john mcginnis

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since Jul 07, 2013
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Recent posts by john mcginnis

Little off topic as I did a hot compost. The leaves breakdown reasonably quickly with just a bit of urea added to the stack. I only did two turns of the stack then just let it sit all year. Its a third of its original volume and the texture is crumbly to the touch. Great stuff. Going to be fed to the bare root trees I ordered. This years leaves are already in a pile ready to get the 'treatment'.
1 week ago
"It is not fair to retire at age 42" -- Travis

Boy that shows a mindset right there. Travis that is exactly what most would say and its sad. That is a slave at a drone job, consume, get gold watch, watch a few sunsets then drop dead sort of thinking. We have lost the understanding as to the idea that an individual can be a producer and not just a consumer at any age.
3 weeks ago

Cynicism? Maybe, maybe not, its been quite a while. Though you are probably right that such decisions are a 'long time coming' kind of thing. I had been thinking for at least six months maybe more as to what my end game was to be. I did not have the entire answer what I wanted when I popped that question but getting the answer that I did was shall we say the tipping point. I knew then that at least with her there was no exit.

Which brings up a topic that best is moved to another forum, but here goes. Guys if you are not married yet but considering it make sure you inquire about two items:

* Any debt? Not something like a reasonable note on a car no, but say $100k of student debt. That can be crippling to futures.
* Ask her what she thinks she will be doing 20 years from now.

Ponder the answers carefully. Ladies the reverse is also true. Many a man is 'All hat, no cattle'.
3 weeks ago
Being on the roller coaster can be fun for a while but you soon realize its all for naught. I asked my wife when 'enough is enough' and her answer was never. I was at the divorce lawyers a month later. She is now my ex. Sometimes the price of FIRE can be very high, anticipate it.

Things I tell my tech students which are probably applicable here:

* What's your second gig? Costs are such now that for most 'the job' pays the bills with little left over.
* You have an end result in mind. Now work the puzzle in reverse. What tools and resources do you need to get there? For a homestead like desire what skills will you need? Get them.
* Skills transfer. Pick skills that are. If you are an auto mechanic, learn diesel. You will earn more and that will directly translate when you need to fix the tractor.
* What is the exit? Way too many people worry about how to 'get in' and forget to worry about how to 'get out'. Know what it will cost you if you had to abandon a plan and are they ways to mitigate it? Plan for it up front.
* Sell the TV and the game boxes. You are trading your time for someone else's profit. Stay off Facebook and Twitter they are just variations of a TV. Do use YouTube. Done right it is the best university for the money as an introduction to skills.
* Learn automation. Nor does automation have to include computers, though it helps. Automation leverages your time/effort. If you have the knack, learn scripting and adruino or raspberry pi. Not essential but it leverages automation cheaply to whatever level your imagination can cook up.
* Finances. Investments should be based on people not things. The thing might be the means but the person behind it is was is important. That matters whether its the CEO of the company you invested in all the way down to your local tire dealer you offered a loan to. Look into peer to peer lending if you have a small nest egg beyond the IRA/401K.
* Don't be enamored with labels. Some of the worst performing persons I ever hired came from Harvard or Yale.

Just some of the things I have learned spending 60 years on this ball of dust.

I wish for everyone's success in achieving FIRE. It is a satisfying feeling when you realize you are there.
3 weeks ago

Shawn Klassen-Koop wrote:

So what's with the font size change?

Ugh. I'm trying to delineate between parts, chapters, sections, and subsections as best as possible within the constraints of the forum software. We'll make it look much nicer in the actual book. And, for example, instead of "Chapter 5.6" it might be something like "Chapter 17" ... but we don't want to put numbers in and then forget to change them in the hustle and bustle of getting everything finished.

A minor observation if I may.

Don't do chapters! Use an outline format --'Topic 5.6, wood heat.rocket oven'  as an example. You are dealing with a topic that is highly dynamic and new approaches pop up that are better than old methods for the same solution. Show my age here, but the old World Book encyclopedias came out with a yearly update with the set. You might want to think along the same lines. I'll go even further. Do it as a compendium with a subscription update service:

* Outline format for easy updating. Page numbering contained within any given topic/subtopic.
* Formatted for loose leaf format, 3 ring binder containment.
* Errata, subscription updates, etc can be downloaded and printed and added/deleted to the set. If no printer available provide a service to do so thru LuLu.
* Folded purchased printed plans can be added to the set.
* Exceptional user content could be provided as part of the subscription update.

Essentially the FoxFire series as a author/user contributed ever last book.

As a geek I love epub docs, but there are times when only physical format works best.

Thanks for the consideration.
1 month ago
Looking at your setup, how is your air exchange? Dr. Kratky is explicit on this fact. Plants must be permitted to develop air roots and have the moist space available to do so. Lacking that the plant roots drown.
1 month ago
Two YouTube sources of note for Kratky hydro

The doctor himself --

A serious adherent to the method --

1 month ago
Some suggestions:

Mobile kitchens for rent. Might give some good layout ideas.

Look for old army field manuals. The US Army has been serving hot meals from mobile field kitchens since 1916.

Personal notes:

* If going the wood burning route the rockets might need to be on the outside of the structure. Least in my area they would have to be just because of the food safety nazis.
* Shame this is not on a trailer. I know it poses construction complications. But the ability to move it with ease opens up the ability to serve a larger community area in the even of disasters.
* The only design worth its salt in gang cooking is aisle. 'U' shaped kitchens exist in home due to construction restrictions. Look in professional kitchens its the dominat design.
* Design should be laid out 'hot' side, 'cold' side. Cold side houses refer, holding and prep tables. Hot side is ovens/griddles/range, hot water, presentation, wash station.

Hope it is going well!
2 months ago

Tyler Ludens wrote:I just bought some dried White Mulberries.  Do you think they might grow if planted?

80/20 chance they will not. Depends on how the packer dried them for how long at what temperature.  But what do you have to lose? Slap a couple of berries in some potting soil and see what come up! :)
3 months ago
Love this topic and have been doing it for years.

* A bag of raw unshelled peanuts. Only plant the whole ones, can fill a plot for just a couple of dollars.
* Practically any of the dried bean varieties are able to grow.
* Coriander, celery seed, etc from the spice aisle will also grow so long as they are whole seed.
* Mango, apple, peach, any of the stone fruits will spout as well if you provide the dormancy conditions.

The other great benefit is those you don't plant you can cook up and eat in some form or fashion!

This is an old article but it deserves a place of honor in the forums.
3 months ago