2018 Winternship Outline

2018 WINTERNSHIP at the  Strawbale Studio     January 7 through Feb 7, 2018   (updated 11/27/2017)

Below is a Course Description, Fee information and a weekly Schedule Chart for the Program!

The main Winternship page on the website is here.

                                             page 1  Course Description



Thatching workshop: demo and some hands-on, reed collection) Tools & Skills: ratchet tool, thatching needles and pins, stainless steel wire, manila cord, vertical & horizontal leggat. Construct a simple frame, attach reed, tap up.  Projects: Thatched frame for Intern Cabin.  Oak & Oat Ridge of Kids Cottage.

Reed Collecting   4 hrs once or twice a week.  Tool use: Japanese Sickle, bundle jig. Harvest, tie & trim bundles, transport &store reed.

Round Pole framing, the basics – workshop. Harvest trees, debark, notch, make wooden pins, drill and notch joints.  Model-making, Round Pole Designing. Palette frame or Screen. Tool use: Hatchet, Ax, saw, Shaving Horse, Draw Shave, Chisel. Build & use a Sawbuck. Use a Shaving Horse, make wooden pins. Debark wood with Draw Knife. Skills: Sawing, Screws, Measuring, Sharpen Tools

FIRE Workshop  ~ basics of Rocket Stove, Earth Oven, Rocket Cooker & Compost Furnace / design principles, hands-on Rocket Stove brick mockup, Earth Oven model, fire up and use stoves.

Earth Plaster & Sculpting workshop.  Help select & design the area that will plaster during workshop. Learn how to find, mix and apply earth plaster to interior walls.  Explore sculpting with Earth.  Skills: make Adhesion Coat, use a variety of trowels, hawk, several finishing techniques.  Video: Natural Paints and Plaster with Chris Magwood.

Tour of Site, Buildings & Composting Systems.

Cob ~ Make bricks & small model during rocket stove & plaster workshops, and on earth oven model.

Strawbale – Design Class, practice retying bales & Earth Plaster layers on mini or full bale.  Make a design for a future project on site or your choice.

Class Sessions on Natural Building Design & Principles 1-2x /week ~ We will tour the buildings on-site and have a 2 hour class on each subject:  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.

Hobbit Sauna ~  fire it up.  (Optional project: Rounds for flooring, doors in, build cedar sauna door.)

Optional Opportunities listed on page 3.


Scheduled Events

January 8, 2018                               WINTERNSHIP ORIENTATION Sun. January 7 arrival . Orientation 2p Jan 7 or 10a on Mon Jan8.

January 10, 2018                              PERMACULTURE MEETUP in Pontiac MI , Wed 6p

January 13 & 14, 2018                    THATCHING Wksp Sat 10-5p / Reed Collect Sun 10-5p

Jan. 20 & 21,  2018                          ROUND POLE Framing ~ The basics.  Workshop 10 – 5p

Jan. 28 & 29, 2018                         FIRE Workshop  ~ Rocket Stove, Earth Oven + Sat. & Sun. 10-5p

Jan 31, 2018                                    FULL MOON Potluck & Bonfire.  6p Tour. 7p POTLUCK, 8p Bonfire/ music

Feb 4& 5  2018                                EARTH PLASTER & Sculpting Workshop  Sat. & Sun. 10-5p



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, Bio-lite Stove, Compost Furnace, Solar Cooker (use in warm weather only)

Natural Foods – from the local region, Goat milking at the neighbors, Fermenting Sauerkraut and injira sourdough wraps. Composting ~ several types.

Warm Weather Internships:  Foraging, Shitake Log Fruiting & Harvest,


Resource Library

Extensive books selection 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. Simondale Low Impact Home for Living in the Future.


                                                      p2   Orientation 

INTERN ORIENTATION   January 8, 2018  10a

Intern sign in & Waiver.  Safety.  Skills wanted, offering.

Tracking Activities / Design Notebook.  Personal Goals.

Clear the Path.  Food to use / to buy / cooking/cleanup list.

Indoor / Outdoor / Worktrade activity list

Worktrader sheet & areas of  focus.

Days off, Meetings

Personal Projects.  Yoga & meditation options.

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


Daily Schedule 

8 am. Breakfast (7:15 a Breakfast prep )

(Adjust morning for yoga)

8:30a. Morning check in’s and Day + 2

9 – 12 p  Morning Activity

12 – 2p Lunch break on your own.

2 – 5:30  Afternoon Activity Class Session (Supper prep 5p)

6 – 7p Supper

Track activities/check off.

Evening – Open or Scheduled Activities & “Sharing Our Stories” ½ to 1 ½ hrs.


Weekly Schedule

Wed am – All Team Clean – Beauty & Order, Recycle

Weekly Meeting (Week + 2)

Weekly Worktrader List

Weekly household Activities

Schedule 2 days off per week (open time, or possibly some worktrade hours)

Wednesday – Movie Night / Sharing experiences, slides, travels & more. Popcorn!

Friday am – Yoga (TBD)

Worktrade Schedule:  Three 3 hour blocks per week. (9:30 – 12:30 or 2:30 – 5p). or 1 day a week +.  Intern can do independent projects during that time.  DB do office work.


Cooking & Household maintenance shared and recorded on a chart. Kitchen: Plan and cook meals, sweep floor, dishes away, food away, clear & wash counters, stove and table. Wash dishes.  What are our needs?  Guidelines for Beauty & Order 🙂

Deanne will have Office Hours Tues & Thurs. 10 – 2p. Deanne will be with Intern in a learning situation least 4 hours per day  5 days a week (Activities & Classes)


Internship Fee : $950 per month (or early-bird discount of $850 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 Fee:  $475 per month (or early-bird discount of $425 prepaid 1 month in advance) For those who choose to help support the Strawbale Studio Infrastructure in exchange for a reduced rate, several Worktrade positions 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:                                                  p3  Optional Activities & Worktrade


Cob Model-making or designing of a structure on site (Intern Addition on the Red Shed, InternTimber frame loft in the West Wing, Earth Oven Surround ) or project of your choice. Model-making of a Round Pole Frame.

Skype call with Chris McClellan on Code & Working with Professionals and/or Rocket Stoves to heat the house.

Research/design an indoor Rocket Cooking Stove or Rocket Mass Heater / wood stove for main house/ RS Boilers to heat a radiant floor.

Round Pole and Lashing:  Harvest poles & build a small project such as Screen for E wing/ kitchen.  Earth Plaster Sample Tests ~  using egg shell, powdered milk additive, egg white/yolk, different starches, test penetration & strength of oil – hemp & linseed (hot/diluted). Make sample tests for Retrofitting with natural materials: experiment with slip straw and paper clay.  Create a Strawbale Studio Certificate reflecting basic skills learned.  Create a framing pallet for measuring & cutting Round Poles. Cut wood rounds for the Sauna heat room floor. Complete the Sailboat Root Cellar:  research criteria, complete, set up and use.  Build a Loft Ladder for the Hobbit Sauna.

LIVING SKILLS & ARTS: Cording with Dogbane. Make homemade liquid soap. Harvest grapevine & construct an LED lights sculpture in East Wing.  Set up tempe-making using Kerry Gados / Sandor Katz model. Permaculture discussion of  this land with Jared Bogdonov-Hanna. Apply hemp oil to area by front door. Tool Sharpening. Acorn processing.  Hire Micah to teach a spoon carving class.  Fire-starting `-Dick Hogan / Peter McCreedy contact. Make a froe for splitting firewood out of an old mower blade. Warm Weather only . Soak Shitake log. visit Oakland University’s New Greenhouse at the Student Organic Farm. Acorn Processing & eating.

EXTRA-CURRICULAR:  Yoga, here or at Hamsa on Tuesdays 7:15p. Other: fieldtrip to DETROIT ( Michael Mallon, Greg & Maina, Spalding Court,, Green Garage, Red Door Gallery & Speak Easy. Peter McCreedy’s Willows Outdoor Education Center in Columbiaville (4500 sq. ft. Strawbale Structure.  Oakland University Winter Greenhouse. etc.  Earth Oven Pizza party.


Worktrade Possibilities

Construction & Repair ~   Make nesting earth sifting Screens. Sauna hot room.  Fire it up !  Construct a Spoon Carving Stand & Horse (Mark do a sketch). Fix Shaving Horse.  Windows in intern cabin. Hand grinder set-up. Fix chairs. Get battery generator working?

Household  ~  Strawbale Studio, sweep, prep oil lamps and candles. Clean & oil logs (temperature – do day of full moon, and heat studio)  Kitty Litter – clean daily and change out weekly  (3 hr/wk)

Grounds ~ Firewood. Firewood ~ harvest, collect, split.  Tom help with chainsaw.  Pruning shrubs and fruit trees. Rocket Stove, fire up and track process. (before Round Pole or Rocket Stove workshop) Refill Sawdust for Composting Toilet (wheelbarrow load from pipeline). Tool Sweep person or rotation – check in. Hay Bale Gardening.  Clear Crab Apple  area. Warm weather: Recycle Electronics to Habitat ReUse Store. Harvest wood from Fairy Forest.  Metal Recycle to Tom.

Office ~ Data input – participant list update , Outreach, Blogger (in exchange for supper prep/cleanup), Activity List & Photography. Scan Thesis. Organize work, coordinate work-trade, other. (contact Jo from Cob Cottage).

(Notes to myself: Team – plan meal, prep meal, activities & vibes, materials / logistics. (Emily B – Possibility Alliance.)  Flickr, photo stream, Strawbale Studio U tube channel.   Video thatching process, reed collection and thatch application. Petar is scheduled to do at the workshop, but mostly at a separate time.)


                                                                  p4  Weekly Schedule CHART “under construction”

Week 2018 Weekly FOCUS Weekly ACTIVITIES subject to change J Workshops
Week 1 Jan 7/8 DESIGN & THATCHING Orientation:schedule, expectations, buildings, land, materials, household. FIOT.
Natural Building: Study Foundations. Prep for Thatching Workshop: Harvest Reed & Round Poles. Take apart existing Intern frame & re-lash. Reed Collection.
Classes ~Foundations: Tour, principles, research + Natural Building DesignThatching –  Weekend WorkshopSustainable Living Skills:  Composting Systems on the land. Process worm composter. Knot tying/lashing. Fermenting: make sauerkraut & Injira Wrap. Splitting wood techniques & safety.
Jan 8 Orientation 10a

Jan 10 PC Meetup 6p

Cold day:DB slideshow.

Thatching Workshop
Jan 13 & 14  9:30 – 5P

Weekly Hamsa YOGA
Mon 6p dharma vinyasa or Friday am on a day off?

Worktrade TBD

Week 2 Jan 15 FRAMING & WALL SYSTEMS Natural Building:  Thatching, continue with project. Prep for Round Pole Workshop (including harvesting & debarking poles, sharpening tools)

Class ~ Wall System & Framing options.  Option: Visit Willows, SB outdoor education center, Lapeer

Sustainable Living Skills:  Reed Collection.

Fermenting – Kombucha, Sour Dough Wraps, Wood carving basics.  Design W Wing Loft.  Reed Collection


Day Off Jan 15
Jan 17 7:30 Movie NiteJan 20 & 21 Round Pole Workshop  9:30a- 5pOptional: attend Yoga.  Mon 6p.  or other. See above.

Worktrade TBD

Week 3 Jan 22 HEAT & INSULATION Natural Building:  Sauna completion. Prep for Rocket Stove classes.

Classes on Natural Building tbd.  Design Round Pole project, make a model / construct Fairy Frame. Visit Timberframer, Jim.

Sustainable Living Skills:   Reed Collection .  Insulative Cooking. Kelly Kettle, Outdoor Rocket Cooker.


Jan 22 Day off.

Jan 24 Team Clean & Movie Nite Simondale.

Jan 28 & 29  Rocket Stove Workshop9:30 – 5p

Optional: attend Yoga.  Mon 6p.  or other. See above.

Worktrade TBD

Week 4 Jan 29 EARTH PLASTER & COB Natural Building:  Rocket Stove Design for Main House.  C mcC.  Make cob models, Prep for Plaster Class. Choose site & scope.

Classes on Natural Building tbd. Subsoil into House when weather permits. Process fibers / adhesion coat for earth plaster. Help teach class.

Sustainable Living Skills: 

Sustainable Living Skills:  Eat sauerkraut. Acorn meal, Reed Collection


Jan 29 Day Off.


Feb 3 & 4 Earth Plaster & Sculpting Workshop 9:30 – 5p

Worktrade TBD

Week 5 Feb 5-7   Natural Building:  3 step Earth Plaster process on a mini-Strawbale. Complete Projects.& all Burning Questions. Pack.  Video : Chris Magwood plaster

Sustainable Living Skills: Cording.  Reed harvest.

Feb 5 Day Off.

Feb 6 Tues 
Earth Oven Pizza & Completion Ceremony.

Feb 7 Wednesday Departure

Worktrade TBD