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Strawbale in the midwest?

 
Sam Becze
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Hi all!

My wife and I are seriously considering moving to Northern Indiana to live closer to our families. We have always dreamed of building our own cob house and living as sustainable as we can. However, the property we are considering does not have very much clay in the soil. It is all gravel! So we are changing plans and letting the land dictate what it wants. Strawbales are numerous from the surrounding farms. And we have plenty of timber. So i'm thinking a round timber frame house with strawbale walls and field stone (also abundant) foundation/stem walls with an earthen floor.

I'm wondering if anyone has had any success with this kind of structure in the Midwest and what kind of advice would you give to us? Also does anyone know of a good use for gravel in building? I would love to do something with it if we can. Thanks and I can't wait to hear your opinions!

Peace,
Sam
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5555
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
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bump
 
Sam Becze
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Thanks Judith!
 
R Scott
Posts: 3305
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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It can be done. It is a lot easier if you have machinery to move the rocks, or choose ones smaller than volkswagons...
 
Sam Becze
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Thanks so much for the video, it was very encouraging to see! Did you have to file for permits and submit drawings before building?
 
Jennifer Meyer
Posts: 24
Location: North Carolina
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I was considering a straw bale house when I lived in Nebraska, about 15 years ago. The Midwest is an excellent site for straw bale, because it
1. Has a dry climate
2. Is free of termites
3. Has wide extremes of temperature
4. Has an abundance of cheap straw

Unfortunately, the internet wasn't as well-developed then as it is now, so it was much harder to get information on alternative building techniques in the early 00s.

If you can lift the bales and perform some of the electrical and plumbing work yourself, you'll save most of the building costs. There are even cooperative groups in the Midwest that work together to teach the technique as they build homes. You help other members build their homes as you get on the list. When your turn comes, waiting members help you build your home. It helps you get your home constructed faster while taking some of the guesswork out.

Good luck and safe building!
 
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