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Regulator5

"Natural" cabin walls

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One thing that came up during a visit with a friend was hedgeapples. You can plant these close together and they will form a wall or "hedge". These grow fairly quick and once they form the desired density for your walls, you can cut the tops off and build a roof to form a very natural and "hidden" cabin/BOL. I'd leave a space for the door and frame it separately and you will need to "chink" between the trunks to form a solid wall. This will form a log cabin of sorts with the logs being verticle. The great thing is the hedgeapple trunks take many years before they start to decay. By adding some brush close by and working WITH your terrain, you will have a decently hidden shelter with minimal framing required.

Any other ideas or experiences?

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I have large bushes along a few of the fences and my advice is trim about the bottom foot of the bush and rake out all the leaves a few times a year. Otherwise rats and vermin will colonize the brush. Some types of bushes don't drop leaves but I would still recommend trimming it up a bit so it doesn't offer small vermin protection protection from predators.

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I have large bushes along a few of the fences and my advice is trim about the bottom foot of the bush and rake out all the leaves a few times a year. Otherwise rats and vermin will colonize the brush. Some types of bushes don't drop leaves but I would still recommend trimming it up a bit so it doesn't offer small vermin protection protection from predators.

 

good info/suggestion here. i didnt think of this either. its the simple things that we will get caught up on i think.

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another wall type

 

many pioneers used turf or sod.

 

the one I found that was interesting was gutting limbs into 18 to 24 inch lengths stack like a woodpile

run 2 rows of mud 6 inches in from each end continue with more rows and mud until you made a wall.

interlock the corners after the structure is built coat inside and out with mud looks like an adobe hut

the roof is single hip with long branches and then topped with thatched long grass tied with braided

grass rope.

The roof needs to have a couple foot overhang so dripping water does not splash and degrade the wall.

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Straw bale construction is another cheap alternative, if you're going to wind up with something that looks like adobe versus something that looks like a grove of trees.

 

http://www.strawbale.com/

 

You can make these homes as simple or as "conventional house"-like as you want them to be, they are fire resistant, pest resistant, and need very little to keep them warm in winter and cool in summer.

 

I had never heard of hedgeapples before, so this is a very new, very intriguing idea to me. I did find some interesting and somewhat contradictory ideas here (see link below) but it also seems like a decent way to grow a fence. And while vermin might be attracted, it's apparently also a place where squirrels, pheasants, etc. seek shelter, so it could just bring the hunting closer to your front porch!

 

http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/homestead/2007-December/013932.html

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OC, the hedgeapples were used primarily for "living fences" in Indiana where I grew up. The farmer who was talking brought up about building a "cabin" from them as a possibility and I see the advantages. I would cut off all fruit bearing limbs to help deter some critters from making a home in my "home" but the point you make about them drawing game is beneficial as well.

Strawbale construction is a definite option for long term structures and they have a high insulation "R" factor. "Alternative" building methods are great options, from strawbale to the sod houses JCMS spoke of.

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I would cut off all fruit bearing limbs to help deter some critters from making a home in my "home" but the point you make about them drawing game is beneficial as well.

 

I only paid attention to that because my parents' winter home in Arizona has an ironwood bush (I think) in their yard that is gigantic and home to about a trillion birds and wild rabbits because no larger predators will risk the thorns. And it would probably make sense to keep them away from your primary residence, so if you had two hedgeapple constructs - one as the outer perimeter of your property, and the other as your cabin - you could get the best of both worlds.

 

I'd love to hear how this works for you, if you are able to make it happen. I'm sure others would, too!

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