Photos of the Straw Bale House

27 06 2008

Front view from the south.I’ve promised many of you pictures, and others of you have been asking for them since I started the blog. Here they are, without further ado.

This is the Straw Bale House, the place that (for now, at least) we call home. It’s a two-story building with a single-room loft and a ground floor that is also single-room, except for an enclosed bathroom.

Side angle view from the southeast.

Here’s a better angle from the southeast corner.

The ground floor is accessed through the turquoise door on the east side.

The loft isn’t accessible from inside the ground floor, but rather from the deck. Yes, that means we have to go outside to get upstairs. That stops being weird after the first few days.

Ground floor view from inside the front door.This is what you see when you walk in that turquoise door and look to the right inside the house.

It’s all pretty much there in one room: kitchen, dining area, and sitting area.

There are lots of bookshelves inside, and they were already full of books when we got here. We have all been reading a ton.

We added a television for watching movies.

Wood stove in the northeast corner.This is the wood-burning stove that sits in the northeast corner.

Because of the way the house is constructed, using strawbales for both framing and insulation, this house retains temperature unbelievably well.

I’m told that during the winter, even when the outside temp drops to zero, the inside is never below 45° even without a fire. With the stove lit, it gets snug and toasty in no time at all.

The kitchen.The kitchen isn’t really much of a kitchen compared to the one we left behind, but we prepare three meals a day here nonetheless.

The well water is fine for washing but not too pleasant to drink, so we buy gallon jugs of spring water in town.

Matt and Scott were kind enough to bring our microwave out before we arrived, so we actually eat our leftovers now.

The couch.Here’s the couch where we watch movies. It’s actually a sofa sleeper, but the mattress went upstairs to become a bed for Liesl and me.

This angle faces the southeast corner, and you can see the door in the background. Hopefully you’re being able to get a feel for the layout.

By the way, I think you can click these pictures for a slightly larger version.

Computer workstationHere’s the desk where the computers live. This is immediately inside the front door against the south wall.

That sliding door to the right of the bookshelf is the bathroom.

The keyboard was here when we arrived. The kids love to play it, and it keeps them away from my own (expensive) keyboard.

Kaylynn calls this house the “Strob House.”

The bathroom.

Here’s a quick glance at the bathroom. I include this only to reassure you all that we do, in fact, have indoor plumbing.

The iron-saturated well water has the unfortunate tendency to stain things a very dark maroon, and I was told the toilet was beyond beautifying. I spent two hours using scrub pads and CLR, and the bowl looks almost new. I may blog about that later. Laugh all you want, but you know you’ll still read it.

The stairs and Smoking Deck.Here are the stairs. They lead to what I have named the Smoking Deck (see my previous blog post with that name) and to the door that opens into the loft.

The huge satellite on the corner is a recent addition. It was basically the only option for high-speed internet out here, and it’s the equipment that allows me to send these photos through cyberspace to your computer. How crazy is that?

Ryan and Aidan on the Smoking Deck.

Here are two of my favorite little monkeys looking down at me from the Smoking Deck.

Aidan made the jump from being a city boy to a country boy almost immediately. He loves to wear his cowboy hat and can most often be found playing with either his cap gun or his bow and arrow. 

Ryan likes the outdoors too, but is also learning to do needlepoint and to sew.

At the top of the stairs.Here’s what you see when you reach the top of the stairs.

There’s a porch light that illuminates the deck at night, but it also has the unfortunate consequence of turning the deck into a moth magnet. The pipe smoke helps to keep them away, though, and my favorite is just to sit out here under the moonlight.

Yes, that’s a roll of toilet paper in the windowsill. I’ll explain this momentarily.

The Smoking DeckAnd this, my friends, is the Smoking Deck itself.

One of my projects will be sanding, staining and sealing the deck. The weather has taken its toll, but I think a little TLC will help it stay in nice shape.

The bucket is called the Thunder Mug. The only bathroom is downstairs, and that’s not a fun trip at night, so the happier option is a nice chamber pot. (Hence the toilet paper.)

Doorway looking into the loft.Here’s the doorway leading into the loft, which serves as a closet and bedroom for all of us.

Yes, that is correct. We all share the same bedroom. That has been a blast for the children, and a bit of an adjusting experience for Liesl and me.

We’ve gotten to the point where we’re able to get it cooled off quite a bit by bedtime, and that’s helpful for getting a good night’s sleep.

The bedroom.Here’s the back half of the loft, which serves as the bedroom. It’s carpeted with a pretty heavy pad underneath, and the kids each have their own sleeping bag sets. Liesl and I use the mattress from the sofa sleeper.

If we decide to stay past the summer, perhaps our sleeping accommodations will have to be improved. For now, though, the kids think it is awesome getting to have a “campout” every night.

Front half of the loft.This is the front half of the loft. Clothes and shoes on the right, a chair and some stored items on the left.

Liesl bought a sewing machine with her birthday money and is thinking of sewing some new curtains for the loft. She already sewed a new diaper bag that’s spiffy.

I have absolutely no idea where we would put a baby if we were still here in December.

Smoking Deck view from inside the loft.And last, here’s one more look at the deck from inside the loft. You can see just a bit of the view we get to enjoy, with the meadow in front of us and some forested area beyond.

So that’s the Straw Bale House, folks. Hope you enjoyed looking as much as we enjoy being here. I will post photos of the rest of the ranch sometime soon.

We love you all, miss you all, and wish you were here!




10 responses

27 06 2008
Teri Martinez

That was fun seeing pictures of your place. You did a great job painting a picture. I love you guys,
Aunt Teri

Rob says: Thanks! If you’re ever in the area, come by and see it in person. It’s a blast!

27 06 2008

Okay, I’m hooked. I’ll definitely be checking in on a daily basis – no pressure though. That green rocker is the best for reading; that’s the one I always used when I got the chance. Great for quiet times. I’m glad it’s still there! We used to sit on the swing under the tree in the evenings sometimes and listen to Mexican music and drink wine coolers. Is the swing still there? The place looks good. Keep it up!!

Rob says: Good! I like daily readers. That will motivate me to keep posting often. I think I will go up and read in the green rocker this afternoon for a bit to see how wonderful it is. Yes, the swing is still there under the tree next to the hogan. Haven’t tried it yet with Mexican music and wine coolers, though. 🙂

27 06 2008
Terri Spratte

Thanks for sharing the pictures and the beautiful place you are calling home for now. Miss you all as well.

Rob says: You’re welcome! Thanks for looking at them. I will try to start making photos a regular part of my blogging.

27 06 2008

Well, if you’re still there in December – I guess you’ll just have to put the baby in the log cabin with me… I mean, you can’t expect “it” to sleep there alone!

Rob says: Trust me, if my infants COULD sleep alone, they WOULD sleep alone. I am trying to bank up a bunch of extra sleep while I can. I don’t think it will work.

28 06 2008

(Liesl sent me here.)

What an amazing little cabin – I almost felt like I was there, you were such a good tour-guide!

I bet you could fit a babe in there somehow if you had to. We still don’t have a crib or bed set up for our (almost) 2 month old, and it’s amazing how little space they take up if you don’t have it. You can fill it so quickly with baby junk if you do.

Rob says: Thank you! I’m glad you stopped by. You are right — now that I think of it, our oldest daughter started out with just a crib in a little nook in the front room of our one-bedroom apartment, and she did just fine. When we moved into a place with a bedroom for her, we filled it right up with baby stuff. We could probably fit a few more kids in this same space with us if we decided to.

28 06 2008

Yes, the bigger problem may be getting out on the dirt road in December.

Rob says: That’s my biggest worry right now if we stay. I need to have a conversation with Gabe about everything that’s involved with living here during the winter.

29 06 2008
Emily S

I feel like I’m reading the high tech version of Little House on the Prairie 🙂 It sounds like you guys are having a blast out there!! Love you lots and miss you!

Rob says: The key difference is that Pa and Ma were country-savvy and always knew exactly what they were doing. My story is more like City Boy in the Big Woods. Love and miss you, too!

30 06 2008

Hey, that looks like where I lived once (lol)! Hope you guys are having lots of fun. =oD

Rob says: Haha, imagine that! How long was your stay here? I’ll take all the advice I can get about living out here. We are having a blast, though.

1 07 2008
Aunty Penn

Large SIGH……. Thanks for cleaning the toilet!

Rob says: It’s already turning brown again. This may be the never-ending battle. At least I know now it CAN look nice.

20 08 2010
Home Is Where The Heart Is « It’s Just Speaz

[…] Kaylynn, Jill, and I took a ride with my grandparents out to the Strob. Kaylynn and  I walked up the road to the house together. I was taking in the familiar sights, and […]

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