Monthly Archives: January 2014

Fodder fail: Another lesson learned

I hate to refer to any of my experiments or projects that don’t go as I expected as failures. In my mind a failure you didn’t accomplish anything. Quite the contrary I believe. Because I have a science background and use the scientific method for everything there is a hypothesis, experiment, and conclusion.

I had a hypothesis. Could I make stacking fodder system that would save space and use vertical space rather than horizontal?

Experiment design, I used recycle ice cream buckets for my fodder beds. I cut recycled PVC pipes to use as risers for the fodder, give an air gap, increase airflow, and still allow one bed to drain into the other. Drilled holes in the bottom to allow the water to drain. I could water the top one and it in theory flow all the way through. Each day I would add a new stack container of soaked seeds to the bottom. By day seven, the top container would always be ready to feed to the animals, just soak and add new seeds to the bottom each day. Boom, done.


What a stack could look like



Here is what I learned. A, never leave your experiment unattended when there is a 2 YO who wants to help. 20lbs of seed all got soaked at once. Here I wrote about that day. B, there is not enough airflow moving around the seeds, and mold will develop. C, stacking will allow watering the top, and draining all the way to the bottom. D, the next experiment will involve suspending the buckets rather than stacking. I should still be able to water one spot, save horizontal floor space, and increase the airflow to the seeds.

What the top looked like

This is the second layer


Third layer


I have come to realize that there is much more learning involved with doing than talking about it, talking about it on forums, and YouTube. More people should get out there and start doing, learning, and stop fearing failure. THERE IS NO FAILURE, only a lesson on what didn’t work. To not learn from experiments, trials, mistakes, then that is a failure, because you failed to learn anything, and gave up.

My next experiments:

No. 1: Will hanging the grow beds give more air circulation and prevent mold growth using the current ice cream buckets?
No. 2: When soaking wheatgrass fodder, what is the optimal time soaking vs. fastest germination. I have read and heard, various times. I have heard 30 min, 12 hr 24 hr and varying results with each. I plan on soaking for 30 min, 1 hr, 3 hr, 6hr, 12hr and 24hr.


Student and client feedback on permaculture design

Here are some comments from the MSE conference we held in January.

“When you have a room full of people, and many of them have or are doing what we want to, it shows that it can be more than a dream for us.” K.F. Indiana

As part of the January conference 2 properties were selected for a permaculture and sustainable agriculture design. Some highlights were what to do with your septic field to make it productive, where to put internal and external fencing for livestock, where to install waterlines, establishing an orchard, where to put swales and so much more. We will be having another conference March 22nd in Kenlake, KY.

While the property owners got a 20 page report detailing species, phases, and suggestions, this is some of the maps we helped them with. It may just look like a bunch of squiggly lines but each dot and line has a meaning and how to implement.


Property Map Rural     Septic


Rough Fence - water Blog      House

“Thanks for the plan and work you put into this project.  We are thrilled and excited to get to work on transforming our property.  We couldn’t be happier with the results of the design.” K.F. Indiana  

Do you want something like this for your property? Do you want to do more with your land but need a map on where to start? Want to see the possibilities? I can help. Check out the consulting page, or contact us page for more information.


Next MSE conference March 21-23

It has been decided and finalized (well for the most part) the next conference will be March 21-23 at Kenlake State Park, Kentucky. It will be the three of us again, but new topics in some cases.


Schedule is here…

As you can see still filling in based on feedback from future students here.

Help with Logo

                As we start growing with consulting, farming endeavors, teaching, we would like to get some swag. I want more shirts, sweatshirts, etc. We need a brand logo design that we can use on printed materials, clothing, the website etc.

                If this is something that is up your alley let us know. Someone who may just be getting started or already established it doesn’t really matter. The concept and design is what is important. We can also help market your service and designs if this is something you either do full time, or would like to start making money doing.

What we need:

Simple design illustrating Wolf-Beach (nice that we have names that are actual objects).

The design will be used across multiple companies, we have the farm, consulting, educating, and others are being developed.

2-3 colors.

Can print as a logo on a 4”x4” front shirt, business cards, printed materials, and banners.

Not necessary but can use Wolf-Beach or Wolf Beach or wolfbeach in the design.

If any of this is something you or someone else can do let us know through the contact us page.

Next MSE conference

We got some great feedback from students in the last conference, and wanted some additional help for the next one. We are 95% confident on where and when just needing to finalize some paperwork. In the meantime some help on what topics you would like to see would be beneficial. If you could please complete the survey below.


Some new things to look forward to are outdoor hands on activities (weather permitting), homework (it is a good thing), and more frequent breaks. We are still having the 1:1 time and the meet and greet. We are working out more of the details between now and then.

Fodder system

I started my fodder system last night allowing my seeds to soak. I am using wheatgrass. I have pictures and video of the system (nice stacking system for space saving), cost me only the price of the grain $18/50lbs of wheatgrass.


While I am outside, my youngest decided to “help” and poured 15 lbs of seeds into my 5 gal bucket of water. Well I could either throw all the extra away OR have a massive amount of fodder ready at the same time. I chose the 2nd part. I will feed some to the birds early, some when ready, and let it go longer.

In short, I will NOT have pictures and video of what it is SUPPOSED to look like for another 15 days.  What I wanted to show was each phase how it would be rotated and stacked to maximize yield in a small space. Once I run through this batch I will start over and demo the way I wanted, until I had helper monkey put her hands into it.

Until then, check out another way to make your own fodder system outside. This is From jack Spirko from The Survival Podcast.

Here are some pics of the seeds I am starting inside. I have a post and video of it too in time. Getting an early start this year. Again, had to moves these up 5 feet off the ground, because the 2 year old found the broccoli and ate all the sprouts.


Indiana Homesteading and Preparedness Conference Feb 22, 2014

I recently scheduled a series of classes here in Indy. We are calling this the Indiana Homesteading and Preparedness Conference. This will be the first we hope of many in the future. We have a lineup of other great presenters in the future. Things like cheese making, soap making, goats, rabbits, back yard chickens, upcycling materials, improvised weapons, baton training, NRA training, and so much more. Want more leave a comment on what you want to see.

Here is the schedule for the Permaculture and related classes. Two of them are the same I gave during the MSE conference; one is what will be given at the NEXT MSE conference in March (estimated), held in Kentucky. We will be bringing it back here to Indiana this fall

All are pre-pay registration. This is to ensure we have seats, and the seats are filled. Too often people RSVP then don’t show.

Attending any of the classes? Hang out at Black Swan after the conference, socialize and build some community.   Everything is held on Feb 22 out in Plainfield Indiana at the Cambria Suites.

8-9 Introduction and starting your garden

9-11 Introduction to permaculture

11-12 Canning water bath and pressure

1-3 Applying Permaculture Principals

3-4 Dehydrating

4-6 Aquaponics

6-8 Medicinal Herbs

RSVP through the Alternative Gardening Meetup.

I have partnered up with a pair here in Indy to offer some great security and personal defense classes. Very knowledgeable people.

8am-12pm Utah Permits

1pm-5pm Refuse to be a victim

5-7 pm Introduction to preparedness

The RSVP on Meetup

Press coverage from MSE Conference

Here is some local coverage we got from our conference this past weekend.


Picture courtesy of The Flyer Group.

Picture courtesy of The Flyer Group.


A little more than 24 hrs until the Sustainable Agriculture conference starts tomorrow evening. Not too late to sign up.

A little more than 24 hrs until the Sustainable Agriculture conference starts tomorrow evening. Not too late to sign up. More details at

We now have a little over 24 hours until the start of the Midwest Sustainable Education Conference. We will be starting with a meet and greet at Black Swan Brewpub 5:30pm. They are reserving space for us to mingle and discuss things before the conference. Presenters, Darby Simpson, Jason Akers, and myself are putting the final touches on presentations and designs. It is not too late. While online registration has been closed you can still use the Contact us at page for pre-registration. You can still register all the way until conference start time of 7 am Saturday Morning but will be full price.

This conference has taken up a bunch of my time lately and will get back to regular posting after the conference. With 162 slides and even more photos to present in 4 hrs (240 minutes or less) I have to average 1.5 min per slide. Then there is 4 hours of property design and discussion. BUSY weekend.

If you missed out this weekend we MAY be having another in March/April but it may not be as local, like out of state, and may not be the same content. I am working on some smaller classes locally but nothing like this. Keep Feb 22 open for that. More details in the future.

Big thank you to Cambria Suites for working with us, such great accommodations, and working around our MANY needs.

10,000+ Hits



WooHoo! 10,000+ hits. I have been so busy getting ready for our conference I haven’t looked at our stats in a while. Not bad, considering I haven’t paid out any advertising, or marketing. Just in over a year.

Thanks everyone. Keep spreading the word and here it to the next milestone.