I happened to look at my archives page and realized that The Year of Mud is now five years old. It’s been quite a trip thus far. There’s been much to learn along the way. The blog had fairly humble beginnings, and perhaps a bit naive, too, now that I look back on some of what I had written.
There has definitely been an evolution of sorts over time, in my thinking and writing, and through what I have been trying to achieve here.
It all began, of course, with Gobcobatron, the small spiral-shaped cob house with a reciprocal roof. I began formulating a design over the winter of 2007-08, and at that time, I decided I wanted to document the construction to share my process. Not only that, but writing about building would help me retain what I had actually done throughout the building of the house, too. (Like, just how did I do that detail….? Oh, I can look it up!)
Of course, I had minimal building experience at that time, and part of the draw for readers, I had hoped, was that this was something accessible and achievable for a wide range of people.
An Evolving Experience
And then there were the changes and renovations to Gobcobatron, and the continuing process of documenting the experience of living in a cob home. There were problems along the way, which I did not shy away from writing about. This was one step in the evolution — realizing that I wanted to share not only successes, but challenges, so that people could learn about natural building pitfalls. No one wants to repeat old mistakes! There is nothing worse for making forward progress than retreading a failed route.
I have shied away from writing in more general terms about sustainable living, despite the fact that living more simply is the core reason for my getting into natural building in the first place. I do dabble in that sort of content when the mood strikes, but I have often wondered if I shouldn’t maintain a single focus. I go back and forth.
Workshops and Beyond
I have no doubt that The Year of Mud will continue to change over the upcoming years. We are, of course, now offering Natural Building Workshops and definitely plan on continuing to provide learning experiences for folks interested in building with natural materials. 2012 was an amazing first year for our workshops, and we our students and instructors did amazing work on our new straw bale and timber frame house. We ourselves picked up a lot of new skills, too, and our interest in building has been steadily branching out to new materials, styles, and techniques.(I, for one, now recognize that not all square houses are undesirable… hah. Though I definitely prefer round spaces if I had the choice.)
Well, I hope everyone will continue with us at The Year of Mud as this grand project continues. There may be some surprises along the way.