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a new home for the humble  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22338
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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I was once giving my presentation on "how to make the big bucks with permaculture" and i got to the part about how to use interns/wwoofers and the like to cut expenses (and how there is an important ingredient for success). A woman near the front said something like this


How can I find a place like that? I work a job i hate and feel trapped. I feel like it is impossible for me to ever leave. I'm out of debt. I even have money in the bank. If there was a place that would take a woman of my age (40-ish) I would love to move and start a new life. I'm willing to work hard, but I don't know all these things that need to be known to do this stuff. And rather than learn all of that, I would rather just be part of it. Surely there is someplace for me?

I'm single. I have no kids. I have no drama. I don't need money. I just need a new life. Something with meaning.

I would rather not move from farm-to-farm every week. I would like to uproot from where I am now and then put down permanent roots somewhere else.



So the presentation had a pause in it while we drank this in. My response was to try the wwoofer program and maybe there will eventually be a spot where she would feel was a good match and stay. I confess that this is a lousy answer, but it is the best I could come up with at the spur of the moment.

I've heard this from a dozen different people. Almost identical.

I'm creating this thread with the idea of trying to figure out how to facilitate these folks. This does seem like something where folks would be in the community house.

I guess I just want to express that I want to facilitate these folks. And, at this time, I want to consider what sort of arrangements folks would be open to.

 
Phil Williamson
Posts: 9
Location: NW Montana
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The arrangements could be set up on an individual basis after a standardized trial period. If people are not committed to giving a year of time and effort, in exchange for the opportunity to make an individual arrangement, then it will most likely not work in the long run anyway.

A simple solution, could be to work out a list of needs for the intimidate future of the community and treat it like applying for a new career. In any career, experience is helpful, however the willingness to succeed and the determination to take on tasks is more important. Skills can be learned quickly if the desire is there but without desire skills tend to go to waste.

Such as:
Cook
Farm Labor
Wood worker
Animal Caretaker
Bee Keeper

Cross training is good for overall health of community, however established tasks and roles creates focused effort.

This is where your hard work is going to be Paul, I'm sure you know that, but finding the right pieces takes time and evaluation. A year commitment to individual evaluation after a thorough application process will establish beneficial results.
 
Jerry McIntire
Posts: 116
Location: Oak savannah - Viroqua, Wisconsin - zone 4 - 34"/yr
4
solar tiny house trees
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I sure appreciate what you're setting out to do Paul, and 200 acres is a lot of opportunity. Organizing it is the linchpin. Have you looked at the related efforts around the country: The Farm, Dancing Rabbit, Earthaven, ...?
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 602
Location: SE Ohio
33
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this could be a very good oppurtunity for people. i agree.
i think as phil williamson said, people will need to do things where they know about things. like cooking and cleaning. but also the people who dont know about building can help at building sites moving materials, etc. i've been around hammers and tools since i could pick one up. you learn as you help and watch. people who are interested can stay and learn more, people who arent as interested go to another project to help and other people who might be interested in building can come back to the biulding areas. then going to the next areas like putting in hugel beds, orchards, etc as the untrained people help and learn their interests they can sort of pick where to "apprentice" at so to speak.
this way no one feels they are doing grunt work becuase they will mostly be doing what they are interested in.
 
Beverly Temmer
Posts: 36
Location: Mukilteo, Washington
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Jocelyn, Thank you for sending me to this thread, I had missed it.

This sounds like me. Being aware that the amount of physical work I can do at the moment is limited. I do want to help! I would be willing to commit to a trial period and perhaps an extended trial period. (up to a year)

It may be best for me to find a part time job and work there to bring in a bit of cash and work for Paul part time until I can increase my endurance to be able to do more physical work.

It would be great to live on the land. I do want to live minimally, tiny. In a community house would work well for me.

I'd need to learn more about cooking. Learning to cook peleo and/or vegan would be the direction I'd want to go.

I've been reading about this for a long time. So....

How do I apply?

I need to make plans soon.

Thank you!

Bev
 
Jocelyn Campbell
steward
Posts: 4202
Location: Missoula, MT
392
books food preservation forest garden hugelkultur toxin-ectomy
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Beverly Temmer wrote:Jocelyn, Thank you for sending me to this thread, I had missed it.

This sounds like me.
<snip>

How do I apply?

I need to make plans soon.

Thank you!

Bev


Bev, I thought this was what you meant in the other thread(s), so I'm glad this seemed like a fit for you. It's not so much applying as finding the time to try things on for size, so to speak. I'm starting a list of folks who are interested and I'll add you to that list. If you could pm (private message) me with your contact info, I'll get that on the list as well.

 
Di Martin
Posts: 2
Location: East Texas, Near Texarkana
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This is a great thread. We have just recently...like last month pulled up stakes and moved to our land. We quit our jobs and just did it. It had taken us several months of looking to find a piece of land and to make enough preparations to allow us to live out there.

Our eventual goal is to get to the place where we can invite others to join us as you are doing, Paul. We don't have near as much room as you have but we do have room for a couple other couples. We aren't at that point now, but we do hope to have a place eventually where others can live and work. We look at it as a team effort out here. Everyone who comes to live here must give their time and effort to the best of their abilities and skillset to help ensure the success of the team.

We have several projects in place. Currently, we have several RVs out here and are in the process of building our composting toilet/wash house combo. Our next project is an aquaponics greenhouse. We have already started some plantings in accidental hugel berms that were formed when some of the land was cleared.

Our place still looks rough but each day we get a bit more done. Someday, we will use the natural red clay from our land for raku ceramics projects.

Deciding to just take the plunge and DO IT was the best decision we have ever made, in my opinion. Each day brings new opportunities to feel successful and useful. Each morning brings beauty and wonder listening to the birds rather than the jangling of my alarm clock.

I say if you want to find a new place and get out of the rat race...don't be scared. Take the plunge.

If you are interested in visiting us, please let us know...but beware, we may put you to work.
 
Kathy Francis
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Sounds great, can singles apply too.
 
Rebecca Holman
Posts: 188
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Howdy,

I was reading through this thread and wanted to let you all know about a Movie/group called Ground Operations.

They are working to help returning soldiers move into a viable working situation to become farmers. This organization is working to help create Organic farmers to replace the 1 million farmers that are on the verge of retirement in this country. My Transition Missoula group showed this at the Library the other day and we had some veterans there that had just come back, were unemployed and TOTALLY wanted to work on the land for all the therapeutic reasons outlined in the movie. So if you need help on your land, and if you have a couch surfing space you can help a veteran that desperately needs a nice, quiet constructive, creative space to over come the horrors of war.

We are going to show the movie again on the University of Montana Campus on Veterans day. Something to consider for sure.

On their site they have a Farmer/Veteran Coalition form so you can help connect with organizations that are working currently with Veterans.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22338
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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We'll take six. Of course, at this point in time they need to have listened to at least half of the podcasts.
 
eric kampel
Posts: 13
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http://www.skokomishfarms.com/

This guy bought a few hundred acres and subdivided it into 40 acre parcels. When you buy a parcel, your homestead can be on 5 acres, the other 35 acres you own is part of a large group farm. If you work on the farm part of it, you can get food from it. If not, you have to pay for your food. Paul, you could do something similar. Not necessarily selling parcels, but offering room and board in exchange for work and innovation on the farm.
 
Renate Howard
pollinator
Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
9
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I know community is built on trust, but how do you protect yourself from trouble?

Someone just posted on PASA that they hired a master carpenter who was down on his luck, wound up buying a trailer for him and his girlfriend and son to live in on the property. Then things turned bad - he became very violent, beat the girlfriend badly and when he finally left he trashed the trailer and stole a lot of the farmer's equipment on the way out. This particular farmer, when he turned to the police, was blamed for the situation and got no help.

When I lived with some free-spirited people in my younger days, one of the guys brought home a girl he met. It turned out she had mental problems. She was difficult to live with and would not leave. She kept coming back again, going back to "her" room in the house, bringing her stuff. He had to change the locks.

Many farmers complain that when they try to find help, they get people who drink or use drugs and do no work.

Not to dis the military, but many returning vets are addicted to prescription medications like valium, painkillers, etc. They may have PTSD that can make them violent at times (military wives are more likely to be victims of domestic violence, for instance). Their families complain that they just sit around too much or go out drinking, finding it hard to reconcile the person they were in the military with the lifestyle they find when they return home.

I guess if you plan to open your theoretical "doors" to people you need a good strong "exit plan" - for the ones who don't work out, to make it a nice place for the ones who you do want to stay. Your farm sounds like an amazing opportunity for those who can make use of it, but some just won't "fit" and some could be downright scary.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
steward
Posts: 4202
Location: Missoula, MT
392
books food preservation forest garden hugelkultur toxin-ectomy
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Just in case there were some unanswered questions about how to visit or try things out, here's a quick summary.

We talked about a 2-week trial period in the first month thread, especially pages 4 and 5.

A more rustic, 3-day minimum, off-grid camping/helping idea was talked about in the first month of camping thread.

Currently, we are looking for those visiting, helping or interested in a trial period for living on the land, to have listened to at least 125 podcasts. A majority or all of the 250+ podcasts would be best.

If you want to come out, send me a private message with
(a) what you're looking for - help-and-learn, trial period, etc. and a little about yourself;
(b) how many podcasts you've listened to (currently asking for 125 or more) and
(c) your e-mail and phone number.
 
Bill Puckett
Posts: 130
Location: the meadows, hawk's prairie, Oly, wa
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Not to dis the military, but many returning vets are addicted to prescription medications like valium, painkillers, etc. They may have PTSD that can make them violent at times (military wives are more likely to be victims of domestic violence, for instance). Their families complain that they just sit around too much or go out drinking, finding it hard to reconcile the person they were in the military with the lifestyle they find when they return home.

I've often wondered how anyone can live in an unnatural way. It's a seemingly constant struggle: reality vs. anti reality. Imagination run amok. One day I'll get around to reading Nikolai Eberhardt's books on the subject of the human predicament.
 
Rebecca Holman
Posts: 188
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Throwing in my two unsolicited cents on this topic about returning soldiers and humans and the destruction they can havoc in their wake.

I think in this case if Paul is asking people to listen to half the podcasts (like over 100?) that would sort of weed out a lot of crazy people..maybe not..but they would be crazy in a different way after listening to all that information.. more a Zealot perhaps.. Crazy for the cause...

This all sounds like a great grand experiment and building human community is always fraught with questions since humans will always be unpredictable even in what we think are predicable situations... so it is hard to live in fear if you want to move forward...at some point you have to trust folks..and go from there.
 
Fred Morgan
steward
Posts: 979
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
15
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One of the expenses of a large land owner is watching over the property. I often have to work out deals with local farmers so that my plantations are supervised, without a cost of just putting someone on them. I have tried in the past to find people who are willing to just stay, raise some food, etc, but no takers. Granted, these are places that are very rural, and also in Costa Rica, but it is probably one of the best climates in the world for growing things, and living without much in the way of costs.


Perhaps the issue is one of trust. I must trust the person, and they have to trust me, especially if they relocate to another country, which isn't that cheap.

 
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