The main trip on Saturday was to look at a house being built from straw, well, more accurately the walls are being infilled with straw around an octagonal timber frame structure. The house has been designed and built by the friends we are staying with in Joshua Tree for a couple who live in the next town. The straw is from rice grown in California and it has been found that some old straw cutting tools from around the turn of the 20th century are more effective at cutting and shaping the bales than chainsaws, and is more fuel efficient too. The house is powered by a solar array and wind turbine with a battery bank back up, heating is geothermal (though barely needed here). Venting is via wind powered roof vents on most buildings and the central windowed section in the main house. The house is open plan with one bedroom but the open plan area is large.
Also on today’s agenda was a visit to the local farmers market, dates (three varieties), bread, a tahini spread and oranges (one of about 4 varieties on sale) were amongst the purchases. Vegetables such as sprouts and carrots were also available. Sally bought a made to measure on the spot leather belt.