The Hermitage

Hassan and DanielleGuest Post by Collin Vickers

Hassan Hall, natural builder and self-styled woodsmith, combines permaculture principles with an ancient, artisanal approach in his ecologically sustainable homestead: the Hermitage.

Tucked away on the wild margins of Dancing Rabbit Eco-Village  amidst a riot of herbs and flowers, the Hermitage is a much beloved home and sanctuary for Hassan and his partner Danielle, a shamanic practitioner, while they prepare to have children and pursue their vision of right-living using the model of ecological sustainability. It is a testament to the potential of natural building technology, made entirely of recycled, upcycled and locally harvested materials. Continue reading

Kyle’s Gnome Dome

dome exterior

Guest Post by Collin Vickers

Kyle Yoder, self-taught builder extraordinaire, uses science and ingenuity to turn others’ trash into his own treasure.

Kyle’s visionary experiment, the Gnome Dome, is arguably the most unique abode at Dancing Rabbit Eco-village. Orphaned by its prior owner and condemned to destruction due to a gnarly mold infestation, the Dome was nearly demolished several years ago, but Kyle recognized great potential in the structure and convinced the village to let him solve its problems. Now it stands as a testament to how, with a little tender loving care, even the most humble of experimental tiny houses can evolve to become a beautiful marriage of mad science and aesthetic brilliance. Continue reading

The Foxhole a Cob and Timber Tiny Home

Winter Foxhole

Guest Post by Collin Vickers

Modern day pioneers, Mae Ferber and Benjamin Brownlow, have set out to rediscover the lost arts of Old West homesteading in the information age, with a touch of high technology and fervent passion for ecological sustainability.

Their adventures in eco-living take place in the Foxhole, a living roof structure made mostly of natural materials on the outskirts of Dancing Rabbit Eco-village in the rolling hills of northeast Missouri. They have built it almost entirely without the use of fossil fuels, relying on their own hands and the help of a few friends and summer interns, with the exception of the foundation, which was excavated by machinery.

Ben, Mae and Althea

The house rests on a gravel bed foundation and the north wall, along with a spacious root cellar, has been dug into the crest of a ridge that merges with the soil heaped onto their roof, which has been planted with local flora that blend seamlessly with the surrounding landscape. Continue reading

Russ-Stick Farm Tiny Houses

Russ and Sherry may be familiar to anyone who reads the farming magazine and blog, Grit. The Michigan couple are known for the Russ-Stick Ramblings column which was named after their 40 acre Russ-Stick Acres farm where they live with their Alaskan and Siberian sled dogs in a small cordwood house named the Wee House. The 300 square foot Wee House has been their home for several years, but after last season’s harsh winter is due for a makeover, which they will cover in their blog.

wee-house-winter2

The Wee House in winter

Along with the Wee House, Russ and Sherry have an outhouse called the Wee Wee House, a summer kitchen, a meditation house named the Trapper, a guest house named the Bear’s Den and a small pump house—all built by Russ. All the homes are heated by wood stoves and The Bear’s Den is available for rent during winter months for $45 per night.

russ-stick-trapper1

Russ, one of his goats and the Trapper house

bears-den2

The Bear’s Den

Russ plans to extend the Wee House to include an underground portion and even some space for their chickens and rabbits, who live on the farm with the couple’s lambs, horses, Silver Fox rabbits, goats, cows and pigs. Russ-Stick Acres also produces maple syrup, firewood and Amish made products including jams, rugs, bird houses and quilts. Their Grit column cover everything from animal husbandry to country recipes.

bears-den-winter russ-stick-trapperruss-stick-trapper2

wee-wee-house  russ-stick-farm2 russ-stick-farm1

russ-stick-farm3

Photos courtesy of Russ-Stick Acres

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

Moroccan Tiny Houses

After the beautiful country of Spain we headed down to the culturally fascinating country of Morocco. This small part of Africa is home a large coastline, parts of the Atlas mountains and touches on the nearly 3.7 million square mile Sahara desert. In these wild areas that seem to be on the very edge of existence are some interesting small, traditional homes.

morocco-atlas-house2

Many people (specifically the Berber people of North Africa) in the Atlas mountains live and work as farmers raising goats, sheep, olives, wheat and fruit like dates, pomegranates and oranges. Because of the heat of the desert, homes have to keep both humans and animals cool and many of the homes you see are still built the traditional way. Bricks made with mud, sand and straw (sometimes animal dung) are laid out in the sun to dry. They are then stacked on top of a stone foundation and covered with mud plaster. Many of the homes don’t have windows, but instead have intricate metal grates for safety and airflow. Ceilings are made with bamboo stalks, the trunks of olive trees and covered with rocks and more mud plaster. Doors are actually made from the doors of shipping containers and then embellished with metal filigree and colorful paint.
morocco-atlas

morocco-atlas-house

morocco-atlas-village

Traditional Berber tents are located in the sand dunes of the Sahara. Unlike the Touareg nomads of West Africa, these tents stay in a location for years, even as the sandy landscape changes around them. Many small villages are built on harder rock that contains a small oasis. Wells are dug into the ground and water can be reached in about 15 feet. Tents and supplies are brought into the villages by camel or by dune buggy.

berber-camp

Berber rugs made of colorful wool yarn from both goat and sheep are used for the walls and floor while olive trunks are used as supports. Bamboo stalks are used for the roof. Tents are placed in a circle for protection from wind and sand and rugs are placed on the ground around a central fire pit.

berber-village

You can take a camel trek out into the Sahara desert with several tour groups in the Marrakech area. The drive into the desert takes about two days and gives you an idea of how tough these people have to be to survive the extreme climates of this rugged country.

camel-trek

 

Photos by Christina Nellemann

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]