Straw House Herbs is a house and garden built with alternative and sustainable techniques. With the help of many members of the Cherry Valley community the post and beam frame, cut from local timber, was raised in the summer of 1998. The surrounding fruit, vegetable, herb and ornamental gardens have been a labor of love using organic and biodynamic methods. It is not perfect, but it is fruitful and satisfying.
The Farm Stand (Opened 2019) is a natural extension of house and garden. It is my retirement plan. I never want to pare down the garden just because “It’s just the two of us.” I‘ll just grow for more people! However, it’s more than the food, it’s the lifestyle. It’s aprons and clay pots and knitting and everything else. My friend and I always tease, “for the store!” when we make something new. So, this store is also for the other creative women in my life. A place to gather, to work, and to sell our goods.
Garden School fulfills the other big part of me, the teacher part. I always say, teaching isn’t what I do, it’s who I am. The thought of sharing the garden arts with the next generation is deeply satisfying. I am developing classes in Botany, Garden design, Gardening techniques, Preserving herbs, Pickles, preserves and ferments, Tree guilds, Companion planting, Edible flowers, Garlic growing, Kid’s gardening and nature, Wreath making, and more……Join us!
Why build a Straw Bale House?
My husband and I moved our family to Cherry Valley to live a rural life. I was born and bred in suburbia. My husband grew up on a rice farm in rural Japan. We met in the Philippines serving in the Peace Corps. From these diverse backgrounds were the common threads of love of land, independence and adventure. When it came time to build a home on the gorgeous piece of land purchased from the Campbell family, we wanted to build it ourselves and needed it to be as affordable as possible. We helped a friend build a straw bale barn also in Cherry Valley. We were intrigued. When I started to do some research, I was surprised to find the method is over 100 years old. It originated on the Great Plains as an improvement on the traditional sod houses. The advent of mechanized balers created a new, inexpensive, readily available building material.
I was sold on the concept and the cost but not the look. Most of the revival of the straw bale building method has occurred in the desert southwest. The style was almost exclusively adobe-like. Once I figured out that I could make it look more like a Scottish crofter’s cottage, there was no looking back. The style fit in the beautiful Cherry Valley countryside to perfection.