• z-Auburn, West Virginia 2017

z-Auburn, West Virginia 2017



For Information About What Is Covered In Each and Every Workshop, Please Click HERE.


Mara and Paula first contacted me about three years ago as they began their journey of building a straw bale homestead in the beautiful country of West Virginia. I helped them find a designer and they have moved methodically and steadily forward with their vision since that time. I love the pace they chose as it reflects their attention to detail and care for getting things right. That’s always music to my ears when it comes to workshop hosts. I think you’ll love their location, their design, and them too! 


baling-hayAt long last, the dream of building our new home is about to become a reality. We’re so excited to think that you’re considering being a part of making that dream come true. Over the last few years, everything in our lives has changed. Everything. We made the move from our “American Dream” lifestyle, complete with a 6000 SF “McMansion” and all the trappings of success, to a simple life based in truth that allows us to enjoy life fully and to identify the things that really matter. It seems like we both “took the red pill” at the exact same time and suddenly we saw our “American Dream” for what it really was. So in our early 50’s, we started over.

We took classes and workshops to learn a multitude of homesteading skills and permaculture principles. We eliminated debt and clutter, eventually sold our 2 homes (including a vacation home in Florida) and found this peaceful place in the mountains of “Wild and Wonderful” West Virginia. It’s a stunning 147 remote acres, mostly wooded, with a few relatively flat acres of pasture. We committed ourselves to building the soil, repairing the land and living a more self reliant lifestyle.

img_4097After researching sustainable buildings and falling in love with straw bale construction, we were fortunate enough to connect with Andrew and he connected us with Chris Keefe of Organicforms Design. Chris helped us design a unique 2000 SF home to fit our building site: a timber frame structure with exterior bale walls, mostly earthen floors with radiant floor heating, and hopefully a solar roof as recently unveiled by Tesla.

For the past 2 years, we’ve raised and processed pastured poultry, Joel Salatin style. We also have an 8000 sq ft “zone one” garden and laying hens who gift us with organic eggs every day. At least half of our calories now come from right outside our back door which is both, a huge blessing and a sharp reduction of our “footprint”.

img_4963Much to our delight, Mara’s brother and sister in law have agreed to be our personal chefs during the workshop. With decades of gourmet chef experience, this workshop also promises to be a culinary adventure; fresh, delicious meals from local farms at every meal. We’ve all been in some sort of “customer service” industry so we know how to entertain and plan to ensure that you have the time of your life! Evening entertainment around here typically consists of gazing at the magnificent starlit sky, cranking up the bonfire, and sipping a fresh, all-grain, home brew that yes, we make ourselves.

rainbowWith 147 acres of woodland, creeks and even small falls during the rainy season, there’s plenty of space to wonder or hike on our property. Plan to come early or stay late and enjoy some of the natural beauty of “Wild and Wonderful” West Virginia. We’re located near North Bend State Park, Stonewall Jackson Resort, and New River Gorge National River, to name a few amazing areas. These areas offer a multitude of recreational opportunities including fishing streams, lakes, hiking trails, abundant wildlife, whitewater rafting, bird watching, rock climbing, zip lining, biking, hunting, excellent overnight accommodations, and Arnold Palmer Signature golf course, and much, much more.

As you can tell, we LOVE where we live and we know you will too. We look forward to hosting you and to building our dream home together.

To View a Short Video of the Workshop Experience Click Below


• Post and Beam Straw Bale Instant Download Video

• A Modern Look at Straw Bale Construction E-Book

• Be Your Own Contractor Training Instant Download Videos

• Straw Bale Specific Construction Details Booklet

• Three Healthy Meals per Day During the Workshop

• Use of Bathroom/Bathing Facilities

• 7 Days of Instruction and Hands-On Learning

• Camping Space


“This was a life changing experience”  -Dana P, Tennessee

“Andrew is an outstanding facilitator”  -Julie S, Saskatchewan

“One of the best weeks I’ve ever had”  -Federico F, Buenos Aires

“Workshop paid for itself the 1st day”  -Clint P, Manitoba