My thoughts on the LFTN Spring Workshop

I arrived on Wednesday and set up my tent at Base Camp and met my camping neighbor, his wife, and children. This would be the first time I had camped since my sons were in Cub Scouts.

I headed over to The Holler and saw many familiar faces from the Self Reliance Festival, some of whom were already good friends with my husband and I. We chatted, asked the new folks to join us, and got to know one another.

Thursday rained off and on. We had some great sessions.

Shawn Mills of Hack My Solar talked us through the Solar installation he was doing on the Holler Cabin and we walked over and he showed us the inverter, switches, and the lithium iron phosphate battery going into the install. They had already installed two panels and lifted two more up before pausing to run cable through the attic.

Janet Szabo of Buttercup Made talked about her business path, writing books about her passion come hell or high water, and teaching sewing classes. Later on, she gave an impromptu class on spinning with a drop spindle.

Patrick Roehrman of MT Knives gave a knife sharpening demonstration complete with a microscope display showing the change in the edge of the blade.

John Pugliano of Wealthsteading gave us an upbeat talk on the state of finance and that the lows in the economy just mean stocks are on sale. He showed how he tracks trends on the market and compared it with historical depressions and recoveries of yesteryear. It’s cyclical and that’s why he’s not worried, just making smart decisions.

Nicole had volunteers come up and tell their 5 minute story. Some were absolute farce and comedy for the crowd. Some were pretty darn inspiring.

There were also Salon sessions after the regular sessions. Folks that had something to share wrote their topics on the board and they met with folks that were interested.

Thursday night was an evening of karaoke, drink, and conversation. The obligatory fire circle appeared after dark. This was repeated Friday and Saturday nights.

Outside the Basecamp door, some of the attendees set up vendor tables. I feel bad that I didn’t get more photos, but I was having too much fun to worry about my camera that much.

Friday morning, a thunderstorm rolled in somewhere between 3 and 4 AM and made for a broken night’s sleep but the tent stayed dry inside.

After the rain, Friday turned out to be a beautiful day and work on the solar build continued. I believe that eight of the ten had been installed.

Tim Cook from Toolman Tim’s Workshop talked about breaking the Poverty Mindset and how to recognize if you’ve fallen into that pattern so you can redirect yourself.

Hogeye Harry talked about Thinking Outside of the Grid and shared his water pump solution to water his pigs and his Blackout Box he gifted to family members who were unprepared.

Image stolen from Kerry’s Facebook page

Kerry Brown of Strong Roots Resources took us out for a nature walk and named various plants found int he wilds of Tennessee. We stuck to the trail due to the presence of poison ivy.

Joel Ryals of Fortress K9 Defense talked about the nuts and bolts of how to start your own business. Not only did he  touch on defining your passion, defining your market, naming your business, and getting your social media presence in place, he also talked about the three paths to getting to full time and dropped a bunch of resources for folks to learn more. This was the talk that I personally needed the most.

Friday evening also added the Barter Blanket to the usual merriment and Kerry and Will played some live music.

Saturday was also a beautiful day. Shawn Mills presented the Skoolie build he had been working on with his daughter. They’ve been recording their progress and posting it to YouTube @busamove2000 .

Rebecca Cunningham (Red Flyer Media), who is the star videographer at Nicole’s events, also lives in a Skoolie and shared her differences and similarities with her short Skoolie.

John Willis of Special Operations Equipment presented in his usual “Ask me Anything” way and shared his story on learning how to work hard, how he learned to sew, and his challenges in finding good employees.

There were also round table discussions where the audience could ask questions of each of the presenters.

One of my personal highlights was getting to see the twin lambs that were born the week before and seeing how the sheep were doing. The change in the pasture is amazing and I look forward to seeing what Tactical does next.

Saturday, the power company informed Nicole that they were shutting off the power at 10 pm. Shawn finished the solar installation and programming and the system had a “trial by fire”. After sorting out a problem with the water pump wiring, all was good.

There was also a Rum Tasting that was fun, but I’m too much of a heathen to be able to taste “notes of fig newtons” or “smokey oak”. Maybe it’s a good thing I’m not that familiar. 😉

Other things I heard about but was not present for was a food preservation talk by Nicole of Holler Roast Coffee and the Living Free in Tennessee podcast.

Steve Eversole gave a tour of the newly built Holler Roost. The chickens have not moved in yet.

Becky Cook gave a Salon about starting her Child Daycare business and how she’s grown and preparing to franchise.

Nighthawk gave a Salon on making perogies.

Someone did a talk on Amateur (Ham) Radio. (Sorry, didn’t catch your name.)

And there were probably more things I missed, but I’m sure other folks will fill in the blanks.

I did not feel sad leaving the Holler Homestead and the new friends I had made; it was not goodbye, only farewell until next time.