Curtis Budka

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since Oct 28, 2014
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purity trees chicken food preservation woodworking
Currently working on my AAS Degree in Diesel Truck & Heavy Equipment in Bangor, Maine.
Southern NH zone 5b
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Recent posts by Curtis Budka

It's been a while. A long long time.

I have since left Montana and returned home (end of summer 2015) as well as officially resigned from being an ant. I essentially worked and lived at home, kept chickens, got a few things planted in the ground... but my focus was to work 40/week and save money. That came in handy when I went to pay for my first semester this past fall (2016) and massive list of tools when I started towards getting my AAS Degree in Diesel, Truck & Heavy Equipment. At 19, I paid my my entire bill (plus a small loan) with money that I earned over the previous year. That right there is what teaches perseverance, and the meaning of hard work. I'm proud to say that I maintained a 3.8 GPA thus far, but this isn't a community that focuses on institutionalized education. So why diesel mechanic? The demand is extremely high, especially for someone who can diagnose problems safely, quickly, and without causing further damage/wasting the customer's money, and the field is much much broader than that of an auto mechanic. But why a career with a salary? I found that its a good idea to have a back up plan, a skill that can be mastered, pays well, and can be taken anywhere... literally anywhere from the busiest cities in the country to the middle of no where logging towns. My goal is to one day own a shop/work out of a service truck and service a community of farmers, obviously preferably permaculture farmers, but beggars can't be choosers. Not that I think I'll be begging for work; a smart man with his wits about him is forever learning. The skill sets associated with working on tractor trailers and equipment can easily be applied to fabrication/welding/machining for various custom projects and or making things for sale in general. And the principles of an engine are largely the same whether it's found in a excavator, a locomotive, a car, or a chainsaw.

I currently attend Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor, Maine and live at home in southern, New Hampshire. If you have questions, and are willing to trust advice from a student/apprentice, I'll see what I can do.
4 years ago

Not a fun thing to happen as it is dangerous to contact skin or eyes.

I don't think its as dangerous to just make contact with the fluid as it is dealing with high pressure leaks. The same goes for any fuel lines going from the high pressure secondary fuel pump and the injectors on any diesel engine with a 'common rail'. It doesn't matter if the engine is off; its still pressurized. This means that a fine mist can easily turn into a skin piercing jet of fluid (look up hydraulic fluid injection injury, it's not pretty.) Please be careful.

5 years ago
I'm trying to think of an invasive as an indicator. If a group of people invade your country, they probably want something that your country has. If a plant invades an ecosystem, it 'wants' something from that ecosystem. But since plants have no cognitive abilities, it does what it is genetically programmed to do: grow, reproduce, die. The same effect can be seen with diseases, bacteria, viruses, cancer, the human body, ect.

Climates, ecosystems, weather patterns, grazing patterns, food chains, genetics, ect. are constantly shifting, changing, dieing, and growing. It might not seem like it, since humans tend to not live all that long. But a few plants taking over a few acres is peanuts. A few plants taking over several hundred acres is only a slightly bigger deal. So... For anyone to have the audacity to assume that they know enough about an area to call a plant native is, IMO, incompetent on the subject.

Nature does just fine without us. Permaculture is about making it do better. Until we can accept that the only static thing in the universe is the concept of math, we aren't getting anywhere.
5 years ago
I think my two favorite plants from Arizona were yucca and agave. I couldn't tell them apart, but a Navajo guide said yucca used to be their "hardware-store-in -a-plant". Another person said agave only blooms once every 100 years (?).
5 years ago
I've also been formally diagnosed with high functioning Aspergers and ADHD since 6th grade. At that time, I was shifting into middle/junior high school, which meant shifting into the next tier of education and workload. I would find myself having panic attacks because of this change and eventually it got to the point where I would barely get any homework done at all, because I was hyper focused on the fact that I wasn't getting anything done, how my teachers would react the next day, and how it would affect my grades. My English class seemed to have a particularly heavy workload for 6th grade. By the end of the year, I had a D. Despite that, the teacher who taught my English class was the one who immediately noticed me and played a huge part in getting me a diagnosis, and gave me what was probably the most thorough education in grammar I've ever received, even after high school. At some point, I was put on meds to help me focus. At first, the ones that actually did what they were supposed to, made me feel motivated...I genuinely wanted to do the work. This wore off despite the fact that I was still taking them. I would stop taking them during the summer and start again along with school and the motivation effect was back. As I got used to this issue of not being focused, I only found myself malfunctioning when I really did have a lot to be stressed about.

At some point in high school, I decided that I wanted absolutely nothing to do with any medication from a pharmaceutical company (unless it's a life or death/extreme pain situation). I am also lucky enough not to have any conditions where a doctor might try to convince me to take medication over trying to resolve the situation homeopathically. Moving away from the meds, I definitely struggled to keep up with everything, especially during my senior year. Despite that, I managed to graduate 38 out of 438 in my class (weighted)...not that grades really matter beyond the education world, but I think it shows progress from where I started with my diagnosis.

I've also never been able to keep my room organized, despite the fact that I do like things to be neat and categorized...even if its a simple Excel Spreadsheet, or a bunch of files on a computer.Sometimes a lot of the time, that just doesn't happen though. I'm currently in the process of thoroughly myself that if I want to make myself a better person, I need to enable myself to do things better. To do that, I need to be organized.

So... I've decided that every useful thing that I own needs one spot and one spot only, with a very clear, concise, and easy to read label, and every useful thing needs my name or initials engraved/written in permanent marker/stenciled with spray paint. Every piece of paper that I want to keep either needs to be scanned as a PDF and then filed properly. Every other piece of paper should be immediately be filed in the 'I don't want this paper' bucket. Every other thing that I own should either be permanently fixed to a particular spot, purged from my life, or redefined as useful as something that it was not before (e.i. random metal knickknack is now scrap metal). Some might call this OCD, but I want my life to be organized to the point where the only component that can fail is myself, NOT the things that are a part of my life. (I wonder if I'll ever get to that point??) Let's call this the code of organization.

To give you insight into what is motivating me to do this, follow on youtube.

This is a tour of Casey's office.

Casey talking about motivation.

More on organizing by one of Casey's mentors.
5 years ago
Your story was pretty much what my story was a little over a year ago during my senior year of high school when I decided to join permies. Immediately after graduating high school, I flew across the country to meet Paul Wheaton (the guy who runs this site and the 'Duke' of permaculture), be apart of his farm-ish type community in Montana, and take the 2 week long Permaculture Design Course (PDC) that he was hosting, which was taught by Permaculture Research Institute (PRI) certified instructor Howard Story. A PDC is sort of a gateway/introductory education for permaculture. Although you can learn a lot more on your own in more depth, a PDC is an organized way to get a grip on what the hell you are learning. PRI was started by Geoff Lawton (the 'Prince' of permaculture) under the direction of Bill Mollison (the 'King' of permaculture, and author of THE permaculture text book 'The Permaculture Designer's Manual', which is used as a basis for all PRI certified courses.) In other words, a PRI course is recognized by the people who created the word permaculture itself and it won't have any hippy spiritual stuff.

First, where are you? If you plan on being a permaculture designer in your area, it's a good idea to take a course in your area to better understand the landscape and climate you will encounter. However, even though I went to across the country to take my PDC, Montana and Northern New England are fairly similar. Also, despite the fact that my instructor, Howard has most of his experience from Thailand (a tropical climate), I still learned a TON of useful stuff.

Second, What do you want to do with this knowledge? Unless you just want to do this for a hobby, or make a career out of teaching/consulting in general permaculture and sustainability, I have learned that its a good idea to pick a field that interests you the most and figure out a way to apply permaculture to your work. Depending on your standards, this might mean owning your own business.

I would start by learning through podcasts, books, youtube, articles, all the threads here on permies, and experimenting in whatever you're interested in- whether it be building fine furniture out of roundwood, or growing some food. This might also give you a better idea of what you think is interesting and what is not.

With all that said, here's a little list of schools that look like they are doing some sort of permaculture/sustainability program:
Though it does look like most of them focus on just agriculture and a few of them probably just slapped the word sustainable on the title without changing the curriculum to truly match the title.

Oh, and welcome to Permies!
5 years ago
I'd like to suggest that you experiment with hugelkulture. Pretty much take any sort of high density carbon material (mostly wood of any sort except cedar, walnut, black locust) and bury it in soil while trying to keep as much of the wood surface in contact with the soil and not other wood, then put mulch over it. This will not only build soil that will naturally hold water for much much longer , but it will also support a massive fungal micro ecosystem, AND its an easier solution than chipping all that brush and slash. There's no rules for what size or shape, other than the laws of physics. You could go as small as calf height, or as big as whatever machines you might have acess to at the time will allow. In my opinion, the bigger and the wackier the shapes (in general) the better, because that's when you can really start experimenting with microclimates.

As for whether or not you are doing Permaculture, I guess if you aren't, you're going in the right direction. Even the best of us on here are always improving, innovating and trying new things.

Learn a whole lot more about hugelkulture here:
5 years ago
First, what kind of condition are you looking for? Ready to use after purchase or somewhere between scrap metal and a little bit of time fixing it up? Often times, you will need to do some cleaning, sharpening or refitting it with a handle. And even then, if it can't be restored, you might be able to use the materials to make your own tools to save money.

Second, what kind of area are you searching in? For example, you might not find as much if you went to a thrift store in NYC as you would if you went to a more rural area where those kinds of tools where traditionally used in the trades more often.
5 years ago
Hi Cody, I've followed your channel for at least a year before I came to Permies about a year ago (you probably had only 50,000 subscribers). When I was at Wheaton Labs this summer, I had an idea for you and Paul to collaborate, but wasn't sure how to help facilitate that. I'm very glad to see this happen.
5 years ago
Open source Ecology is working on a highly modular set of machines that can be built by anyone who can weld and put bolts together. These are free open source designs that can be built at only the cost of materials. On top of that, I don't know of a better way to understand the mechanics of a machine (for Maintenance) than to build it yourself.

Granted, I don't see them coming up with a 20 ton excavator any time soon...
5 years ago