Sisters on the Fly

by Christina Nellemann on May 25th, 2009. 70 Comments

Howdy ladies! This post is for all those cowgirls, or wanna-be cowgirls out there…and the men who love them.

Sisters on the Fly is a group of nearly 1,000 women from around the U.S. who own and restore vintage camping trailers. They take their colorful homes on wheels on the Cowgirl Caravan to partake in outdoor adventures like fly fishing, horseback riding, rafting, or just eating fried food and watching fireflies.

Reel Suite Sister #684

Button Willow Sister #595

Button Willow (Sister #595)

Each sister is designated by a number and by the name of her trailer. The Sisters also engage in vintage trailer sales, restoration, customization and registry. For a $40 annual fee any woman with a vintage or new trailer can join the cowgirl caravan.

The Sisters were started in 1999 by two real sisters, Becky and Maurrie. They wanted their female friends to experience their love of fly fishing and began to invite and teach other women about the outdoors. Their motto is “WE HAVE MORE FUN THAN ANYONE”.

Miss Rodeo Sister #6

Miss Rodeo (Sister #6)

Each of the Sister’s trailers are about 12 feet to 24 feet in length. The trailer makes vary: Holiday, Shasta, Aljoa, Scotsman, Aloha, Fireball and even an Airstream thrown in for good measure. Each trailer reflects its owner’s personality with its theme and sister number proudly posted on the rear of the trailer. They are decorated inside and out in usually a western kitschy theme. The Sister’s believe after a hard day of driving and having fun it is pure bliss to fall into your own feather bed at the close of the day, and awake to the smell of coffee and bacon right outside your door.

By Christina Nellemann

Rockin' Robin Sister #269

Rockin' Robin (Sister #269)

Norma Faye Sister #250

Norma Faye (Sister #250)

Jadite Jane Sister #71

Jadite Jane (Sister #71)

Puck Sister #847

Puck (Sister #847)

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Straw Bale Women

by Christina Nellemann on September 22nd, 2008. 9 Comments

There is something feminine about straw bale homes. The warmth, curves and color of these natural spaces act like a hug when you walk in the door. While these profiled straw bale homes are small rather than tiny (most are around 400-800 square feet) they were envisioned, designed and built by women that I feel epitomize the beauty of the straw bale house.

Most followers of strawbale building and other natural building techniques know of the Canelo Project and Athena Swentzell Steen.

Carolyn Roberts and her straw bale home

She and her husband Bill run this small non-profit organization that is dedicated to the exploration and development of living systems, including growing food and building homes that creates friendship, beauty and simplicity.

Straw bale cottage at the Canelo Project

Straw bale cottage at the Canelo Project

Interior of straw bale cottage at the Canelo Project

Interior of straw bale cottage at the Canelo Project

Their latest book is Small Strawbale, which covers everything from building walls and open shelters to small and exquisite homes built out of straw bales.

Carolyn Roberts also wrote a book detailing the trials and triumphs of building her own straw bale home outside of Tucson, Ariz. A House of Straw: A Natural Building Odyssey profiles the challenges of passing her county inspections, the issues of building a house as a single woman while trying to raise two children, and the wonders of creating her own space and the friends she made along the way. Her website breaks down the cost of each part of the building process, and her total for the home (land not included) came to approximately $50,000. Because of the thick walls and use of passive solar, her electric bills average about $35 a month.

Interior of Carolyn Robert's straw bale house

Interior of Carolyn Robert's straw bale house

Caroline Coalter Wilson built her house, Paca de Paja, to also serve as a small bed and breakfast. She works at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and runs the B&B part time. She was previously a park ranger and naturalist with the National Park Service and has written several publications on natural history.

Paca de Paja

Paca de Paja

I really admire these women who have tackled the building process from the ground up and utilize the beauty of natural products in their homes. More information for my fellow female dreamers and builders can be found in the book
The House That Jill Built.

By Christina Nellemann

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