Maggie and I are engaged! Really. We’re engaged in a house building project. It’ll likely consume my best physical energies for the next few years, but every step of the way will be a collaborative affair – a love-in between Maggie and my affections for the land. Please join us by registering to get this blog and, if you wish, getting involved down the road in some practical way. We’ll extend invitations now and again as we need help with the adventure.

We began our marriage this way in South Africa – building an eight-sided rammed earth ’roundoval’ to live in and to work out of. We’re doing it again – but with the Manitoba climate in mind and with a plan to thrive through climates to come. This building is a celebration of the good life; a life in harmony with its surroundings, to be a functioning work of art that offers us comfort and hosting space into our elder years.

We’ve had a bit of experience with alternative building projects – from straw bale and wattle and daub to living roof and recycling an old church. There were brief experiences with a stack wall home and an earth bag cellar. But we find ourselves going back to that first rammed earth home we built – wanting to build a 16 sided house with the north side buried into a hill, with loads of window to the south and with a loft in the back half. We expect it to gather and filter its own water, capture heat and power from the sun, render its waste useable and grow greens year round in a modest greenhouse.

We’ll be feeling our way into and through the project – doing it side by side. Maggie has strong feelings about the aesthetics, the ambiance, and I have pressing ideas about the functions of the building. These emphases have rubbed and will likely again. Fortunately neither function nor form, for us, have many trump cards. And we’re not in a rush.

Check back here for our latest blog – brief biweekly updates, images and questions.

Happy Solstice just passed and have a great New Year of Romancing