2024 WINTERNSHIP at the Strawbale Studio      Jan 7 – Feb 7, 2024                 p1  ORIENTATION & CURRICULUM

INTERN ORIENTATION on 2nd day 10am

  • Intern sign in & Waiver.  Safety.  Skills wanted, offering.
  • Schedule : Workshops, Activities, Days off, Meetings
  • Organizing:
    • Track activities (workshops, classes, worktrade, personal projects) on the Covey calendar or online shared doc & spreadsheet
    • Handout Folder. Clear the path.
  • Worktrade: indoor, outdoor options. Record /share daily.
  • Food to use / to buy / cooking/cleanup list.   Receipts to basket with name & details.
  • Tour of House, Buildings & Grounds.

SCHEDULE  Subject to modification


  • CLASS SESSIONS on Natural Building Design & Principles  1-2x /week ~ 2 hour class on each subject based on Handouts in Black Folder. Natural Building Continuum, Site Assessment & Design. Foundations. Framing, Wall Systems overview, Strawbale design principles + Chapter 3 of Earth Plaster Book + some hands-on experiences: practice retying bales & Earth Plaster layers on mini or full bale. 
  • Thatching Workshop: Class & Hands-on ~ practice inside on a small frame, + see videos. Reed Collection several times. Tool use: Japanese Sickle, bundle jig. Harvest, tie & trim bundles, transport &store reed. Option: thatch earth oven wood shelter.
  • Round Pole framing basics: Workshop: Class & Hands-on ~ Harvest trees, debark, principles of round pole design & construction. “Read the log”, notch, make wooden pins, drill and notch joints.  Option: make a model, take home.
    • Tool use: Hatchet, Ax, saw, Shaving Horse, Draw Shave, Chisel. Sawbuck. Make wooden pins on a Use a Shaving Horse, Debark wood with Draw Knife. Skills: Sawing, Screws, Measuring, Sharpen Tools
  • Rocket Stove & Earth Oven Workshop hands-on Rocket Stove brick mock-up, Earth Oven model, pizza in the earth oven. (+Rocket Cooker & Compost Furnace / design principles)
  • Earth Plaster & Sculpting  Learn how to find, mix and apply earth plaster and earth sculptures to interior walls. Make an Adhesion Coat, use a variety of trowels, and several finishing techniques.  Video: Natural Paints and Plaster with Chris Magwood. Option: help design an area in the house to plaster.
  • Design & Model-making: Optional: make design sketch /cob model. Design Charette with the group.

Natural Buildings on site
 ~  Strawbale Studio, Kids Cottage, Hobbit Sauna, Retreat Cabin,
Heat Devices ~ Rocket Stove Heated Bench, Rumford Fireplace Outdoor Rocket Stove Cooker. Hay Box Cooker, Compost Furnace, Hobbit Sauna ! Solar Cooker (use in warm weather only)

Composting ~ 4 types.

Natural  & Local Foods ~ Sauerkraut & Injira sourdough wraps. Warm Weather Foraging, Mushroom harvest/ soak & fruit Shitake. Dried ftea & foods from the land.

Enrichment ~ NVC (Non-Violent Communication) / Compassionate Communication / Reflective Listening.  Integrate permaculture principles into our day/study.  Lashing, cording, whittling, splitting wood, fermenting.

Possible stretch goals, Tools sharpening with Matt McCoul, Nutrient Cycling, Matt or Jared.
Day-off options: Do your own thing.  Perhaps read, or Whittle & spoon carve. Study / design / model-making. Small round pole model. Bonfire, hang out in Strawbale Studio, sauna. Finish Worktrade hours. Visit local: 7 ponds Nature Center, Bald Mountain Recreation area, Detroit, etc. White Horse Inn. Dryden.  Victorias, Oxford.  Sagebrush Cantena, Lake Orion.  20 Front St.  Kombucha & music venue.

Browse the Resource Library 

Extensive books on Strawbale, Cob, Thatching, Herbs & Foraging +. Earth Plaster / Magwood. Videos on Sustainability & natural building, Ben Law – Round Pole Framing. Strawbale Solution, Mud, Hands – A House. Alone in the Wilderness. Building Codes for a Small Planet. Low Impact Home for Living in the Future. SBS slideshow Round Pole Movie trailer.     

Daily Schedule (proposed)

  • 7:30 Yoga option.
  • 8:00 a Breakfast prep
  • 8:30a Sit down to eat Breakfast
  • 9:00 Morning check in’s (Circle Share, Announcements, Day + 2)
  • 9:30– 12:30p Morning Activity
  • 12:30 – 2p Lunch break. On your own.
  • 2 – 6p Afternoon Activity Class Session (Supper prep 5:30p)
  • 6:30p  Supper (Track activities/check off roles done)
  • 7p -10p Evening Open or Scheduled Activities & “Sharing Our Stories” 30 min +, Reading.
  • 10p   Quiet time in the house

Weekly Schedule

  • Weekly Meeting : Plan Week + 2, Days off. worktrade & household roles. Friday Celebration option.
  • Worktrade options: 3 Worktrade blocks /week (9:30 – 12:30 or 2:00– 5p) or 1 day/week, or fit in.
    • Interns can do independent projects, or choice.
    • Deanne will have Desking Hours TBD.  Time with Wintern, will be at least 4 hrs/day, 5 days/wk.

Payment / Exchange: All students participate in the Classes & Hands-on Learning + room & board.

All generally help support the workshop experience: setup, participate & follow-through.

  • Internship: $1250 per month (or $950 prepaid 1 month in advance).
  • ½ pay WorkTrade 2 positions available $625 / $475*  * Paid 1 month in advance. 10 hr/wk would be applied toward a given areas such as Outreach/ Office, Building & Grounds, Gardening, Household, etc.

Cooking & Household daily maintenance is shared by all and recorded on a chart.

  • Cooking:
    • 1 or more people scheduled.  Clean up after by those that don’t cook.  2-3 people.
    • Make a schedule together for cooking & cleanup each week, adjusting as needed.
    • Preferably use food that is on-hand, and in season.  Be creative.  Chart of diets.
  • Clean up :  Check in with each other before leaving room.
  1. “Put Away” person. Put away Dried clean dishes, and bring all dirty dishes to sink from table & counters. Wash counters & table. Sweep if you want.
  2.  “Swasher.” Wash dishes That usually takes about the same time as the Put-Away Person
  3. Check in with each other before leaving room.
    Household Roles – by week
    • Sweeping – kitchen, halls, bathrooms, east & west wing main room.  
    • Composting as needed & Landfill/Recycling Wed. out. Thurs, back in. Outdoor Compost bucket, Worm Compost, CT  (all, as needed. Check daily.) Garbage / Recycle. Db set up, helper take to green bins across the street.
    • Filtered Water. Keep filled, pour to jars, Clean with Vinegar 1x week + hot water kettles.
    • Specialty:  Kitchen cupboard doors cleaned, Kitchen/ Hall  Floor washed 1x per week

WORKTRADE options:

  • Reed: Harvest & store in tipi. Goal 50 bundles. Tipi reconstruction.
  • Grounds:  Firewood ~ forage, saw, split, stock structures. Prune. Clear bittersweet. Driveway.
    • Chainsaw. 14” bark-free straightish for Red Shed. 18” for Strawbale Studio. Pole wood, see DB. Bonfire wood to shelter. Harvest wood from places on the land. DTE cutting.
  • Teachers Assistant:  Help pre-plan, support Deanne during workshop /track timing. Post Report
  • Construction & Repair: Tools, Chairs, maybe Chopping Stand – Mark A / Shaving Horse. Boots.
  • Blog:   Track all activities as an outline.  Blog & Photos (instead of supper prep/cleanup?)
  • Office:  Data entry – Participant list, outreach. (Main data sheet, edit internships, other.)
  • Tool Sweep:  oversees cleanup daily on work projects.
  • Towels washed once a week, or put in laundry with clothes.
  • Household beauty & order. Floor wash, Move & sweep. Other.
  • Make up Cob Kits (Earth Sculpting Mix) for sale
  • Extra Workshop support as needed :  RE Setup ~ materials, classroom, parking, heating Red Shed, Cooking, greeters, organize space after.