Balin’ Out

Balin’ Out

This week we have just a brief entry for you as we find ourselves in Thrall, TX, which is just a bit Northeast of Austin. We’re here attending a hands-on straw bale house building workshop led by Andrew Morrison of StrawBale Innovations. Attending one of these workshops has been on our radar for a couple of years now, but we can finally justify it now that we’re going to be building our own in the near future. We don’t have a ton to report since this is actually being written BEFORE we arrive in Thrall. For now here are a few facts about building with straw bales, since most people assume building with straw bales invites big bad wolves, will burn down when exposed to the slightest spark, or will disintegrate in a matter of months. None of which is true…when done properly.


  • Building with straw bales is highly sustainable, in that straw is considered a wasteful byproduct that is normally burned or discarded.


  • Building with bales creates a highly insulated home which reduces energy use. The additional insulation also reduces sound pollution because the walls are so dense.


  • Straw bale homes are actually far more fire-resistant because the bales are so tightly packed, and contain very little oxygen within the walls.


  • Many people ask about how straw bale homes deal with moisture and being exposed to the elements over time. If proper precautions are taken such as large overhangs, elevated foundations (so the bales are not in contact with the earth) and proper sealing, straw bale homes can last for centuries (and have).


We do appreciate the concerns that people have when we tell them about our plans, but doing just a touch of research will put most concerns to rest. And doing an image search online reveals that straw bale homes can actually look just as awesome as any ol’ home.


We look forward to sharing what we’ve learned this week! Check back next week!

Beau Leland

Beau Leland is a video editor working in Oklahoma City. He has worked with his wife, Stefanie Leland, on various documentary projects, and now focuses much of his energy on developing their 20-acres into an organic farmstead.

  • Chantry

    I love straw bale homes! When you get ready to build, I’d love to volunteer my time.

    June 11, 2015 at 9:42 AM
  • Debbie

    I can’t wait to learn more. Come home soon I miss you guys.

    June 11, 2015 at 2:55 PM
  • Don’t worry, we will come knocking. It’s a lot of hard work and we will need all of the help we can get.

    June 16, 2015 at 10:38 AM

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