Episode-853- Lisa Majors on Earth Bag Homes

The Beginnings of an Earth Bag Home

Lisa & Paul's Home Early On

Paul Majors and Lisa Majors have never built a house before but that’s not stopping them from building an Earth Bag home in Arkansas. They expect to finish in only 2 years. They are determined to stick to the $10,000 budget (double dome) while showing others how they can do the same.

Lisa joins us today to discuss sustainable living and changing consumer habits.  In her view,  “If we change our consumer habits, we could make a big difference in depletion and destruction of our world’s resources. It all starts every time we think we need something, where we go to get it, how we use that product, and what remains and how we dispose of that item.”

She will also tell us about the construction of their Earth Bag home and the challenges they have face in building it.

Additional Resources for Today’s Show

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18 Responses to Episode-853- Lisa Majors on Earth Bag Homes

  1. Jack I really admire the way you handle the sponsors of your show.

    Here is a link to a sponsor of Glen Beck’s show, Goldline, and how they treated their customers. http://articles.latimes.com/2011/nov/03/business/la-fi-goldline-charges-20111103

    Thanks for watching out for us.

    Warren in Kansas

  2. Way to pick something from the past, Warren.

    Did you know that nothing ever came of it? Hmm?

    No wonder the Left is going to win in this country.

    Oh, by the way Jack.

    Nice show.

  3. Just wanted to say great show and thanks for the info. I am a woodworker and I like to build things out of trees that fall on my property. I love the gallery of all the cross cut end grain flooring they have on their site. Cool Idea, I may have to try that. Keep up the great work.

  4. @ Jack

    I’m glad your place is ok Jack.
    Forest fires are an especially bad thing in the mountains, I lived in the western part of

    NC and fires often get out of control and “walk” or “run” uphill very quickly depending on

    the wind. (If it starts way above you, you might be ok because it takes longer to creep

    down hill.)

    I’ve been wanting to bring up this very similar topic up to certain preppers I respect on youtube….
    “Have you thought of how your fire prevention/response is a part of your opsec?
    – Not just for forest fires, but as a weapon by intruders.”
    This is why I am a FIRM believer in not putting all your eggs in one basket- or structure.
    A years supply of food, bullets etc. can be gone in an instant.
    …just like cash/gold/silver, it’s really a good idea to spread out your possible losses in

    other departments as well, just common sense.

    Also,
    I hope Lisa and Paul use a carbon monoxide detector if they are making homemade

    stoves, just sayin’.
    My family and I want to get to the point of total OTG as well (but keep as much of the

    modern comforts as I can maintain.)

    • Rocket Stove users– This heating system is similar to a fireplace & only toxic if your room fills with smoke which ours DOES NOT! Paul is also a heating/air/refrig. contractor so he is very aware of the potential hazards of carbon monoxide! Thanks!

  5. Duncan MacDuff

    It would appear that hemp paper was cheap at the time and parchment was not; or that parchment was considered more durable.

    Best, Duncan
    ———————
    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_kind_of_paper_or_parchment_was_the_US_Constitution_written_on
    The U.S. Constitution was drafted on hemp paper, and the final draft was written on animal parchment.

    ——————–

    http://www.usconstitution.net/constfaq_a8.html#Q145

    Q145. “What kind of paper was the Constitution written on?”

    A. Urban legend is that the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Bill of Rights were written on hemp paper, hemp being the industrial name for the fiber of the marijuana plant. For some reason, this “fact” is touted by those who seek to legalize marijuana for recreational use. First, it is not clear why the use of hemp as a fiber should mean it should be legalized for recreational use. Second, the “fact” is not a fact.

    The Declaration, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are currently housed in the National Archives. All three are written on parchment, not hemp paper. Parchment is treated animal skin, typically sheepskin. The Declaration was inked with iron gall ink. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory was commissioned to create a system to monitor the physical status of all three. The Charters of Freedom Monitoring System took digital photos of each sheet of parchment in 1987, each document divided into one-inch squares. Over time, the photos are retaken and compared to the original to look for signs of deterioration. Before the charters were recently reencased for display, a small tear in the Declaration was repaired by adding Japanese paper to the gap. This is the only paper in any of the documents. It is, then, inaccurate to say that any of these documents was written on hemp.

    It is likely, however, that drafts of the documents were written on paper made from hemp. In that period, most paper was made from hemp or flax and a mixture of recycled rags and cloth.

  6. Roundabouts

    Wow what a good show all I can say is

    YOU GO GIRL!!!

    Glad everything is ok with you Jack. Fire has concerned me for a long time. Have done what I can to protect the house and barn. Now it’s trying to figure out how to get the animals/livestock out and where to go. All in a timely manner. Some how running down the road yelling and shaking a grain bucket does not seem to practical.

  7. Inspiring show again Jack—and glad the Spirko homestead is in fine shape after the fire and wind.
    Best of luck to Paul and Lisa and the kids to complete this phase of their homestead project. Thanks for sharing with here on the show and your You Tube.
    Besides the steep rocky ground, what’s not to love about NW Arkansas?

  8. @Jack, glad you are not toast.

    @ Lisa, Sun-Mar makes a good composting toilet. But I just ordered a composting toilet (“Lovable Loo”) from Joe Jenkins, who wrote an excellent book on Humuanure, which cost me 182 plus shipping.

    Jessie
    Mesquite, TX

  9. Darn good show. I love alternative building technology and veraciously consume all websites, blogs, podcasts, books, magazines and any other media about the subject.

  10. Great show Lisa!
    I had subscribed to your youtube channel a couple of years ago and wondered if you were still working on the project! Sounds like you guys are doing some great work there.
    -All the best

  11. How strange, I was on YouTube today watching the Majors videos, then tonight when I tuned in here ( as I always do) …There She is! What are the odds?
    Dr. Jung would have loved that one!
    Thank you to Jack & Lisa for sharing their knowledge.
    I am looking for a few acres to buy, and thinking of building about a 10 ft.tall “wall / fence” you know ,like a castle, around an open area in the center where Rabbits & chickens all could run free and safe, as well as my family.Living quarters & green house inside this wall. Like a castle.
    Looking for a cheep way to do it. I wonder how strong a hexagon with long walls with earth bags would be ? Anyone know?

    Off the subject..But Important.
    We all have different skills….Like the Majors do.
    We all should be thinking of how each of us could use our skills to help our own families & others in case of a disaster.
    I am a Certified Licensed Hypnotist here in Hot Springs Ar. I have been thinking a lot lately of how I can help medically if ” The going gets tough” and for instance, if people cant get their medications.
    Hypnosis could be GREAT for this!
    I recently had to help a client who could not obtain her pain meds for 2weeks. Hypnosis works very well for a lot of things that we can not legally use it for in the USA….. AND I DO NOT.
    But in an emergency…..It could be a life saver.
    I am rethinking the role I might need to play in a disaster.Although I am required by law to refer “other” uses of hypnosis to a Medical Doctor…if no Dr. were available…( because of a disaster ) I would feel I must do what ever I could to help the client without the written permission of a Dr. ..OK…I probably should not have just said that,( legally speaking ) LOL But I am only speaking hypothetically, and talking about a life or death situation.
    Whatever skills you have, stop and think how they might be of help in an emergency. Thanks Orion

  12. Pingback: Earth Bag Homes Primal Aspects | Primal Aspects

  13. Here is a good sight from the Firewise program for homeowners to help reduce the risk of forest fires.

    http://www.firewise.org/Information/Who-is-this-for/Homeowners.aspx

    It is part of the US Forest Service Risk Management system http://www.fs.fed.us/fire/safety/index.html

    As for the Zoning question, yes, her home won’t catch on fire and burn, but what about all the stuff inside? A couch can (and do) burn and todays stuff puts out some really bad chemicals. Add in that the building is going to trap the heat a lot better than a normal building (one of the goals), you could get a build up of heat faster leading to flash over. Sure the building is fine but all the stuff inside (people also) get very hot.

    It makes sense to make sure you’re windows are to code, along with the door. It would not hurt to talk to the local fire department and invite them up to see the building and do a pre-plan. Or they might say “we don’t know how that building will react to fire inside so we won’t risk the life of a Fire Fighter inside.” (Fire Fighters accept a level of risk, but don’t throw their lives away.)

    One other point for anyone who is thinking of building, consider the need to get a stretcher into the home. In Cleveland we have homes that have winding stair cases that are very narrow. Getting a person out takes the EMS a while, delaying treatment, because you can’t get them down fast. And it makes sense if you plan on being there for a long time, you might like having halls big enough for a wheel chair. ;-)

  14. On my article about home sewage treatment

    http://larrydgray.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/home-sewage-treatment/

    I say that it is legal to have a composting toilet in Arkansas. I contacted the health department and they said yes it is and if you go to the state health departments web site, somewhere they recommend a couple of brands and models. I also state that the rules are that you must completely bury the compost to use it or get rid of it. Can’t merely sprinkle it on top of the ground.

    The Earthship books have a couple of designs for solar incinerating toilets. These are based on the solar oven design. In Arkansas this might work in the heat of the summer on sunny days.

  15. Also I know a guy who built a small earth bag dome in Russelliville AR, Ronnie Johnson is his name. He is on face book.

    I have an article on earth construction at

    http://larrydgray.wordpress.com/2011/02/24/earthen-construction/

    Would welcome some comments from the Majors.

    Other types of construction could go well with earth construction. Such as paper crete, monolithic dome, geodesic dome, the earthship bottle and can walls, bottle or can dome, chordwood masonry, timber frame, concrete, cinder block, etc. I mean you could mix and match and do some very interesting things.

  16. Orion Hypnosis Group

    Lisa,
    Thanks again Lisa & Jack,that was very interesting!
    But let me rephrase my Q.
    How or could I use earth bags to build 6 walls 8-10 ft high, about 75-100 ft long ea. ?
    This would be like the walls around a castle , in a Hexagon, open in the center. ( a solid fence if you will)
    Would earth bags be good for that Lisa?
    Or anyone else with ideas on this, your input is appreciated .
    Thanks! Orion , Hot Springs Ar.

  17. Hey Orion!
    you can do earthbags for walls as you have described, but you will have to make them in a serpentine pattern for runs that long and they will need a cover for the top; like a little roof of shingles or slate or something… This is accomplished with “dead-men” set into (between) the bags with a truss (of some sort) attached and then the cover material connected… email me if you need more description on this!
    Additionally, the walls will need periodic maintenance, if, they are lime coated… which would be best!
    info@soilcube.com