Notes from the Field: Let’s stop talking and start doing

By Pete Iengo, TWP Office Manager & Volunteer Coordinator

August 9, 2011: Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota

We are on day two of the straw bale house construction.  There has been great progress, thanks to the seemingly endless enthusiasm and energy of the TWP volunteers, Re-Member crew, Northern Cheyenne Reservation trainees, as well as many friends and family of Henry Red Cloud.

Birch Hincks, TWP's Tribal Lands Intern, works hard building a frame for the straw bale house.

This progress is in spite of a daunting thundershower that rolled through at about 10am today.  It looked as though the storm could really hamper our progress.  However, the ominous soaker lasted about 40 minutes, and before I knew it the crew was back to work.  After the storm came a lot of humidity and some searing sunshine.  It was definitely a stark reminder of Mother Nature’s power, the harsh year round conditions here on the reservation, as well as the great power of human will.

This is a very diverse and determined group, and while there are different motivations coursing through the project, there is a common thread that has become clear; let’s stop talking and start doing something to help people improve their lives.

By the end of work today we will have a complete roof, and the door and window frames will be in place.  Also, the foundation will be secured to the straw bale stacks with a simple but effective wood slat and bale string system.  With the structure of the house securely in place we are ready to have a plaster party!  All day participants have been sifting the clay to a fine powder, in preparation of the mixing process.  The clay stucco solution is the glue that will unite the house structurally and is going to be applied tomorrow.  Henry has been jesting about tomorrow’s Plaster Party all day, keeping things light.  In the days following we will add the finishing touches.

Flip through the time-lapse photos below to see a days worth of construction on the new straw bale house.

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treeswaterpeople

Trees, Water & People is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to developing sustainable community-based conservation solutions.

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