Dale Hodgins

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since Jul 28, 2011
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Dale Hodgins currently moderates these forums:
I've worked in demolition and salvage, construction, real estate, ... Currently developing bus business and expanding my knowledge on a wide array of subjects related to land development and ecologically sound energy and food production. I'm a hard core skeptic and strong believer in science. Athiest, idealist, pragmatist, inventor, thinker, learner. Developing a grand plan for turning my property into a model of energy and resource efficiency.
Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Recent posts by Dale Hodgins

On a lighter note, we went to some nice places. One parcel of land is very close to this perfect swimming spot.

This 155 Yamaha belt drive automatic bike is absolutely awesome. Excellent fuel economy and perfectly built for the two of us. On one particularly good patch of Road we accelerated uphill at at 80 kilometers per hour. But usually we just cruised along between 50 and 60 kilometers per hour. 50 kph equals 30 miles per hour. The roads don't accommodate super high speed. I saw a couple of white guys driving Harley's with really dumb looking handlebars so they have to hold their arms up above their head. The roads can't begin to handle the speed those bikes could go.
23 hours ago
One of the people I became quite well acquainted with is on his way to becoming a Canadian and he also works in Saudi Arabia. He has traveled to hundreds of islands and suggested some of the safer ones. For him Mindanao does not make sense for a white man because of the danger of being kidnapped for ransom.

One of his best buddies who comes to the  house for regular drinking parties, is a professional hitman. He's also a very good bricklayer. My friend has suggested that I hire this guy at the beginning of a project, even just for a few days, since no one would dare steal anything or mess with the project in any other way if they know he's associated with it. But I'm not sure that I want to have any connection to this man who looks like something out of a gangster movie. He gave me the creeps even before I found out about his line of work.
23 hours ago
I am back in Canada and many decisions have been made. It was quite difficult to use the internet at times. For now, I've decided against trying to take over the home Village, although I believe it is easily within my power. So many of them are willing to sell out. But I have an intention to create some sort of tourist business and I am the only white person they have seen down there in many years. The culture of that place is fucked and there are many other nice places a person could go.

So for now I'm not even going to buy her uncle's house land and horse that were offered for roughly 1800 American.

We went to another much smaller Island where I have found nice land at reasonable prices. Foreign visitors are regularly seen there and I didn't feel at all threatened. The roads, schools and hospitals are in good shape. After spending time with her mother and brother I realize that I would not want them living on the same property as me. Her mother is a strange woman who can't stop doing things. After being told that my mosquito lights for only for emergencies, she used it to go under the house at 1 a.m. and get some cleaning done. Then at 2 a.m. she went to the well for water. All her life she has waited until morning and it appears that the solar cycle is all that keeps her from doing things 24 hours a day. The brother is barely conversant in English and he is painfully shy and avoid speaking to people in his own language. He was born 9 km from the ocean but had only seen it twice before my arrival. Almost all of his life has been lived within a 5 mile radius of where he was born. He doesn't share the same curiosity that all of his sisters have. Two weeks ago he came to Cebu and this was the first time he has ever left his little corner of Mindanao. He was like a fish out of water in the city. Afraid to go anywhere for fear of not being able to find his way back. I took him to a block Making Place to get him a job. After I spoke to the owners oh, it was difficult to get him to say anything on his own behalf. The sisters tell me that he is an extremely hard worker but most of the work he has done has involved the processing of coconuts using a machete. He has also done Porter work where he carries heavy items up or down the steep Pathway to the Gorge for 50 pesos which is roughly a dollar.

Left on his own I am absolutely confident that he would never amount to anything. And I have promised my fiance that I will find some way for him to fit into society as something other than a slave. I found 2.5 acres that can be bought for 600 American dollars. It's decent land that could certainly feed both of them with surplus to sell. For $1,000 I could build a house vastly better than what they live in now. I'd probably spend a little more than that and give it a well pump.

Much of the new construction uses hollow concrete blocks. There are simple machines available that spit out for blocks at once. They are manually operated. Most people who own one of these machines make more than that of regular construction workers. The raw materials are readily available, so I might provide him with one of these machines and hire someone experienced in using it, to teach him how it's done and the importance of getting the mix right. I could market for him and I could be his first customer. He has spent most of his working life doing absolute drudgery. So I don't think he would mind the repetitive nature of making blocks. There are enough steps that it is still much more interesting than cracking coconuts. And it's easy to gauge how much someone is getting done when they are making blocks. Just count the stacks. It's also easy to determine how much to pay them, because it's based on the number of blocks produced. I don't want to be in the block business and be his employer. But it might start out that way. I want him to become reasonably confident doing it, and to eventually do it without my help. He actually did alright in school several years ago but he has had mental issues, probably brought on by self-imposed starvation as he attempted to save everything he made instead of spending some of it on food.

I have talked to him about this through an interpreter and he is very keen to try it and he desperately wants to get out of his home village. I haven't made a final determination on where we will live, so I cannot commit to a spot for the mother and brother. We want them on the same island but not right at our doorstep. My fiance only sees her mother sporadically and agrees that she would drive us nuts if she were living next door.

So the cob house thing is definitely on hold or not happening at all. I have built to cob stoves which work quite well.

I have visited many places where the culture does not need complete replacement. Places where people get up and go to work in the morning and they don't stay drunk all day. So that's the kind of community I want to move to. Everything went exceptionally well with my fiance, which makes the issues with her family easier to take. Both of her sisters are sharp girls. 1 sister is 8 months away from a degree in some computer thing. She will quadruple her income in that line of work. The other sister will soon go back to school full-time as well. I'm paying for it all. There's a cultural thing where people think they need to pay everything back, when they receive something. I have acknowledged this when talking with them but I told them that all I want is for them to demonstrate that they are now self-sufficient so that my fiance doesn't have to worry about them. Even my fiance talks about how she could ever repay me for things that we are doing together. How all of the money that we are using is mine and none of it is hers, and how will she ever repay me. I have stated that just having her with me is payment enough because she is so pleasant and wonderful to be around. I've also said that the best thing she could do for me is to continue learning everything about how to gross things on the type of land we are looking at and on how to attract foreign visitors. All of this is beyond her experience, but she's a smart girl and good at researching things.
23 hours ago
I come from the small town of Ripley Ontario in Canada. I can recall many horrific injuries and deaths involving farm equipment. Two children were killed by the power take off on tractors. A five-year old was driven over when he approached his father from the rear as he was moving manure. One boy lost a toe when he went up a hay elevator without shoes. A 16 year old bled to death when he tried to clear a large clog of silage that was being fed into a hammer mill. Both legs cut off below the knee. Two young men were paralyzed when their tractors flipped over while pulling heavy loads. Our neighbor caught his hand in the sand corn grinder three times. A girl was kicked in the head by a horse and has not been right since. A boy was riding on the tractor with his father and he fell behind the machine where a disc was immediately dried over him.

In about 1975 we went to an event called the ploughing match where show the kids some pretty horrific video and cartoons of what could happen. Now there are covers on the power takeoff and children don't generally ride on the back of tractors where they can fall and be driven over.
2 weeks ago
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The best land prices so far are on the island of Palawan. It's a bit remote being near Borneo. There are indigenous tribes that still keep skulls from their head hunting days. Most people i've met are somewhat conversant in English. I've been told that many on this island speak Neither English or Visayan and some don't speak tagalog which is the official language. So that could be a problem. Most migrants to this island are from Muslim Mindanao or from the small group of islands to the south of Mindanao known as the autonomous Muslim region. I think it's autonomous because of large losses the Philippine army has experienced in the past.

Other islands have reached a tipping point and gone through a period of forced conversion and ethnic cleansing, so i will investigate carefully before going there.
2 weeks ago
I built a very serviceable cob stove at the house where i'm living in the city. Wood and charcoal are now burned much more efficiently. There's a flat area that allows three pots to stay warm while another one is over the fire.

I'm at a house that is far above average, yet they were cooking in the most primitive manner imaginable. Most cooking uses a butane stove but they like to grill things like fish and chicken over charcoal..

Trying to load pictures
2 weeks ago
I want to own a piece of tropical paradise. This place could qualify after some social engineering. It has all of the building blocks that i'm looking for. Good land and water with a 12 month harvest.

The slopes of the gorge are populated by native species that are quite rare in other areas. There are monkeys snakes and bats and many more. They don't bother the crops. A deep gorge like this is a very unique environment.

If houses are built in right place typhoons blow over top and houses can be in the shade by 3 p.m. A very comfortable place compared to some places where i haven't been able to escape the tropical heat.

The river is clean and swimable, without any nasty things that bite. It comes from near the center of the island which is cooler high ground. We went swimming every day.

It's not just the two of us. I have taken on five extra people. There's also her mother and three siblings. Yesterday i send  money so that her sister could go to school full time and leave a job that pays about $80 us per month. Even when they are done school it may be necessary for me to create a business for some family members so they aren't slaves to others.

There are quite a few people in that gorge who i wouldn't mind being neighbors with. Across the river there is a large extended family that is doing much better since alcohol does not control their lives. It's sort of a religious colony. They have very little contact with people who live only half a kilometer away. Every morning they can be seen doing useful things and they are quite self sufficient. So people don't have to live the way they are at this village. They need to be shown a better way and some need to be shown the door.

Someone responsible needs to be in charge. If i buy a third of the land and become the only employer , that makes me the de facto leader. Anyone who doesn't shape up will not find employment, free electricity and other things. They won't be able to borrow the chainsaw or have their grains milled.
2 weeks ago
Nothing has been done on the housing front, since we haven't decided exactly what to do. There is still a good possibility that I will take over that village in some way.

I have dealt with drunks all of my life. It seems to be no different here than at home. Cater to the addiction somewhat and use superior position and intellect to your advantage. I've seen it happen here with businesses in the city. One man is running a very successful cement block business. The workers are all hard drinkers and none of them seems like they will ever be in a position to compete with him.

But I would still want to move the worst offenders along, by purchasing their assets.

1 corn field produces 3,000 pesos a year. That's 75 Canadian dollars. I can see giving him 20 years worth of income for a total of $1500. That would give me a nice chunk of river frontage. About a dozen deals like that need to happen to make it worth it for me. Most of the land is producing nothing right now in the areas I'm interested in.

When the land is grazed heavily by horses it becomes dominated by a woody shrub that they don't like to eat. It doesn't appear that anyone has had the foresight to remove this plant, so the pasture becomes quite degraded. Labor to clear an acre of this would be somewhere around $50. When I rented horses they were tied in this scrub overnight so we had to go a short distance to allow them to feed before using them. They are often tied within a few hundred feet good grazing.

Almost every domestic animal is tethered. Pigs, cattle and horses spend their lives attached to ropes. In the city I have seen hundreds of tethered fighting roosters. They seem to be the number one animal being raised. Every morning there is a horrible racket throughout the city as they all crow at once. There are about 10 of them at the house where I'm living. They dominate the yard and no useful thing is grown at ground level. Most of the trees produce something edible.

I was involved in a drunken banana harvest yesterday. I was the only one not drunk. 30 seconds worth of work was accomplished in 5 minutes. The roof got bent.
2 weeks ago
There appears to be no clay in the village. I investigated coconut pits that are 8 feet deep. Nothing but gravel and silt. We will either move the mother out of there or i will spend $2000 dollars buying a really nice piece of land that includes a decent house.

I have started a really nice cob cooker for the house where i'm living in the city. There's lots of clay here.

The river becomes about 20 times larger during typhoons. I didn't see any typhoon damage to the trees. That's because most years the winds come from a direction where they are blocked by the steep slopes of the gorge. Theres a sweet spot umbrellas of high ground that is back far enough from the slope, to be relatively safe from landslides. The better houses are built to there.

We took horses down the river for about 1 km. Plenty of nice land there and most of the landlords are absent. Saw several really big carabao.

One of the major crops that i failed to mention. Bananas are shipped out of the gorge but also eaten at home. We were only able to find ripe bananas once. Seems that most of them are saved for sale and the money allows the owners to live on Doritos and soft drinks. There are several varieties of bananas. I have tried many of them well residing in the city. I found it amazing that it didn't seem to be a big part of the diet in the village.

There are cattle but they don't seem to milk them or to eat beef. I was told that they are raised for sale but also as draft animals. One year old calves are led up the path and sold in a nearby town. The money allows people to live on rice and junk food. A small amount of sweet corn is eaten in the village. I didn't see anyone eat coconut in any form.
1 month ago