Paul Sofranko

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since Aug 21, 2016
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hugelkultur monies cat forest garden tiny house books wofati bike medical herbs writing ungarbage
Catholic. Happily married! Writer/blogger. Vegetable & herb gardener and wishing to build on that, hence why I'm here. Looking also to learn more about a frugal, simple-living lifestyle. Interests include Distributism (economics as if people and families matter, as opposed to Capitalism and Socialism, where they don't. See "Small is Beautiful" by E.F. Schumacher, "Outline of Sanity" by G.K. Chesterton, "The Servile State" by Hilaire Belloc, and "Rerum Novarum" by Pope Leo XIII); open source software, reading, Star Trek/Babylon 5, Tolkien.
In alcoholism recovery (sober since May 22, 2002; I blog about that at
western NY (Erie County), USA; zone 5b/6a. Can't tell where the boundary line is exactly.
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Recent posts by Paul Sofranko

Paul Sofranko wrote: As soon as I get enough scratch in my PayPal I'm buying somebody pie.

As promised, I just bought some PIE. Now, to eventually share it. I love this place.
I'm getting ideas; thanks to having a lot of woods scraps, logs and branches to work with, I may be able to use many of the suggestions.

I never thought of arranging it in a way to form a ’sunscoop.’

I love, I'm always learning...
3 days ago
I am collecting wood from around the yard and trees to build my first hugel bed. Does it matter in what direction to orient it? The rows in my garden run north-south, as this was recommended by various gardening books to prevent shade from falling on adjacent plants. But if my pile of buried wood runs that way, then the western side will be in shade for most of the day. So, should I lay the wood to run east-west? The shade from the pile won't fall on much of anything where I plan to place it.

By the amount of wood that i am collecting, it will be at least a few feet tall, perhaps not the 5 feet recommended.

I'm lazy and don't want to have to demolish it and start over.
4 days ago
Since people are confused by the term 'agile work,' why not rename it 'freelancing?' Doesn't that describe the same concept? Freelancers can work from anywhere: at home, in the field, contracting in someone's office...

Seems pretty agile to me. Plus it's a more familiar term. Just my two cents.

paul wheaton wrote:

Douglas Alpenstock wrote:I feel almost dirty dragging the conversation from high-minded praise down to filthy lucre, but: how much pie would need to be purchased to cover the hard costs of keeping this site online?

Bandwidth is about $200 to $300 per month, average.  

PIE and advertising is about $20 to $25 per month, average.

That's a a LOT of PIE.  

Unless I'm reading this incorrectly, Permies only earns $20+ in revenue from PIE and ads every month? That's like only 10ish slices of PIE sold monthly?

C. Letellier wrote:One other question.  As the links to external stuff go down is there a legal way to keep the information without violating copy right?  In essence a screen shot/html shot of the site as it was when the site was running.  Guessing the answer is mostly no.  For example I went by a 9 year old thread just a bit ago with about 20 links in it that all the links were dead.  Some linked to public university stuff that can probably be found again by proper searches but other stuff is just gone.  Guessing the answer is no.  But just stirring the thinking pot.

Have you tried putting the URL in (the ”Wayback Machine”)
Please excuse me, but I'm going to shamelessly gush.

I, too, am grateful for this site and I am happy that after several years of just lurking I've started posting and interacting. I do feel that there is a nice, welcoming community here that is not only very knowledgable but (to me, at least) not intimidating. And that is important. Too many online places have an intimidation factor that makes it difficult to break in. Like cliques of friends who've been there forever and so forth or you feel silly asking questions, or just being new to the thing. But here, it's like, ”Hey! THERE'S A NEW GUY IN HERE EVERYBODY!!! YAHOO!!!" The breadth of experience is wide, from newbies like me, but are making progress, to seasoned experts to whom all this has been their natural lifestyle since before I learned how to spell permaculture.

I am still at that point where I am astounded that I can successfully do this or that, and *omigosh* I'm going to build my first hugelkultur bed. (Either before the snowfly season begins or in the Spring. But I am collecting the wood for it.)

Permies isn't technically a social network, but it has many of the characteristics. I am also finding myself spending more and more time here than on Facebook (my Facebook use has become dominated by administering a religious Group I inherited rather than just posting stuff to my Timeline.) I love the apples and twice boasted on Facebook about getting them. As soon as I get enough scratch in my PayPal I'm buying somebody pie. The Permies business model is interesting in that it is mostly self-contained? As in it's not dependent upon Google or some other ad revenue service, but is, well, Permies-based? It's like the money stays within the Permies community rather than a cut going off to Google. To me, it encourages people to stay here, ’take ownership’ and get more involved and assist in building up a unique Permies culture.  (Although I just realized that Amazon is used for the selling of books, but I still think the economic model here more closely resembles an online version of the ”buy local” ethic, yes? OK, self, stop talking...) At the very least, the ads here are informative.

Well, I just needed to gush a little about Permies. It has become an antidote to ”2020” and a bright spot this year. (Of course, because of the Coronavirus, I've had more time to spend in the garden and also here, but hey, we make the best of our circumstances and I am so glad that Permies has been a part of my coping with 2020.)  

P.S.: I think the name of that Facebook-like eco site was Earthineer? I think the surviving developers/investors converted their efforts into an online homesteading educational video site. I may have a link somewhere but I don't recall the name offhand. (I couldn't afford their courses.)
Not really. Now that I've had a great gardening year I don't want it to end. Sometimes I wish I lived in a much warmer climate than western NY. But I can't deal with heat and humidity all that well; freezing cold is problematic for me, too. Problems, problems.

Quite unlikely to relocate, so I'll spend the winter inhaling gardening books and dreaming dreams of next years’ garden.
2 weeks ago
I'm not sure where exactly to post this, but this seems to be the closest proper forum for it. (If I'm wrong, I'm sure a kind and understanding Permies staffer can relocate it?)

Anyway, this involves the Mother Earth News USB Archive, the version where the whole thing is searchable at once, not year-by-year. Recently MEN came out with a new 2020 edition that contains a built-in browser. This is nice, considering that on my 2013 MacBookAir (which I bought refurbished a few years ago) no current major browser supports it anymore. Not Safari, not Firefox, nor any Chrome-based browser (the latter never supported reading and searching the archive; but Safari and Firefox had.) I have the 2014 edition of the MEN USB, and the only browser that currently can open, read and search the contents is iCab, a venerable Mac-only browser in continuous development since the mid '90s. However, the iCab developer recently released a new version, completely overhauling the code and features. ”Oh, no!” I lament, ”this is it! I may not be able to use the archive anymore! What am I going to do?” This completely ignores the fact that if needed, I can still download older versions of iCab to use to access the archive, or buy a new USB. But then I wouldn't be able to be dramatic in my lament.  

So with all that in mind, I downloaded the new iCab, popped the USB in... and MUCH YAYNESS! It's still searchable and readable!

(I just posted this in case anyone else around here with Macs and older MEN USBs were worried that they'd have to get a new USB archive, the one with that built-in browser.  If anyone needs to know where they can download iCab, it's here: It's ’nagware,’ meaning you have to put up with an occasional floating window that asks you to register it (I think it costs USD$10, and paying for it eliminates the nagging. However, the floating window pops up only occasionally and isn't annoying. At least, not to me.)
2 weeks ago
...a friend of yours on Facebook posts the frustrations of hanging lace curtains and decides to just discard them, and you suggest that ”lace may be compostable.”
3 weeks ago