Hot day at FeF 97 degrees F and 97% humidity

At home in Klagenfurt I have a cleaning lady come in once a week, I really hate cleaning and what it does to my hands!

At FeF I clean everything from the dishes to the kitchen, from the floor in my room to the latrine bucket from my outhouse. I still hate cleaning and what it does to my hands! It hurts. But I do it without complaining because I have a contract, an agreement with Marcin and Factor e Farm.

At home in Klagenfurt I go to the beauty parlor and have my hair, hands and feet done every two weeks or so. I really enjoy it a lot to be pampered that way.

At FeF I rinse off my hair with water while taking a solar shower. I didn’t know how terrible I looked till my sweet neighbor gave me a little mirror. Of course the mirror did not improve my looks! I’m thinking about shaving my head, that would eliminate this problem totally. My manicure and pedicure have been replaced by torn fingernails and dirty toes. I must be growing a new skin on my hands, the old one is coming off in big patches. Do I like it? Absolutely not, actually I hate it! It hurts. Do I complain? No, because I have a contract, an agreement with Marcin and Factor e Farm.

At home in Klagenfurt I regularly meet with friends and family at my comfortable place or in one of the many little street cafes in town or at the famous Woerthersee (Lake Woerthersee). We order a cup of espresso or later in the afternoon a “White Spritzer”, listen to music, talk, hang out… It’s great to have family and friends close by.

At FeF I have met three very friendly neighboring families. We don’t meet a my place or in a café in town, we don’t have coffee or a White Spritzer together, listen to music etc. I do miss my family and friends… it hurts. Do I complain? No, because I have a contract, an agreement with Marcin and Factor e Farm.

At home in Klagenfurt I have my own business: translations (especially websites) from German to English and business English training. I started this company when I was 66 years old and it’s what I really love doing. I have put this business on hold for 2 ½ months to help Marcin at FeF.

At FeF I do a lot of weeding, every day for about 2 hours. My fingers hurt, my back hurts. I do a lot of manual labor that is asking a lot of this 71 year old body. Every night after taking a shower I assess the new damage to my body: the cuts, the crapes, the bruises, the general hurts. With time my body will have to get used to it, now it just hurts. Do I complain? No, because I have a contract, an agreement with Marcin and Factor e Farm.

All of these hurts I can take head on and will even get used to. What really hurts me deeply, makes me cry, I don’t understand and never will get used to, are the many hateful and destructive comments some of you have written on our blog.

Constructive criticism is very helpful but intentionally hurting someone is evil.

There will be no rebuttals from us. Time and energy are precious, we need both to do our work here at Factor e Farm – because we have a contract, an agreement with Factor e Farm.


  1. Nicola Larosa

    I do not have “a contract, an agreement with Factor e Farm”. I’ve been a True Fan, but I just ended it, because I do not like Marcin’s, and now your, way of dealing with people.

    This is not constructive, but is not meant to be hateful, nor hurting. I appreciate your efforts, and I wish you good luck with them.

  2. vera

    Inga, you have taken on a lot, and bravely. I am sad to see that you are unable to hear the criticism offered here, especially since it was you guys who initially vilified your coworkers. Dealing well with criticism is crucial to any successful project. I have been a silent fan-at-a-distance and I too withdraw my support.

    Best of luck for the upcoming workshop, and anything else you attempt there. You sounds like a pretty amazing person in a whole lot of ways. May this adventure be more joy than grief to you.

  3. Michael

    As Eric Raymond famously stated, “Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow”

    I feel like Factor e has such a devoted community that is willing to point out the ‘bugs’. Now it is up to the project lead to either take these suggestions into account and integrate them, or watch as a significant ‘fork’ of the Factor e and OSE projects occurs.

    Best of luck.

  4. Joel

    I am so sorry to hear about all the pain you are experiencing from so many sources, and admire your fortitude in facing it.

    The internet can be powerful, but it can also be childish and cruel. It reminds me of a pagan god in some respects.

    It’s tough to clean without drying out your skin, and nearly impossible to handle straw without getting splinters. Similarly, applying your psyche to the internet will expose it to toxic, abrasive, and/or barbed environments. If only there were some sort of gloves to wear while doing this sort of work.

  5. Jeremy

    When I get some money I’m going to get a water purifier, which I would have set up if I had stayed. It’s only about $100, can be set up to do an automatic gravity feed, is small enough to be portable, and is a purifier which gets out almost everything, as compared to a filter which only gets out most stuff.

    You could try getting some gloves for weeding. I had some pretty good gloves that Ken left, they were yellow leather Wells Lamont gloves which even now are slightly usable. They lasted through a lot of heavy lifting but since you’re just pulling weeds most regular cotton/rubber padded gloves should work. There are probably some in the bucket or pot that’s filled with gloves around the cordwood or old workshop area.

    I don’t know of anything that can be done about aches and pains, sorry. If your wrists hurt from repetitive stress then you can do a wrist stretch, but be careful and don’t hurt yourself.

    Since you are older I would say not to push yourself too much. Also, why are you weeding so much? The mulching thing seems to be working well to keep the weeds down for the time that the plants need, despite Ben’s worries about the future of that process. I’d say just let the garden go and work on something else, since it’s so messed up and Marcin is fine with going to the store for food. I read Fukuoka’s One Straw Revolution and have been asking Ben about the possibility of U.S. temperate “do-nothing” farming and he says it could be possible.

    Another good thing happened on our trip to California: I got to meet some of my long lost family!

    Take care.

    (another hateful and destructive comment)

  6. Kevin Carson

    “Hateful and destructive”? Pot, meet kettle. You should either learn to stop before you click on “Post,” or develop a thicker skin about the responses. From what I saw of the comments at your original post, all were valid and constructive criticisms of your and Marcin’s leadership style, as the commenters perceived them. (Well, Ben’s comment was pretty hateful, but if I’d been treated that way it would take me a long time to get over the rage and sense of betrayal, as well).

    If you’re going to get past this and get the project going (and I hope you do–I’ve been an enthusiastic promoter and a true fan, and intend to remain so), you’re going to have to make a serious effort to make amends. That means not only for the latest accusation and expulsion, but for what (by what I’ve read between the lines in your own post and what many others have corroborated in the comments) some very authoritarian attitudes and treatment of long-term stakeholders as expendable raw materials.

    When I read that bit about the solar concentrator as a metaphor for focus and unity of will, I was thoroughly creeped out. I have to admit, it’s certainly a high-tech update on the old symbol of a bunch of sticks tied around a central axe-handle. You can finally afford to let go and allow genuine democracy and P2P principles, once the Vanguard has built True Communism? Ever hear the expression “the means are the end in progress”? If people can’t be trusted to use their own judgment in the process of building a new society, how will you ever determine the point at which the new society is sufficiently built to free them from Dear Leader’s guidance?

    And most important, you’re going to have to lose the defensive attitude in the face of fully justified lashing out by the people you’ve wronged. It’s EXTREMELY lame and self-serving to say “Well, sorry ’bout that. OK, no more hateful and destructive comments, starting… NOW!” I don’t think Ben and Jeremy need permission to be angry.

    I do hope, however, they will give you a chance to make amends and that the project will continue. There is so much institutional memory and tacit knowledge about the ongoing projects concentrated at that one place, it would be really hard to recapitulate what’s already been done based only on published accounts and video footage. But if this has to be a “fork,” I hope as many people as possible will start trying to build on the vision as quickly as possible.

  7. Erik de Bruijn

    Based on the information we get, which is obviously inaccurate, a lot of people are simply showing that they are concerned. Concerned because they don’t just favour the goals you are trying to reach, but also the people that are doing it. Of course the two are highly interrelated. The project is about creating sustainability, but it’s not sustainable in itself if there is so much dissonance among its members. I think that because of the goals of FeF, it also allows for the very positive ambiance that hopefully FeF hasn’t permanently lost.

    I also won’t stop supporting FeF. A crisis can lead to the changes that are needed in a way that gradual change won’t. I hope that this crisis will lead to the needed change to work productively and harmoniously (again), which would be two requirements for having my long term support. If not, even while so much knowledge is codified, the energy and tacit knowledge that is lost is a huge waste. The initial ideas might live on in another project, which I will then support. But let’s give the the people at FeF some time.

  8. Kevin Carson

    Ben: As justified as I believe your rage is, I repeat my concern that the work of OSE go on even if it requires a fork.

    If there remains any way to make amends to you and Jeremy, I hope Marcin does it–even if it requires crawling on his hands and knees to do so. I vehemently agree with Marcin that the OS village development toolkit, as a package, is of monumental importance, and that it may well be the core of the organized base of decentralized production knowledge that will enable resilient communities all over the world to survive the coming Time of Troubles. The project is bigger than Marcin’s ego, and I hope he will see the desperate need to rein it in before he utterly destroys the project.

    If not, I hope he finds some staff who are willing to continue the projects underway–and that he’s learned something about how to treat people.

    If the projects must fork, I hope everyone involved will do everything possible to facilitate the dispersal of the designs and knowledge to date to every design/manufacturing network out there that is capable of building on it. Perhaps Franz, in particular, can use the Global Village network to put as many OS manufacturing groups as possible in touch with OSE.

    I am particularly concerned that the workshop project be developed, especially the combination RepRap and the $1500 CNC multi-machine.

  9. Lawrence

    I’m actually curious myself. As far as I know, I’m showing up there in a week ready to build a cnc based torch table.

    This wasn’t how I wanted to introduce myself, but I don’t know how closely Marcin keeps personnel recruitment efforts.

    I was hoping to meet Ben and Jeremy as they both have much to teach. I’m also leery of hostility towards new members, and I hope that regardless of how events unfold, that the air is cleared before I get there.

  10. Lawrence

    Mmm, fresh meat, seriously though. I’m treating this like a job, and with any job you get a contract of employment, which is a legally binding document.

    I’m a recent Comp Sci student and use to being exploited for pennies because I don’t know my worth. Honestly, I hope to bring some credibility back, if for any reason than to avoid being embarrassed by putting this on my resume.

    Factor e Farm a meat grinder? I’ll make it choke first.

    Wish me all the idealistic luck you can, I’ll need it. I’m off to learn contract law. Also, think what Linux would be like without the GPL.

  11. Franz Nahrada

    Lawrence, I wish you good luck. This actually IS an employment situation – I assume without monetary pay. Please correct me if I am wrong. If Marcin works out the details with you, that could be a good precedent and orientation for others. In the long run, dedicated project visits might be something like supported fellowships. So people from the supporting side could contribute to your or anybodies monetary sustainability while you pursue a negociated goal at FeF.

  12. Marcin

    Franz, exactly, this is a promising opportunity to show the method for scaling FeF open product development efforts. We learned that the rigor is well worth it, and we will not repeat this mistake. We will respond shortly.

  13. voiceofreason

    a voice of reason from way back in Dec

  14. Joel

    >>“Weeding? It has no value…”
    >Does anyone really believe this?

    Some experienced gardeners/horticulturists believe that a mature system of plants and animals will contain such limited niches for weeds that they will remain a minority, to be preserved for the sake of diversity and for any unforseen benefits they may offer.

    Most writers with this opinion seem to recognize the value of speeding the succession from weedy pioneers to more-stable species. Even Fukuoka (Mr. Do-Nothing himself!) advocated scything weeds from fully-developed orchards. During a radical transition, like the one you guys are bringing about, some method of control seems absolutely essential.

    The “no value” statement sounds a bit doctrinaire to me, although within a very limited definition of “weeding” (“crushing any dandelion that dares mar the perfection of my manicured lawn” and similar) I would have to agree.

  15. Joel

    I should correct myself:

    Ruth Stout did say something to the effect of “weeding has no value”, but she suggested we invert any portion of the growing medium that sprouted weeds (see e.g. Mother Earth News, Feb/Mar ’04) or otherwise cover them.

  16. Kevin Carson

    I tried the Ruth Stout thing, but it just doesn’t work out very well near Bermuda grass (unless you’re willing to dig the equivalent of a tank trap around your garden like she did).

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