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Dan Grubbs

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since Nov 30, 2012
I'm a 25-year PR professional working in the corporate sector while starting a new small farm of 15 acres using regenerative techniques. PDC in spring of 2015 with certificate from PRI.
northwest Missouri, USA
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Recent posts by Dan Grubbs

Hei Tel

I've been advised to ensure all microbial life in the IBC totes are gone due to the risk of things growing in your catchment water when the sun hits it. I wonder if the fermenting may leave any microbial life in the tote. Maybe being dry for a while took care of that. I'm actually going to paint my totes black to keep light to a minimum. But, I will be sterilizing the totes because they will water my chickens and the drip lines in our high tunnel. The tiny emitters would get clogged up easily if stuff started growing in the water. Just a thought.

By the way, I used to live in the greater Helsinki area (Espoo) when I worked for Huhtamaki. I enjoyed living in Finland. American city design and planning have a lot to learn from Espoo.

1 week ago
A friend of mine took an "educate the health director" approach and did get his humanure system approved.
He took the time to get to know the person and talked about various systems in the world and how they all worked. My friend shared a lot of literature and designs from other places and met a few times to discuss. It took some time, but this person in charge of health for the county became educated on the subject and when my friend submitted a design with plenty of details, it didn't take the government official too long to get to the point of approval for my friend's system.

I do admit this is likely an exception to the majority, but if time and education are the only things holding back a county official from approval, then we can commit the time and effort to get them there.  Or, install a standard septic system.
1 month ago
Since the OP's primary question was "What are we doing to teach our kids science?"  I always start with the notion of examining what we accept as factual.

The first thing I teach young people (teens and early 20s) when I am given the opportunity to mentor or guide in some way is to not blindly accept things as truth and factual just because the information comes from a university, think tank, laboratory, peer-reviewed publication, or from someone calling themselves a scientist. I’m sure we can all give examples and point to terrible science and less-then-altruistic motivations for what is reported as factual. Much of what is reported as factual in the scientific world is not even based on an open and honest application of the scientific method.

There are many inept or wrongly motivated people who have advanced degrees, are part of funded research projects, or are backed by a university department. Even peer-reviewed publications, for example, have been repeatedly found to report information from an editorial bias or biased to funding sources.

I’m certainly not claiming that all information from these kinds of sources is wrong or not factual. I’m saying we all need to remind ourselves not to blindly accept information from these kinds of sources as factual and then base our own personal dogma on this information.

Question sources, or at least understand that sources should be questioned. It’s hard work to not swallow everything that comes to us from seemingly credible sources. It’s damned hard work because it means we have to dig into things ourselves if we want the truth in a particular area (at least to our personal satisfaction). That doesn’t mean we all have to set up multi-million-dollar research projects. It does mean we can dive in and consume as much material as reasonably possible about a topic and hopefully find a balance of information to come to an informed opinion.

And before anyone chimes in with a joke … this is not a veiled statement about round/flat Earth theory.
1 month ago
Just to quickly chime in with an observation of the OP statement. Now, I'm not there to see things first hand and original posts usually don't have all the information people need to give advice, but here I go anyway.

Though many people might be really good at wanting to know what they want to do with a property, I'm not convinced that "a few days walking our new property" is enough observation to inform a detailed plan. Observation is the one thing that too many people neglect because of their desire to "get going" on their land -- especially if that includes earthworks. This usually has repercussions down the road. Having said that, I offer this:

The Kubota L3800 is a good machine and approved Kubota dealers with repair shops can be found pretty easily in most states. When operating a tractor-mounted back hoe, move much more slowly than you think you need to. I've seen people swing and stop the arm and bang the scoop way too much and that not only is hard on the articulation points, but is hard on the hydraulics. Most of the smaller tractors with mounted back hoes are not designed to the industrial tolerances as construction equipment. Put it simply, baby the machine and it will serve you well. If it's hydrostatic transmission, even better. What I loose in horsepower with an HST I gain partly back by using ag tires. I'm a fan of ag tires and not industrial tires because of the better traction and less loss of horsepower. If the 'bota you see for sale has R4 tires, you may want to save up for some new ag tires later. I also will recommend beet juice in the rear tires as ballast. As much as I love these smaller tractors, they are often a bit too light and the addition of beet juice in the rear tires is a must. Don't use other fluids, use beet juice. Your dealer should know what you're talking about. It is the only mistake I made when I purchased my small tractor. I wish I would have had them add the beet juice for ballast. Finally, the front-end loader is one of the most indispensable pieces of equipment on our homestead. My wife shared a useful insight with me one day which led me to finally buy a tractor. She said, "you know, one trip to the hospital for a broken bone or an injured back will be far more expensive that the cost of a new tractor." My tractor and FEL have saved me many hard hours of labor that I can do literally in minutes. You'll never regret having the FEL on your tractor.

Best of luck.
2 months ago

Xisca Nicolas wrote:My first thought was for the advise to sow in pots with sterile medium! How on earth are plants managing to grow there? Is there anything different at their beginning of life?  

My understanding of growing in a sterilized soil is that growers artificially supply plant food to the growing medium. Scale notwithstanding, this is, in my opinion, not far from industrial agriculture that supplies plant-available food on the surface of dead nor near-dead soil. You simply have an inert growing medium into which you sow and roots grow and you artificially supply plant food. Many houseplants are maintained this way.

I don't believe sterilized soil is a living environment as is healthy soil. Yes, it doesn't have the bad microbial life you want to avoid, but it is absent the mandatory microbial colonies. This breaks the food cycle of plants in soil and thus you have to artificially introduce plant-available food.  When it comes to producing food, even for a single family, I ask why do this when you can enjoy the benefits of healthy soil and all it provides with little intervention on our part.
2 months ago
Post away, Joel.  My intent of the thread was to find resources we can turn to for reviews of gear in general but I see the value in finding YTers who make things that we would consider gear. For example, Jimmy Diresta spends a lot of time making things for clients. I like his channel, but I don't find many of his videos that actually help me on my homestead...he's more entertainment. Jeremy Schmidt on the other hand, I learn a lot from. And, I'm way impressed with how young he is and his level of skill as a fabricator.

Jeremy Schmidt
3 months ago
I too love the EC channel. He's also pointed me to the old tool restoration guy and only recently discovered several makers that are also tool restorers, such as Jimmy Diresta.
3 months ago

Jim Fry wrote: And possibly read the documents of the American founding fathers, and The Constitution of the United States of America. It is Liberty, Freedom and Equality for All that is the best guard against an apocalypse.

Though I am a fan of the U.S. Constitution and don't believe it needs to be re-cast, I do take objection to the many of the documents of the founding fathers, namely the Federalist Papers. I don't believe they are a reflection of their altruism for starting a nation. Ever wonder why we don't study equally the anti-federalist papers? Most people don't even know there are equally compelling and quantity of anti-federalists papers. The winners get to write history. Motivations of the founding fathers who were federalist was not primarily to stem slavery, but to support large urban businesses that has already established themselves. They did not originate the Bill of Rights. Most of these federalists were simply wanting to protect market share by being able to control the legislature of a federalist government. And, since they won out because of a constitutional compromise by the agrarians (anti-federalists) who fought for personal rights, we ended up with a large centralized government. Federalizing systems is not much different, in my opinion, than socializing them. Which, as you've pointed out, has failed miserably. I love this country, a bit less than I used to, but I also don't have any delusions about the truth of what has happened to us from the very founding of our nation. Powerful interests will always be self interested no matter what their messages are. This truth has always been, and will always be, even after some type of SHTF situation. The secret is to either be unnoticeable if you're against the self-interested power or to be mobile enough to avoid it. The current abdication of the citizenry from participating in civic events and government has paved the way for a class of rulers who perpetually protect their position in government by legislation and regulation and provide protection for businesses in the same way. There are no statesmen. This is what we must prepare ourselves for even now.
3 months ago
Hey all ... I'm a self-proclaimed gear geek. I watch several YouTube channels of tool guys and makers. I'd like to know which tool review YouTubers you all watch and which is your favorite and why.
I'll start us off ...

I like what I learn from YouTuber AvE, but I don't like how bad his language gets and I have to take some breaks away from his channel for a while. But, I've learned the most about power tools from him more than anyone else.
Here's a link to his channel:
5 months ago
Though I love my tractor, without a doubt the most useful tool on our farmstead is our cordless impact driver. We also have this in a set with the cordless drill and in tandem, they are a powerful work saver. Everything we build or restore at one point or another will call for use of the impact driver.  Brands are less important since most are manufactured by companies that are owned by the same two parent companies. But, I can't find fault with my Rigid brand. I know many also like the DeWalt brand as well. I've not personally used a Bosch, but if someone is set on a European company, that might be an option.
5 months ago