Devin Lavign

+ Follow
since May 01, 2015
Devin likes ...
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
Apples and Likes
Total received
In last 30 days
Total given
Total received
Received in last 30 days
Total given
Given in last 30 days
Forums and Threads
Scavenger Hunt
expand Pollinator Scavenger Hunt
expand Pioneer Scavenger Hunt

Recent posts by Devin Lavign

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.

2 months ago

Galen Young wrote:The primary consumption of energy here is home heating. Active Solar Heating systems give you much better 'bang' for the buck than do Solar power systems.

Very good point. Building a home to collect solar energy well can be a better option than using solar to create power to then heat. Similarly, solar water heating is much more effecient than creating solar power to then heat the water.

When going off grid you do often need to think outside the box and look at alternatives to using power to do stuff, since it is no longer cheap and readily available. Hanging clothes outside/inside on a line rather than a drier for example saves a lot of power use. There are tons of little things you can do and big things you can do to reduce the need to use power to accomplish a goal. Being off grid you really need to access everything that uses power and figure out if there is another way. And if you can live with using the other way. Some will be fine opting for hand washing clothes, others will insist on powered washer. bneither is right or wrong, it depends on you and your family and what is best for you. A single guy washing clothes by hand is a lot easier than a family of 4.
2 months ago
The definition of "off grid" can be very different to different people. For most who are actually doing it it simply means not tied to the power grid. They may have other services but not power. For others it is no grid power water and sewage, which is how I personally define it. Others have every variation of what could be considered off grid. The common denominator typically being lack of grid power. Many who are still grid dependent seem to have this misconception that off grid can't have internet, but most rural off griders do have internet since that is the most reliable communication they can get. Internet does not need to be "grid tied" in rural areas it is often satellite or line of sight beamed from towers.

Going off grid often is difficult and challenging. Especially for people who expect to still be able to consume power like being grid tied. One of the biggest things off gridders discover is when you are in charge of your power, you monitor the power consumption a lot more. You track down those phantom loads and eliminate them. You swap out inefficient appliances for the most efficient you can find. You find non-electric alternatives and get rid of a lot of power dependent things. And you find ways to just do with out. Watching TV/movies becomes a lot more special since you can only afford to use X hrs of power for it, rather than just leaving it on as background noise like so many on gridders do.

For me being off grid is about being aware of your energy consumption. Not taking it for granted. It is in fact something disused in the Permiculture Design Manual. That being off grid makes you more conscious of your energy usage and able to make better choices.

Now that said I am also in a rural area where getting power would be insanely expensive, costing more than my land itself. So being grid tied was not an option for where I wanted to live. But for those in more urban or suburban housing or even rural but with grid access I do understand your arguments. Indeed there is an environmental cost of producing alt energy stuff. Something not enough people add into the cost of going off grid. I would agree a community based power set up would be better than individual ones. A development that set up an alt energy power station for a whole group of homes would be more efficient than everyone doing it themselves or likely even the main grid (since there is so much power loss in transmission in power lines).
2 months ago

Casie Becker wrote:Please be exta cautious in planting any soft wood tree like the the pawlonia.  Most of these are prone to breaking branches (sometimes large branches) during high winds.  Be sure as it grows that nothing would be damaged if that happens.  It even happens with hardwoods sometimes. 

Last year three large branches (small tree sized) fell off the pecan in my front yard.  Luckily there's nothing more important than lawn furniture where they landed.  This year I was out with a tree saw shortening any branches that I thought looked likely to follow. Next day we has a massive storm and it appears to have worked.

Technically paulownia is classified as a hardwood, it also has one of the highest strength to weight ratios for tree woods (about double that of balsa). That said it is good to remind folks of trees shedding branches. When we grew paulownia in AZ, we trimmed the branches leaving just the canopy, as we were using paulownia as a shade covering for the gardens. So wanted open space under them to tend the crops but a nice canopy over head for shade. So I can't speak to how much they shed branches, as we preshed them.
2 months ago
I am a certified heavy equipment operator.

I doubt you will find a dozer rental. Most places wont rent them as they tend to need too much knowledge and skill to operate and in experienced operators can damage a dozer very easily. Most places wont even rent a skid steer with a dozer blade. Blade work tends to have a high probability of damage by inexperienced users.

Now your neighbor could opt for buying a used dozer and then selling it back off after you finished. Just remember shipping costs, since most dozers weigh over typical truck tow limits you will need to get a professional to transport it. That can add a $1000 or so to a purchase price if you have a long distance to haul it to get to you.

For a pond you might suggest an excavator to your neighbor, which is typically rentable. A decent sized excavator will be able to dig out a pond pretty quickly, and is actually better suited to digging a deep hole.  Only draw back is then moving the dirt dug out if it needs to be placed any distance from the potential pond site. You might have an option for a backhoe front loader rental (though not every area rents these), and that would be the best option. As it would allow the pond hole to be dug and have a bucket to move the dirt away from the site to where wanted. A backhoe front loader might take a little longer to dig the pond but makes up for it with the ability to move the dirt displaced.

Hope this helps.
2 months ago
Awesome, thanks for posting the vid.

You can embed it with the post reply function and using the youtube button. but it works to follow the link too. Gave me a chance to sub to your channel and watch your other vids.
2 months ago
I didn't see She Is Of The Woods

She does some great PNW wild foraging and off grid herbalism. Wonderful info filled videos on this wonderful lady's channel that can really help folks find nature's medicine cabinet around them. While based in NE Oregon plenty of the plants discussed can be found in other regions.
Mr Chickadee just posted a video on scribing post to rounded stone

Some pretty impressive fitting to the stone. Plus he not only chars the post but then treats the post with pine tar/turpentine/veg oil to seal them.
2 months ago
This makes me wonder if there is a connection between soil microbes and "Grounding"

The theory of Grounding is we are electrical and need to ground ourselves with the earth for better health, but since the invention of rubber we have been insulating ourselves more and more and not getting grounded like we should.

But I wonder if some of the health benefits claimed by Grounding could also be exposure to microbes?

Even if it is not the same thing Bryant is discussing, Grounding also advocates spending time with bare skin in contact with soil. I have long felt this to be something missing in modern life. Contact with soil is important, I feel. Not just for physical health, but I feel it really improves my mental health. I am happier when I have contact with the soil, and so much less happy when I do not.

I really enjoyed reading what you presented here Bryant, thanks for sharing it with us.
2 months ago