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Would you buy stuff made on Pauls The Lab?  RSS feed

 
kadence blevins
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In hopes of spreading ideas for things on The Lab I am wondering if people would actually buy things grown/made on The Lab?

Yes? No? What would you definitely be into buying?

Also for people at The Lab or people thinking from the perspective of living on The Lab what do you wish was produced close? Things you really want to buy and things you could even see the building/making process etc?
 
John Wolfram
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Maybe...depends on the price, really. If there are dreams of sepp holzer-esque prices and $4,000 hams, then no I will not be buying anything.
 
Dan Boone
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I will concur with what John said and bring it even further down to earth.

In this world most goods are mass-produced cheap crap. A few goods are hand-made, artisanal, quality, expensive. The Captain Samuel Vimes 'Boots' theory of socioeconomic unfairness as articulated by Terry Pratchett makes it clear that, even though it's actually cheaper in the long run to buy the expensive quality goods, doing so is a privilege reserved for the rich:

The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

This was the Captain Samuel Vimes 'Boots' theory of socioeconomic unfairness.


I would imagine that goods produced on The Lab are likely to be in the artisanal/quality/expensive camp. Anything worth owning and made by people of integrity tends to be. And I'm not, to put it bluntly, in the socioeconomic category that enjoys the privilege of buying stuff like that. The only time I get my hands on stuff like that is when I find it at a garage sale, priced too cheap by some idiot who only sees "old" and doesn't recognize craftsmanship or solid materials.
 
Michael Cox
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You stole my favourite Pratchett quote!
 
Rhys Firth
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I actually HAVE boots like that. I found a pair of $900 (300 pounds sterling at a time when it was 3:1 GBP to NZD) real leather german dress boots for $100... Twice the price of the basic Warehouse (NZ Walmart niche filler) leatherette boots but one ninth the price of new. The tread was worn down about half way and a few cuts on the buckle strap but still good.

Those boots have lasted me a further 8 years with often daily use while living in the city as a salesman and later as a teacher, while the soles are now worn flat and the tread gone they still aren't leaking. Meanwhile I have gone through rather a lot of pairs of cheap shoes which last about a year at most.


I love to buy quality second hand for half the price of crappy new and have the second hand things still heroicly soldiering on long after the newer crappy ones have been relegated to the trash...
 
Dan Boone
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Michael Cox wrote:You stole my favourite Pratchett quote!


Did not! You can still use it too.
 
Judith Browning
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Kadence wrote: I am wondering if people would actually buy things grown/made on The Lab?


I think there will be an eventual market for quality produce and well crafted items from the Lab...depending on what they are, I suppose.
I'm not sure permies are going to be the big market though.........more likely it will be those who want to support the lifestyle and are not living it and those who just like what they see, be it a hand crafted item or a tomato.
I think produce might be dependent on local customers. I try to buy what I can from our farmer's market and pay the extra cost happily, knowing it is grown in my county and the farmer is getting all of the money.
I found early on in my work as a weaver that *I* was not my market ...nor were most of my peers....although we traded a lot for pottery and other crafts and have many wonderful, valuable hand crafted things in our home, I couldn't afford to buy those things and looked at them as beautiful but unnecessary if I had to put a price on them.
The folks who supported me financially in the craft market (my only real experience earning a 'living') were more interested in something unusual and 'not of their world' and they didn't always care how it was made. I found myself, after awhile, (30 years) feeling 'controlled' by the market and not doing my best work ...not feeling creative and feeling forced to mass produce. I was not a good capitalist

 
Lee Daniels
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Visitors, volunteers, Ants, and seminar attendees all need to eat. A market that has Wheaton approved food would be very helpful. My local 'approved' meat sources didn't pan out, so I'm preparing for the sticker shock of the organic stores in Missoula.

 
kadence blevins
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Paul speaks of some of his visions for The Lab in the podcasts. One part in particular (which at the moment I cant find which podcast it was to quote him) but he talks about several hypothetical people and how their lives would go.

Emma is one of the people Paul talks about as buying/trading food from other Gappers/Ants and she does meals. So to give an overview, different from Paul's podcast explanation, say Ant#3 has tons of garden going on and is selling lots of veggies, Ant#5 has a small-ish garden just for himself but raises plenty of extra rabbits to sell, and Ant#8 arrived late in the game and is just setting up anything on his ant plot. Emma buys rabbit from Ant#5 and veggies from Ant#3 and raises some of her own stuff. Emma most days offers at least one meal a day for people to come eat for a certain price. Ant#8 is usually at Emma's for those meals while he sets up his plot. And often enough Ant#3 comes for a good rabbit roasting and Ant#7 just doesn't really like to cook and has a nice residual income so will plan on eating at Emma's most always.
Emma also usually does lots of meals during workshops to save aside the money.

If you were coming to The Lab for a workshop where no food was provided do you think you would go to Emma's for meals? If you were coming as a Gapper to work on Paul's various paid To-Do's do you think you would go to Emma's for meals?
 
Lee Daniels
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IF Emma were cooking tasty and nutritious meals - tasty as in meat, raw veggies, and fruit... NOT beans and rice, chili, stew or some other one pot gruel type concoction... Then yes I absolutely would buy meals from Emma.
 
Rhys Firth
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As with Lee, yes if they were good omnivorous meals, not glutinious bean goo or pease parridge ten days old, those sort of home pot meals I can manage perfectly well myself over a camp fire in front of a tent.

But a roast rabbit with greens and roast root veges, or a Pizza, or slow casseroled venison brisket from Ant #4 who is a bowhunter MT local with a deer tag... Hell Yeah!
 
Dan Boone
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Rhys Firth wrote:...or a Pizza...


I apologize for the fact that the following has damn little to do with this thread. But you have triggered my favorite pizza memory.

In 1983 when I was a young teen, my father and I spent four months by ourselves in a tent camp on the upper 70-mile river in Alaska. We were looking for gold, which we did not find in appreciable quantities. We were living fairly primitively, with one dog to bark at bears, sleeping tents, a wall tent to cook in, a wood cook stove, a folding Coleman camp oven, and such shelf-stable canned and dried food staples as we had freighted (packed in 55-gallon steel bear-resistant storage drums) over fifty miles of winter-only trail behind snowmobiles the winter before. It was our fourth year of such living and we were getting good at it, but it was the first year my mother did not join us, and she had such a low opinion of our camp cookery skills that she feared we would starve.

In fact, we lived high on the hog. Sunday was baking day; we made three dried-apple pies and three pans of whole wheat cinnamon rolls with raisins and walnuts, and ate them for breakfast (we each got one-quarter of a pie and 3 of 12 cinnamon rolls each morning) throughout the mining week. (This was our revolt after three years in which my mother insisted that the only practical breakfast foods in mining camp was oatmeal or pancakes. We were royally sick of both.) On baking day we also made enough loaves of bread for our daily lunch peanut butter or cheese sandwiches. Dinners were stuff like pasta and rice and beans, with whatever game we could get or a bit of canned bacon for flavor when we didn't have game.

We were about fifty miles from the nearest town (where we lived) and there were NO other people within about twenty very rough walking miles. Some time in August, we saw our first other humans. We called them "the California boys" because they were prospectors from California. They came floating down the river on a makeshift raft, with a floating plastic suction dredge. But when we met them, they were *hungry*. Their idea of mining rations had been Lipton dried soup mixes and rice, and they had zero notion of how to pack such things securely. At the first white water they had dumped their raft, and most of their dried soup got wet and dissolved. The rice, too, mostly got wet and then it got moldy so they threw it away. By the time we met them, they had been living for a couple of weeks on tiny grayling (think trout, but the ones they were catching were the size of large minnows) and the few packets of cup-o-noodle they had that had turned out to be waterproof.

So, naturally, we invited them to dinner. We did it up fine. We made a fresh mincemeat pie (using our last quart mason jar of my mother's extremely rich home-canned mincemeat made with actual ground moose and many dried fruits and spices) and individual pizzas for everybody, served on special "plates" I had made from thin rounds of cottonwood cut with a chainsaw from a huge cottonwood log and varnished with vegetable oil. Dough was just our usual bread dough, rolled thin and put on pizza pans in our camp oven over a red-hot wood stove. Sauce was our usual pasta sauce, from canned tomato paste flavored with dried onion, garlic powder, dehydrated green peppers, and grease from canned bacon. For toppings we had dried parmesan cheese, the last of our carefully hoarded "fresh" cheddar cheese (which keeps amazingly well if you wrap it in vinegar-soaked cloths to prevent mold), fried bits of the canned bacon, and canned black olives.

The California boys were so astonished they could barely close their mouths long enough to chew. They had got it in their heads that if you went into the Alaskan wilderness in search of gold, you had to "rough it". Which meant, to them, taking just the minimum of provisions that you could "cook" in a coffee can over a camp fire. Finding us camped in comfort in the middle of what was (to them) trackless wilderness, serving pizza and pie to strangers, just completely blew their minds. We had to keep repeating our mantra: "We aren't out here to rough it, we're out here to smooth it!"

Let me try to drag this back on topic. I am imagining a husp pizza, made there on the Lab with ingredients grown Paul's way: a simple water-flour-yeast crust using whatever grain (perennial wheat?) ya got, fresh or sun-dried tomatoes, onions and garlic, cheese from whatever milk animal is handy, a couple of meat toppings from whatever was recently butchered, a couple of fresh vegetable toppings. Has anybody built a rocket pizza oven yet? I'm hungry just thinking about it! (Notwithstanding my earlier comments, I'm not sure price is really even relevant; a product like that is unobtainable in the broader world, and is thus quite literally priceless.)
 
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