Yesterday, a hawk flew low over our yard and our ducks were out. The ducks did notice the hawk, and were hollering and waddling as fast as their webbed feet could go, but they would have been too slow...
My wife was concerned until she saw the songbirds, nesting in our yard, burst into the air and ganged up on the hawk, chasing it away. We imagine they were more worried about protecting their own nests, but our ducks are safer with the little birds to protect them.
We always found it strange that the ducks shared their food with the little birds, but now we don't. I guess ducks know more about some things than people.
I haven't been in your exact situation, but I do have a drake that did at one time pick on one of my five ducks. After some research, this is common drake behavior, especially in spring/mating season. It is hard to break, but sometimes the drake just stops, and finally accepts the member of the flock he was previously bullying.
Our drake was still bullying one duck after two weeks, so we removed the drake from the ducks and put him in with our pigs for a few hours, until he escaped to try to return to his flock. We let him back in with the ducks, and he did a lot less bullying. He completely stopped bullying within a few days. Today, knock on wood, he isn't bullying any of the ducks.
In hindsight, the duck that was bullied was our youngest duck, and we think she was denying his advances, because she wasn't ready for romance yet. She no longer rejects his affections.
Might be you have a drake problem and not a goose problem 😉
Fiber, Farm & Fun
Tendril has both a fiber and plant/farm feel to it...
Could you please post some samples photos that you really like? We might be able to help reverse engineer them...
For better color on the photos, building something that resembles a studio light box might help to control the light. Photography is mostly about light. Better light is cheaper than a better camera that takes good pictures in bad light. Here is a decent video about this type of thing:
Any chance we could post the products on Amazon? I just read this week that half the households in the U.S. have active Amazon Prime subscriptions. Let Amazon deal with payment/fraud, and then they pay you. Their commission is steep, but I suspect it will produce incremental orders and at least pay for itself. I consider Amazon to be the second most important search engine if you are trying to sell stuff, nearly as important as Google, and it is possible that they pass them in the not so distant future. This might also be an an alternative landing page for affiliates - one that could be less work/time than optimizing the landing pages...
Just start typing ideas until you find one that is available. One that ends in .com is the most desirable. Ideally you want something reasonably short and easy to tell someone. Most good domain names are taken, so you will likely spend some time finding one you like. In today's age, you want the domain name and business/organization name to match if at all possible.
Just like a house, you can build your own website, but your results may vary the first few times. I think there are a few people here floating around who build nice websites for fair prices.
Just one alternate idea. I used to have satellite internet as well, so I feel your pain. We switched over to mobile internet from a mobile phone provider to get a lot more included bandwidth. Many mobile phone plans now offer unlimited data that cost the same or less than satellite.
If you have a pretty modern mobile phone, you can use it to create a mobile hotspot (it is easy and built in to many phones). The mobile hotspot essentially creates a wireless network that your wireless devices can connect to to use your phones internet connection. I often have multiples devices connected to my phones while I am using it to make phones calls too. You can use the mobile hotspot to share that data with even old school desktop computers with something like this wifi adapter at Amazon.
5GB of data is not very much. Many web developers no longer seem to care about making low-bandwidth websites. Many websites now load videos or huge high definition photos on the homepage. Both of those things eat a lot of bandwidth.
I f you don't have mobile coverage. I second the recommendation of the NoScript browser plugin. It is really helpful to block all the included stuff you don't want to load automatically.
One other idea is to use the built in browser caching. For privacy, most people encourage you to clear your browser cache often, but if you are trying to save bandwidth, this is maybe not the best idea. Here is a read that explains how your browser cache works: Everything You Need to Know About the Browser Cache
I have be working in web development teams since 2000. Nearly always, you will learn more doing the work than you ever will in school. Figure out where you want to live, and then search for the local web development companies. Call them up (or email) and ask if they are interested in in an intern, keep trying and even stop by their office if you don't hear back the first time. Be persistent. Make sure you have a sample website you made to show them. Make sure it is responsive. It is perfectly fine if it is a free template and a free wordpress site. You will get at least one interview, because it shows you have a full-stack understanding of domain names, mobile/responsive, cms, css, etc. Bonus points if you write your own small plugin for the site.
If needed during the interview, offer to intern for free, especially if you like the vibe of the people and the reputation of the company. If you work hard and learn fast, the internship will lead to a paying job pretty quick. Most web development companies, especially outside of cities, are desperate to find/hire good people. Most college degrees do a dismal job at preparing web developers or programmers for an actual job.
Web development companies are a great way to learn, but they are often mediocre pay (for a college grad) and high-ish stress, but the fastest way to build your employable skills. After a few years at one, you will be very qualified for a more corporate job, or to be an independent consultant, or even start your own business. Heck, if you are good enough, your employer will probably let you work remote to retain you. At that point you can move anywhere, and have a job with less time commitments to give you more time to focus on permaculture.
In my neck of the woods, black locust pops up everywhere. The thorns aren't too bad, but honey locust thorns are nasty. There are some cultivars of "thornless" locust, but the offspring from those are likely to have thorns.
If it was me, I wouldn't worry about size of black locust, because they tolerate heavy pruning. You can prune keep them virtually any size you want. The wood is rot resistant, so not great for hugels, but it very good for firewood, tools and fence posts. Also, mature locusts produce lots of early flowers loved by pollinators.
So if you are looking at this from a way to make money, I see two types of videos you can create:
1. Advertiser-friendly: you make money
2. Not advertiser-friendly: you don't make money
I think a few of the ideas you suggested above would be highly entertaining, and a way to build your following by going viral, but they are likely to fall into the second bucket and not the first bucket. My guess is you want a healthy mix of both types of videos in your channel. I see the first type of videos as money-makers, and the second type of video as follower/channel/brand builders.
Dale - Your posts here are awesome, so I think you would have a great chance at going "viral" on YouTube!
I would encourage you to just jump in with both feet and do a video and post it to YouTube. Once you do, embed it here on a new thread. I would watch it and suspect a bunch of others here will watch it as well, so you will get a bump in views to get the video started.
A big component of being successful at YouTube is search engine optimization (SEO). Think about what somebody might search for to find your video. Make those search words are in the video title and description. I would be happy to help if you want any pointers.
I might start by looking at your most popular posts here on Permies, and turning one of them into a video. For example, your Hugelkultur - Good wood , Bad wood thread is quite popular. Or, your Dale's Wildlife Photos might be another idea. Pro tip, at the bottom of a permies thread page is this text "This thread has been viewed 108483 times" which is pretty much what is sounds like. BTW - that is from your wildlife thread. Your hugel thread is "viewed 148037 times."
This is an interesting view behind the dashboard for how much money on YouTuber made:
(Summary - he made $1 USD for 1,300 views)
An interesting insight into how to make money off your content is to create content that an advertising wants to show their ads on. For example, your series of posts on your cordless power tools might turn into videos that are advertiser-friendly - especially to manufacturers of said power tools. If you can make a name for yourself reviewing that type of stuff, it is possible that a manufacturer may approach you with the offer of free stuff to review their products. In a way, you get free stuff to make videos and then make money on views.
In Pennsylvania, it seems to take over the edges of once- or twice-a-year mowed meadows. The grassy/forested strips in between roads have quite a lot of autumn olive. As soon as you have one that makes it to maturity, the birds plant a bunch more, so they are expanding exponentially. They must have rather high germination rates... It does seems to love this climate, because it grows so fast it is not mowable by a normal lawn mower within a year. I am not sure a brush hog could deal with them after 2-3 years - need something more like a pruning saw or chainsaw...
I have a few around the edges of my property that appeared on their own. My yard is rather friendly to songbirds, so that is the most likely source. I cut them back drastically once or twice a year and they act as nurse shrubs/trees for other things. They keep coming back, so I am not sure exactly sure what it takes to kill them. I look at them as a nitrogen-fixing, indestructible, comfrey-type plant. It is possible they make even more biomass in a year than my comfrey or fartichokes.
Both pollinators and birds here love them. I wonder if they may have MORE wildlife value here than some "natives" do, so that is why they are spreading so rapidly...
Pennsylvania averages 41 inches of rain per year, so I also suspect it likes our rather wet environment.
I don't understand FB sometimes. This is obviously an attempt to get people to create accounts and login - which makes for more advertising revenue for FB. But, I have to think this is going to force small businesses to create their own website or even a Google business listing instead, which will hurt FB traffic/revenue in the long run. I am hopeful this is a test, and that Facebook will see reason once it reviews the data, but it turns out that they have had "problems' with their data in the past:
I think this has become a pretty interesting conversation... Thanks everyone
I think this topic directly applies to all social media, and not just Facebook.
Every person uses their own mix of social media channels. They often have a favorite channel. The channel I like best and use the most is YouTube. I know people who are twitter obsessed, and literally don't use any other social channel. Rinse and repeat for many other social channels as well.
I feel every business should be putting the same message on all channels. You never know which channel will be the one that a potential customer sees first, and you only have one chance to make a first impression.
That doesn't mean that you don't have to customize the message for each channel. I would be a bit annoyed if you uploaded a video of a static image to YouTube and called it a video for example.
I don't think you need to do every social channel out there, but i think there are a few that are important.
So the thing is, it has to be better than what the yellow pages used to be. It needs to stay updated, it would help if it offered a single calendar of local events and sales, even better if there was an email newsletter sign-up to receive updates/sales/events...
Any programmers want to build something that would be easy to use to do this?
I imagine there are lots of permies who could roll this idea out in their own town...
My goal is to make it easy for customers to find these shops so they can spend their money there. I can only go so far as it isn't really my place to tell them how to do their business.
It sounds like you are convinced a website would help these small business, but the small business is hard to sell on the idea...
Let's say there are 20 small businesses in the small town you are looking at. What if instead of trying to build 20 small websites, you instead build a slightly larger website with a page for each business. It might be a long page, but it would work better in search engines as a single larger website anyway. Maybe you sell advertising on the website to make money off the site, or maybe you even rent the space on the site to the businesses. Or maybe you charge for updates, maybe they get something for free, and enhancements are an upgrade fee.
This gets you closer to build it once, and sell it multiple times.
If I ran a local newspaper, this is something I would do...
So, by restricting their web presence to FB, they are missing out on maybe 80 to 85% of their potential sales. How can I tell this to them? I can't say it bluntly as they supposedly know their business better than I do.
Two thoughts come to mind here.
1. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink. Your statement above sounds perfectly reasonable to me. If you say it, and they take offense, you probably are not going to be able to help them. They need to be willing to accept help. I might look for a person who really wants help instead. I used to waste a lot of time and effort trying to help people that weren't ready for help.
2. I suspect they will likely respond by saying that every single customer they talk to mentions they saw them on Facebook, which is probably true. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If the only advertising/visibility thing I did was the yellow pages, all of my customers would find me via the yellow pages.
Our approach would be marketing first:
- what are you trying to accomplish with your website
- who is the audience/customer and what do they want
- how do we connect with more customers (visibility & content)
I specialize in things like search engine optimization, Adwords, email marketing, responsive web design and Google analytics. I can also do a bit of design and photography as needed.
I am open to barter for anything useful to my family, or we can trade cash if you prefer.
Tracy's work also looks great, so if you already decided to work with her, I am sure you will get a great website
It might work for your scenario, because you can set it up in a few hours, ignore it for a few weeks/months, and then plant seed on it with much less competition. It is especially good at establishing a meadow.
I like to get a meadow established at a new site first, because it rapidly increases the beneficial insect populations, and you get flowers within months (assuming you use a mix of annuals and perennials). A meadow of wildflowers is good for wildlife, and your soul A meadow quickly builds biomass and improves the soil too, with nothing more than the effort to plant it, and a single mow per year. In most places, if you time your sowing well, it also requires little irrigation to establish and zero to maintain the meadow, even on a slope.
In the future, if you decide you want something else where the meadow is, it is pretty easy to mow if down and mulch over the top of it to establish something new. I suspect most trees or shrubs would prefer to be planted in a meadow and not surrounded in grass.
Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I make a list. Seeing everything organized and prioritized in a list reduces my stress.
A list helps me stop thinking/worrying about everything and just focus productively on a single thing at a time. I also feel a sense of accomplishment when I check something off the list.
This ties directly into the eating-an-elephant-one-bite-at-a-time concept from above. I like each item on the list to be small enough that I can complete it and check it off in a reasonable period of time. If an item on a list will take days, weeks or months, that item needs to be broken into smaller pieces that can be completed in hours.
I like maintaining my list digitally, so I can easily shift the priority. Something like Evernote is simple, free and you can access the list from all your devices anywhere.
This may make me sound super organized, but I am not - the inverse is actually true. Lists are my tool for managing my creative, disorganized nature.
For me, having a mental list always makes the amount of work seem huge, when the work is broken into a list, its scope shifts from overwhelming to doable.
I do think this is worth your resources to install. Think about this as a permaculture system, this tracking stuff is observation. You can design systems without observation, but it works better if you observe before, during and after
I would prefer that somebody else makes a page and advertises the hell out of it.
In the world of retail, than means you are the manufacturer, and you are looking for a retailer to sell your product. MSRP, or selling price, is double of what you sell it for to the retailer (wholesale price). The wholesale price is double of your cost for the product. If your cost is $25, you sell it to a wholesaler for $50, who then sells it to their customer for $100. That 100% markup is often called keystone pricing.
In the scenario above, if you sell a $100 item direct, you will make $75, or if you sell it via retailers, you will make $25 per sale. You hope that the retailers sell more than you can, so their volume makes up the difference. This is the reason to give a 75% commission to affiliates.
I really think you should consider hiring somebody (or company) to do this right.
The current page has no ability to track conversions or conversion rate. No ability to test. Maybe conversion rate is the problem, or maybe you need more traffic to the page. There is no way to know which sources are generating sales. If you knew the most successful source, it would give you something to focus the effort.
The goal is sales, not conversion rate or ranking or even traffic. It is like trying to grow a lemon tree in Montana and focusing on only the soil. The soil is important, but if you only get the soil right, the tree will not survive. You don't need to get everything right, but you need to get a lot of things right.
If you think of this in terms of the Wheaton Eco scale, you need an ecommerce marketing person who is an 8, 9 or 10. They will sound crazy to you. 8s, 9s or 10s generally only do the work for pay unless they really feel compelled to help you. If they donate their time, they will become frustrated by the insistence that a 4 or 5 on the scale knows more than the 8, 9 or 10. Especially when they know other people will gladly pay them $100+ per hour.
It is not just you. This bug has been pointed out many times by others. Here is a quick trick you can use to make it less annoying:
1. Login from the post/page you want to reply to.
2. After you have logged in, hit the back button on your browser until you go back to the post/page you want to reply to (normally 2 times).
3. Hit the refresh/reload button, and you should be logged in on the post/page you wanted to reply to.
4. You can now post the the thread you were on originally
I used to work with a company that flowformed tantalum. It is a very expensive material, but you can use it nearly paper thin, so a little goes a long way. They used to make things that looked like the big metal tub in a washing machine out of a piece of tantalum the size of a dinner plate.
Flowforming is an interesting process that seems like it would be perfect for making rocket mass heater parts:
I do have to say, my wife, is not interested in trying rabbit. I like rabbit, but I grew up in a hunting family, and my wife did not.
I think if you could find local hunters, and sell them on the superior qualities of raised meat, you might find a willing audience.
Since my grandfather hunted, my grandmother knew how to cook rabbit. Part of the reason my wife is not interested in rabbit, is because she has never prepared any. Fear of unknown, especially because I think she suspects it is going to look like a rabbit.
I know this isn't exactly what you were looking for, but I have eradicated half of two different lawns with wildflower meadow, and in both cases my entire family thoroughly enjoyed the results. It is amazing how many beneficial bugs and birds you bring to your space when there is a wildflower meadow in the mix.
It takes some work to get established, but not too much if you solarize the area for planting. They do grow tall, and they are a little untidy looking, but I planted one in an old neighborhood, and the neighbors went from thinking I was crazy to loving the final results. Even the type of neighbors that aren't particularly open minded about that kind of thing...
It is recommended to mow it down roughly once a year at the end of the season, but a lawnmower is not the right tool for that project. Neither is a string trimmer. My suspicion is a cordless hedge trimmer would be the perfect tool, because some of the stuff gets pretty thick and tough in a season. You are supposed to take it down to roughly a foot tall to prevent woody stuff from taking over.
It is also pretty cool because you end up with stuff you didn't plant too. Some of the existing weed seed will sprout, and birds will plant their favorite things as well, so the meadow turns into a way to "hide" critter-friendly natives among the flowers you planted.
If you go this route, I would recommend you get a mix with as many different species as possible, with roughly an even mix of annuals and perennials. I have even planted multiple mixes to get more variety. Most perennials won't bloom until the second or even third year, so the meadow is dominated by annuals the first year. If your mix is diverse, the flowers generally bloom at different times, so the meadow changes from week to week. It is also drastically different each of the first three years as you lose some of the annuals that don't reseed the second year, but new perennials bloom the second and third years.
It also seems that you get different plants dominating as the weather is different from year to year. Most of my meadow is planted on the steepest slope of my property. The slope stays dry, but the meadow doesn't care. My driveway is downhill from the meadow, and new soil from the meadow is filling in the gaps between my rocks, so my previously gravel driveway is transforming into something more green.