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Parents and kids at the pdc

 
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I'm very interested in coming to the pdc and the atc if I can. It seems like exactly what I need in my life.
I am a father of two (4years and 6 months old) who would be traveling from Brooklyn to participate. I'm curious to know if there is any accommodation for parents who need to travel with kids/family. We are all happy to camp but just wondering if this situation is something that is common/expected or strange/inconvenient.

Willing to jump through hoops to make it work, though we would be on a tight budget.

Thanks for all your good work
 
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I think it is good to post this here.  

I think it is possible that there is somebody here, or somebody that would come here and make this a business for these four weeks.  If somebody wants to take on this business angle, now is the time to speak up and name your rates.  Naturally, the business person would need to meet some minimum criteria to make it worth doing.

I do wish to make it clear that:

   - the ticket price includes feeding the student and not extra spouses/kids/etc.  

   - i insist that the instruction not be interrupted by personal stuff, this would include fussy babies.

 
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It's almost a catch-22 that we need a family or families here to make things more friendly for more families to visit, move here, etc.

We like the idea of having a diverse, supportive community though we're still growing and working on that.

There are families that *might* be here during the pdc and atc, so we'll make sure they know about this thread, too.
 
paul wheaton
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That's true.  At this time, it sounds like during the PDC there will be two families here, with lots of kids.
 
Daniel Burnam
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:

We like the idea of having a diverse, supportive community though we're still growing and working on that



Yes this seems like a great opportunity for an ad hoc community of families come together and support one another as we educate without ahouldering undue financial or other burdens.

For my part I would be willing to entertain the notion of bringing someone with me to help out with my son while my wife is in California and she would be able to join halfway through the pdc and be a part of that support community as it develops.

Family was the catalyst for putting us on this road and wanting to reimagine and redesign our lives so it feels like an integral part of permaculture for me.

As to Paul's response about the food (sorry I don't know how to double quote ina reply), would you be willing to put a price on a daily, non-class taking food cost for others who were traveling as support.

Thank you!
 
paul wheaton
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The PDC will provide food for 13 days (no food on the day off in the middle of the PDC).   We currently estimate that our COST on that is about $455 for one person.   And that does not include the cleaning.
 
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Hello Paul and Jocelyn,
This is Michelle; my husband is Cliff Ponder, whom you have been emailing about the gapper program.  

Daniel, I believe we are one of the families referred to that is planning on being at Wheaton labs during the pdc and atc. I am interested in providing childcare. My boys are ages 9, 7, and 4. I have always been at home with them and I feel I can handle caring for another 4 yr old and 6 month old.

Paul stated,

If somebody wants to take on this business angle, now is the time to speak up and name your rates.

Paul, can you help me get a sense of what the daily time commitment might be? 8am - 5pm? Or, a few hours here and a few hours there? I understand the two programs are a total of four weeks.
 
Michelle Ponder
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I just found the pdc daily schedule that is listed below all the instructors for the pdc on the richsoil site. That answers my question. I may have a few more for Daniel...
 
paul wheaton
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Michelle,

We gotta get you out here so we can go over the particulars so you can figure out what to charge and stuff.

 
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This topic is for the 2017 PDC, is there a similar topic for 2019? I did a search and didn't find anything, but i could have missed it... or perhaps, this topic is covered in another place?

How did the families thing go in past years, such as the 2017 PDC?

What helped it work out well, and what could be improved for a different year?

My family is considering whether I can go to the PDC / ATC this year, or perhaps another year, and part of that is researching the logistics of specifically how it could happen. Leaving my 5 year old daughter somewhere for a month is not an option for me, so if i get to go, she needs to come with me! We would probably rent a car and drive out. I would need to bring a support person to care for her while i attended the PDC. If kids are just not appropriate, i might have to wait until she grows up... that... feels... long...! (Although i'm sure time will fly.)

I have some questions that i hope would help me and other families plan and know what to expect:

Would i need to buy tickets for the PDC / ATC for the support person or kid?

If they bring their own food, could they join us for dinner, or would that be disruptive?

Forgive my confusion, but is it accurate to say that the PDC day-to-day is at the workshop located at basecamp, and going to the lab would only be for the tour or other occasional use? (So most days they could drop me off at basecamp and be on their way, if they were going to the store etc, could drop by to bring me meals when appropriate, etc.)

Are they welcome on the property during the event? For instance, if we set up a "day tent" so i could come and see her and help out with her needs, but we don't sleep in it, and they stay out of the way and out of buildings? (except willow feeders)

Similarly, if allowed on property, could she dig holes with her tiny garden stuff and plant seeds in allowed locations? Or just do hikes and her own tent activities? It is fun for me to imagine her with sticks and stones and dirt and she could make tiny play "hugelkultures" and "gardens" with bits of wildlife.

This next question seems like a tough one- this year i'm a little late in the game, but if they were not already rented, if we planned ahead (say, next year if there is another science/pod people PDC) is it reasonable to hope for a rental cabin or similar closer than Missoula? I'm not asking for a specific spot to rent, just the likelihood of finding one and ballpark cost. (Perhaps there are none, or perhaps there are ten? For renting a whole month, perhaps they are $150 a night ($4500 a month), perhaps $25 a night? ($750 a month). We wouldn't need fancy but looking for a non-camping experience: a working mini-fridge, internet (or strong cell signal for tether), a power source (steady enough for a laptop without frying it), indoor compost toilet or better and a hot shower is probably the minimum my support person would likely request in order to be willing to go. We usually make our own food, so "kitchen" access might be needed, but it could be as simple as a hot plate and sink. And we could bring the hot plate if there was an appropriate plug.

I'm not trying to push on the rules here, just to know what they are. =) Thanks for any insights!
 
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Kay, very good you ask all these questions. Following permies (including podcasts) for some years I consider myself somewhat expert Especially because I saw all 'drama' happening from both sides. I won't explain that further, it was only one case, but it was about a family with children.

I think the problem then was: they did not ask those questions before going. So they came with their expectations, which were different from the reality. And then they were disappointed and spread around negative information. Being prepared prevents disappointment.
 
Kay Gelfling
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Does anybody know a better place to ask these questions? I need to buy plane tickets to the mainland, which I need to do anyway but will be a different date if I can go to the PDC / ATC, so in a week or two, if there is no answer, the answer will become that I definitely cannot go. :(

I am okay with hearing answers that might not bring me joy. I would rather know the answers than wonder!

Thanks for any clues!
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Hi Kay, I'm SO sorry I missed your questions here!

Kay Gelfling wrote:
How did the families thing go in past years, such as the 2017 PDC?

What helped it work out well, and what could be improved for a different year?


We had two families here in 2017. (The families didn't know each other before coming to wheaton labs.) Each family had one parent attending the PDC for the certificate. For the most part, the families were on their own for meals and camped at base camp. In one situation, we had thought there would be a trade to feed the entire family, but the additional kitchen help from the parent not attending the PDC did not happen and the kids in that family didn't like the food we were providing any way, so the kids did not eat the meals that were provided.

The kids were good kids. There were a few squabbles between the kids and a few times we had to ask the kids (or their parents to ask their kids) to not do certain things like slide down and play on an earth-bermed structure where we wanted the earth to stay *on* the structure, or leave sticks on the porch or walkways where they could be tripping hazards. Nothing major or awful or too disruptive from the kids.

Because the additional kitchen help didn't happen, we are not likely to try an agreement like that again, unfortunately.

Kay Gelfling wrote:My family is considering whether I can go to the PDC / ATC this year, or perhaps another year, and part of that is researching the logistics of specifically how it could happen. Leaving my 5 year old daughter somewhere for a month is not an option for me, so if i get to go, she needs to come with me! We would probably rent a car and drive out. I would need to bring a support person to care for her while i attended the PDC. If kids are just not appropriate, i might have to wait until she grows up... that... feels... long...! (Although i'm sure time will fly.)

I have some questions that i hope would help me and other families plan and know what to expect:

Would i need to buy tickets for the PDC / ATC for the support person or kid?


At this time, no. I'm going to make an executive decision that not even a bootcamp/gapper fee is needed for your support person.

Kay Gelfling wrote:If they bring their own food, could they join us for dinner, or would that be disruptive?


That should be fine!

Kay Gelfling wrote:Forgive my confusion, but is it accurate to say that the PDC day-to-day is at the workshop located at basecamp, and going to the lab would only be for the tour or other occasional use? (So most days they could drop me off at basecamp and be on their way, if they were going to the store etc, could drop by to bring me meals when appropriate, etc.)


Oh yes. Most days will be at base camp. And certainly, if the class moves to the lab for something, we always carpool or use our large (old) passenger van, Toots, for that.

Kay Gelfling wrote:Are they welcome on the property during the event? For instance, if we set up a "day tent" so i could come and see her and help out with her needs, but we don't sleep in it, and they stay out of the way and out of buildings? (except willow feeders)


Gosh, you have done your research! Yes, a day tent at base camp would be just fine. And I appreciate your respectfulness for the class with your thoughts about minimizing interruptions. :-)

Kay Gelfling wrote:Similarly, if allowed on property, could she dig holes with her tiny garden stuff and plant seeds in allowed locations? Or just do hikes and her own tent activities? It is fun for me to imagine her with sticks and stones and dirt and she could make tiny play "hugelkultures" and "gardens" with bits of wildlife.


Oh yes! We had kids doing that with some small hillocks (mostly sand as yet) along one of our terraces where we'd like to build hugelkultur one of these years. She can garden to her heart's content in those and many other places, too!

Kay Gelfling wrote:This next question seems like a tough one- this year i'm a little late in the game, but if they were not already rented, if we planned ahead (say, next year if there is another science/pod people PDC) is it reasonable to hope for a rental cabin or similar closer than Missoula? I'm not asking for a specific spot to rent, just the likelihood of finding one and ballpark cost. (Perhaps there are none, or perhaps there are ten? For renting a whole month, perhaps they are $150 a night ($4500 a month), perhaps $25 a night? ($750 a month). We wouldn't need fancy but looking for a non-camping experience: a working mini-fridge, internet (or strong cell signal for tether), a power source (steady enough for a laptop without frying it), indoor compost toilet or better and a hot shower is probably the minimum my support person would likely request in order to be willing to go. We usually make our own food, so "kitchen" access might be needed, but it could be as simple as a hot plate and sink. And we could bring the hot plate if there was an appropriate plug.


wheaton labs:  currently, none of our cabins are this equipped - they are still just a level up from camping. The bunk bedroom in the Fisher Price House (FPH) is currently available for the PDC and ATC, though with some caveats. There is not guaranteed fridge space available, though at the very least, we could likely offer space in our chest freezer to re-freeze ice things for your own cooler. The house is SMALL and not childproof, so it might not be the best place to hang out during the day or inclement weather unless holing up in the bunk bedroom might seem feasible. Also, the kitchen will be the kitchen for feeding the class, so it will not be available for personal use. We might have outdoor options for cooking (such as wood fired rocket cookers, a propane cooktop, rocket oven, etc.).  

Other cabins nearby:  there are very few other cabins or rentals nearby, and I'm not familiar with their availability. Though we do send a list of the closet ones after folks register. I think the lowest price range per night is $50 for a park service cabin with power though I think without a fridge or wifi, so I'm not sure if you could find something at the $25 per night range with the amenities you seek. With our location, folks have rented something "only" 30 miles away according to Google, yet it's back country roads that take over an hour (or more!) to travel, and they have been disappointed by that. Which is to say that while Missoula is around 50 miles away, the 80 mph freeway means it's only about 40 minutes away, so some times renting something in Missoula is the quicker travel option.

Kay Gelfling wrote:I'm not trying to push on the rules here, just to know what they are. =) Thanks for any insights!


These were all such Very Good Questions! I hope I addressed them clearly enough for you and I hope it works out for you to attend!

 
Kay Gelfling
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Jocelyn thank you so much for your excellent answers! They are really helpful for planning.

Jocelyn Campbell wrote: At this time, no. I'm going to make an executive decision that not even a bootcamp/gapper fee is needed for your support person.



Wow, that is super generous. A lot of these answers are super generous!

Jocelyn Campbell wrote: She can garden to her heart's content in those and many other places, too!



Squee!

Jocelyn Campbell wrote: The bunk bedroom in the Fisher Price House (FPH) is currently available for the PDC and ATC, though with some caveats.



This is an interesting thought- I had assumed that the bunk room might be too full up by now to be available. Could we pay money to reserve the whole bunk room, if nobody else has said they plan to use it? (Just on our own, we would take up three person spots.) We wouldn't want to take up space needed or expected by other folks. We do have a snorer. Holing up in the bunk room is feasible, and working remotely could potentially be done from in there, if nobody else needed the space. We are not a group that needs childproof situations.

If it ends up being a good match for us to rent the bunk room, would there be internet and power source for laptops / phone chargers? If so, is the internet a useable speed during a pdc, or is it a 30-people-on-wifi showdown most of the day? (Or would it be a tethering-to-our-phone only situation?)

(I think even if we were in the bunk room, we would still want to set up an outdoorsy tent and child and caregiver would likely spend many days in town.)

I think with a cooler and trips to the town, the food might work out. I will confer with caregiver. It sounds like you are saying a cooler and foodstuffs in the room might be okay, if we keep the room clean?

I read in the accommodations page for the pdc that some people bring campers which they coordinate with you folks about beforehand. If we rented a camper and brought it, I don't imagine there would be power or internet once parked, because it says "no plugins" (I can't imagine that you guys would want a power squid of exterior extension cords all over the grounds!) Campers would have to sit around idling and using gas to have power, right? (I'm such a camper newbie- I'm asking in order to check my assumptions about what normal campers do.)

Finding a camper available for rent on short notice with laptop-powering solar panel capabilities might require magic. However, if we found a magical solar camper, I assume parking would be on or near base camp? (I.e. We would not need a magical and also 4wd camper?)

Jocelyn Campbell wrote: With our location, folks have rented something "only" 30 miles away according to Google, yet it's back country roads that take over an hour (or more!) to travel, and they have been disappointed by that. Which is to say that while Missoula is around 50 miles away, the 80 mph freeway means it's only about 40 minutes away, so some times renting something in Missoula is the quicker travel option.

These were all such Very Good Questions! I hope I addressed them clearly enough for you and I hope it works out for you to attend



Thank you! :) Your answers were very clear and good.

Oh, that is very good to know about those "closer" rentals. I will look into Missoula rentals again also and see if I can make a budget that works for us. Thank you again for all the info and kindness!
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Kay Gelfling wrote:Jocelyn thank you so much for your excellent answers! They are really helpful for planning.


You're welcome!

Kay Gelfling wrote:Could we pay money to reserve the whole bunk room, if nobody else has said they plan to use it?


Yes, at this stage it is possible. The price would be $25 per night per person, or $75 per night. (The rate is discounted for those attending workshops.)

Kay Gelfling wrote:If it ends up being a good match for us to rent the bunk room, would there be internet and power source for laptops / phone chargers? If so, is the internet a useable speed during a pdc, or is it a 30-people-on-wifi showdown most of the day? (Or would it be a tethering-to-our-phone only situation?)


We have wifi at base camp and the FPH is on the grid with electricity - we even have power strips in the bunk bedroom for extra plugin capacity. The wifi can slow down with 30 people on it at once, especially when folks are uploading videos, since our upload speed is tortoise-slow. If folks are just downloading or emailing, or uploading a photo here and there, we do fairly well with the wifi. It all depends.

Kay Gelfling wrote:I think with a cooler and trips to the town, the food might work out. I will confer with caregiver. It sounds like you are saying a cooler and foodstuffs in the room might be okay, if we keep the room clean?


Yes, that's fine.

Kay Gelfling wrote:I read in the accommodations page for the pdc that some people bring campers which they coordinate with you folks about beforehand. If we rented a camper and brought it, I don't imagine there would be power or internet once parked, because it says "no plugins" (I can't imagine that you guys would want a power squid of exterior extension cords all over the grounds!) Campers would have to sit around idling and using gas to have power, right? (I'm such a camper newbie- I'm asking in order to check my assumptions about what normal campers do.)


Ah, let me help with some lingo. We do not have RV hookups which usually include power (usually with a higher amp plugin that we don't support), water, and some times sewage. That said, we do have some limited capacity for regular extension cords to plug in at the back of our shop/auditorium and extend out in to our parking lot there. So it's power only, not RV hookups. And we could probably only let two campers plug in at most. And that would be first come, first served.

We don't allow generators because we don't want the noisy, smelly generator action spoiling things for others.

Kay Gelfling wrote:Finding a camper available for rent on short notice with laptop-powering solar panel capabilities might require magic. However, if we found a magical solar camper, I assume parking would be on or near base camp? (I.e. We would not need a magical and also 4wd camper?)


Base camp has parking behind the shop/auditorium in Arrakis (which, as the name implies, is a very sandy parking lot) and in the turtle parking lot. Both those lots are easy to drive in to with almost any vehicle and are at the base/bottom of base camp. Campers and attendees park in these two lots and often walk their camping gear up the hillside to their tent spots. Some have camped in Arrakis, either in tents, RVs or their vehicles (car camping). And while we are trying to grow things on the berms around Arrakis, it is still a sand and dirt parking lot.

Note, too, that walking from the parking lot up to the FPH is a bit of a hike for some. Those staying in the FPH could unload their items at the top of the driveway, but would need to park down below in Arrakis or the turtle lot.

There is a VERY rocky road that travels up the hillsides of base camp, snaking around where the tent pads are, all the way up behind the "volcano." Some campers drive their camping gear up to their camping spot, then return their vehicle to the below parking lot, even in their small passenger cars, though I think high clearance, extra STURDY/STOUT suspension vehicles are recommended for that road.

The road to the lab is paved, then gravel, then dirt, some times mud adventure road. And there are only dirt roads around the lab once you're through the gate. Some of these dirt roads are rather rutted after our spring melt off and rains. So high clearance and all wheel or four wheel drive are certainly recommended for camping up there, though we often have campers go up there in smaller passenger cars at drier times of the year.

June could be rainy here. Or it could be dry. (Sorry, but that's kind of the short version of the potential weather...)

 
Kay Gelfling
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We have decided that we can make it work for this year! I am *SO* excited. Jocelyn, I have sent you a purple moosage, please let me know, when you get a chance! Thank you!
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Kay Gelfling wrote:We have decided that we can make it work for this year! I am *SO* excited. Jocelyn, I have sent you a purple moosage, please let me know, when you get a chance! Thank you!



Yay! Glad it will work for you guys!

By the way, for anyone else reading along, we always prefer questions in our threads first, in case others might have a similar question. Though if you have a private question, please use one of these two e-mails that both Coco and I monitor, (instead of a purple mooseage):

  • workshop questions:  workshop AT richsoil DOT com
  • rental or accommodation questions:  bunks AT richsoil DOT com

  • I started responding to purple mooseages and it then it dawned on me that Coco might need to refer to those conversations, too. So our e-mail accounts work much better for that.

     
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    I’m in the same situation as Kay, but I have a 10 year old, 6 year old and a nursing 6 month old. My mom is able to come along to watch all 3 of them during class time, so I’m assuming that’s still ok? I got a free ticket for being a kickstarter backer, so I haven’t planned a whole lot yet. Thinking about driving my SUV, with tent, camping equipment & food, and the kids and my mom will stay with me in our tent. Is there a place I can pitch the tent so that the babies’ cries in the middle of the night won’t wake up other campers?
    My mom isn’t very familiar with permaculture, she only knows a few things I’ve explained to her. Would it be ok for her & the kids to wander around the property, to explore all of the features? I don’t want them to be in the way, but I think this would be a great opportunity for my mom & kids to see the potential it has. Is there any type of hiking/walking area around (without driving an hour) where they could just experience being in nature? We homeschool, so my kids are thrilled to be outside with binoculars and magnifying glasses so they can explore. Plus, we’ve never been to Montana before, so it’s a new environment. I’m also assuming there is a grocery store nearby where I can replenish items in the cooler? Is there a source for water? When we camp, we usually bring all water for drinking & cleaning up. Is there water to wash dishes without bringing my big water containers? I’ll bring natural soaps. I’m beyond excited - I didn’t think this would be able to happen for another few years, since my girls are so young. Is it ok that I bring 3 kids and my mom along, if I bring all camping equipment and food for us & they don’t interact with us during work time?
     
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    Lulubelle Davis wrote:I’m in the same situation as Kay, but I have a 10 year old, 6 year old and a nursing 6 month old. My mom is able to come along to watch all 3 of them during class time, so I’m assuming that’s still ok? I got a free ticket for being a kickstarter backer, so I haven’t planned a whole lot yet. Thinking about driving my SUV, with tent, camping equipment & food, and the kids and my mom will stay with me in our tent. Is there a place I can pitch the tent so that the babies’ cries in the middle of the night won’t wake up other campers?


    HI Lulubelle! The situation with Kay is a bit different - she is bringing only one child with a dedicated caregiver. Plus, since she was interested in renting, and did end up renting here, I waived any additional fees for her child and her child's caregiver. We typically charge a gapper fee of $100 for the first family member, then $20 each after that, just to come out to wheaton labs.

    Annnd....I'm worried a nursing 6 month old would be a disruption to the class. I'm worried even Kay's 5 year-old will be a disruption to the class! So these questions give me an opportunity to clarify a few things.

    This 2019 PDC taught by Alan Booker is an information dense, highly technical PDC geared towards those who want to delve deep into the design science of permaculture:  scientists, engineers, teachers. This is an adult event where kids will not be happy in the classroom (BORING! to kids) and where the adult learning environment needs the least distractions and interruptions in order to be able take it all in.

    So, it is best if kids are not in the classroom during instruction time, which is 8 to 5 with a lunch break in the middle, and then there will be design work or other presentations in the evening. It's a packed day.

    When my kids were 6 months old, I was still nursing them every 1 to 2 hours (I know!), and I certainly would not bring a baby in to a class like this every two hours if it were me. Which is a hard thing for me to write since I certainly want to be welcoming to women and mothers and support them in this cool learning opportunity. And at the same time, I really don't want to diminish or detract from the learning experience of the rest of the class.

    Lulubelle Davis wrote:My mom isn’t very familiar with permaculture, she only knows a few things I’ve explained to her. Would it be ok for her & the kids to wander around the property, to explore all of the features? I don’t want them to be in the way, but I think this would be a great opportunity for my mom & kids to see the potential it has. Is there any type of hiking/walking area around (without driving an hour) where they could just experience being in nature? We homeschool, so my kids are thrilled to be outside with binoculars and magnifying glasses so they can explore. Plus, we’ve never been to Montana before, so it’s a new environment. I’m also assuming there is a grocery store nearby where I can replenish items in the cooler? Is there a source for water? When we camp, we usually bring all water for drinking & cleaning up. Is there water to wash dishes without bringing my big water containers? I’ll bring natural soaps. I’m beyond excited - I didn’t think this would be able to happen for another few years, since my girls are so young. Is it ok that I bring 3 kids and my mom along, if I bring all camping equipment and food for us & they don’t interact with us during work time?


    There are acres and acres to explore here, and other areas to explore nearby - so, with caveats, and if there might be a way for this to work, your mom and kids could wander and explore. And yes, we have good well water at base camp available to workshop attendees and campers. Though the warnings/caveats we typically give to those with children are that this is a site of innovation and almost continual construction. There are not typically any "childproof" or "child-safe" zones so close supervision is really a must. There are construction tools, nails, sharp things, construction equipment, earthen berms that have not been stabilized yet, etc. that are within a child's reach, though are certainly not for children. Plus, we have mountain lions here, and black bears (no grizzlies) so unattended children could be in danger. (Our next door neighbors watched a mountain lion eat their dog two years ago.)

    It's Montana, so "close by" is very different out here. There is not much "close by" by most people's standards since we are in a rural location. Missoula is the best source for organic food* and that's about a 40 minute drive away. That's very "close by" in Montana terms!

    *We ask that folks eat organic or better since their pee and poo is (eventually) returned to the land here and we don't want persistent herbicides (which can last a decade or more) from non-organic food.



     
    Lulubelle Davis
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    I should have clarified - the baby will not be with me during any of the class sessions. She will be taking a pumped bottle during the day & nursing in my free time & overnight (I understand there won’t be too much of that). The kids will not be in the classroom at all, that’s why my mom would be there - to watch them while I’m busy. So, it would be $160 for them to come along, with the understanding that they are not to be involved in the PDC at any time, but onsite for most of the day, or out and about at another location? I wouldn’t let them wander without my mom supervising - I grew up in a rural setting as well, so I understand the dangers & challenges of being so far away from a town.

    Thank you!


    Jocelyn Campbell wrote:

    Lulubelle Davis wrote:I’m in the same situation as Kay, but I have a 10 year old, 6 year old and a nursing 6 month old. My mom is able to come along to watch all 3 of them during class time, so I’m assuming that’s still ok? I got a free ticket for being a kickstarter backer, so I haven’t planned a whole lot yet. Thinking about driving my SUV, with tent, camping equipment & food, and the kids and my mom will stay with me in our tent. Is there a place I can pitch the tent so that the babies’ cries in the middle of the night won’t wake up other campers?


    HI Lulubelle! The situation with Kay is a bit different - she is bringing only one child with a dedicated caregiver. Plus, since she was interested in renting, and did end up renting here, I waived any additional fees for her child and her child's caregiver. We typically charge a gapper fee of $100 for the first family member, then $20 each after that, just to come out to wheaton labs.

    Annnd....I'm worried a nursing 6 month old would be a disruption to the class. I'm worried even Kay's 5 year-old will be a disruption to the class! So these questions give me an opportunity to clarify a few things.

    This 2019 PDC taught by Alan Booker is an information dense, highly technical PDC geared towards those who want to delve deep into the design science of permaculture:  scientists, engineers, teachers. This is an adult event where kids will not be happy in the classroom (BORING! to kids) and where the adult learning environment needs the least distractions and interruptions in order to be able take it all in.

    So, it is best if kids are not in the classroom during instruction time, which is 8 to 5 with a lunch break in the middle, and then there will be design work or other presentations in the evening. It's a packed day.

    When my kids were 6 months old, I was still nursing them every 1 to 2 hours (I know!), and I certainly would not bring a baby in to a class like this every two hours if it were me. Which is a hard thing for me to write since I certainly want to be welcoming to women and mothers and support them in this cool learning opportunity. And at the same time, I really don't want to diminish or detract from the learning experience of the rest of the class.

    Lulubelle Davis wrote:My mom isn’t very familiar with permaculture, she only knows a few things I’ve explained to her. Would it be ok for her & the kids to wander around the property, to explore all of the features? I don’t want them to be in the way, but I think this would be a great opportunity for my mom & kids to see the potential it has. Is there any type of hiking/walking area around (without driving an hour) where they could just experience being in nature? We homeschool, so my kids are thrilled to be outside with binoculars and magnifying glasses so they can explore. Plus, we’ve never been to Montana before, so it’s a new environment. I’m also assuming there is a grocery store nearby where I can replenish items in the cooler? Is there a source for water? When we camp, we usually bring all water for drinking & cleaning up. Is there water to wash dishes without bringing my big water containers? I’ll bring natural soaps. I’m beyond excited - I didn’t think this would be able to happen for another few years, since my girls are so young. Is it ok that I bring 3 kids and my mom along, if I bring all camping equipment and food for us & they don’t interact with us during work time?


    There are acres and acres to explore here, and other areas to explore nearby - so, with caveats, and if there might be a way for this to work, your mom and kids could wander and explore. And yes, we have good well water at base camp available to workshop attendees and campers. Though the warnings/caveats we typically give to those with children are that this is a site of innovation and almost continual construction. There are not typically any "childproof" or "child-safe" zones so close supervision is really a must. There are construction tools, nails, sharp things, construction equipment, earthen berms that have not been stabilized yet, etc. that are within a child's reach, though are certainly not for children. Plus, we have mountain lions here, and black bears (no grizzlies) so unattended children could be in danger. (Our next door neighbors watched a mountain lion eat their dog two years ago.)

    It's Montana, so "close by" is very different out here. There is not much "close by" by most people's standards since we are in a rural location. Missoula is the best source for organic food* and that's about a 40 minute drive away. That's very "close by" in Montana terms!

    *We ask that folks eat organic or better since their pee and poo is (eventually) returned to the land here and we don't want persistent herbicides (which can last a decade or more) from non-organic food.



     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    Lulubelle Davis wrote:I should have clarified - the baby will not be with me during any of the class sessions. She will be taking a pumped bottle during the day & nursing in my free time & overnight (I understand there won’t be too much of that). The kids will not be in the classroom at all, that’s why my mom would be there - to watch them while I’m busy. So, it would be $160 for them to come along, with the understanding that they are not to be involved in the PDC at any time, but onsite for most of the day, or out and about at another location? I wouldn’t let them wander without my mom supervising - I grew up in a rural setting as well, so I understand the dangers & challenges of being so far away from a town.

    Thank you!


    Lulubelle, it sounds like you have it worked out! When my kids were nursing, pumping never worked for me (that's another story for another thread), so it's hard for me to imagine the pumped bottle routine. Kudos to you for doing that for your babe!

    If this seems like a go, here's a payment link for your family:  $160.00 for 4 campers.

    With that, they could attend a tour, too! This year the tour dates are at either end of the PDC - June 15th or June 30th. (More about tours here.)

    These things have been great to discuss in this thread, and I hope it helps others, too. Thanks Lulubelle and Kay!

     
    Kay Gelfling
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    Lulubelle Davis wrote:I’m in the same situation as Kay, but I have a 10 year old, 6 year old and a nursing 6 month old.



    Lulubelle I'm so happy that you are going to be there! =) It's still a month away but it feels like no time at all, for all the prep i need to do to be away from home. So- see you soon!! =)
     
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