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this thread is dedicated to the documentation (or lack thereof) of my life transition

my desire is to document (written, audio, video) my life and the changes I'm making
 
Rob Kaiser
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Systems-Oriented Thinker.  Aspiring Writer, Horticulturalist, Forager, and Peasant.
 
Rob Kaiser
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I'm single.

I don't own land.  

Born and raised in the suburbs.

Currently employed in a routine 9-5.

Trying to figure out how to escape the rat race.

Personal Lifestyle Design is my new obsession.

There's a message to share here...

...but I don't know what/why.

If you're reading - we'll find out together.
 
Rob Kaiser
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For those interested...

...I started documenting via video in April 2020:



The video creation is yet another attempt at documentation of what the hell I'm doing.

I had a little podcast project that I enjoyed...and that's where my heart is.

However, I learned that I can extract audio from YouTube videos...

...so - over the winter, I will do so and have a podcast from my videos.

Seemed appropriate to stack functions accordingly.

In years past I've had active blogs, podcasts, and websites.

Now...I'm developing the website robkaiser.me to house *everything*

Stay tuned.
 
Rob Kaiser
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Life is weird.

I got into an argument with Dad this morning:  On Scolding My Father



While cleaning up my office in the barn this morning...

...my girlfriend is coming over for a walk and breakfast.

Preparing for my morning date, I got a message from out of the blue regarding my friend from out of town coming all the way here for the farmer's market today!

That's wonderful - except I'm not working the market today.

Plans must change and I'm trying to feel grateful - but I'm in the middle of several projects.

The morning date today was so both my girlfriend and I could address and work on our own various projects later in the day.

Not sure how we're going to navigate this together today...but we'll find out.

I'm not sure why I'm writing here either - but I'll contemplate that also.
 
Rob Kaiser
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Somehow it suddenly became September.  

It's a slow morning on the tree farm / day job this morning.

Thank goodness, because I woke up late at home.  Like literally, one hour ago I was still sleeping.

However, I managed to pull myself together relatively quickly and I only arrived to work 10 minutes late.

Not that I care...or anyone else does.  No one around here really cares about anything, quite frankly.

Because of that - I find the passion that I once had for my career truly diminishing.

I'm grateful for my coworker / office mate.  She helps me maintain a good attitude...

...and I'm learning bit by bit what and why I'm doing what I'm doing.  
 
Rob Kaiser
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I'm not happy with my day job.  

I broke out a new journal today at home.

That was a change of pace - wasn't really expecting that.

The only constant is change.  I'll get through the day today.

Tomorrow is a new day.
 
Rob Kaiser
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What was difficult (and also very revealing) was a conversation I had with a coworker...who's gone part time.

After Labor Day - she came back and we got to talking out in the nursery yard.

She asked me about permaculture and what happened?

What about all the conferences I used to attend?  

(in years past, all the PV conferences, etc)

She told me that I used to be so happy, that I was so passionate about all of it...

...all I could tell her was that I didn't know.

It broke my heart a little bit.

It still does when I think about it.

What happened?
 
Rob Kaiser
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On October 1 - I began a podcast...and transitioned out of the video blogging.

While I still make a video approximately once a week - podcast seems to be the format of choice for my message.

This seems to be a good way to "flesh out" ideas and "talking through" finding my passion / purpose.

Here's a link to those that may be interested:  https://allaroundgrowth.buzzsprout.com/

[url=<div id="buzzsprout-player-5684914"></div>
<script src="https://www.buzzsprout.com/650959/5684914-episode-1-an-introduction-to-the-all-around-growth-podcast.js?container_id=buzzsprout-player-5684914&player=small" type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8"></script>]webpage[/url]

Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/all-around-growth/id1484489549

Spotify:  https://open.spotify.com/show/1avOwSaT3lgyVA3eCiNDdQ


 
Rob Kaiser
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Making progress with the All Around Growth podcast - we're at Episode 34

https://allaroundgrowth.buzzsprout.com/

Wood stove recently repaired and ready for winter

Current project:

A flip board thing that I can open up and lay out graph paper on with dimensions of my office

I'll cut other graph paper out into colored shapes representing furniture and then will literally move it around on the coffee table to figure out how what to buy / how to furnish

All being done as cheaply as possible

Still need to furnish office with doors, trim, etc
 
Rob Kaiser
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20201227

Quick update...

It's the first day of the first quarter of 2021.

I opened the new Journal today, for it is the first week of the new year.

I don't know what happened to the last season, the last week, the last month, the last year.

Today, I write this post, relaxing at home, watching a church service on television.

We're still not allowed to attend church services...

...or rather, our congregation has chosen to close its doors until the county is on an orange instead of a red "COVID" level.

It feels strange to do so, but many things feel strange.

In the last post, we were at Episode 34 of the podcast.

This morning, I released episode #71 of the show - we're still rolling with it.

It's raw and unedited, much like me.

Recently, I had another seizure...on December 14.

Took me a week and a few days to recover from this one...

...even though I claimed it wasn't as bad as the one had earlier in the spring.

Idk, I'll be working on trying to identify Q1 goals for 2021 today...

...trying my best to gather myself on this scattered day, month, year.

 
Rob Kaiser
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Interesting update...I'm mentally all over the map, so to speak.

I've not written anything here in almost a month, yet if I look at all else that I've written - likely 5k words.

Miscellaneous blog posts in multiple categories:
  • York Meadow Farm / Homestead
  • Self-Authoring Suite
  • Personal / For Select Eyes Only


  • No matter where it all is, the reality is that it's not consolidated

    It's all over the place

    Life has been a bit challenging over the past year or so...with regard to the digital life, that is

    I've disassociated with iCloud as of last year...very cool services, but I do not wish for all my backups to be through the cloud

    This was a difficult action - going back to using the phone and computer as a standalone device for files to routinely be pulled from and cleaned up

    Moreover, I've found reason to do this with Google as well, and that's a service that I've been utilizing more and more over the years

    At the end of the day my concerns about this began and stemmed from the financial aspect.

    However, there are now concerns about censorship, privacy, and such that make me feel grateful for desiring to disengage from the machines.

    The personal life still seems at a standstill in many ways - except financially.

    I've reached some financial goals - and am now making difficult decisions about where I will put money into savings.

    I find pleasure in mailing checks to myself in one of several accounts at two different banks where my savings accounts are housed.

    Until the next time I write, I hope all is well with you, the reader - as you likely are experiencing some transition in your life as well.

    May you find the strength you seek walking the road or path you walk.  You are not alone.
     
    Rob Kaiser
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    snow is on the ground
    today I work the day job
    the job does not define
     
    Rob Kaiser
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    My backstory:

    Sometimes it takes…

    …repeatedly waking before 5 am or cursing the snow inside your boot while walking the dog to make you think about the moment of silence in the fresh snow while the dog took a shit in the moonlight, to make you realize that indeed you are living the life of your dreams.  

    It was in this very moment that you found the clarity you sought.

    You know that you are to take nothing for granted, living a life of service to those who facilitate the ease in which you are now able to find your gratitude.

    For in doing so, you will truly find your purpose, which may perhaps be a return to the embrace of a life of permaculture?  How and what would this look like?  How and in what ways am I *not* doing this now?  Is it a valuable use of my time to think about any of this?  (too late)

    I’m having a difficult time wrapping my head around the context of my life right now on account of new information that has been presented to me which may potentially alter my long-term plans.  Initially, this had stressed me out, but the more I think and realize it – I am also in a loving relationship that would provide me with a home in the worst-case scenario should I need to leave this land and my home.

    I’m also not entirely sure why I focus on this so frequently…perhaps it’s *constantly* being on the move.  Since the age of 18, I’ve never lived in a single residence for longer than 18 months and never lived in the same town for more than 4 years.  I’ve been quite the gypsy / nomad over the course of my life, learning to embrace the saying “bloom where you’re planted” – and never developing deep roots.

    So here I am in this life, 25 years later from where I left the house where I grew up.  Ironically enough, here I sit, at my makeshift desk inside my unfinished office, 25 miles due south from the house where my parents raised us, which was located in the very same suburb in which my dad was raised.

    Currently located in the suburban rural fringe in Medina County, Ohio – I am blessed to be living on the property that I am, experiencing the “struggles” that I currently am in life.  For example – I’ve become consumed with finding my purpose, my passion, my why.  I cannot *not* think about this.

    Recently, we had our first “family meeting” where dad shared the “state of the farm” with us kids – the first time that he had ever talked finances with us kids.  Prior to this meeting – Dad had also told me to “find my passion, but make sure that it didn’t include this land.”  Needless to say…I was relieved when we learned that they agreed to a meeting to discuss the future and some questions we had.

    For 90 minutes, Dad spoke about his plan and shared his projections with us.  However, the unspoken truth remains that Dad will be 75 this year and mom will almost be 70.  Without long-term care insurance, the only real way that we would be able to afford the care they need once it reaches a point that it is beyond what I am able to provide myself…is the sale of the homestead that’s come to be.

    Now…this is interesting, because when they first purchased this property 15 years ago – I was currently living in North Carolina, working at the Arboretum, playing banjo, hiking, and backpacking in the forest.  When mom and dad first purchased the property in 2006/2007, we all spoke of grand dreams of homesteading and such…to the point where I actually moved back in 2008 to help develop the property.

    We all know what happened in 2008.  During the years leading up to this time, there was a lot of easy credit and rising home prices.  This resulted in a speculative real estate bubble. The result was the market crashing in 2008, and my parents were subsequently unable to get the financing that they needed to begin the work they needed to do to begin building at the property they purchased.

    I should have seen this as a sign.

    At that time, I went ahead about my business in life – since the future of the property remained unclear.  I entered the world of utility forestry and began the corporate years of my life…which were brief.  While I was a successful corporate person and embodied many of the characteristics of a valued leader, I also had a “different” set of characteristics that made me unfit for that position in the long run.  

    In 2010 I was on the verge of burnout…but luckily, I was able to leverage my experiences *with* the corporation and make lateral moves out west to California chasing love…eventually returning to the field for a while to settle and collect my thoughts after breaking up and the closure of the significant relationship that led me out there in the first place.  I eventually returned to the road and the opportunity and took a short-term position based in Austin, Texas before returning to Ohio in 2013.

    It was during this time in California, in 2012 when I first discovered the word “Permaculture.”  When I first learned of it, I was rabid.  I could not learn fast enough.  Shortly after my discovery of permies.com and all things Permaculture – I found myself attending Permaculture Voices 1 and staying in a house with Paul, Jocelyn, Julia, Bart, Ryan, Cameron, and probably 10 others – it was an amazing experience.

    This led me to attending the second, and third Permaculture Voices conferences.  The rest of 2015 and 2016 were spent furiously chasing other people’s dreams and racking up significant amounts of debt before doing so.  I attended my first Financial Peace University in mid-late 2016.  I attended a second class in January 2017.  Again, I attended a third class in 2018 and decided to get serious about it.  I coordinated my first Financial Peace University class in 2020 and became debt free shortly thereafter.

    I am actively working towards building up a savings fund that consists of 12 months of living expenses before putting this money into investments and my future, whatever that may be.  I am also in the process of figuring all that out.  For whatever reason, I felt compelled to share my story – the backstory, all of it with you today.  Thank you for taking the time to read my story.  I hope there is value in it.


     
    Rob Kaiser
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    when you ask questions
    it is because you are not
    listening to me
     
    Rob Kaiser
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    Questions from Dan Miller posed to me after sharing my writing with the 48 Days Eagles Community:

    Wow - what a ride you've had!

  • What are you doing right now that that generates income - building up to that 12 months of expenses?
  • Are you living off the land now?
  • What is your vision for using permaculture as a plan for where you want to be 3 years from now?


  • Well...if those aren't questions to blow your mind and get your gears grinding!
     
    Rob Kaiser
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    It’s 18 degrees outside, the woodstove is nice and warm.

    It’s 9:00am on a Sunday morning and I feel compelled to write.

    To open up and share with my permie friends out there inside the internets.

    While there’s a bit of blue in the sky, I could feel the storm coming while walking the dog.

    For those who aren’t aware, here in NE Ohio – a bit of blue in the sky is an oddity.

    Our winters here in this USDA Zone 5b area are cold and gray, often snow filled.  

    I have decided to take the day slow today, for I’ve been working hard this winter.

    Winters are generally slow at the day job, but I’m keeping busy – getting ready for the season.

    My days are productive, and subsequently my evenings often are as well.

    I fill the down time in the winter with increased volunteer work doing things such as:

    • Setting out luminaries on the square for Candlelight Walk
    • Christmas Tree Sales on the square
    • Increased activity with the organization responsible for those two things (and more)
    • Coordinating a Financial Peace University Course
    • Hosting a local Freedom Cell Network group
    • Homestead Projects for my parents

    There is also some additional down time to contemplate things such as:

    • Trying to figure out how my life integrates with my parents’ lives and choices...
    • What permaculture means to me and my life?
    • Finding my purpose / passion / why (without any involvement / attachment to the land)

    So... while there’s supposedly much down time for those of us who “work in the green industry” in the wintertime, I seem to do a consistent job each year of filling up all my available down time with activities and projects – and I’ve made a concerted effort today to rest.

    The last bullet point listed above has been haunting me ever since my father spoke it last year:

    • “Find your passion, but be sure it doesn’t include this land.”

    It was a cryptic statement and spoken without much context...

    ...during a discussion about some current challenges I was experiencing with my day job.

    This is a unique position to be in, and I’ve been reluctant to share some of this with others.

    However, I think this platform is “safe” from judgmental eyes from biased family and friends.

    Moreover, I’m hoping that some of these stories may be of value to those who find themselves in a similar situation, especially when it comes down to multigenerational living situations and building a homestead from scratch – especially when there is a *lot* of uncertainty.

    At times, I feel shame in how I’ve felt about the situation I find myself in and the manner I’ve acted and spoken towards people on account of the stress – and more specifically, how I handled it.  Often times poorly and projecting my frustration out onto friends and family.

    Regardless, I will continue to share my story here with all of you...

    ...I am grateful for this platform to learn and share.
     
    Rob Kaiser
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    Today, I released Episode 99 of the All Around Growth Podcast.

    It was a weird morning.  I stayed home, logged three hours remotely.  

    I wish there was more work to do...but I've been efficient this winter season at the day job.

    Accordingly, I can only justifiably bill them for three hours of work today.

    It's also very strange, becase even though there is enough snow to justify staying home...

    ...I'm also conditioning my employer to get accustomed to me working off site.

    To provide some context, I work at a wholesale nursery and tree farm.

    My complete background can be seen on LinkedIn, or in this episode titled "Rob's Career History"

    At this point in my life, I'm trying to learn what I can do to remove myself from a day job.

    I'm trying to embrace the feeling of though I'm not only unemployable, but I no longer wish to be.

    However, I'm not really sure how/where to go as I'm just 8 months out of debt...

    ...with about 4 months of living expenses in a separate bank in a dedicated emergency fund.  

    My thinking continues to become clearer and clearer as I reach my financial / savings goals.

    I'm looking forward to the completion of Baby Step 3 and some other goal work of mine.

    This upcoming season has the potential to be one of the most exciting seasons to date.

    I say this because we are on the cusp of some big changes at work with my coworker becoming pregnant.

    The entire dynamic of the work environment will likely change with her being gone after she gives birth...

    ...because the dynamic of the place changes during the off season when she is laid off.

    While I'm *incredibly* happy for her and her partner, I also acknowledge the pending change.

    I also acknowledge the company's incredible history and resistance to change.

    My history with the company over the past seven years has been interesting.

    Planning my future and what/how I will continue to work with them is even more interesting.

    This is a situation where it's mutually beneficial for us to continue doing business with one another...

    ...but not in the current context that we are doing so.  It is no longer mutually beneficial.

    It's become a bit more one way, and now that I'm out of debt and savings, it's empowering.

    How liberating it feels to know that I am growing less and less "dependent" on the hand that feeds me.

    The ideas that have the potential to free me dominate my mind and fill me with fear at the same time.

    The comfort of familiarity feels divine, yet is perhaps one of the most unhealthy things for us as humans.

    We are not designed to experience this with regularity...yet this is precisely what we seek to do in life.

    Accordingly, we are experiencing a shift in our own humanity in my humble opinion.

    A return to that which makes us human is the solution.

    Bill Mollison — 'Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex,the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.'



     
    Rob Kaiser
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    I've been podcasting consistently.



    I don't really feel like I understand what I'm doing...

    ...yet I've recorded 100 episodes thus far.

    Check it out if you're interested:  https://allaroundgrowth.buzzsprout.com/
     
    Rob Kaiser
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    3 Words to Describe Me
    unnamed-(3).png
    3 Words to Describe Me
    3 Words to Describe Me
     
    Rob Kaiser
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    i am feeling lost
    the material world
    how to create it
     
    Rob Kaiser
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    20210217 Thoughtshare

    A brief thought share...likely to be shared on permies.com only.

    A forum that I’ve not used with consistency over the years...

    ...a forum where I’ve gone dormant for years at a time, refreshed in the year 2020.

    A year when life goes sideways, I return to the virtual rooms of permies to find my way.

    Recently, I shared that Dan Miller (author of 48 Days) responded to my writing with:

    Wow - what a ride you've had!

    • What are you doing right now that that generates income - building up to that 12 months of expenses?
    • Are you living off the land now?
    • What is your vision for using permaculture as a plan for where you want to be 3 years from now?

    Here we are...barely a week after the fact.  Back on permies.  Again.

    I just got home after a brief phone call with my girlfriend...venting.

    One of the things I was venting about was my dis-ease with social media algorithms.

    Less (or none) of that here on permies.  There’s value to be had in the ol’ internet forum.

    Perhaps I’ll plan my time better next writing session.  Pomodoro up!

    Rob
     
    Rob Kaiser
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    I had a seizure yesterday, recorded a brief episode about epilepsy.

    Not my finest episode yesterday - bit I'm trying to be consistent.

    In order to do so, I released this five minute shorty:

    https://www.buzzsprout.com/650959/episodes/7944295

    Sometimes, I feel like I don't know what I'm doing with this podcast.

     
    Rob Kaiser
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    20210425 Sunday Morning Permies Writing

    The other day, I checked in to permies.com...and realized it had been about two months since I last posted there.  That took me by surprise, and also left me feeling a bit disappointed.

    However, in an effort to not dwell on the disappointment of seeing two months pass by without an update, I decided to carve some time out of my day on this Sunday morning to write.

    I very much enjoy writing – or the creation of any kind of content, I suppose...but writing is how the content creation for me in life began, and it’s always the manner to which I return.

    For me, it’s therapeutic...and since permies has been the place that’s provided me with the insight and tools to get me to where I currently am in life – it’s the place to share my thoughts.

    This is a “free writing” session for me, an unscripted block of time where I’ll write approximately 500 words, often times with no objective – except today it’s a permies update.

    When I looked back at the “robkaiser project” thread on permies, we can read about:
    • Seizure – another in February (at time of last update)
    • 48 Days Eagles Community
    • All Around Growth Podcast Update – 100th Episode Published
    • Freedom from Debt and a Shift in Perspective
    • Uncertainty / Challenges at the Homestead
    • Changing Dynamic at the Day Job

    While there’s much more in this thread to read about, those are the things that stuck out the most to me as I gave my own thread a quick scroll.  Two months since the last post...what’s up?

    My last post was brief, and can be seen here:
    • https://permies.com/t/143456/permaculture-projects/robkaiser-project#1224524

    I wrote that I had a seizure the day prior and had released a short episode about it...and that I also felt uncertainty about the podcast.  In that regard, not much has changed.

    Unfortunately, since this last post I’d had an additional seizure in mid-march, and have been ordered to basically double one of the two anti-seizure medications I take.  Luckily the medication that was increased is the one which I experience the least intense side effects from.

    In addition to the increase in anti-seizure medication, I will be returning to the Cleveland Clinic Epilepsy Center for another EEG soon to ensure nothing significant has changed in my brain.

    While I wish I could say that my health issues are limited to the epilepsy and the way in which it manifests in seizures, it’s unfortunate that I must also report on some new(er) health issues.
    Back in 2018, I experienced some gastrointestinal issues that were severe enough to put me in the hospital.  I was diagnosed with colitis and began taking my health a bit more seriously.

    When I changed my diet and stuck with it consistently, my health improved and things seemed to increase with regard to my gut health and I didn’t think much more about it until recently.

    Many of the same symptoms I experienced years ago returned, and I visited a different doctor, went through a series of tests, and the end result is a diagnosis of Diverticular Disease.

    • Physical Health / Wellness

    This is one component of my life that definitely weighs heavy on my mind at the moment.  While this isn’t really the direction I intended this “free writing update” to take...it is what it is, and I’ve hit the 500 word mark and the allotted time I set aside for writing.  

    Now, it’s on to a hearty brunch of eggs, green onions, ramps, interesting cheeses, various sautéed greens, and a nice treat of toast.  All locally grown and/or raised from friends.

    Life is very good lately, and I hope to provide another update sooner than later in a more positive light than a breakdown of the current health issues that I am experiencing.  

    Until then, much love to you, and my gratitude for spending your time with me.

    Cheers,
    Rob
     
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    This is a great blog brotha.The only thing i'd like to add is maybe some pictures of your projects would be good.Even if it's a picture of what you cooked.Other then that keep on keepin on.
     
    Rob Kaiser
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    Ben Skiba wrote:This is a great blog brotha.The only thing i'd like to add is maybe some pictures of your projects would be good.Even if it's a picture of what you cooked.Other then that keep on keepin on.



    Hi Ben, Thanks for taking the time to respond.

    I figured I'd honor your request and upload a pic.

    This is helpful as I need to get back in a different groove with permies...

    ...operating here is a bit more deliberate than most social media platforms.

    Here is a picture of what I cooked last night:

    The main course.

    https://permies.com/t/135382





    I have a rib steak from a 1/2 cow I purchased at the end of last year (our friends raise Dexter cattle)

    A nice salad, primarily lettuce - some locally produced blue cheese and a simple homemade vinaigrette.

    Also seen is some sautéed breakfast radishes, onions, and ramps along with some oyster mushrooms.

    All this topped off with some coarse sea salt and an unflavored sparkling water.  Delicious.

    Later on, I had a couple slices of homemade bread, some butter and some wildflower infused honey.

    You know something...it wasn't until your message that encouraged me to rethink where I'm at.

    I may be doing this whole "life" thing in a halfway decent manner.

    Thanks for the encouragement to share a photo.

    It's a pleasant reminder this Monday morning of some progress.

    I appreciate the reminder, Ben.

    Thanks.


     
    Rob Kaiser
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    I’m not particularly motivated today.

    Yet…I’ve got a bit of free time in the morning before I *need* to head out for the day job.

    In my mind – this is the time on the future homestead where I am doing chores.

    Yet, there is no future.

    Only now.

    I sit in my office looking out one of the two windows at the food forest in it’s infancy.

    There’s no rhyme or reason why I’ve planted what I did and where…

    …for it all was transplanted from other places where there was no rhyme or reason.

    Quite frankly, most of my life has been lived without rhyme or reason, if I think about it.

    I wanted to do something, I did it.  Not much thought or planning was put into life.

    The result of living a life like this is one that’s full of experience but lacking in substance.

    “Substance” is subjective though – debatable on what that actually means in the first place…

    Yet here I am.  The missing piece.

    That’s a term that was “given” to me – not really a nickname…but without context it means little.

    Life is a strange place, and one that I don’t entirely understand.  

    Quick distractions surround, and I return to my words after a brief interlude with the internet.

    Looking back at my baby food forest in the distance, there’ some old mums in the burn pile.

    In front of that is some straw from an area I roughed up yesterday with the tractor and seeded.

    It’s an area with turfgrass, and I simply roughed it up and added more seed – a shade blend.



    There’s quite a bit of felled trees on the other side of the barn that need to be dealt with.

    All of that wood back there will likely provide the firewood I’ll need for the next 10 years or so.

    I burn so little firewood in my little office here, and it’s also insulated quite well.

    It remains unfinished, I am too busy stacking cash in order to achieve my savings goals…

    …though admittedly I am spending a bit here and there now that I’ve become debt free.

    I think that’s it’s been good to provide some rewards here and there…

    …but it’s also important that the rewards themselves don’t become one of the many quick distractions.

    When I began speaking of motivation, the lack of motivation was for the podcast that I have been doing.

    Initially I was dedicated to doing a daily episode.  I thought that was the way to do it.  Grind it out.

    Not necessarily, there are plenty of people that I admire who put out content on a weekly basis.

    Hell, there are plenty that I admire who don’t put out any content whatsoever…

    …they are not content creators at all – yet they live lives that I deem “admirable.”

    And then there’s me.  Still trying to figure it out.  I suspect that’ll never change.

    Yet…the only constant in life *is* change.

    Cheers,
    Rob
     
    Rob Kaiser
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    It’s 7:44am as I begin writing.

    I’m here on the tree farm.  I posted a photo for reference.



    It’s spring time, and digging season is just about coming to a close.

    We’ve still got an abundance of material arriving from out of state, primarily the west coast.

    Throughout the month of May, this material will be arriving in full – and we’ll be busy sorting it all out.

    The main farm here is approximately 60 acres, with another 40 acres of fields elsewhere.

    Here's a drone video from a few years ago:


    The yard / holding area is spread throughout 15 acres approximately, and it’s a lot to manage…

    …especially when our systems for doing that are less than desirable with people resistant to change.

    It’s been a long seven years here at the day job, and while I try to stay positive, there are days like today.

    Days where I’m slow to start…days where my bed feels far more comfortable than I wished it did.

    Mornings where coffee and a little cigar at the corner store seems like a reasonable way to start the day.

    Picking up old habits that die hard on account of the stress associated with the life I find myself living.

    I pause for ten minutes to collect myself, assemble and write my thoughts.

    Feeling somewhat better about myself, my path and the day…

    …I return to the day job.  Duty calls.
     
    Rob Kaiser
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    Rob Kaiser wrote:
    It’s been a long seven years here at the day job, and while I try to stay positive, there are days like today.



    Sometimes it feels *real* weird to write about my day job here.

    What am I doing with my life?
     
    Ben Skiba
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    I used to work a a nursery/tree farm.I would take home plants they discarded in the dump.Starting getting quiet the collection of plants.Always liked filling orders on the tractor..You probley know the in's and outs of plant propogation.How to making cuttings and start trees from seed.(we used to do that.)Harvest maple helicopters,oak acorns,walnuts.Then put them in a giant refrigerator an put them in sandy mist houses later.Anyways I think it's awesome your posting about your job.Sounds like if you've been there for 7 years you probley have alot of experience in the field.the knowledge you have from that and the permaculture you know from home.That's alota knowledge.Have a good day brotha i enjoy your posts.
     
    Rob Kaiser
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    Ben Skiba wrote:I used to work a a nursery/tree farm.I would take home plants they discarded in the dump.Starting getting quiet the collection of plants.Always liked filling orders on the tractor..You probley know the in's and outs of plant propogation.How to making cuttings and start trees from seed.(we used to do that.)Harvest maple helicopters,oak acorns,walnuts.Then put them in a giant refrigerator an put them in sandy mist houses later.Anyways I think it's awesome your posting about your job.Sounds like if you've been there for 7 years you probley have alot of experience in the field.the knowledge you have from that and the permaculture you know from home.That's alota knowledge.Have a good day brotha i enjoy your posts.



    Hey Ben, my new fascination is learning about propigation from all the discarded roots and branch cuttings.  We take a lot of bare root material shipped in and line out fields and/or containers for production.  Currently, all plant debris goes to the burn pile.  I do have the yard crews keep any fruiting shrubs for me if they're in good shape - but not sellable (primarily serviceberry is what I get).  Yes, I've been here for 7 years - but in the industry for damn near 25 years (I'll be 44 this year, and started at a nursery when I was 19).

    I've worked at tree farms and/or nurseries the entire time except for 7 years when I worked in utility vegetation management chasing a career that included attempts at climbing the corporate ladder.  Having learned that world isn't the right fit for me, I ended up back in the tree farm game by chance after the fateful incident in 2013 that landed me in a coma and subsequently a return to the old home state of Ohio a bit sooner than expected.  

    Luckily I'm in a half-way decent position in life to begin writing this next chapter in life...and continuing the robkaiser.me project.  

    Thanks for taking the time to read my posts, Ben.

    I appreciate your time and feedback.

    Cheers,
    Rob
     
    Rob Kaiser
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    Saturday Morning, 05/15/21
    20210515 Saturday Morning Springtime Thoughts

    It’s 7:27am – everyone’s loaded and has left for the market.

    I sit on the porch taking in the view of this fine Saturday morning before I get to work.



    While everyone is at the market today, I will be working on the finishing touches of the commercial kitchen that we have been working on intensively for the past five months.

    We first framed in the room last July, but it remained in its skeletal form until the holidays when it dawned on all of us that if we wanted to get the room inspection ready by May/June, we needed to accelerate the construction process, and that is exactly what we did.

    Today, I’ll also be working on applying some herbicide in the mulched areas, walkways, and around infrastructure such as pad mounted transformers, structures, wood piles, etc.

    We do not believe in the broad-spectrum application of herbicides, or use of them in the production of our food crops, but we do believe in working smarter – not harder.  Mom and Dad also appreciate the maintained look and the upkeep of appearances at the property.  

    I’d be lying if I said I didn’t appreciate it myself.  Part of my appreciation will soon be demonstrated in the landscape itself with a nice design by Steven Hauck of Lucas Landscaping.  He’s a designer that I’ve known for years and has a very nice eye for plants – and it will be a blessing to have such a keen eye for design contributing to the landscaping around the cabin.

    The idea is to take the designed landscape around the cabin and integrate edible and medicinal plants into the design itself, and then slowly integrating into the food forest in the open area to the north of the cabin.  This will also serve to camouflage both the septic tank and the mound.

    Our food forest has been designed utilizing keyline principles and a swale system.  The very first swale has been constructed on contour to capture water and 50% of the run off from the barn.  As the first swale floods, it drains into the second swale.  The second and the subsequent swales will be installed on 20’ centers, with a future landscape / food forest based on principles outlined in The Permaculture Orchard by Stefan Sobkowiak – who lives in a very similar climate.

    There’s’ plenty more to share with regard to the design of the homestead here – but that will have to wait for another day.  For now, it’s time to get going and capitalize on the time available this Saturday morning.  As long as mom and dad are healthy enough and in good spirits to do the market, they would prefer me spending time here on the homestead working on projects and keeping up with the maintenance.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to do so.
     
    Rob Kaiser
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    20210518 Thoughts on the Rudder

    The Rudder of the Day is a book by Dan Miller.  

    It is a collection of stories & wisdom to kickstart your workday.

    I’ve been reading excerpts from this book over the last five months.

    Dan sent me a copy of this book as a gift welcoming me when I joined the 48 Days Eagles.

    Immediately I knew 2021 was going to be a transformative year...and I think the same now.

    We are coming up on being about 38-39% through the calendar year 2021.

    For the plant folks, we have the first cutting of hay taking place with honeysuckle blooming.

    There isn’t much relevant to this other than the fact that I’m noticing these things.

    I always have...but now it appears as though I notice so much more.  Allow me to explain...

    Again, this morning I read from “The Rudder of the Day” – and several quotes stood out to me:

    • When you have a clear enough “why” you will figure out the “how.”
    • A “whatever” vision will give you “whatever” results.  
    • Forget the obstacles, define a clear “What” and a “Why” and you will be amazed as the “How” comes into view.
    • “Reduce your plan to writing...the moment you do, you will add tangible form to your intangible desires, having a roadmap to success.” – Napoleon Hill

    Those are several examples of the good stuff that is contained within the pages of the book.

    To begin concluding, we read the DIRECTION FOR TODAY:

    • What is a goal you would like to accomplish in the next three years?
    • Why do you want that to happen?
    • What are you doing now to make it happen?

    Great thoughts to begin a day and great ideas to ponder before we begin the day.

    It makes me think of revisiting my old website of “the nameless wayfarer” and read how to convert a wordpress.com site into a wordpress.org site.  I’ve got the work into it anyways.

    If not that difficult, pick up where I left off seven years ago?

    Why shouldn’t I...

    I could talk about all of the other failed projects that I did.

    Would also give me the incentive to better learn how to navigate WordPress.

    Revisit my goals from 7 years ago...I had written them there.

    But regarding the DIRECTION FOR TODAY, I feel compelled to write about the homestead.

    I feel compelled to not only revisit but expand upon the written word from + seven years ago.

    Apparently, it’s imprinted so deeply within my mind that I have become mildly obsessed with it.

    I’ll guess I’ll have to share it here soon, more food for thought on the next writing.  

    For now, it’s time to get to work.

    Cheers and thanks for reading.
     
    Rob Kaiser
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    Currently, it’s “break time” at the day job.

    At approximately 10am, everyone takes a break.

    When I say “everyone” – I mean the day laborers…most of whom are H2A workers from Mexico.

    Technically, myself and my partner fall into the “hourly labor” category as well…

    …and she’s at a prenatal doctor’s appointment this morning.

    The result is having the office to myself during break.

    Today is Tuesday, the day I was born.

    Accordingly, I’m engaging in a Born Day Fast – a practice I’ve been engaging in for about six months.

    You can read and listen to more about Born Day Fasting in the link below:

    • All Around Growth Podcast, [url=https://allaroundgrowth.buzzsprout.com/650959/6749734-ep-59-born-day-fasting]Ep. 59 - Born Day Fasting

    Originally I was going to write about my health and the beauty of the spring season…

    …but my break was abruptly interrupted by the office manager requesting my help.

    The company I am employed by (the day job) has been the victim of spoofing and email scams.

    Our customers have been receiving scam emails from people falsely representing the company.

    Seeing as I set up all email distribution and marketing email lists, I am to notify all customers.

    This is relatively easy for me to do as I’m highly organized and have already sent out proactive emails.

    I can simply assimilate the two emails previously sent into a new one, and *boom* we’re good to go.

    This isn’t really how and where I expected to be in my life in my early 40’s but here I am.

    Break time is up…and it’s time to get back to the grind.
     
    Rob Kaiser
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    20210809 Morning Thoughts

    It’s morning.

    7:54am to be specific as I write.

    I decided to write this morning as I walked the dog.  Sipping coffee...thinking about how I was going to approach the day, it seemed like an appropriate time to update the “me project.”

    The “robkaiser.me project” is one of MANY projects I’m juggling in this life.  After making another coffee, grabbing a little cigar, and my laptop – I sit on the porch to write.

    I finished my first coffee, scrolling through what I’d written regarding the “robkaiser.me” project to date.  This “project” began with a post written on 07/06/2020 at 06:37:14 AM.

    “this thread is dedicated to the documentation (or lack thereof) of my life transition

    my desire is to document (written, audio, video) my life and the changes I’m making”

    During that time last year, we were still in the throes of the pandemic...barely four months after lockdowns began in March of 2020.  Like many people, I began thinking about life.

    I made 31 posts to this thread over the course of 10 months, with the last post being shared almost two months ago, on 05/18/2021 at 10:35:54 AM, just after break at the day job.

    The past few months have been very hectic and stressful.  We are now seven weeks into Q3 of 2021.  It still feels weird to me to write and think in those terms.  It’s summer time in NE Ohio.

    Evergreen trees have hardened off and we are digging trees again – almost three months have passed since I’d last written, and we were still actively digging trees at that point in time.

    What has happened over the past three months?

    As we approached the Summer season and Q3, it was time to transition from one journal to another.  As I did so, I realized I did not set very clear goals for Spring / Q2 and that I really needed to do some thinking and soul searching if I wanted to reach my goals for 2021...

    ...except herein lies the issue – I don’t have any clear goals for 2021.

    Using the Best Self Journal, there is space for (3) Outcome Goals and space to write about milestones, critical drivers, motivation, and accountability.  It’s a great journal.

    I decided that I would come up with (3) simple goals for Q3 of 2021:

    1. Financial
    a. As of 06/27, I had approximately 3-4 months of living expenses in Savings
    b. My goal was to save $1000 during Q3 / Exceed $6400 by 09/30
    2. Physical
    a. As of 06/27, my workout frequency was 0x / week
    b. My goal was to return to 3-4x / week kettlebell workouts
    3. Personal
    a. Dedicate 1 hour / week to Self-Authoring

    These goals were set during the final week of Q2, and were implemented immediately.  During this time, I had also taken advantage of a section in the beginning of the journal titled: “BestSelf BenchMark.”  This provided a scale of 1-10 with an area for addition detail on the following topics: Health, Finances, Work / Career, Relationships, Personal Growth, Mindfulness.

    At that time, I felt strongest in my finances and my relationships – and weakest in my health.  I had been experiencing flare ups with gastrointestinal issues over the past few years and I’d also been experiencing more seizures as well.  I’ve had more seizures in the last six months than I’ve had in the last six years.  

    Over the last few months, I went through a battery of tests to determine what the root cause of my gastrointestinal issues was, and after months of testing, and ruling out all sorts of potential causes such as colitis, Crohn’s disease, pancreatic cancer and such, they did find some ulcers.

    As a matter of fact, I have a follow up appointment with the Digestive Disease Consultants later today, and that was part of the reason for taking the day off as well today.  That, and I felt like I could really benefit from some time off based on life on life’s terms lately.

    The only days off that I’ve had were days that I spent recovering from seizures, and that’s not really a day that I would consider “off.”  It’s really quite miserable.  However, with my seventh year at the day job, I’ve gained an additional week of vacation time, so I’m taking advantage of it.

    Moreover, summer is drawing to a close, and the busy season in the fall will be upon us as well, and I need a few days to get caught up on a few things.  One of which is relaxing, another of which is writing (such as in the manner I’m doing right here, right now), another is playing catch up on my finances – which need a bit of reevaluation after recent (and continuing) medical expenditures.

    My personal focus has turned towards my health, and I’ve got appointments scheduled with Functional Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic in the early part of next month.  I’m hoping that they will be able to help me look at my health as a whole and help me better learn how to approach my health and well being in a comprehensive approach instead of dealing with them in a specific manner like I historically have.  I’m also hopeful that this will serve as a springboard for working with a naturopath, which I began doing in the past – but was so unhealthy that I spent a couple years making dietary improvements since that was most important and what I was lacking in.  Once I had gotten there, I would begin exploring alternative / adjunct therapies for dealing with my seizures.  However, the recent gastrointestinal issues have thrown that off.

    Additional monies have been spent on medical debts incurred and subsequently, I’ve made little progress in my savings goals.  I’ve also given consideration towards spending some money on a new PC / workstation.  This would allow me to get a jump start on file consolidation and preparing myself for the computer work I want to do this winter.  I’m thinking that it might make sense to spend that money now and get acquainted with the machine so that I’m prepared for maximum productivity when the time is available to me – rather than spend that time figuring out the new machine and not doing actual *work* with it.

    Spending the money now would further delay the progress that I make on Baby Step 3 (having 3-6 months in a dedicated emergency fund), but I would easily be able to recoup whatever I am unable to make up by then in savings via my tax refund and anticipated bonus.  Yes, it’s risky to “anticipate” a bonus, but I’ve consistently received one for the same amount each year – and seeing as my partner quit two weeks ago for good...I’d expect there to be a bonus of some kind.

    Regardless, I never “plan” on receiving a bonus, for a bonus is exactly that and should be treated and respected as such.  If I do not receive it, my financial goals will simply be delayed another six months or so.  No big deal.  While the recent departure of my partner will certainly contribute to some change...this is one thing that’s been quite the constant in my life – and is also the one that that so many people that I work with seem challenged with and by.

    It will be interesting to see how people respond or react to the various tasks that will have to go by the wayside since I am now shouldering her workload in addition to what I used to do...and while management came to speak to me the day after she announced her departure in order to “get my opinion” on this, I made it clear that my opinions haven’t been well received historically with the various projects I’d been tasked with, and that despite the challenges I’ve faced, I’ve continued to do the best job I can and I’ll continue to do so however they choose to proceed – which appears to be filling the position and subsequently having me train them also.

    More to write...but I’ve got some dialogue with the pastor of our church to take part in now.

    Until next time.
     
    Rob Kaiser
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    20210823 Health Coaching Freewriting Journaling

    Today is Monday, August 23, 2021.  It is 8:10 am as I type these words.

    This is the last of six days I had scheduled off this month – and it feels good...

    ...though how *I* feel is a bit more questionable.

    Recently, I’ve been experiencing some challenges with my health, and to provide the TLDR version, the biggest issue lately has been “gastrointestinal issues,” dating back four years – when I was initially hospitalized in 2017.  Luckily, testing ruled out a number of potentially bad things, but also discovered that I had recently developed ulcers as well.

    In addition to the gastrointestinal issues, I’ve been having increased seizures as well this year, more seizures from January – July in a six-month period than I’d had in the previous six years.  Accordingly, my neurologist scheduled additional testing as well to see if there were any changes in my brain activity and functioning, and luckily there were not – which indicates that current lifestyle and environmental factors are likely contributing to increased seizure activity.

    After the most extreme seizure in mid-June, I decided to take step back.  Up to that point, I had been putting a lot of work in here on the homestead, with the construction and completion of the commercial kitchen inside the barn, next to my office.  While we still need to complete the plumbing on the sink and install the ductless mini-split heating and cooling system, my part of the work (the construction of the space) was complete.  I was able to take a step back.

    During the year 2017, the idea of Functional Medicine was introduced to me by one of the doctors in the Epilepsy Center of the Cleveland Clinic.  At that time, all I could really focus on was getting out of debt.  During the years of 2014-2017, I spent so much time, effort, and energy on “building my business” that I was in ill health and deeply in debt.  I did not follow up.

    However, with everything going on recently with my health again (and having my deductible met with all the testing this year), follow up with the Functional Medicine department seemed like a wise idea, especially since I had worked hard to become debt free.  When I called to schedule an appointment after my seizure in June, I learned they were booked into 2022.

    The only waiting list was for clients who already had scheduled...so that they could receive a phone call if there was a cancellation.  The only suggestion they could give me was to call back periodically to see if there was anything that had opened up.  This seemed a bit strange to me, but I made a note to do so, and scheduled reminders to follow up with Functional Medicine.

    During the month of July, I ended up having another seizure during my morning workout.  Luckily, that seizure was a bit milder and did not result in as much physical injury.  Regardless, it served as a wakeup call to reevaluate exactly what I was doing in life and why.  It was time to seriously take a look at all the factors contributing to this increased seizure activity.

    Luckily, I was able to schedule an appointment with the Center for Functional Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic in early September.  After securing the appointment, I decided that a focus on my health would become my priority for the remainder of 2021 – and have an impact on my goals for the following 2022 year, which I have yet to fully articulate.

    This has been an interesting year and one full of change.  While there has certainly been some stressors in life with regard to that change, there’s also plenty to potential in what lies ahead.  I look forward to learning more and on this path towards optimal health and wellness as I begin my journey down the path of Functional Medicine.  

    So far, there’s been a lot of work on my end inputting data into a system called Living Matrix – and subsequently, I’m documenting my responses and such in a separate document for ease of access and just as a redundancy.  In the process of doing this, I realized that I could also utilize this as content, and share my experience at the Center For Functional Medicine with YOU.

    As I wrote all this...I realized that my “freewriting” session of the morning would serve as a good topic for a show – and with all that said, I’m interested in feedback from the audience on this.  This is what I’m going to do as I’m already putting effort into the documentation process, episodes and sharing the experience will almost inject an accountability aspect into all of it – which will likely serve me well as there are some of you out there who WILL hold me accountable...and that’s an element of the podcast that I didn’t really expect.  

    I didn’t expect that I’d be building relationships with some of the people who listen to the show and choose to engage with myself and others who are also listening to the show.  It’s humbling and fulfilling and it brings me joy – and I want to thank all of you who have reached out to me personally lately in all the ways that you have...it’s been wonderful.

    As far as the show is concerned, I believe it will take a turn towards Functional Medicine as I learn more about it...and with a new computer (referenced in Episode 172 – Custom Computing), I’m hoping to get some work done in the digital realm and more effectively organize some of all of the chaos that in my mind and on the *dozens* of hard drives and computers all around my office and in storage.  It’s going to get interesting folks.

    The remainder of 2021 is looking up and 2022 is going to be exceptional.


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    Rob Kaiser
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    Location: NE Ohio / USDA Zone 5b
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    Here's a link to the most recent episode of my podcast:

    The All Around Growth Podcast

    Ep. 178 - A Focus on Health and The Future
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    Rob Kaiser
    pollinator
    Posts: 446
    Location: NE Ohio / USDA Zone 5b
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    monies forest garden trees writing wood heat homestead
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    i am a slave
    today I work for my break
    which allows me the opportunity to write
    the reality is that there is flexibility within my schedule for me to do so anytime
    but when i look at my reality and how I feel trapped, i can’t help but wonder if that’s what it felt like
    yet i know there is no comparison
    i am a modern day wage slave
    i am more free than I know
    i will always seek more
    yet i am not greedy
    i am a slave




    today’s haiku

    the freedom of slaves
    has become acceptable
    we have become slaves
     
    Rob Kaiser
    pollinator
    Posts: 446
    Location: NE Ohio / USDA Zone 5b
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    New video premiers September 5, 2021 - 12:00pm EST

     
    Rob Kaiser
    pollinator
    Posts: 446
    Location: NE Ohio / USDA Zone 5b
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    20210919_Free_Writing_Sunday_Morning_Thoughts

    After leisurely sleeping until my body and mind felt rested, I got out of bed.

    Dressing in my pajamas for an easy Sunday morning, I will not be going to church today.

    I spent about 10 hours on the tractor yesterday and Friday night with the brush hog up front – cutting it for the first and only time this season.  I’m grateful that I had the opportunity, even though I feel conflicted about taking it from work.  I’ve used equipment in the past with his encouragement and consent and seem to have an understanding with the owner about doing so…but not everyone does.

    Accordingly, I don’t try to flaunt this or take advantage of it – and unlike years past where I’d taken the machine on the weekend of the 4th of July, I was unable to do so this year…and this weekend was when everything aligned, and I was able to borrow it and get the work done.  There’s approximately 2 acres in the parcel up front that needs to be maintained, and I have dreams of running sheep for meat in there.

    Ideally, I’d love to run cattle one day, but the reality is that we simply don’t have the space, and in my mind at this point, I think the ideal ruminant to utilize on a 2 acre rectangular parcel is sheep.  Currently, I’m thinking a “wagon wheel” paddock system might be best.  One structure, four rotations.

    Over the last few years, I’d been fixated on the idea of “keyline-esque” design a la Mark Shepard, of New Forest Farms.  I spent a lot of time on this idea, laying out keyline after keyline.  I believe there were even images in Google Maps available at one point showing the mowed contour line – from the lowest point of the highest boundary of that parcel.  That idea still exists – but has changed.

    In the back, near the cabin – we will be implementing the keyline approach in a food forest, to be planted with trees following somewhat of a “permaculture orchard” design a la Stefan Sobkowiak, along with some of the design principles of Mark Shepard, and ultimately – our Zone 3 space will be a creation of my own design, my life’s work perhaps, that will (in 20 years, when the forest matures) allow me to “open up” the woods where the pigs will be growing out during the season and finish on whatever fruit and nuts are not picked by myself and the family.  The pigs will put the food forest to rest.  We will put the animals to rest.  When this idea comes to fruition, I assure you, it will be the sweetest meat.  

    After writing for approximately 15-20 minutes, it’s approaching 8:00am.  That was the cut off time I’d allocated to myself for writing.  However, briefly – I finished the antacids that were prescribed to me by the gastroenterologist several months ago.  After 10-14 days, I will be able to submit the stool sample, along with a salivary adrenal / stress complex test and then begin the 6-8 week elimination diet along with supplementation protocol.  That was worth noting, and also something I was able to squeeze in right before the end of my “morning pomodoro” of writing, before another hopefully productive day.

    7:59am – Complete!
     
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