Dan Grubbs

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since Nov 30, 2012
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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.
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northwest Missouri, USA
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Recent posts by Dan Grubbs

Is anyone following the work of Charles Marohn who has launched a national effort called Strong Towns. It's interesting and I think the permaculture world should interject itself into what the growing ST movement is doing.


Here's a portion from their "About" section from the website.

The Strong Towns approach is a radically new way of thinking about the way we build our world. We believe that in order to truly thrive, our cities and towns must:
+ Stop valuing efficiency and start valuing resilience;
+ Stop betting our futures on huge, irreversible projects, and start taking small, incremental steps and iterating based on what we learn;
+ Stop fearing change and start embracing a process of continuous adaptation;
+ Stop building our world based on abstract theories, and start building it based on how our places actually work and what our neighbors actually need today;
+ Stop obsessing about future growth and start obsessing about our current finances.
4 years ago
I regularly use a large string trimmer on my homestead and I would NEVER buy anything other than Stihl. I have the first model in their commercial line of trimmers. I stopped buying consumer-grade equipment a while back.

Three points to consider when dealing with string that breaks:

1 - The reason that a lot of trimmer string breaks is because it breaks down from UV rays and other conditions, such as heat. The issue is the string become brittle and breaks too easily. So, the trick I was taught was to keep my spool of string (think mowing crew spool) in a small bucket of water. The water helps keep the string from becoming too brittle and it doesn't break nearly as often.
2 - Trimmer string can also break when we don't let the end of the string do the cutting and we push the cutting head too deeply into the grass/brush. Be conscious of only using the ends of the string and not the middle portion. It takes just a bit of practice and at first, you'll be a bit slower. But, when you factor in the time you save in not having to fix your trimmer head and get string back out after it breaks, you'll be faster. After a time or two out on your property being careful about what portion of the string you use to cut with, you'll find you're reducing your trimming time way down.
3 - As with most things that are manufactured these days, there are good products and there are bad products. Trimmer string is no different. Don't by cheap string. And if you are doing a lot of trimming, buy it in a large spool. The spool that I buy lasts me about two years and it is a lot cheaper when buying the larger quantity.
4 years ago
MS Word is the standard. I write for a living and have found it both feature rich and powerful to compose nearly anything.
The only drawback I have found, and it's not much of an issue, is using MS Word to draft copy that is to be used in other kinds of digital layouts. Sometimes the proprietary Microsoft embedded coding can cause some challenges to a web-development tool or similar. For me it's a simple matter of dropping copy into notepad which strips out the embedded formatting code. But, I wouldn't trade MS Word for any other product on the market, even if I worked on a Mac, which I don't.
4 years ago
To my disbelief, I looked at my berry-stained hands.
4 years ago
Being a fan of many forms of literature, I'm digesting several collections of essays. I actually hold the essay up as one of our highest forms of literature for many reasons. I recently had two published over at Front Porch Republic and so what I'm reading lately are many of the essays there.
And, who can say no to a Wendell Berry or a Mark Twain essay. For both of those writers, most folks rightly laud their novels or short stories. I particularly love Twain's and Berry's essays. Here's a link to what one writer thinks are Twain's wittiest essays: https://theculturetrip.com/north-america/usa/missouri/articles/the-10-wittiest-essays-by-mark-twain/ . Berry's essays have been collected by various like-minded editors, but I think my most favorite is The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays (multiple review here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/146151.The_Art_of_the_Commonplace).
I'm also reading several "textbooks" on blacksmithing (Farm Blacksmithing and Elementary Forge Practice and Blacksmith's Manual Illustrated) and metallurgy.
4 years ago
Since you have a wood lot and I assume young conifer trees growing there, I would harvest rafter poles from the woodlot and save your money on the 2X6 purchase. You can also harvest the same for purlins. Your roof sheeting (metal or wood) can be affixed directly and you traditionally join the poles to your ridge (if you're still going to use a timber ridge).
To take this concept to an additional level (see what I did there!) I would consider a soil penetrometer. This is an important compaction testing tool to help you better understand your soil profile. When combined with two other tests, you have a much clearer picture of what's going on in your pasture or field. The two other metrics I'd recommend are BRIX testing of the green growing matter on the soil and dry matter yield (this really is for pasture that is hayed). Loose soil, high BRIX value and high dry matter yield are excellent indicators your pasture is doing well.

Here's a penetrometer
4 years ago

John Pollard wrote:Did you end up going with high-tensile?  

Nope, I'm going with Red Brand field fence with the three-inch bottom squares. I wanted a fence with as much versatility as possible for multi-species grazing, long life and increased property value. Regarding costs, I've purchased half my T-posts at auction for about 2/3 the cost of new. I've purchased about a third of my wood posts at auction for about 1/2 the costs of new. I don't see the value of already stretched out field fence, so I purchased Red Brand at 12 1/2 gage in 330-foot rolls with the monarch knots that allow for expansion and contraction and can rebound when animals lean against it.

Here are the short videos (don't laugh!!! )

4 years ago
More of my goofy video editing where I'm working on that same fence line in my earlier video above. Stretching 300' of field fence with come-alongs and wrapping around end post and a clip of affixing it to T-posts.  Again, first time fence builder. so I'm learning a lot.

4 years ago
Forgot to add ... we buy a lot of posts at auctions where I can usually get them on average at $2.50 to $3.00.  I also have bought quite a few 5" wood posts at auction. You'll see the half-painted ones in the video. I like finding bargains.
4 years ago