Ian and Cheryl Smith, and their children, James and Allison, stand inside
the beginnings of their natural shelter, that is being built on their property.
"Huff and Puff" They Wanted
A House That Wouldn't Fall Down
by: Bobby McDonald
Most of us remember the nursery rhyme about the three little pigs.....one built his house of straw, on built his house of sticks, and the third and wise little pig built his of brick! Well, the Ian Smith family, are in the process of building a shelter in the back yard of their home, on Weaver Drive, in Sulphur Springs, that will incorporate a little bit of straw, a little bit of stone, and a lot of clay and water. It's called a "COB" house and what began as a storm shelter, because of a fear of tornadoes, has developed into a whole new idea and concept.
"I don't like the idea of being vulnerable during tornadic weather and intense storms," admitted Ian Smith. "So, we started looking into building a storm shelter in the back yard, and began pricing the cost of a structure."
"And, about that time, I began doing some research on natural building, on the internet," inserted Cheryl Smith. "That's when I became convinced that the COB house, built out of all natural materials, was a way to go and we could make it into both a storm shelter and playhouse for the kids!"
"Well, from there the project has become bigger and bigger," continued Ian. "We built the foundation from some concrete that we had on the property and we've begun consulting a natural builder, David Reed, who is a professional on building COB structures. He suggested that we use our structure as an example and invite him up to conduct a workshop, for everyone that is interested, to learn about the process!"
Ian Smith demonstrates the steps involved in building a natural structure.
Thus, a Natural Building Workshop will be conducted in the Smith's back yard, July 16th-22nd, beginning at 8:00 a.m., each morning. Cost of the workshop is $100.00 for the "serious learner," who wants to possibly construct their own structure, and then $20.00 a day, for anyone just casually interested in the concept. You must "sign up" for the workshop by July 9th, by calling (903)243-8925 or Cheryl will be at the local Farmer's Market, on Saturday's between now and the end of the sign-up time.
"COB building is mixing straw, a mixture of 30% clay and 70% sand, with water and formulating the walls, that are thick enough to reduce heating and cooling costs and will provide a structure that is much more protective during a storm or tornado. "I like that idea alone," expressed Ian. "And, if we can save some on our utility bills, that is just a real added advantage!:
Ian an Cheryl invite everyone to come out and join the fun, at the workshop in their back yard, get a "little dirty" and please bring your lawn chair, lunch and drinks, and get ready to learn all about building the natural way!
When asked about the type of roof that he planned for the structure, Ian said he was still researching the method that he would like. There are several choices, from metal, thatch, or a "living" rooftop, that incorporates growing plants, on the roof. "We're still trying to decide and will work with David Reed, to see which one best fits our needs!"
Mark your calendars for July 16th and make plans to come out and learn about natural building and it's economic and environmental advantages!
Join the Ian Smith family in the workshop, planned for July 16-22nd
in their back yard, on Weaver Drive.