New Buildings Sprout Up in Spring
In April a site blessing ceremony was held for the new duplex apartment, “Pokeberry Hill,” going up at Village Terraces. The 26 ft. x 40 ft. building is being built with lumber milled from trees felled on the land. The ground floor apartment will be the home of new Earthaven and Village Terraces members Martha Harris and Lee Finks, and the second-floor apartment will be rented out or sold to a new incoming member of the neighborhood. The ceremony included a “flower pelting” blessing of Martha Harris, the insulated concrete slab foundation, and the duplex builders Chris Farmer, Brian Love, Mike Odel, and Mihaly Bartalos. The builders expect to finish the downstairs apartment in October, and the upstairs apartment sometimes towards the end of the year.
In February of this year, Farmer, Brian, and Mike finished the first phase of a small, two-story house (18′ x 20′) in the Lower Rosy Branch neighborhood for long-time Earthaven member Ivy Lynn. The dwelling has a foundation, floor, walls, roof, windows, and doors, and covered with a coat of earth-plaster, which means it’s closed-in and weather-tight. Ivy and the builders will finish the second and third phases of the building over the next several years.
And in May, Arjuna da Silva will get more help building her two-story natural-built home in Benchmark neighborhood. The roughly 900 “round foot” house-in-progress has a timber-framed structure, rubble-trench foundation, walls of adobe brick, cob, clay straw, and strawbale, and a brick- red metal roof. Most walls on the first floor are built, with openings for windows and doors. Arjuna will host 4-5 interns over the 18-22 week natural building season, helping build as they learn natural building techniques from Steve Brodmerkel, Mollie Curry, and others. For more information: www.thenaturalbuildingschool.org. All buildings at Earthaven are south-facing passive solar buildings, heated by the sun. They’re off the grid, either powered by individually owned photovoltaic systems or Earthaven’s micro-hydro system, and most have metal roofs for roof-water catchment. See Natural Buildings.