Below are some photos of our straw bale house construction, which began in the fall of 1999.
This is a photo of the deck of our strawbale house, being built the fall of 1999. It has I-beam flooring being installed, slowly because I had no one to help me put them in place. The beams are over 26 feet long, and wobble like crazy when a single builder tries to place them with on one to hold the other end.
In the background is Jill and my pottery studio, which was build many years earlier and has been converted recently into a tool and organizing center for the construction project. On the partially built deck (floor) are some modified post-and-beam structures I built quickly to get a hang of the construction process.
The huge stack of straw is behind the camera, covered with many layers of tarps in preparation for fall rains and winter snows. (John Feb, 2000).
When the straw truck arrived from Canada, it had to be be quickly stacked before an evening rain could wet the bales. In this photo the yellow truck can be seen, with Jill helping the driver unload the bales on slats laid on the ground. In the foreground, you can see the concrete house foundation which had been newly laid. All of this activity took place before the fall rains, which continued for six weeks without stopping. Mildew began to form on the wood foundation (the I-beams and the underside of the decking) , before the freezing weather of winter stopped its growth.
One of the most important tasks, after the straw bale truck leaves, is to find a way to protect the bales from moisture which can encourage mildew. In this photo, Jill is at the top of the huge stack of straw, placing pegs of r-bar, which will hold in place plastic pipes (water line pipes) which she bent to create a 'tent' over the whole top of the stack. It was quick and easy to do, and we had the plastic water pipe lengths lying around in the upper garden.
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Progress Report: Late May