Monika Frik

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since Apr 12, 2016
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Podcast Summary

The Problems
On some examples Paul explains the main problems of communities:
- Some people don't want to be in the type of community they joined and want to change things to suit them better.
- Some people are low on the spectrum of nobility. They are the people that want other to do things for them while doing nothing to help.
- Some people that are just annoying and disrupting through not really much fault of their own.
All these problems or rather problem people are disruptive and destructive to a community. In the worst case they can ruin the community and lead to its dissolution.

The Solution
There has been a video from the Fouch family with criticism of Paul and Wheaton Labs (details in podcast 380).
Ever since the video has been out, the people coming to Wheaton Labs are a lot higher on the nobility scale, more rational and have realistic expectations.
The video actually turned into a filter for people looking for a place where everyone is doing everything for them, because they see this is clearly not such a place. Instead it attracted better people who saw beyond the complaints and saw how unfounded those complaints are.

There was some discussion about what a cult is and whether Wheaton Labs is one - the answer is probably no, but it may seem like it to people who are low on the Wheaton eco-scale
Podcast Summary

Update on the kickstarter
Kickstarter is done. The book will have ca 180 pages and is at the printers already. Printing is supposed to take ca. four weeks, so it will be ready by the end of August / beginning of September. Unless of course there are problems...
Several people who said they would support the kickstarter didn't do so, some others brought in a lot of supporters.

Current situation at Wheaton Labs
Eleven people currently are at Wheaton lab. Fred has been there for over 4 years now. He already had a lot of skills when he arrived but he learned a lot more due to being open to new experiences and eager to learn.

Lots of chop and drop has been done so the growies are doing better now. Hügelkultur beds have never been irrigated but Paul plans to do it this year, to give them one year of proper irrigation so the soil can builds up and improve.

The Fisher-Price house was a replacement for another mobile home with a different footprint. This left some mess of rocks and cement structures of different levels. The plan is now to build a pavillion to house all things rocket mass, solar oven and the like.

Mission and Vision of Wheaton Labs
Wheaton Labs aims to grow the future leaders of permaculture. Paul wants to incubate and accelerate the shaping of those leaders. When they live next to each other and work next to each others there will be synergies not only with the people living there permanently but also with people who come to courses.

It should also become something like a permaculture theme park where people can see and experience things like rocket mass heaters.

There is a plan to build a Wofati for 25 people living together (without stabbing each others). This can be a proof of concept and a model for Wofatis built all over the country or the world.

Everything at Wheaton Labs is done without toxic input, which includes there is no composting of paper and preferably no external input like woodchips from landscapers or soil from commercial composters. There is also no use of plywood for building. The more external  input sources are removed from the systems, the better the output of the land can be controlled and there is the assurance that the toxicity level is the lowest it can possibly be. This should help greatly with illness including cancer.

Paul sees Wheaton Labs as a third try community, for people who already had tried community living twice and each time disliked things but they still want community so they give it one more try.
Hi Permies, hi Fil,

I'm in Portugal, Castelo Branco region.

Another internet option is satellite. I am too far out in the country that fiber will never be an option. I could have gotten DSL but it would have meant that I had to get both a fixed net phone and DSL internet. Satellite turned out to be cheaper than those two as well as much faster. I have a satellite packet with internet, TV and phone, I only use the internet but the rest came with it. It costs 48€ per month, the router was included for free in the package with a 2 yr contract. I'm satisfied with the connection, it's as good as my fiber connection was in Switzerland. Almost no outages except sometimes short disconnects during storms and good speed.

Regarding the hiking: It is of course also no problem to live in Portugal and go hiking in Spain And the interior isn't that bad for living.

1 year ago
Hi Martin and Maike

I am German and I bought land in the Castelo Branco area ca. 3 years ago. I can't recommend my lawyer I had but I can recommend the real estate agent (Adam, originally from UK), who was also the owner of the land I bought.

Like how do we get our Fiscal Numbers?

I got my Fiscal Number (NIF) when I actually bought my land. My lawyer asked me to get a Portuguese citizen who can vouch for me and who would pay taxes in case I didn't pay. Of course I didn't have anyone like that, this is a lot to ask of anybody! I lived in Switzerland at that time, it is possible he rules are different for getting a NIF with an EU address.
I told Adam and he asked me for a copy of my passport and had the NIF on the next day. He used the address of the land I was buying as my address. So it must be easy to get a NIF - at least for someone who knows where to go and what to say. And I believe it's not the Camara Municipal but the Financias where you get it.

Aside from that all I needed was to give my lawyer power of attorney for the sale (I hope that's the right legal expression - it was some paper that stated that he represents me for the transaction) and send him a passport copy.

I had the money available, so I didn't have to deal with any mortgages or bank loans, those can complicate things.

The problem with the lawyer was that he had no experience in this kind of transactions and in the middle of it he asked for more money, because it was more work than he had expected. I could prove to him that I had stated fairly detailed what I needed him to do when we agreed on the fee, so he backed down. I am fairly sure though that he added quite a bit to the fees (notary etc.) which were much higher than they should have been. He never sent a receipt for those fees, a bill or the deed of the land, all I got was a pdf of the deed from my real estate guy. I was very busy at work at the time so I let it slide and only really noticed it months later.

Depending on what land you buy you may need to be able to pay utilities bills. In my case electricity was connected. A EU bank account and billing address may be accepted but in my case I got a Portuguese bank account the next time I was in Portugal. I needed a Portuguese address for that but the bank agreed to hold off sending me any mail (like the bank card) until I got my letter box sorted. Adam waited to transfer electricity until I had the bank account and once I had that I set up everything electronically. I get the electricity bills online and they get the money by debiting my account directly. Getting the letter box was a more complicated endeavor, Velho can tell you about it, he helped me get it after quite a trek through several different post offices (thanks again ).

I hope this was helpful and that you find a great piece of land!
1 year ago
This is great and thank you for sharing! I live in Portugal where is is also very hot and I have a house I need to renovate. There are a lot of things I can't do cause the house is already there but I want to do as much passive solar as possible and I love seeing examples of how others did it. Your place looks lovely and it is obvious that your design was well made.
2 years ago
Hey Ayalah

I'm afraid I'm one of those that waited till retirement, though it will be early retirement so I hope to have a lot of great years left still. But actually a large part of my work life was also interesting, I worked in several different countries and on a lot of interesting projects. Lately it has become a bit of a drag though and I am really looking forward to moving to Portugal and tending the farm there.

Good for you for doing this earlier in life. Also it is great that this is even possible nowadays, people from all over Europe moving to Portugal and other places and bringing new life to abandoned farms and young families to regions with a mostly old population.

Good luck to you too and I hope it all works out with the land you're planning to buy. Let us know when you get it

4 years ago
Hi all

Two weeks ago I bought a farm near Castelo Branco, near Mata actually.

I won't move there immediately but continue to work for another 3 years here in Switzerland to make more money. In the meantime I will spend every vacation plus probably some unpaid extra vacation days on the farm. Well this is my plan to get the money for everything.

I would also like to have contact with people in the area.

Thank you
4 years ago
I love the pics, the place looks very beautiful.

It has been a year since the last post, I wonder how did the trees do? Do you have an update?

I am especially interested since I am just buying a quinta in Portugal near Castelo Branco (almost done) and so will have to deal with very similar circumstances.
4 years ago