24 Sep '12, 6pm

The Straw Bale Dilemma: How Smooth Is Smooth?

The Straw Bale Dilemma: How Smooth Is Smooth?

Rob Harris Eric Plourde used “Woody,” a wooden mallet, to smooth an interior straw bale wall. To raise a straw bale wall, several tools are essential: a chain saw, a three-foot-long iron needle and a large wooden mallet that Wyle E. Coyote would be proud of. In a week, we completed the straw bale part of the straw bale home we are building as part of a volunteer crew with the nonprofit group Community Rebuilds in Moab, Utah. The previous month, we had mainly dirtied our hands with concrete, gravel and wood. So, what exactly is a straw bale? When cereal farmers harvest their wheat, barley, oat or rice, they separate the grain and chaff from the stalk. The stalks are then dried, packed together and tied up with baling wire. Straw is normally used in gardens as mulch, in horse stalls as bedding or in a cow’s diet as roughage, or just burned. Eric Plourde, the natural building...

Full article: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/24/the-straw-bale-...

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