Friday, November 11, 2011

Thinking outside the box within the Valhalla Vision

While staying focused on the many immediate tasks at hand before us on a daily basis, we must never lose sight of the larger picture of what Valhalla will eventually become. A home-away-from-home for Soldiers, post-9/11 combat veterans, and war zone civilian workers. A unique self-sustaining retreat where Valhalla participants will work together to produce their own food, design and build their own cabins from scratch, and support each other while working to reenter a civilian society that doesn't always understand or appreciate their enormous sacrifices.

Example of a cob cabin built almost exclusively
from clay, chopped straw and sand. While this
blog has naturally focused on renovating the
existing house here, we must not lose sight
of the much larger Valhalla Vision either.
A very special "Hoo-ah!" place where thinking outside the box is the gold standard, with innovation and creativity encouraged at every step along the way.

In efforts to prepare the house and property this blog has naturally focused on the here-and-now, yet some of you have asked me to post some of the videos showing various techniques and innovations that may be applied at Valhalla in the future. 

First off, someday soon we'll be building cabins out of cob! While I'm personally not into some of the eco-groovy reasoning mentioned in the following video (and the mere idea of carbon taxes makes me cringe), it is difficult to question the benefits of having fireproof, weatherproof, beautiful structures made from what is already available for free on the property. Take a look:

Here is a slideshow tour of different completed cob cabins and small houses:

Since cob cabins can be built without any internal framing out of little more than clay and chopped straw, they are an extremely economical and sustainable alternative to tradition construction techniques.

Note that Valhalla currently has two immediate very-pressing needs to take care of before hosting Soldiers and war zone civilian workers for weeks or months at a time by next spring, namely (1) A culvert to ensure continued access to the property during the rainy season (note that the front entrance crosses a creek that may become impassable for days at a time with fast-moving waters following storms); and (2) a large propane-run electrical backup generator to power not just the well but all systems within the house. These and two other critical projects - the new pond fence and painting the house - are holding the overall project up for the time being. Yet these essential projects will get done one way or another. Failure is not an option, and we've only just begun!

In the meantime, the much larger Valhalla Vision remains intact. When you look at an old tree stump that's in the way, what do you think of? By popular demand from several Valhalla fans on Facebook, here's a video showing the kind of thinking-outside-the-box approach this project will always reach hard to undertake -- even when something looks scary and foreign at first, if it's ultimately a beautiful unique solution then we'll certainly strive to get it done one way or another:

"We're not shipping out, no way, we have it too good
here. In fact we'd be even sleeping in... if you humans
weren't always waking us up. We won't think
'outside the box' since we're happy in this box."

Our IRS application for nonprofit status is being processed, 
yet you can still donate to help Valhalla today!

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