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Roger & Nora Brazelton of Powell, Wyoming


My wife and I are both natives of Wyoming and had good paying job. However, we decided we needed a change from the corporate environment and its stresses, so my wife and I started over. We moved to Powell where her folks live and bought a piece of the family farm.

In 1983 I got hold of a handout from the "Indigenous Material Housing Institute / J.R.B. Henstridge (Director) Published May/1983" on INTEGRAL WALL CONSTRUCTION (CORDWOOD). After reading and thinking and what-ifing for months, I started to think that I could build something like this. This went on for a few years in the thinking mode with my wife and then I cut some willow sticks and made a model of sorts. I bought Mr. Henstridge's book and then learned of Rob Roy and ordered his book. I always wanted to build something that would be memorable, but had no idea we were about to embark in the building of a two year monument.

One thing that we have learned during this project is that before a couple starts building a cordwood home, be sure that your marriage is stable. If you have any doubts, take an extra six months or a year and be damn sure. I am continuously amazed at the patience, love and reinforcement that my wife gives me. She is always there.

Thank to the Internet, I found all sorts of help on building a cordwood house. I ran a crossed an article about Ed McAllen of Galesville, Wisconsin and the house he built so I wrote him and later called and picked his brain as to the how-tos and do's-n-don'ts. He was an immense amount of help.

We had the full basement dug out and did most of the work setting forms and running concrete. Had a retired contractor supervise the sub-floor and then started the walls. We used mortar mix formulas from Rob Roy's book and his pictures to see if our walls look somewhat like his. Nora, her Dad and I did most of the work on the house. My Dad came from Worland as often as he could and spent weekends helping us. Family and friends helped when they could.

This year it started to take shape. Every weekend and evenings when we weren't too tired for a year and a half our lives were devoted to our house. Ed told me that when you are building a cordwood house everyone calls you a Lunatic, but when you finish you become an Eccentric Artist. We know what he means. When the walls reach eight feet and the cap and sill plate go on it is an exhilarating feeling. Yet, it still has the appearance of the Alamo after the attack.

Putting the trusses up really made it look like a house. We now have the sheeting on the roof and trying frantically to get it closed in before winter gets here.

I plan on updating this story when we move in.

Roger/Nora Brazelton
991 Lane 4
Powell, Wy 82435