Wex Position: Dennis and Sharon
Host/Project Name: Dennis and Sharon’s Earth-Sheltered House
Timeframe: April through October
Type of Work: Natural building, including straw bale, earthen floor, passive solar windows, living
roof, and wattle and daub walls
Food Scene: Outdoor kitchen and dining, with shared meals and shared kitchen chores. Generally
vegetarian meals, but meat preparation allowed with sensitivity toward vegetarians
Hours per Week: 30 hours per week on construction plus shared kitchen chores
Description of Our Project
As part of the permaculture design for our home site, we are building an 800 square foot passive solar house with a living roof. It incorporates a wide variety of natural building methods, including a post and beam frame, straw bale walls, earthen floor, cob, wattle and daub, earthen plaster, urbanite and earth bag foundation, and straw-clay insulation. The north side will be earth bermed, sloping up to a roof-top vegetable garden. The south wall will be mostly glass along with French doors for the primary entrance.
We are seeking to minimize the embodied energy that goes into our home. This involves an emphasis on local natural materials like mud and straw, as well as recycled concrete and recycled lumber. We aren’t using any Portland cement nor petroleum-powered equipment on our building site. We are trying to keep careful track of our ecological footprint and are seeking practical ways to measure this.
- building and plastering straw bale walls
- framing windows and doors, including passive solar wall
- building a wattle and daub wall
- building a pedal-powered earth mixer
- installing an earthen floor
- light clay-straw insulation
- completion of our garden-able living roof
What We’re Looking For in a Wexer
We’re looking for folks who:
- have a strong interest in permaculture, sustainable living, and natural building
- are willing to work physically hard
- have some experience with construction and familiarity with building tools
- have an interest in intentional communities
- enjoy team work
- are open to learning on many levels
What To Expect as a Wexer for Us
As a wexer with us, you’ll be involved in implementing the permaculture design for our site. This summer, we’ll be focusing primarily on the construction of our house, but there will also be gardening work, help with the chickens, and other tasks related to simple and sustainable living. You’ll be involved in cooking rotations and other community-wide rotating jobs.
Wexers generally work with us 5 days a week, approximately 6 hours a day, though there is always a need to be flexible. You can expect a mixture of new exciting learning opportunities and some good old repetitive “hard work” that goes with natural building.