Hi Permies. I am very excited about all the work that is ahead of me in the Ant Village Challenge, and I would like to invite you all to join me in the adventure. I will be creating a simple video log of my experience, and posting the videos on Youtube and in this thread. I've also created an account at patreon.com so that people who enjoy my videos and would like to support my work as a permaculture artisan can do so by pledging a small donation for each video I release. I am planning on releasing 2 to 4 videos per month. Watch the video for more info.
I'm somewhat jealous, I've been seriously looking into moving out to Montana to become an Ant too.
The way has been made so graciously affordable by Paul, especially with all the 'candy'.
However, I just got ownership of a nice chunk of land that I've been establishing systems on over the last few yeas.
Had I not this land, I'd immediately jump on this ant village opportunity.
It's such an amazing deal, I find it odd that not all the spots have been taken already.
I imagine you'll do well out there, you seem really into it, good luck - hard work initially I'm sure but, should be rewarding.
I'll look forward to seeing your progress as well as Evan's & all future ants'. Perhaps I'll visit sometime in the future.
I bet some amazing things are going to happen out there.
wow how very exciting! I dream of being an ant myself. although as I'm sure for many, it's just not in the works for various reasons right now. I'm excited to watch your videos and see what you make of it and also think it's neat you are from orange county as well.. i've worked it into my head that no one here knows what permaculture is.. so it's nice to see someone as dedicated as yourself comes from this place too. I wish you the best on your new adventure and look forward to virtually being a part of it! cheers.
Mary Ellen Gordon wrote:it's neat you are from orange county as well.. i've worked it into my head that no one here knows what permaculture is.. so it's nice to see someone as dedicated as yourself comes from this place too.
What I have learned about Orange County is that if you want culture, you have to go out and make it. There are lots of amazing people here, they are just hidden behind all the glitter. Over the years, all of my best friends have been made through forming or being a part of clubs or groups that put events together, or create some kind of community glue. I was part of an amazing poetry club at Saddleback College, met lots of other BMXers by helping to build jumps and trails, and co-founded a group called OC Fire Spinners that now has nearly 400 members. That one started with a group of 4 people getting together to spin fire on the beach in San Clemente. The point is, if you put some effort into building some community glue, the community you are looking for will come out of the cracks of Orange County. Honestly, I've held off on working to build the permaculture community in OC because I have been trying to move away from here for the past few years. I did create a facebook group called the Orange County Permaculture Guild to connect people, it is just waiting for someone to take charge. Here's the link.
Thank you, everyone, for your kind words and support. Now, back to loading up my truck.
Any relation to Jesse James? Just curious because of the similarity of names. lol I've lived back of beyond for more than 3 decades. Rather than waiting for the time to be "right", I just went ahead and did it. I've never looked back and never regretted it. I'm excited that you've seized the opportunity for yourself. Am looking forward to watching your journey from afar.
So I got bored while driving last night and decided to try my hand at the podcast thing. I feel like I will record one of these from time to talk about the Ant Village project in a bit more detail than the videos. This is my first time recording a podcast, so it is a bit rough around the edges. In this podcast I talk a bit about my journey in learning permaculture so far, and what brought me to the decision to move to Montana and take a shot at the Ant Village Challenge. I also talk about wrapping up my yard conversion project in San Diego, some of the lessons I learned from the experience, and about a visit I made to my Permaculture Bike Park project in Orange County. Finally, I go over some of my strategies for the Ant Village project, and talk a bit about my feelings on animal systems.
I've already got lots of Love coming my way in the form of Patrons, even one at the $10 level! Aww shucks guys, thank you so much for all the great support. It makes this a bit less scary. I've been getting some great shots for the first video, keep an eye out for that in the next week or so. I will be off grid for a few days seeing some friends in Utah, then continuing my drive on up to Paul's place for the PDC. Enjoy my ramblings
I like the videos. I hope to see more here (on the Ant Village and other subjects).
I am sorry, but with 'podcasts' I have a problem. I can't concentrate (anymore) on only hearing. I am a very 'visual' person. If there's only 'audio', I forget most of what they told
"Also, just as you want men to do to you, do the same way to them" (Luke 6:31)
just listened to your 25 minute ramble i am also a more visual person, but with short sweet podcasts of 25minutes or less I can dig it. i'd like to hear your podcast about your project in san diego's suburban home, i'm doing a similar project, replacing front lawn with a more drought resistant garden, ca natives etc and establishing a mini food forest in the backyard..maybe plant a few fruittrees or more in the front as well.. also in response to socal/oc living, i know if i searched i would find "my people" but i'm hesitant to bc i also plan to get out of here sooner than later. although i grew up here, i haven't lived here for a long time and it's more a temporary stop over for about a year. anyway, cool to hear about your projects and excited to see your house making project start. cheers!
We got to the lab a couple days ago and I picked out my acre. I have land! Well, sorta kinda, but still it's pretty exciting. We set up a huge tarp that I've had around for a few years as a temporary shelter while we figure oit where and how to build my house. Lots of work ahead, that's for sure. For the next two weeks I will be busy with the PDC, and I am very excited about that. I've been working on the first video, about my journey to the ant village. Look for it soon.
Here it is! The first video in my Ant Village journal. This is the first in my video journal series of my experience in the Ant Village, at Wheaton Laboratories. Over the next year I will be attempting to build a permaculture homestead from scratch, on an acre of raw land in Western Montana, as part of the #AntVillageChallenge presented by Paul Wheaton of Permies.com.
In this episode, I check up on some of my previous permaculture projects in southern California, before packing my life up into my truck and making the 1200 mile journey to Montana. The journey has only just begun, and there will be lots to do and share over the next year.
I've been trying, unsuccessfully, to upload some pictures from my phone for a few days now. I'm on my computer now so hopefully this works.
This will be my home for the time being, until I get my house built. I had this huge tarp left over from my burningman days.
Our first hands on task for the PDC was re-filling in the rocks and gravel for the rocket mass heater in Paul's house. It was great to have a look inside this thing.
I woke up to a pretty good sized buck hanging out near my camp. he got pretty far away before I got the camera on him, but you can see him in the background.
Zach Weiss came by to share about Sepp Holzer's work. It was really valuable to hear about Sepp's work from someone who has a good understanding of it, and is also fluent in english. This morning he talked about how to make the bone sauce for protecting trees. I took a video of it, which will probably be one of the goodies for my patrons.
Today we are learning about how trees on tribute to the ecosystem, in fact, how ecosystems climax in trees. I feel like teaching the world about the real importance and function of trees would go a long way towards making a better world. I wanted to share this quote from our teacher Howard: "If you want to affect your community for a year, plant rice. If you want to affect your community for 100 years, plant trees. If you want to affect your community forever, teach children to plant trees."
Now that the PDC is over there is lots of work to do. In between cutting down trees for the berm shed and doing some upgrades to wofati 0.8 I have been finding a little time to edit the next video, all about the PDC. It's gonna be a long one, look for it in a few more days.
Thanks, Evan .... I have enjoyed your postings, especially videos, immensely! Also loved your podcast.... and, as I had two sons devoted to making rudimentary 'jumps' in the back woods, I resonated with the pure joy you find in BMX riding and beautiful park building ;)
It's time to get positive about negative thinking -Art Donnelly
I have started working on a big project for Paul, upgrading and completing Wofati 0.7 (Allerton Abbey). I should learn a lot from this which will help me when I build my own wofati, as soon as I finish this project. I am documenting the progress in the First Wofati thread.
I am also working on getting another video out in the next few days. I am going to try and put them out more frequently, making shorter videos for you and less editing time for me.
The PDC is over and it's time to get down to business in the Ant Village. Before getting to work on my own projects, I needed to do some bounty projects for Paul, to raise money for buying materials. There is always lots of work to do here at Wheaton labs, but sometimes the weather has other ideas. A little rain is always welcome though, and it gives us time to get to know each other better. Together, we are working to build a permaculture community, one day at a time.
I have taken the lead on a large project here at Wheaton Labs, updating and renovating the first Wofati, which is now known as Allerton Abbey. We are going to replace the existing stick walls with straw bale and cob, as well as covering a large portion of the structure in cob and plaster, and doing some upgrades to the insulation umbrella, which is key to making the annualized thermal inertia concept work. Natural building experts Ernie and Erica Wisner came out for a week to teach us the skills needed to complete what is turning out to be a very complicated build. We are just getting started on this project, so stay tuned for part 2.
If you would like to follow the project day by day, I am keeping a journal and posting pictures out on the Allerton Abbey thread:
The Allerton Abbey Project continues on. We discovered the straw bales we have on hand are moldy, so we left the wall for now and started working on other parts of the project, including the insulation/watershed umbrella and a deck to go over it. Getting to work on my own house, I started preparing the building site for the berm shed I hope to construct before winter hits. While on a trip to Missoula, Carol-Anne and i are reminded that food is free, and collect a bounty of fresh fallen fruit and discarded vegetables. There have been lots of challenges and some delays with the Allerton Abbey project in the last two weeks, and i am starting to question if I will be able to complete the job before winter, on top of building a home for myself. Time will tell.
I've gotten a little behind on the videos this month, there have definitely been some challenges. I've just posted two videos to catch up on the happenings here in the Ant Village.
This first video is a little different from the others. Although making this radical change in my life has been exciting, there are plenty of challenges to face and mistakes to make along the way. I don't always live up to my own expectations, and too often I let my ego get the best of me, or let pessimism get in the way of creative thinking. However, in these times of turbulent transition it is not always easy to know which values to leave behind with our old lifestyle, and which ones will serve us in creating a better world. Thankfully, living out in the woods gives me plenty of time to think about these things.
The Ants took a trip out to Northern Idaho to visit Mike Oehler, the author of the $50 and Up Underground House Book and one of the pioneers of the back to the land and permaculture movements. He showed us all around his property and shared some wisdom on building affordable and comfortable underground homes, as well as some great stories. I left Mike's place feeling very inspired and ready to tackle the work ahead of me as I build my own home for winter.
Great job on the videos, Jesse. I especially enjoyed the first one; your introspective approach and use of the debarking metaphor was masterfully done! I can appreciate the dilemma you faced and it sounds like you handled it with wisdom, maturity, and dignity. For all it's worth, I think you made the right choice.