A topic which interests me greatly is the idea of sustainable housing, especially durable housing that can be constructed by relatively unskilled labor using readily available local materials. Courtesy of the Maker's blog this morning, I found this excellent web page which showed how an individual constructed a small woodland home using strawbale construction in Wales. The overall effect is very similar to what I imagine "Bag End" might have looked like from J.R.R. Tolkein's The Hobbit:
There is a certain philosophy associated with this kind of project that has appeal for me. This gentlemen and his wife wanted to be full time parents, and adjusted his life to fit that reality. The "stress and strain" of building a straw bale house was deemed much less stressful than the stress and strain of making mortgage payments every month. I can empathize.