Episode-1738- Practicing Permaculture and Staying Out of Trouble — 25 Comments

  1. Thank you for having me on, Jack. The discount is up and running on Amazon right now for Fire the Landscaper and Against the Grain. The e-versions are available for 99 cents. Normally, they are $3.99 and $2.99. I’m going to leave the price at 99 cents for the next few days. I hope everyone who downloads, enjoys the books!

  2. Richard Scarry’s Cars, and Trucks, and Things That Go! My kids adored this book so much they wore it out and we had to buy a new copy for each kid!

    Loved the interview. I’ll be checking out Phil’s books for sure.

    • Sherry, yes that’s the book! I couldn’t remember the exact title. I don’t remember this, but my dad told me that I would get really upset if he found the bug before I did.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the interview!

  3. When I was 12 years old, my mother desperately wanted to get rid of a specific type of “weed”. One day, she said “It’s invasive” and I thought: “No, your pretty flowers are invasive. If you look around you, you can see the weed is everywhere.” Awesome show as always Jack, love what you’re doing! Thanks!

  4. This episode really hit home. We live on 10 acres that have a few restrictions. Luckily the land is zoned agricultural but when the land was divide 40+ years ago there is an HOA that restricts certain things. Right now we are technically NOT in violation but one of my neighbors hates our roosters and essentially tried to blackmail me into getting rid of them!

    My question is, do you have any suggestions as to things I can do to be preemptive, if you will, in avoiding future issues? Most of the people living in the area have 10 acres or it’s farmland. The acreage owners do nothing with the land besides raise horses or mow.

    • Hey Bill,
      Sorry to hear about your neighbor. I think it would be a good idea to go through the HOA rules and make sure you’re not in violation of anything. Someone that would go so far as blackmail, probably knows the rules. If you can abide by the rules without too much trouble for you, I would do so. Don’t give this creep any way to create havoc.

      Beyond that, I would try to have as little contact with the person as possible. Good luck.

  5. Confirming zoning, codes and restrictions is sometimes a time consuming task, however, as we can see the failure to perform the adequate due diligence can be costly. Never assume or trust a Realtor to confirm what restrictions are in place. Research the property yourself through the court house/deed records, municipal/city government and review a commitment for title insurance or hire an attorney to abstract the title before purchasing land. Just because you see someone doing something on a tract of land doesn’t mean you can legally do the same next door.

    Individual land ownership comes with a “bundle of rights” Some bundles have been pre-stripped of many of those rights. What I’ve found in TX is that all other amenities equal, unrestricted small acreage is almost always more valuable than small acreage in a deed restricted development with HOA. This is because the land owner has more freedom to take advantage of future appreciation associated with a change in use of the property (they have more rights).

    HOAs are set up by developers to give buyers the impression the value of their homes will appreciate steadily because of the strong enforcement of deed restrictions. However, many HOAs are poorly managed and controlled by a small clique of home owners and this can sometimes have the opposite impact and depress values in the development.

    Some developments in unincorporated areas have no HOA but they have deed restrictions on file at the courthouse and these can be used by a neighbor to sue you for enforcement.

    A new trend I’m seeing is RE Brokers convincing sellers of large acreage tracts to file “minimally restrictive” deed restrictions on the tract then break it up into smaller parcels to sell. These might prohibit mobile homes, cell towers, commercial businesses, etc. Either way, your rights to use the land as you see fit are further reduced. Again, read whats on file, do not trust the Broker to “explain” what you can/cant do.

    I look forward to reading “Fire the Landscaper”!

  6. Isn’t it about time for the people that want to care for our earth and future generations to take to the offensive? In these townships and local governments we need people to run for office and word there policies as being detrimental to our environment and health, etc. Oh, you want everyones property mowed to 6 inches, isn’t that going to increase carbon and worsen global warming, god forbid, you are going to melt greenland and flood New York? You want no wildflowers, haven’t you heard about CCD, you’re killing the honeybees you rotten bastard? You don’t want any fruits, do you want your country to end up like China where fruit trees are hand pollinated? Oh, I can’t start a small truck farm, Haven’t you heard of food miles, you must be some commy masocast that only wants large farms that poisons the soil with chemicals that kills plants ability to uptake nutrients, that shows that our vegetables only have 50% of the vitamins and minerals that they had 30 years ago according to XYZ university.
    It’s about time that we take the propaganda to our side and influence young people to combat the lies and garbage that we have had to tolerate.

    It’s a tough road, but look at what outspoken people have done to promote healing the earth, people like Joel Salatin, who are very verbal and aren’t afraid to get on a soapbox and challenge the status quo.

    • Jeff,

      That is a great point. I agree. The problem is complex. The general public is culturally biased to want that neat look, and the laws support that. As an example, my dad and his wife came to visit my place last fall. Everything was lush and beautiful. The first thing he said to me when he got out of the car was, “I can see why you’re having problems. It looks like a jungle.”

      Also we are a tiny minority. Granted our movement is growing, but we are still small. When people like me and you stand up and fight, they do so at their own risk. I’ve spent thousands of dollars defending myself, with no guarantee of victory. I spoke with my lawyer about how to change some of the laws and he told me that the best thing for me to do is to stay under the radar.

      Most people when you corner them with these ideas will agree, but most people are simply getting by day-to-day in their routine. Most people simply won’t take action if it is going to make their life more difficult.

      Having said all that, I do have a political plan that I’m working on in my community. Myself and a neighbor formed a local gardening and permaculture club. We have a hundred members and climbing. Mostly, we do things related to gardening and permaculture, but I’m also getting to know like-minded people in the community. At some point when we have the numbers, I would like to put pressure on local government to bend to the needs of homesteaders, so allowing livestock, and relaxing on the crazy mowing laws, things like that. This of course is time consuming and costs me money.

      You talk about people on their soapbox, challenging the status quo. In my humble opinion that is what I did with Fire the Landscaper. As one kindle reviewer wrote, “Rarely does a gardening book raise eyebrows, let alone hell.” I make 30 cents when someone buys the book at 99 cents. It’s certainly not about the money. I just want people to read it, review it, and spread the message, and hopefully some of the ideas spur people to do a few things that are good for people and the earth.

      • Just finished Fire your landscaper and your a really good writer for a former linebacker. That’s awesome that you have a local club with that many members. You may have more power than you thought and it could be even in a bigger group if you could partner up with slow food movement and others that want a more local economy like restaurants and local brewers,mead maker’s, home based businesses and others. It would be interesting to see who are writing these new ordinances and where are they getting them. There seems to be an agenda being promoted that most folks don’t realize. Thanks so much for sharing your history with a sociopath, it helps me reflect on people that I interacted with in the past and how to respond and interact with em in the future.

        • Jeff,
          Thank you for reading my book! I really appreciate it. That’s a great idea for expanding the political reach to include local businesses.

          The Sociopath Next Door is a great book if the subject is of interest to you. She details their behaviors and the fallout. Creepy stuff, and at 4% of the population you will definitely know a few of them.

  7. In my view the county is way worse than an HOA, think about it, they’ve got the police power to enforce their codes and you can go to jail. If you move into a neighborhood that has an HOA at least you know what you’re in for up front and you will know who sits on their board. I had the same thing happen to me as happened to Phil, a guy showed up from the county and said my neighbors had complained about my grass being too tall. But I had no option for a hearing and no opportunity to face my accuser, just a month to fix it. Just like in Phil’s case, they get to hide behind anonymity and the county only enforces complaints. It’s worse than an HOA, an HOA can irritate the hell out of you but they can’t put you in jail. I mulched my entire front yard with wood chips after that!

  8. Les,
    I sympathize with your situation, that’s for sure. It’s a terrible system of conformity that favors the complainers, the cowards, and the power hungry. The types of people that most of us dislike.

    It is true that HOAs can’t put you in jail, but if you break their rules and do not comply or do not pay their fines, they can take you to court. And if you do not comply in court, jail is a real possibility. Below is a link to an article I used in my book. It shows how a man went to jail because of his HOA. The other link shows what power HOAs have.

    • I know what you’re saying Phil, but ultimately it is the government that metes out the punishment, even if at the behest of an HOA, which would have to pony up the funds to bring a court case against a property owner. The stipulations would be very clear in terms of what is and isn’t acceptable with an HOA. The people that live in those places agree to those terms and for the most part they WANT that level of intervention, plus the pools and tennis courts etc.

      In your situation and mine the rules are enforced willy nilly depending on who complains and like you said it can be because the person just doesn’t like you. So the code official can drive right past an egregious violator on the way to enforce the complaint. I moved here specifically because there was no HOA and though the neighborhood does have some wanna-be grounds keepers for the Augusta National, for the most part it’s not anything fancy and I know a lot of other people got the same visit I did.

      For us the thing to remember is this, the problem is the solution. We have to beat them at their own game. At first I was angry about getting warned but then I thought, what would Mollison do? So I thought, “You want short grass? We’ll you’re getting it and that ain’t all. Be careful what you wish for.” Then I went to work.
      It’s all perception. A huge pile of mulch in your yard doesn’t look appealing but people see that and say, “ah, he’s doing an install”. A few potted plants from the box store here and there a little orange paint on the ground a few flags for utilities and everyone comes to believe some landscaping is going on. Code official comes back sees it all and says, yep now he’s in compliance, case closed. But I still didn’t mow my grass, now I don’t have any now it’s all beds with fruit, trees and vegetables. And they can’t bitch about the food plants because the code allows it. The problem’s the solution!

      • Les,

        I’m glad you found a solution that worked for your situation.

        Again I agree with your sentiment on government. Without government we could tell the HOA to piss off.

        One point for clarity. If Joe Blow is fined by his HOA and does not pay, they will take him to court, and they will add lawyer fees to the fines. So, the HOA will not be paying for the lawyer, Joe Blow will. I researched case after case where this is what happened. It’s in the HOA docs that people sign.

        The book Neighbors at War talks specifically about HOAs and lawyers using this as a revenue generating scheme. Sick stuff.

  9. Just listened to this, one note on county zoning. In my county, you’re mostly allowed to do things by omission, rather than permission. For example, there are no codes governing animals on property outside of a city. Thus, I’m allowed to have, them, but there’s no where that it’s written down. When you ask the code enforcement folks, you have to go up to a higher level person, who then does some research before they can tell you (with a little sadness in his voice, if I’m not mistaken) that there are no laws about that.

    Also, In my county, there are “Rural Residential” zones, that are, as best I can determine, the same laws as AG zoning, except for the requirements for permitting and some restrictions on the type of businesses you can have. It’s not quite as good as AG, but a lot of the AG property is actually restricted below 12 acres. So the differences on a 2-5 acre property is negligible.

    All that to say, I’d recommend that you talk to the folks enforcing the codes and see exactly what the laws are.

  10. Did anyone else see a similarity to the history segment a while back on the Salem witch trials: Where when they finally had an official from Boston go out to Salem to put an end to the persecutions, they still made everyone they had wrongly jailed pay their own jail fees to be let out….