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Perhaps you've seen these terms around permies, or maybe seen the shiny badges, and wondered what these were all about. This thread is for you!

SkIP = Skills to Inherit Property. It is Paul's overarching term for a way for people to SKIP the rat race and start homesteading and permaculture sooner.

PEP = Permaculture experience According to Paul This is one program within SkIP. It is a curriculum and certification to show that you have learned--and have--homesteading and permaculture skills. It is a way to learn through doing. As one learns and has their skills certified, they earn the spiffy badges you see around permies!




SkIP is still in it's development stage, and we're excited about all the places it will go. It is a way to connect those who want to do permaculture and homesteading (but don't have the land) with people who have land (but have no one to will it to or work it with them). PEP is one part of SkIP--it's one way for people who want to skip the rat race and learn permaculture. And, it is a way for those people to display their skills to those looking for responsible people to take over their farm or homestead.

the story of Otis

A crucial aspect of SkIP is the story of Otis. Otis is a fictitious person representing all the hardworking farmers who have no one to care for their farm after them, and wish they had someone responsible to inherit their farm and manage it well. You can read the story of Otis here. Paul has a podcast all about Otis here. If you think you might be an Otis, you can get registered here. If you're wondering about the legal nuts and bolts of being an Otis, we have a thread to discuss them here.

Benefits of SKIP

There are many benefits to SkIP, and Paul outlines some of the advantages here:

primary benefits:  benefits to the individual pursuing SkIP (skipper)

  - possibility to inherit land that they otherwise would not have inherited
  - develop skills
  - develop a sense of accomplishment
  - a path out of the rat race, or a path to avoid the rat race

secondary benefits:   benefits to the entire population
 
  - reduction in carbon footprint
  - reduction in petroleum footprint
  - reduction in toxic footprint

tertiary benefits:  benefits to an individual developing a relationship with a skipper

  - will your property to somebody you find worthy
  - hire somebody you find worthy
  - rent to somebody you find worthy


how skip and PEP fit together

One of the ways that people can gain the skills to inherit property, is through PEP. PEP is a activity-based curriculum to learn homesteading and permaculture skills. It is based on the things Paul thinks are the most crucial and important skills for someone to know for growing in his climate. But, PEP is not intended to be the only aspect of SkIP. We think in the future there will be lots of avenues for people to gain and display the skills to inherit property... and for those wanting to deed their land to find the best person.


Permaculture

PEP (Permaculture Experience according to Paul), is just one of many PEXs. As Paul frequently says, anyone can make a PEX. I might make a PEN (Permaculture Experience according to Nicole) and Mike might do a PEM (Permaculture Experience according to Mike). These PEXs would consist of the activities and tasks we think are important homesteading and permaculture skills.




One PEX in development is the PEA--a Permaculture Experience for Apartments. These will be permaculture and homesteading skills that anyone--anywhere in the world--can do within their own apartment. They can be certified for the skills they have evidenced, and transfer their PEA credits to the PEP badge!

Here is the thread where Paul explains PEA.  You can also read D. Logan's thread on the core philosophies of PEA and badge development here.


22 badges of PEP

"Wait," You might be asking, "What are these 'badges' you keep talking about?" The Badges are the different aspects--or subjects, if you will--within PEP. Back in Elementary School, you might have Math, Science, Language Arts, Social Studies, Art, and a few other subjects. In PEP, we have Gardening, Natural Building, Textiles, Plumbing, Welding, Food Preservation, and more. There's a 22 aspects. And here they all are!

gardening
Use permaculture techniques to grow delicious food.  Projects include hugelkultur, chop and drop, Ruth Stout style composting, saving seeds, producing large volumes of food, polyculture, starting perennials from seed, food forest...

natural building
Building big things. Build experiences with several styles of natural building that work in a cold climate, with the grand finale being a wofati.
Techniques: cob, plaster, straw bale, wofati, natural paint, adobe, natural roofing, waterproofing, doors and gates, dry stack foundation, make cement, cob floor, wattle and daub…

woodland care
Transition from using a forest to developing a symbiotic relationship with a woodland.  
Create junkpole fence, firewood, coppicing, living fence, twig construction (arbors, tomato cages, trellises, wattle fence), strip trees manually and with power tools, peeling logs, making roofing shakes, plant tree seeds, plant woodland species, grow edible mushrooms, lumber, gin pole, skiddable sheds, rock jacks, berm shed ...

round wood woodworking
Build everything from logs, branches, and sticks using zero glue and rarely using metal.   Nothing starts with dimensional lumber.  Power tools can be okay, but, in general, less power tools.  Some projects specify no power tools.  Quite a bit of working with green (freshly harvested) wood. Small and large joinery, mixing green wood with dried wood, three log benches, spoon carving, shaving horse, sawhorse, sawbuck, chairs and other roundwood furniture, shrink pot, box from a piece of firewood, pole lathe, bowl from a pole lathe, skiddable shed for green wood woodworking, proenneke hinge, door latch, wofati freezer ...

tool care
Maintaining and repairing tools of all sizes.  Small tool care (sharpening/handles/etc.), power tool care (chainsaws, saws, drills, power hand tools as well as fixed power tools), large tool care (truck/tractor/etc.), appliance repair, bicycle repair, building a tool shed, optimize shop, build a materials shed, create dry places to park/charge large equipment…

earthworks
Use large equipment to make dramatic changes to the landscape.  Build roads, trails, terraces, ponds, berms, ditches, structure site prep, natural swimming pools, dry stack walls, passive garden heaters, garden ATI...

dimensional lumber woodworking
Includes construction, cabinetry and fine woodworking. No plywood, waferboard or particle board.  Using power tools, nails, screws are used, but hopefully less than in most construction.   This badge has a strong emphasis on good joinery over more nails.
Projects include: wood scorching, bird house, laying deck, shelves, wooden toolboox, stool, box, picnic table, wood bucket, skiddable lumber storage shed, porta cabin...

rocket
Build and maintain wood burning contraptions that cut energy and wood use by 90%.  Build and become proficient at:  rocket mass heaters, rocket ovens, rocket cook tops, rocket water heaters, outdoor kitchens...

food prep and preservation
Demonstrate  cooking, boiling, baking, frying, delicious food using energy saving methods like hay box cooking or solar dehydrator.  Skills include basic cooking pot and cast iron care, preserving the harvest with canning, drying, pickling and  fermenting...

animal care
Caring for domestic animals and providing resources and infrastructure to encourage wild animals to do the work for you.  Domestic animal care includes: chickens, pigs, cattle, rabbits, sheep, goats, dairy, bees, fish, and butchering. Wildlife care includes building homes for birds, bats, pollinators, garden-friendly insects, snakes, lizards...

foraging
Harvest and preserve food from the wild.  Gather fresh fruits, berries, nuts, greens, teas, mushrooms, and vegetables from wild sources.  Practice fishing and hunting (with vegan alternatives) respectfully.  Care for the place we harvest from and improve it with some guerrilla gardening...

community living
Building a desirable community and creating community experiences for others. Skills include creating public art, cooking meals for a group, leading workshops and presentations, improving a common space, creating a community holiday, creating a LIC (labor investment collective), giving tours, creating a map, organizing community events like a swap meet ...

textiles
Mend and make clothing and other useful textiles. Skills include: mending, weaving, knitting, crochet, spinning, sewing, basketry; as wells as growing fiber plants, harvesting them and creating cloth.
Tasks include creating curtains, upholstered furniture, patching, darning, knitting socks, leatherwork, basketry...

greywater and willow feeders
There is no “waste” in nature. Horticultural techniques for safe management of poop and pee.     Using soaps and cleaners that are greywater friendly, reuse wash water in the garden.    Planting “poop beasts” like willow, poplar and cottonwood. Proper handling of  “willow candy”...  

metalworking
Build and repair metal things. Welding, cutting, blacksmithing, casting, bending/shaping, and grinding. Large farm equipment, as well as small projects...

plumbing and hot water
Pressurized, non-pressurized systems. Working with metal and plastic plumbing. Installing, replacing, or repairing pipes. Maintenance and building new systems. Stopping leaks, maintaining hoses, repair or replace drains, toilets, faucets, garden hydrant...

electricity (including solar)
Maintain and build electrical systems.  AC (alternating current) and DC (direct current). On grid and off grid. Battery maintenance, installing outlets, breaker panels, repairing and building solar systems ...

commerce (be able to do business)
Prove that you can earn money in multiple ways, including some non-conventional ways.  Prove to Otis that you would arrive with your own income streams and would not be dependent on his savings.  Demonstrate: several income models over the internet, passive income streams, earning money through permaculture labor...

natural medicine
Harvesting healing herbs from a garden and the wild to establish a collection of medicines. Build knowledge of the efficacy of the plants on a particular property by recording the healing nature of each plant you harvest. Skills include identifying plants and their properties, keeping records, making teas, tinctures, oils, salves, poultices, and preserving medicinal herbs for future use...

nest
Demonstrate to Otis that if you stay in that second house, you’ll take care of it. Cleaning, shoveling snow, laundry, simple house maintenance, and other daily, repetitive tasks that make our living space livable according to the standards of Otis..

homesteading
  Known experiences that don't fit into the other aspects.

oddball
  Unpredictable, unique and creative experiences worthy of PEP. Rather than BBs, this aspect has a point system to earn badges.


bb badge bits

To earn one of these Badges, you will complete Badge Bits (or BBs). These Badge Bits are ways to learn through doing. Instead of just learning about the concepts and regulations and philosophies of gardening and woodworking and then taking a test, you'll carve a spoon and make a mallet. You'll learn by doing. AND, you'll now have a wooden spoon and a mallet that you carved!

These spoons were all carved for the Roundwood Woodworking spoon BB. Most of these spoons were the first spoon this person ever carved. Not only did they learn a lot about carving by making the spoon, now they have their own spoon to keep and use!

Roundwood Woodworking spoon carving PEP

By the time you complete the the Roundwood Woodworking Badge, you'll have made a spoon, a mallet, a compound mallet, a three log bench, coat hooks, a stool, and a hugelkulture ladder! If you earn the Textile Badge, you'll have made a pillow, darned a sock, made a hot pad or washcloth, patched a pair of pants, spun twine, and woven a basket!

knit hot pad, darn socks, spin twine, weave basket, patch clothes, sew pillow

You will always have "something to show for" all the work you did. You will have a fixed faucet, installed light fixture, a hugelkulture garden bed, canned food to store, a clean house, money you earned, a sharpened knife, etc.

If you're wondering where to start, you might like seeing what the easiest BBs were for people, or joing the BB Club, or find a mentor. If you'd like to see all the first level badge bits in one searchable spot, Paul and Shawn made a PEP Book where you can read through all Sand badges. If you like an easy way track the badges and BBs you want to do and have done, Ash also made a PEP tracker! His tracker has a PDF, Workflowy, and Trello versions with lists of all the Badge Bits and has ways to mark which ones you've done and want to do.

levels of PEP Badges

You might have noticed that there's lots of different colors of badges. These signify the amount of BBs you've completed. There are five badge levels, air, sand, straw, wood and iron..

 Air--This signifies you've completed one BB in that badge (in this case, in gardening)

 Sand--This signifies you've done all the required BBs to earn the sand badge (in this case, in gardening). It should take a skilled person about 5 hours.

Straw--This signifies you've done all the required BBs to earn the straw badge (in this case, in gardening). It should take a skilled person about 40 hours (+35 hours over sand, about 4 or 5 days)

 Wood--This signifies you've done all the required BBs to earn the wood badge (in this case, in gardening). It should take a skilled person about 220 hours (+180 hours over straw, about 4 to 5 weeks)

Iron--This signifies you've done all the required BBs to earn the iron badge (in this case, in gardening). It should take a skilled person about 1,250 hours (+1030 hours over wood, about six months)

You can find out more about the estimated time to complete a badge here. There are instructions for how to apply for your badge here!

PEP1, BB5, BB10

We have ways to display the fact that you've done multiple badge bits--or even multiple badges. The BB5, BB10, BB20, BB40, and BB60 show just how many badge bits you have completed. It doesn't matter which BBs you've done. If you've done 40 BBs, you get the BB40 badge!

 After completing 5 badge bits (BBs), you have earned the BB5 badge!
After completing 10 BBs, you have earned the BB10 badge!
After completing 20 BBs, you have earned the BB20 badge!  
 After completing 40 BBs, you have earned the BB40 badge!
 After completing 60 BBs, you have earned the BB60 badge!

Even more important, are our PEP1, PEP2, PEP3, and PEP4 certifications!

A formal PEP1 program would last 2 weeks (~80 hours).  Completing the PEP1 program requires 16 sand badges.

A formal PEP2 program would fill a summer (~510 hours).  Requires 1 wood badge + 7 straw badges + 14 sand badges (a badge in all 22 aspects).

A formal PEP3 program would take about nine months (~1550 hours).   Requires 7 wood badges + 15 straw badges (a badge in all 22 aspects).

A formal PEP4 program would take a little over two years (~4700 hours).  Requires 3 iron badges + 12 wood badges + 7 straw badges (a badge in all 22 aspects).




Maybe you live in an apartment, or don't have the machinery or land or other resources to complete these BBs. There are solutions!  

There's a list of places to complete BBs here. If you would like people to complete some work on your property, that just happens to complete a bunch of Badge Bits, you might want to post in that thread!

Wheaton Labs has a yearly SkIP event. You can see 2019's SKIP event here. And, find out more about future events here



The SkIP event allows you to complete up to 10 badges. Some people focus on just the things--like making a 7-foot tall hugelkultur garden--that they cannot do at home. Some focus on completing just a one or two badges that they really want done. If the person attends the preceding Permaculture Technology Jamboree event, they can finish all 16 badges and leave with the PEP1 certification!
COMMENTS:
 
Meni Menindorf
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I am wondering if there is, or might be created, a spreadsheet to help organize all of these, PEP and PEX and PEA and SkIP etc.  A skilled person could make a searchable spread sheet where the points (and it seems, sometimes cross-over points) could be tabulated with a running total.  

It sounds like a really fun game, and I want to play! But I'm a little technology challenged and also data$ challenged.  I feel like Im getting points all day long!  But could I please just search a spreadsheet for "planting fruit trees" and enter any applicable PEX etc?  

What about research into Fresnel heating technology ...  Any points there?  

Is there an easy way for the lamen to score all their points, without having the tenacity of a paper RPG Dungeon Master?

Help me learn more!
 
Nicole Alderman
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Ooooh, I should have added in some resources up there. Thanks for bringing that up!

Paul and Shawn made a PEP Book, that has all the early level badges, and it should be searchable https://permies.com/t/125541/PEP-eBook-early-draft.

Ash also made a PEP tracker, which has a PDF, Workflowy, and Trello versions with lists of all the Badge Bits: https://permies.com/t/119155/PEP-Badge-Tracker-easier-track#963012

Another thing you can do is go to the search function https://permies.com/forums/search/filters/-1 and hold SHIFT and select all the SkIP forums, and search that.

You could also search google with "PEP permies fresnel" and see what shows up (apparently nothing). Though, you could woodburn a sign, and get the Dimensional Sign BB and the Community Brand a Location BB.

When I'm wondering if something is a Badge Bit, I usually go to the page relating to it that subject. So, if you look at the section that says, "22 PEP Badges," it lists all of the PEP Aspects (gardening, wood working, food preservation,) etc. Each of those is links, and leads to to that Aspects page. So if I wanted to know if there was a BB for "planting fruit trees," I'd go to the Gardening page (https://permies.com/wiki/pep-badge-gardening) and search for fruit trees. It looks like there's a Direct Seed Perennials, which includes fruit trees.
 
Mike Haasl
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I think, until there are other fancy ways to figure it out, the easiest way is to spend 20 minutes reading through the different badges to just see what kind of BBs there are.  
 
Martha Hernandez
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Skip is my favorite program at the moment I'll have to spend more time reading about pap and BB
Martha!
 
Edwin Austin
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The Pep and Skip looks perfect for me, please keep in the loop on when this starts.
 
Ash Jackson
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Hey Edwin,
Welcome to the forums! PEP is happening right now!

Take a look at the Badge Bits, choose one, and you can start working on it now: https://permies.com/f/178/
 
Edwin Austin
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It's the Skip program I'm most excited about.
 
Mike Haasl
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Hi Edwin, if you're looking forward to skipping the rat race and learning skills to show an Otis that you're worthy of his or her land, PEP is the way to do it.  It's up and running and you can start earning PEP badges today.  There may be other avenues in the future but I'm guessing they're a ways off.

If you are an Otis and want to hear more about that side of the program, send me a PM and we can talk more about it off line.
 
Martha Hernandez
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Ash thank You so much for the "Bits" on the Badges!
I now have a much clearer understanding and a much deeper love of what is done at Wheaton labs! My kind of lifestyle! So I have a question, as a new boot , arriving in August. I'll be arriving by truck with some tools and a heart full of desire to start building , growing and learning ! What would be the first thing I could expect out there ? Or is that too broad of a question I wonder? Very excited about this and I want to share it with my friends and family. They have all kinds of questions and I could just steer them to the website permies.com I would however like to give them a clear picture of what I'm getting ready to do. Up to this moment I've been kind of vague , because I like giving a complete picture. I would like to allay their fears even before they express them. I know it's in my heart to do and I know I'm going to enjoy myself! So what can I expect when I come out? I should be getting there in the first week of August. I'm traveling from Florida. What can I expect as a boot, I see some of the dates are in 2021 can I start right away?
Martha
 
Mike Haasl
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Hey Martha, I'll take a shot at an answer but I'm sure others would do better.

Boot camp is where you're working on Wheaton Labs projects and learning how to do stuff at the same time.  Cutting/peeling trees, mulching plants, planting stuff, doing cob, fixing tractors, digging up buried pipes, emptying the willow feeder (composting toilet) and a million other random jobs that need to get done.  Some of those jobs align with BBs (Badge Bits) so you can get badges as you do boot work.  I suspect, based on the number of BB submissions by boots, that they are doing so much and working together on much of it that they don't get around to posting for their badges.  

I think the best description of what it will be like is this Boot Camp webpage.
 
paul wheaton
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I think that if a person was in the bootcamp and was seeking PEP1 certification, they could do some things during the bootcamp and some things one evenings and weekends.   I think that by the end of two months a person could be PEP1 certified - at a pretty easy pace.   So that would be getting about 80 BBs in 60 days.   So shoot for a one BB a day, and maybe double that on the weekends.
 
Martha Hernandez
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Thank you guys for the info! Mike your comment gave me a chuckle! LOL there's always a lot to do! I see I am not going to want for something to do! To earn bits badges and halos! LOL  Paul thank you for chiming in yes definitely evening projects and weekend projects I'm all in! I just bought a fresh Ax along with gloves another wonderful tools to get busy on the land! Still need to find a flannel shirt or two my neighbors are helping me out with some long underwear. I wonder if it's worth it to get a small fifth wheel? I have been living alone for a very long time and I do like my privacy I just can't wait to get out there !Everyone i know ( including family) is so envious of me right now! I guess this is where living alone really pays off! You get to go where you want to go, do what you want to do!
Martha
 
Jason Hernandez
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Reminds me of the merit badges from my Boy Scout days. Merit badges for grownups!
 
Mike Haasl
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Exactly!  At least that's how I see it.  Now we just need sashes and little fabric badges...
 
Carolyne Castner
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So I've been searching around on the forums and haven't seen this mentioned. Do Badge Bits have to be done in a specific order? For example: Seed Saving is a BB for the Straw Gardening Badge. Can I complete that BB before I complete the sand badge? Or do they have to be done in order, completing each badge before you can work on bits from the next badge?
 
paul wheaton
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You are welcome to do the BBs in any order you want.  But you cannot get a straw badge until you have completed the sand badge.
 
Carolyne Castner
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paul wheaton wrote:You are welcome to do the BBs in any order you want.  But you cannot get a straw badge until you have completed the sand badge.


That’s great, thank you!
 
Adam Logan
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Awesome. I’ve been following the newsletter for a little while but a lot was going right over my head. It’s great to get a better understanding of some of the jargon and abbreviations and learn about some of the programs.

I will definitely have to come back and look at the programs in more depth. I have considered bootcamp in the past but felt (and still feel) that I need to work up to that, for myself and for the folks at wheaton Labs.

A couple barriers for me is sensitivity to cold (I suffer from Raynauds, my hands literally can’t function for long in the cold) and I am Hard of Hearing (verbal communication is unreliable and can easily become difficult or dangerous depending on the context). My tech based solutions work but only under ideal situations (internet connection, no background noise, one person talking at a time etc), and I can’t expect anyone to know sign language at Wheaton Labs.

It’d be awesome if there was a cohort with a bunch of deaf and hard of hearing people to do a program to make the most out of a skilled volunteer willing to interpret, but this is getting way ahead of myself.

I gotta start with some small projects, perhaps the ones for Apartment dwellers, and gardening, I will be moving into a mobile home in a few days and have a small garden with 4 raised beds to learn how to garden with. I believe one of the raised beds is using the straw bale method? It has strawberries growing out of it last I saw.

Perhaps a feature idea for the forum to make it more accessible for newcomers is to make common abbreviations automatically turn into a URL which displays a small discrete pop-up when hovered over explaining the term and perhaps a link could be in the popup if one wants to learn more about it in depth kinda like the dictionary on e-readers? Just a thought. So glad to have come across this thread though. I have a point of reference to work from now.
 
D.W. Stratton
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So is there somewhere on the forum where there is a recommended homesteader hand tool kit? Just gouged a nice chunk of my thumb trying to drill a hole in green wood. I don't have a hand drill and we're not allowed a powered drill for the badge. I'm going to buy a hand drill at this point, but it'd be good to have a list of tools that would be sufficient to get a newbie started on badge bits. Any suggestions?
 
Nicole Alderman
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D.W. Stratton wrote:So is there somewhere on the forum where there is a recommended homesteader hand tool kit? Just gouged a nice chunk of my thumb trying to drill a hole in green wood. I don't have a hand drill and we're not allowed a powered drill for the badge. I'm going to buy a hand drill at this point, but it'd be good to have a list of tools that would be sufficient to get a newbie started on badge bits. Any suggestions?



Ouch! My husband gouged a hole in his nail with a hand drill. Thankfully it was a hand drill, because you feel it before it goes too deep. If he'd been doing what he was doing with a power drill, he'd have a hole straight through his thumb!

I think a "recommended tool" thread would be great! Maybe we could have one for each Badge Aspect (one for Roundwood, one for textiles, etc), and then a master thread that links to all of those?

I used the fiskars hand drill for my hand drilling (we actually found one at my local hardware store, and my son wanted it. Who was I to tell him no? It's a bit weak and only good for smaller holes, and kind of annoying to use. I ended up scaling up drill bits to get the hole big enough to drill by--literally--spinning a big bit around by hand (my hand kind of hurt after that, and I wore gloves!). But, I got it done). Now I have some old hand drills that I found at a thrift store, as well as one from my grandfather.  
 
Mike Haasl
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Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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There are often many tools that will get the job done.  Garage sales, the Habitat Restore and thrift shops are good places to get old tools.  Actually antique stores also have nice tools.  I've bought blacksmithing tongs for $15 and instead of hanging them on the wall, I used them.

I think a brace and bit may be what you need for green wood hole drilling.
 
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