Oddo Dassler

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since Aug 10, 2018
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Recent posts by Oddo Dassler

r ranson wrote:Hello Oddo,

You've found the tinkering forum.  https://permies.com/f/11/tnk

Any posts that don't meet publishing standards are usually quietly removed.  https://permies.com/t/17422/tnk/permies-publishing-standards

And here is a great big pile of links to help you learn more about how permies works https://permies.com/wiki/34193/permies-works-links-threads

Is there anything specific you want me to look into?  

Well, yes. I am not sure I understand why my reply to Orin in the "Who did you believe when you started out" thread (https://permies.com/t/133003/starting) was removed, for example. His post (which you can read) was about not wanting to break his back farming. My reply was that I concur with everything he said and that growing your own fertllity on the farm is good design (as in permac. design) and that <1% of the population here farms because most people are specialists and that I do not see that changing any time soon , so I farm. It is very confusing to figure out what exactly is the offending part. In a different thread an admin told me "we do not tell people what they should or should not do". Yet in this thread (https://permies.com/t/116921) a person says that they can't wait to get out of the city and mention that the husband is not very keen on that thought and someone tells them point blank "End the relationship" (as in get a divorce), which I feel is a pretty strong thing to say (and definitely violates the rule I was told).

I was also told in one of the replies not to ask personal questions. Well, the whole thread was about "who do you believe" and whether they disclose info. Someone replied and in their reply they said that they have a 5 acre homestead (which they advertise in their signature) but they never said how they started. The gist of that whole thread I started was about disclosure and honesty. IN my reply I never asked for private information, I set up a hypothetical where I said something like "If you did not disclose so and so info, it would not be honest". Yet the reply was not allowed. I am confused.

In a separate comment by an admin, I was told that the replies must be "positive" and not "moany and whiny". That being offensive itself aside, there are many things in life that may have a positive or negative resolution but that does not mean that the negative stuff has to be swept under the rug. I think maybe it is better to discuss it openly and come up with a solution - a positive one. That was the whole point of my "Who did you believe" thread. Point out a problem and see what people think and maybe get to authors etc. that are genuine and can be trusted. In fact, a few people did just that, point out stuff like that.

Nicole Alderman wrote:Bumpity-bobbity-bump! (It's like bippity boppity boo, but without pumpkin carriages and sparkly dresses. Instead, it generates wheelbarrows and overalls )

I am trying to figure out where the tinkering forum is . I wanted to ask about a few replies/posts of mine that just disappeared without any trace. Thanks.

Brody Ekberg wrote:I’m very glad I found this post on here because I’ve been mentally battling similar concepts for months now. Glad I’m not alone!

“Quick” background: I’m 27 years old, live in upper Michigan and am married (no children yet). As a child, I was brainwashed into believing that debt was a part of this life and that if I wasn’t going to go to college, trade school was the ticket. College never interested me and so, instead of following my heart, I followed my brainwashed mind and advice given to me by generations past. Over the course of a couple years, I went from spending as much time in wilderness learning, exploring and experiencing new things to completing a trade school, moving, and starting a full time job at a utility company. I’ve been at this job for almost 6 years now, make excellent money and benefits compared to the majority of people that I know. I married my high school sweetheart (and her $50,000 student loan debt), took out $100,000 loan on a house and now have this seemingly massive debt hole nagging at me every day.

Due to chronic overthinking and worrying, I had a revelation (panic attack/breakdown/mental blowout) a few years ago that completely revolutionized my life. To sum it up, I realized we are all one, past and future do not exist, all we have is this present moment and we are here to embody love; nothing else matters.

This obviously clashed with my lifestyle in many ways. I had spent my life trying to be happy, doing what I was told, working for the future and was not enjoying it. I was tired, unhealthy and unhappy. After watching Food Inc, the Truth About Cancer and various documentaries and youtube videos, reading several books (Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway was probably the most profound and influential in my opinion), detoxing, correcting our diet and correcting nutritional deficiencies and digestive issues, I had a new found passion for life. I felt more alive than I knew possible, finally felt passionate about life and knew what I was here to do: spread love, teach others and be well. During my revelation (I feel this word fits the experience nicely), I had a vision of my wife and I in a luscious garden, surrounded by abundant food with smiles on our faces. I knew this was the ideal and that it was not only possible to create but felt like life was calling me to do it. I knew that if I was single, this would be quick and easy because I’m focused, easy to please and have low expectations. My wife likes to go places, spend money, do things and have fun. I knew that staying with her meant this process would be a lot slower and more difficult, but I willingly chose this path because I love her.

I used to think living sustainably meant needing lots of land, debt, machinery and back breaking work for little to no pay. I know now that sustainable is a direction, not an end point. Gaia’s Garden showed that people can and are making fantastic leaps in sustainability on tiny plots of land all over the world: A handful of raised beds in an inner city lot, rooftop and windowsill gardens, community gardens and orchards, school gardens and orchards. Many people are even able to have children, chickens, bees, a couple goats or sheep, large polyculture gardens, rain harvesting... all on an acre or two. This was what sparked me to buying a house/property. I wanted to create my vision, not only for my wife and I to be well and fulfilled, but to freely give knowledge, experience and good food!

Current situation: We took out a $90,000 loan on a 3 bedroom house with 2 1/2 acres to realize our dream. Half of the land is wooded and half is cleared with the house, garage and yard space. I spent the first year dreaming, drawing, planning, making gardens and putting up fencing. We have a loop driveway and I plan on filling the yard space with fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, chickens, vegetables, herbs, flowers, mushrooms and bees. I envision a short bus rolling in to drop off a handful of kids for a field trip where we experientially show them how to plant things, harvest things, eat things and teach them why this is important and how to do it without loads of money or land. To help them realize they can do so much with an acre or less by utilizing what resources are readily available. We have good soil and abundant resources, many of which are totally free and sustainable (wood, wood chips, leaves, sawdust, yard waste, water...).

My current struggle: My job is killing me. It is physically demanding, unsustainable, unsatisfying and leaves me feeling like I have no time to put towards realizing the dream. I’m away from home all day and when I get home its all catch up and compensation for being gone all day. I want to just live off faith, quit my job and get dirty actualizing my dream. If we lose it all, whatever, The dream will be the same somewhere else. My wife is not on the same page though, and so we’re trying to figure out how to pay bills, a mortgage and student loan debt without my current job. We’re quite seriously considering starting a fermented food business. Ive been fermenting for several years now, have some good products and have been told to start selling by many people. Plus there’s a niche for it and demand. Ideally, we would source organic produce as locally as possible and try to keep sales relatively local as well. We could do classes and workshops about fermentation as well. I could work from home and make my own hours. I even thought about taking in shredded paper and restaurant waste to start making and selling compost and also doing edible landscaping/sustainable garden design on the side for more income. This would be radically different than a biweekly paycheck! Part of me screams “do it” and another part says these are all just ways to make money for the sake of playing this damn game when I could just get down and dirty right now, laying it all on the line and living off faith alone. I know this is true, but would likely cost me my house, my credit, my marriage and my reputation. Sure, i could be a filthy, wandering, John the Baptist looking gardener but I doubt I would be as influential or happy as I would with my wife living from a relatively stable home teaching children and doing community programs in sustainability and whatnot. Call me impatient but I’m working on it. And sure, my generation is used to instant gratification, so feeling like I need to struggle for decades before things really seem to “come together” isn’t particularly appetizing, especially if my physical and mental health is being dedicated to working for profit while I’m in my prime. That leaves me with leftovers to put towards my passion at some future date that never seems to arrive. This body is meant to spread love and life, not grind out unnecessary mundane tasks for money and to be the fuel of a broken system.

I really feel like there are a good number of people in similar situations as this. So many people here are interested in gardening, wellness, and small farms but are stuck with large amounts of debt, a lack of encouragement and a lack of motivation. There seems to be a gap and I feel called to be the bridge over that gap. Sorry about rambling on. I don't have many opportunities to talk about these topics with like minded people in similar situations!

Brody, glad you found my post. I am a software engineer but like you, I got fed up with my job so I quit it. However, before I did, we paid off all our debt except for the mortgage. My wife works 3 days a week as a veterinarian and this is enough to pay our mortgage and all our bills and maybe leave a couple hundred bucks on the side. It would leave more but we have spent the last two years on infrastructure on our farm. We have enough savings to pay our mortgage and all bills for about 12 months before we hit zero. That's it. This year is the first year I see our land paying some of the mortgage. I am focusing on our veggie farm and our bees and she is starting a flower farm on about 0.4 acres of land that we set aside for her.

One constraint many people run into with a farm is the necessity to make profit quick. This, in turn, ends up putting pressure on people to take shortcuts - such is capitalism. In United States we also have to think about health insurance, we cannot afford to pay for our own so we went with a christian health ministry "coverage". There is a lot of bad press about a lot of them but that's all we can afford. Anywhoo, back to the shortcuts - most farmers' outlook on land and crop and fertility is three months - between planting and harvest. This is why they use machinery, chemicals and artificial fertilizers. The job of a sustainable farmer is to extend this outlook to years, in my humble opinion. Tough job.

I think there is a lot of hype in the world of alternative farming. Someone tried to sell me coconut husks to spread over my fields the other day. I live in Virginia, they are sourced in Colombia. I was, like, huh? I attended Virginia Biological Farming conference the other day. Great people but there were a lot of vendors pushing all sorts of stuff like bokashi, kenkashi etc. etc. I am a traditional, pre-chemical ag farmer that came from a peasant country, to me all this stuff is yet another way to open a new market and separate people from their money. So, I stuck to what peasants did back in my country - light tillage and fallowing and of course cover cropping. Right now 50lbs of cereal rye sells for $29 and you need about 100 lbs ($60) per acre. I planted 4 acres of it ($240) and I intend to use it as straw for my vegetable plots. For $240 I grew ALL the mulch that I need, on my own property, no need for anything "alternative". Next year the rye field will be planted in something productive and my currently productive 4 acre field (winter wheat) will be cereal rye and clover (fallow). Winter wheat will also provide straw. We have two horses so they provide manure for our veggie plots as well and will for the flower farm as well. The bees pollinate etc. etc. You can focus on multiplying bees and selling them, a package runs about $150 and a nuc colony about $200 so good source of income. I catch swarms so free bees! ;) Honey is always a good seller. Right now I use an old tractor (I work on it myself when need be) but the plan is to switch to horse/draft team based farming to fully eliminate the dependence on the fuel industry.

We also have about 15 acres of woods - we use the wood for heat and a lot of fallen wood also goes to wood-chips for the gardens.

Why did I mention the rye straw above and the wood chips? Because one basic issue I see with a lot of market gardens etc. is lack of focus on growing your own fertility. People use plastic mulch (dependent on oil complex) but they also just buy truckloads of compost. This to me just means mining someone else's land for their fertility. Easy to talk about no-till and pooh-pooh the plow when you are using plastic mulches and buying compost from someone else.

The biggest issue I have run into is fighting weeds and maintaining fertility in a large scale no-till system. Being no-till on 1/2 acre veggie plots is easy (esp. if you are buying compost) but being no-till on 4-5 acre fields, totally different story, esp. if you do not want to or cannot afford to buy a roller-crimper, for example. So, tillage is what I do right now and no, I am not going to spread coconut husks on my fields and inoculate them with <put your own here>-kashi.

I guess my point is - there are a lot of people selling a lot of fog, from the basic going back to the land to the what to do on daily basis "alternative" lifestyles - which was really the basis of my post.

P.S. I work on all my equipment. I also do leatherwork and I make all my bee equipment, down to the frames. You can spend $150 on two bee boxes online or you can make your own for $30 from 3/4" plywood and some basic tools. To me, job #1 of every peasant is to be a generalist. A lot of people are going in the wrong direction, they are trying to run their farms as specialized as possible. Specialization is what killed normal life for most people. Ask Wendell Berry if you don't believe me haha
4 years ago

Hamilton Betchman wrote:Unfortunately, this means you will have to be sure to plant where you have never grown squash before, as they develop in the soil over the winter, only to emerge under your row crops in the spring.

I wonder if tilling the soil and then burning it with a propane torch would make a difference....
4 years ago
You mention chocolate but also mention coffee and condensed milk. We order our coffee in 25 lbs bags from a distributor that brings it from Central America - this is the only thing we order online a few times a year that contributes to our CO2 footprint, I am ashamed to say. I roast it every 7-10 days in small batches and it comes out cheaper (about $4/lb, the last bag I bought was a Christmas special for $65 for a 25lbs bag so even cheaper) and I know what I am drinking and who I am sourcing from. For milk, find someone who sells it raw from their own cows and you can pasteurize it yourself. If you do not want to buy coffee, you can always grow chicory and use the root as a substitute but it will not taste like the real thing. As for chocolate, no substitute I have found and I do love it... Some things you just can't live without ;). As for sweeteners, we keep bees so honey is available to us. You can hook up with a local beekeeper, just make sure you get to know them and make sure they are treatment-free with their bees and that they do not feed supplemental sugar. As for corporations signing ethical pledges, I put very little stock in that, they all have a bottom line and they are all guilty in my books.
4 years ago
I have heard of people inoculating the squash plants with BT but have not tried it. My solution has been to plant squashes continuously and at different locations in parallel. Between so many plants, I get enough of a harvest before they are destroyed by the borers.
4 years ago