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Kevin Wilson

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since Jan 30, 2012
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urban food preservation fiber arts
Powell River, BC
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Recent posts by Kevin Wilson

I just shared the lawn care article on FB, and got this comment back....

“Thanks, Kevin .. this is a very timely article for me right now, I have a yard with mostly dandelions in it and want to, in the most environmentally friendly way, build up the grass to make the yard look nice, there are some really good tips in this article, I have SAVED IT for future reference, thank you for posting !!”
Thanks for the detailed reply, Nicole. BTW I realized that my previous post had a bit of a snarky tone, which wasn't my intention, so I'm sorry for that!

I'm really glad to see sewing machine maint in there. Given that other badges focus on hand vs power tools, I wonder if people could be encouraged to try a project on a people-powered sewing machine (treadle or hand-crank). They are surprisingly common once you start paying attention to them - in my small town (13K population, ferry and air access only) I bought a secondhand treadle, was given one from the 1890's by someone I met on the bus, offered two more for free that I didn't have room for, know half a dozen people who own one, and have seen another half dozen offered for sale... in the last 2 years. So even if a person didn't want to own one, they might be able to borrow one or spend time on one.

I do agree with a previous poster that knitting a single sock is more likely to take 5 hours than 2. I've knit somewhere between 40 and 50 pairs at the moment, and I'm a medium fast knitter, and my time is closer to 5 hrs per sock.

I was mulling this over while I planted the squash last night, and it struck me that the stickwork list is much more about products than process/skills, compared to some other areas in this badge like prepping fleece. As a result, someone could get their 5 points using garter stitch only, and never learn even basic skills like purling, increasing and decreasing.

I know I'm too late to affect this badge anyway! I am more thinking aloud and for feedback, because I will be adding Textile badges to my own merit badge program sometime soon. (Currently working on Baking :)  )

2 months ago
This badge seems like a huge step up  from the sand badge. Maybe the sand one is too easy?

Re the scissor sharpening tool... while I do sharpen tools, and it's a valuable skill, I would never sharpen my good sewing scissors myself (and nor did my sewing-teacher, quilting-teacher, tailoring, still sewing at 90, Mum). I get my friendly local scissor-sharpening expert to do it properly, and trade him my expertise in other things. Not everyone has to be able to do everything - in fact I see it as a very Permaculture thing to trade skills within the community.

2 months ago
In case anyone would like to take a look at my PEX offshoot, it's here:

Right now, Levels 1 and 2 of the Gardening badges are complete, and a Pandemic badge: I'm working on food prep badges next.

My audience and purpose are quite different from Paul's, so the program is different, but the lineage shows :)
Re what's wrong with that last pic... looks like too much wood ash (or maybe lime) on the soil surface round those brassicas. Good for the calcium, but I prefer to apply it and let the rain wash it down into the soil before I plant. (I see people suggesting wood ash on the surface for slugs, but mine just laugh at it and keep sliming!).
I’m considering creating a “badge” program for the Urban Homesteading School that I run, especially since we’re all currently “social distancing”. This wouldn’t run through and wouldn’t add any burden to staff here. Many, but not all, of the existing PEP and PEA badges would be usable. For something independent like this, would it be appropriate for me to use your work as a basis? I’d be happy to give credit - or not, since you don’t know what I might do with it! - in any way that seems good to you.
3 months ago

Mike Haasl wrote:For electrical I'm assuming the experiences (BBs) would be things you could do on a kitchen table in an apartment.  Like repairing/making lamps, fixing appliances, making machines, etc.

That makes sense, you can do a lot of electrical stuff that’s not permanently connected to the building systems.

I definitely did un-allowed minor plumbing work in apartments 😀. It’s pretty basic to know how to stop a faucet leaking, or unclog a sink or toilet (without making possible plumbers life harder later), or stop a flood. I wish my upstairs neighbor knew that before her dishwasher leak sent water cascading though my ceiling light fixtures!
3 months ago

paul wheaton wrote:
Aspects not in PEA:

natural building
woodland care
plumbing and hot water

I’m wondering why plumbing is excluded, while electricity is included? In my experience of living in apartments and condos, owned or rented, plumbing is a lot more accessible and more frequently needed, than electrical. Also it’s a lot harder to kill yourself or destroy the whole building with plumbing 😀

3 months ago
We’ve been car free since 2012, in a small isolated town on the Canadian west coast. Buses come about once an hour but you can get almost anywhere you need to as long as you don’t mind working around the schedule. My hubby bikes and walks, I walk. Everyday groceries are 10 mins walk away and we belong to a bulk buying club for staples ( and grow a big garden).

My cargo transport is a pull along shopping cart which holds 2 bankers boxes stacked. I sell at the local market in the winter and can stock a full table using the cart. In fact I have even packed everything for a stall at a 2 day indoor craft fair in and on the cart. I get some funny looks sometimes 😀. One big bag of potting soil or similar also fits. Plants are a bit of a problem because they need headroom. I don’t do the summer market because it’s outside town and is hard to get to without a car.

Occasionally we borrow or rent a car or truck and do errands that require a vehicle.

However we are now 61 and 68 and seeing a need for a car on the horizon for medical runs. Multiple taxis get expensive fast, and our only local taxi co often has only one car on duty at night, so there can be a long wait.
1 year ago
This is a fascinating idea / topic and it’s got me all fired up. I run an “Urban Homesteading School “ in my small West coast Canadian town, and while I get lots of folks coming to workshops and learning things, many of them never do anything with the information. Some do, and it’s satisfying to hear about that. This kind of “merit badge” program might be a way to get people actually doing things outside of classes.
Oh boy, another project 😀
1 year ago