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Travis Johnson

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since Feb 03, 2016
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9th generational farmer, our farm having officially started in 1746, but dates back to the Mayflower. We had the first sheep shearing shed in new England, and always had sheep to 1988. For 20 years we went without sheep until I took over the farm in 1992, reintroduced sheep in 2008, and in 2015 retired at age 42 and started full-time farming. We are still struggling at farming, and probably always will, but the goal is the same...another generation.
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Recent posts by Travis Johnson

Jain Anderson wrote:Moving into use is electronic 'money' (electrical accounting really). The convenience is even less burdensome than carrying a wallet with cash and change. Its also easier to 'exchange' – world wide! - by simply providing account numbers. Unfortunately, that account is subject to the whims of electricity as well as surveillance by 'authority' who oversees, approves and can REMOVE parts or all of the account without the account holder's permission.  

So is the 'burden' of having and HOLDING ones assets personally greater than the 'convenience' of electronic accounting? Only each person, or participants in an exchange, can decide.

I wholeheartedly disagree.

When you use cash there is an exchange taking place that is not easy to see, but always happens. To get something, I have to give up something! That is immediate feedback to our brain, and we have a recognition of what happened. It is Negative, Immediate and Certain. That is we immediately see we have less money, and there is no question, we no longer have what we did because we chose to spend it.

With Debit cards, there is less of acknowledgement of that. We pass them our debit card, and they pass it back, and there is a vague understanding that we have less money than what we had, but how much? When will it go through? Will our paycheck be deposited before we have no cash? So that is Negative, not so Immediate, and Uncertain.

With Credit Cards it is even worse. We hand them a credit card, and money gets taken off, but its debt, so we can keep right on using it. There is no physical loss for us, its just accrued big deal, we can always pay it off we buy more stuff because there is nothing negative about the experience, it is in the future, and what the hey, we can always pay it back whenever.

One of the main reasons I use cash is because of this reason. Bankers call this "having skin in the game". It is my money, and I am giving it up, and I immediately know it. There is incredible power in knowing that.

There is nothing wrong with knowing human faults, and devising ways to circumvent them within yourself.
15 minutes ago
To answer the question in a single word: No.

Not that I do not think Paul is awesome, and I have said from the start that I would love to shake his hand someday, but I suppose Paul's life is no different than mine, made up of 24 hours in a day, and thus it gets filled with tons of micro-deeds that get made up into an accomplishment at the end of the week, month, year or lifetime.

As I often told people when I worked at the shipyard and they gushed over the Billion Dollar technical Marvel that could thousands of people anywhere in the world...its neat what we build, but on a day to day basis, it is boring.

But that is why people do not stay in farming long, on average about 8 years, because quickly the newness wears off, and the drudgery begins. But it is working through the daily grind that powerful things happen. On a day to day basis, I do not do much, but after a decade of taking over this farm, it has made a radical change from where it was.
I test A LOT.

I have three samples going out today if that tells anyone anything, but all year I am having samples sent out every other week or so.

One of the reasons for that is I test for mineralization on my farm, and while this may seem odd, I test soil for minerals I am not even trying to find! This seems odd, but is really rather an effective method. They are called "indicator minerals", and because they are often found in conjunction with other minerals, I can do cheaper, more numerous soil tests to find the indicator minerals, then I could if I was going for the targeted minerals.

Here is an example. I have Palladium here, but to test for palladium is a $60 single test, yet I can do numerous standard soil tests for the same money. Those tests will not show the platinum group metals, but since copper-zinc is almost always associated with palladium, when test results come back high in copper-zinc, then I can narrow my search for palladium to those areas. I will scour that particular area, and when I find something promising, then I will pull the trigger on that single $60 test and confirm or deny palladium is present.

How else can you determine what you are looking for when it is something that cannot be seen? You have to test!

9 hours ago
Honestly, I cannot think of a good reason NOT too.

It is only a guess unless you test, is a mantra on almost anything. Would you keep going to a Dr who thinks you have Lyme Disease and wants to treat you for that without testing first? It would be pretty arrogant of that Dr to think she KNEW what was going on with you, and knew how to combat it, without first finding out via a test. It is the same with soil testing.

Even if you do the same repeated method on every acre, it is not going to result in the same results, therefore you have to test your soil to see how effective your method is for that area of the farm.

And the opposite is true too. Testing does not just tell you what you are lacking, it also tells you what you are overabundant on, and where you are doing fine. Is it a perfect method? No, but from repeated testing you see trends, and can remediate with applications, certain plantings, and occasionally a pat on your own back seeing that you are doing well.
10 hours ago
I love Bit and Brace, so good for you for restoring one...and the bits that go with it!

I met Christopher Schwarz one day back when I was a machinist for Lie Nielsen, and from what little bit I got to know him, he seemed like a really nice guy.
23 hours ago
I think like nothing else, with money, it is very easy to slip into psychobabble.

Money is pretty simple, and most kids even understand the general principal; earn and then spend what you earn. The problem is, as others have tried to take more and more of our little piles of cash, they have devised complex ways to get us to hand over our hard earned money to them rather unaware.

Leases on cars immediately comes to mind. They tell you what you will pay for the car at the time you get it, and then they tell you what they will pay for it as a trade in when you are done, and then to triple-screw you, they tell you what you will pay if you happen to go over on mileage...all because the cost of cars has outdone the average workers income level.  All I can say is...RUN from a lease. But that is just one example though, and there are many more.

Dave Ramsey would drive up from Nashville and kick my bottom if he knew I had three houses, and am NOT selling one even though I would be 100% out of debt instantly, and have $50,000 grand in my savings account to boot if I did.


Because as a Day Care, that house makes me $6000 a month, so in less than 3 years, I will make more money using the house as a Day Care Center then I would if I sold it outright. Because neither my wife or I commute, not only do we now only use one car, we no longer drive many miles in a year. It is the best use of our assets.

Sometimes things are just not for sale. In America we are slow to learn that. But it also shows that it is pretty hard to argue against the ability to earn money, fails to result in wealth.

23 hours ago

Rob Kaiser wrote:

elle sagenev wrote:Hey all,

We are currently teaching a Dave Ramsey class which has my mind on this topic. Plus my husband wants to quit his job because he hates it. We have no consumer debt. We DO have a mortgage which is on a 15 year mortgage and will be paid off early. How early kind of depends on our dedication at this point.

I think living debt free is the solution to most problems. I enjoy the extra money having no payments has given us.

Just wondering who else out there is doing it and such. Seems like a real permie thing, no debt.

I love stumbling across this topic.  I decided to search for "Dave Ramsey" here in the forums and this was the first thread I came across.  I've been a fan of Dave Ramsey's program for 10 years now.  I attained debt freedom once, just before some medical expenses and the same old stupid thinking got me back into it again.  After attending FPU personally a couple years ago, I've jumped back on the debt wagon again with gazelle intensity and am putting everything I can into getting out of debt...again - and planning on how to *stay* out for the rest of my life.  I believe this is a *very* solid permaculture principle and often overlooked within our life planning.  Look forward to reading all the replies here on this thread.

Katie and I are going through Financial Peace University as well, and while I do not agree 100% with what Dave Ramsey says (mostly dealing with his views on insurance), it has really been freeing. We are running like gazelle's with Springs attached to our legs, and are a few months away from being debt free.

For us, it is hard because we have no income coming in right now. Katie is trying to get her Day Care up and running, and I am sick with Cancer, but we are still selling stuff, paying down debt, and paying bills, so if I can do that with NO INCOME, others with a job surely can!

Gazelle intensity baby!

Probably one of the greatest motivation video segments ever on getting out of debt. "You got to run!" (Dave Ramsey)
1 day ago
If you live in North Carolina, and you have sharp sand, and in bulk, it most likely came from nearby. It most likely has gold in it, so I would see what I could get for gold before I disturbed it too much. Use the money to pay for projects around the farm that your farm does not have natural resources for.

You will still have the sand for the uses listed above afterwards.
1 day ago
When I was a kid there was an old woman (80's or 90's) who was into Permiculture long before it was cool, and she required a cord of "Biscuit Wood" to heat and cook with on her old kitchen wood stove. Here "Biscuit Wood" is alder bushes since they burn so hot. We were too young to use chainsaws, so we cut her that 1 cord of alder wood every year using bow saws, me and my brother splitting the $35 we got for that cord of wood.

With a bow saw it was hard work, but small enough to be manageable, the agreed upon price being a full cord of wood. 4' long pieces stacked into a 4' high by 8 foot long pile. When the "trees" you are cutting are 2 inches in diameter, you have to cut A LOT of them to make a cord.

It was good memories though.

1 day ago
The best way to negotiate a deal is to have something the other guy does not have, and desperately wants.

That is cash.

Everyone is in debt, and no one has cash, and by using it, you can really use it to your advantage.

You want to buy something in cash, use small denominations and a backpack, and let them see it. There is no dishonesty there, but you can really negotiate a deal because they want that backpack full of cash far more then they want that car you are buying, or couch...or house! Oh do not get me wrong, be ready to walk in case they do not come down to your level...but leave your business card with them when you leave because I have had people mull things over, and agree to MY price a few days later.

I saved $700 just by having cash in my pocket when we saw this stove for sale.

1 day ago