Episode-1268- Listener Feedback for 12-17-13 — 40 Comments

  1. Wow Jack. The permaethos thing sounds amazing. To think, in 2008 you hopped in your car with a microphone and built a community this vast… TSP, 13skills, walking to freedom, permaethos, 5 minutes with jack/roadto100k… did I miss any? This community has inspired many more businesses and gardens and lives… amazing.

    Time to work on my community/empire 🙂

  2. Still 100% in on the permaethos project, think about it all the time. Can’t wait to take a trip to TX and check it out.


    I show some photos of me using the Granberg mill and a nice tool called the Beam Machine. I simply used the Grandberg mill aka Alaskan Small Log Mill to cut the top off the log. Then I used the Beam Machine to cut the side off the log at near perfect 90 degree angle. Which is all I did with this. Now it was good to have that first flat side when using the Beam Machine. If a person wanted they could use the Beam Machine to cut 2″ planks all the way across then use the Grandberg mill to cut off a number of boards at once. I was really impressed with the Beam Machine $45.

    I wish I had more time to mess with this stuff. I need a better trailer. To try this out all one needs to do is find 4′ to 6′ to 8′ logs. A person could use 4′ boards for something, chicken coop or something.

    A person might make a wood drying kiln using a rocket mass heater. The mass might be a trough of sand the length of the kiln. Guy in Canada has done this and it worked well. Much wood waste from sawing could be used to fuel the kiln. Small limbs from the trees you cut the logs from could be used as fuel for the kiln.

    Lastly look on Amazon for a wood moisture meter. Its on my wish list.

  4. In CA, a person has to be totally off-grid or on grid solar. Because during a electricity outage, the lineman presumes has no power in the line when he doing the repair. Wire the house to be separately? You’d better be darn sure that no power gets onto to the power lines. Regarding the school topic, you get what you allow. At least, this was blatant. The parents know. Sometimes you hear a year later, the drivel that was taught and have to do damage control. After I found out, our kid was not going back to that school, never again.
    If you don’t want the government mucking into your parenting, tell your US Senators now, NO to The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which would make the government have the power to tell the parents how to handle their handicapped child’s health issues, schooling, etc. We already have laws protecting the disabled. More government nannies. Support and sign the the Parental Rights amendment petition- In a increasingly controlling US government, if we don’t act now, some day it will be too late.

    • Not true, I have a grid intertie in california. It may not be common, as it is a more expensive inverter to buy. The inverter knows the power line is not hot and disconnects itself when using the battery backup. ALso, the power company has a list of all addresses with solar and we have a disconnect switch on the outside of the house, same as all the grid only solar systems that they can manually throw the switch and disconnect the house if they need to work on the lines. It is a non-issue

  5. As far as Detroit… I really should have pulled the trigger on buying last year and I should have sent the question in back then as well. I could have shown you entire city blocks on sale for $100-500 per property as late as Dec 2012.

  6. Just for the record here in Western Australia regards Grid Tie Solar.

    I pay 27 cents per Kw for power I consume from the power grid and I get 48 cents for any “excess” power I feed back into the grid. I also pay 43 cents per day service charge regardless which direction the power is running.

    I also have a stand alone (off grid) 2 Kw solar panel bank hooked to a 1,200 amp hour solar battery bank. Between the two system “2.5 Kw grid tie and 2 Kw stand alone” I produce more power than I consume. The two systems works well together and I have no electricity bills plus I also have power when the grid goes down.

  7. Hey Jack,
    I’m Active Duty Air force. One of the deciding factors to me joining the military was to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.

  8. Great show today, Jack!
    As an USAF vet, I agree with your analysis of why most kids join the military. I too said to serve my country and to earn money for college. However, I am the 15% that actually used my GI Bill for college. I was under the old Montgomery GI Bill which only provided me a total of $10,900 (I think that is correct). I am about your age (I am 46) and it was a different military while we were in. It’s a kinder, gentler and politically correct Military. Softening the PT requirements are a joke, in my opinion.
    I had the ‘military talk’ to my youngest son. He wants to go to college and go through USAF ROTC. He wants the experience and travel that the military will give him. I support his choice. Although it wasn’t without some reservation.
    We have been talking about it for a couple years now. I bring up the good, and bad, of being in the military. He seems to really want to do the challenge and gain invaluable training. He wants to be a State Patrol Officer when he is done with the USAF. USAF Security forces will be great experience.
    Again, awesome show!

    • USAF Security Forces can be tough. And likely to get you guarding a hole in the middle of North Dakota. My wife worked personnel for SF. As a group it seemed to be people that wanted to get into law enforcement, and then everyone that didn’t score well on the ASVAB. It made for a very interesting mix from what I saw.

      • Not that I want to get a USAF SFS thread going, but I am in the USAF and was a member of Security Forces for 6 years before I cross trained into Engineering. I got a high ASVAB score but chose SFS because of the travel opportunity. I had no idea what I wanted when I joined, but I did get to travel. Wyoming for 2 years and Italy for 4 years with a couple Middle East visits along the way. SFS is a lot of sitting around waiting for something to happen. A lot of guys I worked with are now in civilian law enforcement.
        SFS is the Infantry of the Air Force thought I hope your son understands that.

    • Wow, I had no idea only 15% GI Bill recipients use the money!!? I am flabbergasted. I have a very a vivid memory of a conversation in Basic I had with some fellow recruits. One recruit was saying that I was a fool for funding my GI Bill at $100 a month for 12 months; that I would never use it. It was a $1200 for $38,000 in college money. I let it go with the thought that I’ll never be able to turn $1200 into $38,000 in 3 years again in my life.


      I guess he was way more correct than I had though.

      Great Show. The enlistment segment should be required listening for all high school kids. I had a lot of family that was prior service; all of them college grads too. I pretty much knew what i was getting into.

  9. I still got to listen to the show, but I played varsity football. I was a good player and the fastest runner on the team, but the coach either didn’t like me or was so much into discipline and all that it never worked out and was a miserable experience. Most of the jocks in our town seemed more like military material and in general that seems to be what I see. I was never that type and I have also learned that ancient warefare seems different than the way the military is structured in modern times, at least in some ways ..

    • I heard that hops is loaded with estrogen. That would make sense if it made people “complacent”.

    • Hops is actually a pretty helpful and useful medicinal. As far as complacent is concerned, its definitely a relaxer, so that would make sense (although I doubt it would be some sort of GREAT effect). Although I guess it could make you more sleepy when you’re drinking (therefore less likely to get riled up).

      • Hops do have phyto estrogen but do little to nothing with them in beer, here is why.

        To extract bitterness from hops you are after the alpha acids, this requires a 60 minute rigorous boil. Pyto estrogen are quite volatile and pretty much boil off by that point. That said they are not highly volatile and do require a significant effort to extract. So when you use beta acids in hops in a short boil you don’t get much of them either. Pretty much to get much you need to either eat them (nasty) or make a strong tea from them (nasty) or specifically extract them.

        No mandate came on hops because of making people compliant, any cop arresting drunks for a living will laugh at that. They were made mandatory for political and functional reasons. They were croppable but required land to do so in mass making them perfect for lords to control serfs. And beyond that they worked. Today we homebrewers can brew anything we want, most of us use hops 99.9% of the time as our source of bitterness. There are other options, none are as good.

        • Interesting, I wondered about that since we Americans drink a lot of beer with hops and nobody seems to be all that compliant from it.

          I just started making wine this year and I am thinking about trying beer. Have you ever tried any other herbs for bitters? I’d be curious as to how they taste. Besides, I enjoy experimenting.

  10. Re: chainsaws
    Spend the money to get orange! Sthil or Husqvarna, parts and repair easily found. My area is heavy on stihl, with lots of dealers and certified repair so that’s where my money is at. With some persistence you can find really great deals at pawn shops, I have bought a two for less than $100 each and had them running with less that $50 at the dealer.

    • I agree. I have a Stihl Farmboss that I purchased in 1998 for $199 and they threw in a case and enough oil mix for a year. It is running today with no tune ups. I take care of it twice a year by moving the summer/winter intake baffle and thorough cleaning it.
      I worked with a tree removal and tree trimming service while I was in college. All he owned was a Stihl. They just work, and work and work and work. I became very proficient at sharpening chains. While the owner was up in the tree trimming, I was the ground grunt pulling out limbs and sharpening saws.
      I have never used Husqvarna, but I hear they are very good, along with Oregon.

    • I blew up three husqvarna’s in a year while logging proffesionaly. I then bought a stihl 066 (now called an ms 660) It took me 10 years to wear it out, and actually all it needs is a new jug and piston and it would be good as new. Now to be fair I did only run the stihl for a year and a half logging proffesionaly and then another 5 years in my tree service the final 3.5 years was ocasional use at on my property, I think that is what did it in, the sitting around at home time period.

  11. Hey I have missed a few episodes the past few months…and this is the first I heard of PermaEthos. What episode do you first explain this? It sounds very interesting. If I could ever convince my wife to move to Texas I’d love to be involved, but I am up here near Valley Forge PA.

  12. Stihl MS250, had it for ten years so far, flawless machine. I cut about five cords a year, mostly softwood. I don’t like Husq’s , just me. I would get the Stihl 290, but a bit too much machine for this 50 yr old

  13. solar ‘feedback’ charges –

    Regular power producers don’t pay ‘grid maintenance’ charges. They’re selling a product to the utility. The utility is taking delivery of it at their meter. If the utility feels this is ‘uneconomic’.. they don’t buy the producers power, or offer the producer a lesser price.

    The ‘sale price’ of the power is highly regulated by the usual vast bureaucracy, so its not terribly surprising that the purchase price would be also.

    Like any monopolistic public utility.. a simple solution is that the: cost to purchase = production cost (fixed by state) + transmission cost (negotiated by monopoly w/ state)

    The usual problems with fixed price production apply (shortages). But of course decentralized, diversified production reduces that risk (encouragement of the attachment of smaller production systems to the grid).

    Hmm.. power monoculture versus a diversified power ecosystem?

    As an example of pricing, I get my power from a local renewable power company, but my power delivery from the state monopolist. How does that work out?

    This month:
    Power Cost: $0.074/kWh
    Delivery Cost: $0.165/kWh

    So.. I’m not really worried about the monopolist.

    What may be more interesting long term is the reduction in capital expenditures by publicly traded monopolies. In other words, why spend money you could distribute as bonuses, on maintaining/improving your power distribution network?

  14. outrage –
    IMO the entire goal of ‘the news’ is to keep your outrage firmly focused on something outside your circle of influence.

    I would argue that most people know more about injustice in North Korea, than they do in their own county. More about hungry children in Africa, than in their own city. And more about corruption in China than in their own city council.

    What’s going on in your backyard? What can you do about it?

    • Couldn’t agree more. Jack nailed it on today’s podcast (Dec 18) about the best way you know this is true by the obsession with the penny pinching shit that doesn’t matter. Just saw an article on Zerohedge that had all these government boondongles wasting tax payer money that is supposed to get you all fired up.

      Ignore much much larger things, like the US government making billions of dollars off of student loans. (Since when did our government get in the student loan business to MAKE A PROFIT). With that in mind everyone is normally quite angry when the government gets involved in things and just “wastes money”, but what’s the opposite to that? Them MAKING money off its citizens? Like that’s real better, but lets get angry and some random department’s spending… ERGGG I”M SO MAD NOW!!

  15. On the Detriot real estate question: I just heard a disturbing interview on NPR the other day. They interviewed a well meaning hippie sounding gentleman who was involved in resource recycling or affordable housing or something like that. He was advocating laws that would make it illegal to tear buildings down without government permission, and had actually worked with various city officials where ever he was to achieve this goal. I’m sure there are politicians who would love that idea.

    I didn’t catch the whole thing but it sounded like in his mind he saw every home that was torn down and the materials carted to the dump as a tragedy. Sounded like he was OK with disassembling homes to reclaim resources. There was no discussion pf the liability that empty buildings can pose in an urban setting or how quickly houses can degrade when not cared for.(as anyone who has ever owned anything knows) Something to look out for in the future.

  16. Jack,
    I totally concur with what you were saying about the military. When I joined the Army, it was funny in that there were recruits that got off the bus with their bag in one hand and a bag of golf clubs in the other all because the recruiter and the glossy brochure told them there was a golf course. Yes, the Recruit Training Battalion had a golf course but of course there was no time available for recruits to use it. Although I got a lot out of it at the time, I quickly figured out that as long as you were physically fit, could do the PT, could show up on time in your uniform and did as you were told there ceased to be any challenge at all to it, so I got out after 5 years service. Back then I was 17 when I joined and was really gung ho, nowadays I look at the flimsy pretexts offered up by TPTB such as WMD in Iraq and now Syria and I see right through the “so-called intelligence”. I am not dissing those that serve as I realize that 25 years ago I was in their shoes.

  17. Regarding the purchase of property in Detroit. I did a little digging a while back and found out that most of these low priced homes also come with a lot of unpaid property taxes. So you’ll need to do some extra research into these properties to realize their true cost. Thanks Jack, love the show!!

  18. I live in California with a grid-tied, battery backup solar power system I had installed 15 years ago. The absolutely charge me a monthly fee just to be connected to the grid, and I have 2 (!!) monthly add-on charges for (1) having a time of use meter and (2) not having them change my meter to a smart meter (wireless). SO, I basically pay them around $15 or more a month just to be connected to the grid. I am seriously considering when I will hit the tipping point and just disconnect from them. It is getting pretty darn close right now with the new smart meter decline monthly charge added in. My solar system is 120V, amount of batteries I have is sufficient, but I do not have a connection to any natural gas or propane so I have an electric stove and electric hot water heater that run on 240V. In the summer, the hot water is solar. When we have power outages, food is cooked on the top of the woodstove (so no oven) and we do without hot shower water.

    But, you are right. This is my choice. I could get a propane tank and buy new appliances and tell them where to put their grid tie. I could buy a wood stove with a hot water reservoir (more likely) and tell them where to put their grid intertie. I can leave it as is for a while longer…. But, unlike most, I can disconnect.

    • And I would add, yep you are paying for the grid but yep you are using it. I see no problem there. Now if multiple companies had to compete for you as a customer the way it is in Texas you might pay less.

  19. Jack, just thought but I think that going down to 3/4 of an acre in Permaethos might not be the best idea. You said it yourself. This is supposed to be a Libertarian stronghold. Part of what is required is that residents can provide many of their own needs off the land. Now I know it is possible on 3/4 acre but that severely restricts raising your own animals. Even if someone doesn’t want to raise many, it would be beneficial for residents to be able to raise at least a few animals. At 3/4 acre, they are probably only going to be raising chickens.

    • @Blake, really that is your argument? I think Permaethos might not be right for you. Why would you need your own land to graze your own animals? First the entire property would be laid out so that grazing cells are everywhere. Options are endless on livestock that way.

      However, I think a lot of people will end up not really wanting “their own animals” when they realize the entire point is a VOLUNTARY COMMUNITY where resources are shared. Sounds like you want complete and total independence, 5 acres away from people might be better suited for you then.

      The concept is that first the property should be designed for “water, access, structure”, that is kind of important and then lots cut out from there. What size works best then is best, my gut is 3/4ths might be right.

      As to people pulling their own weight, keep in mind there is a cost to live here, 200-250 a month. That goes to community development and land development. You are talking about a 200+ acre place with more food production then most can imagine. Grazing herds and flocks moved through the land including right along access areas that go along lessee lots. Many “property lines” will likely be swales that will be growing food right along your back yard or front yard as no one is going to tell you which way you have to point your house.

      I honestly don’t think most people will bother with their own chickens in time, they are welcome to but likely when people realize that we will running hundreds of birds in rotation for both meat and eggs that it makes more sense to work with the community or buy the production at a cost basis. There is a point to being a community. It certainly isn’t right for everyone. I can see it now, I want a cow, well we are grazing 250 head, you could buy one of those and let it graze in our holistic grazing system or you can buy one and let it try to live in your yard. What do you want to do? But I want manure for my garden, well take a shovel and got get all you want for free.

      PermaEthos is designed to be a place with many benefits for just owning a lot and paying your fee. However the more work you do, the more you will get out of it. It is all by choice though.

      But I want goats, well you can have a few goats or you can go in on them with our herds. If you do the go in, well our team of guardian dogs will protect your goats from the many coyotes out there. Otherwise you can sit on your roof with a gun to protect YOUR GOATS. But I don’t want to buy from the community I can get goats from ______. Knock yourself out and if you want, stick them with one of our grazing cells.

      I want to do it on my own really here needs to be, we want to do it on our own.

  20. Wow. I wasn’t trying to argue. I wasn’t saying “This must be my way or I’m out.” I understand that it’s hard to read someone’s tone on a written comment but you completely missed mine on that one. That’s OK though. Honestly, we are on the same page with most of what you said.

    I get the concept of community animals. I would actually like to be one of the caretakers of one of said herds/droves/flocks. I also see the value of personally owned animals (redundancy among other reasons). From all of your previous information put out on this, I envisioned a system where there would be a hundred mostly self-sufficient people living on land with community support that would help them when they need it, build relationships, and cover down on the things they couldn’t or didn’t want to do. The way I understand it now is that most of the effort is on the community land, which will provide all your needs. If you want to do anything extra on your own land, then that is just a bonus. Both are examples of a volunteer, libertarian stronghold community, they just have a different focus.