Wednesday, October 29, 2008


In July, 2008, Carrie went back to Indiana with our daughter to visit my parents. She shared the news of our plan to come home for a year. I asked Carrie to have a quick look at our lot to see where we might want to put a house someday. So Carrie, my dad and my brother explored the lot and came to an agreement on the best spot to build. I guess my parents were so excited about us bringing the grandchildren home, they couldn't wait. One week after Carrie came back
my parents called to say "We have the bulldozer guy coming next week to do the land prep". Three days later he was finished. My brother promptly planted grass seed, and in a week's time 
we had a front yard! On top of this, my Mother has started "gathering". If anybody can find  something for nothing and make it beautiful, it is her. She has already found three nice Anderson windows, and a stainless steel kitchen sink for almost nothing. She has also donated several pieces of furniture and sourced a local Amish building materials auction. A huge thanks to my family for working so hard to get us this far already. They sent us photos of the lot with space cleared for the house and driveway. After seeing the photos, I couldn't believe it. All I could think was, "this is actually happening. It's not just a dream anymore." With another six months before we come home, I'm thinking they will have the house built before we get there with enough left over recycled material to build three or four more houses.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lifestyle Experiment

After 14 years of digital visual effects, I have decided to leave the dark office behind, and go out into the light. A lifestyle experiment, if you will. My wife, Carrie, and I have decided to take a year off of work to spend some quality time with our two little girls, and move back to the northern hemisphere, to be closer to our families. We have bought 3.5 acres of land on the private, wooded lake where I grew up, positioned conveniently between my parents lot on one side, and my brother on the other. Our goal is to build a straw bale house ourselves. "Ourselves" meaning, myself, Carrie, and all the friends we can muster. We have no prior building experience, but want to use as little professional help as possible. A small livable house as cost efficient and sustainable as we can make it, using recycled materials, and borrowed tools. This blog will follow our straw bale house building experience from start to finish.