Dec 6, 2013

How to Grow Chickens Without Buying them Grain By Only Feeding them Compost - YouTube

Karl Hammer and his amazing system of feeding compost to his flock of 100-plus chickens, and without feeding them any grain. Chickens live off the compost eating worms and biota and help in the composting process. Nobody thought it was possible, until now. An amazing story.

How to Grow Chickens Without Buying them Grain By Only Feeding them Compost - YouTube

Dec 5, 2013

Outfeed Table Ideas

Sawhorse and rollers with frame!

John Pesek on Soil: Ubiquitous, underappreciated but indispensable | Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

By JOHN PESEK, Guest columnist

Underfoot and out of mind seems to be the general attitude many have concerning soil, if they even give it a thought.

Soil naturally develops, over time, on terrestrial areas of the earth when the land surface is exposed to conditions that favor biological activity. In many cases, soils were formed thousands of years ago and then destroyed or covered by subsequent geological events.

The windblown loess-covered areas of western and southern Iowa are underlain by ancient soils once found at the surface. The latest glaciation in central and north central Iowa covered extensive forests, while the present soils in near northeastern Iowa were developed on geological material after ancient soils were stripped away by erosion. Evidence of such events is appears worldwide in the wake of every flood, landslide, earthquake or volcanic eruption.

Soils, wherever they occur, have been the ultimate source of plant products for food, clothing and shelter because they form the basis for green plant growth. Surface- and groundwaters are generated, for the most part, from precipitation falling on soil and bear the influence of the soil over which or through which they pass. Not only does soil influence quality of local water supplies, but its effect can be observed a thousand miles away, as in the hypoxic zone at the mouth of the Mississippi River. The air in soil pores is continually exchanged with the atmosphere, allowing soils to remove or add compounds in the air.

Humans have deliberately employed soil to meet their basic needs since agriculture and civilization emerged about 12,000 years ago. We have observed the demise of civilizations as a result of soil deterioration caused by human ignorance or neglect; they were not sustainable. Irrigated Mesopotamian fields declined in productivity due to salt accumulation for several centuries before they were abandoned to the desert from which they were acquired. Soil erosion was prominent in the decline of the Greek and Roman empires, and the denuding of the hills in Asia Minor led to erosion and the siltation of the harbor at Ephesus until it now lies several miles inland from the modern harbor.

There are some exceptions to this general rule. A prominent one is the Nile Valley where cultivation has continued for thousands of years with annually freshly renewed water and plant nutrients, however, some evidence indicates that massive human intrusion now may be having an undesirable effect. Some cultivated parts of China also have endured for thousands of years and apparently many of the rice paddies have been cultivated and remained productive through the millennia. One might argue that the nomadic peoples of central Asia, who once threatened Europe, have reached equilibrium with their environment as they follow a primitive form of agriculture.

Soil in Iowa, a history
We have used soils in Iowa for less than two centuries, and soil scientists have observed profound changes over that time period. Most of these changes are directly attributable to human activities, mostly to cultivation for food, feed and fiber production. In tandem with cultivation, our soils have been drained and streams straightened, both leading to loss of wetlands.

Some Iowa soils have eroded to the point where we now grow crops in what were formerly “subsoils.” In parts of western Iowa, almost all of the original organic matter has been lost from cultivated fields, along with much of the topsoil. Even in the relatively level landscape of north central and northwestern Iowa, we have lost more than half of the organic matter that had accumulated under prairie and wetland vegetation since the glaciers receded about 12,000 years ago. This loss is the result of cultivation that regularly stirs the soil and causes organic matter to oxidize at an accelerated rate.

I learned about the fragility of the soil when I was not even nine years old. A violent rain and hail storm devastated our crops, with major gullies forming on a sandy loam rise and much of the sediment deposited on a lower-lying field. We had put the land under cultivation only six years earlier, from its virgin state of short-grass prairie and brush. At the same time, our county had its first agricultural agent who helped my father establish lines for terraces. We built terraces with mule-power and brawn, and I spent much time on a scraper filling in those gullies.

Our family did not put any more land in cultivation until after it had been terraced to protect it from erosion and to conserve water. My affinity for soil was firmly entrenched from that time forward. I planned and built terraces in high school and college, and considered a career in soil conservation until military service altered my opportunities and plans.

The nature of agriculture in Iowa for the first century of statehood was one of numerous farms, almost all devoted to the production of both crops and animals. This kept some of the land under a dense plant cover of small grain and meadow grasses or legumes so it was not exposed to severe erosion for more than a year at a time. Thus, farming practices did not have a profound effect on water supplies, except that straightened streams encouraged streambed erosion and accelerated the accumulation of rain water causing flash floods.

The hay and grain produced was largely consumed by the animal enterprises on the farm, leaving the manure near at hand for distribution on crop land from which the feed had been taken. This system slowed the depletion of mineral plant nutrients, and replenished the organic nitrogen lost from soils by oxidization of organic matter.

Early impacts of conservation programs
Even this relatively mild system of farming did not prevent the depletion of some soils in the United States and Iowa. Steeper fields with more erodible soils were washed away, which encouraged serious flooding east of the Mississippi. This prompted Congress to appropriate funds to battle soil erosion in 1928. The Soil Erosion Service in the U.S. Department of the Interior was created in 1933. Later in the 1930s, the Soil Conservation Service (now the Soil and Water Conservation Service) was established, better to focus on the general objective of protecting the nation's soils.

One of the early experimental stations for study of soil conservation practices was along Iowa Highway 2 between Clarinda and Shenandoah. Pioneering work on soil and meteorological factors affecting the erosion of soils was conducted at this site from the mid-1930s.

Two world wars during the first century of Iowa statehood brought a heavy demand to increase food and fiber production to support the war effort of the United States and its allies, so more land was cultivated and exposed to erosion and depletion. Farmers also began to grow a new crop, soybean, for feed and oil. Like corn, it was cleanly cultivated with intense land preparation prior to its planting. To make matters worse, soybean plants left soils more susceptible to both wind and water erosion than did corn plants. Farmers began to grow more corn and soybean grain for use off their farms, accelerating nutrient depletion as well as increasing soil losses.

We have compensated for losses of nitrogen in soil organic matter and the more stable plant nutrients in soils by replacing them, in the absence of livestock manures, with synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, and by mining and processing phosphorus and potassium ores for use as fertilizers. This has led us to the point where the petroleum supplies for production of nitrogen fertilizer and for the mining of the ores is ever less available and more expensive, and its coal substitute is not looked upon favorably. The ore supplies are increasingly more difficult to locate, mine and transport, thus making fertilizer increasingly more expensive. The frightening aspect is that we're using these geologic resources to rectify our casual use of soil, all of which has occurred during the past 200 of the 12,000 years that agriculture has been practiced.

Our newest challenge
The most recent challenge imposed upon our soil is its cultivation for delivering vastly more fuel for mechanical power than ever was utilized in the animal-powered agriculture of only a century ago. Currently, plant materials for fuel are predominately from annual and formerly inter-tilled crops such as corn and soybeans. Part of the additional production may need to come from putting highly erosive soils into some type of permanent vegetation.

Experience has taught us that soil losses and accompanying losses of plant nutrients are severe on many soils without major efforts to retard water runoff and soil erosion on all but the least undulating topography. How best to produce more fuel without compromising our sustained ability to produce crops in the future will require ingenuity and a willingness to adopt new practices and different crops for fuel purposes than in the past.

Are we up to this challenge? Can we rebuild the integrity of our soils and adopt the practices needed to enter the age of renewable fuel production from agriculture? Can we develop a system that is sustainable? We will have to search for the answers; no less than civilization depends upon it.
John Pesek on Soil: Ubiquitous, underappreciated but indispensable | Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Air-drying Hardwood Lumber | University of Missouri Extension

H.E. "Hank" Stelzer
Forestry State Specialist
School of Natural Resources

Hardwood lumber may be dried for many reasons. First, drying increases dimensional stability. Wood shrinks considerably more across the grain than along the grain when it dries. Because wood shrinks during drying, if it is cut to size before properly dried, it will be undersized in its final form. Second, drying can reduce, or even eliminate, decay or stain. Wood dried below 20 percent moisture content is not susceptible to decay or sap staining. Third, drying reduces weight. Removal of most of the water in the wood reduces lumber weight by 35 percent or more. Finally, drying increases the stiffness, hardness and strength of wood. Most species of wood increase their strength characteristics by at least 50 percent during the process of drying to 15 percent moisture content.

Air-drying and solar kiln drying are the most economical ways to remove much of the water from green lumber. Correct exposure of lumber to the outside air can reduce moisture content to 14–19 percent; lumber at this moisture content is suitable for many construction uses and exterior applications. Solar kiln drying can reduce the moisture content of lumber to 7–8 percent so it can be used in furniture and other applications within a heated building. Further drying beyond air and solar drying is usually accomplished in a dry kiln where temperature, humidity and air circulation can be carefully controlled.
Proper stacking of lumber

Lumber is stacked in a special way to maximize the surface of each piece of lumber exposed to the air and to support each piece so it will dry straight and without unnecessary warping. Proper stacking of lumber for air-drying involves building a strong foundation, careful placing and spacing of the boards in the stack, and providing roof protection (Figure 1).

Locate the lumber stack on a level site with good drainage and exposure to prevailing winds. Orient the stack so that the prevailing winds blow across the boards. Covering the ground beneath and around the stack with black polyethylene can help prevent moisture from moving from the soil to the wood, and weeds and grass from growing and restricting air movement.

Figure 1. Side view of stack highlighting essential features of good lumber stacking for proper air-drying.

Start with a good foundation. Various materials such as railroad crossties, treated wood beams or concrete blocks can be used to build the foundation and support the stack. The supports should be tall enough so the first layer of boards to be dried is at least 12 inches above the ground. They should be spaced no more than 24 inches apart to provide adequate support for the lumber stack. The cross-supports should be aligned because any low or high spot or twist from opposite corners of the stack will result in lumber with the same amount of warp.

Ideally, the lumber should be sorted by length and thickness. Lumber of the same length should be put in one stack. If this is not possible, you can “box pile” the lumber (Figure 2): For each layer, place the long boards on the edges of the stack. These outside boards help tie the stack together, making it less subject to tilting or falling over. Place shorter boards on the inside, flush with alternating ends of the stack. Do not let loose ends overhang without support.

Do not mix lumber of varying thickness within the same layer. Put thicker lumber on the bottom of the stack. This positioning prevents some handling of the heavier stock, and the weight from the top of the stack will restrain the thicker material as it dries, preventing excessive warping. Furthermore, the thick stock will take longer to dry. If you plan to use certain boards first, place them near the top of the stack for easier access.

Stack the lumber in neat layers as soon after sawing as possible. Leave a 1- or 2-inch space between boards within a layer. Wood strips, called “stickers,” provide the space between layers to allow air movement. Place stickers perpendicular to the length of the lumber and directly over the foundation crossbeams to space each layer. Stickers should be straight, uniformly thick, free of bark decay and stain, and thoroughly dry. Stickers are commonly 1 inch thick by 11/2 inches wide. The length of the stickers should be the width of the lumber stack. Building lathe doubled in thickness can be used if nothing else is available.

The stack should be only as high as you can comfortably and safely stack the boards; usually no more than head-high. If properly stacked, the weight of the lumber helps prevent excessive warping in all but the top layers. Therefore, low-grade boards should be placed on the top of the stack. Weights such as concrete blocks can be used to restrain the top layers.

Figure 2. Top view of a layer of boards, illustrating the system of alternating short lengths for box piling. Unsupported ends of boards placed on the inside of the pile will dry with less defect than if allowed to extend over the end of the pile.

The lumber stack should be covered. Practically any device that sheds water can be used as a roof. The roof should extend 24 inches beyond the front, back and each side of the stack. Leave an air space of 6 inches between the top of the stack and the roof.
Minimizing degrade during drying

Stresses develop in lumber as moisture is lost during drying. Shrinkage in width and thickness will occur; warp, checks or other defects may develop. The potential for drying defects such as checking and warping also increases with greater lumber thickness.

Warping can be minimized through proper stacking technique and adding weight to the top of the stack (about 40 pounds per square foot).

Lumber dries several times faster from the ends of a board than from the surface or edges. As a result, wide boards often crack severely. This defect is called “checking.” Checking can be reduced by coating the ends of the boards with a commercial wax emulsion sealer, such as Anchorseal, or aluminum paint in a spar varnish base. However, end-coating the lumber will slow drying rates and is only appropriate for higher-quality lumber.
Drying time

The rate at which properly stacked green lumber dries depends on the wood characteristics, the lumber thickness and the climatic conditions.

Heavier hardwoods require longer drying times than lighter woods. Some species of wood have higher green moisture content than others; sapwood and heartwood may have quite different drying characteristics.

Drying time required increases rapidly with increase in lumber thickness. For example, 2-inch thick lumber may take from two to four times longer than 1-inch lumber. Do not saw lumber any thicker than is necessary for the intended use (after allowing for shrinkage and surfacing) if drying speed is important.

The climate and the season in which green lumber is exposed have a major influence on the time required to air-dry lumber. Temperature perhaps is the most influential factor, but rainfall and humidity are also important. Green lumber stacked during the warm months will typically dry much faster than lumber exposed during the late fall and winter.

The USDA Forest Products Laboratory has estimated the air-drying times for several hardwood species at selected locations across the United States (; the graphs in Figure 3 are for 4/4 (1-inch thick) and 8/4 (2-inch thick) boards of northern red oak drying in Columbia, Mo.

Figure 3 clearly shows the effect on drying times of time of year when the lumber is stacked and board thickness.

Lumber at 15–20 percent moisture content is adequate for building unheated structures such as garages or barns. If the wood is to be used inside a heated structure, further drying in a commercial kiln to reduce moisture content to 6–8 percent is required.

If 4/4 northern red oak is stacked on Aug. 1, how many days are required for the moisture content to reach 20 percent?

Locate Aug. 1 on the horizontal axis of the 4/4 graph and go up to the 20 percent moisture content (MC) curve. Notice that the 20 percent MC curve intersects the Aug. 1 vertical grid line at 60 days. Thus, the air-drying time to 20 percent MC for 4/4 northern red oak stacked on Aug. 1 is estimated to be 60 days. Note that 8/4 lumber stacked on Aug. 1 will require almost 320 days to reduce MC to 20 percent.

Figure 3. Example wood drying-time graphs. (Source: Simpson, W.T., and C.A. Hart. 2000. Estimates of air drying times for several hardwoods and softwoods. Gen. Tech. Rep. FPL–GTR–121. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory.)
Original author
James Pastoret, School of Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife

G5550, revised November 2011

Air-drying Hardwood Lumber | University of Missouri Extension

How to Stick Lumber For Drying, Oak Milled on Wood-Mizer Sawmill - YouTube

Published on Nov 13, 2013

Drying lumber starts with kiln dried stickers (spacers) of uniform thickness. The stickers should be evenly spaced 12 inches apart, with each successive row of stickers directly above the previous rows. The finished bundle of lumber should be placed on level ground, on skids of uniform height, that are directly under every second vertical row of stickers.
How to Stick Lumber For Drying, Oak Milled on Wood-Mizer Sawmill - YouTube

Dec 4, 2013

Quartersawing a large red oak

A simple method of quartersawing that minimizes the handling of heavy cants while producing excellent quality quartersawn lumber

Quartersawing a large red oak

Discovery Channel Documentary - Moringa Oleifera "Miracle Tree" - YouTube

Published on Aug 10, 2013 - Moringa oleifera is nature's "miracle tree". It's packed with 90+ verifiable, cell-ready vitamins, minerals, vital proteins, antioxidants, omega oils, and other benefits. The story begins with one man viewing a Discovery Channel documentary on a plant grown in far away lands. As he watched, his interest piqued when he observed people literally being sustained by consuming small amounts of this miracle plant.
Discovery Channel Documentary - Moringa Oleifera "Miracle Tree" - YouTube

Dec 1, 2013

Newly Constructed - Outdoor - 8 Foot Long - Log Bench

Green Ash Salvaged Log - Linseed Oil Finish
Larger Photo

Routed Letters

Watch Peter Buffett: Big Philanthropy and Philanthro-Feudalism |

Peter Buffett: Big Philanthropy and Philanthro-Feudalism

Laura Flanders' interviews stream at This week, Peter Buffett, son of billionaire investor Warren on the conflict between capitalism and humanism. Says Buffett:"You can't have both"

Peter Buffett argues that philanthropy needs to do a better job of listening. He says that the structure of philanthropy is such that nothing seems to get better, but rather locks existing problems into place.

"Poverty, hunger, the environment, education, health - all those things are symptoms of a larger problem of nobody really wanting to get in there and blow some things up," Buffett says.

Watch Peter Buffett: Big Philanthropy and Philanthro-Feudalism | GRITtv with Laura Flanders Episodes | News & Politics Videos | Blip

Mary Berry is Fomenting an Agrarian Revolution

October 3, 2013
by John Collins

This post first appeared in In These Times.

Image courtesy of the Berry Center.

Everything we eat has a story behind it. The bread aisle (at the store with the massive parking lot) is a thrill ride. That story starts on stretches of land in places you’ve never been. Its main characters are gene-splicing scientists, patented life forms and huge industrial robots. Fleets of 18-wheelers make epic road trips before the narrative climaxes in the cash register of one mega-corporation or another. By comparison, the story of sustainably raised, locally marketed food is a bucolic tale: a hop from farm to table.

In 1975, Wendell Berry — the poet, novelist, farmer, activist and philosopher — released The Unsettling of America. That collection of essays focused on the cultural and environmental implications of modern agriculture and the need to put intelligence before profit when it comes to the business of farming. On October 4 on PBS, Moyers & Company will present Wendell Berry: Poet and Prophet, a documentary produced by the Schumann Media Center that features a conversation between veteran journalist Bill Moyers and rural America’s man of letters.

Thirty-eight years after the publication of The Unsettling of America, we remain disconnected from the production of the food that keeps us alive. What we put in our mouths we trust to the hands of an industry so massive it’s difficult to comprehend. Transforming the current system into one that values healthy land, production on a sensible scale and a reliable marketplace for small farmers requires a David-at-the-heels-of-Goliath kind of mindset.

Small farmers must select which stones to throw at Big Ag. And Mary Berry, Wendell’s daughter, is helping them take aim as executive director of the Berry Center in New Castle, Ky.

John Collins: Why did you and your father create the Berry Center?

Mary Berry: The Berry Center’s goal is to institutionalize agrarian thought and make a movement towards cultural change. We’ve been developing a four-year farm degree at St. Catherine College in Washington County, Kentucky. We’re also working on a farm school, in Henry County, to help new or existing farmers learn what they need to know to get out of the commodity economy and into a local food economy. We’re talking about everything farmers and landowners can produce on their land — from timber to tomatoes — and how to keep them secure, and out of a boom and bust economy.

We need to look at the economic system first. Farmers aren’t moving toward local food, but they will if they think there’s a reliable market. Right now, they’re in corn and soybeans because that’s where the money is. And in Kentucky there are a lot of beef cattle, and beef cattle, if they’re well raised, and are dependent on perennial grasses, that’s good. If they’re raised on CAFOs [concentrated animal feeding operations] — on feedlots — that’s not good.

The excitement for local food in Louisville, the closest big city, is not matched in the countryside where I live. It’s an uncertain market. Farmers are scared of it, and rightly so. Even farmers who are doing well at farmers markets are uncertain because they are unable to plan ahead. We need a food system that allows farmers to plan their economic year. That would mean farmers signing contracts. A good example: The largest school system in Kentucky is now contracting with some local farmers for produce and meat. The interest in the entrepreneurial aspect of small farms is wonderful and needs to continue, but we’re trying to take it a step further.

Collins: What would be a good food system?

This is not just for rural people. …If you’re far away from a mountaintop that’s been removed, but are still using electricity that’s cheap because of it, you still have responsibility.Berry: There’s not one answer. They’ll be many and we’re still trying to figure it out. I listen to people working on agricultural ideas talk about “food systems,” but I don’t know what they’re referring to. We don’t have one. There is a system that’s highly dependent on poisons and petroleum. And maybe some places have the beginnings of a small food system. But we’re not there yet. For example, I’ve heard people refer to the “Louisville Foodshed.” What does that mean? How far out does that go? Louisville is surrounded by small farms. And I know it’s possible that Louisville can be fed by the landscape around it. We just need to figure out a way to make that work for the farmers.

Collins: Is there a cultural shift in agricultural awareness taking place?

Berry: Urban people’s interest in where their food comes from, and the quality of it — their worry about poisoned food, soil loss, toxicity, etc. — is a good thing. Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), farmers markets, urban gardens, community gardens and school gardens are also all good. The worry, to me, is that all of this is entrepreneurial. Too many CSAs in any given area can make it hard for a farmer to sell enough CSA shares to get by. Our work is to try to get farmers out of a faddish economy.

The other day, I was talking to a friend of mine who had the first CSA in Kentucky. He was saying that the CSA is a great model for a young farmer. He paid off his farm with a CSA. (He had borrowed the money in the 1980s, at 13 percent interest.) But he said, “You know what? It’s a young person’s game.” And that’s true, simply because it’s really hard work. He’s 55 now, sustainably logging on his own land and doing fine, but do we want farmers to quit at 55? No. We need a place for farmers, an economy for them to function in. This is critical and crucial. If we stick only with the “local food” part of the movement, it’s not going to amount to much. We’ve got to simultaneously talk about cultural change and land use more generally. No matter how different things seem to be, we are still a land-based economy. People seem to not know that, but we are.

Collins: Are young people latching onto this cultural change?

Berry: Very rightly, a lot of young people see agriculture as the place to work in. If we can turn around agriculture, we can deal with a lot of our other problems. Young people interested in agriculture these days might finally be what Wallace Stegner called “stickers.” They appear to be in it for the long haul.

Collins: Why do you think that’s the case?

Berry: Part of it is because our economy just isn’t what it was before 2008. Many of the back-to-the-landers who were around Henry County in the 1970s had college degrees from good universities. When the going got rough on farms, they had a lot to fall back on. I don’t think that’s the case anymore. Young people understand that they’re not going to graduate from college and make whatever they thought — $100,000 a year, $50,000 — right off the bat. It’s just not out there. So they are looking for a different way. Maybe agriculture will be where more young people will end up.

Collins: Does this land-based education you advocate have a place in urban communities and universities?

Berry: Absolutely. This is not just for rural people. And thank God, because there are only 15 percent of us left in rural America. This is about all of us. We all need to understand what’s going on. If you’re far away from a mountaintop that’s been removed, but are still using electricity that’s cheap because of it, you still have responsibility. We have to be good citizens. And a way to be a good urban citizen is to be an informed shopper and eater. In this economy it’s almost impossible. We are all complicit in what’s wrong here. But if you, or if I, think about the place where we’re from — its health and its welfare — then that makes it easier to imagine having some effect on it.

Collins: Do you and your father ever disagree?

Berry: My father and I have never had a serious disagreement about anything, at least not since I was a teenager and wanted to stay out all night. I have always thought that farms and farm people, and the health of the place where we were living were important. But I’m trying to work on policy in a way that Daddy hasn’t. I needed to take a public role in this struggle. And that really didn’t happen until five years ago when I was appointed — by Obama actually, although I don’t think he knows it — to the Kentucky state board of the Farm Service Agency. It allowed me to see the two sides of agriculture at the same time: the grassroots, small farm world (which I was obviously much more familiar with) and the Farm Service Agency side, which is a massive USDA program. That’s when I realized the two sides were absolutely polarized.

Neither side understood what was going on. The grassroots people didn’t understand much about the history of agriculture and were very small in their interests. They were talking about farms much smaller than I considered a traditional Kentucky farm. On the USDA side, I thought I’d find people who understood the problems with Big Ag that my father and his friends had been talking about for a long time. It turned out they hadn’t even heard of them.

I get asked if I ever feel bad about preaching to the choir, and I say, “You know what? The choir doesn’t understand rural places very well or the lives of farmers very well.” Very often people in urban places think, “If we just got rid of subsidies then a whole lot of farmers would start raising organic cucumbers and broccoli.” Well, it’s not going to happen that way.

Collins: How does this movement press forward?

Berry: It’s incredible to me how threatened Big Ag feels. What’s the local food market — like one percent? But we have to be ready for how threatened they’re going to be. And we have to be very careful. One of the weaknesses of our movement is bastardized language. If you listen to ads from Wal-Mart and big chain grocery stores, they’ve got our language. They’re talking “local, local, local” and “sustainably raised,” and that’s just bulls–t. If the big grocery store claims they’re selling local produce, find out what they’re talking about. And if you can’t, that means they’re lying. You have to educate yourself. You have to be vigilant. It really makes the world more interesting. It’s called living an informed, awake life, and it’s way more interesting than sleepwalking through it.

John Collins is a writer and carpenter in Northern Wisconsin.

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