We have some really good news!

Have you heard the news??  We passed our initial building inspection last month!  And we have some other really good news to share, too!  An amazing investor has reached out and loaned us the initial funds to get the insulated outer shell of the house complete…possibly by winter!  We just placed the order for the posts and roof lumber yesterday!  Yahoo!!!

We have, however, continued to face some hurdles to with the inspector, getting approval for our unconventional building materials and methods.  The latest is that we need to send in another $1200 to apply for a special exception to build our below grade wall with earthbags.  (The other option is using treated, AKA toxic, lumber.)

As deeply frustrating as these hurdles are, indulging in the drama, of course, does no good.  It is good practice for us to learn to be awesome in the face of these challenges.  (Exhausted sigh.)

In case you missed the short video tour of the house site and building plans, you can watch it HERE.

The Making of Our Cob Rocket Stove

Thanks so much for all the amazing help from friends in the past couple weeks! We are so thankful to be warm and cozy in the bus now! The rocket stove is complete except for the final coat of clay plaster. It has such a sweet presence, almost like a new member of the family. This clay has been living under the prairie grasses on our hillside since the glaciers dropped it off, and now it keeps us warm. Pretty dang cool!

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Arranging the insulated fire bricks

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Mixing the clay with water and shredded straw..so squidgy!

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Placing the barrel upside-down on top makes this a mass heater

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Adding the clay around the barrel will capture the heat and release it slowly in the bus, like a radiator

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The finished stove, and a pile of Jonathan’s hard work

 

We live here now!

After a VERY. LONG. WINTER. and an intense transition this spring, we are so excited to say that we finally live here on the land!  As of June, we’ve been living here at our camp, sinking in with the daily rhythms of outdoor living with three kiddos.  We actually really love it.  It’s true, many folks think we are nuts.  We know we are, and that’s OK.  This is awesome.  Sure it’s a pain that we need to haul all our water from over at my parents’ barn, and yes, the ticks were a drag this spring…but it has been so nice to wake up with the birds and walk over to our kitchen in the tipi to cook our fresh eggs over the fire each morning.  And the girls are so much happier outside.  Slightly less bickering than normal.  😉

We of course still have many challenges, including raising the funds to pay for all the permits necessary for our home and business (more than $5000!) and the big question of where we will live this winter.  This colder weather recently has kicked in squirrel instincts, and we are sorting through our options to be prepared for the snow to fly.  We really could live in the tipi this winter if needed, but we’d rather have a more insulated option.  Our plans for natural building are relatively affordable, but the hoops to jump through for the permits are daunting.  All I can say is we are doing our best to dance with the challenges, and move at a steady pace towards our dreams.  We really are so thankful to even have the opportunity to live here and be the stewards of this sweet land.  Anyhoo…

Since I know some of you are curious how our life looks now…here’s a few photos of our new home:

Our entrance!

Our entrance!

The carport

The carport

Inside the carport, the tent is up on a raised plywood floor

Inside the carport, the tent is up on a raised plywood floor

The gardens!

The gardens!

The kitchen inside the tipi

The kitchen inside the tipi

The girls caught some sunnies at Perch Lake and we fried em up!

The dining/lounging area

Sunset glow

Sunset glow

Scarlet and her golden glow

Scarlet and her golden glow

The "fridge". A galvanized trash can buried in the earth.

The “fridge”. A galvanized trash can buried in the earth.

My ideal wash station. Notice the height is perfect for the girls helping.

My ideal wash station. Notice the height is perfect for the girls helping.

Jonathan has also been hard at work on the coop

Jonathan has also been hard at work on the coop.

A roofline that matches the slope of the land

A roof-line that matches the slope of the land

Finished just enough to move the chickens over!

We’ve been busy with our Earth Artists Kids Camp this week, and I will post some of the amazing photos soon.  For now, know we are well.  I hope you all are, too!

Many Blessings,

Heidi