Tag Archives: Hugelkultur

387 – Wheaton Labs Goals – part 2

This is part two of the podcast where Paul and Jocelyn are speaking about their wish list for the property. The first thing they talk about is the chateau de Poo, which is a beautiful… outhouse. It took three months to build but looks very nice, with hand cut shingles and everything. There were some things that could be improved and while some of those things have been done, more still needs to be done. Being that this was the first Chateau they’ve built, it’s not too shabby.

Next up is a little discussion on the cold smoker and spring house. First Paul talks about one key missing ingredient in this space is an actual spring. He then goes on to alk about a previous property that he owned which had many springs on it. Nine of them to be exact. Since then, paul has wished to create many projects using the various aspects of a spring, including combing one with a cold smoker.

The next thing on the list is an electric gate so that folks that come and go frequently, could open and close the gate with the press of a button, as opposed to getting out of the car twice to manage the task manually.

The last thing on the list is for Paul and Jocelyn to be living out on the lab. The original idea was to spend a few years living at base camp while they built up the lab. Part of this idea was that there would be four wofatis built and that there would be folks living in them. Oh so much comedy happened. Apparently there was a lot of effort involved in log peeling that wasn’t foreseen, so getting those structures built took quite a lot longer than they had hoped. Jocelyn is surprised that many folks have been critical of her and Paul living at base camp while they lived on the lab. She points out that in order to pay for folks to live up at the lab, work must be done at base camp to cover the expenses. They spend a few minutes talking about how some of the structures need some work and that they need to get more folks working together to build community as well. Jocelyn mentions that she would like to have a fenced in community garden as well. This could be used to feed people at events that are hosted at the lab.

They take the next few minutes to talk about the PDC, Peasant PDC and the ATC. They also talk about past events and the potential for new experiences at the labs including super-weeks.

Paul then goes on the go through a list of fantasies he has for the base camp. These include, six or more people living full time at base camp. There is also talk about starting a tiny house village, but that is dependent on having a good road. That has been a little tricky but now it appears that they have a very nice road up to that space and soon the village can be built. They spend a couple of minutes talking about availability of acres of land at base camp. Paul then talks about his idea for the future of the lab and base camp, where he wishes for basecamp to be a permaculture demonstration site, while the lab remains a private place for residents to experiment away from folks who may not understand or approve of what they are doing.

The electric tractor is up and running but nobody really wants to drive it. Paul explains a little bit about what could be better about the tractor, including the fact that it needs to be weatherproofed and perhaps the batteries need to be reoriented.

Paul would like more portable cabins on the land because many people really like the love shack. Skiddable structures are a great benefit as would having year round residents to occupy them. During events, bunk space is limited so more places for people to sleep would be a big help.

The fisher price house needs to have some work done to make the outer spaces better align with the house layout. The garage was divided into two places, one side for parking and the other for a canning operation, with insulation and heating and AC. This section is now called the library. It has desks and a growing collection of books. The other section of the garage is going to be modified for getting extra lighting, rolley shelves, and gappers from time to time. The idea is to make it a functional and dynamic space, depending on the needs.

Paul would like to finish the berm shed which is almost done, but first it needs to have some repairs made to the protective layers. All of the twelve cells are full of stuff and Paul thinks they need another couple of berm sheds. Much of the soil for these projects will need to come from the lab. Along with that, they’d like more berms and hugelkultur beds for privacy and decor. Soon a living fence will be installed.

The rocket mass heater in the fisher price house needs one final piece but there is a little hang up in getting that done. This has also been the case with other projects like the siege ladders that are needed for the berms systems.

Of course they want to have tons of gardens all over, especially in their zone one spaces as well as at the caldera at the top of the volcano. Jocelyn talks a bit about the caldera which currently has a porch swing, but perhaps some day could have more fun stuff like a place for a fire and some storage.

More paddocks are needed all around volcano road so that it can serve as a lane way for animals to move from paddock to paddock in a rotational grazing system. Currently there is not a suitable fencing for protecting animals and there are real threats from wild animals like mountain lions.

They need about 20 ponds, interconnected with an ability to move water from the lowest pond to the highest one to keep the water on the land. Being that the land is mostly rock, this is going to be a serious challenge. Paul mentions that the pond system will eventually clean the water as it moves repeatedly through the series of water bodies.

Paul wants to do many things to modify the house so that they can get by on half as much wood as they currently use. This would include an insulated porch, more lighting, thick rugs, heavy winter curtains and heated dog beds to keep certain areas warm where people congregate.

They would like to do an overhaul of the pee-palace and the compost pile system that can be used to heat water via hoses that run through the pile. It needs a full design do-over and the materials in the piles need to be refined to get more heat out of it.

The solar leviathan and the voltswagon need some work as well. The inverters are currently not matched for the systems that they are working with.

They also have a need for chickens, cats and dogs. This may be a good deterrent for the wild turkeys that currently cause trouble on the hugelcultures.

Paul gives a little overview about how a heliostat works and that the one that they had was wrought with issues that were partly fixed and how it eventually fell to the ground and smashed.

In an effort to make things more quiet, Paul would like more water features, growies and even a white noise system to help block out the noise of passing cars. Increasing the height of the berms would also be good. Modifications need to be made to

Lastly, Paul would like to build a submarine for world domination. Actually it would be a bunkhouse, but it would also be a submarine.

Credit: Craig Dobbson

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Relevant Threads

386 – Wheaton Labs Goals – part 1
Appropriate Technology Course
Wofati berm shed
Peasant PDC
Wheaton Labs
Permaculture bootcamp


You can discuss this podcast on this thread at Permies.

This podcast was made possible thanks to:

Lisa Goodspeed
Keith Kuhnsman
thomas adams
Jocelyn Campbell
Julia Mason
Dominic Crolius
Josh Phillips
wade L
Suleiman ALAQEL
Ash Jackson is The Scrollbard
Jason Hower
Bill Crim
Full Name
Doug Barth
Miroslav Ultrama
James Tutor
David Ingraham

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Challenges to gardening — Chronicles of a humpy dweller

In our garden we have three major challenges to gardening success; Lack of water– We live on tank water, harvested from the rain that falls on our roof. This means that when it doesn’t rain for a long time we start to get worried. The garden makes do with water from our washing (and hopefully […]

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