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how to learn all this stuff

 
steward
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We started the new kickstarter a few minutes ago, and one back wrote to me and asked:

According to your co-author's description, this book is *not* intended to teach the skills SKIP includes. Where would you suggest I go to do that?



I think each person is going to be different.   And I think it will be different for each BB.   Most BBs have a few embedded youtube videos and some links, but that is more about getting a person started.  

Books, youtube, permies threads, google ...  

Perhaps you have a BB in mind to start with?


For everybody reading this thread - what is your advice?
 
master pollinator
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To me, the BBs are designed to show that you have a skill, not to help you learn it.  As Paul mentioned, youtube will teach you how to do most anything you want to learn.  Permies people seem very willing to answer questions about nearly anything.  For a more hands-on approach, the older guy or gal that you interact with when going about your daily journey probably knows all sorts of things.  Farmers and other "country people" are usually more than happy to show you how to do whatever it is they are doing at the time.  The trick to that is to ask about the thing they are doing, not ask about something else that would make them stop what they are doing just to help you.  Same with tradespeople, they are usually happy to let you watch and ask questions, as long as you aren't delaying them.  I guess my best advice would be to just talk to people if you're comfortable with that.  You can learn something from most anyone.  If people make you uncomfortable, and I can relate, youtube really is a fantastic tool.
 
pollinator
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Another great resource for instruction or advice are home center or hardware store clerks. Often you'll find they are retired tradespeople who really know their business.
If you are there shopping for parts/supplies for a project, it can be really helpful to tell them what you are up to.
They usually know about all the things they carry, and will help you find the right parts, as well as what other supplies or tools you may need to do it right.
 
master steward
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Of course, reading books will be a great way to learn these skills.  Then there is youtube. Helping family and friends is another.

I also think the BB (Badge Bits) are also a great way to get started because some are easy to get.  If a person doesn't have the skill needed to earn a BB, there is probably some information already in a thread here at permies.  Here is an example:

https://permies.com/wiki/102815/pep-food-prep-preservation/loaves-bread-PEP-BB-food

And a thread to learn from:

https://permies.com/t/1371/kitchen/Poly-Dough-pizza-bread-fry
 
master steward
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It's true that while SKIP doesn't officially teach people the skills, it does by the simple act of it's framework. Say you want to build a roundwood chair. But you have NO IDEA how to even get to the point to having those skills. But, you start out the roundwood badge. One of the first badges is a spoon. Well, that's kind of hard, but not impossible. So you start carving and soon you've learned a LOT about carving.

Then you make a simple mallet. This teaches you some larger scale carving. AND you have a tool. So you make a compound mallet. Now you've learned how to make a peg that fits snugly into something. That's a huge step to toward making a chair.

SKIP if set up so you start tackling the easier skills, and as you gain those, you now have the ability to tackle the harder stuff. Sure, SKIP didn't tell you exactly how to make that mallet, but it told you "Hey, this is an easy skill that YOU can do. Try it! See all these other people that made it, too? You can do it!" And once you've done it, you have the skill to learn more things.

This was literally my roundwood woodworking journey. It gave me a framework and the confidence to try and learn. And so I did, and I can now carve these things and other simple round wood stuff like a kiwi trellis and a niddy noddy. These sorts of things would have been unreachable for me before SKIP.

I'm seriously thankful for SKIP!
 
pollinator
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Kenneth Elwell wrote:
Another great resource for instruction or advice are home center or hardware store clerks. Often you'll find they are retired tradespeople who really know their business.  



I would approach this method with caution. Small mom and pop hardware stores generally have a very knowledgeable owner, and usually employees too. They have a lot at stake to staying in business and want to give good advice. Big box stores (looking at you, Lowe’s and Home Depot) can be hit or miss. I’ve seen 3 types of employees there- the person who knows where things are but that’s about all, and will usually help you find someone more knowledgeable to answer questions. The person who is a retired tradesperson and knows a lot and can steer you correctly. And finally, the dangerous ones, who think they know a lot but don’t. And if you’re replacing a shovel handle it may do no worse than waste your time. But if your project is electrical, it could have a very unpleasant outcome. I’ve overheard some really bizarre advice given by some of these employees. And if you, trying to learn, don’t know ‘what to know’, how will you sort out the good from the bad? You’re wiring a light switch- which leg does it break- the hot, the ground, the neutral? That ‘knowledgeable’ clerk in the electrical aisle may know, or may just think they know. So, like everything in life, trust but verify. It’s hard- even YouTube is full of videos with bad advice! (Switches break the hot leg, so that way if you want to change the light fixture safely you don’t need to find and shut off an entire circuit, you can just turn off the switch).
I think this will be the biggest challenge of SKIP- finding capable teachers. So it’s great that this thread exists now, and hopefully some worthy brainstorming can occur to find ways to teach people the more complicated skills- you can’t fell a tree until you have chainsaw skills, and even then it can be a dangerous proposition. Not something to be learned without someone at your side who has those skills. As Trace mentioned, asking people who are actually doing the thing you want to learn about can sometimes work. I would go a step further and suggest offering them free help (your ‘tuition’) in exchange for their knowledge. Just be sure your help is actually helpful! Nothing worse than a ‘helper’ who gets in the way and slows things down.
Some community colleges and cooperative extension agencies have evening and weekend classes for this sort of thing- I recently saw one for butchering pigs, where you bought a live weight hog and went home with cut and wrapped pork. Years back, I lived near a forestry college that offered weekend courses on chainsaw use and safety. And I’ve never met a beekeeper who didn’t love sharing everything they knew! So, the education is out there, it just takes finding, and making sure it’s accurate quality knowledge.
 
Nicole Alderman
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I was thinking about this thread again today. I've wanted for years to put an arbor on my property. I love the thought of walking under a roundwood arbor and picking food.

But, for years I did not think I would be able to build something like that. I didn't even know how to start, or even the basics of how to make a structure stick together and hold together.

But, SKIP gave me knowledge and confidence. SKIP roundwood badge had me make simple, easy things and realize how to have them hold together without any glue or nails. This is powerful! And, getting certified for building these things, helped me know that I COULD do this.

So, for the past week or so, I cut down trees (my first time felling trees--I felt empowered to do so through the Woodland Care badge), delimbed them, pealed them, carved and drilled them, and turned them into a grape arbor. It may not be the most perfect of structures, but it's sturdy, it's entirely natural, and it's built out of thinned cedar from my own property. I makes me so happy to know I was able to build this. I love it's natural/organic appearance, and I love that I now have a place to grow grapes!

my roundwood grape arbor
view from the side


Even if you're not interested in SKIP to inherit property, the S (skills) part of SKIP is a powerful, powerful thing. At least it has been for me!
 
Julie Reed
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That’s awesome Nicole! It will weather beautifully too! It’s too easy to buy a fancy prefab kit, but this is better quality, personal, and unique (and free!). Every project like this is a rung on a ladder- what else can I do? It’s funny, I grew up in a logging and sawmilling family, and ran chainsaws and handled axes and other wood related tools from a young age, but was always intimidated by wood. Metal is predictable. I could heat or weld it and know exactly how it would react. Wood had knots and grain that could split, it warped and swelled and shrunk... and I’d think about how building something like your grape arbor wouldn’t look right because it wasn’t perfect looking. Now I realize how much better things look in natural shapes and angles, with curves and crooks, and a profile that becomes part of the landscape. Your arbor will quickly look like it grew there, same as the grape vines. Thanks for sharing! And I hope you’ve inspired dozens or hundreds of people to try their hand at roundwood construction.
 
gardener
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I think that the answer to this question is knowing your particular learning style. For instance, are you a "classroom" type learner? Are you an armchair YouTube learner? Do you prefer supervision by a seasoned pro? Are you a "get down and dirty and figure it out as you go" learner?

One reason I like Youtube so much is that I can skip over videos that don't explain things in the ways my brain comprehends. Or, conversely, I can find someone who's tackled a project in a way my brain would have never thought about.

One reason I like Permies so much is that I can bounce ideas off y'all to get feedback. I love the "been there, done that" contributions we all so willingly share.

My own plan for tackling PEP projects is to go down the list to see what I might like to learn next. In all likelihood, I'll never get to the "earthworks" iron badge bit that involves using a backhoe to build a pond with a bedrock base, LOL! But golly, doesn't that sound like fun?!

One thing I've considered asking is if husband/wife teams can combine badges. I mean, hubbie did the main muscle work of lots of our homestead, but I'm the only one with a permies account. My job is more "nest" related. I wonder if it's considered taboo to document hubbie's work on my account, even if we are a joint team? Just curious how that works here.
 
Anne Miller
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I like to learn about things new to me.  Since I found permies, I have learned so much just by reading the forums and asking questions.

I feel the Badge Bits is a great way to get experience and learn new skills.  

I like to look at them to see what everyone else has done or accomplished.  I can easily get lost for hours just looking through all the badge bits.

If someone wants to learn a new skill they could almost pick a Badge Bits and follow the pictures and directions and learn how to accomplish that Badge Bit.
 
pollinator
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While the Kickstarter is still active, I would say that the rewards that come with backing the SKIP book are going to be an awesome way to learn the skills. Especially if you back at the $65 level, I think you could say that you will receive all the knowledge you need to achieve PEP1 certification if not higher.
 
gardener
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Anne Miller wrote:If someone wants to learn a new skill they could almost pick a Badge Bits and follow the pictures and directions and learn how to accomplish that Badge Bit.



I second this point. The requirements for certification of BBs inherently show some before/after, tools and process. That gives a lot of clues as to how to go about it. It also shows the many incarnations of the completed project.

I imagine as the PEP program matures these will probably become even more clear.

When I google a lot of these skills, the permies thread often shows up. That's really how I found my way to the forums in the first place.
 
steward
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Stacie Kim wrote:One thing I've considered asking is if husband/wife teams can combine badges. I mean, hubbie did the main muscle work of lots of our homestead, but I'm the only one with a permies account. My job is more "nest" related. I wonder if it's considered taboo to document hubbie's work on my account, even if we are a joint team? Just curious how that works here.


PEP isn't set up for couples or teams to apply under one account.  If you both have accounts, then I'd say a joint thread in the PEP or SKIP forum to show off your shared BBs would be an approach.  Even if neither of you is PEP2 certified, you could show how as a team, you would be...
 
Stacie Kim
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Mike Haasl wrote:

Stacie Kim wrote:One thing I've considered asking is if husband/wife teams can combine badges. I mean, hubbie did the main muscle work of lots of our homestead, but I'm the only one with a permies account. My job is more "nest" related. I wonder if it's considered taboo to document hubbie's work on my account, even if we are a joint team? Just curious how that works here.


PEP isn't set up for couples or teams to apply under one account.  If you both have accounts, then I'd say a joint thread in the PEP or SKIP forum to show off your shared BBs would be an approach.  Even if neither of you is PEP2 certified, you could show how as a team, you would be...


Thanks for clarifying, Mike.
 
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