Pennsif’s Progress #596 – Should I, Shouldn’t I … tell him about Steem?

One of the voluntary roles I have taken on in the recent past has been as a business mentor for new startups.

I had been doing this for several years for one of Prince Charles’s charities until I got too busy on steem last year.

A new Mentor Co-ordinator has just been appointed and he contacted me a few days ago to see if I would be interested in restarting the mentoring.

We met in a local cafe. He ordered a latte. They ran out of milk.

Fifteen minutes later the milk arrived from a nearby supermarket. Unimpressed by what my local town has to offer we began the meeting.

A big European grant, which should continue after 2019, has funded coordinators in every county in Wales. Operations are being ramped up, more ‘clients’ are being found, more mentors are needed.

I agreed. It could be fun to get back into mentoring.

He told me about some of the startups looking for mentors. One was a woman setting up a vegan food trailer to take around food festivals and other events.

That is right up my street but alas just too far away.

It reminded me of a project I saw on Fundition recently… @the.foodini’s STEEMtruck project.

And I was about to tell the Mentor Co-ordinator all about steem, and all about Fundition, and how we could get all the startups on steem and they could help finance their new businesses through the blockchain…

But I held back. It might just be a bit too much for a first meeting. Maybe when I have got to know him a bit better.

Would he get it?  Would he think I am too weird and cranky to be a suitable business mentor?

It is difficult when I spend so much time in my little steem cocoon to comprehend that the rest of the world might not yet ‘get’ steem.

They should, they must, they have to. But slow and steady wins the race. One step at a time.

Next time I’ll tell him.

Did I bottle it?  Should I stand up and be counted at every turn?  Do I need to be bold and brash and throw caution to the wind?

Do we need to shout it from the rooftops at every opportunity?

Is that what it will take to fly steem to the moon?

That may be so. Soon.

For now I will follow the shining path, but tread with caution. One step at a time.

There are times and there are places.

 

 

Pennsif’s Progress #599 – Time for change Copy

I am not quite sure why but I feel it is time for a change.
It might be the life jolt as my two eldest daughters go off to university in September.
Maybe it is because I will shortly be entering my 25th year of trading with my business.
Perhaps it is reaching one year on steem.
Or is it just because I am getting ever older…
But it is time for a change.
Talking with @kennyskitchen on my Alternative Lifestyle Show yesterday made the idea bubble up to the surface again. Kenny spoke about how he had spent some years travelling around taking on new challenges, living on the edge of his comfort zone and always looking to be ‘levelling up’.
That gaming idea of levelling up really struck a note for me. To keep on growing you really need to keep on leveling up in life. Learning new skills, meeting new people, absorbing new ideas, experiencing new experiences.
As you get older and accumulate more responsibilities of family, property, business the possibilities for change seem more limited.
In another few years some of those limitations will be removed and the options for locational and experiential change for me may open up again.
For now the change will have to be about doing more and doing different where I am, with the resources I have and the time available.
That is not so bad for me.
While in my younger years my change experiences involved a lot of travelling around the world, in my later years my passion for change became more directed outwards.
I became a campaigner, an activist and an organiser.
In various shapes and sizes, and in various roles and guises, I have been doing battle for change now for 40 years.
It is in those footsteps I want to re-tread and redirect my current efforts.
That does not signal that I want to lessen my involvement with steem, in fact quite the opposite.
I am a strong believer in the potential power of steem.
For me personally I want to see greater uses of steem.
Through my work on the A Dollar A Day project I have witnessed glimpses of a powerful use of steem.
In little, tiny, small ways steem has changed lives.
But I believe it can do so much more.
Now I want to take out steem out on to the frontline, wear it proudly on the streets, thrust it into the limelight and even chose it as my weapon of choice in hand to hand combat if it comes to that.
I want to explore new ways to use steem as an agent of change.
I have no magic silver bullet for steem, but I am cooking up a few ideas.
In the next day or two or three I will be posting about my new project.
This will be my change for the moment. Not a full 180, but definitely an appreciable rebearing.
First though I’ve got to do some jiggling and some juggling with my rather overloaded steem schedule.
What gives…


You might also be interested in some of my other posts :
MY RADIO SHOWS
MY PROJECTS

[ images from pixabay.com ]

Pennsif’s Progress #599 – Time for change

I am not quite sure why but I feel it is time for a change.
It might be the life jolt as my two eldest daughters go off to university in September.
Maybe it is because I will shortly be entering my 25th year of trading with my business.
Perhaps it is reaching one year on steem.
Or is it just because I am getting ever older…
But it is time for a change.
Talking with @kennyskitchen on my Alternative Lifestyle Show yesterday made the idea bubble up to the surface again. Kenny spoke about how he had spent some years travelling around taking on new challenges, living on the edge of his comfort zone and always looking to be ‘levelling up’.
That gaming idea of levelling up really struck a note for me. To keep on growing you really need to keep on leveling up in life. Learning new skills, meeting new people, absorbing new ideas, experiencing new experiences.
As you get older and accumulate more responsibilities of family, property, business the possibilities for change seem more limited.
In another few years some of those limitations will be removed and the options for locational and experiential change for me may open up again.
For now the change will have to be about doing more and doing different where I am, with the resources I have and the time available.
That is not so bad for me.
While in my younger years my change experiences involved a lot of travelling around the world, in my later years my passion for change became more directed outwards.
I became a campaigner, an activist and an organiser.
In various shapes and sizes, and in various roles and guises, I have been doing battle for change now for 40 years.
It is in those footsteps I want to re-tread and redirect my current efforts.
That does not signal that I want to lessen my involvement with steem, in fact quite the opposite.
I am a strong believer in the potential power of steem.
For me personally I want to see greater uses of steem.
Through my work on the A Dollar A Day project I have witnessed glimpses of a powerful use of steem.
In little, tiny, small ways steem has changed lives.
But I believe it can do so much more.
Now I want to take out steem out on to the frontline, wear it proudly on the streets, thrust it into the limelight and even chose it as my weapon of choice in hand to hand combat if it comes to that.
I want to explore new ways to use steem as an agent of change.
I have no magic silver bullet for steem, but I am cooking up a few ideas.
In the next day or two or three I will be posting about my new project.
This will be my change for the moment. Not a full 180, but definitely an appreciable rebearing.
First though I’ve got to do some jiggling and some juggling with my rather overloaded steem schedule.
What gives…


You might also be interested in some of my other posts :
MY RADIO SHOWS
MY PROJECTS

[ images from pixabay.com ]

Pennsif’s Progress #603 – Am I prepared for this crazy world?

Today’s headlines were quite an eyeful for any aspiring prepper.

“Wildfires in Greece kill 74 people”, “Many feared dead as Laos dam collapses”, “Japan heatwave declared natural disaster as death toll mounts”.

Is the world going crazy? Is the earth fighting back? Is Gaia seeking instant karma?

How much these tragedies are freaks of nature, and how much they have been brought about by human action, may be difficult to judge.

Are such disasters becoming more commonplace, or do they just catch my eye more often as I get older and I get more concerned.

As a prepper I will always have a heightened sense of concern, but as a father and as a citizen of earth it gives me ever more anxiety about how my family, my children and everyone I know will cope with this changing world.

Sometimes that anxiety spills over into outright despair.

I am for sure not yet a 5 star prepper, but I am considerably more prepped up than the average Jo on the block.

Yet when I mindport into the horrific settings of at least the first two of these headlines today I suspect in reality all my prepping would most likely not have saved me, my family or our possessions.

Could we have outrun the wild flames of Greece?  And even if we had our homestead would have been burnt to the ground.

Could we have escaped the torrents of water from the collapsed dam in Laos?  The same answer I fear.

And the 40+ Celsius temperatures in Japan?  We have struggled with the effects of the mid twenties here in Wales.

But these things will never happen to us…

Why not?  The world is changing. Mother Earth seems to be fighting back.

And as technology grows, we think we are getting smarter.

In fact all the time we are getting weaker and unhealthier, dumber and more dependent, lazier and more reliant.

Our society is becoming ever more fragile.

Our resilience is evaporating in the white heat of technology. 

Our chances of survival are diminishing.

But there is a way. I hope.



You might also be interested in some of my other posts :
MY RADIO SHOWS
MY PROJECTS

[ image from pixabay.com ]

Pennsif’s Progress #604 – Get out of oil, dad

https://pennsif.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/oil-well-pixabay-591934-450×253.jpg

Our boiler broke down again on Friday.

It is the third visit from the engineer this year.

Luckily we have a maintenance contract with Worcester Bosch the manufacturers – but they are getting more fussy now.

The boiler is only five years old and it is supposed to have a design life of 15 years but the original installer appartently didn’t do a very good and it has suffered ever since.

We have been trying to get off oil more or less since we moved here. The ever growing cost and the obvious fossil fueled environmental impact don’t taste right.

When we moved into this old, cold farmhouse there was a 10 year old oil fired Rayburn heating the house and the water. It took up a big chunk of floor space, guzzled truck loads of oil and on the coldest days sounded like an angry jet engine landing in kitchen.

But it was what we had and we didn’t have money to replace it.

Our dream was to move to a solar thermal / wood burning back boiler combo. We got an engineer in to plan it out and give us costings. But the south facing roof wasn’t strong enough to support the panels so fixing that added to a budget that was already out of our league at the time.

That plan was put on the back burner.

Then one winter’s day about 5 years ago the Rayburn blew out. That phrasing might be a slight over dramatisation but it was a sudden and catastrophic failure that involved water and oil pouring out on to the kitchen floor.

With the sudden loss of heating and hot water in the midst of a cold Welsh winter we had to make the quickest decision for a replacement boiler.

Alas with the money we had available, the speed of installation and the lure of a government boiler replacement grant of £400 our only viable choice was to replace the Rayburn with a modern oil fired combination boiler.

No time to review our solar and wood plans. That had to wait for another day.

That day may now be approaching fast.

Although today’s fix – a broken valve – was carried out free of charge under the maintenance contract, the engineer, following company policy was obliged to inform us quite forcefully of what changes we will need to implement to continue to be covered.

The list was suprisingly long – a new guard in one place, a new valve in another, moving the gas cooker as it is too close, adding this and adding that… All things that were not needed when the boiler was installed only 5 years ago and the cooker just 18 months ago – both by registered and certified engineers.

And the real kicker… in about 18 months our oil tank will be illegal for domestic use. It is single skinned, unbunded and worse of all measured in gallons which takes it just over the 2500 litre domestic limit.

For the new tank and all the other adaptations required we will be looking at approaching US$ 7000.

The time for change is fast approaching.

If we will have to be spending that sort of money to keep our wonky oil fired system running legally I would rather find a bit more money, ditch the oil and finally and joyfully head into the renewable offgrid world of wood and solar.

To reinforce this conclusion I put the question to the engineer (from the company that makes and services these oil boilers) – “With all these extra requirements and costs, should we be ditching oil now?”.

“If you were my dad, I would say get out of oil as soon as you can,” was his reply.

Sound advice, but do I really look that old ?

He even threw into the melting pot that he is installing an air source heat pump and solar PV battery setup in his house.

“Get off-grid as fast as you can” he exhorted as he loaded up his van.

Sounds like I might have had a prepper in the kitchen and I didn’t even know it!


Farewell to oil

It is looking like the time to say goodbye to oil for heating our house and our hot water is coming real soon.

I am going to check out the air source heat pump option but my natural leaning is towards the solar and wood combination. Mainly because we have an almost infinite source of wood here.

The one big elephant of course is cost.

I haven’t had full costings recently but I am suspecting we will be in the US$ 15k plus range to buy all the kit and get it installed.

That is a big chunk of change that we don’t have to hand.

You may have read in my previous blogs that the main reason I initially joined steem was to raise the capital to move us forward on our journey to our offgrid renewable nirvana.

Here comes the big fat steem dilemma. $15K is the total value of my steem account all in and powered down.

But that wasn’t the plan. If steem got to $5 then I could take the capital needed with only a third of the account and leave the rest to grow.

So where do I go from here?  Just sit back and hope steem rises?

That would be the wonderful path to take but with current progress I fear I might have passed into another world before steem reaches that moon.

Steem on and all that…



You might also be interested in some of my other posts :
MY RADIO SHOWS
MY PROJECTS

[ images from pixabay.com ]

Pennsif’s Progress #606 – Dreaming of nothing, or very little at least

I love organising. I love sorting out. I love getting rid of things.

I dream of a being a minimalist.

But I am a prepper. I have a wife and three children. I run a business. I accumulate things.

Lots of things.

Accumulate | Hoard. There is a dangerous line between those two words.

As I prepper I accumulate. You need to store as much as you can of most things.

The key I believe is good organisation.

Organisation helps you find things when you need them, and it stops you repeat buying when you don’t need to.

Two of my main areas of prepping storage are food and medical.

For food we have food ‘layers’ of food storage :

  • short life, perishable fresh food for current usage
  • longer shelf-life and dried goods for current and medium term usage
  • bulk canned and other long shelf life goods for medium and long term storage
  • freeze dried good and MREs for long term storage

We have a pantry but that is full to bursting. The overflow is currently rather scattered around the house which is not good.

That needs to improve and get sorted very, very soon. It is important to have it well organised so I know what we have and we keep on top of stock rotation.

I am going to cover what I have in my medical supplies in a more detailed post in my medical prepping series but we do have a growing inventory of medical preps. First aid supplies, vitamins, water purification tablets, and more ‘precious cargo’ like antibiotics.

Currently these are all stored in two separate locations in plastic storage boxes. Not too bad but some stock-taking is definitely needed.

What about everything else…?

Clothes, books, business records, tools, craft supplies…. and all those bits and pieces that you just don’t want to get rid of.

I am not big on clothes, and this is the one area I can probably reach minimalist nirvana quite quickly. I have specific targets of how many of each clothing item I need and I quite ruthlessly send any surplus that is worn out or doesn’t fit to recycling.

Books are a more difficult one for me. I have a pretty ample library. But it badly needs sorting.

Business records are currently getting heavily chopped. I have everything stored electronically so a lot is going now.

Because the shelf holding the business files was collapsing my youngest daughter helped me fix it today. To do so we had to remove all the files. As there were returned to their after the repair heavy culling took place – almost a half of got the recycling chop.

That felt good.

As well as the efficiency gains, organising, sorting out and throwing out makes me feel good and lifts my spirit.

It makes me feel a little bit more that I control life, and not the other way round.

This summer’s project, with my youngest daughter on the payroll, is to really go on an organising and minimalising purge.

You won’t recognise the place come September.

So much will be gone. So much will be better. And I will be feeling on top of the world.



You might also be interested in some of my other posts :
MY RADIO SHOWS
MY PROJECTS

[ main graphic from unsplash.com // food tins photograph by @pennsif ]

Pennsif’s Progress #607 – 6 months on and the radio waves to everyone

In just under an hour I will be on air again with another episode of ‘The Alternative Lifestyle Show‘.

Amazingly I have now being doing the show for 6 months.

It really has been a super experience. I have learnt so much. I have gained confidence week by week.

And I have spoken to so many fantastic people of steem.

Together with my other show, My Life In 8 Songs, I have calculated that I have now interviewed almost 200 people.

When I joined steemit back last June I never dreamed I would become an internet radio show host. I came to steem to blog about prepping and homesteading and hopefully earn enough to buy a solar PV system.

It was in the first Homesteaders Slack group a month or so after I joined that I met @crazybgadventure, a British ex-pat living in Bulgaria. He had just started a radio show on the newly formed MSP Waves Radio on the new PAL Discord, and he was looking for guests. I volunteered.

Unfortunately CrazyBG had to drop out of the radio show before I got to be on, but a week or two later I heard @ma1neevent was looking for guests for his Wednesday interview show.

That then was my first time live on MSP Waves with Ma1ne and I loved it.

The bug had bitten.

The Alternative Lifestyle Show

It wasn’t long before I had my idea for a show for the homesteading and prepping community accepted by @globocop and @r0nd0n at MSP Waves.

The Alternative Lifestyle Show was born and heading for the airwaves.

When I first thought of the show title I had planned to put brackets around the word (Alternative) as I was rapidly discovering that what might be considered alternative in the outside world is pretty much the norm on steem.

Almost by virtue of being on steem you have to have a little bit of alternative in you somewhere.

Thoughout the autumn months I worked through the technicals, got a better internet connection and built up contacts.

I was still lacking confidence but a chance encounter with my two year old self fixed that when @globocop invited me to co-host a series of 1960s music shows he was running.

That was a great soft entry into hosting a radio show.

We did about 10 weeks of that and then by the beginning of the new year I was ready to start my new show.

The Alternative Lifestyle Show debuted on MSP Waves on Friday 26 January with guests @redrica talking about homeschooling, @geordieprepper discussing prepping, @halcyondaze speaking about gardening and @thebugiq chatting about a whole bunch of other things.

@redrica, together with @ravenruis and @awesomehomestead, helped me track down guests for the first couple of months. Gradually that got easier as the show became more well known.

As the weeks rolled on the remit and the appeal of the show broadened. I have had guests talking about homeschooling, unschooling, anti-vaccinations, basic income schemes, veganism, GMOs, cannabis cultivation, dumpster diving… as well as the staples of homesteading and prepping.

The highlights for me have included the Ozarks special with @papa-pepper and a whole bunch of great steem homesteaders from the Ozark Mountains region of the USA.  The vegan special with @teamsteem, @krnel, @lenasveganliving, @ura-soul and others was an important show for me as it started me on my (almost complete) journey to becoming a vegan.

Having White Walking Feather @wwf and his Stewards of Terra Mater was an engrossing and very thought generating episode. Liberatarian Party presidential hopeful @adamkokesh was certainly a milestone interview for me. Interviewing @papa-pepper again for his second steem anniversary was another good one.

And tonight I have @surfermarly, @woman-onthe-wing, @jackdub, @makinstuff and @sir-thrive.

The show rolls on … and I am loving it !

Join me every Friday on MSP Waves, 10pm – midnight UTC.



You might also be interested in some of my other posts :
MY RADIO SHOWS
MY PROJECTS

[ main graphic from pixabay.com // photograph by @pennsif ]

Pennsif’s Progress #609 – PSST – steem can make the sun rise

As I mentioned in a previous post I came to steem for the sunshine.

My big goal for the last couple of years has been to install a solar PV system to start us on the journey of taking our homestead off-grid.

But it’s a big investment and I came across crypto as a way to build the capital needed for my solar installation.

I found Bitcoin first and then came steem…

My year of steem has been one amazing journey.

I have learnt so much. I have met so many amazing people. My perspectives on the world have broadened a thousand-fold.

And I have changed. How could I not.

Every day, in every way, with every word of every conversation with every person I connect with around the world.

Venezuela, India, Philippines, Australia, USA, Denmark, Ireland, Argentina, France, Spain, Nicaragua……

In any single day I can be talking with people from 20 different countries, about 40 different topics.

Never before in my life have I been in a situation like this.

It is changing me. For the better I think. I can do little things. That make big changes.

I can put shoes on a child in Venezuela, I can put scientific equipment in a classroom in the Philippines, I can teach tree planting to children in Cameroon.

I talk. I learn. I think. I change.

You will hear so often on steem that old rusty adage – Come for the money, Stay for the community.

But it is way beyond community.

I am being assimilated. I am beginning to see the bigger picture. I am starting to feel the wider pain.

I am now plugged into the global brain.

So where do I go next – in this post and on steem.

I still want to get a solar PV system so I can disconnect from the grid.

Maybe I should look at SMT’s – they are all the rage.

Psst, have you heard about about Pennsif’s Smart Solar Tokens?

It is all about the money.

But not the earning. It’s about the giving.

It is about the amplifying and about the equalisation.

One dollar a day is all it takes. A packet of chocolate biscuits for me or a day’s food for a family of four on the other side of the world.

Never before has humanity had this magical tool. We can create wealth, and we can transfer it, for free, anywhere in the world, in seconds.

What power we hold in our hands. Let us show the world the power of steem.

Steem can make the sun rise.



You might also be interested in some of my other posts :
MY RADIO SHOWS
MY PROJECTS

[ all images by @pennsif ]

Pennsif’s Progress #611 – Letting nature do its thing

I hadn’t visited the old orchard for two or severathree months now.

I moved the chickens from there to the new compound before Christmas.

We did some winter pruning in late February then I left it.

This old orchard has not been very productive for a more than a decade.

It was overcrowded, rather shaded, poorly situated, and suffered badly from a goat attack several years back when we were out one day.

We had rather abandoned it as fruit producing territory and been busily planting new fruit trees in more favourable locations around the homestead.

But there are still around 18 fruit trees in this old orchard – mainly apples but also a few plums, pears and greengages.

Two winters ago we began a program of restorative pruning. The big old holly tree that was blocking so much sunlight getting in was cut down to size.

Then we left this old orchard to its own devices.

This evening we happened to be walking with the puppy around the area and wow…

All the apple trees are heavily laden with fruit, there are greengages en masse, the plums look promising and only the pears have failed to prosper this year. But to compensate for the lack of pears we did find some blackcurrant bushes bursting with ripe and juicy blackcurrants.

Now we just dearly need some good rain to help swell up the fruits and we will have an orchard of true abundance.

The place looks abandoned and unkempt. I have not done my gardeners duty to keep it in good order.

But nature has done its job.

Nature is wonderful, nature is resilient, nature is what we need, nature is what we must respect.



You might also be interested in some of my other posts :
MY RADIO SHOWS
MY PROJECTS

[ all images by @pennsif ]

Pennsif’s Progress #612 – Can I build a local steem community (take 2)

Several posts back I wrote about the importance of local community as a key part of any good prepper’s security strategy.

That still stands tall in my planning for the bad times.

But community is for the now. It is a relish that gives more true flavour to the dish of life whatever your eating preferences or dietary requirements.

Like many on steem I have enjoyed and thrived in the community that has grown up on steemit and Discord.

But it is virtual and I suspect, alas, I will never get to meet the large majority of people I have met in the steem world.

I envy the steem homesteaders of areas like the Ozarks in the US where there seems to be a like-minded steemian at the end of every road.

How cool it would be to part of a local steem empowered community in the real world here in west Wales.

That is a great goal of mine.

I have long been active in the local community getting involved in organising festivals, establishing schemes to develop the local economy, serving as a trustee for local charities, and even running a community cinema…

At the turn of the year when I was setting up the first Wales steem meetup, I was also actively recruiting people in the area to steem.

I signed up almost a dozen at the time, including one well established YouTuber with 70K subscribers. A few of them came to the meetup in February.

I even developed plans to run steem training sessions and ‘Cooking with Steem’ classes for young people.

Then the steem price took a dive. Even with personal mentoring and upvoting as much as my steempower permitted I could not keep the large majority of those new recruits active on steem.

Some found it too difficult, others found it way too time consuming, and of course others just didn’t think it worth the effort for the tiny rewards they were getting. The YouTuber struggled with the limitations of the 7 day payout window.

I failed in my quest to develop a local steem community.

Now I am 6 months steem wiser, my steempower is twice what it was then, and I have a bunch of new steem dApps in the toolbox.

It is time for another go

How, who, what, when, where, if, maybe…

What can I do differently this time round?

With the steem price so low is this the worst time to try?  Or is the only way up from here?

Through my work with the @adollaraday charitable giving project I have witnessed the power of steem in helping people that really need it.

Is that a clue?  Is that relevant in Britain?

I am just starting volunteering with a local food bank. Is that a place to look for people that steem can help?

Or is that way off the scale of presumption and middle class arrogance?

In the thinly glazed steem community of the UK I am fairly sure nothing in this realm has yet been tackled or attempted.

Is their a role for steem to help tackle food poverty in this ‘prosperous’ nation called Great Britain?

Maybe I can mashup and stirfry my connections in the local permaculture community, with users of the food bank and a great big spoonful of steem sauce to cook up something that can taste good for everyone?

I am sure there are other recipes in the book, but for this first course, on the second sitting, I am willing to give it a try.



You might also be interested in some of my other posts :
MY RADIO SHOWS
MY PROJECTS

[ images from pixabay – Creative Commons CC0 ]

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