The Foxhole a Cob and Timber Tiny Home

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.

Timbers Going Up

Locally harvested posts and beams provide structural support for the home and its earthen plaster walls are primarily insulated with regionally sourced straw bales. Recycled rigid foam is one of the few petroleum based products used in the building’s composition, employed sparingly for tricky applications where straw does not lend itself well.

Barn Raising

Windows make up much of the south-facing wall, a feature that admits natural light throughout the year and in winter allows the sun to passively heat their 420 square feet of interior earthen floor, which serves as a thermal mass in cold seasons and a heat sink in warmer periods.

During the many months of inclement weather in the Midwest, a Serbian wood-fueled iron range is used for both heating and cooking, while summer cooking is done outside so the house stays cool and humidity-free, which reduces mold growth. Their diet consists mostly of dry staples, fresh foods they grow and produce themselves, (including poultry meat and eggs, along with Ben’s own hardy strain of black-eyed peas: poverty peas,) much of which they can in glass jars for the winter season. They have a preference for anything found in the ‘Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cooking’, such as this treat from last fall: a rich stew of root vegetables, wild autumn herbs and a road-killed female opossum, (whose pinkling babies made a high-protein snack for their flock of Muscovy ducks).

Strawbales Going Up

There is no bathroom facility in the Foxhole itself, so the family relies on an old-fashioned outhouse, (the aptly named Critter Shi… well, I’ll let you guess its name,) while a new moldering toilet is in the works not far from the Safety Barn, so-called because of the inevitability of bumping your head on a rafter when you go inside.

A single 120 Watt solar panel, combined with a pair of salvaged car batteries, powers all of the electronics in the household, including a sewing machine. Ben has found that LED lights are inexpensive and energy efficient – the kind manufactured in the form of adhesive strips for use as under-lighting in snazzy hotrods is particularly useful.

Summer Foxhole

“When I was a little girl, all I ever wanted was to work for a tangible thing that I could hold and be proud of, and now I have it,” Mae told me as we sat in the shade of their Mother Tree overlooking the King’s Forest, where Ben is developing a permaculture guild of native tree species for coppicing and livestock forage. “Building the Foxhole is the hardest thing I have ever done,” she added, “and it was so worth it.”

The Critter lifestyle has been pivotal in the early development of their little daughter Althea, who has learned to identify scores of wild plants in the area and knows which ones she can eat and which ones must be avoided. “When she was three,” Mae told me, “she was walking down a flight of stairs and commented on how narrowly they were made and I was just blown away – I don’t think I was fully aware that the structures around me were intentionally built by someone until my twenties.”

Homeschooling Althea

I have known Ben and Mae for a year, thus far, and the thing that has struck me most about them is how deeply they care about our environment and the animals they raise. I was once invited to share in a supper of pan-fried fowl: Big Black, a rooster whose time had come. That meal was a farewell ceremony of sorts for Big Black, and a trip down memory lane for Mae.

Earthen Plaster and Serbian Stove

This deep connection with their animals extends to the way in which they conduct their online business, Rabbit Feathers, where they offer the gorgeous feathers of their various rare, heritage breeds. They treat the matter of harvesting their birds with the highest degree of reverence, and they strive to ensure that the birds are raised both humanely and ecologically.

 

I asked what advice they would have for anyone wanting to follow in their footsteps, and Mae believes that having prior building experience stood her in good stead when construction began. “I had stomped tons of cob before, and I knew how to chisel the joinery for the timber framing.”

“But I had never done plaster work before,” Mae added as she indicated a patch of lime plaster whitewashed over a section of the clay fascia of a nearby wall. “I was nervous about applying plaster to the walls because I was scared that I would mess it up, and sure enough, I did.”

She also advised taking time to heed the qualified advice of those around you, prioritizing rodent proofing, (especially if you intend to build a straw bale home like the Foxhole,) and suggests that any notion of a budget you have in mind for a project of this kind should be tripled from the outset.

Loft Bed

The Critters have spent more than two years and around $6,500, (a third of which went to the moisture barrier lining their living roof,) on the ongoing project so far, excluding the costs of tools and hired labor.

“Don’t skimp on the planning,” was Ben’s best advice. “If I had the foresight to build the house ten feet further uphill, I wouldn’t have had three weeks of work to do making sure that water doesn’t sluice into the foundation.” Ben also had these words of encouragement to offer: “No matter what, don’t be daunted. I failed special-ed geometry and look at me now – living in a house made of dirt!”

If you want to get in touch with the Critters or read more about their hilarious adventures at Dancing Rabbit Eco-village, check out their blog: ‘Clawing Our Way to Sustainable’!

Althea and Ragweed the Cat

Join Our eMail List and download the Tiny House Directory

Simply enter your name and email below to learn more about tiny houses and stay up to date with the movement.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Sparrow - February 19, 2015 Reply

Yeah, but you know, Mae, it’s kinda sad that the poor kid is living in such extreme circumstances – imposed upon her by her parents – that her idea of recreation is to smear magic markers all over her cat.

    Mike Wofsey - February 19, 2015 Reply

    Jeez, why so negative Lisa? What’s the difference between living in a dirt house and living in a suburban house designed by a computer? What’s the difference between smearing markers on a cat and smearing markers in an activity book purchased for $14.95 at the local educational superstore? It’s a new world, it’s now connected, and intelligent, hard working people are going to choose to live well in new ways and old ways. The family is gorgeous, you might learn something about wealth from them, they seem to awash in it.

      Pat - February 19, 2015 Reply

      Well … in response. Ink is probably not a good think to put on the cat. Really…

    Debbie G - February 19, 2015 Reply

    I am the proud grandmother of Althea, and you have no reason to feel sorry for her. She is the brightest, happiest, most creative little girl I have ever known. She learns more in one season of living simply than the average TV-watching, video-game playing All American kid will ever get to experience in his entire childhood. She visits me every year, and while I have fun taking her to some of my favorite spots where I live, I find I learn much more from her and her beautiful spirit. So Sparrow, it is not sad. Althea is being raised by loving and caring parents in a way that will make her a loving and caring member of society. Whether she chooses to continue that particular lifestyle as she becomes an adult will be her own decision, but I believe she has a wonderful foundation for wherever life takes her.

    jipsi - February 20, 2015 Reply

    I feel the same, about both the little girl AND the poor cat – seriously, no amount of debate changes the FACT that NO animal ‘likes’ this, and this one is just too frightened to run away or fight back… and I see those HUGE scissors and become even more fearful….
    No matter how poor, or spartan, our lives were as kids, we KNEW that this behavior was WRONG, we also knew to prevent others from doing so, if we could.
    That this mother not only decided it was ‘harmless’, but thought nothing of sharing the pic, in fact tells everyone reading that there is definitely a major difference in lifestyle and parenting at work – and NOT exactly for the ‘best’.
    Sorry, Mae. I love your determination and ability to live with little, but this is not a simple matter of being praised and applauded ‘atta girl’ because you showed hardcore ‘simplifyin’ could be done!
    As another reader stated, living ‘simply’ and all that should be a move forward, not a fall back into ‘dirt-poor’ (death by malnutrition and childbirth, unsanitary conditions, no vaccinations for small pox, no education regarding animals and the proper way to treat them, etc).
    I don’t often make comments here bordering on harsh, so I do hope Mae will take SOMETHING constructive from the critics, use the points suggested to help her ‘smooth’ some of the ‘rough edges’ of her chosen lifestyle.
    Above all, her child should not have to WANT for ANYTHING, regardless of mama’s choices. Splurge on a REAL toothbrush and REAL dentist-approved toothpaste, keep pest products (organic’s okay) onhand to keep both the critters AND the child safe, etc.
    This kind of ‘simple life’ is NOT recommended for small children, IMHO, especially when there are choices that can be made providing modern hygiene, education and the certain tech needs the child will need to have (in order to fit in with her peers at school and elsewhere) as she grows, while letting Mom still have her ‘tiny and simple’ life….

      jipsi - February 20, 2015 Reply

      AGAIN, I want to stress, I am not against Mae’s simple life. I am simply worried, as a parent and an animal lover, that some education might need to take place as to the care and treatment of ‘critters’. The last picture was not my only concern, but that it might be the ‘tip of the iceberg’ in other areas that we are not privy to via the article. I apologize before my first comment has even been posted, because I do not want my voice viewed as mean, unkind, cruel, etc., as it was not intended to be.
      But I do stand behind my opinion, that children should NOT have to ‘do without’ just because WE want to live with less.
      I grew up without a LOT of things, as a child, and it hurt, all the way, but we dealt with things the best we could.
      If a parent CAN afford to provide certain needs and even occasional ‘luxuries’ for their child, they should do so, and not deprive them by their ‘adopted’ principles, however noble.

      virya - February 20, 2015 Reply

      wow…so much judgement and harsh words….please folks let go of your some what puritan views of life. the markers are probably water washable. my grand daughter just decided one day to write on my face. It was funny. I am a strong supporter of animals and this animal is not being abused. Their choice to live simply is theirs…why do you get upset about it. what is it doing to you?? I love what the grandmother has to say. I believe that this child will grow up very strong in her heart and mind. many prayers to all and peaceful minds to some.
      Kelsang Virya, Buddhist nun

      Ben Brownlow - February 21, 2015 Reply

      Jipsi-
      Who are you? Do you know us? Is there some reason you feel entitled to tear my family down with your assumptions? Does that make you feel good? It makes me feel awful, to take the risk of putting myself out there, trying to promote simple, clean, harmonious living and have everything called into question by overreaching, anonymous naysayers like yourself. First of all, you make an assumption that we can afford better, and that simply is not true. This is what we’ve got. If that horrifies you, take a look at the great majority of people on this planet, and do something meaningful to change things. My child does not suffer from our lifestyle. She is very rich in knowledge and experience. She is very well educated. You make alot of assumptions about our hygeine and healthcare, and they are wrong. We live on maybe $3000 a year, and not for a lack of hard work. American consumers simply do not value ethical, sustainably produced food, and hence we aren’t much valued in our endeavor. So that’s what we’ve got to work with, and we’re all quite happy, thanks for your concern. To work as hard as we do to create a better world for ourselves, and you, and feel torn down for it can be incredibly demoralizing. Right now I feel like you’re spitting in my face for acting on my values about how OUR planet will survive. And you’re shocked that we own a pair of scissors? If you don’t want to sound mean, unkind, or cruel, then don’t act that way. I’m not worried about piddling things like cats and markers. I’m worried about our children inheriting a burning desert. We’re not starving. We grow our own food. And if the tide isn’t turned soon, chances are you’ll starve quicker than we will. Well, I’m as free to make assumptions as anyone, right? Here’s a few more. You are a nasty and mean-spirited person and overly involved in other peoples’ business. I’m not responsible for the guilt you feel in connection to the materialsm of your childhood, and I don’t want to be bothered with it. I’m doing enough for you already. The majority of folks who’ve responded to this post have been kind and understanding, and we appreciate the back up. Its nice to feel like somebody gets it. We make some sacrifices, but our life is good, and I am confident that it will only become more joyous and rewarding with time. But realizing that there are people out there who seem to hate the very idea of our existence is deeply saddening. I observe that when people can’t do something, they criticize those who can. I am certainly guilty of this at times. But I have the decency not to pee pee on someone else’s parade because of my own perceived inadequacy. The world burns, and you worry about my toothpaste. You’re not my mom. If you can’t get a life, please cease and desist from tearing down others. But what would I know? I’m just a poor ignorant duck farmer. Even though I’ve got enough on my plate, and I’ve just wasted too much time on this silliness, I’d prefer to be your target. Leave my family alone. They’re nice. I’m not. And you cannot shame me.

    Amy - February 20, 2015 Reply

    Rich kids smear magic marker on their cats, too. Much better than being parked at the boob tube. I don’t think the cat was scared, her ears are forward and she looks calm. Probably not good for her to lick it off, though. That being said the child is with her parent who are obviously concerned and interacting with her, she will probably learn a lot about real life. If she’s caught in a Missouri snowstorm,she’ll know more about survivla than most,
    and if it all hits the fan, as some say it will, she’ll be much better prepared to find food without crying into her cell phone that she can’t go to the mall

JAMES WILSON - February 19, 2015 Reply

I love this little family.
I gazed at the three of you
and your willingness to work
and to work really hard.
How beautiful the three of you looked.
Little girl, kitty, and art supplies.
I am 77 yrs old and love to build.
I went back to the land 40 yrs ago
and would do it all over again.
Like you all, I looked around and did’nt
like a whole bunch of what I saw.
I honor your beauty, your commitment,
and your joy.
Shalom – Bing

Andrew M. Odom - February 19, 2015 Reply

Lisa, I was compelled by your assessment of The Critters to craft a reply to you. However, upon reading a third and fourth time your own first sentence essentially said all that needs to be said.

“I could never live like this; and I wouldn’t want to.”

The desire to live in the way that you do should not be for me or anyone else to determine or judge and I would hope we none find it our place to pass that judgement in the direction of Ferber or Brownlow.

Linnea - February 19, 2015 Reply

I’m flabbergasted by the negativity that pops up in the comments on this site lately. This looks like a perfectly cozy abode that does what it’s intended; it’s a shelter! If you think a priority of shelter should be its ability to be featured in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine I have no idea why you are looking at this particular website, as there are plenty of beautiful interior design blogs out there. I myself grew up in a less than mainstream housing scenario where the focus was on outdoor world where I absorbed most of my fundamental learning. This looks like the best kind of childhood to me! My wish is for these naysayers to actually show us what they would do instead of hiding behind crass and judgmental internet trolling.

Kayakkel - February 19, 2015 Reply

I have to admit I find this conversation about lifestyles, parenting, and materialism fascinating. Most days I am astonished at middle/upper class lifestyles in America where we value mountains of debt, endure the vargaries of the stock market, and promote a pervasive materialism. I appreciate Mae and Benjamin sharing a view into an alternative approach where they live with ethics leading to a sustainable world, family values where time and love are more important than ‘stuff’, and raising a daughter in a world where she is closer to nature rather than being in an antiseptic environment of plastic and electronics that is more typical for most of us. I live in Alaska where many people live in remote homesteads and villages – often people living in remote, rustic places find happiness and wisdom more easily than do city-dwellers reliant on rush-hour commuting, childcare centers, and visits to the mall. The original posting was about the challenges of building and living in a cob house. Thank you for sharing your insights! I applaud your efforts to find a way of living that creates a different way of finding fulfillment and happiness in this world.

Cedar - February 19, 2015 Reply

I so appreciate seeing young families finding their way living simply with the earth. Gives me hope for the world….Thank you.

Darren - February 19, 2015 Reply

Halo Mae and family!
You are heroes to me. There are people like yourselves working hard at reestablishing communities not centered around greed and living off others in Russia. Just Google “Ringing Cedars” and the Kin ( settlements ) being built in Siberia where the schools for children are built by the younglings.

http://www.pinterest.com/ringingcedarsus/kins-settlements-around-the-world/

Take care and thanks for hugging everyone for me!

AlNZ - February 19, 2015 Reply

Well done. That’s a huge commitment and a lot of work. So inspiring that there’s people experimenting with different ways of living.

Our city-home raised chickens, eggs and honey tastes so much better.

Brad - February 19, 2015 Reply

Definitely not for me, but if it works for them and they’re happy and not causing an issue for the community, then more power to them. Everyone has their own preferences and wants and needs. This works for them. Not something I’d duplicate for myself though.

Heck even in regards to “tiny home” living, while I like the creativity of tiny homes, I’m more interested in small homes for myself rather than something tiny. Some can go that small, some can’t or don’t want to.

Some can go more bare bones like these folks and some can’t or don’t want to. Again, as long as you’re not causing a problem with your community and it’s healthy for you and your family, I guess I can’t complain.

Leigh - February 19, 2015 Reply

We are blessed to live in a country where we can CHOOSE how we live and how we raise OUR children. I thought it was very inventive to use pastels on the cat!!! Back in the sixty’s there was a return to the earth movement. Look for the Fox Fire books- great lessons on primitive/pioneer living.
GOOD FOR YOU!!!!!!
Lisa- get your own life.

Nancy - February 19, 2015 Reply

Lisa,
hope you have chosen a life you like?
This family has made a choice that suits them. Not sure about markers
on the cat as they can be very toxic. That
said I say live and let live. You sound a little stiff in the joints to me.

Donna O' Sullivan - February 19, 2015 Reply

This is beautiful. Don’t listen to any naysayers. Basic values of courtesy and humility have all but vanished, but not in your realm. And that’s all that matters. May you be blessed in your lovely home. : )

Tamra Thein - February 19, 2015 Reply

Simplicity. I love it. You’re living our dream. Not may people can do that. Your story, housing, family & SPIRIT are amazing. Peace.

eaufraiche - February 19, 2015 Reply

If you research this community, you will find that they would be very welcoming to you should you chose to check out what they’ve established!
I think all of these articles/conversations are important because they provide us such a contrast to what we’re supposed to assume is standard operating procedure.
Strokes and folks, people….
Regardless of your opinion re this settlement/lifestyle, you must admit that this family seems quite happy with what they’ve created! Kudos to them for this.

Debbie G - February 19, 2015 Reply

Lisa E — did you even read the article or did you just look at the pictures? It is not “abject poverty” that is determining their home or their lifestyle. Ben and Mae made a conscious and heart-felt CHOICE to live in a way that does not continue our society’s rapid descent into a culture of wastefulness. Granted, not everyone can take it to this extreme, so if this lifestyle is not for you, that if fine. But understand that they are making this effort, not because of a lack of government programs to help them, but because they very much value their independence and their ability to provide for their family without harming the planet any more than it has been already by our greedy corporations, governments, and uninformed citizens.

Janice - February 19, 2015 Reply

Thanks for sharing your life with us. I appreciate the simple (well, maybe not so simple) lifestyle you have chosen. Hope to be off grid and more simplistic someday also. It is interesting to see how different people tackle different things and try different housing ideas. Lots of people chose to spend less money and have less debt. Do what is best for your family.
I am concerned about the cat though. One of my cats bathes herself a lot. I do not think using markers on the cat it healthy, or respectful, for the cat. Maybe it was a one time thing? Surely there is something else that the markers can be used on.

Jody Pountain - February 19, 2015 Reply

Mae and Benjamin,
THANK YOU for letting your story be told! You have so much to be proud of. I think the choices you have made are beautiful. You are following your dreams and doing what makes you happy.

I share that passion to do what makes me happy, no matter what anyone else thinks. Only I can decide what is right for me, as do you.

Enjoy every moment! 🙂

Collin Vickers - February 19, 2015 Reply

Thank you so much, to everyone who has positive things to say about the choices Ben and Mae have made in order to live their lives more sustainably.

Sparrow said it was sad, earlier, that Althea is living in such ‘extreme circumstances’. I think this kind of sentiment is derived from a lack of clarity about the context in which the Foxhole stands. The conditions here are not really so extreme as they might appear at first glance.

For example, in our community, Dancing Rabbit Eco-village, we share common infrastructure for things like showers, internet access, automotive transportation and social spaces. The Critters don’t need to build their own facilities for these things, or own their own vehicle, because they can share in the common infrastructure we have available.

As for Althea, she has many other children in the area to play with, she is much beloved by many surrogate aunts and uncles who teach her new things all the time, and she is certainly well fed. In fact, just last night I shared in a delicious dinner with the Critters: barbeque duck, roasted potatoes, black beans and coleslaw with ice cream for desert. We’re not talking about Dust Bowl Era austerity, here.

All of that aside, if any of you have any questions about the Foxhole itself pertaining to what it’s made of or how it was made, I’d happy to answer them. 🙂

– CV

Marvin Double - February 19, 2015 Reply

One thing which seems to have been missed by other commenters is the smaller environmental impact created by living in such a manner.

In a world headed rapidly towards a massive environmental disaster, we may each be forced to live more simply, driven to do so by natural forces.

It is well established that our current rate of consumption and population growth is unsustainable. With those points in view we should admire those who take the initiative to reduce their dependence a socially accepted lifestyle model which can not continue.

Downscaling lifestyles, to live more simply is a good response to the coming crisis. Add to the the predicted global economic collapse and living simply will shortly not be a choice but an imperative.

Getting ahead of the curve is a good idea. Soon many others will follow in one manner or another.

james - February 19, 2015 Reply

Mae….. You and your family Rock it out…. So amazing….. may your everyday be blessed with the challenges that strengthen you, the adventure that allows you to dream and the peace at heart and in mind that gives you the ok to ignore the ignorance of those that know nothing of your true journey… Namaste

Christy Shellman - February 19, 2015 Reply

It is amazing to see people so committed to the idea of simplicity in living. Not that living off the land and the grid isn’t hard. But it rewards the soul for sure! Applause to you!! And pay no mind to the negative comments.

AlNZ - February 19, 2015 Reply

The cat might be naturally that colour – and even it did get some markers on it it’s a cat. Way less toxic than what I imagine most American kids get fed, breathe and absorb from their surrounds every day.

Elisabeth in CT - February 19, 2015 Reply

Having taught art classes to countless children, I’m pretty familiar with those markers and I would not be too concerned about the cat. They look to be the cheap totally non-toxic water based type that have (accidentally) decorated the hands and faces of countless toddlers…And to parents Ben and Mae – Thank you for sharing your family home and experiences with us. It’s wonderful to see you kids (yeah, you’re kids to me too!) creating, living and sharing a warm, happy sustainable lifestyle.

    Wendi full time rv'er and family - February 19, 2015 Reply

    thank you for mentioning the markers are typical non toxic water based. I was getting tired of people looking for anything “negative” to focus on…. These people are so brave and beautiful to choose this life. It’s not easy to break from what everyone thinks you should do.

    Sparrow - February 20, 2015 Reply

    It’s “creative” to draw all over a cat, even with non-toxic markers?

    Hey, whatever floats your boat…

ann - February 19, 2015 Reply

Ben and Mae,
You are a inspiration! You live the life you want to live. Honestly, how many people in today’s society can say that?!
Althea is probably the happiest kiddo I have ever known!
Sending big love and support your way for taking such a big leap for sharing your truth and story!
Cheers to many years of peace, love and simplicity,
Ann

Lisa Wallace - February 19, 2015 Reply

I could never live this way. Or…could I? Right now, no, but never say never. And in the past, this would have appealed to me, back when I was a free spirit with more flexibility and imagination. This looks like a great way of life for a child, close to nature, involved with family (really involved) and using her own mind to play. I’m so struck by the family portrait. Everyone looks so healthy.

    2BarA - February 19, 2015 Reply

    With all due respect for Ben and Mae for their hard work in establishing a lifestyle of simplicity, I have one question. Does your chosen lifestyle rule out owning, and using, a brush and comb?

      MJ - February 20, 2015 Reply

      Wow. Just wow. Really? That’s your question? A sarcastic, judgmental assumption? Hope you do something lovely for someone else today to re-bank your karma.

      Ben Brownlow - February 21, 2015 Reply

      Yeah, well you should smell us.

martin C - February 19, 2015 Reply

I think this life, though it may be hard at times seems so simple, healthy and fun. In So. Cal I hear sirens all the time. Just yesterday there was an auto death just one block away from my apt. But that is big city life.

Tommy Robert - February 20, 2015 Reply

Well, while most people have to worry about lack of water from frozen pipes, ever increasing cost of utility bills, the cost of rising groceries, and more they don’t.
I, for one, see more people in the future shifting to smaller housing and living off the grid.

Huckleberryvardo Scott Avery - February 20, 2015 Reply

What I find fascinating is the criticism of lifestyle choices, which rarely last forever, since age brings a wish for simple comforts at least. Trustafarians from privileged backgrounds may explore alternatives which develops true empathy from living it hands on rather than the self-righteous hypothetical ignorance pouring from the beaks of the narrow lifestyle followers. In my broad experiences of life I see a generation under 40 with vast knowledge and communication skills but without the physical dexterity development to actually do it……..buy it society. People who raise their children with a computer beside the crib isolating them from exercising all their senses out of fear of experiencing little bumps and bruises are raising incompetence. Those people that totally engage with where they are mindfully at a non consuming pace are light years ahead of the inexperienced which produces the capable, empathetic leaders people turn to in time of need. This development is invaluable when addressing abject poverty as time goes along.

Khadijah - February 20, 2015 Reply

Lovely, lovely work, and a wonderful story to share. I’ve visited Dancing Rabbit, and so admire what’s being done there. Mae’s comment, ““When I was a little girl, all I ever wanted was to work for a tangible thing that I could hold and be proud of, and now I have it,” rang true for me as well. You’re doing a great job, living a meaningful life, and learning as you go along. With the love and support of your family and community, you are truly rich.

carolyn di donato - February 20, 2015 Reply

Wow, First I want to congratulate this wonderful family for not only following there dream. But, reducing the carb footprint for my grandchildren and all the children in the world. I am in the process of building my tiny home. With more then I should have modern accessories. But it will be totally off grid with compost toilet rainwater collection and solar panels. I have spent more money that I care to remember on home that were stunning. And, I am sorry I did. I could never bring them with me. And houses do get to large. So thank you for showing us your beautiful home. And your beautiful ray of shine Who looks so healthy and happy she should be on posters telling other families what happy, healthy, and smart she is for living such a blessed life.

Daphne Calvo - February 21, 2015 Reply

I visited Dancing Rabbit Eco-village a couple of years ago and met Mae and her beautiful family. I would like to address some of the concerns that may have come from honest and well-meaning people.
1. This family is not out on the Missouri prairie by itself, but is a part of a larger community of people who are committed to living in harmony with nature and reducing the amount of pollution that they release into the environment. All of the people I met during my one-week stay were well-educted and their children were not only happy and healthy, but were also taught to treat people and animals with kindness and respect. You don’t need to be concerned about the welfare of Mae’s daughter or her cat.
2. This is the lifestyle we would all be living if we did not consume huge amounts of petroleum, natural gas, and coal. That means that the lifestyle you and I enjoy depends on fighting endless wars of aggression in order to control the world’s oil supply. Our comfortable lifestyle is responsible for oil spills, fracking, pipelines, gas explosions, and all the other negatives that come with the extraction and transportation of these commodities. We are in no position to harshly judge people who choose to live without the comforts provided by the extravagant use of fossil fuels. Judge not lest ye be judged.
3. Mae’s family and the Dancing Rabbit Community are living proof that people can come together to address some of the serious problems that we face in the world today. An individual can’t do this alone. We are all connected in a web of relationships that we often cannot control, but if we consciously connect for a shared purpose, there is no limit to what we might achieve.

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Tiny House? - June 19, 2016 Reply

[…] time. I mean forever. Modern day pioneers, Mae Ferber and Benjamin Brownlow, have been building their own house for over two years and they still aren’t finished. The tradeoff is a lower price tag, because they […]

35 Frugal Tiny Houses You Can Build or Buy on a Budget - Tiny Houses - September 28, 2017 Reply

[…] Source: tinyhouseblog […]

Leave a Reply: