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2009 Diary

Page history last edited by Deanne Bednar 10 years, 11 months ago

This page is a partial list of the things done in 2009 ! 


3/1-30/09 Log Loft construction. Moving along ! All poles were lashed in place on the shelves, the loft ples were prepared and put in place, a lateral brace was constructed.   Intern Sam Runner is the main contributer on the loft (harvesting & skining poles, sizing and lashing them) assisted on some days by the Home-schooling Teens who helped notch, attach, skin and saw the logs. 


3/28/09  Rocket Stove Heated Bench.  Resolving the problems of cold-starting the system.

A small fire was built in the final cleanout chamber to initiate and continue creating a draft when cold-starting the Rocket Stove system.  The draft created allowed us to do our first fires in the feed tube without any smoke being released into the room. Invention: Scott LaFond from the Upland Hills CSA took the idea of having a small heat source in the priming hole area, and actually built a small fire in the chamber to provide a small sustained heat source. 


Programing is being set up

  • Earth Works Urban Farm is planning to bring a group of teens for a workshop here at the Strawbale Studio. 
  • A date is being explored to make a presentation on Open Source Greenmapping to the Oakland County Planning Dept, Rochester area. 
  • A building project is being evolved with Robin Mallor to assist in the construction of a small structure in Columbiaville, MI. 
  • A thatching workshop is being scheduled for this spring/summer in collaboratio with Jon VanEck of Ann Arbor . 
  • A donation of a solar system has been offered to the Strawbale Studio, and research into this is being made. 


4/9/09  Full Moon Bonfire & Potluck

Our monthly event brought 29 folks this time, as we (12 children and 17 adults) gathered to share food, conversation, time in the Strawbale Studio and the warmth of a little bonfire on this clear starry night.


4/11/09  Earth Plaster & Sculpting Workshop, attended by 9 folks sucessfully covered yet another wall in the main house with earth!  Participants learned how to identify and mix earth for a variety of building and sculpting purposes, make and apply an Adhesion Coat which prepared the drywall to hold an earthen plaster; screen, mix and apply plaster over drywall, using hand and trowel application. 


4/18-19/09  Earthday Expo, Rochester, MI. 

This event attended by 70,000 people was amazing and energetic.The Strawbale Studio Natural Building Program had an exhibit featuring books for display and sale, and examples of natural building materials, such as a mini strawbale covered with earthen plasters and a Phragmite reed bundle and thatching tools. We fired up the Earth Oven & Solar Oven, cooking food for those who came by our exhibit area!  For hands-on involvement youth helped sculpt a model Eco Village from the clay/sand/straw material we mixed on site!  Helpers on Saturday and Sunday included intern, Sam; Teen Builder, Brook; and Jenny from Oakland University Environmental Program student, Jenny; and a highschool senior, Baisley, We were quite a team !    Sam's beautiful hand-made ladder served as an easle to support our display board with pictures and upcoming workshops. Brooke and her father made a demonstration of a zero energy "water light" which illumines the equivelant of a 50 watt light bulb. 


The table next to ours featured the Bioneers Conference, Transition Towns, an evolving Green Map of the area, and nearby the electric vehicles shined and amazed folks.  The fair included natural food, green products and businesses, renewable energies, live music, drumming and dancing and outstanding speakers. 


It was a beautiful, beautiful day in all ways!  


The Permaculture Certification course by Midwest Permaculture, held in June at the Land Stewardship Center in Columbiaville, MI ....visited the Strawbale Studio for a 1/2 day of touring and helping with natural building projects on the land.  Among the group of 30 people were several men from the army who were part of a crew of 6 funded by the government to take Permaculture principles to Afghanistan !   Wow !

7/118-19/09  This weekend was a wonderful Women's Retreat to beautify and finish details in the Strawbale Studio. 3 women came from an art collective in Jackson, MI.  One of them Koren, who organized the event after being here for a previous workshop, brought her mother.

These 4 along with two new intern here, Miriam & Ramona, made up a sweet group of seven of us who applied our creativity and attention to transforming the Strawbale Studio. Carol, a wood sculpter lead the way in creating a canopy in the corner by bringing an actual tree.limb out of the existing sculpted tree. Koren & her mom made a reed grass ceiling draped with silk ribbons on the underside of the loft to cover up the plywood.  Theresa enhanced the tree limb sculpture on the exterior of the french doors, and Ramona replaced the earthen sconce, sculpted by the doors and behind the wood stove. Miriam put up the strings for the reed ceiling, and sculpted roots on the new area connecting the benches on the lower level.  Everyone cleaned up and made the place look really beautiful. 

As part of our creativity exchange, Karen dyed some silk in the earthen plaster we were stomping, and this morning Carol taught us how to whittle and sharpen knives. 


Now the women from Jackson have left and intern Miriam is playing her french horn out on the south porch area. 

A mellow moment now, after this satisfying workshop.


8/11/09  A visit and hands-on building experience was hosted at the Strawbale Studio for the participants of the Midwest Permaculture class held in Columbiaville, MI.  


10/05/09  Morning at 3 Roods Farm for Sheep Shearing.

Robin and Greg brought in a life-long shearer, and with assistance from 2 interns who happened to have been raised on farms that had sheep...shaved off the pelts of about 10 sheep.  I sorted the extra wool, not appropriate for spinning for my future use in natural building and felting.  Robin took this picture of a fleece I got to keep because it was long & somewhat matted (since the sheep had not been sheared by previous owners).  The white shorn ewe is named Skittle based on her skittish temperament. Here she’s smelling her sister’s coat.

Deanne with a fleece.

Deanne with a fleece.

October brought a wonderful Bioneers Conference (October 16-18,2009), where the Strawbale Studio Natural Building & Sustainable Skills Program presented 2 hands-on model-making workshops  for youth, to sculpt a sustainable community.  We also had an exhibit table, fired up the Traveling Turtle Earth Oven and made brownies, displayed the Solar Oven. Assisting in these events were a number of interns !  Evan, Julie and Amanda were of great help !  Also hosted was a Detroit Green Map meeting with local folks and the Green Map System founding director, Wendy Brawer from New York City.  Progress is being made toward an Open Source mapping of the ecological components of this region. 

11/09In late October and early November we worked on thatching the rest of the Oxford Kid's Cottage with local Phragmites, reed grass, and applied the ridge application made of locally-collected cat tails.  Interns & volunteers, as well as local youth have assisted!  The greenhouse is getting closed in with plastic and the new frost-hardy plants are doing very well. 

The pex tubes for the radiant-heat floor system in the Strawbale Studio is in place, and creative designs for the heat source are being generated.  Radiant floor design conversation .


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