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150 things  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22172
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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I was recently reminded of a day on the 80 acres I had a few years ago.

I was standing in a spot taking a breather and trying to figure out which problem to deal with next. My brother asked me "what's wrong?" So I guess my expression showed that something was wrong.

"It isn't any one thing. Nor is it six things. It's more like 150 things - but each thing is really a small thing. For each thing, it would be silly to say anything. In fact, the mere act of saying anything about any one thing will most likely turn the one thing into a bigger problem."

"Like what?"

"Like where you put your trailer. I thought you would put it in the woods behind the shop. Then nobody sees it and you can run an extension cord and have power. By the time I saw where you put it, you had already leveled it and set up stuff outside of it. I felt like there are bigger issues to deal with so I let it go. Now it seems to be becoming a central point for piling stuff up, so it is getting bigger and more established. So rather than the first experience on the property being scenic, it involves driving by a trailer, plus a lot of gear and materials. Now the job to mend it is much bigger and I hate to mention it. And that is just one thing out of 150. Nothing important enough to make the list of stuff to do today. Or even worth mentioning when there are so many other things to focus on."

I just want to express this. It has popped up in my head a hundred times since that day. It seems that when you have one or two big problems, you are justified in expressing frustration. But with 150 little things, it is extremely difficult to express.

I think the real problem isn't the actual things so much as the conversations that would be involved. Some of the people at that property had really terribly communication skills - so bringing something up could end up with a rather ugly experience.

I suppose this is one of the reasons for recording the podcasts. If I express a position on something, other folks are more likely to understand the why without another word being spoken.

I very much like working with folks where the exchange of knowledge and ideas is a pleasure. Rather than a chore.

I appreciate the opportunity to express the position: I hope that things will be so smooth that there will never be a list like this "150 things"
 
Jennifer Smith
Posts: 715
Location: Zone 5
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There may always be 150 things that could be better. There will allways be 500 beautiful things. That, to me, is permaculture.
A honey bee on a flower, ripe fruit, a raindrop..
Love you Paul
Wish I could see podcasts!
Another beautiful thing, when home and most all possessions burn, out of the ashes, three days later...my permies mug. Only needing a good cleaning! I just realized I am drinking out of it now
Again, love you Paul
 
Mark Livett
Posts: 58
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So did he shift the trailer?

I think that most problems spring from a lack of communication.

We assume that people who have similar tastes and views as we do are similar in most ways. We also assume that people don't want to be micromanaged and want to exercise their own decision making abilities.

But in the long run if you had said something along the lines of "I would like you to drop your trailer off around the back because I don't want it to be the first thing visitors see as they approach the farm" then I am sure he would have understood, and if the space around the back was not suitable to drop the trailer off he would have known that any other spot where it couldn't be seen would be suitable.

Of course if your brother had said, "Hi I am bringing the trailer around, mind if I drop it off at the front of the shop?" Then you would have had an opportunity to discuss it.

For you it would be better for him to be out of the way though it would require more effort on his part. For him it would mean less effort if he just dropped it off at the front.

Instead you both assumed that the other would instinctively know what needed to be done without discussing it.

It would be easier to have 150 conversations than live with the consequesnces of not having those conversations.

(I always imagine having conversations like making a deal with the devil or lawyers or building contractors, how will they attempt to misinterpret my wishes to make life easier for themselves and what do I have to say to make sure that there is no wiggle room.)
 
Jennifer Smith
Posts: 715
Location: Zone 5
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Good post Mark
 
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