Thursday, November 21, 2013

Constructing our own home: cob building, homesteading, & free materials

Birds, squirrels, ants, and other species construct their own shelters out of readily available materials, like sticks, rope fiber, straw, mud, and other debris. Us, on the other hand, hire a team of workers to build our homes using drywall, wood panels, laminate flooring, paint, insulation, and other toxic and refined materials.
If you're fortunate you can build your own home; but like most of us we have to search for a vacant home at an affordable price. My mother bought home in the 90's for around $10K, and the house was built in the 1930s! It was always falling in and everything is always breaking, or pipes are freezing and breaking. 
Unfortunately, even the simplest and decent of homes can cost up to $100,000. This could take ten or 20 years to pay off.
I don't want to spend my entire life going to school for training, then working over 20 years at an unfulfilling job...


We could learn from the animals, for example building our homes for free or little cost by constructing it ourselves using the same materials other animals use.


I believe we can and should build our homes out of non-toxic, free available materials, such as the wild animals do. 'cob', 'strawbale', 'earthbag', and earthship homes are examples of how we can use readily available materials efficiently and adapt to our needs.
 


I prefer the cob (straw, sand, and clay) method because I have these materials in abundance. The ground is clay, dried grass is straw and the creeks are full of sand. I intend to create a similar construction as this couple has done in the picture below. It requires no wood for frames; and instead the walls are built up with slabs of mud, straw, and sand until you have reached the desired height. Although this method seems unsteady, it is not-- because the materials mixed creates the consistency of concrete.
The couple that built the home (in the picture), took approximately 9 months to construct and several months to dry out.
For the step-by-step process (with pictures), go to their photo album here:
"Year of Mud" The couple has several photo albums of their cob, and all natural building workshops as well as gardening photos on their Flikr page too.
 

For other references on building with cob, read "The Hand-sculpted house book" by Mike Smith, Ianto Evans, and Linda Smiley. Refer to Ianto Evan's and Leslie Jackson's book on heating your cob home: Rocket mass heaters.
 
My vision for a cob home would be somewhat of a nook. Perhaps as small as a normal sized kitchen! First the area will require leveling the ground, then digging a ditch in the outline of the shape of the home. It will be as small as a large shed, with one room to house dried herbs, books, some food, and a bed. I want a small frame that will allow us to save time on constructing the house while encouraging us to be outside instead of cooped up inside.
 
For those with no money or property, can experiment with building a debris shelter in the woods. In this case, you want to live absolutely free or temporarily in the woods, read a more recent post of mine "Semi-Permanent Debris Shelters (Minimal Living or living in the woods)" where I discuss how to build a shelter out of sticks and leaves. These debris shelters remind me of bird nests with more coverage.



bed made by monkeys



I want to live in a world where everyone views their life simply: We get our basic needs met through Homesteading (food, water, shelter) which involves gardening, collecting free energy (sun and water), and building an all natural home. Live self reliant, independent, sustainable, and free as the animal you are.
 
 

36 comments:

  1. Hi Cassie,

    I came across your blog when I was searching for Vegan Homesteading in google. After reading for just a few minutes I see there is a lot of good stuff here! Like many people I've done everything "right". I went to college. Studied science. Got jobs that would build my resume. Built my credit. But to me it has always felt a little wrong. Recently I moved into a new apartment with a garden. Quickly I realized that while I dread going to work in the morning, I relish spending ALL weekend thinking about my garden. I'm starting to see that my priorities are a little mixed up. Life is to short to spend it doing something I hate. Obviously I can't wave bye bye to my cubicle quite yet. So, I'm trying to connect with other homesteaders. I'm working on saving money so I can buy land. And I believe in a couple years, with a lot of sweat and tears along the way, I can be living on a nice little plot, with a cob house, solar panels, a big permaculture garden. I know that it's going to take years and during that time I'll have to endure a lot of hardship and put in hard physical labor. Between that and an office job the rest of my life though - no contest.

    So, I just wanted to introduce my self a little bit and let you know that I'm glad you're doing what your doing.

    Best,
    Teale
    asterpdx.weebly.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm so happy and thankful you introduced yourself. I understand your situation, because I am in a similar one. I'm conflicted by my options to obtain my own land (instead of borrowed property), or live frugalously and nomadically obtaining no money or possessions.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As for the couple that built the small adobe, they had many people helping them. I will not go through a manufacturer to build my home. I will be collecting as many free and readily available materials as I construct (mostly from the woods, creek beds, etc)

      I think you can create a home as cheap as you want. I made a blog post on constructing no cost, quick and semi-permanent shelters, in the link below:
      http://veganslivingofftheland.blogspot.com/2014/02/semi-permanent-debris-shelters-minimal.html

      In the link above, you will find that these shelters can be a transitional process towards your own home (in the future).
      It is best to cut the least amount of trees down for your home, and consider experimenting with materials readily/all natural materials around you. Also collect materials over a period of time that you want to use for building your home.
      The smaller the better.

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the couple with the small adobe had many people helping I'm sure. It is my understanding that the couple live within a community of other all natural individuals. I don't know anything about Gold Coast buildings/engineering or if they were involved.

      I think you can create a home as cheap as you want. I made a blog post on constructing NO COST, FAST and semi-permanent shelters, in the link below:
      http://veganslivingofftheland.blogspot.com/2014/02/semi-permanent-debris-shelters-minimal.html

      In the link above, you will find that these shelters can be a transitional process towards your dream home for the future.
      It is best to cut the least amount of trees down for your home, and consider experimenting with materials readily/all natural materials around you. Also collect materials over a period of time that you want to use for building your home.
      The smaller the better.

      Delete

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    ReplyDelete
  6. Hello, one thing I was curious about, but you said humans are the only species that does not construct our own homes? Humans throughout history have constructed their own homes, but will usually do so as a group effort, as it results in better-quality structures.

    Also, I think you are mistaken about chimpanzees, as they do not (unless I am mistaken) construct any shelters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe I didn't make myself clear, humans pay for someone else to build their house, or they inhabit a previous owner's home (like a hermit crab), haha.
      About the chimps, they would make what you call nests rather than shelters. THank you for commenting. :)

      -Cassie

      Delete
    2. Some monkeys do not build nests, because the trees act as their shelter.

      Delete
  7. You all got right idea. Thousands if years ago there was no such thing as $.. Value of $ is zero. Only what u buy has value. U need by because NO KNOWLEDGE... Freedom frm k not $..

    ReplyDelete
  8. Everything u buying in store came from nature. Money is access to system. We are all domesticated not civilized. How many know how to live as a cave man? All u know is $ & store. More $ -- more store. Your only knowledge is jay oh bee.. Thing of value not $ but what u buy with it. No knowledge- no store 4 u spend your $ in. You all my legacy. I worry about legacy- not eternity. My advice for people not even born yet. Me not relevant. If i die before book- my knowledge die with me.. Should not listen 4 who i am or credentials..but 4 content of what I say. Does it make sense. Then use it and pass on KNOWLEDGE to your children. Can not tax it. If stolen from you---you still have it---unlike your $. And it has gravity-- it pulls $ towards it..

    ReplyDelete
  9. IT IS A SYSTEM OF KNOWLEDGE NOT $
    We are all brainwashed and domesticated by our government people to chase $. It is the tool all governments print and use to control their DOMESTICATED human beings. The $ in your pocket- not yours...My pocket- not mine..It all the governments $.. From government printing press.
    It all to long. Am writing book or booklet. Sell it- have to happy talk people to sell... Truth piss people off. But only truth will free you.. $ is DELUSIONAL power. Real freedom from knowledge.
    We all lazy brained
    No one says: Help me. I don't have enough knowledge to live on.
    Instead: Help me I don't have enough $ to live on.
    How much knowledge did u get today? Improve your life by increasing your DIRECT knowledge.. This vegan blog helps u do that.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The more knowledge you have the less $ (stupid slips-permission slips) you need.

    ReplyDelete
  11. If you have $ buy knowledge with it. But learn direct knowledge.. Indirect knowledge is knowledge that does u no good until someone gives u a jay oh bee doing it... Direct knowledge does u good directly. Like woodsmenship. Make and do. Learn and grow.
    Want to stop warfare?! Learn how it is made. People who own weapons manufacturing deliberately insure war. One essentiall ingredient is MIND CONTROL. All those weapons do not kill. They require human hands that BELIEVE IN WHAT THEY'RE DOING to take them up and kill with them.. Everyone seems to ignore the most important ingredient. The science of MIND CONTROL. ALL the eliments need to be carefully planed to make warfare so you can sell your weapons.
    LEARN HOW IT IS MADE-- THEN sabotage their plan.. With knowledge of how it is made you can ruin their plan...Little off subject.. I assure u they will have me dead before letting me educate. U... Think these scum want u free able to live without THEIR money?!

    ReplyDelete
  12. "THE GARDEN OF EDEN"
    Dear God. Like to change it to NOT guilty.
    Crime was committed against us. We did not take knowledge from a tree listening to a talking snake. Government people came with the devil and conquered us with that stuff called VIOLENCE and our knowledge of how to live in nature was stolen FROM US. We were not allowed to teach it to our children....The knowledge we need---Gone forever... Then they got the idea of $... At the beginning they feared revolt demanding their knowledge back.. But their idea worked great... No one even asks for it. Sorry gotta go. Just have to wait for book-- just one more comment
    IF I WON THE LOTTERY
    I would hire u to work 4 me.. Make you read the books on my reading list... Pay you all OUTRAGEOUS hourly income.
    Later when i dead from old age or whatever---- you will realize it was only $ that made u work 4 me. But the valuable thing you got was the knowledge... But it would take $ to make you listen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you are obviously passionate like I am to move away from a system that leads (lives/leaves) you dependent. there is no 'man' making you buy things or making you have a job, YOU have the power to control your life. we together have the power to say no to leaders.

      Delete
  13. Read Shelters Shacks and Shanties by Beard YOU CAN SURVIVE. PRINCIPLES OF OUTDOOR LIVING AND FIELD FIRST AID by H.C.Wells
    Christopher Nyerges has great books on the subject.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sorry. I meant Christopher Nyerges WROTE. great books- also has a school for 40 years in Pasadena. Self Relience is the name of coarse. His resume is on line.. Sure ain't like mine. Never heard of him before searching internet.. I met a lady (security guard) who grew up in south american country- don't recall- All her life knew nothing but woods and jungle from infancy. Her knowledge of $ and city life-- all new to her. Only 5 years a domesticated human. She started showing me things..But then she got a truck driving job. And changed her phone. I called her my avatar lady. Janet frm another planet. The I found Self relience school. Oops this too long. Chech it out. If you in area. I read his books see his videos-- hey-- This guy thinks just like me.. I the wanna be.- he the real thing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for all the further reading and investigating I can do ;)

      very interesting about the woman who lived in the jungle. I'll try the bamboo fire starting technique if I can find some bamboo around. it's usually growing abundantly.

      Delete
  15. Also- fire starting is essential skill. Watch Bamboo Saw. After watching- make sure you DO IT. It looks so simple. But you don't know until you actually do it yourself. The guy demonstrating has many years experience. Makes it look easier than it is. Fire with your knife and two bamboo sticks NOTHING ELSE. make that fire needed for all those great recipes you know.

    ReplyDelete
  16. If you are within 100 miles of my location I will bring some to bus stop near u... That way you don't have to publish your exact location.
    People don't usually bother stuff like that left behind.I am in Pico Rivera California area. BAMBOO AS FAR AS EYE CAN SEE

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yeah I have bamboo about 15 miles from me. It's growing in a creek that no one "claims", so I can get it ;)
      Thank you though, that's absolutely too generous to get on a bus to ride 100 miles to give someone bamboo, hahaha
      I am in Kentucky by the way.

      Delete
  17. If you are within 100 miles of my location I will bring some to bus stop near u... That way you don't have to publish your exact location.
    People don't usually bother stuff like that left behind.I am in Pico Rivera California area. BAMBOO AS FAR AS EYE CAN SEE

    ReplyDelete
  18. Kentucky- yeah that would be a problem.
    If you got good utube access play the bamboo saw video while there is no buffering AND simply use a camera to record it off the screen instead of trying to download it.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I was thinking of combining two methods. Use the bamboo part that holds the tinder and use mule fat stick and bow saw instead of second bamboo stick. Let me know if it works..

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  20. It is NOT too generous. It is a skill that means your life. You don't realize the importance and serious need 4 that skill. Please get the bamboo AND DO IT!
    This system WILL break down! When it does-- there is NO WARNING and no mercy...
    Learn as much as you can as fast as you can--- and pass it on to your children..The knowledge--not $...

    ReplyDelete
  21. Are you ok? There must be people there u can trust that can teach u these skills. Look. You will find them. Teach and learn simultaneously.. My spell SUCKS. My computer spelled simultaneously for me.. My advice I give others applies to me too. I would be more successful if I followed my own advice... Hope I didn't scare u off the blog.. You have great knowledge. Please keep giving it

    ReplyDelete
  22. The system is STILL up and running... So RELAX and have fun learning it. You will need basic flintnapping skills. Learn to carve soapstone without hardware store tools for your cooking equipment. Bowls cups etc. Soapstone is healthier to use.
    Say something. I will no longer post. Unless some asks on post

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. dude, do you have facebook or email?
      my email is Sheila_wasnt_here@yahoo.com and I am Cassie Kinney on facebook. chat with me there.
      I will be busy today however those will be better platforms for conversation.

      -thank you

      Delete
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