Hi! My name is Brittny and I was lucky enough to grow up in Montana. I’ve moved a lot with my work as an engineer and have been back in Texas for the last 4 years. I’ve always loved to travel and I’ve been fortunate to visit over 40 countries and 6 continents. Since moving to my house, I’ve been spending time working on transforming my small suburban yard into a wildlife and permaculture oasis. I have 11 different types of fruit trees and bushes in my yard (5 have produced fruit so far!). I’ve also stocked my yard with milkweed and nectar plants for the Monarch butterflies and their fall migration is one of my favorite times of the year.
A new member joined the family in July 2020: Ginger, a 3lb pom, yorkie, poodle mix. She is super smart, stubborn and spoiled. She loves people and getting attention wherever we go. She has no concept of “Stranger Danger,” so I suspect she will be thrilled to have a bunch of new friends to play with during the workshop.
The project is in Godley, TX which is located 30 minutes south of Fort Worth. I came back to the DFW metroplex after a 3 year stint in Wyoming. It was crazy to see the population growth in that short time frame and it has steadily continued since then. Luckily there is still a lot of open space, and a comfortable pace of life here in Godley. I only had 3 days to find a house when moving back and there wasn’t much on the market. I ended up with a house that is way too big and has a back patio I rarely use because it faces due west. The sun turns that patio into a hot box during the summer and it is shaded (and cold) during the winter. That patio is what got me started on the path to building my straw bale home. I knew that a proper, well thought out design could have made that patio so much more enjoyable. It’s funny how things that seem like “downers” can often be the catalyst for great things!
After my first summer and winter in the house, I started researching passive solar design and yep, there was a better way to build! I want a house that takes advantage of passive solar properties and is more appropriately sized (instead of having rooms that are visited only twice a year).
I firmly believe that we need to leave things better than we found them, and that we can truly be the change we want to see in the world. Even though straw bale homes are not mainstream in Texas, I think that can change and I look forward to being on the leading edge of that change.
My property is located about 30 minutes south of Fort Worth, TX, as mentioned above, on the outskirts of Godley, TX. I’m saying it again because I imagine that most of you will never have heard of Godley before. It’s a 9 acre property with lots of room for camping. For those not into camping, Cleburne and Joshua have hotels/motels and are both within 20 mins of my place. In a previous life, the property was a cotton farm and then more recently, a small airfield. There is still a small airstrip less than a mile away and on most weekends, you can see small Cessna airplanes doing acrobatics over the field.
I will be building a 1,200 sq ft Dutch gabled straw bale residence with a loft. There are 2 bedrooms on the ground floor as well as a full bathroom. Stairs lead to the open loft area above. I love this design’s layout because of its open floor plan connecting the kitchen, living and dining rooms, and also because of its compact and efficient size. Having lived in a house that’s much larger than I need, I’m looking forward to being in a well thought out, and super efficient space.
THINGS TO DO
I always like to take visitors to Fossil Rim Safari park in Glen Rose, TX. You can drive through the park and feed zebras, giraffes, ostriches and several types of African antelopes. They also have cheetahs and rhinos there. Although it’s not the African plains, summers here are likely to make these animals feel close to their natural habitat, thus my desire to build with bales! Make sure to check out the fossilized dinosaur prints in Glen Rose as well.
The stockyards in Fort Worth are well worth a visit too. Make sure to arrive in the early afternoon to see the longhorn cattle driven through the street. Immerse yourself in the western lifestyle with a trip to Stockyard saloon and Billy Bob’s honkytonk. The Fort Worth Zoo and Botanical Gardens are always worth a visit as well.
I look forward to meeting you on my wonderful property in Godley and to sharing some great times, great food, laughter, and to creating some great memories together while we bale my dream straw bale home!