Publicity of the summer 2011 Pallet House Project sparked interest in Earth Tipi, at that time we were contacted by different individuals and organizations wanting to do other types of natural and alternative building projects. The residence where Shannon and Adam resided with their daughter was not a long term situation and as they were running Earth Tipi operations out of their home, they knew a permanent space was needed. The planning process began in late 2011 and by the spring of 2012, construction had begun on a 16 x 24 structure that would serve as a home for the family until a complete home could be built and would also allow Earth Tipi to have a secure space to continue to operate from. The project was funded entirely by Shannon, Adam and their extended families however, they would not have been able to complete construction had it not been for the huge outpouring of support from volunteer groups and organizations such as Re-Member, Ave Maria Church, William Penn House, and countless friends and supporters who came ready to work, materials and good will. The structure was built using salvaged twisted and warped 2×4 lumber from a nearby commercial project that would have otherwise been put in the dumpster and was designed and construction was led by family friend Clint Wood. Once the frame was up, it was a race against the weather to stuff the walls with straw/clay before cold weather returned. It was this process that most of the volunteer labor was used for as the process to mix straw and clay and then pack into the walls is extremely time consuming. The structure was sealed with the roof in November of 2012 and the family moved into the loft area for the winter, using the completed cob house immediately adjacent for cooking and showering. The following spring (2013), after the snow melted, finish work on the interior began which included a wood floor, kitchen cabinets and counters, appliances and proper stairs leading up to the sleeping loft. Again, while the materials were supplied by Shannon, Adam and their extended families, a huge amount of support was received from volunteers. In June of 2013 Shannon and Adam welcomed their second daughter, ChetanWin and were very busy taking care of their new baby as well as their then 5 year old daughter, Raven. The help received from volunteers and local organizations was essential to completing the project for the space to be livable.
Running building projects is both challenging and rewarding. Sadly, despite Earth Tipi’s willingness to continue to fund and learn from the project on behalf of the reservation, Walter and Alison have decided that they no longer want Earth Tipi to participate. Happily Texas Natural Builders have made an agreement with John Yellowbird-Steel, tribal president, for the remaining materials needed to finish the house.