Devin Lavign

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since May 01, 2015
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chicken forest garden homestead solar trees wofati
uggg...I hate trying to describe myself.
I just recently closed on 40 acres of raw land with an existing pond in the WA Okanogan Highlands. So really looking forward to getting dirty and getting started. Though I am probably going to hold off on planting anything this year and just work on infrastructure and preparing the property for planting next year. I am looking forward to finally put into practice the ideas I have without having to compromise due to it being someone else's land.
Some history and background about me.
I have traveled and lived most of the continental US. So have a decent grasp of the different areas of the US. As a kid I preferred going into the woods to play over going to a park or friend's house. Still I will almost always pick nature if given the choice.
I worked trail maintenance in the Cascades and that was likely my most favorite job ever. I lived, worked, and played in the forests of the Pac NWet. I learned a massive respect for pack goats during this. As they hauled the majority of our gear up the trail every day. Amazing smart animals and I can't wait to get my own goats to enjoy.
I lived and worked at Arcosanti for 4 yrs in AZ. A fun place to meet lots of wonderful people and pick up skills. I have spotted at least one other Arco alum here who I know. Who lived there previous to my time, but who I did meet and hang out with several times both at Arco and to go see him in Prescott.
Pac Northwest
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Recent posts by Devin Lavign

I hadn't comment on this earlier as I was driving a truck of my brother's stuff from WA to AZ unloading it then flying back to WA. So I was a little busy.

I am involved in prepping, but am I a prepper? I don't know. For ease of conversation I cop to that label often but it doesn't define who I am. I am also a permie and bushcrafter, but all 3 labels don't define me. I am a lot more than the sum of the labels one might give me.

Which brings me to this idea of a new label. That is in essence what prepper was. It was folks tired of the survivalist label who wanted a label with less baggage. Now prepper has a new set of baggage, mostly due to the horrible "reality" TV show. But how long before this new label Adapter becomes corrupted by elements that don't represent the intention but take over due to being the loudest voices?

You can see this happen with all sorts of labels through out history. Libertarian used to be synonymous with Anarchist. It was actually coined by anarchists who didn't like the label anarchist anymore. But I dare you to try to tell a Libertarian their label was started by anarchists and means anarchist, they flip out.

My point, while well intentioned the idea of coming up with a new label will likely fizzle out or if it does catch on turn on you and take a life of it's own.

Something else worth pointing out is what I have noticed about prepper progression

People start out in prepping usually out of fear. They have no idea how to prep or even exactly what to prep for, but learn the world is unpredictable both from man made events and natural disasters.

This starts phase 1.

Phase 1 is gear acquisition.  At this point it is just throw money at the problem. Buy a ton of stuff you don't know anything about in hopes it is useful. Often this is a lot of prepackaged kits built and put together by someone else who says this is what you need to survive.

Some people get stuck in this, and it is easy to do. There is always a cool new toy to buy. There is a whole economy built upon it. But some folks start to break out of this as they learn that they have no idea how to use the items they have.

This starts phase 2.

Phase 2 is knowledge/skills acquisition. Now with all the gear the would be prepper is learning skills and knowledge are important. Studying things like bushcraft and primitive skills. Learning more in depth knowledge about potential dangers. In this phase many start getting more community oriented, as it tends to be hard to know everything you need. So division of skills and knowledge start to make sense. However Phase 2 can loop back to phase 1, as you learn more you realize a lot of your gear is sub par. So go through a new gear buying phase, but for higher quality good gear. Many get stuck in this as it can now be a pride thing and feed the ego knowing you have a $500 knife that is the ultimate survival knife. ETC... However the knowledge and skill phase can also lead to homesteading.

This starts phase 3.

Phase 3 is homesteading. Homesteaders are built in preppers. You have to be. Homesteading is a difficult and unpredictable place to be. You can get cut off in the winter, have crops fail, machinery go down, etc... The Homesteader has to plan for these small scale disasters. To be prepared. Also urban and suburban prepping is really an exercise in spending a lot of money to keep an unsustainable life. This is why a lot of people in prepping move toward homesteading. Realizing it is better to pre bug out. To set up the homestead and get it running. Rather than wait for disaster then try and make a go at gardening and livestock. To move to a more stable safe place with neighbors who will help rather than compete with you. Again like phase 2, phase 3 does have the loop back to phase 1. There is a lot of cool gear to get for homesteading. Some really expensive gear too. But there is also a way up to the next phase, permaculture.

This starts phase 4

Phase 4 is permaculture. For those who get to homesteading they find it a lot of hard work. But they are also often smart educated people. They often find permaculture in the process of learning homesteading, and find that it helps cut the work load and make homesteading easier. Not easy mind you, but easier than non permie homesteading. As well as a permaculture farm can be more stealthy than a standard one. Doomsday Preppers even had a guy who explained his permaculture food forest was not recognizable as a food source from distance and even up close it was hard to tell unless you really know plants. This makes permaculture very attractive to preppers. Lower labor and more camouflaged the permaculture homestead is the ideal prepping technique.

I have yet to see a phase 5, but I would not be surprised if there was one. Maybe trying to relabel prepping is phase 5.

For me, I moved out to 40 acres and am building a homestead with permaculture principals. Less and less do I identify as a prepper, and more as a homesteader and permaculturist. But am  still a prepper? Yes, I guess I am since as I said homesteaders are built in preppers and really permaculture is constantly talking about preparing for long term issues. Thinking of 100 yr floods and getting the land ready for them rather than waiting to be surprised by it. Observing nature and working with it rather than doing what seem right short term and then having to deal with the consequences. Permaculture's prepping is more proactive, not bandaids but true heading off problems and making sure they don't become a problem.

So maybe rather than your new label, maybe think about just including yourself back into old labels. Homesteading and permaculture are fine labels that still include being prepared and adaptable.
When the announcement for a female Doctor Who came out, I was hesitant.

Having watched the first episode for the new female Doctor, I have to say I am hopeful.

This new Doctor still has a lot of room to grow but there was a lot of good development in the first episode to help show what this new Doctor's personality will be like.
1 week ago
For me it was more just realizing there was a name for what I already was.

As a kid I was taught by my grandfather to look at native knowledge and nature to grow gardens. In my teens I absorbed a lot of knowledge from nature hiking around and observing. In my 20's I worked for a landscaping company that designed landscaping mimicking natural systems.

Finally living in a community in AZ I worked in the landscaping dept and was told of permaculture and introduced to the book. I found most of what I was already doing fit under this umbrella term.

So for me it is more discovering there was a name for what I was doing instinctively and taught as a youth.
2 weeks ago
Something to consider with burning is the soil itself and what fire does to it. Especially in rainforest jungle where the soil tends to be pretty fragile.

Here is a great video explaining the soil issue.

Link here since it is a video that is over an hour

When you burn you are likely to damage or even completely eliminate the fungi and other life in the soil. This turns good soil into inert dirt. It has to then be recolonized by fungi, protozoa, bacteria. This can take a long time, and generally you will not get the same diversity that was once there.

I understand you likely want to hear burning is fine, but really it is not the best way to treat the land you are looking at clearing. Limited burning can be ok, or burns that don't get too hot (sterilizing the soil with heat). But from the sounds of what your wanting to do, it would likely be pretty destructive to the soil health of the area. This means that the soil would then be stripped quickly of nutrients by anything you plant in.
2 weeks ago
This is a short video of the bear that walked up within 5 ft of me a little bit ago up on my property. This is lower down on the mountain and the bear was eating wild onions in a dried up pond. It was aware of me there but unafraid.

The day after this video was shot, I again saw the bear on my property and it must have had a bad experience with a human. We saw eachother and I said "Hey bear" it turned and bolted top speed up the hill away from me. Sort of sad it learned to fear humans. Yet likely good for it in the long run to know all humans aren't as nice as I am.
2 weeks ago
Odd as it might be since he was from before my time but my favorite Doctor is the original William Hartnell

Mainly since he was sort of an anti hero. He wasn't such a goodie goodie, and yet he still ended up doing good. He was crotchety and gruff, yet had depths to him.

I also really liked Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee, they each brought a very different Doctor to the screen. Sadly some of the Hartnell and Troughton episodes are part of the missing episodes. But reconstructions give a little of what was lost. Troughton and Pertwee are tied for my 2nd favorite.

Then Tom Baker comes in 3rd, as the Doctor who I learned of Doctor Who from. He is the classic image of the Doctor for me, and many others out there. Tom Baker was the Doctor that broke into the US market and popularized the show for many of us.

From there I would jump to the new Doctors and say David Tennant is my 4th, and Matt Smith my 5th.

Then back to classics for me, Peter Davison 6th and Colin Baker for 7th.

Christopher Eccleston probably would have been higher if he had done more episodes. I liked his Doctor but just didn't get enough to put him about 8th in ranking.

Sylvester McCoy might have made 8th here, as I really liked his Doctor and acting. However the episodes and writing were so horrible during that era that his Doctor actually slips to 2nd to last just above Paul McGann. McGann is the Doctor I try to pretend didn't happen.

Peter Capaldi would be my 9th choice. He was one I was not sure of when it was announced, but I had hopes for being more like Hartnell. He wasn't and was at the same time. With a mix of old man and rebellious teen. I feel if he had gone on and done more episodes he might be higher on my list, but he decided to leave, and so stays lower on the list.

Jon Hurt just wasn't a long run, so we didn't get to know him, so ranks 10th.

That leaves previously mentioned Sylvester McCoy in 11th, and Paul McGann in 12th for my ranking.

Something I note is a lot of who people like most tends to be who they were introduced to the series with. For many of Gen X age is was Tom Baker. A few it was Colin Baker. Millennials often site the new series Doctors. Usually Tennant or Smith. I am sort of an odd ball having actually gone back and watched the older stuff, and found I liked the older versions of the Doctor more than the one I was introduced to the series.

All in all, the only Doctor I actively didn't like is McGann. And much of that is due to it being a made for TV movie and going off accepted lore for that horrible episode. McCoy I actually like his Doctor and acting, it was just the era of the late 80's that made for such bad TV and writing that really helped kill it for me. And really caused Doctor Who back then to be cancelled. But McCoy himself was actually quite good.
2 weeks ago
So I am in general in agreement with the folks who worry very little about animals in nature. For me it is people and "wild" dogs that I have found the most dangerous and unpredictable. Wild aniamls tend to behave in reasonably predictable behaviors that can be planned for.

I just recently had a yearly bear walk up to me and get within 5 ft before I told it to stop and give me my space. I was not afraid, and walk my property regularly with no fear of animals. However whenever I do walk/hike into areas I am unfamiliar I do pack my 1911 with me.

I often have wild animal approach me in the woods. And I have to admit that having a large deer walk up to you can be a little unnerving even though it is an herbivore.

So if having some sort of weapon makes you feel a bit safer OP, then here are some recommendations.

#1 Bear spray. This is by far the best option for safety in the woods. It will stop most anything from attacking and is nonlethal.
#2 a good high cal pistol. A pistol is a good moral booster as well as effective protection.
#3 stout walking stick. Aids in walking/hiking and can be used defensively
#4 machete. One problem with these is it is a close combat weapon. But better something than nothing. The way to use one with a bear or other wild animal is to just block with the blade. A bear cutting it's palm every time it swings at you will quickly decide to stop attacking. There are actually medieval manuscripts discussing the proper way to defend against a bear with a sword, it is all blocking with the blade until the bear gives up attacking.
#5 slingshot, being able to hit things at a distance is not to be under rated. A good slingshot and some metal shot can pack a wallop and deter an attacking animal.

But as I have said and others, nature is not as frightening as you might think. Can it be aggressive? sure it can. However most animals have learned to fear humans, and do not attack humans regularly. Getting out and realizing there is less to fear in the woods might help put you at ease. Learning from an experienced outdoors man what is really going on with the animals and how to predict their behavior.
1 month ago

branimir marold wrote:

Chadwick Holmes wrote:Ok, because I seem to be the only punk rocker in the permie space.....

no way man  ... no one is alone

Yep, nowhere near alone. I am an old school punk myself. Though don't limit myself to punk music, I enjoy anything done well. All genre have good and bad examples.

I have really been getting into Emily Davis's Bad Religion acoustic covers recently. She is actually endorsed by the band and has done a few songs with members of the band. Plus it is a great way to sneak punk stuff in on people who don't listen to it. Since her acoustic covers make the music a bit more accessible to those not into the the punk genre.

recently I have been hooked on this from TAY ZONDAY (the guy who did the viral video Chocolate Rain) which I discovered due to Lindsey Sterling working on it with him. It is just such a catchy tune and the topic is worth listening to as well.

Of course I also can't help but love Formidable Vegetable Soundsystem and Charlie Mcgee. Can't help but enjoy the music as well as the topics.

As well as Hugo the Poet for his amazing intellectual deep thinking lyrics, the man is amazing.

But back to my more punk roots, one of my all time favorite songs is from Love and Rockets. No New Tale to Tell. The lyrics are just so impactful.

That said as others have said, hard to really say "favorite song" since my favorite changes minute to minute depending on my mood and thoughts and feelings. What I really want to hear and feel is my favorite at one moment will change as I do. And if your like me with a very wide taste in music, from bluegrass to classical from punk to drum and bass and everything between. A list of favorites would be miles long, and never be finished, as new favorites are created and discovered along the way.

* edit to add, BTW I used to go to classical recitals in Pilladelphia's Curtis Institute of Music with a 2 foot green and black mohawk and studded leather jacket. Turned a lot of heads me being there, but some of the best classical musicians were being taught at that school and I loved to go listen to them perform.
2 months ago
I like the compost explanation. My thinking is similar.

Something I might mention as well, is how everything that is us was once made in a star. How what makes up everything in all of us has been recycled and reused over and over. How even the water that is in us was the pee of a dinosaur (kids seem to love that idea, dinosaurs and pee being topics of high interest to them). That when we die what is us is again recycled and put back into the the ecosystem, to become the next thing and the next.

As for the age issue some have brought up, a lot depends upon the child. I have had deep meaningful conversations with 5 yr olds. Like one girl who just loved the concept that to aliens we here on earth would be considered aliens. And how one's perspective changes the meaning of words. Don't underestimate a child's ability to understand and you might be surprised by how much they get what is being discussed.
2 months ago

Galen Young wrote:To assume that using solar power means that you must handwash your dishes, or use a clothesline to dry your clothes is a false narrative.

I did not mean to imply you "must" just that when going off grid to look at all power consumption and see what you can do without. I in fact mentioned that for some people this means yes wash their clothes by hand but for others that might not work.

By looking at what you can do without power, you can end up paying a lot less for your off grid power system. Less solar less wind generators and less batteries means you are using up less resources to create those things and producing less waste when those things wear out. Like the OP mentioned these things still have an environmental cost.

Also like mentioned in my reply to you abut solar heating. Finding ways to use the solar energy more directly as in passive solar heating or solar water heating ends up saving you solar power generation. Since it is much more efficient to use the solar energy directly rather than covert to power then use that power to create heat.

For me a large part of the reason I am off grid is not to live in such a wasteful way as on gridders. So for me I looked very hard into reduction of power needs. I don't need to use a dishwasher, I can do them by hand. Your wife realized you have a surplus of power during the day so opted to use a dishwasher. Neither is right or wrong other than what works for you and your system.

4 months ago