FOR SALE: $195,000: Thirty acres with finished cob cottage, a 2-story straw bale house in progress, off-grid solar and photovoltaic energy, are waiting for an enthusiastic new owner. Located on the Potawatomi Indian Reservation north of Topeka, Kansas, this was a planned retreat center begun in 2003. There are 20 acres of woods, with a creek and two ponds, and 10 acres of native tall-grass prairie, plenty of wildlife, herbs, berries, etc. Current owner had to give up on the endeavor for personal reasons, but is eager to be a consultant for anyone who wishes to finish the straw bale building and its connection with the original cob structure. It has a lot of potential for a retreat center or a community endeavor with sustainable agriculture, with its arable land, and plenty of space for more cottages.
You can read all about the building process, from the planning stages through the present, by downloading the owner's how-to/memoir e-book, The Tao of Cob: How a Kansas Grandmother Built Her Own Natural Home in the Woods, via this link: www.smashwords.com/books/view/317540. See owner/builder's other website: www.centeroftherainbow.com, for updates on her recent activities and projects.
Building with cob is one of the best methods of natural building. Using local materials (clay, sand and straw) is cheap and abundantly available. These buildings last for over 500 years, as evidenced in England and elsewhere. For complete information about everything from the philosophy down to the nitty-gritty hands-on details of this method, see The Hand-Sculpted House, by Ianto Evans, et al. Or see www.cobcottage.com