge part in getting me a diagnosis, and gave me what was probably the most thorough education in grammar I've ever received, even after high school. At some point, I was put on meds to help me focus. At first, the ones that actually did what they were supposed to, made me feel motivated...I genuinely wanted to do the work. This wore off despite the fact that I was still taking them. I would stop taking them during the summer and start again along with school and the motivation effect was back. As I got used to this issue of not being focused, I only found myself malfunctioning when I really did have a lot to be stressed about.
At some point in high school, I decided that I wanted absolutely nothing to do with any medication from a pharmaceutical company (unless it's a life or death/extreme pain situation). I am also lucky enough not to have any conditions where a doctor might try to convince me to take medication over trying to resolve the situation homeopathically. Moving away from the meds, I definitely struggled to keep up with everything, especially during my senior year. Despite that, I managed to graduate 38 out of 438 in my class (weighted)...not that grades really matter beyond the education world, but I think it shows progress from where I started with my diagnosis.
I've also never been able to keep my room organized, despite the fact that I do like things to be neat and categorized...even if its a simple Excel Spreadsheet, or a bunch of files on a computer.Sometimes a lot of the time, that just doesn't happen though. I'm currently in the process of thoroughly myself that if I want to make myself a better person, I need to enable myself to do things better. To do that, I need to be organized.
So... I've decided that every useful thing that I own needs one spot and one spot only, with a very clear, concise, and easy to read label, and every useful thing needs my name or initials engraved/written in permanent marker/stenciled with spray paint. Every piece of paper that I want to keep either needs to be scanned as a PDF and then filed properly. Every other piece of paper should be immediately be filed in the 'I don't want this paper' bucket. Every other thing that I own should either be permanently fixed to a particular spot, purged from my life, or redefined as useful as something that it was not before (e.i. random metal knickknack is now scrap metal). Some might call this OCD, but I want my life to be organized to the point where the only component that can fail is myself, NOT the things that are a part of my life. (I wonder if I'll ever get to that point??) Let's call this the code of organization.
Your story was pretty much what my story was a little over a year ago during my senior year of high school when I decided to join permies. Immediately after graduating high school, I flew across the country to meet Paul Wheaton (the guy who runs this site and the 'Duke' of permaculture), be apart of his farm-ish type community in Montana, and take the 2 week long Permaculture Design Course (PDC) that he was hosting, which was taught by Permaculture Research Institute (PRI) certified instructor Howard Story. A PDC is sort of a gateway/introductory education for permaculture. Although you can learn a lot more on your own in more depth, a PDC is an organized way to get a grip on what the hell you are learning. PRI was started by Geoff Lawton (the 'Prince' of permaculture) under the direction of Bill Mollison (the 'King' of permaculture, and author of THE permaculture text book 'The Permaculture Designer's Manual', which is used as a basis for all PRI certified courses.) In other words, a PRI course is recognized by the people who created the word permaculture itself and it won't have any hippy spiritual stuff.
First, where are you? If you plan on being a permaculture designer in your area, it's a good idea to take a course in your area to better understand the landscape and climate you will encounter. However, even though I went to across the country to take my PDC, Montana and Northern New England are fairly similar. Also, despite the fact that my instructor, Howard has most of his experience from Thailand (a tropical climate), I still learned a TON of useful stuff.
Second, What do you want to do with this knowledge? Unless you just want to do this for a hobby, or make a career out of teaching/consulting in general permaculture and sustainability, I have learned that its a good idea to pick a field that interests you the most and figure out a way to apply permaculture to your work. Depending on your standards, this might mean owning your own business.
I would start by learning through podcasts, books, youtube, articles, all the threads here on permies, and experimenting in whatever you're interested in- whether it be building fine furniture out of roundwood, or growing some food. This might also give you a better idea of what you think is interesting and what is not.
With all that said, here's a little list of schools that look like they are doing some sort of permaculture/sustainability program: http://sustainableaged.org/projects/degree-programs/ Though it does look like most of them focus on just agriculture and a few of them probably just slapped the word sustainable on the title without changing the curriculum to truly match the title.
I'd like to suggest that you experiment with hugelkulture. Pretty much take any sort of high density carbon material (mostly wood of any sort except cedar, walnut, black locust) and bury it in soil while trying to keep as much of the wood surface in contact with the soil and not other wood, then put mulch over it. This will not only build soil that will naturally hold water for much much longer , but it will also support a massive fungal micro ecosystem, AND its an easier solution than chipping all that brush and slash. There's no rules for what size or shape, other than the laws of physics. You could go as small as calf height, or as big as whatever machines you might have acess to at the time will allow. In my opinion, the bigger and the wackier the shapes (in general) the better, because that's when you can really start experimenting with microclimates.
As for whether or not you are doing Permaculture, I guess if you aren't, you're going in the right direction. Even the best of us on here are always improving, innovating and trying new things.
Learn a whole lot more about hugelkulture here:http://www.richsoil.com/hugelkultur/
First, what kind of condition are you looking for? Ready to use after purchase or somewhere between scrap metal and a little bit of time fixing it up? Often times, you will need to do some cleaning, sharpening or refitting it with a handle. And even then, if it can't be restored, you might be able to use the materials to make your own tools to save money.
Second, what kind of area are you searching in? For example, you might not find as much if you went to a thrift store in NYC as you would if you went to a more rural area where those kinds of tools where traditionally used in the trades more often.
Hi Cody, I've followed your channel for at least a year before I came to Permies about a year ago (you probably had only 50,000 subscribers). When I was at Wheaton Labs this summer, I had an idea for you and Paul to collaborate, but wasn't sure how to help facilitate that. I'm very glad to see this happen.
Open source Ecology is working on a highly modular set of machines that can be built by anyone who can weld and put bolts together. These are free open source designs that can be built at only the cost of materials. On top of that, I don't know of a better way to understand the mechanics of a machine (for Maintenance) than to build it yourself.
Granted, I don't see them coming up with a 20 ton excavator any time soon...
If you could get access to a few snatch blocks and a long enough cordage, I would suggest gearing down your rope to put that much less strain on your truck (or just pull more weight).
There's also a cool little thing called the Lewis winch, which is a chainsaw winch attachment, but the price is actually more than the cost of most chainsaws when brand new. So maybe you can use this video for some inspiration and make your own.
And since there aren't a whole lot of places to anchor to on some areas of the lab, I figured I'll show you the ground anchor too.
I like Matthias's videos (the guy who made the ones first posted in the thread). He does a lot of cool, complex and intercate things that can sometimes only be done with machines. The thing is that the machines required to safely and accurately build cool things. A half decent table saw with a good fence will be around $300-400+. I personally much prefer to learn how to do things with hand tools. I feel that once you get the experience part down, you can get a few half decent chisels, a hand plane, and a dove tail saw for far far less than even the crappiest table saw and maybe even cut just as fast as a machine would.
Paul Sellers is all about doing quality work with hand tools that don't cost very much at all. This is his video on dovetails.
Some people at Harvard are working on a battery made from all non toxic organic compounds (organic in chemistry means most things labeled as such are made up of hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur and/or phosphorous). As I understand it, the battery stores the electrolytic fluids in a separate container, where it can flow into the actual battery with the electrodes to produce electricity. I think this means that if you want to have an off grid electrical system, you won't be storing several batteries. Instead you'll have large amounts of the electrolyte stored, but only one actual battery. And the thing about rhubarb... one of the electrolytes is a type of quinone found in rhubarb. Apparently, other quinones work too, some of them found in plants. Unfortunately, they are also found in crude oil. I also have no idea what the extraction process involves to get the quinones. The other electrolyte being tested is ferrocyanide (apparently cyanide kills you by stealing iron from your body, in this case, the cyanide already stole iron from somewhere else, and won't let go of it), which is currently being used as a food additive and fertilizer, (so maybe only slightly toxic, considering the EPA's standards?) Lets also remember that battery electrolyte isn't something you would mistake as salad dressing, so I say its a lot better than what we have now. One of the articles I read said that the developers are hoping that this will be commercialized within 10 years.
I wouldn't be the one to safely confirm that that adapter should work, although I'm pretty sure the plug is male, as you said. When I was looking for a cord, my intention was to plug it into an outlet in the cabin. The problem is, all those outlets are probably on the same switch. With the fridge running, the light on, and a laptop/cellphone or two being charged, maybe adding the tractor would be too much of a load. But thank you for your help and the offer.
There's is a thread for both of the points I'm going to make, but I want to answer Warren's questions.
The Electric tractor:
The charge port is under the hinged cover on the back between the ROPS and the 3pt hitch. I had searched the shop for a cord with a plug that is compatible with the input plug, but couldn't find one.
Millennium Falcon dump truck:
Llast I heard, it has water in the fuel system and the electrical system is shot. I don't think anyone bother to look at it very much, at least while I was there.
So I've made the to wander back to the other side of the country, to New Hampshire. Why? The biggest reason was the extremely poor air quality and the stage II voluntary evacuation notice due to the near by fire. However, when I left, everything seemed to improve. After getting home, the fire doesn't even look like its advancing any more, never mind advancing in our direction, plus fire season is pretty much over. Before I left, I pretty much finished up the excavation part of building a house and had a few peeled logs on the ground and even got some video, but maybe not enough to make a complete video for Youtube. I also knew I would be back at some point.
I've been home for about two weeks, and I've found that its nice to see deciduous trees again. More importantly, I get to reorganize myself, and I have a much better understanding of what will be useful to me when I do go back. One of those things is most definitely a vehicle. Speaking of going back, the more I think about it, the more I think that its something that I NEED to do. When I flew out there the first time, I felt the same way, and still do. So I guess going back would be like expanding on the completion of that thing that I NEED to do.
Why the emphasis on the 'NEED'? I've found that I'm becoming almost as much of an educator as I am a student in everything I'm learning, as a side affect of innovation. No one knows if I'm doing a good job or not at either of those jobs until progress is made. But, I'm pretty sure that not being there at Wheaton Labs doesn't help with that whole thing.
If you are someone who has given me anything from a piece of advice or encouragement, or something helpful that is a little more tangible, thank you.
I'm working on collecting all kinds of seeds for maples, birch, beech, oaks, for whenever I come back. Just now, I realized that grapes are just passed their prime for fruit, how difficult are they to propagate from seed? Concord grape grows on the side of the road here.
Josh did say (jokingly) at one time that he was going to make his shelter an earth-bermed tent. Seeing this, maybe the berm-ish part of a bermed tent could be a yarn burrow.
Please don't take that there comment ^^above^^ seriously, if someone sent anything close to a pallet quantity of yarn, it would become nesting material for animals faster than everyone here could learn how to knit and use it all, considering our current storage conditions.
But yes, warm clothing will be very beneficial coming soon.
Don't think that a single 2 week window should be your only way of building your knowledge base. Yes, Paul has some awesome ideas, but I think a PRI certificate would look better on paper (until Paul has some sort of way to recognize/certify people, like PEP1). I think the best way to learn from Paul is to be here for a long time, and learn from everyone else that passes through here.
Is this going to apply to ants? I know that most of us are using community resources that you have provided (Allerton Abbey, the fridge, the red shed, poppers, showers ect.) But I also know that the idea with ant village is that there will someday be a mostly self sufficient community. This certainly won't happen overnite next week, nor overnite 6 months from now. Basically, I can understand the fee, but should it change to reflect progress made in the ant village community?
First Ant plot update video. I was hoping to start excavation/clearing today, but the tractor is being used daily until the bermshed is done. Sorry about the poor filming quality, I have to learn somewhere.
These past few days, in between helping Josh with the berm shed, I've been through a lot of frustration trying to get some sort of blogish-website thing going. I've bounced from several different blogging services, Content Management System software (Like Adobe Dreamweaver, but different versions), and even considered learning to writing the code for the entire site myself due to frustration with all the other things I've tried. It looks like Wordpress is working out the best for what I want at the moment.
This morning, I did do some work on trying to make some sort of lean-to tool shed to keep things from rusting. (Yes Paul, it will be invisible from space and probably from most of my plot actually.)
I'm thinking of writing an article that fleshes out the hand tools thing as far as quality, and how to take care of them (as best as possible to my knowledge). I'm by no means a professional hand tool user or 'Proenneke level 10' about all of this, but it seems to be a recurring thing for people to tell me that I at least look like I know a thing or two (so maybe I do...). The theory is that I'll add to it as I get a chance to use different tools and get more experience.
It looks like the one you ordered for Chris is a Council Axe and I think I've heard a few good things about them. It also has a wood handle, which can be replaced and even made one's self with proper knowledge. A fiberglass handle...not so much. But I think there is almost as much to know about the handle as there is to know about the tool head itself.
I have a rake, shovel, post hole digger, and mattock (that turned out to be not so awesome), a small forest axe (between a full size axe and a hatchet), a bow saw, and a hand saw, and lots of other things that I probably won't need for a while (if not, for side projects, ect.). I have a few things in mind that I could use, but I would like to have a better idea of what my structure is going to involve first. Thank you!
Sorry that I haven't been posting very much. I find that whenever I'm not doing something, I'm at Allerton Abbey, which has little to know service.
The past few days, I have been canning potatoes that went bad and died beans. Today, instead of working in the high heat, I started organizing the tools that are against the wall in the auditorium. I have them all carefully organized by category and to maximize wall space.
I also started putting ideas down on paper. I out a lot of names to things that don't exist yet. Hopefully you can read a few of them.
I also want to thank Kelly Ware for the plants she sent, although I don't think any of the ones that I picked from the ant selection are still going. I wasn't able to get up to the lab for a while for some reason or another that I forget, so by the time I got to planting, they didn't look so great.
And thank you again to Jocelyn for each time she invites us for dinner, including tonight. It's always fun to sit down and talk about everything that's going on.
My understanding is that not much focus has been put into it lately. Currently, the only gapper here is Fred, who is staying in Allerton Abbey and focuses mostly on planting and mulching all over the place. I have a feeling that the tipi has more appeal during the winter because of the whole RMH in a tipi deal, so maybe someone will show up sometime in the fall? I know Paul does want someone to focus on fixing the place up and turn it into a glamping experience, so if anyone is reading this and that sounds fabulous, it might be time for you to make the trek out here.
I felled limbed and bucked twice this 30ish foot tree yesterday with a small forest axe. It took me probably about an hour and a half. I like to think that if I had a full size axe, I could get that down to under an hour, but maybe that's ridiculous. I don't know yet.
Does anyone know where one can get quartersawn hickory in the Missoula, MT area? It's pretty easy to find really really good old axe heads (Sager Chemical, Collins, Plumb…) but they usually need a handle. I'd like to try to make my own, since the premade handles are covered in varnish and the grain orientation is usually wrong.
Also, what about a company that sells boiled lindseed oil that doesn't have heavy metals/chemicals in it?
And if Paul ever tells you that I'm a fish out of water, this is what he means. Whenever I'm wearing my camelbak, I tend to be constantly drinking.
I officially claimed a Antarctica this morning and shortly after, I found good site for my house. Its on a west facing slope with potential to be opened up to morning sun to the east and mid-day sun to the south. My plot is very wooded and I think the sun to the south is mostly being blocked by younger trees that need to be thinned and tamaracks/western larches (one of the two species of deciduous conifer). I'm thinking I like the idea of a hogan-wofati, but the first step is Sketch Up and asking Brian, Ernie, and Erica a few questions (which I haven't thought of yet) when they are here for this super week. It's basically an octagonal log cabin originally built by the Navajo. The problem is that the ground has a cover of 2-3 inches of pine needles and roots: so I ordered a mattock. I also spend some time gathering wood for a hugelkulture bed, but that can't be covered over without doing any digging either.
Burra arrived all the way from Portugal and wanted to meet everyone over dinner. While most of us where helping, Jocelyn was looking to see if anyone wanted to try the second pig eye. Josh (one of the ants here) was the one who was brave enough to try it. He said there was a lot more to it than he was expecting.
And thanks to Paul and Jocelyn for all the awesome food!
So I was waiting to announce my ant transformation until I was legally an ant. Right now I still have 30 ish podcasts left. But I guess the really tall evil tyrant in overalls felt it was time to let everyone know.
I have picked out a spot, but I can't claim it yet. Evan already named it Antarctica because its the southern most plot in antville. I also came up with a new name for the village: The United States of Antviculture. Maybe this can be the name on all official documents exchanged between the dictator and the village, if there ever are any of those.
So someone here tried working out the privacy screen project using a few scraps from the saw mill. It worked for the front wall, but only the front wall. Paul thinks that in order to facilitate easier peeing for everyone, the whole structure needs to be re-imagined rather than trying to build onto something that is already a little shakey, especially the railings in some spots.
These questions are mostly for Paul, but I figured putting them out here might bring in a few ideas rather than just emailing him.
I took some measurements and I'm fiddling around with sketchup. I'm wondering how much of the existing wood you'd like to use.
Do you want the whole structure to be bigger to accommodate a larger pile?
What level of notching? I think it would be interesting to experiment with timber framing joinery instead of spikes, bolts, and screws... but I don't know enough about that sort of thing to actually make it happen or direct anyone.
I think it would be a good idea to put the stairs on the opposite side between the structure and the showers to make the pile more accessible for turning/moving the compost for whatever reason with the tractor bucket (6ft) without cutting into the terrace above/next to the structure.
Moving the pooper to the road above so that the urine diverter can gravity feed into the pile.
Is this road above (Lower Sherwood?) being closed once the new road is built?
We now have a 45hp Kubota with a pto auger, and a loader with pallet forks and a bucket. It should make rebuilding this a little easier.
Krista Marie Schaus wrote:I am really enjoying all the wofati ideas. I was wondering if you think it would be possible to use bamboo as a building material? Obviously not for the support beams or posts, but as filler and walls maybe. I was thinking of a few of the cold hardy building grade bamboos like:
Would work well. Considering how fast it grows it may be a decent option for places with limited timber resources.
I would love some input
The last I heard on bamboo was that nothing of serious structural intergrity grows in this climate, only in tropics (maybe I'm wrong). The ones you mentioned are only hardy to -10 to -15 degrees F. It can get to -30F here according to Paul. Maybe someday when the land has been maxed out as far as far as textured landscape goes, some microclimate magic could happen, but, by then I think most of the building projects would be done. I also think Paul would much prefer black locust as a quick growing material because it is already very cold hardy, an N-fixer, and a deciduous tree and it's rot resistant. I do know that the wall has several tons of soil piled behind, so the ones you mentioned seemed a little thin as each stick would need to be as strong as a 4"+ log. I think if you tried to do a double layer, the sticks could eventually flatten out into one layer as these horizontal wall pieces are only wired to each vertical pole and held in place by the berm.
As far as a lack of wood goes, such a thing is none existant on this property. Unfortunately, in some other nearby parts of the state, trees do seem to be sparse. However, one of the reasons Paul bought this property was because it was so thickly wooded, which means very deep soil. This also means that there are a ton of trees that NEED to be taken out in order to prevent a wildfire from destroying everything. Luckily, Paul has lots and lots of building projects in mind that this wood can be used for.
Once the project is done and there are no other chances for major changes to be made, I plan on writing an in-depth description of the whole project as far as dimensions and the construction process goes.
Today is our day off and the PDC is half way through. I went with Evan and Heather in Heather's VW bug to the Missoula farmers market and then to get Sir Chops and bring him back to Wheaton Labs where he will stay for the night in hamelot. Working on a video for that.
Over the past week, the foundations and concepts have been covered and there were three hands on sessions. I won't even try to summarize my notes as that would be very redundant (see Evan's thread). Maybe it would be good to help me remember stuff, but the class and this very hot weather takes a lot of energy. So far, my favorite presentation has been on Holzerculture with Zach Weiss.
For most of next week, there will not be any hands on sessions. Instead, we will be applying the concepts we have learned through practice designs. Howard says that one group can do a plan for basecamp, another can do a plan for the lab, and the other groups can do their own property, etc. I'm excited to get practice doing this on paper and on the computer.