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Why I Like Mud Huts

Updated on November 3, 2014

Studying at Cal Earth in Hesperia

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Earth Building will be Satisfying

I grew up comfortably middle-class and all my needs were always met. I graduated with a master's degree in theater arts and have lived in very diverse places, both urban and rural. However, nothing in my experience prepared me for the year-and-a-half I spent living in shelters, struggling to find a job and end my homelessness. My experiences were priceless, because I learned what I needed to feel secure and content; food, the daily rituals of cleanliness, a safe and quiet place to sleep and acceptance. Although there are individual differences in what provides security and contentedness, I feel strongly that everyone's basic needs are the same and deserve to be met: food, water, clothing, shelter and community—and that having those things is certainly possible when we work together.

I first learned about earth building in Oregon, where I helped construct a domed bake oven from cob. I enjoyed it and the charming “hobbit” homes that made up the Cob Cottage community in the green, mossy hills of Coos Bay. I'm also fascinated by gardening, especially constructing swales which collect and concentrate water, a very important attribute in Southern California. I know that I will love building with earth, for the same reasons that I love gardening and pottery – it will allow me to create something tangible, from earth, which possesses both beauty and purposefulness. Building from easily obtained resources and living sustainability demonstrate self-reliance and simplicity and the goodness of both.

The best things in life to me are those things which are elegant, appealing and above all, comfortable. The handle that fits your hand perfectly, the counter at the right height when you chop vegetables, knowing where something belongs. Only when you construct your own home can you insure all the personal touches that are so satisfying daily. When we build, we create a history, a relationship with our environment that adds depth and meaning to a home. I am looking forward to experiencing that process.

I intend to marry my love of travel, design, creation and community into a life that is organic and satisfying with friends. I am hopeful that this will lead to a future of building satisfying spaces that feel good to be in, elegant, appealing and comfortable.

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