July 29, 2015

An Etsy Shop for Dan, Contemplating Self-Sufficiency, and Masanobu Fukuoka

I have several posts in my drafts folder, although none of them is quite ready for you yet. That's because I've been helping Dan set up an Etsy shop for his pyrography, and I wanted to share that with you. We're still getting pieces added, but at least it's presentable enough for visitors.


It probably seems pretty off topic from homesteading, but on the other hand, he would love to be able to work from home rather than off the homestead. Most homesteaders can relate, because that seems to be part of the self-sufficiency formula. I'm guessing it's one of the biggest frustrations for a lot of folks, i.e. having to have a job to support oneself and buy the things it takes to become self-sufficient. Ironic, isn't it, that self-sufficiency can only be obtained with a lot of money?

Dan and I talk about that a lot, actually. I've concluded that the biggest problem is that we (speaking of homesteaders in a generic sense here), are trying to support the lifestyle from which we came. It seems to me that most folks assume that the way things are, is the way things are supposed to be. I've talked about this in other posts:


Obviously it is something we are still trying to figure out!

I just finished reading Masanobu Fukuoka's book, The One-Straw Revolution. It is interesting to me that someone from the another culture on the other side of the world can make the same observations we have and come up with similar conclusions. Namely, that science and industry are destroying agriculture and, thereby, destroying the environment (and the earth). The consequence is that we humans are no longer content with simply growing food as a lifestyle, because now life is only about making money. This is the very dilemma we find ourselves in as homesteaders. If that sounds harsh, well, I suggest you read the book for yourself.

Or at least please visit Dan's Etsy shop and give him a favorite, a follow, a like, or whatever in the world it is that they do on Etsy. It may not help us make a living from home, but it will encourage him tremendously.

42 comments:

  1. Seems to me it's really the debt that causes most people to have to work although in most places taxes can add to that considerably. Still being completely out of debt doesn't free me from having to have an outside job even if it is extremely part time most weeks. Most places won't take barter yet.

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    1. PP, I have to agree and, in fact, would say that debt is a form of bondage. We've been able to stay out of debt except for our mortgage. One of the reasons we got such a late start is that it took that long before Dan was willing to take a mortgage. My rationale was that we were either going to have to pay that or for rent. We could have put everything into paying off the mortgage, but then we'd have no heat, no fencing, no critters, no equipment, and a leaky roof. It's almost a catch-22, isn't it?

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  2. I am so pleased that you were able to read that amazing work. I am also sorry for my absense. We are in mid move from los angeles to oklahoma (we are the wrath of grapes) and i will not be able to comment here or in the little homestead series until we have sold on one end, bought on the other and made the latter a living space. Please do excuse. I adore the blog and i will be reading! You are such a great writer and teacher, thank you for all you do!

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    1. Nathaniel, hi! Sounds like very exciting times for you. You have my earnest prayers and best wishes for every success. Your kind words are more encouraging than you can possibly know.

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    2. It is a great blog! Your moving too? May things go well and successfully! We are getting things to the farm in stages. I subscribe to 5 acres and read new posts to Ralph as we travel!

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    3. Nathaniel,

      What part of Oklahoma are you moving too? Were in Oklahoma the Central location. Be safe in your move!

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    4. Thank you Sandy. We are moving to Oklahoma City for a bit as my wife starts a new job. In the meantime I am still in Los Angeles rehabbing our house to maximize a sale. If all goes well we will purchasing our own homestead come fall. We are primarily looking in the area between Tulsa and OKC. Where are you?

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    5. Thank you Sandy. We are moving to Oklahoma City for a bit as my wife starts a new job. In the meantime I am still in Los Angeles rehabbing our house to maximize a sale. If all goes well we will purchasing our own homestead come fall. We are primarily looking in the area between Tulsa and OKC. Where are you?

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  3. My husband has to work away as well it makes things hard but we have a plan and hope from 2017 he will be here full time, it something we are both working towards.
    Dan is so talented his work is stunning I hope this all works out for you both :-)

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    1. You have a plan! Dawn, that is so important. We have been unsuccessful in that, key as it is. It makes such a difference having both at home. When Dan's gone we're just in maintenance mode. When he's home, everything runs better and we make strides. Until we run out of money, LOL

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  4. Congratulations to Dan! I've been absolutely blown away by his work every time you've shown it here. Good luck with etsy!

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    1. Thanks Quinn! It's a tough road to making a living, but a little here and a little there helps tremendously.

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  5. I knew Dan was a talented man but this just blows my mind!! These works are stunning. Although I'm not living the lifestyle that I grew up with, I still believe life's not all about money. DH tells me that I don't care anything about money and he's right. Enough is a concept that I relate to.

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    1. Thanks! "Enough" would be a wonderful topic for a blog post and discussion. Homesteading has taught us so much about prioritizing and discerning needs from wants.

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  6. That extra income is needed, plus I believe making things is good for the soul and brain. We so look forward to your posts as we travel. The Etsy shop is lovely!

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    1. Fiona, thank you! Do enjoy your travels. :)

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  7. Leigh,

    I love your husbands work! I wish I was as talented with my pyrography. Right now, I'm just creating lines on furniture. Nothing interesting, LOL.......

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    1. Sandy, lines can be very interesting! It all depends on how they're put together. :)

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  8. I ran across Masanobu Fukuoka's book and VHS years ago. Brilliant the way he inter planted things just like in the wild. And covering seeds with clay...

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    1. Yes, the clay seed coatings is brilliant. I'm going to try that next time I plant wheat. We even have the clay to do it, LOL. I picked up several good ideas from him, all of which I'm working on adapting to our situation.

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  9. Wow, great stuff! Your hubby is very talented!!!

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  10. Leigh - your husband is incredibly talented! i can't believe the 3D and depth that he can portray in his pyrography - sooo beautiful!

    i can so understand your both wanting him to be able to work from home. i will pray that he will soon be able to. i understand about when he is away you are just in maintenance mode - a homestead needs at least 2 people full-time in order for any great achievements to be made.

    your friend,
    kymber

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    1. Kymber, your prayers are much appreciated. You are so right that two people are needed on the homestead to make real progress. In the meantime, we try to practice contentment. Not always easy, but just as important.

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  11. We're the same, a large mortgage keeps us working, plus we need a bigger house to fit us all in so I'm trying to earn extra to pay for the extension. Without the mortgage we'd be on easy street I think. At least I have plenty of work at the moment which helps things, hopefully I'll start working more and more from home. I already do a bit from home which is really good as it fits in so well with all my other homesteading activities.
    Dan's drawings are superb! I love the one of the man waiting in the station.

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    1. We'd like to think that without the mortgage things would be a lot different too. Trying to get established has taken a lot of money too, though. For example, we still need a proper barn. And if we want any sort of energy alternative, that will cost money too. It's good you can do quite a bit from home, Kev. You have good skills to do that.

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  12. The Japanese have always had a link to nature so powerful that it's nearly mystic.

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    1. It's funny, but after reading this book it seems they are abandoning that in favor of larger scale, more "scientific" farming. On of the themes of the book is that as a scientist himself, the author doesn't think Japan should go that route. The other theme that attracts a lot of readers is his more permaculture-like approach to growing grain. He admits to years and years of trial and error, but he's worked out a simple system that works extremely well for what he wants to grow and where he is. He's fortunate to be able to mentor a lot of young people too, so maybe there's hope.

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  13. Having an online shop is awesome. Have you thought about selling some pieces on commission in a high traffic local cafe or something similar, or markets. Whilst selling pieces is great i think that there is more money to be made in teaching others. There is a great push for learning old skills and you, Leigh, certainly have many mastered. What a great team you make. Sorry to be commercial but i am an Accountant.

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    1. Lynda, yes, we've thought of those things and actually tried many of them in the past (for woodburning). We've figured out that craft shows and galleries are out. They seem to make their money from the artist, which forces the artist to either raise prices or sell less. He's looking into teaching a class locally, but so far no one has signed up. :(

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  14. I work for my health insurance...that I don't use...knock on wood. I'm lucky to live on a working farm and have access to menfolk, equipment and knowledge...but they sure like doing things BIG and I want my world to stay small...just feed me and mine and a dozen other families.
    Dan's art is amazing!! He should do very well.

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    1. Oh, the allure of "BIG"! Biggness is why it's so difficult to get into farming anymore. Folks think a lot has to be raised and sold to make a living, but it takes a lot of money for the land, equipment, seed, etc. Other businesses seem to be the same way and debt becomes a normal part of maintaining a business. I would rather stay small, make less, and be happy!

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  15. Wow! I am blown away by Dan's art! I will share with my daughter who has just started doing some wood burning and is loving it.

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    1. Glad to hear she's interested in wood burning. I hope Dan's work is an inspiration!

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  16. Dan is a man of many talents! I shared his Etsy with my FB friends/family. Hopefully it'll gain some views. Wishing you the best.

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  17. Good luck on your husband's Etsy store. Sounds like you are making progress on making it all work. Nancy

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    1. Of course I think so but I'm just a tad prejudice, LOL

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  19. I'm always slow to reply, as like you, I can be found outdoors, doing something that needs doing. I'm glad Dan put together an esty shop with your help, as its a step in the direction he wants to be. Taking those first tentative steps, even though they're unknown ones, makes change inevitable. :)

    I liked reading One Straw Revolution. I have a link to a free pdf download, if you want to include it in your post:

    http://www.appropedia.org/images/d/d3/Onestraw.pdf

    I also have a link to an article about the man, written from a permaculture perspective.

    http://www.permaculture.com/node/140

    People like this, are what brings change the world needs.

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  20. Dan's art is amazing! I didn't know about pyrography, and read the explanations on his blog. I really hope he will be able to live by selling his art.

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