My primary goal is to build a home with my own two hands (and those of some friends), that is molded from all natural materials, off grid, utilizes passive solar techniques, and incorporates both indoor and outdoor living areas.
Some time ago, I thought I had settled on earthbag construction. I fell in love with the curves, circular designs and the fact that they are very inexpensive to build. I found these pictures at Cal-Earth. One of my favorite sites to study for earthbag building is Earthbag Plans. There are so many neat ideas, many not realistic for me, but fun to look at just the same
Recently I have begun reading more about straw bale homes. What I love about them is the use of thermal mass to insulate, faster erection of walls, and availability of straw, since I live here in rural Oklahoma. In addition, you still have the creative freedom to sculpt your home through the plastering process. I found a lovely site that shows the process in detail at House of Straw.
I realize that my biggest challenges will be the actual cost of building, and the manpower of getting the job done to make it the most economical choice.
My plan is to first find a piece of land. When I find the piece that speaks to me, I will spend a year just observing the land during the seasons for changes - become familiar before building, spending plenty of time there simply absorbing the landscape. I know this will help me not only make better decisions, but will also give me the time to begin saving the money to do the actual building.
Of course, seeing as I'm still learning this whole process, this plan may change many times between now and the completed process. But I promise to keep you posted along the way!