Gordon Shephard

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since Jun 18, 2012
I'm, what, over 60, and this is a small space.  I've been lots of places, done lots of things (currently milking sheep)...and now I'm here.
Seattle, WA
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Recent posts by Gordon Shephard

Cost per mile...anyone else considered this metric?  I work at a sheep dairy in western Washington, and need to wear waterproof footwear at least 6 months of the year.  I've tried Muck, Reed, Servus, and a couple of others without really much satisfaction.  Most recently I purchased a $12.00 pair of Western Family Stores rubber boots - terribly uncomfortable, and they lasted about 3 months before splitting up the back - but even with that, the cost/year is better than any other boots I've tried.  

I walk at least 5 miles per day in my waterproof boots.  That's 180 days times 5 miles per day or 900 rubber-boot-miles per year.  At one pair per 3 months, the cheap boots work out to $24/900 = 2.67 cents/mile.  The Servus boots I purchased most recently (for $20) lasted 2 months (so three pair/season) = 6.7 cents/mile.  The Reeds I bought for $60.00 lasted a month!  The Muck Boots I bought a few years ago lasted 2 years, but at $130 that's 7 cents/mile.  So far, the best in terms of cost are the cheapest in terms of cost/mile.  (I just need to figure out how to make them reasonably comfortable - and, then, there is the question of waste...that is a lot to throw away in order to be not very reasonably comfortable.)

Recently I bought a pair of LaCrosse lace-up boots ($9.00 used, a size too large, at my local thrift store).  Too late, now, to get a good read as to how waterproof they are.

My basic requirements are that I can walk through (but not stand in) 2-3 inches of water, and/or tramp through a quarter mile of knee-high, rain-wet grass, without getting wet feet.  (Have you had the experience of walking through rain-wet grass that is higher than your boots, so the water saturates your pants and runs down inside your boots because your pants are tucked in?)
1 year ago
I'm an old guy, single, not rich, but looking to get off the grid for the remainder of my "golden" years.  So...I thought I'd plumb the depths of Permies.com to see if there is any interest, among other folks of my general type, in pooling resources to purchase land in the Pacific Northwest for the purpose of creating an intentional community.

Of course, the term "intentional community" has pretty broad meaning, so here are some of my personal preferences in this regard:

1.  Whosoever doth not shovel the sh*t, neither shall they suck the teat.  In other words, everyone shares the work of dealing with the waste that is an inevitable part of being alive.

2.  "The Humanure Handbook."  If you haven't read Joe Jenkins work on the composting of...well, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about...then you should.  After all, it is free to anyone who has an internet connection.

3.  Many hands make light work.  Not looking for solitary hermits, here.

4.  One person, one vote.  An intentional community leader I knew (she's dead now) said there are three possible outcomes to conflict (excluding one side killing off the other): separation, compromise, and synthesis.  In my experience (about 5 years in the afore mentioned community) synthesis (meaning everyone gets what they truly want) is pretty damn hard - requires a lot of talking, soul searching, more talking, self reflection, more talking - in other words, requires the kind of deep commitment to finding a fully satisfying solution that few folks are really willing for.  Compromise, meaning everyone gets part of what they want, but never all, is possible but is rarely satisfying enough to produce a long-term solution to the conflict.  Separation - well, like I said above, not looking for hermits.  All together, in order to get started, one person, one vote.  Then, if all can agree, work toward synthesis.

So, I'm thinking in the neighborhood of $10k per person, minimum 10 acres, land trust...what else?

Just putting this out there...

Why, on earth, are you on facebook???!!!  I'd love to find out about your project...but NEVER on facebook!  There are plenty of alternatives that don't require that I give up my privacy to a data shark like Shmuckerberg.
Hi Hazel!

I thought you deserved at least one reply.  Yours is an interesting project.  I would suggest that your post belongs in the Intentional Community sub-forum, rather than in Permaculture Singles, given that you are looking for people interested in your project, rather than for people interested in you personally.

Social Permaculture is certainly an interesting idea, though I suspect that few, if any, groups of folks have enough experience with it to say whether it will be any more successful than any of the other experiments in alternative social relations.  I lived, for a number of years, in an intentional community in Staten Island (Ganas), which is (or perhaps was) based (loosely) on Marxian economics, and the idea that an individual could change how they respond to conflict by a deep understanding of the sources of their response.  (People's responses to conflicts are rarely based in a rational desire to resolve them.)  That community, after experiencing some rather wrenching changes, has been in a long (as in YEARS long) discussion on how to proceed from where they are.  I can tell you, community is not an easy project.

And, then, there is the whole question of whether it matters at all, anyway, other than as an opportunity for certain individuals to pursue what they may consider to be a life of excellence and love, in the face of the significant possibility of Near Term Human Extinction (see Guy McPherson't web log, "Nature Bats Last").  My own feeling is that one more source of "Advancded Permaculture Skills...workshops." is a bit more than needed.  My hope (and it is a meager hope indeed) is to find some folks whose tolerance for difference is sufficient that they might live in enough proximity to serve each other in need while leaving each other otherwise alone.

In any event, I wish you the best,

So, I don't have indoor plumbing.  So I'm on the old side, so I usually have to get up in the middle of the night to...you know...  So, I keep a half gallon narrow-mouth mason jar by the bed.  Half gallon because I'm old, like I said, and sometimes I forget to take it out to the outhouse in the morning.

So, about a week ago, as I was heading out, in the morning, with the jar, to the outhouse, I got called away for an emergency, and I put the jar down on the back porch.  And one thing led to another, and I went to visit my sister for a few days, and when I got back...there was the jar of...you know...rather older than usual.

So, I was about to take it out to the outhouse, when I noticed something swimming around in the...you know...  It was a fly, and, actually, it wasn't swimming, it was drowning.  And, then, I noticed that quite a number of its brethren (and sistren, I assume) had suffered a similar fate.  So, I decided to watch for a bit, and, sure enough, another fly arrived, fiddled around a bit, then headed down into the jar.  It tried to alight on the side, but...ooops...dropped right down into the...you know...

The jar has been out there for more than a week, now...I got another one to use for my nightly...you know...  And has continued to collect victims, to the point that there is now more than an inch of fly bodies down at the bottom of the...you know...

So, I googled around the net, and here at Permies, and found lots of formulae for what to put in a jar to attract flies...maple syrup, rotting flesh, vinegar, beer, whatever.  But no one seems to have thought of one of the most readily available, and cheap, fly attractants:  PEE!

Anyone else tried this?
1 year ago
I give this seed source 10 out of 10 acorns.

Hudson identifies itself as a "public access seed bank...established in 1911..."  Their catalog, which includes all kinds of seeds (not just vegetables) is about 85 pages of seeds (15 pages of veggie seeds) with (roughly) an average of 20 varieties per page - 26 varieties of tomato, 32 varieties of pepper, 24 varieties of squash, and many others - all "open pollinated, non F-1 hybrid, non-patented" vegetable seeds, "...many of which have been continuously grown for a century or more..."

One of my favorite non-seed-related things about this company is that they pack their seeds in simple paper envelopes - no plastic, nothing shiny.  Of course, this means you have to take care to keep them dry, but you are perfectly capable of that...right?  Seeds can be had in packets (usually $2.50 per packet), ounces, or quarter pounds.  Ordering is available online and by mail.  Online ordering is a bit more complicated than the usual point-and-click of most seed suppliers, but not beyond the capabilities of the average 12-year-old.  My orders have usually arrived in a week or so, though the later you order, the longer it is likely to take.  I actually count this as a positive thing, as it means (to me) that they are spending their money on seed production not marketing.  Postage & handling is (not free but) reasonable - $2.75 for up to 40 seed packets, to $5.00 for 150 packets or more.
The active ingredient that you are extracting from horse chestnut seeds is saponin (check the wikipedia page on saponin for more information).
2 years ago
"Time is a commodity."  

I agree that my time has a value.  But, then, Jamie Dimon's time is worth a whole lot more than mine.  By that logic I should be out selling Consolidated Debt Obligations to pension funds instead of dinking around growing food.  I bet Jamie Dimon can afford to hire someone to wipe his butt for him when he poops.

I think that "self sufficiency" (aside from being impossible) is wrong headed.  I'd go for something more like "tribal sufficiency."  It is true that ten people each raising ten acres of wheat would be pretty inefficient -  ten people getting together to raise 100 acres of wheat cooperatively would be a lot more efficient, and 100 people getting together to raise 1000 acres of wheat could afford to buy their own (used) combine.  Of course, then, you'd have to trust the folks you are cooperating with - something that seems pretty difficult for folks these days.

For the mango and banana people, I forgot to mention pawpaws - a tropical (tasting) fruit that is native to these latitudes.
2 years ago
I find it curious that everyone is talking about eating stuff that requires a global food system.  Mangos?  Bananas?  How about learning to eat locally?  I mean REALLY locally.  Mangos won't grow?  How about persimmons?  (Ever seen a picture of persimmon trees in the snow?) Can't grow walnuts?  How about chestnuts?  (Did you know that chestnut trees once grew from the Mississippi to the east coast, from Georgia to Maine.  Did you know there has been  a 20+ year effort to breed a blight resistant American Chestnut?)  Wanna try some dandelion root coffee?  (Maybe it hasn't any cafeine, but it is hot, bitter and brown.)  

Hunter-gatherers ate from hundreds of different food sources.  The average western-culturally-deprived citizen eats, what, less than 50.  They also fattened up in the summer, and semi-starved in the winter (at least, in the colder northern climates).  

Blueberries?  How about saskatoons, or huckleberries.  Do you know how nutritious dandelion leaves are?  Ever leached and ate acorn meal?  Did you know that chia is a native of the western US.

Time to get out of the (packaged food) box!
2 years ago
The Fellowship of Intentional Communities (ic.org) has a vast library of articles on just the kinds of subjects you're asking about.  My own experience in Intentional Community (at the Ganas community, in Staten Island, approximately 80 members, in 8 houses, going on 40 years now) suggests that the most important ingredient for successful community is people who are more interested in community than in their own baggage.
2 years ago