Tag Archives: Jack Spirko

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.



Scholarship for the January conference

scholarshipWe are please to announce that we are offering two scholarships to attendees who would like to attend but would otherwise financially be unable to. This was in part due to a pay it forward program that Jack from TSP mentioned in a podcast. There is a link to the podcast on the MSE site. For people who have the means of  setting up a scholarship it has typically been to attend a university. Well lately a degree from a typical university hasn’t gotten you ahead financially like the school recruiters told you it would. Most people just rack up the debt, and end up taking jobs that have nothing to do with their degree or even need a degree for the position. We want to help a few people out where we could. Here are all the details.


What is your time worth?

I was recently giving a class on ways to save money. One was to change your own oil. Granted it is cheaper to do it yourself, but what is your labor worth? What could you be doing instead? I am frugal and hate to spend money on things I can do myself but, some things are worth it.
When I look at a billable rate for consulting $50 an hour, and changing my oil would take several hours. By the time I get supplies, elevate the cars, change the oil, clean up I am looking at $150 in my time. I can take it to the guys at Car-X down the road from me and for $18 it is done in about 30 min. Jason and the guys down there are awesome. Super professional, and excellent customer service. Did I really save any money by doing it myself? I could have been consulting, or working on my own farm, finishing the projects around the house.
I think it is wise to look at many other services and features that must be evaluated. Mowing the grass for example. I detest mowing and of having a lawn in the first place. But it literally takes 7 min to mow my entire grass. Granted the chickens take care of the back yard, and now with landscaping and productive areas in the front we don’t have much of a lawn. In this case I can mow rather than pay someone.
Childcare is another place. We realized this summer it was more expensive to send our 4 kids to child care while I worked than it was for me to stay at home. We would have been dipping into savings each week they went somewhere. This gave me the opportunity to finish classes, work on our homestead, work on The Farm, and spend more time with them. When the wife comes home we can spend quality family time together. Before, it was pick everyone up, get home, get dinner started, dishes, baths, laundry and usually bed. Now dishes, laundry, and dinner are all ready when she comes home. We can eat, relax together, and enjoy our time rather than trying to rush around and get all the chores done.
We like to make and build much of our own items. For example I am making beds for our older girls. They seem to have outgrown bunk beds. Could I buy them, probably, would it be cheaper, probably, but it will be built to last and they can customize it however they like. Most items purchased today are disposable. From houses, to cars, to even beds. Nothing is built to last anymore. And if you buy well built items it cost an arm and a leg, why, because it is usually worth it. If you think how many items you have to replace because it is cheaper to buy new than repair, then how many times you have replaced it. Would it have been worth it to buy the better made item in the first place?
Someone, and I want to say it was Jack Spirko from The Survival Podcast, but not for sure, that money is essentially a way to represent time. The time you worked, the time you used something, the time it took to make something, the time it took to mine the resources for the manufactured item. When you put money in terms of time then, how valuable is your time. College educated people or highly skilled trades get paid higher because of the time dedicated in schooling, or education and mastery of their trade. After being a stay at home dad this summer, I have a new appreciation for what my time is worth.

Permaculture, What is it anyway?

Permaculture in my opinion is landscaping and designing property or a homestead, working with the environment, with system that already exist, for an optimal sustainable output.

There is no way I could explain permaculture in one blog post or a combination of posts. There are so much better teachers and information already out there. Instead I can tell you how discovered permaculture, then my take on each of the sources, and how I apply some of the teachings.
First I googeled the term when I first heard it. Here is the wiki link for permaculture.

I was turned on to permaculture idea about a year ago from listening to Jack Spirko from The Survival Podcast (TSP). Here are the tagged episodes and blog posts from his site. Jack spoke of Geoff Lawton and had him on several episodes. Recently Geoff offered an online version of his course, and being a Member Support Brigade (discount program through TSP)

Currently I am taking Geoff Lawton’s Permaculture who took over for Bill Molison one of the founders of the permaculture education. Bill’s book Permaculture Design manual is a massive source of information and while taking the course I got the book at a discount. While at Geoff’s site be sure to check out the micro gardening. You have to register each time you go to the site. He does not, will not, sell e-mail address. The only thing I have ever gotten from Geoff is an announcement when a new video is out. No spam increase at all.

Through Jack and the TSP I found Paul Wheaton from Permies and Rich Soil. Paul is a little out there at times, but I take what I want from his podcast and forums. I get good nuggets of information here and there.

From Paul I got turned onto Sepp Holzer and his books. Sepp doesn’t speak English so watching his videos are difficult if there are any. His book has quite a bit of information.
Also through Jack I found Joel Salatin from Polyface Farms. Joel manages a variety of animals without hormones, antibiotics, and rotates his animals in a fashion that is sustainable and more productive than currently used practices. Joel has more than one book, so here is the selection.

While I am on a suburban lot of only 0.2 acres the information I got from Joel was good for consulting purposes and my future homestead when we are able to get more land.

Again through Jack I found Darby Simpson who is local and is literally the next town over. I have gotten to speak to Darby several times, and met in person at our local farmers markets. He runs a consulting business and has a family farm managed in the style of Joel Salatin. Joel is big time, and chance of my asking him a question is slim. Darby is local, same climate and environment, and knows the area and markets. This information has been key for me. He has enlightened me to the ins and outs, rules, regulations of local farming, farmers markets, and networking.

I have blended bits and pieces from all of these sources. I own several of the books, videos, visit the blogs, forums, and online videos often. I wish I had discovered some of these sources before we started designing our suburban lot, but we are constantly evolving it as we learn more and what works and what doesn’t. The principals were the key factor. We rarely have to water our gardens thanks to what Geoff, and Paul have taught us. We free range our chickens so we learned that anything we want to grow, from medicinal herbs to veggies have to be protected from the ravenous hoard. They eat EVERYTHING. If they don’t eat it they scratch around it killing the plant. We tried keeping the birds in a run, but they were just unhappy. With a six foot privacy fence we have never had one want to escape. In the last two years I feel I have learned more than I had in the previous 20 about gardening, the environment, land management, homesteading, self sufficiency, and the value of producing your own food. I can help on your own piece of land whether it be an apartment to acreage. Information is available on the consulting tab or use the contact us page.

A frame level

The A frame level is used determine contour of land and in my case for permaculture and slope of property. Taking Geoff Lawtons permaculture design course this is a tool that I would need. Technology has come to the point where you can use laser levels, GPS indicators, and even heavy machinery equipped with the technology to measure, shape the land easily. I don’t have access to money for the equipment, and technology can fail you.  So I made my own. I first learned about a frame level from Jack Spirko on The Survival Podcast. I took the design from a podcast he did, and adapted it to my own, and made a slight improvement. Since I am consulting and my frame needed to be portable I added a few improvements to suit my needs.

Here is the finished product.


My improvement was adding thumb screws and treaded connections.


I can easily take it apart and transport in my car/tuck for a consult.


I marked the center 1×2 with lines where the plumb line should be if the ground was level.


A laser level could cost hundreds for determining contour of property. GPS the same. I had the 1×2 left over from another project. It cost me 4$ for the hardware, and the plumb and line were center strands from paracord I had and a fishing weight I found that is too big for the kind of fishing we do.

It doesn’t need software updates, no batteries to charge or die while using it, no manual to read and memorize. This kind of technology has been used for a long time, and I think some of this knowledge is lost. I believe it is time we brought some of it back.