Strawbale Studio Goals & Intern Outcomes for 2014 – 2016

Goals for the full 2014-16 seasons:  (2015 in bold)

  • Kid’s Cottage, finish ~ the rocket stove heated bench construction, stone foundation wall, natural insulated floor,  construction of 2 doors, installation of windows, east wall construction & earth plasters.
  • Provide natural building exhibits and demonstrations for several eco-events. 3 ft tall. Round Pole A frame, for exhibits. (Built a 1 ft. tall model house round-pole frame, 2014)
  • Round Pole framing: Hops Trellis. (done – 2014) Add branches as bracing. 
  • Thatching – finish the Spiral Chamber roof (done 2014) and Lean-to Wood Shed, redo Kids’ Cottage ridge.  Harvest cattail.  
  • Strawbale Cabin:  roof, hybrid wall systems, install windows, wood stove, thatched screened-in porch.
  • July Natural Cottage 2 week Course to build a strawbale & round pole addition to the Hobbit Sauna with a cob archway, Cob Garden Wall, niches Living Roof and a Rumford Fireplace. (basics done 2014 to be continued in 2015) .
  • Off-site 2 week Natural Cottage Project hosted by Chris McClellan, co-taught by Deanne in Ohio, July 10 – 24, 2015.
  • Harvesting & processing wood for fire and construction projects. (done 2014 and ongoing)
  • Install a Compost Heating System for the radiant floor of the Strawbale Studio  (done 2014)
  • Assess Compost Heat System and decide whether to rebuild it this fall.
  • Strawbale Studio ~ finish plaster on benches, seal with linseed oil, make a finished earthen floor.
  • Strawbale Studio ~ outdoor Cob & Stone Bench (done 2014)
  • Workshops:  see the Calendar on the website.
  • Monthly Full Moon Potluck & Bonfire.  Firing up the earth oven and making pizza.  Wish: create a regular “Foraging & Breakfast” event, Medieval Garden Party.  Musical evening in the Strawbale Studio.
  • Permaculture Projects ~ Haybale Gardening focus in 2015. sheet mulching garden beds, cover crops, planting & tending the Mandalla Garden, Hoop House & Herb Spiral.  (2014 some spring cleanup & planting in Mandalla and Herb Spiral.  Foraging for plants and herbs, preservation (drying, tinctures, vinegar). (done 2014 and continuing.)
  • Pipeline ~ Permaculture installation for coppicing & pollinator plants.  Bee Hive.  Carolyn or Jimez.  Develop further in 2016
  • Fermentation ~ continue with sourdough projects, kombucha, keifer, sour dough, krauts and other lively possibilities. (2014 and continuing
  • Reskilling ~ finish the solar food dehydrator, home-made ceramic water filter.  Perhaps: cover drums with rawhide we made , experiment with brain tanning.
  • Outreach and Education:  data entry, website update, weekly blog, class development  (2014 & ongoing) & educational game.  Metro-Detroit Green Map project: collect & input data. (others are doing this 2014 and continuing)
  • Finish the Tree House Platform in the Fairy Forest.
  • Harvest Reed for thatching (2014 and continuing)
  • Hand-harvesting & preparing building materials is always part of our creative process.
  • Red Shed Polebarn – high ventilation louvers, design for building an 2nd story addition in 2016.

Natural Building Outcomes: Depending on the timing and length of your stay, you will

  • find, and test the qualities of clay, sand and fiber
  • create the following materials: “Cob” (clay/sand/straw) earthen mix for building and sculpting, Earthen plasters for covering strawbales, Finish plasters for natural or conventional walls
  • apply Cob and Earthen Plaster
  • understand basic construction techniques for Cob Buildings, Strawbale Buildings, Light Clay, wattle & daub
  • understand design with the sun and with nature.
  • understand the basic principles of thatching:  designing/building a roof structure for thatching, collection and application of reed grass.
  • understand the principles of rubble trenches, stone knee-walls, and round pole framing.
  • experience a variety of sustainable living skills: make a wood mallet with a hatchet, learn to chisel, cord, cook in a hay box, use the solar oven, rocket stove cooker, rocket mass heater, composting systems, foraging, fermenting.

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