Steem is my hobby, my job, my passion, my obsession, my addiction, my life – tick as applicable

I spend quite a bit of time on steem.

I spend a lot of time on steem.

I spend too much time on steem?

It is worth it. I am sure.

Every day I connect. I read. I write. I connect. I talk. I learn. I improve.

I improve me. I improve my place on earth. I improve the earth just a tiny little bit. I hope.

That is all that matters. Surely.

If we leave the earth in a slightly better state than how it was when we entered is that job done? Mission accomplished?

Is that the quest for everyone?  Some succeed. Some fail.

Or do some just not care?

I am not sure I can accept that. Deep down I do believe everyone wants to do good, really.  At least at the start?

Maybe my life is too sheltered. Too cozy and cosseted. Too innocent and naive.

But I want to do good. I am sure everyone prefers to do good than to do bad if they can.

It must be better to make someone smile than to make someone cry.

Even at 5am I would like to make someone happy if I can.

So after posting this I will go send some donations from A Dollar A Day.

Then I must go back to trying to stop the floodwater that has already reached 4 inches in the kitchen.

Good night, and have a smile on me.


Pennsif’s Progress – One word that describes me best – Utilitarian

As a little mental exercise I was trying to think of what one word best describes me, myself and I.

A few years back I would probably have chosen the word Perfectionist.

But as time advances, and there is less of it to go round, I am going for Utilitarian.

I am not a great one for doing things that I don’t regard as having utility or purpose.

While that makes me really quite time effective in all I do, it almost certainly does shave off large slices of what many people might regard as essential elements of a fullsome life.

For example I really don’t have any particular need in my life for music. I have no ability to sing or to play any musical instrument. And I never put on any music to listen to. The only time I listen to music is when it is part of a radio show I am making.

The same for TV and films. I haven’t had a TV for years. And I haven’t been to the cinema for a long time. I watched a lot of films when I ran a community cinema for a year – but that was more community service than pleasure.

I don’t go to pubs or bars to chat and drink. I don’t hang out in Discords just to make small talk.

Before steem I never set foot in any social media unless I was doing it for a client.

I don’t buy ornaments, or art, or music, or jewellery, or makeup or fancy clothes.

Everything has to have a purpose for me.

Socialising just for the heck of it has never been my thing.

That is why I have always had a great penchant for organising events – be it festivals or feasts, committees or cinemas.

That has always been my defence for being awkward in social situations. If you are the organiser of an event you don’t have to worry about whether anyone will want to talk to you, or what to say if they do. If you are the organiser people come to you and ask you questions. Sorted!

Although this is a 4am rambling freewrite you might see where this is heading in respect to my place on steem.

I put together radio shows and interview lots of people because I find it easier than hanging out in Discords. And you have to do one or the other to get along on steem.

And it is one of the main reasons I decided against going to SteemFest. I got as far as booking the hotel.

But then I thought about it some more and role played the social scenarios in my mind.

I was going to take MSP Waves to SteemFest and broadcast my radio shows from there but no one was interested. That would have given me a little job to do there. Without that I wouldn’t have had a role to play and would inevitably find it socially very difficult.

I weighed that up with the $1500 the whole trip would cost me and i couldn’t justify it.

Inevitably, and perhaps (or perhaps not) unfortunately doing A Dollar A Day every day I see the opportunity cost of money in a very different light to what I did a year ago.

Should I spend $1500 on just a few days of travelling, eating, drinking, talking, socialising and all that stuff. Or would that be better spent on feeding people in Venezuela, or educating youngsters in the Philippines, or training impoverished women in Bangladesh or saving forests in Cameroon…

I cannot now with true conscious tip that scale in favour of five cold, expensive, wild partying days in Poland.

But I do not begrudge others the experience. I am sure most will find much greater utility than I possibly could in being there.

I am sure it will be awesome, because everything always is on steem. 

Pennsif’s Progress – What comes next? Six decisions made

With big life changes come big life decisions.

The departure of our two eldest children off to start university today made us stop and think.

Although we still have one younger ray of sunshine here with us for another couple of years, we know our autumn has now begun.

Driving 500 miles over the weekend to deliver our two offspring to their new destinations gave us time to think a lot, to talk a lot and to plan a lot.

That interview classic is quite pertinent … “Where do you want to be in 5 years time?”

Alive would be a good start, alive and in at least moderate good health would be even better.

In five years our youngest will have just passed through university, and the elder two will be graduated and making their way in the world.

I will be 63 and my wife a bit younger.

Running our own business we live with uncertainty. And we have done so now for almost 25 years.

And my Second Life in steem is no more certain. In reality even more so.

So from our 500 miles of driving and thinking we reached some conclusions.

  • We must look ahead.
  • We must forms plans.
  • We must make changes.
  • We must take decisions.

Reduce and become mobile

Currently we are tied.

Tied to animals. Tied to the homestead. Tied to a business. Tied to steem.

All this gets us into knots of liability and immobility.

So decisions are being made…

Decision No. 1 – Animals

All the animals have to go.

Being over six years old the cockerel exited stage left today. The others will follow shortly.

No eggs makes the vegan easier.

Decision No.2 – Minimalising & Optimising

We are getting rid of lots of things, and optimising what remains.

We may sell some of it. But giving away is more fun. If you want anything just let me know.

Decision No.3 – Car out, Car in

The old petrol car is going. An electric car is coming.

We want to turn over a new Leaf with greener and cheaper mobility.

Desicion No. 4 – Business … cut & trust

Business changes. A story for another place.

Decision No. 5 – Homestead for sale

We are selling the homestead. That makes me sad. I had thought I would die here. Hopefully now I won’t.

Decision No.6 – Steem…

Steem. That comes next.

Pennsif’s Progress #634 – changing the face of Wales 10,000 trees at a time

Nearly 20 years ago we had the good fortune to move to a 17 acre homestead in rural west Wales.

All my adult life I had had a dream of moving to the countryside to set up a self-sufficient smallholding. John Seymour wrote the bible of self-sufficiency, and I was a follower.

Then at the turn of the century through good fortune, opportunism and a whim and a fancy we were blessed enough to be able to buy our piece of Welsh mountainside.

Although my dream had been long in the making, the act of purchase was short, sharp and wonderful. We arrived in the area on new year’s eve, found a hotel that was being renovated and had a room to spare, viewed the property on 2 January, and bought it on 3 January.

Then fate played its most beautiful hand.

A few weeks after we had moved in I discovered the house had actually been built by my mother’s family in 1799, and was occupied by my ancestors for 150 years until they moved away and it was left derelict in the 1950s. My mother died when I was young so this information came to me via an elderly neighbour who was an old friend of a great aunt.

When we arrived our fields were occupied, and keenly grazed, by our neighbour’s sheep. They manicured the grass quite precisely and the floral diversity was minimal.

That arrangement remained for our first dozen years in residence. Our tightly trimmed fields matched quite anonymously the rest of the landscape up and down the valley, with just a few resolute trees punctuating the view.

Then a chance encounter with a forestry consultant through a website contract set in motion an evolutionary change for our 17 acres of Welsh mountainside.

He presented a plan to plant over 10,000 native trees across our land entirely funded by grants from the government forestry authority.

Sad for the ovine occupants but that offer could not be refused.

Over the next two years 10,000 native trees were planted – oak, ash, wild cherry, hawthorn, beech, alder, guelder rose…

We have filled in the remaining small gaps with over 60 assorted fruit and nut trees.

Cherry tree

Along with the existing trees we now have around 11,000 trees across the land ranging from mere youngsters to 250 year old mighty oaks.

Very quickly the landscape began to change. The flora exploded. New animals begun to appear.

After 3 years many of the trees were taller than me. A woodland in waiting begun to appear before our very eyes.

Now six years since the original planting we have the makings of a small forest.

Soon it will need positive management. With bramble sneaking in some areas are becoming inpenetrable.

Some areas are already so dense I get lost in there !

It is a truly wondrous thing.

Besides getting married, raising a family and buying the house, planting this forest-to-be I count as one of the greatest achievements of my life.

That might sound ridiculous.

But this forest will grow and live on long after I am gone.

It has changed the landscape, massively enhanced the ecology, and given the map makers 17 acres to re-colour.

This will be our home for life now.

I’m not going anywhere. Never will I want to. In fact I wish to stay here for eternity.

Bury me here under a big oak tree in a coffin made of willows from by the lake.

Trees live in peace.

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[ all images by pennsif ]