Help with building our family home using sustainable practices in Vermont, USA
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The Bowers family has been living on our 31 acre homestead in central Vermont, USA, for the past 2 years. Our off-grid home is built with locally-sourced straw bales and round wood trees, used windows and doors. Gorgeous blue-grey clay is dug up right at the build site and is mixed with local manure and quarry fines to make creamy plaster for the interior and exterior of our timber frame straw bale in-fill house. Our growing homestead currently has 9 hens, 2 goats, 2 dogs, 2 cats, 2 kids, and 2 adults (although Lara claims there's actually 3 kids and her). We seek an environmentally proactive lifestyle that works with nature, not against it. Fosters biodiversity. Limits our carbon footprint. Teaches our children and others to respect nature and to live within our means. Use natural building techniques like passive solar construction, earth bermed structures, local materials, and recycled and upcycled materials. Grow and raise as much of our food as possible. Share.
We are in the heart of the Green Mountains with the Appalachian Trail and Long Trail only a few minutes away sporting Vermont's second highest Peak--Killington Peak. Our property is 31 acres of heavily forested hills with streams, boulders, and plenty of wildlife. Hiking and exploring are strongly recommended. Skiing, snowboarding & snowshoeing available. There is an abundance of streams, lakes, mountains, and hills nearby. Historic sites. Covered bridges. Farmers markets. Museums.
Our family is constructing our home using natural building methods--timber framing, round wood framing, straw bale in-fill, cob, etc. Our off-grid homestead features sustainable living--solar power, passive solar home, greenhouse, food forest, hugelkulture, composting. Our lifestyle is sustainable by using locally-sourced building materials--trees, rocks, and clay from the build site, locally milled lumber, used windows and doors, used local slate for roofing. We encourage our volunteers to work with us in design and construction methods. We don't know everything, so we listen to the wealth of knowledge others have and implement solutions immediately.
We have a guest room that sleeps 2. Bedding provided. We will provide meals. We have a privy as well as some composting toilets. We HAVE RUNNING WATER NOW!!! And HOT WATER!! Internet and Wi-Fi!! We have electric lights with switches! We have charging stations for devices, and a functioning inverter (so household power is available) too! We are still in THE PROCESS of building our home, so along with the ruggedness of our home it is also a construction zone.
We source the majority of our food from local farmers--raw milk, cheese, meat, vegetables, mushrooms, and fruit. We do have chickens which provide eggs and a small garden. Our meals vary greatly, but are near the vegetarian side of the omnivore spectrum. We accommodate as best we can, and have hosted strict vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-free. Lara is an excellent cook (and all of our interns / volunteer helpers have recommended that we advertize how splendid the food is).