why rising earth?

The title of this blog draws from my time as an apprentice at the Cob Cottage Company in costal Oregon. If you spend time with natural building folk, you'll eventually find yourself around a fire, sing silly songs about cob and natural building. Folks usually refer to these oftentimes improvised tunes as "cobsongs". I often sang..."There is a house in old coquille, they call the rising earth, it's been the work of many hands, and you know what that's worth..."

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Rising Earth Natural Building

Michael McDonough and Rising Earth Natural Building welcome a second home on the web:
risingearthbuilding.com will compliment this blog with project portfolio and more detail on myself and work. The site will be updated with more content in time, while this blog remains a great way to share current activities.

 This building features stone, timber and earth sourced on site in Hillsborough, NC. Exterior walls are stud framed, insulated with light straw-clay, and finished with lime plaster. A massive cob wall divides the southern greenhouse and studio, providing thermal mass.

The natural walls are made of materials found on site, which means that soil is dug up, mixed with sand, straw, and water. Cob is heavy and dries very strong. It's mostly earth, with some straw mixed in by foot. Light Straw Clay is used as insulation and plaster substrate. It's made of loose straw tossed with watery clay, and packed in wall forms.

Natural building is simple and easy to learn, but lots of work...the kind of job to do with friends. I always enjoy an opportunity to engage the community in a project, so Anu of Hillsborough Permaculture and I hosted a series of work parties to get the job done. People were eager to help out, and learn something new in exchange for good labor. I've found that introducing folks to natural building is rewarding and exciting. Bringing people together provides good company and fresh ideas, and the building benefits by having the contribution of others.