The second morning of the tour started at the Fisher Price House (FPH). Paul and Jocelyn call it that because it’s a double-wide trailer, mostly made of plastic and almost an air-tight plastic baggie. Their goal is eventually to move to a wofati up on the lab but at this time staying in the FPH allows them to get the outside work done that moves projects along and provide the basics for all the visitors that Paul’s ongoing projects attract.
There are people that call Paul gruff and hard to be around and that might be some people’s perception. I would say that Paul and Jocelyn open their home to a wide and varied mix of people. Some of the people that I have read about that they have welcomed in the past I doubt I would have let into my home. And, at the first sign of the ingratitude that has darkened their doorstep on occasion, I would have booted out or had arrested some of the folks that have heaped unwanted and probably unfounded abuse on on my hosts.
Paul has some fairly strong opinions on a number of topics and I have no problem with that. I have a lot of strong opinions on a number of topics myself. Paul seems to have actually mastered the ability to let others speak, listen to their words and then, after they are done, discuss the subject with a well thought out and reasoned response. I, myself, am still trying every day to be fair-minded, reasonable and thoughtful and there are a lot of days I struggle with each leg of that stool. Paul actually seems to walk the walk and I applaud him for that.
I had listened to most of Paul’s podcasts and the thing I was actually most worried about was that I would be disrespectful in some way (it might be a shock to some people that know me that I don’t actually have the best social skills on the planet) that would cause us to not be able to converse on a reasonable level. I don’t agree with everything Paul has tried to do, or the way he has tried to do it, but the man has put an enormous effort into moving Permaculture and Community forward and there is no denying (at least from my perspective) that he is moving things forward and shaking things up in way that no one else is and moving forward in a positive way.
So, to get back on point, Paul invited us to come into his home for a look at the Rocket Mass Heater that is in the Fisher Price House and to spend some time discussing the care and feeding of a RMH on a daily basis.
We spent a productive morning hearing about their experiences actually having a working rocket mass heater in their home. We actually got to fire it up (I didn’t get to light that one but I did get a chance to light another later) and see how it worked first hand. It’s an amazing appliance and I can’t wait to start learning how to build one myself. After learning about the FPH RMH we then went and toured the rest of the lab.
You can see all the amazing things we also got to learn about at Permies.com.