Strawbale House

This blog is intended to chart our progress through the self-build process, from half-hearted plot-hunting through to completion of the build. The twist is that we're building the house from timber and straw (hence the blog title).

Click on the image at the end of each post to see that day's photos.

Friday, 31 August 2007


A big day, both in terms of significance and energy expended. I spent the morning clearing the shed of rubbish, the abandoned kitchen (we now brew up and eat in the house), insulation boards, plasterboard ( tricky one-man lift in the breeze) and owl-pellets, then left at lunchtime to guide the straw delivery to the plot from Morebattle. Oh - forgot - had a drop-off from Doves mid-morning of OSB for reveals and under-straw platform, and 4x2s for the remaining internal walls.
I'd reckoned on a good hour and a half to unload the first load of 300 bales. In the event we had them all off and stacked in about 50 minutes, with young Richard clambering to the top of the 8 tiers of bales on the trailer and chucking them down for his dad (Tommy) and me to stack. Bloody hard work - hot, dusty and itchy but very satisfying. They left to load up again, and I spent the next two hours removing all the firewood from the barn, covering the first 300 bales with tarpaulin and doing a bit on the roof - just laying a dozen slates and shifting the platform higher-still. Can almost reach the ridge now, and should be there tomorrow.
The second load of bales arrived just as I was finishing on the roof, and we repeated the unloading process. Anna arrived with the boys half-way through and mucked in while the boys did their best to trip us up. I'd reckoned on getting maybe 400 - 450 bales in our shed, with the overspill in the neighbour's barn, but in the event we squeezed about 580 into our shed. Seemed daft to stack the last 20 elsewhere, so we constructed a little platform immediately in front of the shed with breeze-blocks and sarking and piled them there instead. Paid Tommy £1500, and a crate of beer, which seemed to please him inordinately, then covered everything with a tarpaulin, fixed into the bales with fat 8" screws and weighed down at the bottom with blocks.
Absolutely knackered, but extremely happy to have secured the bales, harvested, cut, baled, transported, unloaded, stacked and covered without seeing a single drop of rain. Couldn't ask for better. All I need now is a few fine days in the next week ot two to get them into the walls.
Almost fell asleep cutting the grass at home, and DID fall asleep reading the boys' story!
Straw delivery 310807

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