Dale Hodgins

gardener
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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

Many people here eat garbage. There's a huge array of snack foods that are mostly sugar. Little cakes and cookies and gummy sticky things , all in small plastic packaging. The streets are littered with plastic. Beaches are covered in it. At the place where I live , the owners drop packaging on their own grass. Most people seem to be blind to it. There are many resellers of snack foods who set up a little store front in their own house. Most people don't have to walk half a city block to find this stuff. There's one 6 steps from my gate. You can buy cookies and cakes and instant noodles or cigarettes , but not one item that's good for you. My best guess is that there are 20 of this type of retailer , for every  fruit stand or grocery store.

We go to the big island of Mindanao,tomorrow.
1 week ago
More.

The third photo shows my electric kettle which is cooking sweet potatoes and irish potatoes. After the kettle boils it is covered with a towel and allowed to cool over a couple hours. Saving electricity.
1 week ago
After a few days of mostly socializing we got down to business with making some soap. We are using 50% coconut oil and 50% palm oil.

The following are a series of messages copied from whatsapp messages to my daughter, who also makes soap in a very small way .
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We mostly make it in two kilogram batches. It's been difficult to find some supplies. Thermometers seem rare and I haven't been able to find a spatula for cleaning out the pots. Everyone knows what I mean but they are out of stock.
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I've come up with a simple double boiler system so that no suplimental heating is required.the lye and water, heat the oil.

There are nice wide railings with a tile top, that work perfectly for processing the material. The outdoor railing is used for mixing water and lye.

Today we will make salt soap.
1 week ago
I've been in cebu philippines for 4 days now. Spend a couple days is getting acclimatized since i arrived quite tired.

It's very wet and humid with lots of standing water yet i don't see mosquitoes. Not sure what's going on there , but they definitely like their poisons.

Everything is going great on the personal front. It's a very friendly place , where outsiders are welcomed with open arms. There seem to be many available women who are very friendly , but i couldn't be more happy with my choice .

Yesterday was a family dentist day. Two check ups and six fillings set me back $65 american.

The younger sister was still reluctant and thought she should wait until her paycheck comes in . So i converted my networth to philippine pesos and showed her.We talked about the importance of avoiding delay, and all of the work got done.

It will be at least 10 days before i get to the village.
3 weeks ago
The one thing I'm always worried about is getting sick. I'm feeling perfectly healthy now, and I took a free flu shot a week ago. I don't normally do that but apparently lots of people have been getting the flu on airplanes.

There was a little drama around the apartment that I've rented. It's co-owned. It was inherited by a woman and her brother. The woman who I'm going to visit knows the lady who rented her the apartment. She refers to her as her aunt , so they are quite close . The landlord's brother has been making some noise about getting more money for that apartment. I'm sure it's just because he knows that I'm going to come and stay in it. So, I got her to pay the rent ahead little further and make sure to get a receipt. Apparently today the lady said she can stay for 6 months.

She tells me that she feels weird living in such a nice apartment on her own. She's never had a nice place. We thought that the two girls who helped her out would stay there with her until my arrival, but it was very inconvenient to their work. Her sister plans to live there when the new semester starts at school.

It's certainly a busy house with children running around everywhere and fighting chickens making an awful racket. They aren't actually fighting, they just do a lot of crowing and other fighting chickens and other yards crow back. Seems to be a morning thing that just keeps on going. There's a constant stream of children visiting. They've been asking my girlfriend for candy and she has been slicing them bits of mango and other better choices. She said these kids have a sucker in their mouth constantly, because they have aunts and uncles who visit and think it's wise to continue feeding them this junk. They were all on the phone with me a few days ago. Language was an issue so I showed them tricks.
4 weeks ago
Thank you Ed and Brian. I've been even more open with everyone on the other end and that seems to be appreciated although not understood. It took a bit of convincing, for me to have her totally appreciate that her sisters and no other member of the family should have or will have any say in what I do. I have no trouble with dictatorship if I'm the dictator. To me, a person without money is generally in that situation for a good reason. I'm not going to drag anyone out of poverty, they are going to have to agree to follow my lead.

I'm sure there will be other ingrained behaviors that drive me nuts. Immediately dispensing with money is something I've witnessed here amongst the perpetually broke and it seems to be very prevalent there. Addictions are also prevalent but none of the people in this family have them. No cigarettes or alcohol amongst 5 people. That's beating the odds.
4 weeks ago
We're going to start out slow and I'm only meeting immediate family and the landlord at first. Then a few days later, they will be a birthday party attended by about 6 people. Her situation is unique in that there is no family beyond her mother and sisters, who she sees on a regular basis. They may come out of the woodwork, but they aren't people to whom any of the rest of the family are close. I would have no problem getting her to translate a question for me, if I'm ever approached concerning needs. I would ask, "did this person bother with you at all, before they found out about me?" We have talked about that and she said that she will ask that in the bisaya language as a way of shutting down requests or statements of need.

I have hired somewhere around 600 people in my life. Many of them couldn't hold on to money, and they would pop by on days when they weren't working, with statements of need various requests. I had no problem saying no. Sometimes I would say it to the tune of well known songs drives them nuts.
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This is a family without a father or any strong male. The brother, is the weakest of the bunch due to his mental condition. The three sisters have been looking after the brother and mother for quite a while. So there's not really any individual in charge or anyone who thinks they are in charge. That may change because I love to be in charge of things.
1 month ago
I haven't really spent very much money at all. Under 1000 Canadian on everyone else. A few hundred dollars worth of dental work and a couple of hundred to extract her from the home where she wasn't being paid. Then I paid for a place that I will stay in. So not a big deal. I spent close to $15,000 on my Kenyan Odyssey. But the real Odyssey was the trip home. 66 hours, most of it without sleep.

I have a simple rule that I won't waiver from. No money spent on anyone outside of the immediate family, other than maybe the occasional Street meal. I'm not going to buy anything for anyone and I won't give anyone money. I have bought a few things for her immediate family for Christmas. Three tablet computers for the three who are going back to school. 4 power banks for the various cell phones. A total of just under $400 Canadian. And I might spend $500 on the house. If all goes as I hope, I expect to spend six to eight thousand per year for the next two years, until her siblings have finished school. Of course I'm hoping that I can set them up in a little business to supplement this or completely replace it.

The other day she told me about various people including her new landlady who have told her about various business ideas they have that require financing. So I told her that I got started in the demolition business with $100 and it cost me about the same amount when I got started in the scrap metal business years ago. I have tried many things that require no real investment, and I have been able to immediately do well. So I don't buy the whole investment needed thing anyway.

Her landlady is in her fifties and has never accumulated anything, other than an inherited house. Doesn't sound like somebody I would ever invest in. If a person hasn't done something by the time they are in their thirties, I put that in the negative column.

Her biggest worry seems to be that many people will present ideas and request. I'm always open to ideas, but almost never open my wallet over them. The first thing I would ask of anyone, is which of their other ideas have worked out. If they can't name any, I'm done.

My girl has had some silly ideas of her own. She's suggested entering into many, "me too" businesses. Things that anyone can do, that don't require a specialized skill or resource. Selling street food, selling old clothing and other things that have tons and tons of low-paid competition.

I decided to try soap, because it's not something that any of them seem to know about and it requires some knowledge and skill in its preparation. So it's not quite the same "me too" business as selling Street Food. I had a friend here in Victoria who invested in a coffee shop, where there were plenty of Starbucks and McDonald's. I suggested that they go to a small town or just somewhere where they wouldn't be crushed. Instead, a long-term lease was entered into and they spent five years working for a landlord. So, whenever I have an idea, I run it through the me too lens. My thing where I chop buildings in half and get them ready to be moved on trucks, is far from that sort of business. Most people would go horribly wrong, so I don't have a bunch of low paid competition. I talked with the family about this briefly, and really tried to stress the need to enter into things that aren't absolutely flooded.
1 month ago
I paid the uncle 4000 pesos today, which is roughly $100. This is the amount owed for labor and material to fix the old house. They told him to not do anything more and to make no attempt do weedle the cow out of her mother. It is the only valuable asset she has left. It's a strange thing, dealing with a drunk that I have never met before.

I have encouraged everyone to go in for a dental check-up. None of them are in pain right now, but two were when I first met them and nobody told me. I had to wring that information out of them. So, I sent a couple hundred dollars that is for dental work. Drill and fill on one tooth costs about $25.

Today, I went over the list of things I'm bringing and asked if there was anything else I should bring. The answer to anything that's needed is always the same. No, I'm fine, thank you. This was the answer when there was nothing to eat and when my girlfriend and her sister both had cavities that caused pain.

I wonder if one day I will be asked to account for all of the money that I've sent to Kenya, for braces and training and other things. Most of it was before I met my current girlfriend. But she has questioned me in depth about that relationship, why it ended and how she compares in attractiveness etcetera. But somehow she had never touched on money. Women are strange creatures. I seldom talk to a man who won't say what he wants or needs. And I seldom talk to a man who thinks that I should provide for all of his needs. I know women in both categories.
1 month ago
My brother's wife has many high quality earrings. Some of them are gold and silver, with little diamonds or sapphires. She gets them for free.

That's because they are mismatches. People often lose one earring and then they have no use for the other one. All of her friends know that she does a mix and match thing. She has so many, that it's always easy to find two that go together well, although they are not an exact match.

Just a simple little trick, that allows her to have quite upscale jewelry on no budget at all.

I don't think this would work with shoes or dentures, but it's working quite well with earrings. Her friends also give her stray necklaces and broken bits of jewelry that are cobbled into other attractive items.

I will ask for a picture, the next time I see them.
1 month ago