natural building workshop berea kentucky

In case you haven’t noticed, I recently posted our full 2018 Natural Building Workshops schedule. This year we have two dates for our popular Natural Building Essentials Workshop, and one Timber Frame Workshop in July. It’s hard to believe, but this is our seventh year hosting classes and year three at our homestead already. (And it’s year ten for this blog, too. Whoa.)

If you’ve been planning to come out and join us, this would be a great year to do so. We find inspiration and room for little improvements every year, and with each passing season there are more projects to see here at our land and elsewhere in the community at large.

Have a look at the full schedule here!


(More) Axes We Love

by ziggy on January 3, 2018 -- 1 comment -- Follow

toronoto blacksmith custom forged axes

Tools are what make any craft or trade physically possible. You cannot make a house, spoon, basket, or sweater without certain essential tools. And a quality tool makes the experience more efficient, enjoyable, accurate, and safer. As I’ve stated before, I have a particular fondness for using axes, for whatever reason. A few years ago, I wrote Axes We Love to highlight some of the high quality hand-forged axes being made out there in the world. In my second entry in the Axes We Love series, I want to highlight a few more of the talented blacksmiths who are hard at work producing custom forged axes and other tools we need to do our best work.

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In November, I traveled to Illinois to help deconstruct a 100+ year old barn. It was not an immense building, but it still took plenty of muscle and ample time to deconstruct. Geez. I forgot how exhilarating it is to wield a pry bar for days on end. Well, the barn finally took the form of many piles of wood after dozens and dozens of hours of nail pulling and coaxing. It was a big relief to walk away from a few scattered foundation stones, the total remaining evidence of the building that once stood. Here are a few pictures of the process, petrified barn cat included.

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New Pioneer Magazine - The Year of Mud

This summer,  April & I were interviewed for the winter issue of New Pioneer magazine. In it, we talk about our natural building journey and experiences living at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage and moving to Kentucky. It’s been a long time since I built the cob house that started all of this business (9 years ago, in fact). And even though it was only recently that we sold our straw bale house, we began work on that structure 5 years ago.

Doing this interview conjures up all those weird feeling associated with time and memory — like, some things feels so far away yet so recent at the same time. Anyway. Jereme did a great job with fact checking and this story gets my “yea that happened” stamp of approval. The article captures our story of learning how to build with mud and straw and all the mistakes and successes along the way.

You can purchase the winter issue of New Pioneer magazine here.

Shofuso House… Revisited

by ziggy on November 28, 2017 -- 0 comments -- Follow

shofuso house - gable

Shofuso House in Fairmont Park

After my work trip to eastern PA in August, April and I stopped in Philadelphia on the way home. We took the opportunity to re-visit Shofuso House, the traditionally constructed Japanese house in Fairmount Park. It’s been three years since we first went to see the building, and it was almost like seeing it with fresh eyes on this most recent trip. Needless to say, I had a blast.

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