Sarah Houlihan

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since Sep 06, 2013
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homeschooling hugelkultur trees
My family and I moved onto an untouched forest lot in central Maine 3 years ago. We have been learning how to build, while living on, our new off grid homestead. Life is amazing.
Central Maine
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Recent posts by Sarah Houlihan

Finally done clearing the boulder infested site.
Now to dig the foundation.  Apparently there is so much gravel where the foyndation goes that the Man says it will be easier to dig by hand.
No wonder we get in shape living out here!
We went along a similar route as you have in building a home in Maine.  I looked at many of the plans on the site you mentioned.  We decided to go with a cordwood house, as many of the materials we need to build this are readily available here.  Clay, cordwood, logs for framing, and lots of rocks.  We actually have just started building.
Good luck to you and your planning, looking forward to seeing what you end up doing.
8 months ago
I have a nice lot for sale near me.  Anson,ME  The price is high now, 7 acres for 22000, but it was just listed.  Wooded lot, stream front, dirt road.  Good luck, we love it here!
8 months ago
It was a long, hard winter.  We ended up makking out pretty well.  The early arctic blasting we got was kind enough to find all of the drafts in the house and we were able to seal the place up tight.  
We have been so busy plotting and planning the build that I hardly kept track of anything except the build.  But now that the gardens are in and the excavator is working, I finally have a chance on a rainy day to do some catching up.  We are making good progress, slow and steady.  Everything seems to be coming together well.  Besides all the rock and clay we found at the dig site, we also had a neighbor offer us some wood off his lot that he just wants out of his way.  Lots of cordwood that is nearby, but we don't have to cut so many of our trees.  We will only need to buy roofing, plumbing, hay, doors and windows.  And whatever else will pop up of course, but we have most of the other materials we need.  
If it would only rain on the days I have to work, then we could pick up the pace a little!
Thanks for checking in!
We finally started clearing for our cordwood house.  We have a lot full of huge rocks, tree stumps, and clay.  Very difficult and time consuming to level and dig a foundation, but resource loaded for the build.  Clay for the cob, rocks for the base, smaller rocks fot the floor tiles, and plenty of tress all around for cordwood and all the furniture and interior work we could ever want.  It is funny that we got this lot cheap because it wasn't "suitable" for building, but in reality, we hit a goldmine.
I will attempt to update on this thread as we go, but the full build with all the info will be at if I'm a slacker.  
After reading through all the posts and staring and redrawing floor plans, we have decided to plan as we go.  I drew up floor plans for 3 other houses with all different dimensions.  I calculated all the square footages and measured six times.  Each size house, I drew up multiple layouts.  We have started digging and are finding so much ledge that the placement of the ledge is what will determine what size house we will build.  It is looking like 18'x42' is a good potential choice.  Thanks for all the input, I will pot a more precise foorplan when I know what we are working with.
So here are my current thoughts:
We have to keep the shed roof because this will be our very first build so it has to be as simple as possible.  
I want to widen the house and make it shorter, like you mentioned, but what I am struggling to find is information about building with roundwood.  I don't know how wide I can go, using all roundwood, and still keep the shed roof.  There are a lot of different factors that I am considering: diameter of posts needed, maximum length I can use (keeping in mind it snows plenty in Maine), and distance between the posts.  The most important factor of all being: what do I have on my land that I can cut to build ith and still fit in all the the other factors.  We have a lot of hemlock, which will be our main source of lumber, but there are plenty of other trees here.  
Plenty of things to consider.
In the layout we drew up, we were going on the shorter side becasue we couldn't find great information sources to satisfy all of our questions.  What we do know is that we threw together a roundwood kitchen in a day with whatever random pieces of wood we found and it is amazingly strong, haha.  This thing has lasted, with a tarp for a roof, through 3 Maine winters.  We didn't even have to clean the 2 feet of snow and ice we got in a single night, and it stands strong.  Roundwood is an amazing building material, and I'm thrilled to build this way, but I don't have solid numbers to go as wide as would otherwise make sense to go.  
I am going to do some more searching on the above mentioned factors and see if I can't find enough information to comfortably widen the house.  I'm sure I can figure something out...
And I appreciate the help, Glenn!
The floorplans I drew are the house interior only, with the walls 18" thick walls completely not there.  Everything shown would be included in the interior and not recessed at all.  
I especially like the kid loft idea.  I'm going to work on this.  Thanks!
I would love to hear suggestions!  Thanks.