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Vicki,

Another option is to pay $100 each to come here as a gapper, then earn enough bounties to pay the $1200 ant fee. At least one ant already did this.
 
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I have considered that option and I may end up doing that if nothing else comes up.
Thank you for the suggestion.
 
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Hi to everyone! We are Brooke & Jason Northrup, just sent our $1200.00 over to Paul.... super excited to be an Ant! I think we are spot #11? Got lots of pod casts to get going on now:)
 
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Jason Northrup wrote:Hi to everyone! We are Brooke & Jason Northrup, just sent our $1200.00 over to Paul.... super excited to be an Ant! I think we are spot #11? Got lots of pod casts to get going on now:)



Jason, for the sake of official stuff - I take it that you are the official ant?

When do you think we might see you?

----



Well, that's it ....



there is exactly one ant spot left!



the first person to pony up the $1200 gets the last spot.

 
Jason Northrup
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Hi! Yes, Jason can be the official ant!

Shooting to be up there in about a month....mid-July or August. Tying up the last loose ends, then it's Montana or bust! Both of us will be working on the pod casts before arrival.

Questions:
1) Mailing address? Is it best for us to get a po box in Missoula for mail?
2) Are we allowed to do any hunting or snare trapping on your private land (or our little acre) without any license or permits? (All the hunting bureaucracy made my brain do flip flops, lol)
3) Are the bows and arrows, I've seen in the photos, made at Wheaton Labs? The bow kinda looks like the ones I've seen made from old skis. Either way, very coolio.

Thanks for this amazing & affordable opportunity to grow, in more ways than one! Looking forward to diggin in the dirt!

 
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Jason Northrup wrote:Hi! Yes, Jason can be the official ant!

Shooting to be up there in about a month....mid-July or August. Tying up the last loose ends, then it's Montana or bust! Both of us will be working on the pod casts before arrival.

Questions:
1) Mailing address? Is it best for us to get a po box in Missoula for mail?
2) Are we allowed to do any hunting or snare trapping on your private land (or our little acre) without any license or permits? (All the hunting bureaucracy made my brain do flip flops, lol)
3) Are the bows and arrows, I've seen in the photos, made at Wheaton Labs? The bow kinda looks like the ones I've seen made from old skis. Either way, very coolio.

Thanks for this amazing & affordable opportunity to grow, in more ways than one! Looking forward to diggin in the dirt!



Welcome Brooke and Jason - WOOHOO!


1) I will explain this when I send directions. There are a few options for mail.
2) The legal, official answer, I think, is that hunting and snare trapping are by permit only, even on private land. I think I have heard of some provisions for when/if someone feels threatened by wildlife, they are allowed to defend themself with lethal force. Though don't quote me on that one!
3) There are some bows and arrows here! More about that in an e-mail.

We're looking forward to meeting you in July or August!

 
paul wheaton
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Spot #12 is taken!

Update:   they backed out.  Spot #12 is still available.


Two people.  A couple.  He's the ant.   And they prefer to be anonymous at this time.   They have been reading these forums for years and are now making the leap!



For anybody thinking that they wish to be an ant ...  there is a chance.  Curtis has not been here this year.   I got an email from him in april that suggested that he might not be coming back.   I sent him an email just now to ask if he is willing to relinquish his spot.   So .... there is a chance.



 
paul wheaton
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I have a reply from curtis.   He says that he will not be returning this year.  Hopefully somebody will take his spot and make sure there is a completion to the ant village challenge.
 
paul wheaton
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Spot #12 is available again.  Apparently, the guy from this couple is still up for it, but the gal has changed her mind.
 
paul wheaton
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spot #12 is taken  




Janet Branson is ant #12.   She has been here for a few months as "resort manager" - so she has a really clear idea of what she is getting into.  
 
paul wheaton
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Spot #4 is now available.  Curtis tells me that he won't be returning to ant village this year.
 
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Hello Ants!

I hope I am posting in the right place.  I am currently visiting a friend nearby, and am interested in coming and doing some work at the lab, if I can (by which I mean doing work for you is the way I would wish to spend my time there).  

New to permaculture.  
Have listened to 50 podcasts.  
Have some conventional building experience, and have some basic tools with me (though I saw somewhere Ants were recommending bringing a hatchet and a hand saw?  Could pick these up if still recommended).  You are welcome to put me to work doing the digging, hauling, or whathaveyou.
Willing to pay the Gapper fee or be an Ant guest.  And would prefer to earn back my fees if possible.

My schedule is fairly loose.  I could come in a few days, and stay for anywhere from a day to a week.

Can I be of use to anyone?

Jonathan.


 
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jonathan kipp wrote:Hello Ants!

Can I be of use to anyone?

Jonathan.




Hi Jonathan, I would be willing to host you in exchange for your help.  I've got a lot of work to do in order to get my house ready to bury.  It sounds like you have your own transportation, so I will host you without any fees, just help me out and feed yourself.  How long are you looking to stay?
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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jonathan kipp wrote:Hello Ants!

I hope I am posting in the right place.

Can I be of use to anyone?

Jonathan.



Welcome to the forums, Jonathan! What an awesome first post! Sounds like Jesse happy to work things out with you.


 
Jesse Grimes
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Hey Paul, for clarity's sake what are the official dates of Winter for the Ant Village challenge?  Are we using the calendar dates of December 21st to March 20th?  
I have some permaculture design jobs I would like to schedule.
 
paul wheaton
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Jim asked me this about three weeks ago.  I told him October 15 to march 15.  

 
paul wheaton
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paul wheaton
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I updated the first post.  

The price for an ant village plot is now $900 for a one acre plot from now through the end of 2017.  With that comes "fysh" which can be used for:  excavator, tractor, truck, shop access, tools, dump trailer, flatbed trailer, sawmill, solar voltswagon, solar leviathan, access to the fisher price house, etc.

 
paul wheaton
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Current ants:


Started 2015:

evan
jesse
jim
ben (*)


started 2016:

sean
steve
janet



 
paul wheaton
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questions from my email:


Are there "Ant Village" plots available?



There are five.


What is the cost these days?
How long is this agreement for?



$900 takes you through to the end of 2017.

Rent for 2018 will be 120 fysh.


Would "boots to roots" be an optional way to convert an "Ant" plot into a "deep roots" plot?



Yes.  Any ant is welcome to join the boot-to-roots program to get their plot converted to deep roots.  Of course, only if there are openings in the permaculture bootcamp program.


Does the "deep roots program" involve ownership or do they have to pay rent forever?



A person with a deep roots plot does not pay any more rent.  It is as if they paid "rent for life".





 
paul wheaton
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Due to the recent questions, I spent some time visiting with jocelyn and fred and we decided that a person could, if they want, work five weeks in our permaculture bootcamp program in exchange for a 2017 ant plot.   Provided, of course, that there are openings in the bootcamp program (there currently are) and available ant plots (there currently are).


 
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Paul, I am still interested in coming up there in some capacity. I just read through this entire thread about ant village and I wondered about how the ants have set up things like having a mailing address. Do they have other homes or are they receiving mail to a P.O. box or did they just quit the grid entirely and head for the hills?

I am also trying to determine the best course of action for myself. I signed up with woofers and had been looking for Permaculture communities but I was looking back east because all of my tools, including my old hand tools which I have accumulated over the years are still in storage back in New Haven, CT. I have no current revenue stream or savings and I am not even sure I know what I could do at Wheaton Labs to make money just yet. I just have building skills and some art and music ability tossed in there but not really on-line savvy enough to drum up e-business. You guys make it look easy. Are ants teaming up at this point in their evolution to group think revenue opportunities to draw attention to themselves, their products or services, or to champion Wheaton Labs in any way, to bolster support for the whole team At Wheaton Labs?

I guess I want to know is if they have evolved into a community among themselves in a mutually supportive way?

Remember, there are no stupid questions, just stupid people. I was only born at Yale, I didn't attend the university.

 
paul wheaton
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there are no stupid questions



Do I like pie?


gary james wrote: I wondered about how the ants have set up things like having a mailing address. Do they have other homes or are they receiving mail to a P.O. box or did they just quit the grid entirely and head for the hills?



Some get zero mail.  So I guess it is a flavor of "off grid".  I find this path really impressive.  I doubt I could ever do it, but that is mighty impressive.

Most folks get their mail at basecamp.



I have no current revenue stream or savings and I am not even sure I know what I could do at Wheaton Labs to make money just yet.



To be an ant, you would need to at least start off with the rent for the first year.  It sounds like you don't have that, so my guess is that you could go for being a gapper for one of the ants: kai has been here as a gapper for about two years and he has worked something out with Evan.  Ben has been here for about a year - he started as a gapper, but is now an ant.

Naturally, there is the permaculture bootcamp: come work for 21 months and get a deep roots plot.  You get fed and get a bunk along the way.

As for earning money here while being an ant:  right now the ant can come and spend a week or two in the bootcamp program if they want food and fysh (for ant rent, or to rent the tractor, etc.);  Jocelyn has had a fair bit of work that needs doing and she is paying cash.  And we have a neighbor that has hired ants in the past.  We have some deep roots folks that have offered to hire ants and gappers in the past.  When we have events, we tend to buy food - so if somebody grew a fair bit of food, we would buy.  And a few ants have tried their hand at teaching workshops.  


Are ants teaming up at this point in their evolution to group think revenue opportunities to draw attention to themselves, their products or services, or to champion Wheaton Labs in any way, to bolster support for the whole team At Wheaton Labs?



I think there are times when they do barn raisings.  And there are definitely collaborative workshops.  I do think there is a fair bit of cooperative efforts.


I guess I want to know is if they have evolved into a community among themselves in a mutually supportive way?



I think there is a fair bit of that.  Jim led a workshop last year on janet's plot.   And Jim tested out slip straw stuff on ben's plot.  I think there are plenty of examples of cooperation and collaboration.  I'm not sure if they would wave that banner as it doesn't seem like a formal program - it's more like ....    they tend to just help each other as the whim strikes.


 
paul wheaton
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Jocelyn has asked me to re-address some points from the very first post.  

In the first post I said:

Income opportunities:

1) I hope that at least a few ants arrive with residual income streams.

2) I think some ants will arrive with some sort of on-line or long distance biz.

3) I think some deep roots people and some ants will be hiring for short term or long term. I can think of a few things for which I would be willing to pay.

4) I suspect that most ants will have a little something in the bank for tools, materials, seeds, food for the first year, etc.

5) I suspect that there will be other income opportunities once in a while.

6) There is no guarantee of income. Part of the mission for ant village is to end up in a state where your income needs are very small.

7) Develop income with videos or books about this experience. Check out jesse's patreon account and Evan's patreon account.  



Other stuff:

8 )  A few ants and gappers have scored some work with a neighbor.

9) I had the bounty program for a while, but when I had my spinal cord thing, that coin dried up.   I'm working on getting some cash flow back so that we can do that again.  In the meantime, the bounty program is running on fysh - which is really only exchangeable for rent or equipment rental.

10)  If people don't have their food systems running, they can join the bootcamp and get food and fysh.  At least while there are openings in the bootcamp.

11)  sometimes I have online stuff that needs to be done and I pay cash for that.

12)  jocelyn will hire people to clean periodically - especially around events, and that pays cash.

13)  some of the ants have taught workshops and received coin for that.

14)  we have advertised for people to rent out our structures, organize workshops, teach workshops, etc. -- these are more like things where we can help a person get started, but it would be your own business.   I think there is the potential for some of these to make a professional wage.

15)  growing and selling food.  For the recent PDC and ATC we spent thousands on food - I would much rather buy from the ants.



Some people have asked about the idea of a commuter job.  In other threads we mention that that is not okay here.  So when you come, you need to have something already figured out.  The idea is that this project is for people that are trying to discover their inner gert.  Not a freaky cheap place to camp while working a commuter job.

I think that ant village and deep roots is for folks that are debt free and ready to come try something like this.  To see if they can create their own little gert paradise.  So they might have already saved up something for this shift, or they have a plan.  I suppose it is possible for somebody to pay the ant fee and arrive with 20 cents and make a go of it.   I don't know how they would pull it off, but I suppose it can be done.





 
paul wheaton
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Jocelyn asked me to provide some clarification here on a point that somebody made.   This is paraphrasing:

Paul has the ability to kick everybody off.  You cannot create community when one person has all the power.



I suppose if you look at somebody buys an apartment building and rents out all the units, then it is pretty much the same thing.  The owner of the building has the power to kick everybody out.  

Of course, at the same time, the renter has the freedom to leave at any point - even if the building owner is depending on that rental income.  

This is a transaction.   Either party can terminate at any time for any or no reason.  An ant can leave because they fell in love with somebody in seattle.   Or because they found another community that they like better.   Or because ....   they just wanna.  

When exploring consensus based systems, or other decision making processes, there is always a way to remove a person from the group.   In this case, the system is much simpler.   I have the ability to decide - just like the guy that owns the building.   Unlike the guy with the building, I have provided hundreds of podcasts so folks can get an idea whether or not that would happen.  And then there is my motivation:  to get lots and lots of permaculture folks innovating the future of permaculture.

So far, no ant has been booted.

If this is in any way disconcerting, then definitely do not come here.  Of course, if you find this disconcerting, I'm not sure how you would ever rent any place.

Another idea:  be the change you wish to see.   Buy land and manage it the way you think is best.

 
paul wheaton
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I received a question through a long, roundabout channel:

Everybody knows that you should never improve a rental property, because once it is improved, the landlord will jack up the rent and then you can't afford it anymore.  But this seems to be entirely what the ant program is all about.  How can an ant be sure that you won't jack up the rent after they have improved the plot?



I think every ant needs to be certain that I am totally going to jack up the rent.   If nothing else, I am currently spending more on ant village than I receive in rent - so it isn't sustainable.  Just the cost of keeping the excavator running is huge.  

And there are more projects to benefit the ants.  Each will come with expense and while I have subsidized in the past, I do like the idea that there will be enough forward momentum at some point that I won't need to subsidize anymore.

In fact, for a lot of the ants, I have given ridiculously cheap rent for 2017 and one of them I have given free rent for 2017.

My current thinking is that some day the rent will probably cap out at $2000 per year (or about $167 per month -- but this can change).  And I like to think that at least a few of the ants would cover that in some sort of trade.  

I think the best way to answer this question is through listening to the podcasts.   Most of those podcasts were from before I bought land.  And included my struggle to get land.   And then I would think that my actions speak louder than any words I can throw down.  i have given away an enormous amount of stuff because I am bonkers about permaculture.   I have dropped a lucrative career to try and do permaculture according to my vision.  

I think I have an excellent track record so far.   I have been giving people more than a year of notice of what the rent will be (I cannot guarantee it will always be that way, but that is what i have done so far).  At the same time, I have gifted some rent reductions for lovely accomplishments.  And at the same time, I have received a lot of really cool gifts from the ants.  Plus, the ants have received some really cool stuff from the ant love and gapper love programs.   I think there is a pretty healthy gift economy going on.

So the question might be answered with a slightly different question "Is this guy for real?  Is he really this bonkers about permaculture?"  I suspect most people will listen to the podcasts and quickly come to the conclusion "this guy is shit."  But this project is not for those people.   This project is for the very few people that think I am legit and this is awesome.  And the only way I can prove this is when we get ants that have been here for ten years and are glad they gave it a shot.   And at the ten year mark, if we have an awesome community, why would I want any path other than it for to continue on that forward track?

So the best answer I can give to this question is "my plan is to build an amazing permaculture community.  Permaculture is a perennial system, and that includes having perennial people.  I cannot possibly prove my words are true until we have decades behind us.   To try to get to the point that I can prove my words are true, i am trying to subsidize this project heavily.  To make your own decision about whether I am sincere or full of shit, I have provided an enormous amount of free information (podcasts, videos, articles, essays, etc.)."  
 
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I visited Ant Village yesterday per invitation...
antvillageFEET02.jpg
[Thumbnail for antvillageFEET02.jpg]
The people of Ant Village.
 
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Awesome, Davin!  Is food growing over there?  Is there still water in the ponds?  I hope you encouraged them to post something here.  I miss their former postings.  
 
Davin Hoyt
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Kerry Rodgers wrote:Awesome, Davin!  Is food growing over there?  Is there still water in the ponds?  I hope you encouraged them to post something here.  I miss their former postings.  



Yes to all.

I had Evan show me his wofati (with cool clean air inside). We sat out front in the shade of it's eastern facade afterward. Kai brought over the youngest ducklings to be watched over. I noticed Evan's hugelkulture was packed with growies, and commented on the amounts of ground squirrels. He said he "picks" a few of them off when he 'has nothing better to do.' He said there is so much growing that they aren't a nuisance. Then, next to his front door, he grabbed a ground squirrel pelt he had prepared without a purpose.

During the PDC, Zach Weiss led a pond model building exercise inside the slopes of what is known as Cat Pond. Each team within the PDC class was given the same amount of time to construct their model before Zach and others acquired water from an up slope pond, and proceeded to drench the slopes over and around each model claiming it to be a 100-year-flood simulation (arguably a 1000-year-flood by some witnesses). So yes, there is one pond with some water in the area of Ant Village.

Also, Jim dug a well along Pascal Road, and there is talk about the ATC creating a BioSand Filter for the folks using that well.
 
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Davin Hoyt wrote: He said he "picks" a few of them off when he 'has nothing better to do.' He said there is so much growing that they aren't a nuisance. Then, next to his front door, he grabbed a ground squirrel pelt he had prepared without a purpose.



Evan read this post and commented in person after our finale meal at Wheaton Labs 2017 ATC last night. He says he stir fries or stews the ground squirrels he kills. I don't remember his additional information about the taste or amount of meat per... because I was so eager to comment on the fat little guy I saw that morning scurrying across the road in front of his plot. (insert: fat ground squirrel emoji)
 
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Yeah, it's lovely scenery but a pretty long walk!  I think I did that once, and I caught a ride back.

Thanks for sharing your walk with us.  I'm hoping you can share video of other things you saw when you were there.
 
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Julia Winter wrote:I'm hoping you can share video of other things you saw when you were there.


I don't have anything else to share from that trip, but I will visit them again soon. I took pictures during the pot-luck which is the image compilation of feet above.

This brings up a TOPIC I visited two years ago:

The idea of a "Video Bounty Well," where Permies (off site) make video demands (with rewards), and anyone on the Wheaton Labs or Wheaton Base Camp can fulfill them.

Maybe a scoring system could be in-stated as you will find some people's level of cinematography could fall short of expectations.

Two years ago, I thought of this idea and tried to find a platform for it. At that time Jesse was the only person at Wheaton Labs/Base Camp doing Patreon. Now multiple people are doing Patreon, including Paul.
 
Davin Hoyt
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I took a walk down Pascal Road along side Ant Village. I wasn't able to schedule time with Ants to complete a Video Bounty during my visit. My outing purpose was to visit Allerton Abbey to grab dimensions, which I did, just before dark set in.

 
paul wheaton
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Update:  ants that are new to the project, $900 covers now through the end of 2018.



 
paul wheaton
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Ant plot rent for 2019 will probably be $1600 but reduced to $800 if certain criteria are met:

If  the plot meets our (my?) "earth integrated beauty" standards, then the ant can enjoy a $400 discount.

If the plot has a willow feeder system that is better than the current "chateu de poo", then the ant can enjoy a further $400 discount.


Ant plot rent for 2020 will probably be $1700 but reduced to $900 with the same discounts.



2019 rent is due September 30, 2018.

2020 rent is due September 30, 2019.

As always, work trades are preferred.
 
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So I am about to make the jump. All I have left to do now is get my current place ready to sell and quit my job. A few questions though:

It definitely seems clear that commuting jobs are out of the question, but what about setting up something like a woodworking shop and selling my creations at the labs and in town?

Would you allow newcomers to live out of a travel trailer until they got a more permanent structure built?
 
And inside of my fortune cookie was this tiny ad:
177 hours of video: the 2017 Permaculture Design Course and Appropriate Technology Course
https://permies.com/wiki/65386/hours-video-Permaculture-Design-Technology
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