est. July 2009

Lisa Krause's Artwork (2003-Present)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Straw Bale Construction in Ohio

Over the first weekend of July, Eamon and I went to a farm in Ohio and learned to build with straw.

We helped build a simple shed for the llamas and goats on the farm.

The foundation is made from old tires rammed with earth. Each tire is pounded by hand using sledgehammers and shovel loads of dirt. They are then leveled.

Erika (PA) taking a break from pounding tires, Chris (OH) leveling, and Eamon, stoked.

Walls are a wood frame with chicken wire and rebar to pierce the first level of straw bales- additional levels are pierced with saplings. It is all girdled together with additional saplings tied to the structure through the strawbales- to cinch it into place. Layers of clay/straw/water mix are applied to the walls.

Chris and Marilyn (OH)

The walls are scratched between layers, and a final mix of clay/water/shredded straw this time, and addition of a high % of sand content. The final coat is a lime wash (not photographed).

If this is compelling to you, and you would like to learn more- I can recommend that you look on some natural building message boards to find some projects happening in your area. Like
this one in Chicago, or this one in Philadelphia. Or go to the Earthship Website to find the closest project in your area where you can volunteer.

I will tell you that the place we went had some wonderfully inspiring workshop participants, but the people that ran the farm were quite obnoxious. I would think that people on messageboards would be way more appreciative of the help that you could provide than those two shifty tycoons.

But on a positive note, we finally got to see a real live

Eamon has been researching natural building techniques over the past few years- in addition to working on his next book while rehabbing houses. Through this research, we both have become very excited about
the work of Michael Reynolds in pioneering a style of housing that is an entire ecosystem- collecting rainwater, generating solar power, and a grey water filtration system that includes a food producing greenhouse. Featuring earthen construction, recycled materials, and beautiful glass bottle walls; all sitting on a foundation of rammed earth tires and built into the side of a hill.

They are so incredible...

That weekend, we learned that we totally loved the process of building with natural, nontoxic materials and that we both felt so comfortable inside the Earthship, despite
strange energy.

All in all, we had a pretty good time
...right, Eamon?

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