Are you excited about the idea of living in a straw bale house but unsure of how to make your dream a reality (or are flat out terrified to even get started)? Join us at our Atlantic, Iowa seven-day, hands-on workshop!
Our workshops are designed to meet the needs of both the novice builder and experienced contractor. Andrew’s grasp of construction technology, with over 20 years as a professional builder, comes through in his ability to explain each detail in a way that benefits all participants. Our goal is to prepare you with a truly well-rounded educational experience so when it comes time for your build, you have the confidence to handle anything that comes up from construction hiccups to personal stress management.
So, come and join us…we would love to have you with us! Our workshops are rewarding, engaging, highly informational, and an absolute blast! Truly, much, much more than just a workshop!!
IN THE HOSTS’ OWN WORDS:
Welcome to Rolling Acres Farm!
Larry and I want to welcome you to Rolling Acres Farm in the rolling hills of southwest Iowa. We have been organic farmers since 1976 when we were married on the first day of spring and have never looked back. Larry grew up on this farm and learned to farm from his father and uncles. I grew up in town and did not know about farming but have had an affinity for the land throughout my life.
Through the years we have transitioned the farm from a beef farm to a dairy farm in the 1980s and 90s and onto an organic vegetable farm in the 2000s. We are currently a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm – people pay a membership to our farm, and become shareholders who receive weekly boxes of fresh organic produce for 22 weeks during our growing season. Our farm is certified organic and the veggies and other food you will eat during the build will come from the farm or from nearby farms. To get a snapshot of our farm go to this website: http://www.rollingacres76.com
Our three children Briana, Trevor and Caia were raised on this family farm and they have now produced eight grandchildren who visit regularly. Our long term plan is that our oldest daughter, her husband Kevin and their four children will move back to the farm in 2021. For a very long time we have been interested in straw bale construction and now we will live our dream of building a straw bale house across the yard from our 100+ year old farmhouse.
Contrary to what most folks think about Iowa, our topography is quite hilly (just try to ride a bike and you will find out). We are at the edge of the Loess Hills of Iowa, in the Missouri River watershed. The Loess Hills is an area the entire length of the state that was created when glaciers receded and winds blew off the high plains depositing large amounts of loess soil. The only other place in the world with deposits as deep as these is in China. Our land was once tall grass prairie with Big Blue Stem, Little Blue Stem, Purple and Yellow Cone flowers, Rattlesnake Master and thousands of other prairie species. We are actively working to restore some prairie on our land.
We have come to think of our farm as a sanctuary – a place where wildlife can find shelter in a sea of corn and soybeans, the preferred commodity crops of industrial agribusiness that has a devastating effect on our environment. Our seventeen acres is home to many bird species, thousands of pollinators, several cats and dogs, turkeys and chickens.
Our straw bale design was created by Integral Design Studio of Mt. Shasta, California and is called Bale Retreat 1100. It has an upper level bedroom and bath, a southern exposure and will be solar connected to the grid. We did extensive research and consulted with Andrew several times, had the plans modified and are excited about this two bedroom, two bath design. Larry has started clearing the area where the house will be built. He is a skilled heavy machinery operator and has the luxury of bringing home equipment on weekends.
Although we know that you will be busy with the tireless work that goes into building a straw bale house, there are several opportunities in our rural area to take advantage of. We live near the town of Atlantic that has a population of 7,000 people. I grew up in town and have an affinity for main street. There are bike trails nearby, a great YMCA, and several local restaurants/bars that have great food and drink. The nearby village of Elk Horn has the Danish Museum of America with timely exhibits and an authentic Danish Windmill. There is a small winery east of Elk Horn a few miles.
We very much look forward to meeting you and to welcoming you to our beautiful farm!
-Denise and Larry
What’s Included in Your Tuition?
All workshop participants receive the following with their registration…
TOP NOTCH INSTRUCTION FROM ANDREW (Priceless!!!) PLUS…
• 3 HEALTHY MEALS/DAY
• CAMPING SPACE
• SHOWER AND BATHROOM FACILITIES
“BE YOUR OWN CONTRACTOR” INSTANT DOWNLOAD VIDEOS ($34.99 Value)
22 PAGE STRAW BALE DETAILS INSTANT DOWNLOAD BOOKLET ($20 Value)
SPACE IS LIMITED!
Sign up now 🙂
Is This Workshop Right For Me?
It is if…
You don’t want to be that person that says “How hard can it be?” and then becomes the cautionary tale amongst your friends and family.
You’re an experienced builder but want to learn all the nuances & ins and outs of straw bale construction.
You’ve already designed your home, or even started to build. Now you’re running into a lot of questions and challenges and aren’t sure how to move forward.
You want to save money by building your own straw bale house but also want to make certain that you avoid costly mistakes.
You’ve never built anything before and don’t know if you’re insane for even considering building your own straw bale house.
Bale Stacking Details
Create strong and durable walls by learning the techniques used by master balers.
Retying and Resizing Bales
Master the fastest knot tying system to save time and money on your project.
Andrew’s framing system speeds your construction and lowers your budget.
Learn how to simplify the incorporation of electrical wiring in your bale walls.
Create gorgeous curves and sexy transitions to create an inspiring home with the art of bale shaping.
Windows, Doors, and HVAC
Keep your house moisture & mold free with proper ventilation and window/door installations.
Include pockets of beauty in your home with the installation of straw bale niches or “nichos”.
Cabinets & Special Installs
Master effective strategies to install cabinets, partition walls, and other special installations.
Plaster Prep Techniques
Build a strong foundation for your home’s plaster and ensure years of protection for your investment.
Learn the art of plastering in order to create a beautiful and durable finish for your home.
Financing and Insurance
Navigate the confusing world of paying for and insuring your straw bale home.
Endless Q & A
Ask me anything related to your personal project or general straw bale construction. ANYTHING!
Your Mentor is Andrew Morrison
Andrew has over 20 years of professional construction experience and in that time has done everything from design and build his own house, work as a licensed contractor and developer, give a TEDx talk (and numerous other presentations), co-author a national building code, to host several step-by-step instructional videos on contracting and building houses, and much more.
His greatest passion is teaching others how to build their own dream home and inspiring them to reach the highest level of their own greatness. Since 2006, Andrew has personally taught over 3,000 participants at his workshops. Through his kindness, sense of humor, and ability to teach complex concepts in easy-to-understand terms, his workshops are a mega-hit amongst his graduates. Make sure to bring your questions, curiosity, instruments (if you play any), and let’s have some fun while we build with bales!
SPACE IS LIMITED!
Sign up now 🙂
Here is what fellow workshop attendees are saying…
Karen Pope says…
“You truly are an inspiring teacher. All who are lucky enough to be your students receive the great gifts of your expertise, your humor, and your belief that we can all make a difference one home at a time. It was such a great pleasure to meet you and to be guided by you. I hope to be able to repeat the experience in the future.”
Mary Bushman says…
“Based on the information on the website and in the resource materials at strawbale.com I came to the Corvallis workshop with very high expectations. After a week of fabulous instruction and wonderful fellowship I am happy to report that my expectations were far EXCEEDED. Andrew is a teacher of rare talent. I will carry the lessons forward and am excited for the opportunity to use the new information to build our own straw bale heaven!”
Sharon Waldie says…
“GO TO THIS WORKSHOP! I’ve been learning about straw bale buildings for years, and I can honestly say that Andrew is a natural teacher. He deals with real issues that any home builder might encounter, and handles it with actual how-to answers. Great motivation to continue in my quest to become a resident of a straw bale home! Thank you so much.”
Reid Heimbeck says…
“What an awesome experience. It was truly hard to leave and go back home. I realize that this workshop was so much more than just learning about straw bale construction. I met 40 amazing people and gained several close friends from it. You personally are an inspiration to me, a role model as someone who has intentionally created a fun and fulfilling life. Thank you greatly for that. All my best my friend.”
Joy Wagner says…
“It truly was a wonderful week of hard work, hands on learning, and infectious fun. I so enjoyed being a part of the process: making new friends, learning additional skills, and experiencing camaraderie which strengthened as the week progressed. I treasure the overall experience and look forward to having a building workshop on our 5 acres someday. Thank you for being our cheerful and fearless leader!”
Theresa Coleman says…
“It is not only your experience that makes these workshops successful but your spirit and outlook on life. I was so impressed by how you can get a group of people to work so smoothly on a construction site, then at the end of the day still want to be around each other laughing and sharing. Once again thank you for such a great experience. Best Regards.”
Jim Ogden says…
“Andrew Morrison is an extraordinary teacher, a trusted leader, and a pioneer. It is through his passionate and enthusiastic approach, that he is setting new standards and raising the profile, credibility, and the global appeal of straw bale construction. All while sharing his love of life and his humor with us, the workshop participants.”
Leslie Arellanes says…
“Wow where do I even start? That was one of the best weeks of my life. I think Danielle and I are going to be your Straw Bale groupies. Thank you so much for creating such a magical workshop. Cheers!!!!”
Doss Palmer says…
“I have you to thank for the monumental shift in my life and honestly attending your workshop has been the best decision I’ve ever made to better myself.”
Clint Pinder says…
“This class literally PAID FOR ITSELF in the first day. The amount of knowledge that Andrew shared along with his ability to explain complex details in simple, easy to understand language made the educational aspect of this workshop amazing. AND, we had a blast!!!”
Jen Paulson says…
“A 10 day break from media and glowing screens, unplugged, submerged in a community of love and support is a life changing event. I am so fortunate to have had the privilege to experience this twice. Thank you.”
Robert Roach says…
“We would not have had the confidence to try this project or to plan our house build with knowing and learning from you.”