2015 Winternship Outline

2015 WINTERNSHIP at the  Strawbale Studio includes                                (updated 12/15/14)

Round Pole framing, the basics – workshop.

Thatching workshop: demo and some hands-on, reed collection)

Rocket Stove:  principles & mockup of the burn chamber, Make a model out of cob to keep.

Earth Plaster & Sculpting workshop.  Help select & design the area that will plaster during workshop.

Reed Collecting   4 hrs once or twice a week.

Tour of Site, Buildings & Composting Systems.

Cob ~ Make bricks and small model during rocket stove & plaster workshops.

Strawbale – Design Class, practice retying bales & Earth Plaster layers on mini or full bale.

Possibly make recommendations for a home in Western Michigan (Sunni Haglund )

Class Sessions on Natural Building Design & Principles 1-2x /week ~ based on buildings on-site.

  • Foundation, Framing,Wall Systems, Site Assessment & Solar Design.
  • Pattern Language & designing by the clock from Hand-Sculpted House.                                                     Strawbale Construction based on Chapter 3 of the Earth Plaster Book.
  • Compost Heat Furnace for the radiant floor of the Strawbale Studio

Optional Opportunities listed on page 3.

Scheduled Events

January 4, 2015  Sunday 6:30          Full Moon Potluck & Bonfire

January 5, 2015   Monday 9:30 am           Winternship Orientation

January 10, 2015 Saturday 10a –5p THATCHING Workshop

January 14, 2015 Wednesday 630p    Oakland County Permaculture Meetup in Clarkston

Jan. 17-18, 2015  Sat. & Sun. 9:30-5  ROUND POLE Framing ~ The basics.  Workshop.

Jan. 24-25, 2015  Sat. & Sun. 9 :30-5 ROCKET STOVE Workshop

Jan 31-Feb 1, ’14 Sat. & Sun. 9 :30-5 EARTH PLASTER & Sculpting Workshop


Natural Buildings on site ~  Strawbale Studio, Kids Cottage, Retreat Cabin, Spiral Chamber.

Heat Devices ~ Rocket Stove Heated Bench, Rumford Fireplace Outdoor Rocket Stove Cooker. Hay Box Cooker, Solar Cooker, Bio-lite Stove, Compost Furnace. Natural Foods – from the local region, Goat milking at the neighbors, Upland Hills Farms food pickup.  Fermenting & Foraging.  Sauerkraut and injira sourdough wraps. Shitake Log Fruiting & Harvest, Acorn Processing & eating. Composting ~ several types


Resource Library

Extensive books on Strawbale, Cob, Thatching, Herbs & Foraging, and much more.

Videos on sustainability & natural building (optional) ~ such as Ben Law – Round Pole Framing. Strawbale Solution, Mud, Hands – A House. Alone in the Wilderness. Building Codes for a Small Planet.



INTERN ORIENTATION   January 5, 2014


Intern sign in.  Skills wanted, offering.

Tracking Activities

Worktrade and Intern responsibilities

Worktrader sheet & areas of focus.

Days off, Meetings

Personal Projects.

Schedule for the Course ~ what will be covered each week.

Daily Schedule


Breakfast 8 am. (Breakfast prep at 7:30a)

Daily check in’s at 8:30a. (Day + 2)

Morning Activity 9 – 12 p

Lunch hour. On your own.

Afternoon Activity Class Session 1 – 5

Supper 6 – 7p

Evening – Open or Scheduled Activities & “Sharing Our Stories” 30 min.

Weekly Schedule


Wed am – All Team Clean – Beauty & Order.

Weekly Meeting (Week + 2)

Weekly Worktrader List

Weekly house responsibility

2 days off per week TBD

Thursdays – Movie Night


Cooking & Household maintenance shared and recorded on a chart

Guidelines,   Beauty & Order.  What are our needs?

Deanne will have Office Hours Tues & Thurs. 10 – 2p.

Expect about 4 hours a day with her.

Internship: $850 per month (or early-bird discount of $750 prepaid 1 month in advance) includes room & board plus all training and workshops at the Strawbale Studio land with Deanne Bednar and invited guest teachers during the time of your stay.

½ pay WorkTrade $425 per month (or early-bird discount of $350 prepaid 1 month in advance) For those who choose to help support the Strawbale Studio Infrastructure in exchange for a reduced rate, several Worktrade positionas are available. 10 hr/wk would be applied toward a given area such as Outreach/ Office, Building & Grounds, Gardening or Cooking/Household. The rest of the time you would join in the learning and activities of the Internship Program. Includes room, board and all materials.

Optional  Activities:  (we can choose from these as time permits)



Chris McClellan visit: completion with Chris McClellan.  Research/design/make an indoor Rocket Cooking Stove or Rocket Mass Heater.

Round Pole and Lashing:  harvest poles / build a small project (such as Screen for E wing, display frame ) Cob model-making – design a structure, or project of your choice. Tests on Earth Plaster ~ egg shell, powdered milk additive, egg white/yolk, different starches, test penetration & strength of oil – hemp & linseed (hot/diluted). Retrofitting with natural materials: experiment with slip straw and paper clay Earth Plaster basement at Jim McDonalds, if that works for him.  Research Rocket Stoves to heat a radiant floor. Construct a roof over the Cob Wall.

LIVING SKILLS & ARTS: Experiment with making natural paint from ground egg shells. Cording with Dogbane. Make homemade liquid soap. Harvest grapevine & construct an LED lights sculpture in East Wing.  Tempe Workshop with Kerry Gados (other ferments/class?) Permaculture discussion of this land with Jared Bogdonov-Hanna. Permaculture: visit Oakland University’s New Greenhouse at the Student Organic Farm with Jared Bogdonov-Hanna. Walnut Hull stain and hemp oil bathroom floor and by front door. Yogurt-making. Pruning fruit trees and shrubs – learning how to cut back plants with Jared. Tool sharpening.  Felting with Deb Stallings on Monday Jan 19th Imlay City. $25. Contact Miriam Markus

EXTRA-CURRICULAR:  Yoga, here or at Hamsa on Tuesdays 7:15p. Other (fieldtrip to Detroit, SB Outdoor Education Center in Columbiaville, etc.


Worktrade Possibilities

Construction & Repair ~ DEAN  Windows in intern cabin. Cover hole in Open Pole Barn.  Metal and plastic.  Maintain tools and sifting screens.  Get battery generator working? Fix front door knocker (30 m) Research hand grinder on Ebay…or get mine working.  Sauna hot room.  Finish ~ ceiling, stove & pipe installation. Fire it up ! Team: Metal Roof, pick up and cover timber frame lumber.       


Household  ~ Recycling: Process worm composter, (optional) Kitty Litter – clean daily and change out weekly  (3 hr/wk)  Strawbale Studio, Clean & oil logs (temperature – do day of full moon, and heat studio)


Grounds ~ HARRY Firewood. Firewood ~ harvest, collect, help split (Jug can bring his splitter over). Pruning shrubs and fruit trees. Rocket Stove, fire up and track process. (before Round Pole or Rocket Stove workshop) Ed.  Refill Sawdust for Composting Toilet (wheelbarrow load from pipeline). Recycle Electronics to Habitat ReUse Store. Recycle Electronics to Habitat ReUse Store.

Office ~ Data input – participant list update , Outreach, Blogging & Photography. Scan Thesis. Video thatching process, reed collection and thatch application  (Some at the workshop, but mostly at a separate time.)  Intern coordination.

Week 2015 Weekly FOCUS Weekly ACTIVITIES subject  to change Workshops
Week 1 Jan 4 DESIGN & THATCHING Orientation: schedule, expectations, buildings, land, materials, household. FIOT.Natural Building: Practice tying reed bundles, Harvest Reed, Harvest Round Poles. Prepare for Thatching Workshop.   Design Class. Natural Building Video. Earth to House when weather permits.

Sustainable Living Skills: Class ~ Composting Systems on the land. Fermenting: start sauerkraut & Injiria Wrap. Soak Shitake log. Acorn processing.

Jan 4. Full Moon Potluck 6:00 tour, 7:30 potluck.Jan 6 Yoga Tues 7p (optional)

Jan 8 Movie Nite Thurs.

Jan 10 Thatching Workshop 9:30 – 5

Jan 11  Reed collection 10 – 3p

Week 2 Jan 12 FOUNDATIONS & FRAMING Natural Building:  Prepare for Round Pole Workshop (including harvesting & skinning poles, sharpening tools)  Class on Foundations & Framing options.
Sustainable Living Skills: Fermenting – Kombucha, Water Keifer, Sour Dough Wraps, (Sunflower Sprouts)
Jan 13 Yoga Tues 7p Jan 14 Permaculture Meetup in Clarkston Wed. 6:30p Seed Sprouting Skillshare and Annual Seed SwapJan 17&18 Round Pole Workshop 9:30 – 5p
Week 3 Jan 19 HEAT & INSULATION Natural Building:  Sauna completion. Rocket Stove Design for Main House. Chris McClellan guest instructor & contingency from Cleveland.  Classes on Natural Building tbd. Set up SB frame for applying plasters.Sustainable Living Skills:  Cob mini bricks, using rolling pins and boards, also by hand.  Dimensions similar to real brick. Make a brick model to test.  Test carbon monoxide. Jan 20 Yoga Tues 7pJan 22 Movie Nite Thurs.

Jan 24 & 25 Rocket Stove Workshop 9:30 – 5p

Week 4 Jan 26 EARTH PLASTER & COB Natural Building: Make cob models, Prep for Plaster Class.  Classes on Natural Building tbd. Optional: Design for Sunni Haglund. Research, co-design the SB part of their house.Roof over Cob Wall?

Sustainable Living Skills:

Tempe- making possibly with Kerry Gaydos.

Sustainable Living Skills:  Eat sauerkraut. Harvest shitake, acorn

Jan 27 Yoga Tues 7pJan 29 Movie Nite –Thurs.

Jan 31 & Feb 1 Earth Plaster & Sculpting Workshop 9:30 – 5p

Feb 2-4 Natural Building:  4 step Plaster process on a mini-Strawbale. Complete Projects.& all Burning Questions. Pack.Sustainable Living Skills: Cording   Feb 3   Completion Party ! 6p pizza party & special event.Feb 4 Departure



Bring snowpants, or insulated pants or coveralls if you have them….or some layers like 2 pair of sweat pants….warm sox, warm and waterproof boots if you can.  Snowmobile boots are quite warm. Loose & insulated boots keep feet warm.  

We will be harvesting Phragmite about 4 hours at a time, 1 or 2 days a week, to gather the reed needed for our demonstrations and this year’s projects.  So be ready to keep warm.  Wool is always awesome.  Wool sweaters, gloves, sox, layers.  It may rain so rain gear is good.  I have some things here, but if you can, bring your own. We won’t reed collect in the rain, but we might be outside, getting from one building to another.

Bring Flashlight and a water bottle. Notebook if you can. Bring special food if you want.  

We will be eating a basic vegetarian (rice, bean, soup, vegies) type of diet.  Fermented foods will be made while you are here such as sauerkraut and sourdough wraps.  Yum.  I am getting hungry typing this.

Optional: bring musical instruments, sketches of upcoming projects, earth subsoil from your land to test.  Camera.


No tools are needed, but it would be useful for you to bring tools for the Round Pole framing: 1/2″ to 1″ wood chisel, hatchet, drill & bits, snap line, measuring tape, draw knife, saw.  You could bring them in a 5 gal bucket, each tool labeled with your name.  If you don’t have them, that’s ok.

Most of all,  bring your

Joy of Learning, good listening & sharing skills, and kind heart.  

I will be emailing a more detailed packet early next week which will include the specific things we will be learning, the daily schedule and such.

Here are some things that might be of interest to you…


  • The section called ” More about the PROGRAM & PROJECTS.” on this Internship page for general things to expect.