Natural Building

How to Make an Earthen Floor for Your Sustainable Home

How to Make an Earthen Floor for Your Sustainable Home

Earthen floors add a great earthy touch to your sustainable home; whether that’s in your cob house or conventional stick frame home. They have more give than concrete or tile, meaning they are more comfortable and easy on your feet.

Contemplating an Uncertain Future: The Ranch and Climate Change

Contemplating an Uncertain Future:  The Ranch and Climate Change

Climate change, after decades of lulling at the bottom of the news cycle, has belatedly made it into the headlines as increasing numbers of people become aware, convinced and concerned about the environmental and social impacts of the Earth’s evolving atmospheric conditions.  I frequently think about disrupted weather patterns and what my role in this unfolding story should be.  

Permaculture Education: Virtual Reality and Keeping it Real

Permaculture Education:  Virtual Reality and Keeping it Real

Nearly a decade ago I moved to where I live now-- a tiny, isolated, town in rural Latin America. Its charms include lush towers of tropical rain forest, rainbows of succulent fruits, and a nightly chorus of a thousand frogs. A single disheveled bus leaves in the morning and returns at night, except on Sundays, or when the road washes out. The place is home to farmers, families, and a spattering of eclectic foreigners. The town's namesake, the Mastate, is a tree that bears a thick white sap which people sometimes drink in coffee, like milk.

Timber Framing in the Tropics

Timber Framing in the Tropics

The rainforests of Central America might not be the first place that you think of when you hear the term “timber frame construction”, but with initiatives in Monteverde and Mastatal, Costa Rica is starting to make a name for itself in the region for this post and beam building technique. We started to build the infrastructure of Rancho Mastatal Sustainability Education Center in the small rural community of Mastatal, Costa Rica in 2001.

Our Natural Building World

Our Natural Building World

In the natural building world at Rancho Mastatal there is no lack of projects to be done. I think as a team we have collected a list that will take us past 2020. And we already have been building our infrastructure for the past 16 years. One could say we are natural building addicts!

Getting Inspired About Natural Building

Getting Inspired About Natural Building

Over the years of natural building at Rancho Mastatal my feelings on the process have gone through many stages. From the initial excitement of- wow, how cool you can build a house from the materials on your land, and all it takes is time, practice, and anyone can do this! To over time, after building many walls, an understanding of how long it takes to build a natural home and all the work that it entails.