Projects & Worktrade 2016


  • Office –  Data Entry – names & contact information to a Main List. Publicity, email & phone messages.
  • Grounds –  wood harvesting, cutting, splitting.  Mowing / scything lawns.
  • Beauty & Order around Red Shed, Kids Cottage, Hobbit Sauna, Open Pole Barn.
  • Fix It / Make It – Chairs in Red shed and Strawbale studio. Wood Storage in Red Shed. Garden Cart bicycle wheel and floor replacement.
  • Insta Cob – A product we make to sell; bags of earthen Cob mix with project ideas.
  • Gardens – prepare, maintain. Hops plant replaces bittersweet on Courtyard Arbor.

PROJECTS 2016 (proposed outcomes) 

  • Strawbale Studio – Finish Floor, Oil on Benches, Log beauty. Restore surfaces: Earth Plaster on exterior, details on interior.
  • Hobbit Sauna – Exterior:  Living Roof (west side), Rumford Fireplace exhaust piping, Earth Arch – remove form,  Wood Bench in Cob – complete, Exterior base and finish Earth Plasters.  Interior: Earth Plasters, Earth Floors, Wood Rounds Floor, make wooden benches, wooden door. Frame in all windows & openings.
  • Identity Cabin – Strawbale & Hybrid Wall Systems, Thatched Roof on East, Window Wall on South – find, buy, frame, seal windows. Flooring – replace as needed.  Screens – door and roll-up side walls on East Porch.  Possible: Loft, Ladder, Band Shell from paper mache.
  • Kids Cabin – Rocket Stove Mass Heater – complete construction of combustion unit, bench, and exhaust pipes. Finish Plasters, Earthen Floor & insulation.Site Drainage & Beauty.  Stone Wall- finish construction, insulate, install window bucks. Windows – make bucks and complete walls around the bucks. Gene is making the windows. We will make the window bucks to his dimensions.
  • Gardens –  Agro Forest areas – mulch & label Permaculture Plants.  Hay Bale Gardening – get bale, place & plant them in North Garden.   Green House – clear and replant for 2016 season.  Possibly Ginger, Tumeric,  other TBD.  Plan Winter Greenhouse –  plants & schedule.   Option for Aug / Sept – a workshop on Winter Greenhouses with Jared.
  • Spiral Chamber: Jack up E side – repair foundation, Ridge Cap – take down and remake, put back up !  (2 Days)
  • Design Charettes for the Round Pole Framing the  Earth Oven area & West Wing Loft.
  • Compost Furnace System –  dismantle parts
  • Woodshed – Finish living roof details & add support posts.
  • Hops Trellis – add beautiful forages poles for support, bench construction.
  • A Frame Woodshed by SBS – finish Thatching.

Each Monthly Internship will include THE BASICS + a UNIQUE MONTHLY FOCUS.


  • Hands-on Activities based on current projects
    • Earth Plastering, Cob, Round Pole, Foraging, Permaculture Gardening & more.
    • A variety of additional skills will be offered depending on the focus of each month (see below).
  • Classroom Sessions on Design, Site Considerations, Foundations & Framing, Wall Systems +
  • Community Connections
    • Permaculture Meetup, Full Moon Potluck.
    • Events for the public are  held during each month. Help prep, plan, participate !
  • Food, Training & Materials, Lodging

UNIQUE MONTHLY FOCUS –  2016 schedule 

  • APRIL 2016    Focus:  Strawbale Studio ~ Plaster, Earthen Floors+.  Natural Building Outreach.  Gardening/Foraging.
    • Scheduled Events:  April 10 – 15  MSU Art Project. April 13, Permaculture Meetup. April 17 Foraging Class.  April 22-24  Rochester Earth Day Festival. April 22 Full Moon Potluck.
  • MAY 2016  Focus:  Hobbit Sauna  ~ Living Roof Section, Earth Plaster & Floor. Gardening & Foraging.
    • Scheduled Events:  May 11 Permaculture Meetup.  May 14 Foraged Brunch.  May 21 Full Moon Potluck & Helping Day.  May 28 Cob & Earth Plastering.  May 29 Earth Oven Workshop.
  • JUNE  2016 Focus:  Identity Cabin ~ Strawbale Walls, Earth Plaster, Thatching.  Garden / Forage
    • Scheduled Events: June 8 Permaculture Meetup. June 12 Foraging & Plants, June 25 proposed Strawbale Workshop. July 20 Full Moon Potluck
  • JULY * 2016 Focus:  Kids Cottage & Earth Oven Round Pole Frame
    • Scheduled Events:  July 13 Permaculture Meetup July 19 Full Moon Potluck, TBD Exchange Time with Natural Cottage Intern in Ohio.  July has Interships & 1/2 Pay Worktrade only.  No Wwoof this month.
  • AUGUST 2016  Finishing Touches  ~  Completing all buildings & Surrounds.  Gardening & Foraging. August has Internships and 1/2 Pay Work Trade only.
    • Scheduled Events:  August 7- 13 NATURAL BUILDING ESSENTIALS  ~ 1 Week Intensive.  August 10 Permaculture Meetup, August 18 Full Moon Potluck.
  • SEPTEMBER 2016 Local Building /Local Resources from the Land.  Gardens & Foraging
    • Scheduled Events:  Sept 14 Permaculture Meetup, Sept.16 Full Moon Potluck & bonfire.  Sept. 24 proposed date for Strawbale Studio 20th Anniversary Celebration

On this beautiful rural wooded land  1 hour North of Detroit, experience Natural Strawbale Buildings with Thatched Roofs, Living Roofs, a Hobbit Sauna, Rocket Stoves & Earth Oven, Mushroom Logs, Composting Systems, developing Permaculture Gardens &  more !

The Strawbale Studio is a place, and also a program with Internships, Classes & Outreach…seeking to joyfully weave  into the Web of Life !  This is a uniquely rich experience. 

Instructor & Coordinator, Deanne Bednar, is the illustrator of the Hand-Sculpted House & the Natural Plaster Book, and has 20 years of experience in natural building. Background: Art & Sustainable Futures teacher at the middle school level.  Loves to forage, use materials directly from nature in an artful and practical way !  

Attend one or more months April through September 2016 & January 2017.