Thursday, February 2, 2017

A Milk House Made of Tires

earthship.com
We need a milk house, desperately. A building where we can wash up all our milking equipment (which is being done in the Looney Bin now) and store all our root veggies and canned food overflow, as well as place for our freezers and an extra fridge for all our milk products like cheese and yogurt. Contrary to popular belief, a milk house is not the place where we milk our cow or shelter her. That takes place in another small cow shed.

Most normal folks would use wood and drywall to build a milk house (that's how we built our first one in 1999) but no, we have to use tires. Why?

There are three basic reasons:
          1. There were numerous tires left on our property when we bought it and after reading about
              the EARTHSHIP CONCEPT in the southern part of the US, we decided we eventually
              wanted to do the same.
          2. Before we attempt to build an entire home based on tires, we thought building a "prototype"
               would be beneficial.
          3. After comparing the costs of other building types, we can get more space for our
              dollar by using tires as the main walls of our milk house build, and by building into a hill
              to save heating costs.

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This build will start, we hope, in early summer. After the sale of our other farm we had a small amount left over for this build, so it's a capital expense that shouldn't affect our regular monthly budget. If we plan everything down to the littlest screw, it shouldn't. If we do the majority of the work ourselves, it shouldn't. If we don't have to pay a ton in fees and permits and waivers, it shouldn't. We have just $5000 to build a 24 by 12 foot milk house.

The milk house floor plans are in flux right now, one of our sons is tweaking it on his CAD program. When he's done I'll post it here. In the meantime we have a lot of ground work to accomplish. The Illinois EPA won't allow us to build anything with tires until we complete a BUD (benefit use determination) application, not even a small doghouse. Yes, I asked. This seven page document requires us to document where the tires came from, how we plan to use them, how their use is more beneficial than conventional materials and on and on and on.

We also have to work with our own county on building permits. I'll be chatting with the same guy who dealt with us on the building of our grain bin house and who is currently working with me on the permits I'll need for our family graveyard. You can imagine how thrilled he'll be to hear about this new project!

18 comments:

  1. Ahhhhhhhh . . . working with the same guy is great! When you're done with him, he won't twitch an eyebrow when anyone else comes up with a great idea!! There's lots of really good on-line documentation for him to check out too. You may become the model 'anti-establishment' building site before you're done.
    I can just see myself making such a proposal at the Surrey City Hall - first, they'd laugh & then they'd take 10 years to have Council meetings, Town Hall meetings, Provincial meetings, Notify the Neighbors meetings etc

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    1. Hopefully the process here will go better, but so far the paperwork is proving otherwise.

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  2. I think i've watched every Youtube on earthships and i'm addicted. Totally cool (literally).

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    1. Did you see the one Dennis Weaver (I love that cowboy almost as much as Sam Eliot)had built? Beautiful! Of course we won't have the same bank account as dear Dennis to work with.

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    2. Yes, incredible but too big and too much stuff. Prefer much simpler and also where the window garden is food producing.

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    3. You are SOOO right Lynda!! Simple inside with the window garden. Fresh tomatoes year round!!

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  3. It is a nice little bonus to be working with the same fellow - you might even convert him!! Building with tyres is all new to me so I will be following your progress.

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    1. It's new to us too. Each tire has to be packed with soil to secure it in place. If I don't get skinny this summer, there is no hope for me.

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  4. On one of the UK's TV programmes 'Grand Designs', someone built a very beautiful tyre house. It might be worth having a look on YouTube as it showed the process quite well. I wish you luck; great idea!

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  5. After reading this post, Donna, I will be looking up earthship for sure. While I admit that the life changes you and Keith have chosen would not work well for me, I am in awe of your skills, creativity and frugalness. You manage to put many of us to shame for somewhat wasteful living at times...maybe more times than we would care to admit. Good luck with getting the necessary approvals for the milk house project and also the family cemetery.

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    1. One more reason we keep ducks and chickens. They love little snacks of mice, baby rats, snakes and ticks. Didn't the county sheriff get after him about his crop of tires?

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  6. A dang shame you have to pay fees and buy licenses for the privilege of building a milk house on your own land.

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    1. It is Bill. Clearly the more independent one wishes to be, the more one should be slapped on the hand, with one's own wallet. ("one" needs to another pronoun, one thinks)

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  7. Sister Remember our tire swing in Manhattan?
    We made that so milk house? You got this!!

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    1. I took that tire with me in 1976. Plan to use it as the new milk house threshold.

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  8. Wow, a milk house made of tyres sounds very hip, even more hip than straw bales.

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