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Travis Johnson: The Last Few Months

 
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I have got some Moosages lately, so I thought I would just address them here so that everyone can see what I have been up too.

The biggest reason for my absence on here has been because I am not doing much farm-wise. We still have sheep, and thus had some lambs this Spring, but not many. We still have the farm of course, and still have long term plans, but until we get into a better position, I cannot do much right now.

I did build the ultimate Duck Coop this week, and was pretty proud of myself for how fast it went together, how well it works, and how modular it is. Then we left the door open overnight and a fox killed our ducks! Drat!

I did spend the winter writing a memoir about the last two years so it was really nice to write “THE END” on what is my second completed book. In a synopsis, is does not sound like much of a struggle, but going through it, it sure did. For those that did not know, a logging accident caused me to be in the hospital for four days which was wonderful because they found Thyroid Cancer, but after the removal of that from surgery, it showed I still had cancer. To this day I still have a tumor on my Pituitary Gland that is rather debilitating. Because of that, I could no longer log and farm, so to pay our property taxes, I had a friend come in and log my land last year. I did not know it, but he had a gambling addiction, and ended up stealing all of my wood, and not paying me the $12,000 he owed me for the wood that he cut.

Now in a bind financially, in order to pay for my property taxes, it took selling almost all of my sheep. To pay bills beyond property taxes, we also started selling off a lot of farming equipment. About this time, we were asked about renting our home out, so we decided to save money, as well as maybe make some, so we opted to move into my Late-Grandmother’s Tiny House, and rent our other house out. It took money to fix up just enough to live in, but figured the rental income would help offset the cost. But just after moving in to the Tiny House, the renters changed their mind, leaving us with two houses to maintain all winter; money we did not have.

So, by this point I had lost my health, lost our finances, lost our livestock, moved out of our home, and sold our equipment…and then, when we were sure we could not endure anymore, Katie got pregnant to which she ultimately lost the baby. To make matters worse, her best friend got pregnant at the same time, and to this day, we are reminded through the child we lost by seeing our friends baby grow and reach all those child mile stones. Not that we are upset…not at all, we love children, but it is just a reminder of our loss, that is all I am saying. Then the day after finding out we lost the baby, we found out my cancer had returned. That kind of sucked.

Katie no longer works at the bank, as she really struggled with her morals there. As people know, we use cash for everything, and so for Katie to try and “sell” credit cards and car loans to people really went against our life-long philosophy. But all that was ironic as one day her boss asked her for an email explaining if she really wanted to work there, so Katie and I talked, and then she sent him a reply. Ironically without debt, our income requirements are small, and so by NOT falling into the bank-loan-trap, she could just walk away from the bank as a job too. The look on her boss’s face was amazing; his ploy back-fired, and why Katie and I are adamant about people getting out of debt.

Instead we are starting a new Day Care Center. This should work well for me. After exhausting all medical avenues, the only thing left is disability. But I do not want to look over my shoulder every time I need to get a task done, so we refused, and I will be the handyman about the Day Care Center. When Katie needs more help, I can help out, and when not, I can farm. Either way, she can have the adult supervision for the kids when needed, and not have to pay an employee, so it should work out well. We tried to rent, then sell our other house, but it did not work out, so we just turned it into a really nice Day Care Center instead.

A few times this year the local school canceled because they had a lack of bus drivers so I am considering doing that as a part-time job. I love kids, and with clean living comes a clean background, so I can be a foster parent, day care worker, or bus driver, but that is just a thought at this time. I have all summer to consider it.

One EXCITING Permie thing that is happening though is Rock the Flock 2019. I have managed to become friends with Tim and Deanna Treadway, who were on Pioneer Quest. For those that do not know, it was a year long experiment to see if couples today could live like pioneers on the Canadian Prairie for a year, doing everything as if they were 1875 settlers. Building cabins, growing food, cutting wood, digging wells, and using horses. For those that have never seen it, it is on Amazon Prime for free. Anyway, they are coming to Rock the Flock this year to tell about their year of living like real pioneers.

I was really looking for something to help draw in the area Permiculurists as I have said for years that this is the Permie and Organic Capital of the World, so I wanted Rock the Flock to provide something for them. So that is super exciting. Sadly, their son, Dave Treadway was a skier and just died from a fall in British Columbia, but they have said they still want to come out to Rock the Flock on August 10th 2019. That is when we open up our farm to the community for a free concert featuring 6 bands, and raising money for Drug Rehabilitation and including Homelessness this year, as the benefit concert is really growing!

As a fun hobby, I love geology and found some significant quantities of mineralization on our farm. In fact, about 75% of the places I checked, I have found it. The really amazing part was finding Palladium!! The interesting thing was I found it on March 20th 2019, THE day Palladium peaked at $1560.40 a troy ounce! That was about $280 more than the price of gold. So, its been fun exploring, and gave me something to do this winter.

So that has been what I have been up to these last four months anyway. So nothing super exciting, but I have not been doing nothing either.
 
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Your perseverance in the face of all this is quite admirable.  We all wish you well.
 
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Very admirable Travis.  The update is much appreciated as we love hearing all the ways that you make things work out.
 
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Very good to hear from you, Travis, you were definitely missed. Love the new plan.
 
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I think the turning a liability, "the house you couldn't rent" into an asset, "a day-care" totally qualifies as permaculture! Having Katie farm young minds instead of encouraging people to take on loans is definitely a step up in my books.
 
Travis Johnson
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Jay Angler wrote:I think the turning a liability, "the house you couldn't rent" into an asset, "a day-care" totally qualifies as permaculture! Having Katie farm young minds instead of encouraging people to take on loans is definitely a step up in my books.



There is a lot to Day Care, but we were foster parents so a lot of the same requirements like background checks, and inspection by Fire Marshall's and being ADA compliant are the same.

There is a lot of regulations on what you can, and cannot do, but proper nutrition is something that is really big right now. It is nice to teach kids about healthy eating, but also taking them for walks across the farm, and that sort of thing.
 
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I hope your kids realize (eventually) what fabulous assets they have in both of their parents. What a blessing. Keep on writing those books, and I hope your day care turns out to be a fabulous endeavor!
 
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Good to hear from you, Travis. I agree that there are few things more permacultural than taking what you already have and making it work better for you in another way, and double points for taking a financial drain and turning it into a boon.

I look forward to hearing about Rock the Flock 2019. Are you looking to use permies as a launch vehicle?

-CK
 
Travis Johnson
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Chris Kott wrote:Good to hear from you, Travis. I agree that there are few things more permacultural than taking what you already have and making it work better for you in another way, and double points for taking a financial drain and turning it into a boon.

I look forward to hearing about Rock the Flock 2019. Are you looking to use permies as a launch vehicle?

-CK




I am not sure, but probably.

We have so many Permies and Organic Farmers in the area that this year we are getting Tim and Deanna Treadway from Pioneer Quest to come out and speak about that experience. This should really resonate well with area Permies and Organic Farmers because no matter how they currently farm, I think there is a desire within to see if they could really live off the land like they did in 1875, using only tools available back then. It was a really nice social experiment, and I am looking forward to having the Treadways stay at our home, and learn so much more about that year long experience.

My heart really goes out to the Treadways, they live so far away, and yet they want to come to Rock the Flock 2019, and speak, all free of charge. And this comes on the heels of recently losing their adult son, a professional skier who died in British Columbia. It is my sincerest hope that they can get some extra time and stay at our place for a nice Maine vacation so they can get refreshed from the trials they have faced lately.

For those that do not know, Rock the Flock is when we open our farm up for a benefit concert featuring (6) live bands, bounce houses for the kids, food etc. It is all free because Katie and I just love our community. Yes it is horrible here, we live in the worst State income wise, the worst county in teh nation, and even the worst town in Maine; making this the poorest town of all of the United States, yet we do care. Katie and I do not have much, but we have room, and this year we are excited to donate any donations given, to an area homeless shelter and food pantry. (Last year it was for opiate rehabilitation).

This year we are just excited to have something specifically for the Permaculture and Organic Farmers. But we should do that; what Katie and I do is the Permie creed after all: BEING NICE!
 
If you try to please everybody, your progress is limited by the noisiest fool. And this tiny ad:
September-October Homestead Skills Jamboree 2019
https://permies.com/wiki/118704/permaculture-projects/September-October-Homestead-Skills-Jamboree
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