Let's get dirty.....YEAH So you want to build something.
Updated: Feb 1, 2018
Why not build with natural building materials? We decided to build with cob (mixture of clay, sand, straw and water) and straw bales. (We want to mention now that this picture is one taken during a workshop....volunteers (the best)). This decision has worked very well for us for several reasons. The materials were readily available, inexpensive and we could learn how to work with them. We didn't have the experience but we knew how to get advice and techniques via the internet and YouTube. Thankfully the interest has grown and there are many more sites to seek out. We also purchased the book by Ianto Evans, Linda Smiley and Michael Smith titled "The Hand-Sculpted House". This is an excellent resource. If you want to start small and just build a "cob oven", purchase the book "Earth Oven" by Kiko Denzer and Hannah Field. Starting small will reveal just a mild interest or start the fire of passion to delve further into natural building.
Becoming self-sufficient has always been a goal to achieve. Being self-sufficient can mean a lot of different things but our goal was to reduce our need for professionally supplied utilities, expensive houses built inefficiently and are cash holes- maintenance, forever in a state of deterioration and honestly, unhealthy/chemically filled houses. Our dependence on organized anything makes for unimaginative and unproductive lifestyle. We weren't interested in pleasing others and bending to what "normal" was for us. Granted we are "old" ...we started building the "EcoHouse" in our late 60's. We achieving this ripe old age we thought we had pretty much learned that it was okay to think for ourselves and breakout of the mold. After all we could blame our crazy ideas on age. But we can in all honesty say this because for years we lived according to what others would think or we were locked into the debt of housing, raising and schooling our children and the debts of car loans.....cost of time available-cost of living.
We believe you can do what we've done at any age.....but we do caution you that you may have to give up some luxuries in the beginning. Remember each of us decides what a "luxury" is.
The best way to look at a project like this is to understand the energy and passion has to be there because without the passion it becomes work and drudgery. This attitude will permeate you eventually. Success comes from commitment and passion. Learn your passion.
Growing your own food may seem a little overwhelming at first but there are so many ways to learn. Neighbors, books, YouTube, clubs. Most gardeners/farmers are very willing to teach, mentor or give advice/directions. If you decide that's just not your desire, farmers and farmers markets are great finds. CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture) are another way to get healthy, nourishing wholesome foods, meat and eggs. Should you decide to go the way of gardening give yourself a couple years to become mildly good at it. Once your garden is established you then need to work at preserving your produce. We'll discuss that later in the blog.
Well you do get muddy (dirty) but that's where the fun begins. To start any project that you want completed you must start somewhere.
First, put your ideas down on paper, research other projects and truly decide what fits your needs then your wants.
Second, are your needs realistic. By that I mean do you have the location, in this case a place to build your house, sauna, cottage (second home) or a workshop/studio. Whatever you are truly wanting to do you must ask yourself:
a. time you have available
b. finances you can dedicate to project
c. if you have a partner, wife/husband....will they be just as dedicated
d. location really important as it determines cost and design
Here's some more websites to take a look at: http://naturalhomes.org/natural-building-women.htm Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pollywogscobsculpting/. Both are very well done sites. We're hoping they inspire you to look more closely at why this type of natural building design is catching on here in the United States. The following Facebook page gives other ideas and designs: https://www.facebook.com/mudlovelouise/