I’m very much the personality type INTJ, the scientist or systems builder. I place a high value on useful directly gathered information which I then am compelled to implement into functional systems. I mostly love being this way and having the special skills and drive to make things happen and manifest objects and systems from facts and concepts. However, INTJ’s tend to have trouble relating to most people or engaging in “normal” social interactions and customs, and in this I’m no exception. We tend to be critical of our own efforts and products, but that drives us to produce quality products and results. I may be critical of my efforts, but when things work out I’m my own biggest fan! For instance, my pepperoncini are freakin’ awesome!!!!! My interests are broad and my focus often intense and fairly exclusive.
I’ve been a practitioner of what most people would consider outdated knowledge and skills for many years starting to be very interested in them from about the age of 16. I’m a natural teacher and get some fulfillment out of relaying information to people that I feel can benefit from it. I’ve taught and written about such things for most of the time I’ve been interested in them. My need to implement facts and concepts into functional systems or products has led me to the project I’m most involved in right now of homesteading 40 acres in Northern California where my goal is to figure out how to live a sane and fulfilling lifestyle here in this area, and more specifically on this particular piece of land.
Some interests of mine;
Playing: I’m a guitar player with broad tastes and playing styles. I don’t always play what I listen too in terms of styles. I always intend to develop more in this area as it gives me another language in which to express myself that is distinctly different from other human means of expression, but it often takes a back seat. I have a lot of natural talent in this area that won’t likely be developed.
Listening: My passion is generally discordant, violently intense metal… especially Death and Black metal generas. I grew up on 80’s hardcore punk which I still love, but largely bypass in favor of more developed metal styles. These musical generas while making most people run the other way and feel attacked, offer me an experience that resonates with my often intense frustration with dealing with broader society and conventions which I find, in substitute for a string of other descriptors, LAME! I also listen to other styles and appreciate a good bit of classical music for it’s complexity and expressiveness. Skill and good studio production are not necessarily prerequisite to my enjoyment of music. However, I’m also an audiophile and have spent way too much time geeking out over audio equipment. In this area I’m all about tubes (valves). I repair vintage tube audio gear now and then.
My primary focus in this area is edible and useful plants, both wild and domestic… not only growing them, but also actually using them in our systems here.
Gardening/Horticulture: My goals in this area tend toward minimum outside inputs, development of systems that work well here and in the life of the homestead, appropriate productivity and high quality. I enjoy food and cooking a lot and most years I’m experimenting with new varieties to find better flavor, disease resistance and productivity. Part of this whole process is to expand knowledge and experience in cooking, processing, using and preserving of edible and useful plants. I manage a large garden (usually with help from friends and family) and have overseen the planting, care and training of over 70 (make that well over 100 and counting) fruit and nut trees on the land through the past 3 years or so most of which I have grafted myself to carefully selected varieties. Many more trees are on the way! I have an apple tree with 60 (make that about 90) distinct varieties grafted onto it.. and counting (make that 140+).
Wild plants: I have a broader than average knowledge of edible and useful plants and the ways that they grow and fit into their environments. While wild plants currently make up a relatively small portion of the diet, I find this knowledge useful and enlightening and relish the select items that I do consume in quantity, like wild mushrooms and berries.
I’m all about moving toward very localized cuisine and not in a trendy way. I enjoy cooking much of the time and creating good tasting food from what’s available. I like healthy food that looks and tastes good and leaves me feeling good after I eat it too…. not bloated, overstuffed, toxic or still hungry (unless I am planning to eat more!)
My propensity to gain detailed understanding in subjects and my drive to relate useful information to people makes how-to writing a natural pursuit. It can be torturous at times, but overall I enjoy the process and the feeling of being able to put my knowledge to use and have a chance to relate practical and philosophical ideas. I’ve been criticized for going on rants and injecting too much philosophy into practical texts, but I think it can be essential to understand the motives of the writer and the ethical and philosophical framework in which they live. Perspective and Context are important concepts to me, because without considering them we end up making really dumb decisions.
Philosophy to me must serve an end. Strictly intellectual pursuits bore me. However, I spend a fair amount of time thinking about and discussing my philosophies as they form the framework in which I work and make decisions and are extremely important in that regard. Key to my philosophical outlook is that I believe the general attitude of the universe is indifference. That means I do not believe in a “god” or a directing force of any kind that is concerned with us or the appropriateness of our behavior. Not only that, but I see religious beliefs as generally destructive and distracting which puts me in a very small minority.
(aka primitive technology): I was obsessed with this subject for many years and became proficient in some skills. It is a deep and open ended subject that a person could expend lifetimes on. I still plan to write up more of my knowledge in this area as I think these skills are worth keeping alive and I think my particular understanding and the way I can present it will be found useful by others. The understanding of basic technologies and the requisite knowledge of natural materials and systems required to be good at it, gives me a perspective that is uncommon in the society I live in. Tamara Wilder and I co-wrote Buckskin: the ancient art of braintanning and founded a business called paleotechnics. which she now runs almost single handedly as I’m busy with other things. I do, however, write most of the paleotechnics blog which is focused on ancestral skills and related stuff.
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