Chris Lumpkin

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since Apr 11, 2012
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Recent posts by Chris Lumpkin

There's this awesome team of folks doing a kickstarter project, posted about in the tiny house forum here. The Open Building Institute is a system of building a sustainable home - not necessarily "tiny", but energy efficient and sustainable from the ground up, including energy, water, and food production. Aquaponic greenhouse! The plans, techniques, and even the designs of machinery to help make building materials from local sources, are all being open sourced.

Their kickstarter could really use some steam. One of the project partners, Marcin Jakubowski, is willing to do a Q&A and giveaway thingmabob in the Building forum. I wasn't sure where else to post this, but I'd really love to join other permies picking Marcin's brain about their project.
Marcin, this is an amazing system! Very relevant to Permaculture, with integrated systems, a socially integrative approach to building, and spreading the ideas in an open source ecosystem.

This site occasionally does a "post your questions for an expert this week and get a chance to win a free book/ebook/etc" events. Would you guys be willing to do something like that? I'm sure your kickstarter campaign could use some attention right now!
7 years ago

Audrey Huring Virginians are torn between "Eastern US" and "Southern US." Do we need our own area? lol.

I like to think of us as the "Middle East of the US". In many ways I think that fits us.

Well, I bought my property! It ain't much, but I am the sole owner and proprietor of a germinating 1/6 acre urban permaculture project in Church Hill North, Richmond Virginia. I need to tear down the house that's there now (1916/not energy efficient/gutted/termites), design and build an off-grid house, and work out from Zone 0 to mortgage-free debt-free community regeneration! Til then, I am renting close by in Fulton Hill.

Last time I lived here, there was a Transition RVA group that I think can be revived. There is a network of PV-solarpunk-DIY-artistic resourceful weirdos, an amazing diverse music scene, several hospitals and universities, an urban intentional community, an indie low-power FM station (or two), a Bread-and-Puppet-style Halloween parade, in a fairly chicken-friendly city with more community gardens and local markets than you can shake a stick at. So I think there's lots to keep us permies busy in Richmond and central Virginia.

Y'all hit me up on here or Farcebook. Well met, amigos!
7 years ago
Hi Gian, well met! I am currently renting a place not far from Richmond in Fredericksburg. I am looking to buy a small cheap fixer-upper house, or land to build a small off-grid house, in the Richmond area. PM me your contact info and I will hit you up next time I am down that way!
7 years ago
Hey there Marlene!

I have similar goals to yours, and I have also run into bumps in the road and had to be adaptable to find ways to move forward. My situation is complicated by having a few kids to support, which has prevented me from moving far from them and their mom (Richmond VA area) or changing careers. For the next 5+ years I will be on the hook at least somewhat for supporting them, so I will have to keep working full-time for 5-6-7 more years (I'm 43 now). However, I have managed to get my finances stable, and at least for now my job allows me to work from home almost 100% (software engineer). I'm constrained because I don't have good credit - nor do I want to borrow against the future in these uncertain times. I have very few debts or obligations left, and I like it that way.

Permaculture is a design process that starts with what we have, and builds a bridge to what we want. I know I want to be near Richmond, and I am interested in urban permaculture and a walk/bike/transit lifestyle. I have found many aspects of rural living can be great, but it has an embedded fossil fuel cost and/or more isolation than I prefer. I have built up some permie skills and knowledge with lots of reading and experimentation over the past several years. I have a good job and some excess income to invest. I have a small IRA I can leverage to invest in property. I have been dithering over the past year or two where to settle and how, and with whom. I haven't had much luck getting people to collaborate, just not enough folks around with the same goals and ready to act/invest at once. I do know a lot of people in the area into different things; artists, performers, activists, foragers, gardeners, beekeepers, tiny housers, and a few scattered Transition/permaculture people. I want to stake out a place where I can live, work, and experiment with food forests, gardens, and aquaponics.

At the moment I am in the process of cashing out my IRA and looking for cheap vacant lots in Richmond. I have identified a favorable neighborhood with a community garden, plus some people I know living there. Definitely an "edge" community with lots of potential. I found a 0.24 acre lot I could afford with $15K or so left over toward building a modest house, perhaps a duplex to allow space for itinerant relatives or WWOOFers. My goal is to be rent/mortgage-free in 2016, investing more in getting off-grid and making a permaculture haven as time goes by and steady employment is still available. Maybe acquiring more land, if the experiment is successful, but weaning myself out of office work and doing more community-integrated livelihood experiments. I am inspired by elements of urban projects like Food Forest Farm, The Urban Farming Guys, and Growing Power.

That's my plan for 2016, or at least a starting point and vision. I'm going solarpunk.


7 years ago
A fellow Dune fan sent this to me recently, apparently the autumnal weather change causes a shift in coffee shop orders...

7 years ago
I am looking for land in the Northern Neck of Virginia. My parents currently live there, and I would like to be near them as they get older, and also near to the Chesapeake Bay and all it has to offer for food, recreation, and transportation. I hope to have a permaculture farm with ecologically grown perennial foods and some forest for agroforestry, hunting, and foraging. I am looking for something with a spring/creek, and at least some elevated acreage over 100-150 feet above current sea level with southern exposure. I would like to open up this property to some people who share my values to forge a small community that is resilient, and has people with different skills and ideas to share.

I will follow the links you posted, but I am very well aligned with what you shared here. I would add to your list my interests:

  • Appropriate technology for living systems (pumping and purifying water, passive solar design, etc)
    Ham radio and other resilient communications
    Sailing (I plan to purchase a sailboat and learn)
    Community economic systems (share/barter/credit)

  • Just for starters!
    9 years ago
    @Sandra - did you visit Shine and Rise, or someone else out there? I am looking to do something on the Northern Neck of VA, across the bay from the shore. Looking for land now!

    @Napoli - sounds like an awesome project! I would love to come visit sometime, I have family in Sistersville near the Ohio River, might be passing through sometime in August.
    9 years ago
    I have some building projects in mind, and I have been very excited after reading Ben Law's books (The Woodland Way and Roundwood Timber Framing) to do some roundwood framing. I really, really need a workshop, and I think a cruck-framed building would work nicely.

    We are fortunate to have quite a bit of tulip poplar, aka yellow poplar, on the property. I have seen this wood used quite a bit in construction, and it should be great for dry above-ground uses. In fact, we are preparing to put up a fence, and I need to take down 10-12 tulip poplar trees ASAP. I can't imagine taking these beautiful tall, straight trees down without saving some for beams. However, I am under the impression that I would need to mill the lumber fairly soon after felling, maybe even immediately. I am concerned that my project will take longer than I would like if I have to mill each tree as I drop it. I work M-F 9-5, and I really want to get this fence up before my neighbor starts spring planting, because my chickens love his garden.

    I have some experience with a chainsaw, and I am looking to purchase an Alaskan sawmill attachment and rip chains for my Stihl MS311. I am fairly certain the milling/ripping will get very difficult if the wood dries, but how much time do I have? What is the best way to go about storing this lumber until I need it, if I can't have the ideal drop-mill-build scenario?
    9 years ago
    Thanks, Jason... what did I win?

    I think a lot of people end up in opposing camps, often throwing things at each other, when they try to interpret something like these ethics and principles. It is a funny cyclic activity we humans seem to enjoy...

  • Someone has a profound insight about how we live and relate to each other, and shares it with others
  • Some people are horrified/threatened by the message, and they may nail the author to a tree
  • Other people are inspired by this insight, and someone decided it should be written down and shared
  • The profound message is written down, often by people other than the original author (who may have been nailed to a tree or otherwise removed from circulation), declared holy by those who Believe, and made into Dogma
  • Time passes, context changes, and maybe people don't even speak the language in which the message was originally written
  • Camps develop around different personalities or interpretations, and they often exhibit behavior which is inconsistent with the original inspiration
  • Many people will only hear of the great conflict surrounding the personalities and extreme behavior, and make judgments about the ideas and their original author without even hearing the originally intended message

  • I think this progression is why Paul dislikes hosting these types of conversations on the site. He wants us to stay focused on the message, and not make a religion of Permaculture. Maybe it is easier if we read, watch, and listen with a clear mind, taking everything in without judging, and argue with humility. I like what Paul says about educating people in the logical fallacies. We are so accustomed to looking at information as some kind of monument to be worshiped and never changed. Arguing is a fine art, and great ideas only become greater when subjected to such polishing.

    This is a great video to watch before a good argument: