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Natural Building Road Trip

 
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I've been volunteering at a natural building site for a few weeks, doing mostly timber, but I would love to see what other people have done with cob or strawbale or timber. I'll be driving from southern OR to Washington DC between Sept 8 and 22.

If you are anywhere near my route and wouldn't mind letting me take a peek and ask questions, it would be really special. I can provide she's-not-crazy references if needed. Thanks!

Route: southern Oregon into northwest NV, across to SE NV, into north AZ, north NM, across OK, south AR, across TN, and into NC via Asheville, and up to VA via Greensboro.
 
pollinator
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Are there any shows or exhibitions on the way?
Mother Earth, town festivals, it must be coming into autumn and these seem to occur at this time.
https://travel.usnews.com/features/top-fall-harvest-festivals-in-the-us
https://www.funtober.com/festivals/northcarolina/
https://bestthingsok.com/festivals/#gsc.tab=0

For a start
 
steward
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Too bad, you will not be going by way of Wisconsin.

Uncle Mud, Chris McClellan, will be at the Mother Earth News Fair.

September 16-17, 2023, at the Washington County Fair Park & Conference Center in West Bend, Wisconsin.

Chris Said, "We hope you will join us for the fair and maybe a little Natural Builders get-together Friday night before the fair. James Juczak and I are running the Building and Energy Stage.



https://permies.com/t/224848/Uncle-Mud-Cob-Cottage-invitation
 
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Hi Clare,

You're welcome to swing by our place--sounds like we may be near your starting point as we're about 10 miles south of Jacksonville in S. Oregon.  This past spring I re-plastered our straw bale home, and am right now getting ready to re-plaster the straw bale shop.  The lime finish-over-clay basecoat we had applied fifteen years ago began to delaminate on our most exposed walls, so I plan to re-do it all while I'm still able.   During my career as a licensed contractor I preferred to think of myself as a "mostly natural" builder since much of code-level construction today isn't.  Still, as a pragmatist, I was willing to comply with code requirements in order to get more natural materials like straw, clay, lime, timber, and stone into the buildings my crew and I worked on.  We can also show you a 27,000 gallon rainwater catchment system, and Joy will be happy to send you on the road with a bag of organic Honeycrisp apples (so done with canning, and three more bumper crop trees to go!).  

Jim
Many Hands Builders
 
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Hi Clare,

If your route brings you by Poetry, GA (near TN), you could join Just Love Forest for a volunteer weekend September 15 - 16. They provide Friday dinner and Saturday lunch. They can also provide a bell tent if you'd like to stay overnight, or you could volunteer for one day only.

They are in the process of building natural structures, along with a few other projects. I'm not sure what the tasks will be for that particular weekend, but you can email to ask.

From their website: "In addition to learning trail building and maintenance as well as permaculture gardening, we are intending to build our second yurt as a permanent kitchen and our first adobe structure in basecamp."

For more information: https://www.justloveforest.com/2023/volunteer-september
 
Clare Wolfe
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Jim, I would love to stop by! Thank you so much for the invitation. What is the best way to be on touch to make arrangements?

Anne, it really is a pity that I won't be anywhere near Wisconsin. It looks like a great opportunity.

Melissa, thank you for the tip! I will see if I can fit it into my route.
 
Jim Reiland
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Hi Clare, I replied to your Purple Mooseage message with contact information.  Let me know more about your route east from Oregon.  If you're passing through Missouri you might visit Dancing Rabbit, and also an architect in Jefferson City who built a strawbale ADU.  

Jim
Many Hands Builders
 
Clare Wolfe
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Jim,

Thanks for the tip. I also emailed you earlier this morning.
 
John C Daley
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Jim, what is an ADU please?
 
Jim Reiland
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Sorry John,  ADU is an acronym for accessory dwelling unit.  The affordable housing crisis in much of the U.S. is forcing cities and towns to rethink how many people can live on a lot.  In some cases an ADU is a converted garage, in others it's a stand-alone structure squeezed into a backyard.  Generally under 600 sq. ft. in size, often two story, but size and height depends on each municipality.  This trend has been unfolding for a long time in urban areas, but it has been slow to reach more rural areas like where I live. The infrastructure we have (driveway, well, septic system, electrical power) could easily support another family but current zoning ordinances makes building a rural ADU challenging.  We're hoping things change soon--we'd like to age-in-place with the help of someone living on our property in a separate structure who takes care of the many rural chores we likely might not be able to handle in ten or fifteen more years.  

Jim
Many Hands Builders
 
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