Why Montana?

How did I find myself living in a Hobbit-style house on a remote homestead in Montana?

Permaculture.

WTF is that?

I don’t want to spend time and energy going into what it is, I’ll leave that to the thousands of others. For the sake of my answer, it is what led me to the podcast of a man named, Paul Wheaton.

He runs a website called permies, which is the largest permaculture forum on the web. He is known as the ‘bad boy’ of permaculture, with a lot of people not regarding him kindly.

Anyway, his podcast is where I started learning about the homesteading side of permaculture. Eventually, Paul bought some land outside of Missoula Montana and invited like-minded permies out to play.

After following his stuff for a while I arrived there about midway through year three. I had went through a divorce a year earlier and was ready for something new.

Arriving at the homestead

My Saab by the Wofati

After a very long and tiring drive, I was finally here! The fabled things from the permies website and Paul’s podcast were in front of my eyes.

The solar contraption you see on the right in there has been dubbed, “The Voltzwagon”. It is what supplies 100% of the power to the ‘WOFATI’ that’s under that mound of dirt. It is also movable if needed on other parts of the property.

Home, sweet Hobbit home

Hobbit Home Entrance

The interior was pretty dirty from the floor being unfinished and people coming and going all day. I am not unaccustomed to rough living so it didn’t really faze me.

The wood stove-looking thing is a modified rocket mass heater. It was modified to fix a flaw that didn’t allow it to achieve an efficient burn.

Morning coffee next to the Rocket Mass Heater

Coffee the next morning

Nothing like coffee next to a rocket mass heater to kick off the morning.

Checking our the area the next morning

Checking out the area

Exploring the area a bit more after having coffee. This is on the trail to the neighbors lease. (Still on Paul’s 200 acres.)

Okay it’s not quite a Hobbit house, but it’s close

Not quite a Hobbit house

Alright, you wont find Merry and Pippin smoking their pipe-weed anywhere around here, but the design is close enough for me to call it a Hobbit-house.

A natural wood fence that I helped repair the first week.

Natual wood fence

Paul was offering some paid work for repairing a fence made out of Fir saplings. A portion of the fence had blown down the week before I arrived.

It blew over because there is no fence posts. The ground is too rocky to dig holes. They are using something called a rock-jack to hold the fence up. One of them had fallen apart, causing the fence to topple.

A few of the other guests and I made short work of the repair.

Natual wood fence inside

A view from the other side.

Rocket Mass Heaters

Rocket Mass Heater

Taking a peek at the rocket mass heater in the other WOFATI.

Rocket Mass Heater in a Tipi

There is also a tipi on the property that houses a ‘U’ shaped rocket mass heater. In the winter, at negative 10 degrees people were sleeping with no blankets in there, crazy right?

Ducks from one of the residents properties

Ducks

A resident there has some ducks that wander around during the day. He’s named them all, including the group as ‘Ministry of Quacks’

Exploring the property a bit

Snowy forest trail

The snow lightly powdering the trees make it look so magical.

Rex, the excavator

Excavator bucket

This is Rex, he’s been helping everyone build their berms and roads, his teeth have seen better days.

Practicing some macro photography

Water Drop

Another water drop

Macro Shroomy

Macro plants

Snow Fleas

Love Shack, Baby Love Shack…

Love Shack

I stayed in this thing for the last week I was there. I had to go back to California to sort our some tax stuff from that year and tie up some more loose ends before moving on with my life.

Love Shack - Inside

I am used to rugged sleeping so it wasn’t so bad, luckily after the first night I was able to drag a mattress out of Paul’s house to use.

Coffee in the Love Shack

This is how I made coffee for the last few days, even when roughing it alone in a tiny cabin I must have good coffee.

Coffee makes everything better.


A note about this post

This wasn’t actually posted on the date listed. I am adjusting the dates to match around when the events happened.

Thank you for reading!