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permaculture bootcamp, funny money, free bunks, ideas for growth  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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Posts: 22347
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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There are a lot of people that wish to come to the outdoors of montana and experience the beauty, do some fishing, read a book, sit around the campfire at night and watch the clouds pass during the day. 

There are some people that want to build a long list of experiences by putting in a lot of hard work.

There are some people that already have plenty of experience, but they define their existing by what they have built - and are looking for more notches in their belt.

Most people have a little bit of all three, and dozens of other ingredients not on this list.

So we keep trying things out to see what works. 

For weeks we have been mulling over a list of ideas and we are really close to making them official.   I need to announce something rather official, and at the same time, I still feel I need to sort out some bits and bobs before making it official.  And I sort this sort of thing out by writing about it.



permaculture boot camp

Fred would lead this.   Fred gets an enormous about of stuff done each week - and he gladly takes on the lowest tasks. We have dozens of projects that need to move forward, and fred plows through them, quietly, week after week. 

So after a lot of conversations with Fred, it would be possible to take in several "boots" - a person that wishes to volunteer for "permaculture boot camp."   Six days a week would be:

7am everybody starts making breakfast.  By 7:50, everybody has eaten and cleaned up.
8am on the job
noon everybody makes lunch.  By 12:50 everybody has eaten and cleaned up.
1pm on the job
5pm everybody start making dinner.  By 7pm everybody has eaten and cleaned up.

The tasks would be broken up so people don't spend too much time doing something boring.

Once in a while, the boots will all go to help an ant.  the ant will need to offer something structured and materials for one meal for the boots.   This will also give fred a bit of relief so he can work on other things. 

It is possible that at the end of each month, each boot will receive a bit of "funny money".  There will be oodles of factors involved and each boot will receive a different amount depending on oodles of factors. 

Each boot will receive a bunk and very basic ingredients for very basic food.

We are thinking that we will once again open our house up to facilitate boots and others.

tasks will include:

    - building stuff for future boots

          - more food systems
          - more bunks
          - more beauty
          - more fun things

    - building basic skills

          - using a variety of rocket mass heaters
          - harvesting wood for building, burning, hugelkultur, mulch, etc.
          - building furniture and structures from roundwood
          - building fence
          - earthworks, ponds, hugelkultur,
          - permaculture gardening
          - cooking
          - cooking with wood fired stuff
          - wildcrafting
          - solving homesteading issues
          - scything



bounty hunters

folks with a bit more skill can work on bounties and get paid in "funny money".  But there is a catch.  A bunk is $250 per month.  But the bunk fee will be waived if the hunter harvests ore than $1000 of bounties each month. 

We have had some people come with amazing skill and knock out $5000 worth of bounties in a month.   And other people claiming to have three times more skill than that, and they cannot seem to knock out $150 worth of bounties in a month.

So I like the idea of making sure they have a bunk, but I also want to be respectful to the boots that are expressing a bit more humility. 

A bounty hunter would cover their own food.



opening up the house again

A lot of mixed feelings here.

During the winter, the fisher price house currently has the only showers and laundry (I thought we would have winter facilities at the lab last year, but it still hasn't come to be).  We are currently inviting everybody in once a week and paying somebody to clean up the next morning. 

I feel like some people want to shower every day.  I know I like to shower every day.  And some people like to keep their clothes cleaner.    We dry 98% of our laundry on clotheslines or racks, but it seems when people user our washer, they cannot imagine using anything other than the dryer - and that uses a lot of power.

And there is the mess.  People just make a lot of mess.  Some people make a lot of mess and insist that they don't.  Or they insist that cleanliness standards are wrong. 

I very much like the idea of living in community.  And it seems stupid that the resources here are, so to speak, gathering dust.   At the same time, I am very familiar with the "breakfast with spiderman" issue.  And I am sick-to-death of issues involving the mess, seeing my stuff callously destroyed, and the whole thing about the kitchen towels. 

So we are thinking of trying this again, and maybe this time we can get some systems in place that mitigate my concerns. 




funny money

Coin is not plentiful now.  We are operating on a tiny fraction of the funds of when I first arrived.  I am working on improving our overall cashflow.  Maybe we can do more in a year or two, but for now ...

We have come up with the idea of "funny money".   Basically, we have two gappers right now that have racked up a lot of bounties and are working towards a deep roots plot.   I have a lot more plots!  

I am thinking that funny money could be used for:

- ant plots
- deep roots plots
- renting one of our rigs
- the sepper program
- renting the excavator for a plot; tractor, trailers, shop, tools, etc.
- advertising on the empire
- dvds, cards, moichendize
- workshop/pdc tickets
- access to the fisher price house
- other stuff we have plenty of or might have plenty of in the future




gappers, wwoofers, visitors, tours, community, more, more, more, more ...

We processed a lot of requests from people this year for stuff that just wasn't exactly a fit.   At the same time, I very much like the idea that we have 400 people per year coming here in all sorts of different ways. 

I wish to have more workshops.  I wish to have a workshop every week.

I wish for there to be a formal way to document the building of PEP1 skills.  A college of sorts.  Or, more accurately, an alternative to college.   I think that this tack could be mixed in very easily with workshops and bootcamp.

I would like to see far, far more gappers.  I think one of the things to do is set up some dates, where a dozen gappers can be greeted and processed en masse.  And along with that, maybe some people just want a tour.  Maybe we could say that if people can arrive under their own power on a specific date and time, then it is just $40 per person rather than $100. 

I think there is a beautiful community forming up at ant village.  i want to support that more and am trying to think of ways to do that.  THINK, THINK, THINK!   More people, more gappers, more workshops ...   I also think it would be good to re-explore the idea of potato village, mushroom village and peanut village:   some people can be more tidy and disciplined, while other people can be a bit more lax.   Also, I like the idea that we might have something that is a bit more family based in our gapper program.   So I like the idea of nurturing several different flavors of community - all with a strong permaculture core.

I would like to see people cooking more with rocket stoves and rocket cookers.  Let's really build this space out. 

So many things are still under construction.  And so many things are ready right now. 

I would like to see the salatin-style-fiefdoms (overlayed business models) take root.  Hogs, honey, beef, raw milk, lumber, wofati construction (flip a house), rabbits, fur, wildcrafting, restaurant-ish, produce sales, preserved food sales ... 

I would like to see more pictures and videos get pushed out. 

I would like to do more cash projects with more people that are here.  More dvd projects?  More kickstarters?

I wish to move all of our ideas forward in a big, big way.  It will take time and work and people.  Mostly people. Good people.  Great people.  People, people, people.  And the first step is to just get a lot more people coming through.







 
paul wheaton
master steward
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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I talked to fred and jocelyn about several items here.  A couple more bits:

full access to the fisher price house (cooking, bathroom, laundry, etc.), 24/7, without a bunk:  $150 per month.  Can be paid with funny money.   This might be useful for ants or folks that live with ants until the ant has built something better.     Some of the same folks might want a bunk too, in which case, the $250 per month applies.  

Both the $150 and the $250 can be waived for those that are knocking out $1000 or more in bounties in a month.

---

The thing with access to the fisher price house is not only that it seems stupid to have so many people here and the house is shut off, but at the same time, we got really burned out with the train station factor.  We just had far too many people that were disrespectful of the space.  And we had several people come by to say something about how jocelyn and I really needed our privacy.  And we discovered that there was a lot of truth to that. 

Mixing in to that:  there is an idea that both jocelyn and I are passionate about ...  the bigger vision ... the stuff that we think is possible seven years from now ....   proving the value of wofati ... the lemon tree ...  the power of polyculture .... the demonstration of a different types of community and community living overall ...  not just a better way, but what might be the future of permaculture ....   To all the goals - a bit of discomfort is worth getting a strong, forward velocity.




 
Dan Boone
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Before I ever heard of permaculture or Paul Wheaton or Permies.com, I had given a lot of thought to various kinds of small-community living.  I have a distant friend in the co-housing movement and I've been conscious ever since college that the pleasure of taking daily meals with a community of friends (which I enjoyed so much when I lived in a small dorm and ate at a small adjacent dining hall) ought to be routinely reproducible in adult life, only it mostly isn't.  Even marriage partnerships often break up viciously in disputes about eating and cleaning arrangements, so it's no surprise that as the group size rises, the difficulty of getting all that stuff amicably sorted out rises with it. 

And yet one of the first things I figured out about permaculture was that the limiting factor for what I can accomplish is my own labor; you need land but not very much, it's easy to be overwhelmed by more land than you can properly use, and it happens for an individual without animals or power tools somewhere between, what, half an acre and two acres?   Good permaculture systems are intricate and, especially in the establishment, labor-intensive.  Paul's dream of "but we could do so much more if we had more great people" follows naturally from that.

Paul, my takeaway from all of this is that you're exactly right to be anguishing over and trying to solve this problem.  (I know you don't mind being told "you're right" any more than the rest of us do, heh.)  I want to say something like "it feels to me that permacultural design principles have a big gap in them" when it comes to coordinating  people living in small communities, but I'm not sure if there's a gap in permaculture design principles or if it's just an area where technology and practicum still need a lot of work to catch up to the theory. Maybe another way to put it is that the design science is fine but work is still needed on finding functional designs?  Anyway,  I am convinced that if and when you ever crack this tough nut, the solutions you come up with will look obvious (and very permaculture-y) in hindsight!

Sorry for rambling out loud.  This is supposed to parse as encouragement; I hope it does!
 
K Putnam
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So, when I was just out of college, I went to work for a horse trainer as a "working student".  Being a working student means you work from dawn until dusk in exchange for the on-the-job training.  A good old fashioned apprenticeship.  (which violates every workers' comp law on the books, FYI, so be careful.)  I did my bit, changed life plans, and left before the first tech crash.  When the tech bubble crashed, the clients dried up, and so did the business.  Sad.

The apprenticeship isn't where I'm going with this.  In order for the apprentice (boots)to have a job, the master (you, Paul) has to have clients.  The clients bring the monies.  I think, in order to jumpstart the system, you need clients. The point I want to make is this: The boots are the apprentices, not the clients.

Hopefully the system can attract some enterprising folk who want to run businesses which would create some stability.   That said, a lot of permaculture folk never really took to capitalism.  Unless they come with many dollars in their pockets, there is only so long they can work for you before they have to leave in search of coin.  So, I'm thinking you need a massive pair of jumper cables to bring this creature to life. 

I'd be focusing on how to attract a series of paying clients to the lab on a weekly or bimonthly basis, spring through fall of 2017 to generate some serious coin.  Then you can have the resources to take care of the boots and bounty hunters and start building your systems, while keeping all those experience-hungry people busy, close to you, and invested in the lab. 
 
Julia Winter
steward
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Things are getting better and better - just look at all those gorgeous gates!  Your ant village idea was brilliant, and is working.  Hurray!

The boot camp idea is worth trying.  It's kind of an intimidating name, which might deter the truly lazy. What do you imagine will be the cost of boot camp?

Charging rent in local currency is a good idea.  I think there's a better name out there than "funny money."  How about "Wheaton Lucre?"

Living in community is hard.  Like, very, very hard.  I'm a friend of the Columbia Ecovillage, which is a community where people have their own condominiums (thus, their own bathrooms and kitchens, a place to retreat to when others get annoying) and STILL there is conflict, sometimes over the silliest things, sometimes over really big things.  Actually, I think that place should advertise for a "permaculture groundskeeper" to live onsite, but that's a topic for another conversation.
 
Ron Helwig
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I'm surprised there isn't already a local alternative or complementary currency in your area. At least I don't see one at http://www.complementarycurrency.org/ccDatabase/les_public.html and it lists a lot of them. It sounds like something a lot of folks there would think is cool.

But as someone who makes an alternative currency and has also seen a good number of other attempts, I think it is probably more work than you'd find it to be worth. In your case, you seem to be looking for a way to make a physical spreadsheet, keeping track of who has done what work and saved up hours. A digital currency, like bitcoin, probably isn't going to work in a place where Internet is spotty at best and folks don't have smart phones, so physical sounds necessary. But unless you plan to scale it up and make it usable in other places it's utility will be small.

Anyway, mostly for fun but with some hopefully educational value, here's one tale.

About 8 or so years ago we had this guy in our community named Anarcho-Jesse. He thought he'd create his own currency based on his labor: Anarcho-Jesse Labor Notes. He made notes that were each denominated in one hour of his labor, to be redeemed later for him doing work. Of course, he was never actually available to perform the redemption work, and it wasn't long after that he self-exiled and moved half a continent away.

Another guy tried the same thing, and I think he sold about ten of his hours. One guy tried to redeem and it took over a month to get the work.

I know you're not talking about an "hours" model, but for already performed work. But economics can get tricky, even if it seems simple.
 
Anne Miller
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paul wheaton wrote:The thing with access to the fisher price house is not only that it seems stupid to have so many people here and the house is shut off, but at the same time, we got really burned out with the train station factor.  We just had far too many people that were disrespectful of the space.  And we had several people come by to say something about how jocelyn and I really needed our privacy.  And we discovered that there was a lot of truth to that. 


I feel this is something that needs to be address and a solution needs to be found.

I understand that everyone has been working hard to get things done. I believe that I remember that one of the wofati's or both are used by some of the the ants in winter until they get their houses live able.  Would a solution be to get a water tank storage and solar set up there so that a used washer and a shower could be installed? Also a indoor drying solution.  I have dried my clothes indoor in winter for years without a dryer, not ideal but it could be done.

Another suggestion would be to pay a "boot", "ant", or "gapper" with "funny money" to clean the bathroom after the last shower?

 
Kyle Neath
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I like a lot of these ideas, but I can also appreciate your apprehension about opening up the house again. What I wonder about is other ways of getting more people without offering more services.

I wish to move all of our ideas forward in a big, big way.  It will take time and work and people.  Mostly people. Good people.  Great people.  People, people, people.  And the first step is to just get a lot more people coming through.


Personally, I'm entirely fascinated by what is going on at the labs, but it took me a long time to understand just what was going on, and how one could participate. A few months ago, I rolled through Missoula on a road trip and didn't stop by. I'm one of those people that probably should have come through, but didn't.

And I think the reason was kind of simple: I wasn't sure of what one could do at the labs, who to contact, or what was currently happening. Most of the information about activities at the labs is buried in > 1 year old forum threads that are mixed in with discussions of laundry detergent and land purchase discussions. The permies forums get used a lot, and the Labs activities have been going on a long time. That means information gets drowned out and appears outdated.

Since then, I've had more time to read more of the forums and understand that permies works quite differently than most online forums, especially with regard to long-living threads. But what I wonder about is how many other people think the way I do. People that would love to visit the labs, but don't have an understanding of the different programs offered, where the labs are exactly, or who to contact for questions.

What I'm thinking about is focusing more on marketing what's available. Something like the Wofati page http://richsoil.com/wofati.jsp rather than the labs forum https://permies.com/f/102/labs listing. Something that appears to be permanent rather than a forum posting which can appear temporal to those unexperienced with permies particulars. Something that could be linked from the home page of permies and richsoil. While I appreciate the "ask in the thread" model that is currently employed, I think the fear of asking a stupid question in public is a powerful one, and having a page of FAQs or a private communication channel for questions about how to move forward might help alleviate some of that. Something to bridge the gap between reading an old thread and sending money via paypal.

I know that personally I'd love to tell my friends to Google "wheaton labs" and get an overview of what you're trying to accomplish and how to participate. And I suspect that might help bring more people to the land.
 
Anne Miller
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Kyle Neath wrote:Since then, I've had more time to read more of the forums and understand that permies works quite differently than most online forums, especially with regard to long-living threads. But what I wonder about is how many other people think the way I do. People that would love to visit the labs, but don't have an understanding of the different programs offered, where the labs are exactly, or who to contact for questions.

What I'm thinking about is focusing more on marketing what's available. Something like the Wofati page http://richsoil.com/wofati.jsp rather than the labs forum https://permies.com/f/102/labs listing. Something that appears to be permanent rather than a forum posting which can appear temporal to those unexperienced with permies particulars. Something that could be linked from the home page of permies and richsoil. While I appreciate the "ask in the thread" model that is currently employed, I think the fear of asking a stupid question in public is a powerful one, and having a page of FAQs or a private communication channel for questions about how to move forward might help alleviate some of that. Something to bridge the gap between reading an old thread and sending money via paypal.

I know that personally I'd love to tell my friends to Google "Wheaton Labs" and get an overview of what you're trying to accomplish and how to participate. And I suspect that might help bring more people to the land.


Maybe this will help:

How Permies.com Works
 
K Putnam
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That's an awful lot to wade through for a prospective visitor. 

A simple page "Wheaton Labs" that covers, with simplicity

- How to Visit / Where to Stay / PayPal Link
- Course Calendar / Fees / PayPal Link
- Things to Do and How to Very Easily Make that Happen
- Meals / Showering / Restrooms During Your Visit

Right now, there is way too much information between the person who is interested in visiting the lab and making that happen easily.  I say this as a person who has purchased a few nights in the teepee to use next year and has tried to wade through that info. 

I think it would help to design a minimally viable program for visitors, meaning provide people the essential information they need to visit and participate and not much more.  They can decide to go down the rabbit hole of the website on their own time.

Simple, simple, simple.  Once that is dialed in, then expand it out into the grand dream.
 
Anne Miller
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K Putnam wrote:That's an awful lot to wade through for a prospective visitor. 


Maybe I misunderstood what he was asking/looking for.  Your point is well made, and I think others may have address these concerns also.

Her are some posts for visitors:

visiting-wheaton-labs

This one address where to stay:

Permaculture-Pampering
 
Kyle Neath
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Maybe I misunderstood what he was asking/looking for.


I wasn't so much expressing questions I currently have, but rather sharing a personal perspective about what prevented me from visiting. I think that linking to forum threads like the ones you have shown is great for people that are intimately familiar with the forums. But if you're new to the forums or have't spent 20-30 hours reading through old threads, these threads appear to be outdated information and scary places to ask "stupid" questions. I suspect having a simpler marketing page/home/something for what's happening at the labs and how to participate would be a great growth channel for getting more people out there.
 
John Weiland
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@Paul W.: "We are operating on a tiny fraction of the funds of when I first arrived.  I am working on improving our overall cashflow....."

@K Putnam: "- How to Visit / Where to Stay / PayPal Link
- Course Calendar / Fees / PayPal Link
- Things to Do and How to Very Easily Make that Happen
- Meals / Showering / Restrooms During Your Visit"

Yes,....excellent suggestions K Putnam.  Also, although I did not see it specifically spelled out....not saying it's not out there, just that I didn't see it....was wondering whether or not Wheaton Labs and cashflow is incorporated as some kind of non-profit, LLC, etc.  There are the long forum threads of the questionable nature of non-profits, but I did not see mentioned that "this is why we decided not to be a non-profit and instead are incorporated as X or Y or Z....".  I bring this up regarding the possibility of creating one of those "affinity credit cards".....the kind that automatically donates a portion of any purchase over to your organization of choice. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affinity_credit_card )  Perhaps inclusion in such a program comes with too high of a cost, but I did not see it mentioned before via a search of the forum.  And I don't know how such a card would work in the case of an organization that does or does not have such an incorporated status. 

Will also just add something here that probably states the obvious and please shrug it off summarily if it covers old ground.  It seems to me that Permies types by nature are trying to create something locally to which they become quite attached.  In addition, in trying to reduce their own footprint on the planet, many will be reducing or even eliminating their traveling activities.  So although there may be many who would relish, through their Star Trek transporter, being beamed directly into the Wheaton Labs war room, the above and other factors will come into play impeding such a visit in the current world.  For sure, there will still be many who will travel and would hopefully put a Wheaton labs visit on their agenda.  One suggestion within that consideration would be that perhaps some kind of anticipation be used for the type of person (general depth of prior knowledge on permies concepts and issues, current dwelling situation [rural/urban, apartment/house-on-lot, etc.], inclination to engage directly in permaculture versus first-timer curiosity, etc.) that has tended to make these visits in the past and to plan future venues and activities accordingly. (The workshops should probably be considered separately since these can be quite technical and in-depth.)  Again, this probably has already been well covered in your current planning stages, but just adding it to the discussion.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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I think this thread is Paul's attempt to describe some ideas, preferences, and what might be new ways to get more people here in ways that work well for us, that work well for those coming out here, and that admittedly work differently than other communities.

So feedback is definitely welcome on the ideas.

The funny money in terms of residents here, (and bounty hunters and boot campers) is not quite a timebank, not quite a barter system, not quite an alternative currency - it kind of doesn't fit into any current definition. And these things are all, at this stage, ideas.

The thing is, we all know people whose time is more valuable than others. They have more experience, more skill, or they just simply work harder or care more about what they do. And while it's a lovely thought to value ditch digging time equal to a doctor's (or healer's) time, (especially when some ditch diggers can dig in 15 minutes what would take others 2-3 days and some doctor's do more harm than good!) it's not an easy thing to trade hour for hour within a group of people.

Mostly, I think the bootcamp folks would be a subset of gappers - folks coming here to visit and learn about permaculture and homesteading. We're trying to be creative in how this could be a valuable experience for everyone involved. Again, most of this defies current categories or descriptions.

Yes, this is a complicated thread, made perhaps a little bit more by the replies that are intended to be helpful, though have ended up being a bit lengthy themselves.

While this is generally off topic, I do like the idea of simpler information about wheaton labs (thank you guys!) and talked to Paul about perhaps making some links at the top of the wheaton labs forum page.  So I created a thread best, simplest summary of all things wheaton labs. Please add your thoughts to that thread about anything I might have missed to help new or potential visitors.

Currently, there is not (yet?) a non-profit part of the empire, though folks do at times donate just out of being awesome people who wish to thank the permies community for all of the free information it provides. These are a few ways folks support things here:
  • donations - there is a PayPal button on Paul's bio page (scroll down a bit - no PayPal account needed)
  • feed the empire - an entire thread of ways to support the permies empire
  • permies pie - a membership program for the forums with all kinds of neat benefits
  • gapper love - all kinds of amazingly generous gifts sent by this awesome community (and how to send more)
  • ant love - more examples and info on stellar, outstanding support of our ant village community


  • Of course we are working on income streams. This is a continual, if not constant effort on both Paul's and my part. It is why we do not get out and garden or build or do earthworks very much ourselves. We are providing the land, the structures, the equipment, the administration and oversight, etc., etc./yada yada, to make it all happen.

    This year was a quiet, restorative year. We had far fewer people through our house than the first two years. It helped to have that kind of respite and ability to reflect, plan and think about how to make it work better. It feels good to gear up to invite and coax more folks out here again. I think the funny money system might be a win-win situation for quite a number of folks.

    Of course, if someone already has their own online or homestead business, (or residual or investment or retirement income) we'll happily rent a bunk or cabin to them here as well! I think some times we forget to mention that.

     
    Rufus Laggren
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    > opening the house...

    I relate here my experience at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in Marin. By way of both a bad example and an example of what worked.

    When I started at Green Gulch Farm in Marin long ago, I just walked in and asked where do I go/stay. Eventually I ended up w/floor space to crash, a knowledge of the eating schedule and a couple names to find (if possible) to get hooked up w/work. IOW, it was a laid back casual disjointed mess of 20-30 people all doing their own thing. Everybody was real nice but it seemed nobody actually organized anything, especially the noobs. There was a core of power (about 4-5 people) and a few Lutes but these people were always out of sight doing what they did. It was a chore to find a person who wasn't already busy, going somewhere _now_, or heading for the sack. IOW, noobs had a hard time finding _a_ place, much less _their_ place. The regular eating schedule and the mediation schedule kind of held the whole thing together. (Aside: In Budhist monasteries the boss is the Abbot and the #2 controlling the whole monastery is the head cook. They consider food, ie. what goes into them, that important.)

    That was a mess, and nothing to boast about IMHO. I got on because I was uncouth enough to persist until I got what I wanted. However, there was a reason they could get away with this (well probably several...):

    The "main buildings" where the kitchen and comforts were located had a couple rooms for rent; there were also two "cottages" (maybe three?) w/plumbing which were rented out. IIRC the rooms were nothing special, just clean w/a few Zen type chachkees (flumoxed the spell checker here <g> scattered about. These were popular enough and the rates high enough that it covered basic expenses. It was a little Inn w/in the farm - it "sold" Quiet and Nature and Quaint and Exotic.

    Now, here is the point: These guests were never a part of the community at all. They practically did not exist. Just ghosts that we'd come across once in a while on a walking path or see distantly while working the farm. They were welcome to participate in any/all ways if they chose to step up but no effort was put forth to "make available" anything to them. On the contrary, because they inevitably slowed things down from the normal laid back leisurely pace to something to give a snail road rage. They basically existed in the midst of a working farm  and practicing monastery observing and soaking in atmosphere and immersing w/the crowd when they felt like it. And the corollary is that the "crowd" never infringed on the guests because the main buildings and the cottages were essentially off limits to all except the top honchos,  guests and "maids". Even though they were only about 30 yards from the dormitory and monks' rooms where the "real people" existed. This was physically functional because the dorm had basic plumbing facilities, the hoi-poloi got regular meals and a place to crash (keep the animals fed and quiet) and there was a set of coin laundry machines available (off the kitchen, I think); the laundry could be a bit of a bottleneck on Fridays and weekends.

    Perhaps, IF the basic physical realities can be aligned, the use of the house as a small Inn could give the best match between usage, civilized behavior, quiet and privacy. It _would_ require that basic amenities be available elsewhere for the hoi-poloi; not knowing your physical details, can't say how much trouble that would be. Perhaps throwing up a bunkhouse laundry/shower would be worth it... Perhaps not. I think it might be best if there were only one serious kitchen in regular use, but again, don't know your detail situation. 

    Philosophical aspects exceed this post. Market forces... I don't have a clue.  I relate the above to share an example of something vaguely similar to Wheaton Labs situation that worked quite well in all it's imperfection.

    Cheers

    Rufus
     
    r ranson
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    Kyle Neath wrote:...I wasn't sure of what one could do at the labs, who to contact, or what was currently happening. Most of the information about activities at the labs is buried in > 1 year old forum threads that are mixed in with discussions of laundry detergent and land purchase discussions. The permies forums get used a lot, and the Labs activities have been going on a long time. That means information gets drowned out and appears outdated....People that would love to visit the labs, but don't have an understanding of the different programs offered, where the labs are exactly, or who to contact for questions. ...


    I feel this is a major stumbling block. 

    It's almost like you need a gateway page to welcome people to the idea of coming to your place - one that is outside the forums a bit more but links to the forms for the details.  If you have one already, never mind... although, I haven't seen it and I've been here a while.

    There was a choose your own adventure thread around here somewhere.  Perhaps a variation on that only in the style of your cast iron article on richsoil?  But then, how to draw the right people to it? 
     
    r ranson
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    By the way, the idea of rewarding people who work hard and giving them a chance to earn their stay for free - FANTASTIC!

    The chance to earn credit towards deep roots - AMAZING!

    If things were different for me and you were in Canada, I would be there.
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    R Ranson wrote:
    Kyle Neath wrote:...I wasn't sure of what one could do at the labs, who to contact, or what was currently happening. Most of the information about activities at the labs is buried in > 1 year old forum threads that are mixed in with discussions of laundry detergent and land purchase discussions. The permies forums get used a lot, and the Labs activities have been going on a long time. That means information gets drowned out and appears outdated....People that would love to visit the labs, but don't have an understanding of the different programs offered, where the labs are exactly, or who to contact for questions. ...


    I feel this is a major stumbling block. 

    It's almost like you need a gateway page to welcome people to the idea of coming to your place - one that is outside the forums a bit more but links to the forms for the details.  If you have one already, never mind... although, I haven't seen it and I've been here a while.

    There was a choose your own adventure thread around here somewhere.  Perhaps a variation on that only in the style of your cast iron article on richsoil?  But then, how to draw the right people to it? 


    Yup, that's why I created https://permies.com/t/59322/simple-summary-wheaton-labs, which includes a link to the choose your own adventure thread.

    We're talking about making the details in that thread into its own webpage - maybe at richsoil.com like you suggest.

    Forums can be intimidating, and personally, I like the idea of removing that as a barrier.

    Though all these things take time...(that thread I made took a couple hours itself!!    )




     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    Paul and I keep talking about this. The more we do, the more we're thinking about a sort of time bank model. Where we use fysh: farmstead yield standard hour.

    An hour of house cleaning might earn one (or 10) fysh, while an hour of excavator time might use up 10 (or 100).

    Teach a person to fish...

     
    Julia Winter
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    Rufus Laggren wrote:  Perhaps, IF the basic physical realities can be aligned, the use of the house as a small Inn could give the best match between usage, civilized behavior, quiet and privacy. It _would_ require that basic amenities be available elsewhere for the hoi-poloi; not knowing your physical details, can't say how much trouble that would be. Perhaps throwing up a bunkhouse laundry/shower would be worth it... Perhaps not. I think it might be best if there were only one serious kitchen in regular use, but again, don't know your detail situation.


    I think this is a good idea, and lines up with what has been described above (you pay rent for indoor guest rooms, the red cabin, etc).  I could envision the skiddable shower structure being, um, skidded up to the lab (along with the rocket water heater) once there are enough people living up there (and better water resources).  I could imagine a bathroom and shower being installed in one of the other structures at base camp, for additional capacity and poor weather use, when there are enough worker bees that live at basecamp to justify it.  I can imagine a washing machine (no dryer) also being installed in an outbuilding.

    I can imagine tiny house builders showing up for extended stays and having a tiny house village at basecamp.  Folks probably need to know if bringing a more traditional RV is allowed - to base camp, up to the lab. . . I don't know the answer to that question.

    Way off in the future, I can imagine a beautiful manor for the Duke and his closest folk, with very lovely guest rooms that finance ever more permaculture experimentation.
     
    paul wheaton
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    idea:  after 18 months of service in the permaculture army, a boot gets a deep roots package.   A hard working boot might carve several months off of that.  

     
    paul wheaton
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    I think I wish to say that a "boot" is a gapper.  A gapper can choose to work with an ant or to work independently (bounty hunter).  The bootcamp program would be for people that wish to build skills and possibly end up with a plot of land to express their vision in seed and soil (maybe discover their inner gert).



     
    nancy sutton
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    Just to 'ditto' previous replies.   A single "New?  Start here!"  button is common on other websites ... featured VERY PROMINENTLY  (not buried in a line of links or buttons).  And this leads a list of VERY simple questions, like  'What is ..?",  "Why Permaculture?",  "Want to visit?", "Contact us", etc., with very, very simple answers, ("we offer everything from a 'drop by' to 'long working stays', to 'move in'... more info here:  (this is where the links to other comprehensive threads go"). 

    I think it is often hard for those who 'live' on a website to see it from the perspective of a newbie whose friend just said 'google permies', who is easily flummoxed and floats way (like me :).  And I can't stress enough 'short, simple, concise, appealing' for the first stuff a newbie reads.   I think this is simple marketing strategy.... used because it works!  (Once their interest is piqued, they have treasures awaiting, and will also be repeating 'just google permies' :)
     
    Burra Maluca
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    There is a list of very easy to find links at the top of the wheaton labs forum page.
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    Burra Maluca wrote:There is a list of very easy to find links at the top of the wheaton labs forum page.


    Thank you for getting this rolling, Burra! By the by, these links are currently available only in the non-mobile view.
     
    nancy sutton
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    Yes, thanks Burra for the TONS of work you do on this gigantic site... including the helpful top-of-the-page links ;)   I was just speaking from the point of the dumb bunny newbie... who I don't want to slip away when faced with the 'wealth' of this site.  I think it is just these non-choir folks who we need to snag.... with an exceedingly easy and obvious entry point.  But... I've been wrong-headed before ;)
     
    Anne Miller
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    From a newbie, I found this site sometime in Feb 2016 looking for a plant ID and recognized immediately that it is a wealth of information.  Why had I not found it many years before?

    It took a little bit of a learning experience to figure it out but it was all worth it.  Thanks Paul, Jocelyn, Burra and all the Gardeners and Pollinators!  It only just keeps getting better!

    And thanks to the Ants and Gappers for helping make Wheaton Labs another interesting place.
     
    Cathy Wilde
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    Regarding the problem of visitors to the Fisher Price House not respecting Paul and Jocelyn's privacy and house rules: Paul has ruled the permies.com site with intractable rules of 'niceness' that one disobeys at one's peril. This works and makes this site safe for all. Visitors could be handed a list of 'nice rules for boots' and that should solve the issue. ☺
     
    paul wheaton
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    I like the idea that Fred can direct the boots in how to keep things clean.  That will probably be about 80% of it.   And then the rest might be hiring people to clean and paying them with fysh.
     
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