What is The Year of Mud?

The Year of Mud offers a variety of high quality, hands-on Natural Building Workshops each year, including cob, straw bale, timber framing, cob oven construction and more. We’re dedicated to creating rich, personalized experiences in all of our courses, with the help of our ten years of natural building and community living experience.

Our workshops are a place where you can take your curiosity to the next level, forge new friendships, and return home with essential skills and knowledge that folks often claim exceeded their expectations.

Be sure to check out our current schedule and sign up for new Natural Building Workshop email updates.

How Did All Of This Begin?

ziggy april bioHi there, Ziggy here. I started The Year of Mud blog back in 2008 when I began constructing my first cob house with very little prior building experience at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. “The year of mud” marked the beginning of a new era — my full tilt pursuit of building with clay, sand, straw, and wood. Since then, my passion for building with natural materials has only increased, and I’ve been involved in a variety of natural building projects, big and small. It’s been important to me to share what I’ve learned along the way (including the mistakes, not just successes!), and I’ve kept track of much of my work on the blog to this day.

To this day, I’m a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, though I have a particular passion for clay and wood, in the form of clay plasters and timber framing. I love the overall building process and try to incorporate the best possible practices into each and every project, no matter the scale.

In 2012, my partner April and I began to team up with other builders and offer a series of Natural Building Workshops. Our first courses were a Timber Frame Workshop and Straw Bale Workshop, both of which helped with the construction of Strawtron, a home we built while still living at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in northeast Missouri.

In 2014, we moved to the community of Berea, Kentucky, and in 2015 we acquired land outside of town in the beautiful Clear Creek Valley. Our homestead, which we’ve dubbed South Slope Farm, is the new home to our Natural Building Workshops and all of our other creative pursuits: gardening, woodworking, etc. Our longer term goals are to transform South Slope Farm into a fully functioning collective homestead and natural building school. It’s a work in progress, no doubt.

The Year of Mud proves to be more than just that — it’s a way of being. It’s a continuing education of learning how to live more responsibly and resiliently, and build beautiful, long-lasting, efficient homes and spaces.

What is a Cob House, Anyway?

Cob House: GobcobatronCob is an ancient, proven building technique practiced all over the world. It’s the simple combination of sand, clay, and straw, mixed by foot, and then applied by hand to form massive walls. Cob is beautiful, sculptural, natural, low-impact, and sustainable. It’s intuitive, easy to learn, and inexpensive if you can manage the labor yourself. Cob houses can be built from materials straight from the earth. The material allows the owner-builder endless freedom in way of design, and cob building basics can be learned in a short time period.

p.s. No, a cob house has nothing to do with corn cobs.

Using Content From The Year of Mud

Please share content from this website in whatever capacity you wish (via email, social media, etc.) Although I’m not a big proponent of copyrights per say, I cannot abide in folks copying full articles (full text and photos as originally posted on The Year of Mud) on other websites and media outlets. Please contact me if you wish to use my text in some capacity (such as an excerpt or otherwise). You can share and use photos from this website, but please note my Creative Commons licensing preference, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. Thank you!