Author Message
Glyn Tutt
Post     Subject: the first month

Another link for Lammas - this time a video.

Paul - your passion and desire will aid your progress, only as a working, numerous community will enable your vision to succeed.

For those of us that can only offer distant support; we are here to offer our knowledge, but at the end of the day, you must drive this vision. May your God walk with you and hold you steadfast to your goal.
Debra Lyndley
Post     Subject: the first month

Wow! Congratulations to Paul & his family. fantastic to be at the start of such an adventure..............
Re the Back hoe, over here in the wilds of Scotland its quite common to buy a second-hand excavator & dumper truck for building/landscaping projects, use them for as long as is needed & then sell for around the same money a year or so down the line (its amazing how they hold their value). Takes the pressure off time-wise, is usually cheaper than hiring a machine & operator, & allows ideas to develop more gradually, but it would help if you have someone who is practical with machinery on hand to tinker if need be.
Shane Ward
Post     Subject: the first month

Hi Paul,

Congratulations on reaching the threshold of setting something significant up.

To add to Glynn's post about references to other community models, it would be worth looking into (if you don't know about it in detail already) Kotare village in New Zealand - set up by Kay Baxter and Bob Corker. I had a visit there last year and while it's still in it's infancy and it's still imperfect, they have a very good model in place I think - especially on the economic and social side of things - all important when setting up a community. Almost every 'eco-village' or 'alternative community' ever set up has either broken down or failed to live up to it's dream due to poor design. Only time will tell if Kotare will succeed but Geoff Lawton was saying they have thought long and hard about how to structure it (knowing well what has been the downfall of other communities) and have most certainly gotten it off to a good start. I was impressed by the "how do we design a local economy that is sustainable?" bit of it particularly. Perhaps you are already well versed in what they are up to, but if not it's worth checking out. /

On a slightly separate point, I am curious to know if you've already designed the landscape? The large scale water harvesting, zonings etc. Is there a (to borrow Geoff's term) 'mainframe' design worked out already?

Glyn Tutt
Post     Subject: the first month

To add to my earlier post - Taken from an independant research document from the UK Lammas Community website (research document) the community aspect of what you want to do Paul I think will become clearer if you read the document. I know that this is referring to the UK planning law, but the issues are very pertinent if you are to attract committed people - it also eludes to how the basis of an eco-community based on permaculture can be initiated.

Here is the abstract;
Mainstream western lifestyle consumes more resources than sustainably available. Bottom up and top down approaches attempt to counteract the resulting threats of climate change, peak oil and biodiversity loss. In Pembrokeshire these approaches merge in Planning Policy 52, which opens the countryside for legal Low Impact Development (LID). Lammas is the first LID- community under this regulation. Qualitative data from in-depth interviews and participation-observation are used to explore Lammas' back-to-the-land background, motivation and experience. Coming from the alternative scene it aims to bring LID into the mainstream. But despite favourable planning law, LID and permaculture were not approved of by the local authorities, resulting in a three year long marathon to gain planning permission. Nine families, mainly middle class intelligentsia as found in green communes and eco-villages, construct the eco-hamlet. But there are significant differences to other movements. Lammas focuses on engagement with the land and has less urge to change society, drop out of mainstream or establish alternative social structures. Positive solutions to reduce their ecological impact are most important to them. As the small-holdings are still busy building, it remains to be seen if they reach their goal to increase productivity and biodiversity. If they succeed, they would present a viable sustainable lifestyle. Therefore, Policy 52 and Lammas potential as a role model for sustainable development in the open countryside are discussed.
Glyn Tutt
Post     Subject: the first month

Hello Paul - Good Luck.

Please look at the UK community website called 'Lammas'

Planning is key and you cant' expect people chatting on websites to always be 110% committed. You are asking them to chage their lives with little more than 3 months notice. It is going to be hard work.

Priority one is to set up a homestead - base it on a group of sheds with a plan to create an initial, well built dwelling. You will only suceed once you have a permament base camp on site.

At the moment this is your baby - treat it as a not-for-profit business proposal and start marketing it to prospective fellow community members.

I am envious of your dreams, committment and oppertunity - YOU CAN MAKE IT WORK. But please manage your and everyone else's expectations. Year 1 will be tough and you have lots of good open feedback in this forum.
K. Johnson
Post     Subject: the first month

OK wow. I live in Missoula and I have a pretty profound understanding of permaculture. Been following you for a while now. Being a woman of the species, I see exactly where you need to keep your eye on the ball right now. Food and poop while the organism self-organizes. The poop/food waste/compost will generate itself for now. Just keep it metal free and contained and developyour green/brown fiber carbon/nitrogen ratios etc later. You will need to develop a fluid, flexible, musical, harmonic, er - feminine, system of food supply, generation and cleanup. A human system. We can find each other and make it happen if you give us the opening. We will need a clean , warm and dry place to set up sleep places. The kitchen is sacred.

For myself, I am physically limited, but what I can offer is my sturdy covered pickup and myself as a kind of food courier. I can commit to bringing out 25lb bags of rice and beans - the basics - sometimes donated (hopefully), and sometimes I can pay for it. I am wanting to know how far out you are from, say, the Good Food Store? I will watch this post for clues, or perhaps you can email me? I can also round up plenty of pots, pans, utensils etc.

Tell us about water and firewood supplies? Wood cook stoves?

Good job friend! This will fly.
Occupy the land!
Kathy J
Eleanor Justice
Post     Subject: the first month

Congratulations, how very exciting!

My partner and I are caretakers on a blueberry farm that's going on the market next week, when it sells, perhaps if there's a need for construction/plumbing/design expertise, we can figure out a way to dive in. I can't imagine living without my chickens and an intimate connection with nature anymore, even if it's my partner who does the lion's share of the physical work (I do the plannin' and the learnin' and the prettifyin' and wrangle minions harmoniously :>)

First things I'd say would be good to do is be on the land a month or so before building immovable anythings and learn the patterns of the land so when immovable things get started they get started in optimal places. (During that time would be a great time to start putting together a library)

A jillion thoughts come to mind, but low battery suggests I leave those two cents, stand back and be happy that this is happening. It's welcome news, and kudos for making it happen.

:> Eleanor

p.s. A solar bioremediation greenhouse that filtered blackwater into potable water while generating biomass for heating and biochar seems like the kind of experiment that could happen on this land of yours, yes?
Julia Winter
Post     Subject: the first month

Congratulations, Paul!

I hope you get a good group of folks ready to work hard and help bring your land dreams into reality. Having a base camp is an excellent idea. Charging people to visit is fine: if they turn out to be really useful, you can always arrange rebates, discounts and so on.

I like that--everybody has to pay the first day's fee at the gate, but if things go really well then the best can change status and stay without paying for the privilege.
Chris Kott
Post     Subject: the first month

Hey all,

Paul, I just had a thought about the influx of human resources you're welcoming onto your property to be. I am referring to human fertilizer, of course . I had three questions about your personal feelings about solid human waste as it pertains to using it as fertilizer.

1) Have you considered situating outhouses in such a way that, with perhaps some keylining, they become little fertilizer factories for a cash (or property use) fibre crop?
2) Your podcasts on the subject of humanure were fairly straight-forward on the topic of not using it for human food crops. As you state clearly that you don't feel it appropriate to use as feed for livestock material that is nutritionally (as opposed to palatably, as the case of spitter apples) inadequate for human consumption, can I assume that you don't feel it appropriate to grow animal grazing with humanure?
3) If the above is true, how many times removed from its use as humanure on a non-food plant would that source of nutrients need to be? As in, how many times after the humanure is applied to a mulch crop, for instance, will that mulch need to be used on mulch crops (as opposed to food crops) before that mulch can be used on an animal or human food?

I'm sorry if the above sounds dense (or thick?), but I think it might be important to understand your comfort levels in these concerns.

john giroux
Post     Subject: the first month

This is Awesome for you and your evil empire. I am eagerly awaiting to see how this project progresses as you put all these things we read/watch about put to the land in practice before our eyes. Perhaps you can get Geoff Lawton to put some of those timelapse cameras he was talking about on your land. I am also hoping that this new endeavor doesn't detract from your podcasts and videos or this forum. It has been a opening into a whole new world for me. Although I can see how this piece of land will take precedent. I hope to see your visions take reality in the landscape.
Br. Curt Beardsley
Post     Subject: the first month

Good news on the land Paul! I'm new to the group and haven't had much of a change to "talk" with anyone yet. Community has always been something I've been interested in. I wish you were in a part of the Country that I would like to live in. I'd visit and have you see if I'd be a fit. I'm in Ohio so that I can be close to family. I'm also in the process of starting natural healing of fibromyalgia and sciatica. I'd like to come out to your neck of the woods and see what you will be up to, though.

I'd suggest setting up some simple composting toilets like the buckets in the Humanure book. That's what I plan on having here and it would also be equipment that initial visitors could bring along with them until you can set up something more permanent.

I've really enjoyed permies so far and I look forward to news as your progress.

Br. Curt
Beverly Temmer
Post     Subject: the first month

Wow! This is exciting!

What qualifications are you looking for? I'd love to help and be part of it. Do you have a form? Is there a way you are deciding if we 'qualify'?

Please let me know!

Thank you,
Ellen Marks
Post     Subject: the first month

Congratulations Paul. Onward and forward. I agree there has to be a form of regulation and mediation in place. I lived in a beautiful community at one time that ultimately fell apart due to lack of structure and organization within the group. What are your thoughts on allowing teenage children???
Tomasz Kapler
Post     Subject: the first month



I have a keen interest in Your work with the social end of things, as per a "1000 farm vision".

Here is my proposal:
* before You formalize agreements specific to Your farm, how about establishing a perpetuity of process to act as authority over any disagreements?

I have some ideas of how this would work that I think are in line with Your philosophy (of a single long-time "boss" for each farm):
* volunteer, eventually elect 20 people every year, later three months, to act as the authority in case of conflict. Begin with only five.
* "official: statements are kept from parties, including a statement on behalf of the "Sugar Group" authority, private access for stake holders and project participants
* anyone can vote "yes, this system is a great idea for the whole planet!" - but we begin only in North America, eventually promoting Your "1000 farm vision"?

I hope people can appreciate the value of going through such a process:
* anyone would sleep better with living security and associated finance agreed upon within such an appeal system
* I actually warn anyone against the psychological dangers of unbridled community living (deep philosophical point with horse metaphor)
* a symbolic level of permaculture non-action to popularize with internet-democracy advocates (the work of "Sugar Group" is only to address conflict, there may be off-shoots)

Anyone think this is a good idea?

Chris Kott
Post     Subject: the first month

Another thing that caught my attention was the bare land part. I'm thinking that if the idea of the sustainable mobile shelter (yurt) appeals, it might be a good idea to design them with whatever roofing, including fabric, to harvest water from rainfall and store it in a mobile cistern that moves with the yurt, coop, shelters, and mobile fencing. My thought is that the more self-sufficient the accommodations, the more people energy there will be to spend on other necessary work.

Even if there is no living space accompanying the paddocks (or giant livestock tractors, if you will) it might be a good idea to design shade structures that double as precipitation catchers, and even if storing water by artificial means is illegal, I think you could set them up so the output feeds directly into a swale.

Also, do you know if you will have problems with the domys (department of making you sad) with regards to making ponds?

This might be a little out there, but with a low water tower, a wind pump, and a cistern, all built into a mobile platform, you could easily drive a slow traction wheel with periodic emptying of the water tower into the lower cistern, making it possible for the structure to incrementally move itself along, dragging a properly designed set of paddocks.

Julie Carney
Post     Subject: the first month

Congratulations Paul....
You've put your heart and soul into this, and I hope everything will work out for you, and you end up having an AWESOME place....Were I younger and "free of responsibilities", I'd be packing right now....Sounds awesome.....
Just a thought....If I were able to come out, I'd be so chuffed I would just dig holes or WHATEVER...There are a lot of things "newbees" can do w/o getting in the way..... You just need people who are willing to say, "Here I am....Give me a shovel and tell me what you want......."
Anyways, looking SOOOO much forward to seeing how everything develops! JC from CA
joe pacelli
Post     Subject: the first month

Dear Paul,

Congratulations from myself and Melissa! If I can be of any assistance, please let me know via email or PM. I have free long-distance.

Joe from NC

Ben Mosley
Post     Subject: the first month

Anthony Anderson wrote:Is it possible to rent out excavators for an extended period? It sounds like a lot of camping and excavation work in year one, which sounds sooooo good! 200 acres??? Oh my...

after hearing about Sepp's complaints in Montana about the water rights, are you confident?

200 acres?! So amazing..cant wait to see it evolve

They can be leased for set amounts of time.Kind of like leasing a vehicle.Not sure of the details.
Anthony Anderson
Post     Subject: the first month

Is it possible to rent out excavators for an extended period? It sounds like a lot of camping and excavation work in year one, which sounds sooooo good! 200 acres??? Oh my...

after hearing about Sepp's complaints in Montana about the water rights, are you confident?

200 acres?! So amazing..cant wait to see it evolve
sally ayers
Post     Subject: the first month

This is exciting news!

"Getting things started will be klunky. "

This has me thinking from an administrative (horrible word to include, I know...) perspective: have you thought about a place where folks can drop you a line with their interest, qualifications, serious inquiry only questions etc? This might give you an idea of the various skill sets and expertise you will be/are already attracting. Thought.

I apologize if I mishandled the "quote" function on this; I think I did.
Chris Kott
Post     Subject: the first month

Congratulations Paul. Here's hoping the closing goes off without a hitch.

I would love to hear what your list of priorities are, and what the land needs to fulfill your needs.

Your mention of teepees reminded me of an idea I had regarding increasing land fertility. Wha5 if, instead of teepees that have to be taken down to move, why not build yurts on wheeled platforms or trailer beds? That way, you move the yurt and you're there. This could easily combine with a larger scale mobile paddock setup for multiple types of livestock grazed in succession. You could have people stay in the yurts and move them daily or more frequently, increasing soil fertilty and feeding and caring for the livestock, creating many possibilities for homestead income.

I will be following the progress anxiously. Please post pictures!
Nick Kitchener
Post     Subject: the first month

Hi Paul,

I just got the dailyish email so Congratulations on your new land!

You aren't the second old timer by any chance? ;-P
Jared Williams
Post     Subject: the first month

NICE! Very happy for you!!
We have been following your Daily-ish emails, My wife and I LOVE LOVE LOVE this great permies info, keep up the great work!
Glad to hear you are purchasing land, I can't imagine how excited you are at the future possibilities of 200 acres.
My wife and I build TEEPEES, and would be happy to build some for you if you feel you need them!
We just bought a few acres in Upstate NY, near Woodstock and will be building Teepees and a workshop to teach classes on permaculture and native american traditional design.
I hope we all can share in the excitement of the future!
Best of luck in the coming months with closing on this property, and keep us posted on your progress!

Jared+Lala Williams
Josef Theisen
Post     Subject: the first month

I am really excited for you, Paul, this has been a long time coming.

It's easy to talk about putting your security and happiness in the hands of a devious dictator, but talk is cheap and what you are talking about here is a huge commitment. I believe it is going to be necessary to implement some sort of trial or transition period both for you and for your residents sake.

I hope you find a way that people like me, who have roots that keep us in place no matter how much we want to be a part of it all, to be a part of the community in even a small way. Paying for food and "lodging" even if that is just a primitive campsite sounds totally reasonable to me. If you always have a list of projects ready, then even those of us who can only visit could be useful. We don't have to understand the master plan to move some dirt into the right spot.

Anyhow, even if I never get to see it or meet any of you face to face, I love knowing that you will be planting trees and healing 200 acres.
paul wheaton
Post     Subject: the first month

I had this impression from the other thread that once the land was purchased, within three weeks I would have a dozen people that have moved in for the summer or for years to come.

I think having people that come for 7 to 10 days is fine on the first month *IF* they have listened to most of the podcasts and are coming to throw their shoulder in. After all, the podcasts will make it so that I'm not having to explain things a lot.

I think it is possible that there can be some people that have listened to only a few dozen podcasts that would be welcome, but I need to hear commitment of a much longer time. Because there will be a lot of ramp time - so I don't want to put a lot of time into getting them up to speed only to have them leave. And a few dozen podcasts makes it so that people will have some idea of whether they can tolerate being around me.

I also know of some people that if they come by for just a day it will be fine. Because I know them. And I know they don't need ramp time of any kind and they don't need a tour or any guidance.

Maybe I should be thinking there there will be some people that want to come by for three to five days and they are a ways away from "most podcasts", so this would be like a crappy workshop for them. Maybe we should come up with a rate of something like $50 per day for them to come. The money they pay helps to offset the costs of feeding and caring for all these folks.

rowan james
Post     Subject: the first month

ahh, that's great news for you, another step taken, and a strong one - grats!!

I also think the home base (BC) makes sense, means you can set up your "systems" quickly, and leaves more space(time) to carefully move forward on The Land (which carries a lot of ideal-ism, naturally).

I'd love to explore assisting/participating, from the klunky beginning is cool. . . been afk for a while, so will catch up on the thread discussions now. . .

*added* - given that you're really only needing less than a dozen folks as per the other threads, and given the quality of your readers, I'm pretty certain you're set for being over-subscribed! which is a great place to be.

as a relative newbie to the practice of permaculture (as opposed to the reading/dreaming stages), I doubt I'm in the win/place/show stakes - but still congratulate you finding your land, and look forward to following the continuing story.

Ken Peavey
Post     Subject: the first month

Well Done!

You have your work cut out. May I suggest investing in back pain pills?
Jennifer Smith
Post     Subject: the first month

Congratulations Paul! If Like Miles I want to be a part of your empire but am here and you are there. If I were not so happily married with a place here I would be there. Best of luck and I look forward to sharing your journey if only here at permies, the best place on the web
Ben Plummer
Post     Subject: the first month

Whoa, big news. Glad to hear you found a a piece of land that fit your criteria. Hope the closing goes off without a hitch.
Morgan Morrigan
Post     Subject: the first month

How about picking up 3-4 of these , building an outpost, that can be moved around for summer / winter, like prairie schooners on the plains.

Would need a water trailer first thing...

Then order some parts, and put up a greenhouse, for early plant starts, and as a gathering house. Hate to use PVC, but as a instant , and portable greenhouse, it's hard to beat.

and for the price of one well, you could get one of these
Miles Flansburg
Post     Subject: the first month


I can "visit". If I take 4 days of vacation my schedule allows me to have 14 days off. Google tells me I can drive from Denver to Missoula in 12 hours. so that gives me 10 full days on your farm. If you have a project that needs an extra set of hands I have two that have done a lot in 54 years. I get to see and know those who are in your community, they get to know me. We all get to build, build build.
I have all of the camping equipment I need, including a TP and I am used to taking care of my own food etc. So I would just need a place to camp and shower.

I understand that having folks "visit" is not optimal to the progress you want to make in the first year or two. A new face trying to get up to speed on a project slows the whole group down and all. So I am probably just getting overly excited to see my needs met and may not be as valuable to your progress in the process.

This is your baby, you must do the project management that gets you the quickest return. So for now visitors may have to wait . No worries mon, When the time is right and meant to be it will be!
paul wheaton
Post     Subject: the first month

In the first month there will be a lot of trying to figure out what to do. Permaculture design.

I think one of the first things to do is to set some things up for the people that are camping on the land. Primarily - a place to put their poop.

Next, a well.

Then we will need some power for projects.

We will need to make a list of trac-hoe projects and then bring one in for a week.

I think Jon got tired of waiting and went on to other montana adventures. I can't seem to get him on the phone. So I suppose that at some point somebody will stand out as a land manager.

paul wheaton
Post     Subject: the first month

I think one thing that would be good to get lined up early is food. Hopefully, somebody will want to jump right in that is a good cook.

paul wheaton
Post     Subject: the first month


Can you tell me what you think it would be like for you?

Miles Flansburg
Post     Subject: the first month

I just thought I might be able to take a week or two here and there and help out with the building, but it sounds like you want to concentrate on folks who are ready to dive in 100 percent for now.
nathan luedtke
Post     Subject: the first month

wow. Wow. WOW.

I know that this announcement is the result of months/years of planning/preparation/visioning, not to mention all the fellow travelers that have helped out, and the kickstarter, and a ton of things I'm sure I don't even know about.

But it feels like just the beginning of something HUGE.

Paul's Land is going to be a property at the same level as Zaytuna, or OSE, or Tyalgum, or Melliodora, or (gasp) the Krameterhof.

Congratulations Paul and Company. I'm looking forward to seeing what you accomplish, hopefully I'll head up there some time and help out.

Best wishes for a smooth closing.
paul wheaton
Post     Subject: the first month

I'm not sure why a visitor would want to come. At this time it looks like forest land. Maybe a year or two into the future we could do visitors.

For now, the mission is to build community and build, build, build.

Miles Flansburg
Post     Subject: the first month

Way to go Paul !! That is exciting.
Are you allowing visitors to come camp, check things out? Any pictures you want to post? General location /map?
paul wheaton
Post     Subject: the first month

I suspect that some people will want to come to the land and do the rehusp stuff. Maybe work out some sort of deal for a two acre plot to be able to express their vision of husp.

Others would want to be part of something more collective. A group of a dozen or so.

During the first month, some people might want to stick to BC with some trips out to TL. Others might want to set up a tent at TL and make a go of it there.

I suspect that in the first month there will be a lot more community at BC and a lot more work out at TL.

paul wheaton
Post     Subject: the first month

I am under contract on 200 acres. Closing is scheduled for may 31. This is bare land. Forests and meadows. And this one doesn't feel like there is a crazy guy on the other end, so I think closing will happen like clockwork.

I am now looking at property nearby that has a house, a shop and a few acres. A place to live until things are more established on the 200 acres. I like the idea of keeping such a property. I have some pretty strict stuff about what is okay on "the land", but I think that once i move onto the land, things back at this first property can be less strict.

So there is "base camp" (the house, shop and a few acres)(BC) and there is "the land" (TL).

Now is the time to talk to people about what kinds of arrangements will there be for the first month.

BC has a kitchen, showers, power, water and a conventional septic system. TL does not.

I am looking at BCs that are within a mile of TL. So bicycling between the two points is doable.

Getting things started will be klunky.

Maybe some people want to be there for the summer. Maybe some people want to be there forever.

I suspect a lot of tipis will be part of the first summer.

I guess I want to hear what folks want. What path do you see?