Empowering Every Woman to be Beautiful

From Video Shoot to Straw Bale Building

Most of last week I was working on a video shoot for Subzero. Then shift everything radically to the left as I race to West Virginia at the end of the week to volunteer on a straw bale building project.

Several friends have asked me if I'm going through some sort of midlife crisis early. It seems lately I've been anxious to do things outside of the realm of glamorous. Stretch myself a little.

Working on a house building project was a definite stretch for me. But here's how it all started: I pitched a story to a magazine (I sometimes work as a writer, too)on straw bale houses. I'd seen pictures of one in a book at Barnes & Noble.

When I got the green light to do the story, I sent out a mass email asking if anyone knew of someone who lived in a straw bale house. Three families contacted me. I visited their homes, heard their stories about building their own abodes and learned more about Green architect than I'd ever imagined.

In all of the discussions the same name came up several time: Sigi Koko. She's a seriously good architect who focuses just on natural building projects. I loved her already.

I connected with Sigi through email and picked her brain for my story. She was absolutely wonderful. She answered all of my questions, but in a way that didn't make me feel silly for asking. I'd never built even a book shelf so I'm sure some of my questions were very basic.

My story was published. The magazine got accolades for covering such an interesting topic. And I got paid. All's well that ends well.

But for me, it hadn't ended. I really wanted, no needed to get my hands on some straw bale and build something! It became an obsession. I am so serious here.

So, when I found out about a hands on workshop that Sigi would be giving on a retreat area in West Virginia, I jumped at the opportunity. Three days in the woods lugging hay around and connecting with total strangers? I loved it.

The house we worked on will be home to a kind couple who is a part of the Rolling Ridge Study Retreat Community.

I have to say it was hard work, but a lot of fun, too. And how excited was I to finally meet Sigi in person and learn from her! Here are shots of the crew and a link to more photos, if you're interested.

If you'd like to volunteer to help on this project, check out this link.