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Lab Ant
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Speaking of on the fence...

To Stephanie or any other potential sponsors out there: As opposed to sponsoring a specific ant, like me, would anyone like to contribute to a community fencing fund? Having just one ant neighbor on one of my borders could reduce the amount of total fencing needs and cut security costs for all ants, so I'm willing to put in time, labor, and I'll even start with a $100 upfront investment, to provide and implement fencing for the common security of ant village.

Maybe a full perimeter fence isn't a realistic option for year 1, but even something like a 50'x50' fenced garden area straddling two ant plots could substantially save on materials. Doesn't have to be ants either, as far as I'm concerned, I'm open to sharing a fenced garden area with the lab's gardening gappers, if that's an option. Paul, you mentioned fences for the lab's gardens being on this year's agenda, right?

Fences. I like the idea of stacking functions and using tall hugel-berms with shorter fences on top, and I like the idea of those fences that are woven like big baskets, and I like black locust and other stuff for longer-term hedgerows and living fences. Anyone local have any techniques for keeping deer and turkeys out of their garden area? What kind of fencing did you use?
 
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Deer? .308 rifle.
Turkeys? .22 rifle.

 
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Location: Meade County, South Dakota
greening the desert hugelkultur trees
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As far as fencing goes, don't even try to make do with the black plastic "deer netting" like they sell at Menards. From just a few feet away, you can barely see it, and apparently the deer can't either, they run and bust right through it. At $10 for a 7 foot tall, 100 foot long roll, I thought that it was an affordable option, but it was as good as having no fence at all. I does do a wonderful job of killing snakes though, they crawl through it a little bit and get hopelessly stuck.
 
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Evan, I am agreeable with whatever, I'm betting the ants get more assist too when things get rolling.

I thought Lj Jane in this thread had an interesting idea http://www.permies.com/t/45347/urban/Deer-Fence-Design-original-Nibblers

I am a big fan of the shooting and eating of deer and turkey though too, yum. Admittedly, I prefer venison to produce.
 
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Agreed with Stephanie. To get the ball rolling, I would contribute to some type of funding, whether fencing or other to get more people there.

For maybe a potential ant that's overwhelmed with the idea of starting out with a completely blank slate, what would be the rough cost to hire out the building of an initial Wofati?

Or is there an Ant 2 out there that could come build Wofatis for him or herself and Ant 3 simultaneously and charge Ant 3?

What would get anyone considering it to make the leap?
 
master steward
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The trick with building a wofati right now is that so much of it is still a bit experimental. Zach Weiss said he would build a basic 10x10 wofati for $10,000. I would still like to see some designs so that people with a low DIY level could build one, by themselves, relatively quickly and cheaply.

Matt, if you could email me (paul at richsoil.com) with particulars, I'll see what I can arrange.

 
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I plan to attend the summit in june in whitehall. Is there any interest in maybe some attendees visiting and perhaps volunteering for a day or something?
 
paul wheaton
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susan vita wrote:I plan to attend the summit in june in whitehall. Is there any interest in maybe some attendees visiting and perhaps volunteering for a day or something?



Possible. We are about three hours from there.
 
evan l pierce
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Here's a concept sketchup. Ant Hill 0.1.5
Filename: ant-hill.skp
Description: the actual sketchup file
File size: 3 megabytes
ant-hill-0.1.5.jpg
[Thumbnail for ant-hill-0.1.5.jpg]
some pictures
 
paul wheaton
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Matt Reed wrote:Agreed with Stephanie. To get the ball rolling, I would contribute to some type of funding, whether fencing or other to get more people there.

For maybe a potential ant that's overwhelmed with the idea of starting out with a completely blank slate, what would be the rough cost to hire out the building of an initial Wofati?

Or is there an Ant 2 out there that could come build Wofatis for him or herself and Ant 3 simultaneously and charge Ant 3?

What would get anyone considering it to make the leap?



Wouldn't that be amazing. People put in $800 and end up with $8000 worth of love from the vicarious community.

And if there is only Evan here, maybe Evan will end up with far more than what the ant village challenge offers.
 
susan vita
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I'm thinking of staying an extra few days before or after the summit. I'd be willing to rent a car and bring folks who wanted to visit or volunteer for a day or so, if that might be welcome.
 
evan l pierce
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Matt Reed wrote:For maybe a potential ant that's overwhelmed with the idea of starting out with a completely blank slate, what would be the rough cost to hire out the building of an initial Wofati?

Or is there an Ant 2 out there that could come build Wofatis for him or herself and Ant 3 simultaneously and charge Ant 3?

Personally, the idea of a completely blank slate is a big part of what appeals to me about ant village. But another big part that appeals to me is the idea of living in a village, of being part of a community. And as Paul pointed out, a wofati big enough for multiple people to share comfortably could be more eco than a smaller wofati only one person could comfortably occupy.

The rules state one ant per plot, but what if two ants decided to build a wofati together that straddled the border between their two plots? The dividing line would be drawn right down the middle of the inside of the wofati, and each ant would have their own space with a view and door out onto their own plot?

Of course, there are many potential pitfalls with such a scenario, but with the right ants, I think it could be really comfortable and affordable. Seems like an 8'x16' wofati should be cheaper to build and easier to heat than two 8'x8' wofatis, right? Anyone up for sharing an ant hill?
 
paul wheaton
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I suspect that there will be an ant family on a plot. Or an ant couple on a plot.

Two ants collaborating for a larger structure on two plots? Plausible, but .... what if one and says "I'm outta here!" ?
 
evan l pierce
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paul wheaton wrote:Two ants collaborating for a larger structure on two plots? Plausible, but .... what if one ant says "I'm outta here!" ?

Good point. It certainly has lots of potential to complicate things. And it's entirely theoretical at this point anyway. But...

If one ant leaves, perhaps the borders can simply be adjusted so that the remaining ant gives up 1/8 acre somewhere else along the border in exchange for the 1/8 acre containing the other half of the wofati? Or something like that?
 
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I'm just wondering, why is 'Winter Camping' prohibited? There have been a lot of people who've lived their whole lives in Yurts or whatnot.

Is it because the these structures tend to be more visible than a wofati or debris hut?
 
paul wheaton
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A tipi or yurt is too visible. And I think it is not as earth aligned, or sustainable.

I think that you might have some visible stuff while you are under construction, and then most of the visible stuff disappears.

I do think there is not much you can do to make solar panels invisible other than keep them relatively small.

Plus, I think folks will want to have a small greenhouse for managing greywater.

 
Kyrt Ryder
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paul wheaton wrote:A tipi or yurt is too visible. And I think it is not as earth aligned, or sustainable.


Can you [or anyone else reading this who can answer accurately on Paul's behalf] clarify what you mean by 'earth aligned' in this case?

As for the sustainability aspect, I'm not sure what's more sustainable than naturally tanned hides sewn together with a roundwood pole frame holding it up and an RMH keeping it warm. Theoretically in a post-fossil fuel world it would be a hell of a lot more viable than something which requires moving tons of earth. [Not that the wofati concept is bad or that using fossil fuels while we have them isn't worthwhile. We should definitely take advantage of the easy energy for long term results while its here.]

So is the visibility issue a security one? Or related to privacy and keeping the number of people living on the Lab off the radar?
 
paul wheaton
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Can you [or anyone else reading this who can answer accurately on Paul's behalf] clarify what you mean by 'earth aligned' in this case?



I think you do understand - at least partly. Something created from the earth.

At the same time, I like the idea of a structure that blends into the earth. It is a type of aesthetic.

If we have a dozen .... things .... visible from space, I'm not sure what that might lead to. On the other hand, if it just looks green and natural, then I suspect that that will be less of an issue.

 
Kyrt Ryder
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Makes sense, thanks for the clarification.

Time to start making a few drawing plans for alternatives that fit into that ideal.
 
paul wheaton
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Q&A via email:


Can I use ferrocement?



Ferrocement is okay at basecamp and on the first section of the lab.


Can I build a greenhouse with clear plastic



Greenhouses must be 10x10 or smaller.

That much plastic is okay in the first section of the lab.


If I win the deep roots package, can I sell it?



Yes, a deep roots package can be sold. We had that happen once when armin and lori sold their deep roots package for $26,000 (they paid $20,000). They then used their $26,000 as part of the funds to buy the piece of land next door.


I want to own my own place free and clear.



Deep roots smells like that, but both parties reserve the right to terminate the relationship at any time. In other words, you can leave me and I can ask you to leave. Hence the purpose of requiring people to listen to 240 podcasts - you gotta decide if I'm gonna hit the eject button.

 
paul wheaton
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I just added "8 hours of tractor", "4 days of the voltswagon" and "4 days of the log arch " as "candy" items on the list.

Of course, ant 1 has now snagged "8 pieces of candy". Now it is time to see who will snag "7 pieces of candy".

 
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I'd love to build some things there. Particularly an hourglass shaped berm full of rocks that's half garden and half covered dwelling. I'm growing candy for others in The Meadows by the Hawk's Prairie mushroom farm now, big thanks to you!
 
paul wheaton
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How can I run cattle on one acre?



I fully expect a person that has just one acre will arrange to make full use of the 300 acres. Hogs, chickens, cattle, horses, sheep, llamas, goats, etc.

This would be a lot like what salatin describes as a "fiefdom" where there could be 40 business models overlaid on the same land. As more people add their business model layer, all of the others receive greater benefit. And, of course, there will be what salatin calls a "MU" or "Memorandum of Understanding". So a person might run five head of cattle and will do things that add value for everybody (maybe a bit of permanent fence here and there, or improving a watering systems) and/or pay a bit of something for use of the common land.

So, one party will run through cattle, another will follow the cattle with chickens, and another will follow with pigs .... And somebody else will do a bit of forestry and somebody else will ....

Some people might have their own acre, plus two more acres that they lease from me to grow a much larger market garden.

Some people will have their acre open to the pulse grazing of the cattle, or the bug control from a two hour pulse with the chickens.

A person could go out and buy 80 acres of their own, but they might be miles ahead to get one acre of deep roots on the lab.
 
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Thanks for the information so far Paul.

Are you saying that any residence needs to be covered with earth wofati style as not to be seen from above? So a living roof on a cob tiny house or a 10x10ft rammed earth house would not be acceptable?

Thanks

Brett
 
paul wheaton
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I do want a general mission to be something where structures are .... earth integrated. A wofati is one example of an earth integrated home. An Oehler structure is another example. I think there is possibility for a cob structure with an earthen roof, but I think it is also possible for a cob structure with an earthen roof that is not earth integrated.

I like the idea idea that a home ends up so earth integrated that it is nearly invisible from above or from nearly any direction.
 
Rhys Firth
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This has me going all architect-y

While I'm not likely to ever end up a deep roots or an ant, (What would you put on the visa application? rural squatter?) I do like the idea of an earthen home here in the northland region. Rammed earth and plastered withes would be my ideal mode of construction. insert two walls of thin saplings in the ground and weave together with jute or other twine to make two near solid fences about 2 feet apart, tip earth in and compact. I would cheat and use a mechanical vibrating compactor... every about 6 inches, tie the two walls together so the pressure of the earth does not cause them to bow out and get thicker at the top, add more earth and compact... after the walls are at the desired height, cover the withes with a lime plaster for a smooth breathable surface. Door and window surrounds would be solid timber, at least 8 inches by the width of the walls, here that would be Eucalyptus or other rot resistant timber, new railway sleepers would be the first choice. Over there? Oak maybe?

Once the walls were up, then then Centre of the house for your climate there would be a Swiss fireplace, Northland here would probably just be a central vertical beam, from Central Plateau south a Swiss fireplace as well. I have seen some in house discussions and the mass heater effect plus structural centre makes for a good stacking of functions for me. They are essentially a heavy stone mass with a fireplace sunk in the base, hot gasses going up the chimney flue heat the mass like a RMH to provide passive heating overnight without needing to get up and stoke the fire. The top of the stone column also makes for a good support for one end of the roof beams with the other on the solid earth walls.


Modifying this to be Earth Integrated A La Dictator Paul is as simple as making a further circle of stone foundation out from the earthen wall to carry the slope of the roof down to the ground level yet keep the ends of the transitional beams off the soil, extending their lifespan if untreated natural timber. You would have to cover with black plastic between the roof beams and the soil to keep grass roots and rain from turning the roof into a hugelculture bed, but that is a worthwhile compromise for having a green roof. This provides another stacking of functions, the space created by transitioning the roof down to the ground creates a storage spot, either for tools and barrows, or for firewood for over winter.


Attached are a couple of pictures, a basic MSPaint of the proposed structure, and a picture grabbed off the web of a Swiss fireplace.
Rammed-Earth.png
[Thumbnail for Rammed-Earth.png]
35_fireplace.jpg
[Thumbnail for 35_fireplace.jpg]
 
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paul wheaton wrote:I do want a general mission to be something where structures are .... earth integrated. A wofati is one example of an earth integrated home. An Oehler structure is another example. I think there is possibility for a cob structure with an earthen roof, but I think it is also possible for a cob structure with an earthen roof that is not earth integrated.

I like the idea idea that a home ends up so earth integrated that it is nearly invisible from above or from nearly any direction.



I have 4 questions...
What is a gapper? What kind of ants do you want? Are there still a few open spots? Where can I get your ant village podcasts?
 
paul wheaton
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What is a gapper?



A guest. A visitor. Somebody who is Goofy About Permaculture and largely self propelled. More details [urlhttp://www.permies.com/t/46350/labs/gapper-program]here[/url].


What kind of ants do you want?



Industrious.


Are there still a few open spots?



Yes.


Where can I get your ant village podcasts?



These are not the "ant village podcasts" but, rather, the podcasts that you need to listen to be able to be part of the ant village project:

http://www.permies.com/forums/f-88/permaculture-podcast

 
Kristen Tabor
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paul wheaton wrote:These are not the "ant village podcasts" but, rather, the podcasts that you need to listen to be able to be part of the ant village project:

http://www.permies.com/forums/f-88/permaculture-podcast



Your located in Montana right? And after sending the Gapper 100$ How long do the yhave to get there? (what if they took a bus, or drove)
 
paul wheaton
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Yes. Montana.

Note that a gapper does not have to listen to the podcasts.

Note further: an ant can put up the $800 and they just can't start playing on their spot until they meet the podcast requirement.

And after sending the Gapper 100$ How long do the yhave to get there? (what if they took a bus, or drove)



I don't think there is a time limit. That's part of the glory of the $100 thing. Somebody could pay the $100 and never show up and I just get to keep the $100. What an awesome thing!

Gappers have come here by bus or plane or drove here. Some gappers got here by bicycle. One is arriving next month where they are taking a train to whitefish and then bicycle the rest of the way. I think Evan flew to spokane and then took a bus here (well, I gave him a ride here from the bus station).

 
Kristen Tabor
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paul wheaton wrote:Yes. Montana.
Gappers have come here by bus or plane or drove here. Some gappers got here by bicycle. One is arriving next month where they are taking a train to whitefish and then bicycle the rest of the way. I think Evan flew to spokane and then took a bus here (well, I gave him a ride here from the bus station).



How long does it take to bike there? 0-o
 
paul wheaton
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Kristen Tabor wrote:
How long does it take to bike there? 0-o



Anywhere from seven minutes to sixty years. It sorta depends on your starting point and how fast you pedal.
 
Rhys Firth
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paul wheaton wrote:

Kristen Tabor wrote:
How long does it take to bike there? 0-o



Anywhere from seven minutes to sixty years. It sorta depends on your starting point and how fast you pedal.




It would take a while from here! Would be fun to see some Guinness World Record attempter trying to cross the pacific on the water park floating bigfoot tricycles!


If someone has to ask how long to cycle, they're problaby not fit enough to survive the attempt. No harm in trying tho, just take some cash for the bus after saddle sores develop.
 
paul wheaton
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Hoping to fill out the remaining 11 spots this week. Evan and I just had a long talk and in the spirit of "try 100 things ..."

Here is my offer for the next seven days:

1 acre for $800 (that's the same deal as always)
3 acres for $1600
5 acres for $2400

Our thinking is that a lot of people have been planning their big jump to permaculture for a long time - and they have been thinking of something with more than one acre. So this is to help them make the leap.

This would be for 19+ months, starting right now. So it would work out to:

1 acre is $42 per month
3 acres is $28 per acre per month
5 acres is $25 per acre per month

Plus you get all these goodies:

  • 16 hours of excavator + "candy" (more excavator, tractor, sawmill, electric vehicles, pickup truck, etc. see details above)


  • PDC taught by PRI certified instructor Howard Story


  • ant love - tools, materials and even cash from people that love to see pictures of what you are doing


  • gapper help - lots of gappers are already lined up to come out and lend a hand to the ants. I suspect there will be about 20 more this summer.


  • global expert help - we have lots of big experts coming to the lab to give advice to ants. Thomas Elpel, Helen Atthowe, Jacqueline Freeman, Ernie and Erica, Josho Somine and lots, lots more!


  • The ant village challenge - a chance to get score a deep roots package! Or $10,000 cash!

  •  
    steward
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    Also I just posted a bunch of really good pictures taken at wheaton labs.

    Check them out:

    batchbox rocket mass heater
    wofati 0.8
    solar voltswagon
    the tipi
    wofati 0.7

     
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    I heard deer hate daffodill bulbs ( on another permaculture site ). They said plant them around your fruit trees and parameters. Just a thought for the garden. Don't think it would keep rabbits out though.
     
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    Deer are more repelled by strong smelling plants. Think chives, thyme, rosemary, garlic... Not, however, roses. They are delicious! Daffodil blooms - and thus the scent - lasts for only a short time. The daffodil bulb is toxic to bulb chewers & is supposed to taste really bad. (Haven't tried it myself.) Deer would have to dig them up and don't think they wouldn't. They decimated my friend's carrot field one winter. Plants chives or marigolds in with your carrots and get the added benefit of repelling nasty root nematodes, too.
     
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    Cassie, thanks for the very professional photos.. and, Arthur! I found them very inspiring and 'engaging'... that's how I felt looking at them, anyway - just like I was there... could smell the wood and 'feel' the light ;)
     
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    Assume the comment about killing deer and turkey in lieu of a fence was a joke. Certainly would not be appropriate to kill however many deer and turkey, even if it was legal, instead of going to the trouble of building a fence.
     
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    Paul,
    Like somebody else said, I probably will never be an ant...

    I was wondering though, I see how much work you put in a wofati. I think harvesting geothermal resources is a great idea, I like that you want the homes to not leave a visual foot print.
    But I am lazy, claustrophobic and wonder if you would accept someone covering a steel storage container with dirt, vinyl stuff like your wofati and sawdust. Throw some grass seed on top. Run the rmh pipe straight out the top. Then spend most your time on a nice big garden.
    Sound reasonable?http://siskiyou.craigslist.org/grq/4992363764.html
    More secure and faster to put up then a wofati, I seen some guy that used two forty's and woodpaneled the inside. Tarred the outside and earthbermed.
     
    The glass is neither half full or half empty. It is too big. But this tiny ad is just right:
    It's like binging on 7 seasons of your favorite netflix permaculture show
    http://permaculture-design-course.com/
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