David Wright Nc

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since Jun 11, 2013
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Recent posts by David Wright Nc

It’s been many years since I did any plastering but if I remember correctly the earthen plaster exterior is mostly sand, a little clay (just enough to bind but not crack, straw of course, and I think a small amount it type s cement but I can’t remember why we added that to the recipe. The ration was probably 5-3-1 but that’s a guess at this point. The interior plaster is gypsum and and sand (literally Sheetrock mud and sand which I’m sure some of you don’t like but it’s durable affordable and went on faster and better than anything else we tried and we were just ready to be done with it). We built the house completely by ourselves I paid no one to do anything...which is not always a good choice by the way. I’ve got places which I’ll take picture of where mice have made holes just right out the side of the building with no Rhime or reason why it’s there (yes it came from inside the wall to outside.  
The house is oriented about 15 degrees off direct southern exposure to the front of the house. Dug into a hole that knocks most of the wind off of it (we considered an earth ship originally but could get by code enforcement. Shaded in summer. Shed roof design with spray foam insulation made from soybean oil Sprayed to meet r -30 requirements, black epdm roof painted white. It’s on a 6” insulated slab with raidiant floor heating that heated by a wood boiler with rocket stove for back up...rocket stove are another rant for later. I’ve built several based on what I learned here. I still have one but I tore out my rocket mass heater last year...I’ll take a restyles old wood stove any day. Oh the house is two story which tripled labor I can’t tell you how many hundreds of 40lb buckets of plaster we pulled up scaffolding with ropes. I am glad I did it when I was younger.
1 year ago
So we built a straw bale building about 10yrs ago (as practice) followed by a straw bale house. All permitted etc non load bearing yada yada. There’s a lot I know now that I wish I knew then and somethings that have changed drastically (like price associated with farming practices).

Bugs and mice - I gorged on straw bale books videos all info I could find before building. All the books talk about how glorious straw is...bugs don’t eat it, mice don’t eat it, it doesn’t burn, great insulation etc. Well most of that is true...bugs and mice don’t eat straw but they love to live in it!!! Mice are a constant problem they eat holes right through the plaster and it’s not like tire going to beat off the most labor intensive wall finish on the planet to get to them. So your left with only trapping options while mice are chewing up and pooping in your walls!!! Is this different than a “normal” house? We’ve had more mice in our Strawbale house than anywhere we’ve ever lived. Now BUGS all manner of bugs make homes in our house the good bad and ugly. Bumble bees being the most visibly destructive I’m going to try to include a picture. Yellow Jackets being the most dangerous (we had 6 best in our walls last year which you can’t get too and all normal options aren’t effective). The annoying silver fish, moths etc (we could get over those)

Price - When we built our house straw was abundant and $2 a bale when bought in bulk. I’m a plumbing contractor who buys straw frequently the last few years it’s been around $6 a bale which when combined with all the other downsides doesn’t make it a viable building material to me unless you don’t value your time at all...because you will spend mountains of time plastering. It’s by far the most labor intensive building method I’ve ever used I can only imagine cob being worse.

Resale - All my kids will be out of the house soon and we’ve considered selling...well forget that unless you’re going to owner finance. Banks won’t loan money on them to you or anyone else. Appraisers don’t know what to do with them. So now I’m stuck with the biggest investment of my life in money and time and I can’t get my investment back out of it. Renting isn’t a good option because you have to me conscience of things in a straw bale house that doesn’t matter in regular house and renters don’t care about those things.

Insulation - Our house is tight with all insulated windows etc and my power bill in summer for ac and heating load is as much or more than anywhere I’ve ever lived in conventional housing. We burned about 12 cords of wood a year in a mild North Carolina winter. If you think you’ll heat your house with a candle or cool it with a fan you can forget that.  
1 year ago
Glad to see someone offering a weekend PDC relatively near us...In Lincolnton NC. It makes it much more accesible to those of us working full time.

Is your PDC purple or brown??
7 years ago
I have a small family micro farm in the foothills of North Carolina. We live in a mostly finished strawbale house (the only one in our area that I'm aware of) that I designed and we built entirely ourselves and to code. We raise heritage pastured livestock including chickens, American Guinea Hogs, American Chinchilla and Silver Fox rabbits for meat and fur, a very free range alpine goat, and some ducks. We plan to set up a aquaculture system inthe near future. We are fairly new to permaculture but have been on the sustainable "path" for a while. We have many building projects going all the time from round wood timber framing, strawbale, cob in the future, possibly cob wood or cord wood and open to experimenting with almost anything. We have two creeks on our property and have hydro plans in the future. We're a small farm 3 acres but we have a lot going on to experience. Most people don't have the availability or the funds for large tracks of land in our area but some still want to live this lifestyle. If that's you and you want to know what's possible on a micro farm keep reading.

To set the stage I work off farm full time right now but plan to transition to working on farm as soon as its financially feasible.

Due to the fact that I'm off farm the majority of my time leaving my wife and children to "tend to things" I have a extraordinarily large list of things that need to be done with building, earthworks, infrastructure, etc. So to be frank I'm short handed. If you think you have homesteading in your future but haven't had the chance to try it the next part is for you.

THE OFFER...I'm looking for a few individuals or couples to share this experience with us. The successes and failures. We have multiple spots on our property that we've designated for cabins or similar structures for people for this purpose. Some of these areas have an area you can try your own way of doing things with gardening, building, etc. In exchange for helping out with around the farm you can stay on farm and reap the benefits of this on your own micro homestead within our small farm.

THE CATCHES...#1- There aren't currently any cabins in these areas i've mentioned? I have building material (lumber) on site that can be used for this
purpose but I don't have the time now to devote to it. Some of these areas can be provided water and power but others will have to be off grid.

#2 - I can't pay you right now but ...if you grow your own stuff or raise your own livestock and sell it we can work out an in your favor split.

#3 - We're a Christian family (followers not fans) and try our best to live according to Christ's principles. We would ideally like to find fellow Christians to fill this role but that's not necessary. Living morally and honorably is necessary. If someone is going to have access to my family, resources, equipment (backhoe etc), vehicles, etc.

If your still interested and would like to discuss this further contact me. Thanks
7 years ago