Ian Rule

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since Dec 18, 2015
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Just some guy, obsessed with Permaculture, blah blah.

Nevada County, CA
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Recent posts by Ian Rule

Are you familiar with Sepp Holzer? His theory is that pigs are specifically to be used for otherwise unusable land - river canyons, steep hills, forest. I would imagine pigs would do well if not fabulously on your land, but I am unfamiliar with your biome.
My own experience with running pigs shows that they not only rapidly "enrich" a piece of land, but they also gradually terrace each paddock by entirely upturning the hillside - leaving more matter toward the downhill than at the start. Seeing as I want terraced paddocks, this is saving me a lot of work.

Get them pigs! Good luck.
1 week ago
This video (and others like it) killed being vegetarian for me.

Heads up - HARSH VIDEO

2 months ago
We recently welcomed a pig onto the farm from another, closing down farm.
Shes almost 700 lbs and hands down our largest pig. She spent the last 2 years alone after her siblings were butchered (and the family lost the will to finish off all the pigs) without any other pigs or company in her pen. She was angrily uncomfortable and nervous the first couple weeks and I had nothing but doubts for the safety of the situation. After a few weeks of exposure to other pigs, exploring her new area and getting used to us bugging her every day, shes doing great. However, when she was charging and snapping at me, I admit I was considering the 'other option'.

Best of luck, hopefully she calms down and integrates!
4 months ago
I should clarify - the salted areas wont be fed to dogs.  
I also figure Ill freeze the meat for at least 3 weeks before feeding to dogs... slowly.
8 months ago
Howdy Pig Permies.

I am devastated and ashamed. I killed two pigs last weekend, and hung them in the root cellar after the slaughtering.
During November I killed my first and hung her in the root cellar, along with two rams, and salted them every day for over a week. The butchery went very well and the product was beautiful - very worth ending my 10 year stint as a vegetarian.

Being a high level dunce, I didnt realize the root cellar was ~40-50 or so degrees all winter, and that at the end of June, its 65-70. I cant believe I didnt think about it. I salted the two girls every day, and only noticed a vinegar smell in the fatty crevices on tuesday - so we butchered one asap, and it was awful. All the fat (guinea hogs, so lots of it) was gelatinous and sour smelling. The meat doesnt seem bad, but its all surrounded by the fat so I assume it makes no difference. I went through with butchering them in the hope of at least using them for the dogs.... It was a horrible experience. Ive still got another night of butchering to do for the other girl.

My first pig went great, and I felt like a fine journeyman thanks to my permie/youtube teachers. However, this experience has destroyed my confidence and made me aware of how unqualified I am to be leading slaughter/butchery events. I havent consumed meat I havent produced for over a decade - but now Im starting to wonder if the terror an animal experiences during a trip to the USDA approved slaughterhouse (that kept me a staunch vegetarian for so long) is better than the risk of some moron killing beloved pigs for.... dog food.
Is it even safe to feed to dogs?
What do I even do with the 50lbs of semi-rendered lard from ONE of them, let alone two?

I really dont know what to do. Deeply uninspiring experience.
8 months ago
When I hear "gift economy" - I see an unemployed, upturned hand who has never been blistered from pro bono soil-work.

Been "clean" and soap-ber for 4 years now. Im never told I stink, I never feel or smell gross until Ive really earned it. Using products always left me dry and crispy followed by an oily, dirty feeling.

Hairs and teeth have never been happier since I decided to make my own products. (extremely diluted ACV/essential oil for hair, baking soda/coconut oil/salt for teeth)

For a good time, google 'sodium lauryl sulfate' and then go through any selection of toothpaste/bodywash/shampoo... anywhere. Sinister stuff!
10 months ago
I took the spring PDC at Occidental Art and Ecology in California. From what I gathered, it was among the more expensive (~$1600) but also the best rated course within my options, and the most information heavy on a long standing Permaculture community. I did my research ahead of time, and Im glad I did as Ive heard of plenty of money-grab type schemes flying the Permaculture flag.

While I have to acknowledge that it was hands down the best vacation I ever hope to take; 3 UNBELIEVABLE meals a day that were ~80% sourced from the campus, a solar powered hot tub and sauna, otherwordly gardens/backwoods free for wandering, and 5 star sleeping arrangements (or space for a tent, for the frugal hippies)... The academic aspect made my head spin.

It was a heavy course load for 2 weeks. 8-10 hours a day I believe. I generally do well in school and was arguably very well studied in nearly all Permie subjects presented (Thanks Paul!) - and I still found it an incredible glut of information with no shortage of experts to hassle with my specific, weird questions. Every night I poured over pages of notes and protips Id never heard before. There is no such thing as "knowing all the rules of Permaculture".

Just as important as the information was the community and fellowship. Im sure its always awkward to start a live-in course with a bunch of weirdos of all different ages and backgrounds - but by the end of the two weeks I had 30 new lifelong pals. Being in an environment with a few dozen people with no connection other than caring way too much about being decent humans and excellent earth stewards really struck me. One by one I realized everyone there had a heart of gold and was genuinely engaging to talk to - and Im a deeply crabby dude as far as 'most people' go. PDCs dont attract dunces or jerks. As a matter of fact, our 2 years reunion is in 48 hours, and a number of us are boarding planes and carpooling to ensure we get to meet up again. Permie Fam 4eva.

The teachers and residents of the property also top the charts for Heroes among men (and women!) - Even the interns were star spangled. Whenever things are going really poorly - I just close my eyes and envision my PDC!

TL;DR - Results may vary, but a well researched PDC is worth every penny. I and 30 other strangers had the time of our lives which provided no shortage of experience, information and fellowship for further Permacultural endeavors. While it seems expensive at the outset, the math works out pretty well on lodging/hot showers and 3 meals a day... even if you simply want to call it a vacation. Just as well, seeing Permaculture in action on a piece of land for 40+ years will really knock your socks off.
10 months ago