Strawbale Abode

We started in early February with the laying of our concrete slab. Less than six months later, we have something that very very very closely resembles a house!


Happy happy joy joy. Ren and Stimpy at the laundry door of their lovely strawbale abode.


The Eastern wall and carport – the first wall to be complete. The doorway is that to the laundry. The walls are bedroom walls.


Late Sunday afternoon, most of the West wall was complete. This is the “parents’ wing” wall, and has just one small window in the ensuite as part of our passive cooling-heating plan.


A south bedroom. You can really get a feel for the window and the view (apart from the charming bracing post, of course).

I’m not quite sure how to say this, but I am so stoked to be so close to having my new home that my cheeks are sore from grinning. I am happier in the cabin now because we moved back in from the caravan; it was just too cold to be sleeping out there! Things being more comfy now, and having three walls of the house built, life is so much happier and even more exhausting as we continue the family-work-building battle.

On Sunday our fabulous friends came over for a baling bbq day, and a winter solstice celebration of sorts. Linda and Trev, Tania and Ady, Tanya and Jamahl, Ria, Kristina and all the children were onsite, getting strawy and muddy. I was blown away and overly impressed at how hard my friends worked for my house. Thank you! Most of our friends are going to be building strawbale homes in the near future, so this is the first of many baling days that we’ll be attending (and, of course, we are the practice house!).

We were not expecting so much to get done, but by the end of this very short day, we had nearly three walls done. Because the bales are so large, the walls build very quickly. What takes a lot of time, however, is the slicing/separating/cutting of the bales. Monte and Trev had made baling needles: a steel rod with a handle, and two ‘eyes’ for rethreading the bales. The baling needle and the other requirements for splitting a bale is pictured below:


To split a bale, you thread the string through the bale with the needle. We chose pink string because it contrasts to the bale’s original blue string. Next, you pull the string through and make a series of loops to help knot the string around the bale. You need to thread the string through four times, and you end up with four knots around the bale – making two sections of the bale. Sometimes the newly threaded strings cross over. This is really frustrating and the only way to solve it is to wrap new string around that part of the bale.


Monte and Trev preparing to split bales


Tanya, the expert bale splitter, working a knot for splitting a bale


Tao, Georgia, Evie, Kai and Matthew climbing the bales in the carport. They had so much fun playing around the site. About 80 bales were stored in the carport, but out of our 400 bales, we think we will only use 200!


Jamahl was the first to get stuck into the baling job


Trev, Jamahl, Monte and d’Artagnan discuss splitting and laying bales


Tanya and Jamahl baling part of the East wall. It was built fairly quickly, and then was “bludgeoned” (Linda’s favourite word) to straighten it because the bales tend to bulge

100_3465Lucy is happy and relaxed!


I am beside myself with glee :D

Many many many thanks to our wonderful friends! We are very grateful!