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SEPPers Program: Seriously Excited About Permaculture Pampering!

Vacation Rentals and Accommodations at Wheaton Labs

This is still in it's early stages, and this program isn't quite as 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.

With each stay, SEPPers will get:

  • a ride to and from the airport, if needed. ($15 for regular hours, $35 for goofy hours)
  • Join the community for taco tuesday with Paul
  • hands on activities with resident(s) on various projects (about $20/hour)
  • participate in the bootcamp (M-F 8-5) and, with enough notice, maybe even influence what the bootcamp will be working on during your stay
  • a full tour of basecamp ($60), or a full tour of the lab ($60), or a quickie drive by tour ($50) - or overlap your stay with one of our full tour days
  • Photo with the Duke!
  • access to thousands of acres of forest service and wilderness land for recreation
  • Do PEP BBs with guidance ($) and possibly with our equipment ($)
  • plenty of parking
  • free firewood

  • We can coordinate with you and our residents 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 residents' time. If you are super industrious and help more than sit back and watch, then maybe that resident won't charge you for their time.

    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.

    Note that this program is still pretty experimental for us. We hope to get better and better at doing this with each passing year.




    Accommodations you can choose for the SEPPer program

    wheaton labs is over 200 acres on two pieces of property (Base Camp and The Labs--see the following post for maps and each property's unique features) nestled in the forested, Rocky Mountain foothills near Missoula, Montana (USA). Kick back and enjoy the pristine wilderness and/or join in on one of our tours, operate one of our many rocket mass heaters, visit or stay in a wofati, revel in massive hugelkultur gardens, go bow hunting, sign up to drive the excavator or the tractor .... we've got these and more options for you!

    Base Camp: Love Shack | Red Cabin | Fisher Price Bunkroom | Tenting at Base Camp

    The Labs: Tipi with Rocket Mass Heater | Allerton Abbey | Cooper Cabin | Shann-delier | Tenting at The Labs

    wheaton labs base camp rentals

    Porta-cabin / The Love Shack  

    Love Shack, porta-a-cabin at Wheaton Labs, vacation rentals
    Click for more pictures of the Love Shack at Wheaton Labs

    This is base camp's micro cabin with the "Minnie Mouse" rocket mass heater, full size bottom bunk, twin size top bunk, off-grid with small solar to charge a phone or operate one light. The willow bank (willow feeder style toilet) and shower shack both are just a short walk, about 200 feet from the love shack. Base camp's wifi does not reach the Love Shack, though the community space called the library just down the driveway does have wifi and regular electricity should the solar power run out at the cabin. Firewood is included, though you'll likely have to chop your own kindling.



    (Base prices are for 1-2 people)

    1-4 nights: (click here to pay $150.00) (additional people $20 each)
    5-7 nights: (click here to pay $200.00)(additional people $30 each)
    8-14 nights: (click here to pay $300.00)(additional people $50 each)
    15-30 nights: (click here to pay $500.00)(additional people $100 each)



    Red Cabin  

    Red Cabin at Wheaton Labs, vacation rentals
    click here for more pictures of the Red Cabin at Wheaton Labs

    The red cabin is the home of the cyclone batch style rocket mass heater built by Donkey. Bunk bed with a double on the bottom and a single on top, all bedding plus fluffy organic cotton towels provided. Firewood is included but you might need to chop your own kindling. About 200 feet from the willow bank (willow feeder style toilet) and shower shack and a short walk up to the fisher price house.



    (Base prices are for 1-2 people)

    1-3 nights: (click here to pay $160.00)(additional people $20 each)
    4-7 nights: (click here to pay $250.00)(additional people $30 each)
    8-14 nights: (click here to pay $350.00)(additional people $50 each)
    15-30 nights: (click here to pay $550.00)(additional people $100 each)



    Fisher Price House Bunk Bedroom  

    Fisher Price House, main residence at Wheaton Labs, rent the bunkroom, paul wheaton's house
    click for more pictures of Fisher Price House at Wheaton Labs

    We call the main house at base camp the "Fisher Price House" because it is a double-wide mobile home. We offer bunks in the small bunk bedroom sort of similar to hostel accommodations. There are two full size bunks and two twin size bunks. So it could provide bunks for six people. Open shelves (we've moved all books to the library) and a closet provide room for your bag and clothes. There is access to a full bathroom just across the hall. Access to the kitchen depends on whether the kitchen is the event kitchen during your stay. (See our event calendar for the latest.) Full bedding and fluffy organic cotton towels are provided.


    Top Bunk (1 person):
    1-5 nights: (click here to pay $150)
    6-10 nights: (click here to pay $250)
    11-20 nights: (click here to pay $300)
    15-30 nights: (click here to pay $400)

    Bottom Bunk (1-2 people):
    1-5 nights: (click here to pay $170)
    6-10 nights: (click here to pay $300)
    11-20 nights: (click here to pay $400)
    15-30 nights: (click here to pay $500)

    To rent the entire bunk room (1 to 6 people):
    1-2 nights: (click here to pay $210)
    3-4 nights: (click here to pay $350)
    5-7 nights: (click here to pay $450)
    8-14 nights: (click here to pay $650)
    15-30 nights: (click here to pay $1100)


    Camping / Pitch a tent at base camp  

    Tenting at Wheaton Labs vacation rentals
    click to see more pictures of tent pads and tenting at Wheaton Labs

    Base camp is easy drive in access for car camping, pitching a tent on one of our tent pads, or finding a secluded spot on one of the plateau meadows, in the trees, or up on the hollowed out volcano with good submarine access. Volcano road is a rough, rocky one-lane road that snakes up the 500-foot rise of the rocky hillsides of base camp and around to the back of the volcano's peak.

    RV, trailer, and car parking is at the base of hilly base camp, in the sandy parking lot behind our shop that we call Arrakis, or in our small turtle parking lot. We do not provide RV hookups at this time. Arrakis and the turtle lot do not have much shade, though we are attempting to grow trees (from seed!) to change that.

    The willow bank (willow feeder style toilet) and shower shack are available for your use.


    Check out our full tour by clicking here to see all tour dates. Contact us for other options for staying more than a week.

    (Base prices are for 1-2 people)

    1-7 nights: (click here to pay $150)(additional people $20 each)
    8-14 nights: (click here to pay $175)(additional people $40 each)
    15-30 nights: (click here to pay $200)(additional people $80 each)


    wheaton labs the lab rentals


    Tipi with a rocket mass heater  

    rocket mass heater Tipi at Wheaton labs vacation rentals
    click to see more pictures of the Rocket Mass Heater Tipi at Wheaton Labs

    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 9pm, and you are warm as toast til morning. Inside the tipi is a cob bed platform which *just* sleeps two if they like to sleep close. Burn as much wood as you like in the rocket mass heater (RMH) which heats the entire bench and bed platform. We provide full bedding on a mattress made out of straw (as part of our experimenting to have household materials as natural as possible), plus pillows and blankets for the cob bench seating. There's a hot water kettle that heats up on top of the RMH barrel, plus full water jugs for washing and drinking along with bins, soap and cloths for washing dishes outside. Candles are the only lighting source since the tipi does not have any solar panels in this off-grid location. Fluffy organic towels are provided for showers at base camp. Firewood is included in these rates, though you'll likely have to chop your own kindling. The chateau de poo (a willow feeder style toilet) is about a hundred yards away (next picture), a little walk through the woods. The tipi is also about a hundred feet from the bee hut (2nd next picture).



    (Base prices are for 1-2 people)

    1-4 nights: (click here to pay $150) (additional people $20 each)
    5-7 nights: (click here to pay $200.00) (additional people $30 each)
    8-14 nights: (click here to pay $300.00) (additional people $40 each)
    15-30 nights: (click here to pay $500.00) (additional people $80 each)

    Allerton Abbey
    allerton Abbey vacation rental at Wheaton Labs
    click to see more pictures of Allerton Abbey at Wheaton Labs


    Allerton Abbey has one full size bed 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 cook stove inside which does a good job of heating said mass, and the occupants. 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.

    (Base prices are for 1-4 people)

    1-3 nights: (click here to pay $250) (additional people $20 each)
    4-7 nights: (click here to pay $400)(additional people $30 each)
    8-14 nights: (click here to pay $700) (additional people $50 each)
    15-30 nights: (click here to pay $1,200) (additional people $100 each)


    Cooper Cabin (wofati 0.8)  

    Cooper Cabin wofati underground earth sheltered house at Wheaton Labs, vacation rentals
    click to see more pictures of Cooper Cabin at Wheaton Labs

    Cooper Cabin is our second version of a wofati which, while not quite fully completed, is still a cozy place to stay with a first class rocket mass heater (RMH) in it. It also has Lasse%27s rocket wood cook stove, plus a (propane) gas stovetop. This is an off-grid cabin with some electricity from the solar leviathan. There is no running water, though we%27ll fill up a gravity-fed bucket for washing at the sink, and provide plenty of fresh drinking water in glass jugs from our wonderful well at base camp, plus fresh kitchen linens. There will be some dishes, utensils, pots and pans available for your use. Full bedding is provided for the king sized bed in the back bedroom (there is no door to close off that bedroom at this time), and cots or additional bedding can be provided at an additional charge. Firewood is included, though you%27ll likely have to chop your own kindling. The willowonka is just outside (willow feeder style toilet - next picture). Fluffy organic towels are provided for showers at base camp.



    (Base prices are for 1-5 people)

    1-3 nights: (click here to pay $250) (additional people $20 each)
    4-7 nights: (click here to pay $400)(additional people $30 each)
    8-14 nights: (click here to pay $700) (additional people $50 each)
    15-30 nights: (click here to pay $1,200) (additional people $100 each)




    Shann-delier - an Oehler/wofati style mini cabin  

    Shann-delier Oehler style underground house, vacation rentals at Wheaton Labs
    This is an off-grid cabin nestled in the woods, with a tiny (albeit a bit smoky) camping woodstove and single size loft bed. There is no running water, though we%27ll provide full water jugs for washing and drinking along with bins, soap and cloths for washing dishes outside. There will be a very few dishes, utensils, pots and pans available for your use. Full bedding is provided for the twin loft bed along with fluffy organic cotton towels for showers at base camp. There is no solar to power the chandelier at this time, though there are candles for your use. Firewood is included, though you%27ll likely have to chop your own kindling. It is a bit of a walk to the chateau de poo (a willow feeder style toilet).



    (Base prices are for 1-2 people)

    1-4 nights: (click here to pay $150)(additional people $20 each)
    5-14 nights: (click here to pay $250.00) (additional people $40 each)
    15-30 nights: (click here to pay $400.00)(additional people $80 each)



    Camping / Pitch a tent at the lab  

    Tenting at Wheaton Labs vacation rentals
    click to see more pictures of tent pads and tenting at Wheaton Labs

    The lab is off-grid and a more remote location than base camp, surrounded by private timber land and U.S. forest land - see more about that location in the next post. We do not have tent pads at the lab, though there are plenty of meadow-like or grassy spots to pitch a tent. RVs or trailers could make to the lab if the road is in decent condition, though of course there would be no hookups available there.

    You would be welcome to fill up on water at base camp, use any of our willow feeders (the willow bank at base camp, or the willowonka or chateau de poo at the lab) and the shower shack back down the hill at base camp.


    Check out our full tour by clicking here to see all tour dates. Contact us for other options for staying more than a week.

    (Base prices are for 1-2 people)

    1-7 nights: (click here to pay $150)(additional people $20 each)
    8-14 nights: (click here to pay $175)(additional people $40 each)
    15-30 nights: (click here to pay $200)(additional people $80 each)



    A note about showers:
    The shower shack is an outdoor shower at base camp with the hot water heated by a rocket wood stove. This means it is seasonal, only in use from late April or May until October (or so). We can help with firing the wood stove to heat the hot water and will post a schedule for when the water will be hot. Renters will also have the option to use the hall bath in the Fisher Price House. We ask that you use only biodegradable soap (or go %27pooless) and remove all of your bathing items from the shower or bathroom when you are done - even if you are staying in the house. We provide buckets to capture the water as it heats up and then we use that water to water plants or bucket flush the flush toilet in the house. (Do not put water in to the willow feeder toilets.)

    Discounted pricing is offered to those attending a workshop at wheaton labs (see our event calendar for the latest). That pricing will be sent to you after you fill out the registration form for that event.

    If you have any questions, please post to this thread. If it%27s a private question, e-mail bunks AT richsoil DOT com.

    Use the links above to make payments, or send payments via paypal to paul AT richsoil DOT com. Once your payment is received, Paul forwards the particulars to Nicole who will get the details all sorted.

    Staff note (Jocelyn Campbell) :

    For a simpler, quieter stay without the "pampering" or for more information on our properties, see our wheaton labs rentals thread.

    COMMENTS:
     
    Posts: 67
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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).
     
    gardener
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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
     
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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!
     
    steward
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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.
     
    steward
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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!
     
    Posts: 31
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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.
     
    gardener
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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.


     
    Posts: 160
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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:

    https://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!
     
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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
     
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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?
     
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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!
     
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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.
    032.jpg
    a few scenic photos
    a few scenic photos
    033.jpg
    some of the amazing features of the landscape
    some of the amazing features of the landscape
    034.jpg
    some of the many great features of our visit
    some of the many great features of our visit
     
    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.
    049.jpg
    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.
    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.
    037.jpg
    Mullein, St John's wart, nap weed, tansy and wild rose completely covered all the hills often much taller than our heads.
    Mullein, St John's wart, nap weed, tansy and wild rose completely covered all the hills often much taller than our heads.
    047.jpg
    We inflated a queen size mattress and then slept under a pile of blankets.
    We inflated a queen size mattress and then slept under a pile of blankets.
     
    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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    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.
    042.jpg
    back of Cooper Cabin
    back of Cooper Cabin
    043.jpg
    Beautiful flowers on the roof
    Beautiful flowers on the roof
    035.jpg
    The path to Cooper Cabin
    The path to Cooper Cabin
     
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    My wife and I are taking a road trip, and are interested in the SEPPers program.  September 2,3 and 4 2017.  We are interested to stay in the Teepee.  I work as a plumber and am reasonably handy.  What do I need to do to reserve those dates?
     
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    Hi!

    I have been following your work out there for a while and would love to stop in.  I am coming out that way (from Portland, OR) to visit my family/hometown (Des Moines, IA) sometime the week of July 24th, likely around the 27th. Do I have to stay in one of the structures or can I tent it?  Are any of the structures available for less than three nights?  I am looking at time and budget restraints and thought I would ask.  Thanks so much!

    Lisa Marie
     
    paul wheaton
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    garrett noble wrote:My wife and I are taking a road trip, and are interested in the SEPPers program.  September 2,3 and 4 2017.  We are interested to stay in the Teepee.  I work as a plumber and am reasonably handy.  What do I need to do to reserve those dates?



    Garrett,

    Jocelyn had to teach me how to look up the spreadsheet with all the dates and stuff.  Yes!  Those dates for the tipi are available!  You might even have a fresh canvas when you arrive!

    Send that coin on over and we'll nail you down for those dates!

     
    paul wheaton
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    Miss Marie wrote:Hi!

    I have been following your work out there for a while and would love to stop in.  I am coming out that way (from Portland, OR) to visit my family/hometown (Des Moines, IA) sometime the week of July 24th, likely around the 27th. Do I have to stay in one of the structures or can I tent it?  Are any of the structures available for less than three nights?  I am looking at time and budget restraints and thought I would ask.  Thanks so much!

    Lisa Marie



    If you wanna do the gapper/bootcamp program, you fork over $100 and can pitch a tent.   Of course, you will be expected to work - but you do get fed!

     
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    Hi All,

    I've been reading/watching about your setup there and it sounds like a great experience to get hands on in permaculture.  Especially interested in the gardening/horticulture aspects but also natural building.  I (and my partner) will be out there near Missoula in late June (for a wedding) and am very interested in doing a week there - a few days of SEPP and if possible some more days of bootcamp (if not full) or gapper.  So I was wondering if either the Love Shack (first choice) or Red Cabin is available on June 23 - 25 (or possibly until 30th)?  Then after my partner leaves - depending on your availability I would like to do a few days of bootcamp (if a slot is open) or be a Gapper and work as much as possible like a bootcamper.  From my understanding, once I pay a SEPP package then that also covers the Gapper/bootcamp fee if I wish to continue into one of those programs.  And could you confirm the prices are still same as in this post ($135/3 nights +$15 additional for Love Shack and $180/3 nights and $30 additional for Red Cabin)?  

    Mike Livermore
     
    paul wheaton
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    Mike,

    I am in a bit of a scramble to do all the things before the kickstarter begins.  

    I hired somebody to manage this rental stuff, but ...   damn.

    I want to list my attempts here, but the bottom line is that there is not somebody filling this role at this time.  If you had already paid, then we would find a way to make it awesome for you.  

    As is, this is on hold now.  Sorry - I very much wish we had a rental manager at this time.
     
    Mike Livermore
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    Thanks Paul for the quick reply - I'll check back monthly or so to see if you can start doing SEPP again - I still have 3 months before I'm there so hoping you start it up by then.  If not, I'll keep an eye on the bootcamp forum to see if you have a spot open for a 1-week stint.  
     
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