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This is still in it's early stages, and this program isn't quite going to be so much about luxury just yet as it is just absorbing the awesomeness of wheaton labs, staying in a really cool eco-accommodation, and learning and being inspired.

Prices for these packages are going to be low for now, until we can build them up with more goodies and fun, but for the time being, you can get a pretty sweet deal on a vacation package.

Get the coolest experience at Wheaton Labs in Winter with our affordable off-season rates.

With each stay, SEPPers will get:

- a ride to and from the airport, if needed
- Join the Ants and Gappers for feast night with Paul and Jocelyn. (Feast nights sometimes end with lively card games and are always a good time! Dinner served a 6:00 pm on the designated day, 10-days-notice needed to shifrt dates around your arrival.)
- conventional shower available on Feasting day
- hands on activities with the Ants on various projects, $20/hour
- a three hour tour of the Lab and Base Camp, that won't cover everything that could be covered, but can be tailored to meet your requests.
- Ask about our super special four hour tour that covers almost everything, but costs a little bit more.
- Photo with the Duke!
- access to thousands of acres of forest service and wilderness land for recreation
- the opportunity to operate an excavator, chainsaw, and/or tractor for $20/hr
(this is dependent on weather and machinery conditions)
- plenty of parking
- free firewood

We can coordinate with you and the Ants to see if we might be able to arrange for some really cool projects, depending on what your interests are. Plan to spend $20/hour for ant time. If you are super industrious and help more than sit back and watch, then maybe that ant won't charge you for their time. Update! This idea has been expanded to the "choose your own adventure" program.

But the best part of being a SEPPer? You're an honored guest, and are free to do absolutely nothing at all if that's your wish - lounge in the tipi, roast marshmallows, go on a hike, watch the clouds pass - whatever makes your spirit sing. You're the guest, and ultimately you can be as hands on or as hands off as charms your soul.

Maybe you would like to build experiences with rocket mass heaters, or building stuff out of roundwood, green woodworking, or wofati construction, or cob stuff, or building hugelkultur, or fermenting foods, bow hunting, driving the excavator or the tractor ....There is a long, long list of possibilities.



The Tipi



Tipi with a rocket mass heater. The function of this tipi is to seriously experience the value of the rocket mass heater. It can be super cold outside, your fire goes out at 9 pm, and you are warm as toast til morning. This is a truly beautiful space - reminiscent of a nomadic people with a fully functional tipi, but with all the warm coziness of your favorite reading nook at home.

The cob bed platform sleeps two. Burn as much wood as you like in the rocket mass heater. The tipi is about a hundred feet from the bee hut.

The hugel berm surrounding the tipi acts as additional protection against the elements, blocking wind and holding onto the day's heat well into the night. In addition to functioning as a thermal mass, the berm is teaming with life in the spring and summer, creating a gorgeous backdrop of greenery against the deeper tones of the forest beyond. Truly, this is a space that will make your heart sing.

3 nights: $250 and $40 for each additional night



Allerton Abbey



Allerton Abbey

One full size bunk and two twin bunks. The thermal mass has not yet been fully charged, so the annualized thermal inertia cannot be tested yet, but there is a rocket heater inside which does a good job of heating said mass, and the occupants.

This wofati is nearly complete. There is still some touch up cob work to be done, but people have already been living in it, and it is fully winter capable. This is a great way to get a closer look at this highly realistic vision of an eco friendly home, and how well it functions. Bring your favorite cast iron pans, split a little kindling, and get cozy in your bunk while you daydream of the modifications you would make if this were your Wofati.

3 nights: $380 and $55 for each additional night



cooper cabin





Cooper Cabin (aka Wofati 0.8)

The structure is only about half done, but it is fully winter capable. The umbrella is not on yet, but the building is watertight and has a first class rocket mass heater in it. There is a single bedroom, and plenty of room for a slumber party for 20 people in the main room. This space is pretty massive, and despite being a little ways out from being complete, still highly functional.

3 nights: $330 and $45 for each additional night

For large parties of 5 or more, there will be an additional charge of $40 per additional person. This charge is the same, regardless of how long your stay.




The Love Shack



Porta-cabin / The Love Shack.


Built in one day, it has since been insulated, and is equipped with a tiny clay pot heater, which is actually pretty efficient in this small of a space. This structure is located at Base Camp.

3 nights: $135 and $15 for each additional night



Red Cabin



The Red Cabin

This structure is also at base camp. There are rocket stove heated shower stalls nearby. We are still tweaking the compost-heated system.

This cabin features a full sized and twin sized bunk, along with a highly efficient rocket mass heater, and is insulated with wool. Despite it being a cabin of sorts, it's very warm and cozy.

3 nights: $180 and $30 for each additional night



Bunk room in the fisher price house
This is a small bedroom with two full size bunks and two twin size bunks, so it could provide bunks for six people. Access to a full bathroom just across the hall. Access to the kitchen.
3 nights: $455



If you have any questions, please post to this thread.

Send payment via Paypal to ecobunks@gmail.com - Once we have your payment, you will be contacted by Janet to go over the particulars.

Please keep in mind that you can book at these prices, and literally come out to stay any time within the next 3 years, or 5 years, or even longer - it's a great way to lock in these prices and still make sure you get the full experience before we start raising prices!
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Richard Kutscher
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I'm in a predicament.... And hoping for an answer.

The question: Is there a point person to contact to get custom packages built / designed / implemented? Anyone to email or send cute Purpley Mooseages to? Or is it too early in the SEPPer program to do custom things? Or just send some earnest money to Paul@Richsoil.com and explain what I want / desire / need, and they'll give thumbs up / down?

My predicament lies in that I live in a land whale, aka RV, and my plan is to pass through Montana'ish around June'ish. Would like all the pleasures of the SEPPer program (laziness, one meal with crown duke, tours, etc) with a place to recharge my batteries, electrical and otherwise (i.e. solar panel or access to battery bank). Don't need any lodging though want to embrace laziness for a week or so in the fresh Montana air.

Sure, an RV is not really permaculturey, though it does have several grand benefits (FREEDOM).
 
Destiny Hagest
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Richard Kutscher wrote:I'm in a predicament.... And hoping for an answer.

The question: Is there a point person to contact to get custom packages built / designed / implemented? Anyone to email or send cute Purpley Mooseages to? Or is it too early in the SEPPer program to do custom things? Or just send some earnest money to Paul@Richsoil.com and explain what I want / desire / need, and they'll give thumbs up / down?

My predicament lies in that I live in a land whale, aka RV, and my plan is to pass through Montana'ish around June'ish. Would like all the pleasures of the SEPPer program (laziness, one meal with crown duke, tours, etc) with a place to recharge my batteries, electrical and otherwise (i.e. solar panel or access to battery bank). Don't need any lodging though want to embrace laziness for a week or so in the fresh Montana air.

Sure, an RV is not really permaculturey, though it does have several grand benefits (FREEDOM).


Hmm this sounds like something you would need to chat with Paul about - I'm sure you guys could work out some sort of arrangement
 
Aubrey Ruwe
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Is the tipi available March 7 through the 11th? I would love to get my kids out of town for their spring break. Is the tipi child friendly (ages 13, 9 and 4)? Added bonus, mama gets to see Wheaton Labs!
 
paul wheaton
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Richard, my old friend, don't be stupid. You get the red carpet and you don't pay any monies. I invite you to stay as long as you like, and I hope you will share many meals with me. It will be great to see you again. I hope you choose to hang out here for a very long time.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Aubrey Ruwe wrote:Is the tipi available March 7 through the 11th? I would love to get my kids out of town for their spring break. Is the tipi child friendly (ages 13, 9 and 4)? Added bonus, mama gets to see Wheaton Labs!


Hi Aubrey - yes, I think so! Though with some detailed qualifiers. Those dates are currently available.

The tipi is fairly child friendly, as long as kids are old enough to know not to touch the rocket mass heater barrel, and are safe around the burn chamber which is like an open fire pit at child height. Tipi poles might be tempting to some little monkeys for swinging or climbing on, though they, and the attached canvas accouterments, really would not tolerate jungle-gym-type use. Both these kinds of cautions are specific to individual kids and families - some kids would be better than others in the tipi. I guess it would make sense to say that the tipi and RMH are not child-proof / not child-safe, so children would require adult supervision at all times and it would be a "use at your own risk" kind of thing.

Probably more of a concern is that the tipi might be rather crowded for 4 or 5 people sleeping in it. The circular rocket mass heater cob bench is almost as wide as a full size bed opposite the RMH, fine enough for some pairs of people, too small for others, and the rest of the bench is rather narrow, and not that long, so it might fit 2 children lengthwise, though not much more than that. The bench nearest the RMH gets rather hot when it's really being rockety. Floor space is limited, and in March, might still be cold and damp despite the RMH, since it is sand and directly part of the ground (no platform).

It's possible we could provide a tent for just outside the tipi, though camping in March in Montana could mean frost on the ground at night when not basking in the (literal) glow of the RMH.

I'm being extra specific, attempting to spell out all the potential challenges, because as a parent myself, I understand how that can help!

Did I cover everything?
 
Aubrey Ruwe
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
Aubrey Ruwe wrote:Is the tipi available March 7 through the 11th? I would love to get my kids out of town for their spring break. Is the tipi child friendly (ages 13, 9 and 4)? Added bonus, mama gets to see Wheaton Labs!


I'm being extra specific, attempting to spell out all the potential challenges, because as a parent myself, I understand how that can help!

Did I cover everything?


Yes! Thank you. I think the Tipi has too many risks. Also looks like I booked something during Spring Break that I can't get out of. But I would still love to come in the summer. I tried finding a way to send money through Paypal but I am a Paypal nube and couldn't figure it out. Maybe we can connect through email and find some dates that work at Allerton Abbey? Thanks again!
 
Hal Hurst
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So, looking for a way to respond to fumble- and send in some money for a wofati stay. Need help finding the link!

Hal Hurst
 
Destiny Hagest
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Hal Hurst wrote:So, looking for a way to respond to fumble- and send in some money for a wofati stay. Need help finding the link!

Hal Hurst


Hi Hal! So if you want to book a stay, you would just need to submit your Paypal payment to paul at richsoil.com - the actual dates and details of your stay can actually be booked at any time.

Here's the link to the February Fumble thread.
 
Casie Becker
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I think he's resolved this fumble. But for paying for a stay at the wofati,
Go to paypal's main webpage and sign in. At the top of the page of your account overview you will see the words "Sends & Request" Click there.
Select "Pay for Goods and Services" on the next screen.
The next screen is where you enter "paul at richsoil.com" of course, you use the symbol for at.
The next screen will ask you for the amount, and give you an area to leave comments. This is where you can explain what you are sending the money for. (dates, buildings, etc)
When you send your money in, you will shortly receive an email at the email address you use with paypal.

I so frequently cross post in this sight.
 
Hal Hurst
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Thanks to all for holding my hand. Since the urgency is over I will work with more deliberate speed.

The SEPP looks like a way to learn a lot while not having to be apologetic about my reduced physical powers.
Thanks for making this opportunity available.

Hal
 
Destiny Hagest
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Hal Hurst wrote:Thanks to all for holding my hand. Since the urgency is over I will work with more deliberate speed.

The SEPP looks like a way to learn a lot while not having to be apologetic about my reduced physical powers.
Thanks for making this opportunity available.

Hal


That's what I love about it, you can go out there and soak up the awesomeness, learn a few things if you feel like it, or just wander around and do nothing. I think if we ever wind up taking a weekend trip to Missoula we're just going to be SEPPers instead of getting a hotel!
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Great answers on how to send a payment (which acts as your reservation) via PayPal to Paul! Some day we might have a fancy-dancy webpage for this stuff.

Aubrey Ruwe wrote:But I would still love to come in the summer. I tried finding a way to send money through Paypal but I am a Paypal nube and couldn't figure it out. Maybe we can connect through email and find some dates that work at Allerton Abbey? Thanks again!


Aubrey, did the PayPal tips from Destiny and Casie help at all? So far, we have lots of open dates.

We prefer questions posted here in this thread, though if you have a private question, e-mails could be sent to workshop@richsoil.com.


 
Daniel Schmidt
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Some of the things covered by the cost of a stay also seems to be the same as the stuff covered by the $100 fee for a gapper. Would a potential gapper be able to have a small vacation and then start being a gapper without having to pay the full $100? I like the idea of paying my way in advance for a few days and having a slightly longer orientation time that's on my dime. These are very reasonable prices for a stay!
 
paul wheaton
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Hi Daniel,

It sounds like you have questions about the gapper program. Please check out our thread on that:

http://www.permies.com/t/46350/labs/gapper-program
 
Daniel Schmidt
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Thank you for the reply. I have listened to roughly half of the podcasts and read a few dozen pages here on gappers and lab projects and the Obligation is Poison thread and many others. I think there may be some people looking to take a vacation and end up becoming a gapper, while others may be in the rat race looking to be a gapper but need a breather to unwind and wrap their head around permies style projects. I'm usually not someone who spends money to vacation, but my eyes lit up when I saw this thread!

I figured since their may be other people looking to do both of these that a bit of cross pollination of ideas could yield positive results. From the gapper program 2.0 thread -
We will provide a ride to and from the airport or bus station. We will give you a tour. We can even provide a meal or two.
This appears to cross over some of the things here. I was just wondering if someone were to, for instance, rent the Love Shack for 5 nights ($250) plus start being a gapper ($100) if it would be $350?

I think of it as a way to stay ahead of obligation creep. A chance to learn or perhaps teach and do work without any build up of resentment for consuming resources since I paid to be there. These two things just seem to compliment each other very nicely. It has changed my opinion from "I probably should be a gapper" to "I really need to make this happen!"

I figured sharing my thoughts might get some other people motivated. Either way I am going to throw money at you. I have been living small while helping other people and the Love Shack is a cool tiny house similar to what I want to build for myself in the future. I look forward to staying there!
 
paul wheaton
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I think I understand the question. So the answer is: if a person does the Sepper program, it is as if they have paid the gapper fee. So when their stay is complete, they could choose to stay on longer as a gapper. Or, they could go home and return later as a gapper - the $100 gapper fee would be waived because they already know the lay of the land. Just as no gapper pays the fee more than once.
 
Daniel Schmidt
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That's exactly it. Now I just need to convince my girlfriend to go with me for a few days. Once I get a definitive answer from her I will inquire further. Thanks!
 
Jenna Long
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What great options to come and stay! I'm not sure if this is covered anywhere, but are our four-legged companions allowed to join in on the fun? We have two dogs that are very well trained and great around other people/dogs/livestock/etc. Would love to know the rules for them as well. Thanks!
 
Destiny Hagest
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Jenna Long wrote:What great options to come and stay! I'm not sure if this is covered anywhere, but are our four-legged companions allowed to join in on the fun? We have two dogs that are very well trained and great around other people/dogs/livestock/etc. Would love to know the rules for them as well. Thanks!


Hi Jenna! This is definitely conditional - if you have lovely, well behaved, nice dogs that you can keep in your own area, then yes, they are absolutely welcome. We just ask that you be courteous to other guests and pick up after them, but that should not be a problem at all
 
Cheryl Gallagher
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I would love to come for a visit, but I'm a little confused about the pricing. Three nights in the tipi is $220. And five nights is $430 ($280 plus $30/night for five nights). That makes it more expensive per night for five nights than for three nights. Am I figuring this correctly?

Second question - is the tipi available April 26 - May 1? Thank you for your help!
 
Destiny Hagest
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Cheryl Gallagher wrote:I would love to come for a visit, but I'm a little confused about the pricing. Three nights in the tipi is $220. And five nights is $430 ($280 plus $30/night for five nights). That makes it more expensive per night for five nights than for three nights. Am I figuring this correctly?

Second question - is the tipi available April 26 - May 1? Thank you for your help!


Hi Cheryl, I just checked, the tipi is currently available for the dates you mentioned.

I'm sorry, we were actually trying to illustrate the savings you get by booking additional nights with the way we set up the pricing, but maybe it's a bit more confusing that way.

So the way it is set up, 3 nights is $220 and 5 nights is $280 -

the amounts in parentheses are meant to illustrate the savings per night, but I can see where that can be a little bit confusing, so I think I may just edit that out of my post for clarification.

Does that make sense?
 
Lina Joana
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Quick question:
Is anyone milking cows or goats there right now? I had a surprising amount of trouble finding info on the animal systems... It is something we'd love to try!
 
Janet Branson
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Great question, Lina! At the moment the only livestock on the lab are Evan's ducks; which I hear are producing fabulous eggs right now. Milking a cow or goat is one of those future-possible adventures. First, we need paddocks and some extra hands to build those paddocks. There are two more ant plots available; perhaps those ants will bring livestock. For now, our animal systems are purely wild-animal-based. The deer and the turkeys do a fantastic job fertilizing and building soil.
 
Destiny Hagest
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One of my back burner crazy Destiny daydreams has been to become an Ant and raise dairy sheep on my plot - but I think my head would explode trying to get everything done before winter.

Someone needs to do this so I can kick myself later!
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Destiny Hagest wrote:One of my back burner crazy Destiny daydreams has been to become an Ant and raise dairy sheep on my plot - but I think my head would explode trying to get everything done before winter.

Someone needs to do this so I can kick myself later!


Ha! One of the ants talked about raising meat sheep (lamb) on the lab and I told him I would LOVE to buy from him! He had difficulty finding affordable lambs to start with though, so decided against it for now.

 
Casie Becker
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After more than 24 hours in a car (with one stop to eat at a restaurant) I'm finally back in Austin, TX. I stayed at Cooper Cabin for three nights of the last week as part of the SEPPers program. Since I don't really feel I have a lot of permaculture related skills or the time to develop them to useful extent, this let me see what was happening without feeling I was a horrible drain on everyone's resources. I don't tend to remember to take out my camera, so I'm sorry that I can only offer a few scenic photos. I was careful to cut out some of the amazing features of the landscape so that you'll have to keep guessing his exact location.

I did meet paul and Jocelyn my first night there.  Calling my family talkative is a bit of an understatement. I was wiped out from a hike at a state part that morning, but my mother was happy to show paul pictures of our gardens, with full explanations of every detail. Jocelyn kept company with both my nieces and sister during the after dinner cleanup. I suspect we were a little overwhelming for them on the whole.

None of the ants have exaggerated her cooking skills. There were generous quantities of ham, a kale salad made with pineapple,a mixed greens and veggie salad with homemade dressing, and fresh baked gluten free biscuits. The biscuits where a particular hit with my oldest niece and my brother. Jocelyn was kind enough to pack some up for Jazmyn to eat later. When my brother learned of this, Jazmyn had to guard them from her uncle.

After dinner we were led from base camp to the labs and shown the Chateau de Poo for our visit there. Our full tour was scheduled for the next morning with Evan. Let's get the downside out of the way at the beginning. If you don't have a large group, you may prefer the Abbey to Cooper Cabin. There was no odor a short distance from the Chateau and the Abbey is just across the road. From Cooper Cabin it is a long walk to the Chateau de Poo. Let me give you a few pictures I took during the first morning on the way there to illustrate this.

After I get some rest I'm going to make more posts including some of the many great features of our visit. Unfortunately, I'm running on fumes tonight, so I'm gonna pause right here. I do think it is important to note that all of the adults, including the those not actually interested in Permaculture found things to do and learn. We all agreed that it was a well spent vacation.
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Casie Becker
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Actually, I'm gonna add a post script to the last post. In this whole trip we visited three National Parks and a State Park that are all well known for their scenery. The labs and the surrounding areas easily matches  most of the scenery at three of those. Sorry, I do think Glacier National Park was still prettiest.
 
Casie Becker
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Okay, I've had some sleep now, so some of the more fun photos. We arrived August 12th which is the height of the Perseid meteor shower, so I was determined to watch meteors that night. The first night I didn't take full advantage of the cabin. I would have spread a sleeping bag on the hillside, but both my nieces wanted to join me, so we got fancy. We inflated a queen size mattress and then slept under a pile of blankets. Unfortunately I fell asleep after about 30 seconds (it was already two parks and three nights into our car trip) and when my alarm went off at 3:30 am only woke up for about ten seconds more. I saw a grand total of 3 meteors. My brother, who stayed in the cabin, saw beautiful, large, colorful meteors every time he stepped outside.

Cooper cabin itself was much nicer than I expected. When we went inside there were two queen sized beds full made as well as a very comfortable folding cot/lounge chair, and the pad on the rocket mass heater. My mother was particularly impressed by how comfortable the beds were. I'm fairly sure the pillows and comforter were down filled. If it had been a colder season, the deep plush layers of bedding would have kept even our Texas acclimated bodies quite toasty. The bed room was a average size and the main room was huge.Evey room had high ceilings and abundant windows. My brother actually moved the cot into the storage room for miscellaneous supplies and winter firewood (not filled with wood right now) so we had functionally two separate bedrooms.

They have strung led lights (wired to the solar power bank) in areas of all three rooms so at night there is some available light that doesn't require fire. I didn't need it, but I think I saw a plug where I could charge my phone if necessary. We had three different cellular services represented in our group. AT&T, Sprint, and Cricket. All of them had spotty or nonexistent internet. Asking around we were told that the most reliable service in that area is Verizon, so be aware and make appropriate plans if you have to stay wired in.

The propane stove was full sized with four burners that were as easy to use as a regular gas stove, and the kitchen sink had been set up so that once you hauled the water in it was as easy to use as a plumbed sink, so long as you remembered to haul your waste water out regularly. Lots or counter space and abundant shelving were dishes and kitchen sundries were conveniently stored. We were even provided with a full collection of well cured cast iron and appropriate utensils. When it was time to eat there was a full sized dining against the rocket mass heater. My family spent the late evening hours sitting on the bench playing dice and board games at the table. I absolutely hate the pictures of myself there, but it's the only pictures on my phone from inside the cabin. Notice my brother an niece are both sitting on the mass heater, while the rest of us are using the stumps that serve as chairs. This is just one corner in the front room. I really wish I'd taken a photo of at least the kitchen.

What looks like a back door in the bed room is just an illusion. If they ever do make that into a door, there is a small charming courtyard outside the back of the house. The front of the house has a large and potentially charming courtyard. Right now there's too many wild flowers to make full use of it. That's actually a big part of the area where  Cooper Cabin is. Mullein, St John's wart, nap weed, tansy and wild rose completely covered all the hills often much taller than our heads.
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Destiny Hagest
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Thank you for sharing Casie, beautiful family and pictures! I'm glad you had fun and got to see the Lab before it snowed!
 
Casie Becker
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Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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We only spent one full day at the labs. Evan gave us a full tour several hour tour, including four of the ant sites. I only had a few hours after that free to help an ant with a project. We left for Texas again early the next morning. If I had understood how much there was to see and do at the labs I wouldn't have planned this as a short stop in the middle of a long family trip. If I were free to plan as much time as I wanted for this, I'd try for a full month out there. At least half that time would probably be spent touring the local attractions.


In a lot of ways, this is an ideal time to visit the labs. Every ant is busily working to complete their winter home and they are all at a different point in construction. It's a great time to see a lot of different stages of natural building at the same time. If you have time to get involved, you'd learn a lot.

I still can't believe I didn't take any during the tour. There were riotously planted berms, bare framed round wood houses, Evans amazing plot; which is a full acre under active construction and undeveloped plots showing where people started from. The lemon tree site felt like we'd traveled hundreds of miles further south, they're coming a long way in creating a warm micro climate there. There's even a unfinished wofati which has been nearly untouched for long enough to show how indestructible round wood construction can be.

I'm just gonna attach a few of the remaining pictures I took. Unfortunately, when I study the photos I took, most of them just look like fields of wildflowers, or they include some prominent landmark in the back. Oops.
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Back side of Cooper Cabin
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Roof of Cooper Cabin
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Path down to Cooper Cabin
 
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