Hermitage, northeast corner

We are learning a lot about natural building
and we have a lot to learn.
For one thing,
we know this is a beautiful, soulful way to build.
We also know now
how labor-intensive it is.
Saying that it is
a work of love
is putting it mildly:
it is work
and we do it out of and with love
for Earth
or we probably wouldn’t do it at all.
Every trowel of clay, sand and straw
smoothed on the wall
is a gesture of love
and hope
for the planet.

The results are beautiful,
and good for the conservation
of fossil fuel
which is great for the planet.
Visitors are surprised by
the coolness inside the hermitage
on a hot day.
(Come winter, we expect them to enjoy
the toastiness of the hermitage.)
They notice the earthy smell.
They can’t help but touch the walls
and run their hands over the
smoothed earth plaster.

It’s not finished yet,
but the north walls,
both inside and out,
are finished.
We have electricity and lights
and a ceiling fan.
The composting toilet is in
and the vault that holds the barrels
of compost is secure.
The porch ceiling is being installed today.

Composting toilet, installed in hermitage

Composting Toilet Vault

Truth Window

Truth Window reveals the strawbale and cob wall

The truth window is in.
It’s a tradition for strawbale construction
to leave a bit of the straw bales and cob showing
behind a small door
so people can see
what’s under the earth plaster.
Tom Temple
the designer and builder and our friend
made our truth door out of the wood of a cherry tree.
It speaks more truth
than we thought it would.
It speaks to the hard work,
radical changes
Earth needs us to make.
And it reveals
the possibilities,
the beauty
of truth.