For nearly two years, my son and I have been living in an idyllic straw bale house, buffeted by tall grasses and sunflowers in the summer, and nestled in by 18 “ thick straw bale insulation in the winter. It is a hobbit house. A curvaceous house that could have been intended as an homage to a Georgia O’Keefe painting with its deep windows, rounded sills, and leitmotifs of dragonflies and clouds lining the earthen plaster interior walls.
The house is heated only by the four solar panels that sit astride the roof, which in turn provide the radiant floor heating to the brushed concrete floors throughout. The walls are so thick and airtight that no other source of heat is needed, other than a back up water heater in case of too many cloudy days. There are sun tubes that beam down light patches of sunlight, so artificial light is only needed at night. 1350 square feet is divided among an open plan living space, two bedrooms, and an office, and rarely amounts to more than $80 a month in fuel costs during the coldest months. I can’t complain.
Except for the recent heat wave we’ve been having with continual 95 degree F days, which is been made for some melt-your-eyeballs temperatures in the house. Despite keeping the curtains drawn and the windows shut, there is no escaping the Ohio humidity.
But our time is up here. The owners have decided they would like to live in the house they built, rather than rent it out, and who can blame them?
And so it is that we find ourselves about to be somewhat homeless, with me unwilling to go back to living in a ‘normal house’, no ranch style living or double-wides for me, and instead, on the brink of what could be an amazing journey, a rocking adventure, or possibly a justification for in depth analysis and heavy drinking. I have been wanting to escape The Womb with a View, otherwise known as my hometown, since I found myself back here several years ago, post-divorce.
My hometown is as secure and comfortable as a warm sock and while the Tom Sawyer-like boyhood has its charms for my son, after living in urban centers for most of my adult life, the 3 degrees of separation it holds for me, does not. And since I’m a firm believer in the edict Happy Parents Make Happy Children, and my son makes friends easily, we are striking out for new territory.
But rather than decide in one fell swoop where to move to next, I realized that there was no real pressing reason to actually decide. I’m a freelancer, my work is mobile, wanderlust is in my blood and since I am grateful for all the traveling I got to do as a kid, I am hoping my son will feel the same. We are putting our belongings in storage and we are going to spend the next several months traveling in England, Germany, Italy, France and Spain.
And just maybe, figuring out where to build our own straw bale house.
actor-writer-director, improviser, mother, traveler, life renegade