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I'm a 26-year-old currently living at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in northeast Missouri, an intentional community devoted to sustainable living and culture change. Things you might find me doing here (other than blogging) are building with natural materials, gardening, beekeeping, making cheese, candlemaking, and above all else, living simply.

The Most Beautiful Green Home Building Construction Project Ever?

My jaw dropped when I first watched this video tour of a beautiful owner-built green building construction project in Oregon. This particular green building is made entirely out of cob, a mixture of clay, sand, and straw. Meka Bunch of Wolf Creek, Oregon built this stunning cob house over a four year period. Complete with hand-sculpted furniture, shelves and nooks built directly into the walls, arched windows, and a killer custom staircase, his cob building is a divine artistic achievement.…

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Earth Sheltered Home Work Exchange

Do you want to learn more about green building and gain valuable hands-on experience by helping to build an earth sheltered home? There are several natural building internship and work exchange opportunities at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in northeastern Missouri, an off-the-grid intentional community devoted to ecological sustainability. Read ahead to learn more about one particular earth sheltered home and green building construction work exchange.

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How To Prevent Global Warming With Straw Bale House Construction

There are many concerns about how we can prevent global warming. In every industry, whether it be transportation, agriculture, or the construction industry, there are questions about how to prevent global warming. By building better designed, more energy-efficient, and natural homes, global warming will become less of a threat. One of the most basic necessities lacking in conventional homes is sufficient insulation. Proper insulation will greatly reduce the need for constant home heating and cooling (and in turn, fossil fuels),…

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Ways To Prevent Global Warming Through Natural Building

Through natural building, there are many ways to prevent global warming. Conventional suburban houses are large, poorly designed, and inefficient, and the manufacturing and construction processes are big contributors to global warming. Natural building is a sustainable design approach that promotes low impact homes built with natural and recycled materials. I will highlight two different techniques in natural building that promote global warming prevention through increased energy efficiency.

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Building with Reclaimed Lumber and Recycled Materials

One of the most sustainable ways to acquire materials for building a house is to collect parts from soon-to-be demolished homes. You can save money from buying new lumber, which in turn will prevent deforestation, and you can recycle other materials like doors, windows, and bricks that would otherwise continue to fill up landfills. But perhaps you’re not sure how to go about deconstructing a house. Read ahead to find out how to safely deconstruct a home and build with…

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Build Your Own Free Tiny House with Shipping Pallets

Recently, we’ve talked about how to live simply and decrease your carbon footprint living in a tiny house. Even better than buying a tiny house is making your own, and Michael Janzen is blazing a trail with his free tiny pallet house. Not only is his house made out of recycled shipping pallets, it isn’t costing him anything to build. And lucky for us, he’s sharing his plans so you too can build your own tiny free house. You can…

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Live Simply and Decrease Your Carbon Footprint with a Tiny House

“Tiny houses” are starting to enter mainstream consciousness, due in large part to new companies dedicated to manufacturing and promoting tiny homes, especially Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. And for good reason, too: one of the most effective ways to decrease your ecological footprint is to buy a tiny house. For obvious reasons, a tiny house requires little energy to build, and less energy to keep comfortable. There’s also the benefit of not maintaining extra unused space. Ultimately, you can live…

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Straw Bale House Construction and Natural Building Internship

Are you interested in a hands-on straw bale building experience? As you know, there is no better way to learn than by doing. Red Earth Farms is an 80 acre, off-the-grid intentional community based in northeastern Missouri, composed of individual homesteads. Members strive to live ecologically – this means, of course, that members use natural building materials in their homes. Mark Mazzioti is one such individual building a straw bale house, featuring a pasive solar design, post-and-beam framing, and a…

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How To Plaster Walls: Natural Clay Plaster Finishes

Earthen plasters provide a beautiful, soft, and an organic finishing touch to your home, whether they be a straw bale house, cob building, wood cabin, or even plain old sheetrock walls. A simple natural plaster can be mixed from ingredients straight from the earth, including sand, clay, and fibers such as straw, cattail fluff, or even cow manure. It’s a simple process and a creative one, too: you can let your imagination shine through earthen plaster with its vast sculptability…

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Natural Building 101: How To Make an Earthen or Adobe Floor

When mention of an “earthen floor” is made, one might imagine a dusty, drab dirt floor. Earthen floors are far from this, however; instead they are very elegant, durable, inexpensive, and ecologically sustainable solutions to a typical floor installation. They are varied in construction, but the idea and ingredients are essentially the same across the board. Earthen (or adobe) floors are poured or compacted combinations of sand, clay, straw, and sometimes crushed rock, with pleasantly smooth surfaces resistant to wear…

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Built By Hand Book: Traditional Natural Building Designs Around The World

Imagine houses with six feet-thick seaweed roofs, deep-nestled and hand-carved cave homes, and pigeon-harboring huts made of mud. Sounds a little unreal, huh? Well, this and more is all vividly documented in Built By Hand: Vernacular Buildings Around the World, a most inspiring bit of natural building eye candy I recently had the fortune of stumbling upon. Built by Hand is a hardcover collection of photographs of traditional buildings of all styles across the globe. If you weren’t already appalled…

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Reciprocal Roof Frame Building: How-To, Materials, and Supplies

Earlier this year, I was introduced to the concept of a so-called “reciprocal roof frame”. After hearing about the concept from a friend, we later browsed the internet in search of natural buildings featuring this mysterious design. When I finally saw examples of different reciprocal roofs, I was immediately enamored: here was a roof structure so totally simple, strong, and above all, beautiful. A reciprocal roof is a self-supporting, round structure composed of interlocking beams that equally bear the weight…

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Natural Building 101: Building a Cob House

What is cob? Cob building dates back hundreds of years ago, and cob houses built over 500 years ago in Europe are still inhabited to this day. That’s pretty dang impressive considering the simple nature and composition of the material: buckets of wet clay and sand are mixed by foot (or by horse, oxen, concrete mixer, or even Bobcat excavators) and then combined with straw to produce a sticky, malleable material that can be rolled into palm-sized loaves (or “cobs”,…

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