The Urban Homesteader’s Nightmare – Episode 019

Direct mp3 download.

Link to episode 19 on Libsyn.

This week the Liberty Hippie had the pleasure of speak with Lloyd Cowan of Madison, ME. Lloyd is your typical urban homesteading type who spent some years out west before coming back to Maine and using his urban lot to grow vegetables, house show chickens, layer hens, and keep a handful of goats for dairy and soap. The show opened with Lloyd giving a little run down of his history and how he came to be an urban homesteader, but it’s the happenings of his town that drew the interest of the Liberty Hippie. In June 2018, the town board held a meeting and took a vote by a show of hands on a ordinance that would effect everyone in town with a lot smaller than 1.5 acres. The ordinance was not advertised as anything to do with farming, or produce, but was tacked on under a property ordinance and looked to have more to do with loose and barking dogs, than actual livestock. In the morning, residents started to find out about the new ordinance that was passed by a mere 50 people in a town of 5,000. As the days would roll on, and appeals were filed, new information has come to light and once again, we see government force being used to entrench protectionist policies despite the desires of the local community.

As the current situation stands, the next town meeting, June 10, 2019, it looks as if the turbulence will finally be decided. Please feel free to call the town and let them know that this oridinance is not only contradictory to the Food Sovereignty declaration the town made, but is also anti-business, and is unconstitutional that a small handful of individuals can dictate how owners of land can use said land. The town manager, Tom Curtis, and the code enforcer, Susan Hathaway can be reached using the information provided.

Tom Curtis – 207-696-3971 – edd@madisonmaine.com
Susan Hathaway – 207-696-3971 – code@madisonmaine.com

Pictures of Lloyds Backyard Homestead

The Links

If you’re enjoying the show, please support it on Patreon and get access to bonus shows, seeds, and merchandise (and if you don’t like Patreon, you can sign up to support the show on BitBacker!) You can also do your Amazon shopping through our Amazon link. Please subscribe and leave a review on the Apple iTunes Store (or on any podcatcher, though iTunes is the most important). You can also like us on facebook and share the show from there. We are on Twitter as @HSandHSpod, and sometimes even on Instagram, too. And don’t forget to join the The Homesteaded Homeschool Forum to be a part of the conversation.And don’t forget to pay Nicky P. a visit either at Sounds Like Liberty, or on bandcamp, and pick up a subscription to the Freedom Song 365 project.

Link to show notes for episode 18 with Shane and Meredith Hazel.

Foraging for Freedom with Nicki Lynne – Episode 016

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Link to episode 16 on Libsyn.

This week on Homesteads and Homeschools, the Liberty Hippie welcomes Nicki Lynne to the show. Nicki is a mother of two and the curator and creator of Foraging for Freedom. Nicki is an author and homeschooling mother of two from Florida who does a bit of homesteading and is hoping to do even more in the future. During the show we talk about her experiences homeschooling and what they do on the homestead. We talk about how she manages to take her kids across country, plant vegetables, write countless words, and make it all educational. Go check out her books on amazon, and dig into all the content she produces on her website!

Nicki’s Links

After the show, the Liberty Hippie delves into some mycology stuff, and examines a few of the different uses for mycellium based projects from Ecovative Designs. (Unfortunately, in 2017, despite being concerned about climate change, Ecovative took a $9.1 million grant from the worlds largest producer of CO2, the US Dept. of Defense’s DARPA, but the technology is out there!) After talking mushrooms, again, the Liberty Hippie announces his participation in Agorafest 2020 along with today’s guest Nicki Lynne, Sherry Voluntary, Derrick Broze, and Gary Chatier. Stay tuned for more details.

Today’s Links

If you’re enjoying the show, please support it on Patreon and get access to our fortnightly bonus material (and more!) (and if you don’t like Patreon, you can sign up to support the show on BitBacker!) You can also do your Amazon shopping through our Amazon link. Please subscribe and leave a review on the Apple iTunes Store (or on any podcatcher, though iTunes is the most important). You can also like us on facebook and share the show from there. We are on Twitter as @HSandHSpod, and sometimes even on Instagram, too. And don’t forget to join the The Homesteaded Homeschool Forum to be a part of the conversation.And don’t forget to pay Nicky P. a visit either at Sounds Like Liberty, or on bandcamp, and pick up a subscription to the Freedom Song 365 project.

Link to show notes for episode 15 with The Mt. Troll.

Privatizing Education with Arvin Vohra – Episode 014

Arvin Thumb Direct mp3 download.

Link to episode 14 on Libsyn.

This week the Liberty Hippie is joined by the former Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party, the one and only Arvin Vohra. Arvin is an author of a number of books, including How to Get Into an Ivy League College, and Lies, Damned Lies, and College Admissions: An Inquiry into Education, and the creator of the Vohra Method, a highly specialized tutoring and college preparatory program.

In this episode we talked about privatizing the public education sphere and the potential of what that might look like. We also discussed why the public school model is failing students and how children can benefit from enrolling in an alternative schooling method – homeschooling, private school, etc.

The Links

After the show, the Liberty Hippie carries on about one of his pet peeves around this time of year: the Vidalia Onion packing season. He gets into the problems with government protection of crops based on where they are grown or produced, and questions why the state should hold a trademark on an entire crop.

The Onion Links

If you’re enjoying the show, please support it on Patreon and get access to our fortnightly bonus material (and more!) (and if you don’t like Patreon, you can sign up to support the show on BitBacker!) You can also do your Amazon shopping through our Amazon link. Please subscribe and leave a review on the Apple iTunes Store (or on any podcatcher, though iTunes is the most important). You can also like us on facebook and share the show from there. We are on Twitter as @HSandHSpod, and sometimes even on Instagram, too. And don’t forget to join the The Homesteaded Homeschool Forum to be a part of the conversation.

And don’t forget to pay Nicky P. a visit either at Sounds Like Liberty, or on bandcamp, and pick up a subscription to the Freedom Song 365 project.

Link to show notes for episode 013 with Jason Carrier.

Turning Up the Homeschooling Volume with Raylene Lightheart – Episode #010

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Link to episode 10 on Libsyn.

The Homeschooling Liberty volume got cranked up to eleven this week as Raylene Lightheart of the Launch Pad Media and Blast Off with Johnny Rocket and Raylene Lightheart stopped by to do some talking about homeschooling. We talk about some of her experiences with public education – which are pretty daunting – and get into what it’s like homeschooling five kids with a wide variety in ages. Raylene also mentioned some excellent resources that provide both information and motivation for homeschooling families of any variety.

All the Links

After the interview with Raylene is over, the Liberty Hippie moves on to another free-market solution to climate change and carbon sequestration when he brings attention to a company called BioCarbon Engineering. BioCarbon works with drones to map land that has suffered from deforestation – man-made or natural – and then plants trees from the air!

Don’t forget to join the facebook group, The Homesteaded Homeschool Forum Facebook Group, to share your thoughts, ask questions, and make suggestions to help shape and direct the show!

If you really want to help the show grow, please subscribe and leave a review on the Apple iTunes Store (or on any podcatcher, though iTunes is the most important). You can also like us on facebook and share the show from there. We are on Twitter as @HSandHSpod, and sometimes even on Instagram, too.

If you feel so inclined to support the show financially you can click on the Amazon link in the side bar, or by checking out the Liberty Hippie’s bitbacker.io account, where you can show your support by donating Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash.

And don’t forget to pay Nicky P. a visit either at Sounds Like Liberty, or on bandcamp, and pick up a subscription to the Freedom Song 365 project.

And subscribe to the show!

Link to show notes for episode 009 with Julie Kirchner of Sadie-Girl Farm.

Voluntary Exchanges on the Homesteader’s Co-op – Episode #005


Direct mp3 download.

Link to episode 5 on Libsyn.

Episode 2 opened with a discussion of the Homesteader’s Co-op, a pretty sweet little website that provides store fronts for homesteaders to sell their wares. In this episode, the Liberty Hippie has the privilege of interviewing Noel, the guy behind the Homesteader’s Co-op. We discuss a bit about his present homestead set-up and then get into what the Homesteader’s Co-op currently is, and what Noel’s vision is for the future of the Homesteader’s Co-op.

All The Things We Talked About and More:

After the interview with Noel, the Liberty Hippie takes a look at some recent news items and state bills from around the country that will be quite problematic to homeschoolers and eventually, everyone.

All the Articles Discussed:

If you really want to help the show grow, please subscribe and leave a review on the Apple iTunes Store (or on any podcatcher, though iTunes is the most important). You can also like us on facebook and share the show from there. We are on Twitter as @HSandHSpod, and sometimes even on Instagram, too.

If you feel so inclined to support the show financially you can click on the Amazon link in the side bar, or by checking out the Liberty Hippie’s bitbacker.io account, where you can show your support by donating Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash.

Don’t forget to pay Nicky P. a visit either at Sounds Like Liberty, or on bandcamp, and pick up a subscription to the Freedom Song 365 project.

And subscribe to the show!

Link to show notes for episode 004 with Sherry Voluntary.

Podcast #4: Homeschooling and Unschooling with Sherry Voluntary

Direct mp3 download.

Link to episode 4 on Libsyn.

A change of format this week as the today’s show opens right into the interview with Sherry Voluntary. Sherry if a wonderful podcaster with lots of different shows out there, but she is also a homeschooling mother of two. We talked a little bit about her educational experiences growing up, and how she got to the point of homeschooling, and the eventual unschooling of her younger child. You can find Sherry and her work on any of the links below.

Find Sherry Here:

After the interview, the Liberty Hippie takes a look at an article from Indianapolis that talks about the shortcomings and overall problems with an incinerator and government involvement with some pretty absurd contracts.

If you really want to help the show grow, please subscribe and leave a review on the Apple iTunes Store (or on any podcatcher, though iTunes is the most important). You can also like us on facebook and share the show from there. We are on Twitter as @HSandHSpod, and sometimes on Instagram, too.

If you feel so inclined to support the show financially you can click on the Amazon link in the side bar, or by checking out the Liberty Hippie bitbacker.io account, where you can show your support by donating Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash.

Don’t forget to pay Nicky P. a visit either at Sounds Like Liberty, or on bandcamp.

Subscribe to the show!

Link to show notes for episode 003 with Harold Thornbro.

Over-hiking the Adirondacks: Part I

Without a doubt, National and State Parks make up the biggest “common” area for tax payers to explore and make use of; it is also a prime example of the tragedy of the commons in today’s world. To be fair, many users of these common areas are respectful of nature and follow the leave-no-trace philosophy, but no matter how careful users are, a single track trail can quickly become a herd path of three or four people wide simply from increased foot traffic and weathering; and of course, once this happens, it can be very difficult to recover. This article from the NY Times blames the advent of social media and geo-tagging (specifically Instagram) as an issue as it alerts too many people to picturesque areas that were otherwise only described as gritty contour lines on a map, while some natural areas – like the Adirondacks of NY – are facing issues from floods of tourists thanks to their close proximity to major cities, and tourism campaigns from the State.

Lake George
Looking down onto Lake George.

The Adirondack Park is a 6.2 million acre park in Upstate New York, making it the largest of it’s kind in the United States – it’s most recent addition to the park was in 2012 when Gov. Cuomo purchased 65,000+ acres for nearly $50 million – with almost half being protected as “forever wild” in the New York State constitution. Cuomo highly praised his own actions and initiated a hefty tourism program intending to bring people from the nearby Montreal and New York City to spend their money in the many tiny Upstate towns that reside within the boundaries of the Park. And, predictably, tourism increased. In 2015, Cuomo’s office issued a report that claimed tourism in the Adirondack park area was $1.3 billion dollars and generated $162 million dollars in state and local taxes. That is a lot of tourism and it is changing the landscape of the Adirondacks. Weekends leave the roads clogged with cars as they search for parking spots at the tiny trail heads, with many often just parking on the shoulders of the road.

Schroon Lake
Looking out onto Schroon Lake with the High Peaks region of the ADKs in the background.

While the increased tourism is beneficial to local economies, it has been rather detrimental to the local environment. A number of the Adirondack mountains were burned in the 1800’s to allow the peaks to be surveyed, and those that weren’t scorched were often logged quite heavily. These area’s are growing back (some old growth can still be found in some remote areas), but the peaks have been slow to recover. While only a fraction of the High Peaks consist of alpine climate, the tops of these mountains are rocky, cold, and windy, making growth slow and precarious. Trails are marked on rocks with yellow blazes and stone cairns. Through the stubby spruce branches, the trails sit lower than the dirt as they have been eroded down to the mountain rock. With increased foot traffic, these trails have widened, allowing rainfall to concentrate into small streams and erode even more of the trail, continuing the widening effect. On the peaks that do maintain alpine climates, the small and delicate plants that took years to grown are trampled and killed in a season underfoot of clumsy hikers and wayward dogs. There is also a huge environmental impact that comes with the increase of cars and litter.

NPT Sign
Signage on the Northville-Placid Trail.

This overuse issue is one that has been steadily ramping up over the past few years, forcing the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to take notice and put together some focus groups to help prevent future damage and control tourism. Much of what they have come up with, is more infrastructure: more kiosks with information about nearby underused trails, more signage directing travelers to the new kiosks, more electronic variable signs on the interstate connecting NYC to the High Peaks region, more public roadside restrooms, more parking spots, and better painted parking spots. They have even designed an “environmentally sustainable trail” to be cut-in in the hopes that it will redirect some hikers. (This, after Cuomo disregarded federal road sign regulations and put up 540 tourism signs through out New York at a cost of $8.1 million, only to be told to take them down or lose $14 million of Federal Highway Assistance funds.)

Just NPT
Hiking through Priests Vlei on the Northville-Placid Trail.

Of course, building new signs and suggesting that people find different “underused” trails may help to disperse some of the foot traffic, but it does not tackle the issue of overuse and many in the DEC and Adirondack Park recognize this. Not to mention all the signage and buildings will take a nice sized bite out of the taxes tourism has created, but it is also likely, many of the small towns and counties will end up footing the bill, while the state reallocates those tourism taxes to projects in the City.

There have been a few suggestions made that would cut back on traffic altogether, but as can be imagined, they are often met with a fair bit of resistance. The first idea centers around permits and is essentially two fold: permit fees will create revenue that could then be used to maintain high use trails while also acting as a deterrent for some luke-warm users. The second idea also focuses on reducing foot traffic by closing particular trails throughout the season, forcing hikers to go elsewhere. While both of these ideas have merit, they both have problems as well. Closing certain trails will reduce foot traffic, but it will also push that foot traffic elsewhere; it is just moving the problem from one location to another. And, of course, there is the likelihood that when the trail is reopened, the foot traffic is more intense as people look to get out on the trail while it is open. But then we get to the idea of permit fees.

Personally, I have no problem with permit fees to use certain areas of wilderness. It will probably keep some hikers that are just out for a glorious Instagram shot from ascending the peaks, and it will generate a revenue stream for maintaining the lands and trails. The issue with all this, is that these are not private lands, they are state lands, and every New Yorker and tax paying citizen across the country has had money taken from them to be used for maintenance of the Adirondack Park. Now the people that want to use the park will be paying for it twice.

NPT Stream

In Part II, I will examine where the newly acquired land came from and how it was being used prior to coming under NYS ownership, and perhaps a solution to the problems besieging the Adirondack Park.

Sow seeds of liberty so we can all reap sheaves of freedom together.

 

Reduce CO2 Emissions: Resign as World Police

Let’s talk CO2 for a minute. For the most part, the rhetoric surrounding climate change seems to focus on you and me, the little guys. We’re encouraged to use less energy, to buy electric or hybrid cars, and some states go so far as to mandate the use of solar panels in new homes (California).

Why don’t we focus on another group, maybe, say, the jet setters that travel the world in their private jets speaking out about climate change and carbon emissions. Why don’t we focus on US foreign interventionist policies?

In 2014, the DoD said they emitted 70 million tonnes of CO2 per year, but this doesn’t include military bases overseas, vehicles, or weapons. It also doesn’t include national security interests: LEO emergency response, tactical fleets, or intelligence work.

In the first four years of the Iraq war alone, we put 141 million tonnes of carbon into the air in the first four years. That’s the same as putting another 25 million cars on the road for a year.

And those are all things either oversees, or fighting “crime.” Just imagine all the resources that get burned up by the NSA and Homeland Security just by spying on their own people!

Why don’t the climate change folks talk about bringing our troops home and resigning as World Police as a massive way to reduce CO2 emissions? Why don’t they look at our government as part of the problem, not the solution?

USDA Funded Prisons = Rural Development?

It is no secret that the United States of America has the highest incarceration rate in the world. In fact, if we treat individual states as countries and compare them to the rest of the world, the top thirty spots would be held by individual states, even the lowest ranked state ends up 58th in the world, and the other eight countries in that list are not exactly countries that have shining human rights reputations: El Salvador, Turkmenistan, Cuba, Thailand, Rawanda, Russia, Panama, Coast Rica, and Brazil. This is a rather authoritarian group of countries that experience high levels of violent crime. In fact, El Salvador, Russia, Panama, and Brazil all have murder rates that are double that of the United States, and yet the US incarcerates more people.

According to the Bureau of Prison (BOP) statistics, the 46.1% of individuals incarcerated by the state are charged with “drug offenses,” followed distantly by “weapons, explosives and arson” at 17.9%, and in third place making up 9% of the incarcerated population are “sex offenses.” What is curious about this list is that each one of these categories undoubtedly holds a percentage of non-violent criminals: individuals using drugs, someone with an “illegal” gun, or those engaging in prostitution or otherwise consensual sex. In fact, the first category of crimes the BOP lists that consists solely of crimes with an apparent victim is “extortion, fraud, and bribery” with 6.4% of the population.

When we see that we are locking up a disproportionate amount of victimless drug crimes, as well as, other potentially non-violent crimes and that our incarceration rate outpaces the rest of the world (including all sorts of third world “shit holes”), we have to wonder, just what is going on. There is any number of reasons out there as to why we have such a high incarceration rate with some folks blaming it on a lack of present day education, and others seeing it as a throwback to our Puritan roots.

But when it is all distilled down, we see that our penal system is not one of correction, but one of corporatism and monopolistic force, backed up by the long arm of the law, not just by creating a War on Drugs and implementing draconian sentences, but also incentivizing incarceration by awarding contracts and providing funds to build new and bigger prisons.

In 1972, under President Nixon, the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (Con Act) was passed as a sort of safety net for areas dependent on agriculture, timber, mining, and other rural economies that were starting to lag. Since 1996, starting under President Bill Clinton, the Con Act has lended over $360 million to build prisons in rural areas, as they consider the construction of a prison as “rural development.” On the surface, this may seem well intended: we will always have prisoners, prisoners don’t stop during recessions, a prison can create numerous jobs - especially considering second tier businesses needed to support the demands of prison workers, but of course, this is only surface level. Many prison towns that have received federal money to build prisons have dealt with negative ramifications, some have actually lost money, and once a town becomes a prison town, it is near impossible to go back; there is no upgrading from a prison town to a web development town, or a tourist town. It seems that no matter what side of the prison system an entity gets involved with, there is no complete breaking free.

While many of these prisons are touted as being “private prisons,” the fact remains that the money to build the prisons is provided by the federal government and leaves little room for negotiation when it comes to policies that might actually help these prison-towns prosper. A prison is typically built with the idea that it will provide x-number of jobs, but once construction has been finished residents quickly realize that a good proportion of those jobs will be going to individuals already working for the prison firm and often go to non-residents, and even in those jobs that are actually created, there is a high level of turnover, and with the massive loan that the town and state needs to pay back, there is little recourse.

Unfortunately, even in areas where prisons do create economic development, many problems still arise, both political and moral. While it may be changing, when the census is taken, the prison population is included, creating a skewed view of the voting population (as prisoners do not vote) when it comes time to redraw districts and award electoral votes, especially considering that many of these prisoners do not come from the rural towns they are serving time in, or sometimes, even the same state. This creates political incentive for governors and congressmen to advocate for these federally funded prisons and keep beds filled, especially in areas that typically vote one way or the other. There has been some effort to change this, but it seems to be a slow going process.
Really, though, the biggest problem with our current model is the moral dilemma it places on areas that have become home to federally funded, corporatist prisons: empty beds do not pay. Many times, in fact, states will be on a contract that regulates prison occupancy, so now these rural communities that took federal loans through the Con Act are not only responsible for paying them back, but they are also responsible for keeping incarceration high. This incentivizes incarceration rates for all involved in the prison system, from police officers to prosecutors to probation boards. Unfortunately, this is not all conjecture as we have seen it happen with judges being indicted for racketeering.

And yet, despite having the highest incarceration rate in the world, despite having contracts with the State that regulate occupancy, despite a fading war on marijuana, despite the country being hopelessly in debt, despite politicians’ inability to pass a budget, the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act continues to dole out funds from the USDA budget to governors and towns advocating for bigger prisons. This is not rural development. These are not private prisons. They are prisons funded and regulated and incentivized by the Federal Government.

Forced Sharing is Socialist Indoctrination

No matter where on the political spectrum you fall, it is fairly well accepted that the public education system leans to the left; some simply accept this, others get angry, and still some enroll their children in private schools or even try their hand at homeschooling. Many of the latter accuse the schools of indoctrinating children into Statism or even Socialism. And while this may have some truth to it, there are some things parents do without recognizing that they are, in fact, indoctrinating their children into socialism right from their own home.

Most everyone has heard the little catch phrase before: “sharing is caring,” and while to some degree, it is, sharing can actually be rather sinister. The problem with sharing, is that it can diminish the importance of private property, individual ownership, and voluntary interactions.

In a classroom, most of the toys used are bought by the school or the teacher, they do not belong to the children and it is up to the administrators to make the rules surrounding how toys are shared. However, in the home, toys are usually purchased by an individual for a specific individual. At my house we have a few of those toys meant for large group play, specifically, a rickety jungle gym with a little climbing wall, a slide and two swings; we also have four children. This creates problems. We often resolve these problems by introducing a new object, or suggesting they take turns, but we do not actually force our children to get off a swing and give it to a sibling. Usually the suggestion to share is enough to persuade our children to behave differently, and if it’s not, we might lean a little harder with shoe-on-the-other-foot examples, but we never force a child off the swing.

We need to teach our children the voluntary actions of charity, not State sanctioned theft.
And then we also have those individual toys: the Batman action figure Grandma sent down, or the iPod Santa left behind. Too often, parents allow a child-owner of a toy to use the object, but when a sibling or friend wants to use it, the child-owner is forced into sharing. If you do not share, there are consequences that may involve time out, or shuttering of the toy, of course this is after the child that made the request to share has been given the object of their desire against the will of the owner. It may not seem like a big deal, after all, I am the parent and children should learn to listen to authority figures, right? But consider the message and the moral you are sharing: “It is okay for an authority figure to force someone to give up their private property to someone else who wants that property.” This is simply unacceptable. There is no need for this framework to ever be established, especially in the mind of a child. On top of this, it not only tells a child it is okay for an authoritarian force more powerful than you to take your property, it also tells a child it is fully acceptable to appeal to authority to use force on others so the appealer’s desires are met. It instills entitlement, which only furthers the acceptance of forced sharing.

Now, I am not suggesting voluntary sharing is a bad thing, or that we should not encourage children to share, but it should be on their terms. There is great importance in teaching children the value of charity, and the benefits of taking care of others when you can, but these are things that cannot be forced, and it must be understood that these things have limits. We need to teach children that being mindful of others has a place, but it is at their choosing. At the same time, we need to teach our children that sometimes, we will never be able to use a friend’s toy, nor may we ever be able to purchase the toy on our own and that is simply the way of life. We need to teach our children the voluntary actions of charity, not State sanctioned theft.

Continue reading “Forced Sharing is Socialist Indoctrination”