Today we were talking about the three point hitch stuff on the tractor. And some of the equipment that needs mending.
The issue is that the tractor has a category-2 3-point hitch. And I think all of our equipment is category 1. This is all great cuz all you do is use a sleeve at all the right spots.
If I am the only person that ever drives the tractor, I will always use the sleeves because I know about the conversion and how important it is to have a snug fit. But somebody could show up and say that they have lots of experience and choose to do stuff without the sleeves. Their massive tractor experience might not have included the sleeve thing. Damage is done. I will probably have to pay for the damage.
We have had a lot of people come through and .... oops! Well, that's what they are here for: to build experiences. And the best way is to jump right in and try.
We talked about making manuals or doing required training. But really, we would we need somebody that is a strong leader/teacher to pull all this stuff off. Somebody a hundred times kinder than me. We're looking.
But the important thing is that we have had a powerful need to talk about a person that shows up, tries to help and .... oops! It isn't that the person is stupid or wicked - they just don't know stuff. In fact, they are trying really hard to help out!
It's a lot like "the pig bucket problem". But when talking about this stuff we need to improve our vocabulary ...
For months this has been on my mind. As I teach people to start a rocket mass heater for the first time, they are SO SURE what to do, and my attempts to teach are labeled as "patronizing". And then they do it wrong. Oops.
A few days ago the idea was presented of a character. A name we could toss around and we would all know that name. Some actual names were proposed, but that would be inappropriate. And if anybody showed up with that same name ....
And then this morning while talking about three point hitches ...
I think that no matter where anybody goes, everybody is a little bit of a gilligan until they learn the particulars of the spot. And some people might be more of a gilligan than others.
Having the phrase "Gilligan Factor" helps me tremendously with all of the things that we are talking about. It is my impression that on that island, Gilligan does more work than anybody, brings oodles of enthusiasm to help others and .... also happens to have a high "oops factor".
So, as we were talking about the three point hitch stuff this morning, it made my life much easier to say "A Gilligan won't know about the sleeves. We need a solution that doesn't have sleeves, or we will have problems as the Gilligans arrive." So we moved the conversation to things about different balls on the tractor, or different pins on the equipment. Easy peasy.
So now, I am inspired to post the video of the series theme song.
The Gilligan's Island story is told in this song. It was supposed to be just a "three-hour tour" (sing the refrain with me now!) that turned into being stranded on a deserted island.
So, if people pay the gapper fee, which includes a 3-4 hour tour here and then they decide to stay and be part of ant village and/or the ant village challenge, I'm totally seeing the similarities apart from the Gilligan factor! Just sayin'.
And I really, really like the Gilligan factor explanation, too.
My usual speech to volunteers is something like: "Please follow instructions precisely. I want things done a certain way, I'll listen to your opinions, but I'll have the final say, as I'll be here after you have moved on. Maybe I'm wrong, but I prefer dealing with my own mistakes rather than other people's."
Some listen, some don't.
It really comes down to diplomacy. Someone who is staying a short time has an idea about how to do things, and they may or may not know best. If someone tells me something like this, I will usually consider their opinion. Research it (often here on Permies because I have a lot of confidence in the experience here), and maybe sometime later, experiment with their method on a limited scale, long term and observe the results. Experimenting is good, but it may take several years to assess the results of an experiment. However some people will take offence because they think their opinions are being dismissed out of hand and their skills and experience are being disrespected if they aren't allowed to do things their way, right away.
Sometimes volunteers do great work on their own initiative, because they see a job that needs to be done and know how to do it. Someone knew a better way to make garden steps than me, and got on and did the work. No more slipping over in wet weather.
I say damsons don't need much pruning, it shouldn't be done in winter and not in the manner of appletrees. Someone does it anyway and the yields plummet. The next year I have the debate again.
I request that people don't burn treated wood or rubbish, as all the ash goes to the garden, but many people are incapable of lighting a fire without a handful of plastic wrappers, a lead wicked tealight and some pages from glossy magazines and don't want to admit this or be shown how to light a fire quickly using pinecones.
Then someone wants to compound this problem by putting fire ash in the compost toilet, because "this is what they do in India".
Sometimes people seem to really know what they are talking about, but don't. Someone who said they knew about horses redesigned a harness for the donkey with a strap across the neck. It nearly throttled the donkey when she walked uphill. I later discovered a campaign to ban harnesses of this type.
I taught a sustainable agricultural development course this past spring semester to a group of college students, most of whom had never grown anything before and, perhaps half had never even mowed a lawn or used a power tool in their life. There were a handful of students who had had some agricultural experience, including one whose family owns 40 acres and has kept chickens, and has a decent sized garden and orchard. But most of the students needed instruction on how to do simple things like turn a compost pile, or how deeply to plant a seed in a pot.
So I constantly felt the tension of finding the right balance between patronizing them, or leaving them to flounder for minutes while they screwed things up. The other variable was that the class was only 3 hours long every Friday, so if I left it to them to figure things out, precious minutes would be wasted. Again, I walked that thin line between "Hey listen to me and follow my instructions step by step", and "It's a shovel—figure it out." Most seemed to welcome my instruction, but they still broke tools and messed stuff up on a regular basis.
If Gilligan has a stinky attitude and can't be taught anything, then I'll set him/straight and shame him a little bit: "You're not doing it correct and there are implications that follow from that, usually being more work for me. Please listen carefully. If you don't want to do it my way, then let someone else do it". At one point, I had to pull one girl to the side after class and recommended that she drop the course since she didn't seem to think she had much to learn from me. She'd persisted in talking while I was explaining how to prune pom-fruit trees, and then when given her turn, she made a mess of the tree she was assigned. That's not something I can fix once she's gone -- it'll take a year or more for that to grow back, and meanwhile, this years crop will be adversely impacted.
If Gilligan has a good attitude and humbly wants to learn new skills, I'll take the risk that they might break something or screw something up. Frankly, I'll take a humble Gilligan any day over a haughty Mrs. Howell who will not dare to break a fingernail, or a know-it-all Professor, or a delettante Ginger who is there merely for her amusement, but when the sweaty work is taking place in earnest, she's off in the shade somewhere because it's too hot and too hard.
Don't we all wish the world were 95% filled with Mary Ann?
And my, that lovely Dawn Wells looked good in a gingham dress carry a coconut cream pie. We salute you, Kansas girls!
Post Tenebras Lux
Until further notice, we will celebrate everything.
This is my favorite show. And this is my favorite tiny ad:
177 hours of video: the 2017 Permaculture Design Course and Appropriate Technology Course