An Update from Montana

Sepp teaching our group about hugulkultur

Sepp teaching our group about hugulkultur

So after 5 days of the Sepp Holzer seminar I felt it was time for a quick update.   I will be discussing a lot of what I have learned and how I will be using it to teach and design in the future, next week when I return.  What has most struck me though so far is I am not getting much out of Sepp directly.  He is really pouring it out but I feel due to how much intensive study I have done of his work, it just isn’t really what I needed here.

What  I did need and am getting is the ability to see a Holzer design come into existance and only now truly understanding the size and scale of it.  The man is an absolute genius with design but thinks on a scale of 100 acres or more.  Some of the projects he is doing in Russia now are thousands of acres, even some things you could measure in square miles.  I don’t think I need to learn from Sepp in a classroom, I need to learn by observation of the creation of a major project, so that has been my focus after the first day.

Today I will be focusing on the damn building the excavators are doing and will have a full report for you guys when I return.  My big goals here are to come away knowing how to…

1.  Adapt Holzer methods in conjunction with Lawton methods (swale based design) on larger properties.

2.  Adapt Holzer methods for small scale “micro homestead” style designs.

I think I am well on my way to both.

Reminder MSB “bigsky” Sale – As usual when I travel long term for an event I have a sale to help cover some of the cost of travel.  This time around the dog and cat kennel fees are the big cost.  4 animals for 13 days isn’t cheap, if you are looking for a business to start, boarding animals may be the way to go!

In any event if you use the discount code “bigsky” you can get your first year of the MSB for only 35 dollars.  If you pay by mail just write the code on the form, if you pay with silver we will simply give you 16 months per ounce vs. 12.  You can join the MSB here.

15 Responses to An Update from Montana

  1. Does Paul Wheaton talk as much in class has he does on his pod casts?


  2. I just joined the MSB for full price (before the “bigsky” discount) and in my humble option it was worth every penny. Have fun in Montana Jack. Look forward to applying what you are learning to my gorilla garden.

  3. Jack,
    Hang in there. You sound a little discouraged by the presentation. I have often had to take a presenter’s ideas and work them into my secnarios because his vision didn’t jibe w/ mine. Sometimes we can learn from people by spending the meeting time just translating their ideas into prectical ones.

    Thousand acre projects aren’t what we’re about, but taking the concepts and breaking them down will still work.

    • Modern Survival

      @dan vamos,

      It isn’t that at all, the scale is actually fascinating. The presentation stuff is simply lacking for me. No “oh wow” moments or “I really didn’t know that” moments. That said yesterday we focused on earth works in the field and I learned more in that hour then in the rest of the entire thing so far.

  4. Sounds like Seep likes to go big in his designs. Are you getting the pond material you wanted? I’m interested in nuggets of information and your thoughts. Tweets would be exciting to follow if you have the time. Inquiring mind want to know.

    Also it would rock if you could do a podcast with Paul Wheaton about your experience with Sepp.

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. I’m jealous. I wanted to go meet Sepp , Paul, and yourself . I’m in N. Idaho, so that’s relatively in my backyard. I’d love to learn more about Sepp’s bone sauce animal repellant.

    • Backwoods Engineer

      Paul Wheaton did a whole podcast on the bone sauce. Sepp made some. I think Paul also put pix up on his website.

  6. Glad you are enjoying the trip. I can’t wait to hear about it. Finally got paid today, so will be taking advantage of MSB sale. Wouldn’t want those dogs to go hungry.

  7. melanie sorrentino

    me & my husband drove up from tx for this. everyone there was awesome! however i wasn’t able to absorb the classroom talk at all. we were one of the first people to sign up and were beyond excited but it wasn’t worth the money. we were refunded, i felt really bad to drop the course but his books are what i need. we love his info but the classroom time was less than ideal. $2k is a lot to spend to not fully “get” the whole package.

    • Modern Survival

      @melanie sorrentino – I completely understand and I am glad you were refunded. Sepp to me is the most amazing designer I have ever observed but whether due to translation or personal ability he is lacking in my view as a teacher. I am overwhelmed by his results and underwhelmed by his ability to covey his knowledge to others.

      The good news is Dorothy and I are planning some events now and have learned a ton (and I hate to put it this way) about what not to do when running an event like this.

  8. Juggernaut

    Ipug Atmu on face book. Love the show and love the last show on defence.

    Remember to keep your head down and your powder dry.

    The Urban Guerrillas

  9. Jack,

    Glad you and Dorothy got a chance to get away and hang with other like-minded folks learning whatever new aspects of hugelkultur you can from Sepp, et al. I, too, can’t wait to hear about your micro adaptations we can put to use in our own backyards! All experience, good or bad is learning, so their event planning faux pas means a better way to learn it than at your hands 😉

    Thanks for all you do for us!

  10. Just got back from Detroit and have to say disappointed. I have worked with some of the best permaculture teachers in the world and there is no excuse no matter what their background to be rude and insulting to everybody. Sepp never bothered to ask us what our names were much less who we were as people which is one of the three critical principles of permaculture: people care. He alienated almost everybody and the last thing well meaning black people in Detroit need is some abrasive white person making them feel inferior. The Russians would love him because of his aggressive and abrasive manner and he needs to stay on the large projects and out of urban settings. I left early because all we were doing was standing around and chatting to each other. The guy refused to eat with us!!! And I work all over the world and was taught to come from a humble position especially as a guest in another country. I think we raise some of these people to “rock star” status, and they are no better than anybody else out there who is doing much more and going quietly about their work. This is the first time I have actually registered a complaint, but I think people should know he is not very nice, no matter how competent he may be in come other countries.

  11. Looking forward to more on the “Micro Homestead”! I only have a little over a half acre but would like to learn to use it to my maximum potential. Thanks! Cheers JJ