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J Hampshire

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since Aug 22, 2014
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Recent posts by J Hampshire

Jam-packed, succinct, thought provoking. If you're on the cusp of starting an enterprise, in the early throws, or just a permaculturalist who is looking for practical information to pass on to the uninformed. This guy is doing amazing work, and sharing it. From 1:59-2:21 will make you nod.

4 years ago
A new, New Hampshirite! Happy to have you, Freddie.

My wife and I are located in the southeastern portion of the state. About an hour and a half from Conway. We'll be setting our homesteading roots central/west; but still close to the indescribably wonderful White Mountains. I've been in NH for just under 30 years, born in MA but we came up when I was 4. With our impending relocation north, around spring 2018, we're always on the lookout for agriculturally-based connections. Sounds like you have a lot going on, have much to give, and are excited to learn.

One thing in particular stuck out; you're in search of a butcher. Well, you found one. I'm a meat cutter full time, with aspirations of beginning a mobile butchery service in the near future. Specifically for home consumption. The retail meat business is so overly-regulated it's insane. But I can cut whatever a farmer needs for their own table. Chickens are very comfortable at this point. I've done a pig, with more planned this fall. Plenty of deer. Always looking for an opportunity to help someone with a cow. Although I'm currently employed with a grocery store, I have aspirations of working at a very small, very well-run slaughterhouse in the area within a couple years. It's just too far of a commute where we're currently located. I plan to become a shepherd of change for local meat/butchery. I could go on, and on, and on, and on...

PLEASE keep in touch. We're up in Conway often. I think a relationship could become quite beneficial. Perhaps a pint at Moat Mountain Smokehouse sometime this spring?...

Be well & God Bless!
4 years ago
Gauging the validity of an idea.

I currently have a garden lying dormant that was BtE for the beginning of the season, but late in the (growing part) of the year, I took off most of the wood chips and covered the beds with leaf mold. The soil already can be penetrated by hand, deeply. It's been quite a transformation. Not only are we excited for producing and learning more; there is a potential income stream here.

We are fortunate enough to live in a rural area, set back from the main road. However, a neighbor who runs a very successful camp wood/pastured egg business lives directly on said road. He is always allowing other neighbors to put out cars and some other wares due to the high visibility. I am thinking of approaching him to setup a stand in order to sell produce, and/or seedlings. Not only would it be the plants, but when people stop to look I'm envisioning some type of easel sign that describes exactly how we grew them. Explaining permaculture, beyond organic, no spray, no till, etc. Mention how it was grow 100yds. down the road, who we are, pictures of the garden. I'm very much interested in not only selling high quality produce; but equally interested in teaching people to do the very same, on their own. Maybe setup a website with all the information about the plants, where we got the seeds, recommended books, maybe even a plug for!

We had a fantastic year last year in terms of learning about seedlings, starting them indoors and getting that under our belts. Why not expand it to a potential money-maker? We're not experts, but you don't have to be to turn a buck.

Any and all input, in terms of roadside stands, selling seedlings, etc. would be deeply appreciated.
4 years ago
I give this DVD 5 out of 10 acorns.

My wife and I have been keenly interested in RMHs for a quite some time. We plan to build one in our first home within the next year or two. Our research has been extensive. However we have never quite been able to find precisely what we want. Many dozens of videos and articles, and we have never seen something that clicks the bulb on, nor induces an "ah ha" moment where it all comes together in one gift-wrapped box. So here's where these new DVDs come in...

Let me make one thing crystal clear; we fully, and absolutely, understand that this is an emerging technology in the consumer market. The idea of channeled fire and conductive heat is as old as time. But RMHs as an actual heating element in a dwelling is in it's infancy by comparison. Therefore it makes perfect sense that there is not yet one magic pill, not one short read, or video presentation that will succinctly provide every ounce of information to the end user. We get all that. So for people like Paul, Ernie, Erica and other innovators to continue to slog through the muck of new ideas and to distill sound practices; the world owes all of you a debt of unspeakable gratitude.

That set aside, as a singular experience with a particular expectation, this DVD was not quite what we had hoped for. We both felt the information was really hamstrung by the shooting and editing. It comes across jerky, unplanned and poorly (overly) mic'd to the point where you hear all the background noise during explanations in a couple spots. In some parts it's just too "cutesy" for our taste; the highlighting and arrow pointing to Willie Smits was nothing short of obnoxious. We have to assume that the event, as a participant, was excellent. However it does not translate well to a video presentation. We walked away feeling that a vastly superior method would be to film a complete build in a more conversational manner; like a cooking show or This Old House. The host explains what they're doing, talks about the plan, executes the plan, then reviews the plan they executed. This is a documentation of an event, not an instructional video. Which is not a bad thing! It's just not what we wanted.

This is all coming from the perspective of two people who are perhaps, further along, in their understanding of rocket mass heaters. If I didn't know what they were a week ago, and wanted to learn more, I could absolutely see myself loving this DVD. So for newbies it is nothing short of a must watch. Also, Paul is very clear in the beginning that this is a companion video to Ernie and Erica's book. Which provides detailed plans, etc. We look forward to grabbing a copy and perhaps that will be the "ah ha" we're looking for. Hopefully someday that book, or a future book, could be used in conjunction with a stylized video I mentioned above; "Today we're going to build the rocket mass heater found on page 35 in our new book..."

Also of note; we rented it on Youtube for $2.99! If you're on the fence about buying the download or DVD and want to check it out on the (ridiculously) cheap, you absolutely have to do it. The content, regardless of our expectations, is worth a heck of a lot more than 3 bucks. The rental process is as easy as it gets. If you have purchased something online, you can rent a video on Youtube. Paul has specifically mentioned he wants people to "find it" and not post links, so I will stick to that.

In closing, Paul, Ernie, Erica, innovators, class participants; THANK YOU. You have put into place a pillar of knowledge for something very important. This is how we change the world. Keep going.

4 years ago
We have a horse chestnut tree, literally, right outside our front door step. The branches touch the house. Last year I collected about 40lbs. of the nuts, only to find they weren't edible. Thank you so much for posting this.
4 years ago

R Ranson wrote:I am very impressed with today's talk called "Saving Seeds To Save Ourselves – Bill McDorman"!

It's about saving seeds.  It's about not being traped in the doctrine of purity.  It's about food freedom.  I love it!

Well done!

Could not agree more. Liberating information. More of a realignment of views, and a pressure release than a "how-to" video. To anyone who even has a passing interest in seed saving, it's simply a must watch. By the end of it you will realize humanity, literally, depends on it and how easy it really is.
4 years ago

I'm of the opinion that compost and leaf mold should only be looked at through one lens; results. It behooves us as land stewards, permaculturalists, gardeners, farmers, ecologists, and humans to simply and absolutely remove the element of time. If there is a particular result in mind using a methodology with a proven track record of success with mixed data of how long it "should" take; simply engage in the act of creating the result. Time will pass. It is the singular, ironclad guarantee in nature. Thusly, if the mindset is "I want compost"; do some research of what it takes to get a good quality compost, find the slowest, lowest energy input method, expect double the time it "should" take, make the compost and walk away. Now begin something else. Forgetting about something you started, in order to let time pass without worry, is a very beneficial human characteristic.

We are trying to emulate nature, and she works very, very slowly with very little energy expended. The time we use to wait in between projects can be used to stack functions, think of other projects and continue to observe!

One man's opinion. Be well and God Bless!
4 years ago
I recently found I AM ORGANIC GARDENING and I simply cannot say enough about it. Mark's videos are absolutely fantastic. Direct, concise, information packed, and delivered in the plainest of plain English.  His series on soil building, alone, is worth the price of admission. Part 1 he talks about leaf mold and Back To Eden, but in 2 and 3, he showcases soil at the microbial level in a demonstration that should be seen by every person on the planet. So many things have simply "clicked" in a way I've never had happen before, regarding this subject matter. His delivery is folksy and helpful beyond belief. No agenda, no products, no sponsors. Just truckloads of enthusiasm and "Hey, this works, here's why, here's proof." Please take a few moments and explore his channel.

Just watched this one and I'm once again, floored. Really in depth explanation on why exactly wood chips don't build soil. Mark stresses how much he wants Back To Eden to work; his exhaustive efforts and experiments showcase that. But, having had this exact problem in my garden this year, it's really exciting to try a new approach in the spring. He doesn't discount the method entirely, he just keeps a major focus on building soil, as opposed to trapping moisture and creating compost. Which is what wood chips do. Evidently.

4 years ago

R Ranson wrote:Good for you, practicing your forever skills in a tempory place.  So many times I've seen people come to farming/growing food with zero experience and expect it to be all sunshine and rose coloured tomatoes.  Like hell it is!  Do what you can where you are.  Improve the soil.  Learn how to do everything wrong.  In the end, the place is better than when you started and you know how to overcome that hurdle in future.  Show 'em that you care in spite of it being a rental property.

Thank you! The first few replies from when I originally posted this weren't totally grasping the idea/being as constructive as I would have imagined. But since then, people's reception have evidently increased, as I haven't checked this post in a couple months.

First and foremost, I have excellent news; the change in the top soil is happening! Wood chips are breaking down quickly and covered in mycelium, bugs are abundant, the newspaper is totally broken down, the grass layer is nearly gone and can easily be punched through with almost no effort. The sub soil is still quite beige, rock-laden, and granular. However, seeing the progress I am unquestionably convinced, and prepared to vehemently defend, the miraculous nature of this practice. There is no doubt that deep, rich, quality topsoil is simply a matter of time. Not doubting it, and actually seeing it happen, are two different things. Belief, and witness, are equally powerful. Once the spring rolls back around the entire area will be much easier to work/oxygenate/remove rocks/perhaps double dig.

I feel like the one major drawback to this ideology, actually has nothing to do with the practice; but everything to do with the delivery of the information. We tried it because we saw multiple reports, that you simply could. Just plunk down some newspaper, compost and woods chips and never lift a finger. I feel like this method needs to come with a heavy disclaimer: "This should only be done in late summer/early fall, it takes a very long time/don't even attempt this without a year in between." It should be called "patient planting" not "lasagna gardening." However, that's obviously not quite as catchy for marketing purposes, so the chances of that are quite slim.

It's shaping up that we will probably be here through next summer, so round two is even more exciting than round one! Knowing our space, seeing all the life that can come from such a tiny area is so wildly fascinating and empowering. Very excited to continue to the process. Or, let the process continue, as it were.
4 years ago