The Sounds of the Site

If you asked me a month ago what it would be like to build your own house with 22 other undergrads I probably would’ve responded with some vague answer about manual labor and how I would be really sore by the end of it. Now some of that is definitely true. My muscles ache in new ways and my fingers are cracking and dried out, but there is so much more about building a house that I couldn’t possibly describe.

There are many things I want to remember about this experience but the biggest take away for me is the different people I have met here. They’ve all taught me a lot about the art school, using power tools and even about themselves. I guess that’s what happens when you sit around a kiddie-pool mixing adobe for 10+ hours a day.

When people look at our building I hope that the final product impresses them but I also hope they are able to know a little bit about the people that made it possible.  So to help me remember my time here and to give you a snippet of what our work site was like, here goes the 20 typical sounds of building a straw bale house.


1)                   Beep BEEP BEEP—the sound we have all gotten used to ignoring for five more minutes until the five other alarm clocks go off at 6:30 AM

2)                   a grunted Good Morning  from Lian, Laura, and Jared as we are the first to settle into breakfast

3)                   Thunk thunk thunk—the slow climb of footsteps up the wooden staircase to the site that I swear seems longer every day

4)                   The first cut is the deepest— the first hole is the deepest, the first nail is the hardest, the first tress is the heaviest—we can do this all day folks

5)                   “Are your hands dirty?”—The desperate search for adobe-less covered hands

6)                   “Can you scratch my right ear?”—You gotta get comfortable with people real quick when both of your hands are covered in mud

7)                   Ado-bae— as someone sits down at the kiddie pool don’t worry the affection becomes a love hate relationship after a few hours

8)                   “Who’s bob?”—As we scope out who’s received the honor of wearing the traveling bob ross t-shirt

9)                   “We need more shlong straw!!”— Aka long straw a clay and straw mixture used to fix holes in the adobe walls

10)                Ughhh—as a heavy bucket is lifted with the knees not the back

11)                C’MON ZOE C’MON GIRL YOU CAN DO IT SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT –The daily pep talk of one Will Horne

12)                JOE JOE JOE—The endless yells for our fearless leader

13)                “Hi bud”

“How ya doing bud?”

“I’m good bud, how about you bud?”

“I’m good bud”

–Jack and Jared checking in

14)                “What time is it?” —Sometimes a fun surprise but especially in the afternoon shift you didn’t want to know

15)                SERIAL!!!—Anyone’s response to what do we want to listen to by the kiddie pools

16)                 “I’m gonna water the clay”—not plants nope not animals nope you heard right, gotta keep that clay soft for some good adobe mixing

17)                “Okay who farted?”—Sometimes the oatmeal coffee diet doesn’t agree with you

18)                Ding ding ding—The magical sound of the dinner bell

19)                Pshhhh—the sound of water pressure of a warm shower at the end of a long work day

20)                Crack snap crack—of the warm lounge fire as we all snuggle in for the night to potentially work on our building designs but in reality probably watching Grand Designs or playing Settlers of Catan 

Sondra Halperin 


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