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what do you want to try but haven't?

 
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What permaculture thing have you always wanted to try, but haven't because

- you didn't have enough information
- you had too much information
- you didn't know where to start
- you didn't know the right way to do it
- the information you found didn't fit your climate, but you still want to try it but don't know how to adjust to your location
- someone said it was too hard
 
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I want to move to a tropical climate and try to live as sustainable as possible.  

I just watched this video last night (it's old, but it's motivating), it's about a 17 acre farm for sale in Puerto Rico.

If I sell everything, I come out with about $300k right now.  I'm just scared, and not ready.  I have no family, no friends, no job (right now), and am still learning organic gardening.

Basically that whole list R. wrote, plus I'm scared to do it.  I've never been to P.R. or anywhere outside the U.S. for that matter.

Some day.....it's the fantasy, at this point, anyway.

Whoops, forgot the link to the farm.  $140k several years ago.  
 
pollinator
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I think my number one thing would be building a rocket stove for one of my hoop houses.  I just really haven't had to time to devote to it.  Too many other projects that have a higher priority.

S Tenorman, sell everything and follow your dream.  :)
 
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This thread reminded me of my paper making thread HERE

I'm still very interested in the process as a home based business, just not for me so much anymore

The reasons for not doing it were somewhat financial....the beater is a few thousand dollars itself so a serious investment and I don't think I am ready for that kind of commitment.  I  really did not have a plan for handmade paper sales, but that is nothing new for me.....my weaving business began with a loom and no plan but continued for thirty years.


 
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For me it is the following:

Need more information on building rocket stove and rocket oven. Having good plans that people have built and had success using.

The right materials to build rocket stove and oven. What is the best and worst materials to use.

Note I started reading the book "The Rocket Mass Heater Builder's Guide" by Erica and Ernie Wisner. I hope the book will help me out.

Making biochar in a reusable kiln.

Candle making using bee wax.

Beekeeping, I have read a few book and I have priced kits. I just need a kick in the behind to get started.

Making soap, though about it but need more information.


 
pollinator
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I've always wanted a real pond, but they are way too expensive for my budget, and probably not suitable for our soil and climate.

So I look at photos of our big infiltration basin in flood and imagine....
basinjune212016.jpg
not a real pond
not a real pond
 
gardener
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the rocket stove/oven. I have a very small outside space (it would have to be out in my already-crowded garden) and very critical neighbors. I don't know how realistic it is for me to try it, so it has been on the back burner for a while.  


 
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This great question kept me up all night. I would love to build a rocket heater to warm up a couple of adobe buildings that are just too chilly in the winter months. Originally, they were heated with passive solar on a property that had nearly zero plants. It was a former dump site. The land was bull-dozed of most of the trash and all of the topsoil. Nothing grew. No birds stopped by. A true wasteland.
So I started digging and found some clay and mixed it with silty sand and, yes, garbage (box springs, barbed wire, car parts, carpet scraps, glass) and sun-dried a bunch of adobe bricks. I made a little shelter which became the threshold to a large chamber. Sun and a rumford fireplace provided heat. Then I carved out a swale and used the cut-dirt to build a 750 sq ft dance studio. By and by, things changed. With all the micro-climates created by the building run-off and shade, plants, especially trees, began to thrive.
Unfortunately, the passive solar windows lost sight of the sun. The buildings stay colder longer. The food forest is a success but the indoor climate has changed. Could a rocket heater help? With all those trees, I now have wood to burn. But how do I get the heater to work now? I imagine copper pipes around the perimeter of the floor space but could the rocket heater keep water warm in a closed system (there is no plumbing). The project is big and I'd love some guidance but knowledge around here is scarce. I could do the trial and error approach but I'm getting older - need to work things out on paper rather than improvise. It seems so overwhelming that I just plug in the space heater and watch Permies for ideas....
 
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Up until recently it was basket weaving, but I sort of pounced on a lady who was toting a beautiful handmade basket and gushed a lot and she stopped by my place few days later with a bootload of weaving materials  which she left under my house(mostly catsclaw creeper which is a weed, so also weed clearing). They have sat under my house where I had no idea what to do with them for a few months, until the other day when I just decided I better give it a go before it all rots away. So..... with no instructions whatsoever Tada!
It's very wonky and probably can't hold much but it looks like a basket so I'm very proud!
The other thing I dream of doing one day is growing silk worms and spinning my own silk to make my whitework embroidery from. I want a farm where I also grow mulberries (to feed the worms), make mullberry and silk paper, and mulberry jam of course.
620616E3-1B74-41DD-930F-45917B3D5D1F.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 620616E3-1B74-41DD-930F-45917B3D5D1F.jpeg]
 
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I love solar electric structures, and was in the process of drawing up a design for a greenhouse with solar lighting, but I don't know enough about this topic. I'd eventually love to have a solar electric house. I'm sure this is really expensive, too!
 
gardener
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Hi all,

I would really like to try making a wood gassifier and attach it to a generator.  It requires some welding skills I donโ€™t have but could probably learn.

Ideally it would rest on a simple rolling frame so I could move it easily and would be capable of running on sticks and twigs and not just woodchips.  The plan would be to be able to utilize it during a prolonged period of no power by filling it up with fallen woody debris.

I have seen some plans that come close to this. Preferably I would get a second hand generator to take apart and modify to take wood gas.   I guess I would try to keep the gas tank for starting and warming up and then turn a valve near the carburetor to stop taking gasoline and just run on wood gas.

Eric
 
pollinator
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r ranson wrote:What permaculture thing have you always wanted to try, but haven't because

- you didn't have enough information
- you had too much information
- you didn't know where to start
- you didn't know the right way to do it
- the information you found didn't fit your climate, but you still want to try it but don't know how to adjust to your location
- someone said it was too hard


The thing I always wanted to do, but never did is: build a real building (out of natural materials).
I made many drawings, designs of buildings from my imagination. But I can not build, because: I don't know how to do it, I think it is too hard, and the 'climate' (in fact the rules and regulations) here isn't fit for building your own building (to have a house built here and to buy the land costs way too much money, even for a very tiny tiny house).
 
Eric Hanson
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Related to my last post, before the gassifier-generator I would like to try making something called a battery generator.  Basically this is a device that takes a 12v battery (usually) and converts it to other voltages and/or from DC to AC. I would like to build one with a 100 amp hour battery with 120v ac, 12v car/cigarette lighter, and at least 2 and preferably 4 USB outlets.

That is a large and potentially expensive project.  In preparation I would like to try a much smaller one, one that fits in a 30 caliber plastic ammo can.  This version would only have a 35 amp hour battery, 1-2 cigarette lighter outputs, 2-4 USB outlets and if possible a buck converter.  A buck converter allows one to simply dial up a desired voltage to run any sorts of smaller electronic equipment such as a laptop.

I am not exactly certain where this project lies on the Permies scale, but I consider it sort of a small scale prepper/off grid project.

Eric
 
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SOOO many things!

I always wanted to:
Build & live in a yurt, cob, or log cabin (we did buy & do live in a log home though)
Live 100% sustainability, from my own place, by my own hands
Build and use a rmh
Build an outdoor kitchen, complete with cob rocket stove, cob oven, & cooking fire pit - this (or most of it) is still possible, later
Grow all my own crops, including livestock feed, fibers, and people foods (the key word here, is 'all'). I'll be able to do some, once we finally get some soil created.
Raise all my own critters for food, fiber, etc. Again, the key word here, is 'all', lol.
Create all my own clothing, shoes, etc. (All. Noticing a theme?๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜œ)

Ahhhhhh, the romance of it all! When I might have had the energy and physical ability, there was no money to even acquire the smallest smidgen of land. Now, we've got the land, but little or no soil, and a bunch of limitations dictated by our bodies and time. That word 'all' was first replaced by 'most', and more recently, by a much more realistic 'some'.
 
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Location: NE ARIZONA, Zone 5B, 7K feet, 24" rain
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I would love to create, contribute to, learn from an RMH database.  First, cudos to all who have spent countless hours doing video, writing book, and giving seminars.  You've done heros work.
There are probably 10 years, or more, of experiments, designs, and methods, all pointing toward an efficient, easy design, yet no one person, or group of people, have created a go-to database of materials, mixes, criteria, limitations, dimensions and component parts (ie; heater cores, heat risers, ceramic "Lego"-type fire brick, or building blocks that work every time... and the 10,000 hours of knowledge available to wade through gets exhausting... I think to the point of many of us not feeling comfortable experimenting on our own.

There are numerous contributors, expert and novice alike, yet no great way to have it all in front of you, in well defined terms.   For example, the occasional refractory cement expert contributes unbelievable knowledge, but those references are soooo hard to find again.  Some have made headway in having refractory ceramic heat risers made in small quantitiy buys... yet I spend hours looking for that reference, or looking for the feedback, for example.  I'd like to see us get to a point where several of us take on building generic parts that can be purchased (or made), and not have to re-invent the wheel hundreds of times over.  These parts can be offered to the public for sale in a common forum, or even an ever growing catalog that is available on a forum, as well as providing info on "best mixes" of ceramic, perlite, cement, clay, cob, with a simple rating system for all the things that make, or break a project, ie; longevity, cracking, melting/heat resistance, thermal stability, availability, cost, ease of use.

How to get this idea evolved and rolling... I don't know, but if we get our heads together... who knows?  There are many experts out there, and I'm not the one to compare the experts.   I would start by listing the 5, or 10 best methods of efficient wood heating for instance (kacheloffen, masonry, RMH, batch, dragons, etc.), then try to simply rate them with efficiency, cost to make or buy, pros, cons, and continue breaking them down to component level parts, both homemade and purchased.  

I could go on, but you can see how "off-the-shelf" parts or "comparisons of methods" would greatly ramp up the success of this great RMH idea that is a pillar of Off-Grid and Sustainable Living.  

Jo Average
 
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Grow shrimp commercially, Grow flowers commercially, Solar batteries for a greenhouse, quick composting, Building a forest for beauty and wood products, growing grapes for juice and wine, sheep raising, sheep shearing, the list goes on and on...
 
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I'd love to build a rocket stove/oven like so many others.

I also really want a composting toilet system. I live in a city and have checked regulations and it is legal as long as I have one flushing toilet in the house. But I am not sure how to set up the system or where or how to manage the composting since I have a small urban yard. I still aspire though!

I'd also like to learn how to weave cloth. I am currently learning to spin yarn for knitting but I think it would be neat to be able to make cloth too.
 
Tereza Okava
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I also have another goal that I am almost ashamed to admit out loud. Maybe not super permie but I see a lot of other people here successfully doing it so I'm going to commit it to print here.... maybe get myself in gear with some peer pressure...
I am a knitter and have made sweaters and all sorts of accessory clothes (gloves, hats, scarves, ponchos, etc) but I have never successfully made a pair of socks. I've made a dozen and ripped them all up because they seem made for someone with some sort of anatomical problems (and my feet are ug-ly, so that's sayin something). I must be doing something wrong. Once I finish the current blanket I am headed back to try again. It really can't be that hard.
 
Stefanie Hollmichel
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Tereza Okava wrote:I also have another goal that I am almost ashamed to admit out loud. Maybe not super permie but I see a lot of other people here successfully doing it so I'm going to commit it to print here.... maybe get myself in gear with some peer pressure...
I am a knitter and have made sweaters and all sorts of accessory clothes (gloves, hats, scarves, ponchos, etc) but I have never successfully made a pair of socks. I've made a dozen and ripped them all up because they seem made for someone with some sort of anatomical problems (and my feet are ug-ly, so that's sayin something). I must be doing something wrong. Once I finish the current blanket I am headed back to try again. It really can't be that hard.



Oh Tereza, you need this book: Simple Socks: Plain and Fancy by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts https://www.amazon.com/Simple-Socks-Plain-Priscilla-Gibson-Roberts/dp/0966828941

It's a game changer and got me sorted out on the sock making  
 
Tereza Okava
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Stephanie, thanks, next time I`m up in the US i`ll look it up. I`ve tried a few books and lots and lots and lots of patterns, but they just turn out icky. (i remember gloves were just kind of icky at one point too so imagine its just a question of practice)
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Tereza Okava wrote:Stephanie, thanks, next time I`m up in the US i`ll look it up. I`ve tried a few books and lots and lots and lots of patterns, but they just turn out icky. (i remember gloves were just kind of icky at one point too so imagine its just a question of practice)


Tereza, probably you're right and it is a question of practice. The best sock pattern I found was in an old knitting book (translated in Dutch, originally in German, by Burda). There are different gloves in that book too ... almost everything you can imagine being knitted. I don't know if there's such a book in English.
I found a lot of youtube videos on knitting socks too. You better do the search yourself, it depends on the way you want to knit (circular needle, four or five needles, or only two)
 
gardener
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I bought the plans for the solar dehydrator but Him Indoors says it is too big and he doesn't have time to make it, and I am too intimidated by my lack of skills to build it myself.  
Likewise with a geodesic dome.  Ended up with a poly tunnel, which is fine, but sometimes I think I need to give myself a good talking to.

This guy has given me the idea that this is a simple method but...
 
pollinator
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My dream has been to build a dome home. I mean since high school, and I'm 62 now. The issue has always been money and physical strength. Maybe one day I will build a dome greenhouse. I have devoted many years to studying plans, but due to divorce, change in income, illness, etc. it just never happened. Now at 62, I find myself feeling like none of my dreams have or will come true. Sorry to sound depressed, but it is depressing. I do what I can. I can what I grow.
 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
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Josephine Howland wrote: My dream has been to build a dome home. I mean since high school, and I'm 62 now. The issue has always been money and physical strength. Maybe one day I will build a dome greenhouse. I have devoted many years to studying plans, but due to divorce, change in income, illness, etc. it just never happened. Now at 62, I find myself feeling like none of my dreams have or will come true. Sorry to sound depressed, but it is depressing. I do what I can. I can what I grow.


I am exactly the same, Josephine.  I will be 60 in April and it just creeps up on you. You go to do something and realise you just are not strong enough anymore.  The geodesic dome structure that the guy in my video makes should  be easy enough though.  Check out his channel.  Maybe you could do part of it then ask for help with the rest.  It can be very easy to be depressed over one's age, but there is nothing we can do about it so soldier on with what you can do, take up some new hobbies and see if you can make money at them, enjoy the life you have, don't regret the life you don't have.  Much love coming your way over the ether.
 
pollinator
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You "do what you can", that is more than some people I know ever reach. People a bit younger, healthy, intelligent - but just too lazy, or fearful, or I don't know. I shouldn't judge others when I am not in their shoes...

Getting back to you: You have spent quality time learning, planning, dreaming. I would not say that is wasted time. Maybe you will build a dome greenhouse one day. If not, you should not be sad about it. Some dreams will stay dreams, and life is often too short or too complicated to make them all real.

I am a bit younger than you are, but I try to learn new things and accomplish some goals that looked unattainable in younger years (e.g. I was so afraid of driving a car I did not do it for 30 years. The mere thought of having to do it horrorized me. Now I am driving my kids around like nothing).
And there are other goals that will not be reached in my lifetime, and mentally saying goodbye to them can be hard. Human nature.

In such moments I think about the song "I'd sooner be a have-been than a never-was-at-all"...

Josephine Howland wrote: My dream has been to build a dome home. I mean since high school, and I'm 62 now. The issue has always been money and physical strength. Maybe one day I will build a dome greenhouse. I have devoted many years to studying plans, but due to divorce, change in income, illness, etc. it just never happened. Now at 62, I find myself feeling like none of my dreams have or will come true. Sorry to sound depressed, but it is depressing. I do what I can. I can what I grow.

 
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My usual reason for not doing something is that I'd rather work with someone else, so the available enthusiasm selects my projects.  In this field, I would include a trailer-mounted rig to convent logging slash and other biomass that emits CO2 on organic breakdown into biochar.  I'm thinking of an oven that can hold two SS containers at a time for continuous production without burning any carbon.
I'm also interested in building a wood stove as a low-pressure, solid fuel gas turbine.  Using only cheap materials, I'm sure it could run its own fan to work with a condenser and cool outlet instead of a chimney, but I'm hopeful that it could also put out 10% as electricity.  It does the work of a gasifier and engine, but it takes exotic materials to equal their efficiency.  A car turbocharger might work to spin a magnet.
The big project that I'd fund if I won the lottery is a permaculture robot.  Something produced by 3-D printing might be best, because we need enough to replace all the no-till farm equipment.  I'd aim for something shoebox size, with the ability to keep track of every plant within a plot, and plan for maximum production using AI from the 'net.  It would recognize, save and offer for trade the best seed, and harvest each plant at its peak while usually mulching the waste on the spot.  Weeding would probably be done with a nick from a laser.  The project could probably finance itself just from starting with a weeder that will zap anything not growing through a special ring.  Tomato picking might take some development.  The robot would probably have a little tool shed with a solar panel on a pole to recharge its batteries.  It could probably navigate using signals from the markers at the corners of the plot.  
 
r ranson
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I always wanted to learn to play the hurdy-gurdy.



what holds me back?

I don't have a hurdy-gurdy
I have trouble counting to four (although I've been working on this with my weaving)
I'm not very musical - but I like listening - so I wouldn't' know what to play.

There are some great youtube videos on how to play that I watch whenever the yearning comes over me and pretend like I'm turning the crank.  

 
pollinator
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I just want to get over my fear of carpentry. My whole life, I've wanted to be able to build stuff out of scrap wood, to visualize something and figure out how to put it together. I wanted to take Shop in high school (mid-sixties), but they wouldn't let me because I was a girl, so I got stuck making potholders in Home Ec and learned only that I should have been a boy.

This past year I purchased/acquired the following (the * are the ones I've actually used more than once):

Jig saw
Table saw
Circular saw
Reciprocating saw*
Chain saw*
Pole saw*
Hand saw*
Hand tools*
Dust vacuum apparati
Work tables
Saw horses
Orbital sander
Various Kreg jigs and screws
All the squares, levels, clamps, rulers, protective gear*, etc.
Nails*
Screws*
Sandpaper
Wood glue
How-to books* (paper and Kindle), videos*

I've felled and trimmed trees. I've dug out big roots. I mean, with these I can see what needs to be done and put my little body and big, strong will into doing it. But I can't make myself build anything out of wood. I even paid a guy to come over and remove a giant holly bush so I could watch him, but he obviously didn't know what to do so I wound up doing it myself. But it still didn't give me confidence I can build anything. I'm frustratingly dyslexic.

I know what everyone is going to say: Start with a simple box and go from there. I can't make myself do even that!



 
pollinator
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r ranson wrote:What permaculture thing have you always wanted to try, but haven't because

- you didn't have enough information
- you had too much information
- you didn't know where to start
- you didn't know the right way to do it
- the information you found didn't fit your climate, but you still want to try it but don't know how to adjust to your location
- someone said it was too hard




I'd like to add to the list of possible reasons "You're just not there yet."

There are lots of things I would like to try, but the vast majority have to wait until I'm living in my own house on my farm. Right now, I'm living with relatives in town, an hour's drive from my land. I keep hoping to build a house there, but I haven't quite managed to get the logistics worked out yet.

Among the things I want to try:
-Raising my own citrus, cocoa, and coffee (in the greenhouse, of course)
-Raising and milking dairy sheep
-Making cheese and butter from the milk from said dairy sheep
-Expanding my poultry operations to include at least a dozen chickens, half a dozen turkeys, and some quail. And enough males of each to breed reliably. (I currently have 7 hens, which is technically 1 more than I'm allowed to have in town.)
-Raising meat rabbits
-Growing some of the more unusual fruits, like seaberries, hardy kiwi, and black goji
-Butchering my own hog
-Spinning yarn from my own sheep, and weaving with it

There are dozens more things on this list, but I'm sure you get the general idea.
 
pollinator
Posts: 458
Location: San Diego, California
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forest garden trees rabbit chicken food preservation building woodworking greening the desert
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" I'd like to add to the list of possible reasons "You're just not there yet."



Purchase a rural property and attempt reforestation - swales, trees, undergrowth all set up to be no-upkeep/STUN...and then see what happens!  I care too much for my home property to be productive and functional for us to go this route at home, but desperately want to try the underlying premises of permaculture to a reforestation effort in pure a wild/unkept place.

but i'm just not there yet, and from a local standpoint, it's deemed to "not be worth the effort" due to the potential for wildfires to wipe all the work out so easily/quickly.


I'm just not there yet...
 
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