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Paul Wheaton's eco community?  RSS feed

 
James Threadwell
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Hi all,

First post and I'm sorry if this has been dealt with before but I just had a friend tell me about Paul Weaton starting a permaculture community? I can't find any info on it - I would love to hear more about it and possibily join up.

Thanks so much. Namaste.
 
charlie briffa
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Paul Weaton is starting an eco community? That would be a paradise on earth. Count me in!
 
James Threadwell
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I know right! I am just waiting on some feedback on what it all entails but I reckon it'll be pretty amazing.
 
r ranson
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Here's an introduction to some of the things going on at Paul's place.

He's got a lot on the go from the deep roots programme where you can lease a piece of land for the rest of your life, to workshops, to whathaveyou.  Pretty fantastic from the sounds of it.
 
Destiny Hagest
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Hi everyone! I'm Paul's assistant, and can give you an idea of what all is going on. R. Ranson is right about the link - there are a few interesting things going on there.

Paul's piece of property in the Rocky Mountains is what we refer to as wheaton labs - there's a whole forum on the goings on here.

Paul started an Ant Village Program, which you can read all about here, and is kind of along the lines of a community concept, but not quite.

Then of course, he hosts a few workshops and events there as well, which you can also find out about in the Wheaton Labs forum as they come up. He also has other programs in which folks can come out to live and breathe a bit of permaculture, you can find them here:

GAPPers Program
Shallow Roots
Deep Roots

It is a really cool place - the structures alone make it totally worth a visit, not to mention the highly agreeable company please ask away if you're curious, and if you're ever wanting to schedule a visit to the Lab as a GAPPer or make other arrangements, feel free to email me at destinyATrichsoilDOTcom, and I'll get you taken care of.
 
charlie briffa
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Wow! I mean- just wow! That all sounds super amazing! I´ve been checking out what´s out there and Paul really stands out. Is there any way of getting onto one of his sites for free? I´m more than happy to work for my keep but my financial situation is dreadful. It´s the Maltese in me. 
 
James Threadwell
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Hey Destiny,
Thanks so much for getting in touch! I am so impressed with all this. I am currently in Australia and really think we need to get the ball rolling with regen community systems. I think Paul, being such an expert has nailed it with this project. I've been into permaculture for ages now and would love to share my skills however I am financially not abundant as yet - but I am sure that this is beyond this within the next level community systems?

I could be there in January if that works?
 
r ranson
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charlie briffa wrote:Wow! I mean- just wow! That all sounds super amazing! I´ve been checking out what´s out there and Paul really stands out. Is there any way of getting onto one of his sites for free? I´m more than happy to work for my keep but my financial situation is dreadful. It´s the Maltese in me. 


I think this thread might be the one for you.  It's about rewarding people who work hard and giving them a chance to earn their stay for free.  There's talk that a person, an amazing person, could earn their own deep roots plot where they can make a home for themselves for the rest of their lives.  There are so many options.  Paul seems very tough and gruff on the outside.  I've also seen that he recognizes people who take the initiative, work hard, and rewards them. 
 
charlie briffa
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Paul doesn´t seem that tough and gruff to me. He seems like a big softy. Like a big teddy. All I wanna do every time I see him is cuddle! All hail the duke of Permaculture!
 
James Threadwell
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Actually, that's an interesting point. Is Paul as tough as he seems? He does seem cool. There seems to be lots of rules and things that are labelled 'wheaton labs' whilst the other people are referred to as 'ants'. However, I do assume it's all in good humour! haha. I've had some really bad experiences on communities in the past but my gut feeling about this place is a good one.
 
r ranson
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My interaction with Paul has been with this forum, I have yet to meet him in person, but from what I've seen he seems a very sensible guy.  His passion for permaculture is infectious.  He's worked really hard to get this land and show the world that permaculture is an achievable goal. He provides opportunities for people to explore permaculture.  He also seems to like names that are easily recognizable - the volunteers on the forum are gardeners and stewards, the people staying at his place are ants, gappers, seppers (I'm probably spelling these wrong).  gapper -  goofy about permaculture.  I'm not sure where the other names come from. 

He does seem a bit like a teddy bear.  He also is a defender of gentle souls.  Sometimes this means the teddy bear has claws.  I'm not really sure how to describe it, but basically, for people who are kind to others, work hard, are interested in learning and actually making the world a better place rather than whinging about how horrible it is - for those people, Paul's your man! 

 
Glenn Herbert
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"Ant" is not a putdown like "little unimportant people", but a description of people who will work hard like ants building their place so they can relax and enjoy it later... as contrasted with grasshoppers who laze around and then freeze when it gets cold.
 
Jenny Whyte
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This looks exciting. Next time I'm heading home to N.Dakota from Portland, I may have to see if I can check out Paul's place and his program.  So far everything looks great and I can't wait to see it in person! Maybe I can time a trip home to coincide with a workshop.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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I've visited, Wheaton labs.  It's a great place, where, for example, if there is excavator work being done, and someone wants a chance to try it, that can happen. 

A lot of projects are research, meaning trying ideas that people think might work, then finding out if they do, in that climate, and how they can be improved.  A wonderful innovation to the rocket stove was discovered there, as well as simultaneously in other locations.  First they had a teepee, and had a rocket stove in it, and got some people to live through the winter in it.  That rocket stove had a similar problem with mine so I was especiallyamazed at the simplicity of the solution.  They brought the exhaust fumes back past the barrel, just close enough to heat the fumes, so they would rise up and out.  With that handy idea, it is not so critical how warm the fumes are as they exit the mass.  (My situation was that at the beginning of the season, the initial heating of the mass was difficult because the fumes were too cool to rise up and out.  No longer a problem at my place)

I guess my point is, there is a lot going on there.  The way I see it, it is a social experiment as well as permaculture technology and practices being utilized and refined, and plenty of learning opportunities, plenty of things on exhibit.  It is well worth the time to see what's going on, especially if you've never seen a rocket stove or a compost hot water heater, and an outhouse that is not unpleasant to use, and there are plenty of people to answer "How does it work?" questions. 

It is important to keep in mind that there is no one idle there, so that when a tour is given, it takes a person away from some other project, even if that other project is a well deserved moment of quiet contemplation.  Contact them ahead of time, find out if there is a time that is convenient for them, all that.

As for what Paul is like, what's important is he's a decent, passionate and talented man who has the resources to indulge in his passion, this permaculture website AND the place  called wheaton labs.  He has the courage to live his life as suits him, and commit himself  his talents and his earnings and his time to a project that has the potential to benefit individuals and the global community beyond measure.  Nobody is perfect, and I never thought Paul was trying to be, nor put himself forward as a guru or leader of any kind.  

He is a generous man pursuing his interests, and willing to take others along, if they share his interests.  To my way of thinking, that's way more than "enough".
 
Julia Winter
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For anybody who is interested, my suggestion is to start by listening to Paul's podcasts.  You'll get a feel for his personality, and the land is his.  If you're not charmed, it's probably not the best idea to drive out to Montana to share his land.
 
Destiny Hagest
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Jenny Whyte wrote:This looks exciting. Next time I'm heading home to N.Dakota from Portland, I may have to see if I can check out Paul's place and his program.  So far everything looks great and I can't wait to see it in person! Maybe I can time a trip home to coincide with a workshop.


You definitely should Jenny, give us a shout!

I went to Wheaton Labs the first time a couple years before I started working for Paul as part of a hugelkultur workshop (aka haul fucktons of dirt and meet lots of cool people), and it was really nice to just have your hands in the dirt and have lunch with some likeminded people.

About a year later my husband and I came back for the natural building workshop, though we could only stay for half of it (work). It was really amazing - lots of hard work to be sure, we were skidding and peeling logs for the majority of it, but we also learned how to use crosscut saws and chainsaw safety from Tony and Emily Aaston, which was just awesome. Made some great friends there, and definitely came back exhausted and thrilled with what we had learned.

Interesting fact -at the time I was about 9 weeks pregnant with my son and didn't realize it I couldn't figure out why Paul's food was making me so nauseous the whole time, when it was obviously so good! My little boy was rockin' and rollin' in my belly while we were having log peeling races in the hot Montana sun, what a trip!

Paul is just a brutally honest guy - you won't get minced words from him. Take it from his personal assistant, when you do something stupid, he will absolutely let you know But like R said, he's also really respectful of kind, gentle people, and doesn't talk that way to be a dick, I think he's just spent so many years trying to reach people that don't want to be reached, he just cuts through the bullshit to get to the heart of the matter.

We definitely don't always agree on things, but I have tremendous respect for people who are unapologetically honest about who they are, and that's definitely him. On the other side of that, he's crazy stupid funny - the guy will have you laughing your ass off in no time. Once I was at the Lab visiting, and during a meeting, we heard this rhythmic tapping on the wall, and without a word he sighed, got up, went to the door, and at the top of his lungs yelled 'GET OUTTTA HERE! GET!!'. Then calmly sat back down and muttered 'Woodpecker' and kept going. I was almost in tears trying to stay focused and not laugh.

Just as quick as he'll tell you 'ya fucked up', he'll also invite you over to dinner and be a total goof. Don't be scared, it's just Paul self proclaimed tyrannical dictator, and overall a pretty decent guy.
 
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