a visit to Jill’s

Today we visited Barbara’s friend Jill who lives outside of Tucson near the Saguaro National Forest.  Jill is a natural builder and also grows organic greens on her property.  She built both the straw bale house and the cob house on her property by hand.  Seeing her site was really inspiring, she is a very creative and knowledgeable person with so much desert wisdom.  Here are some photos from our visit.

the cob house

Jill built this cob house in 1999.  She used dirt from her land and mostly salvaged wood for the roof.  To build the cob part of the house cost 100 dollars in materials, the roof cost 500 and the skylight cost 300.

the interior roof, composed of salvaged wood and saguaro cactus ribs

inside the cob house on the ground floor

Jill's collection of Saguaro Boots

A saguaro boot is formed when a woodpecker makes a hole in a saguaro cactus.  The saguaro will secret a sap around the exposed flesh, which hardens into a protective scab to prevent moisture loss.  When the hardening process is complete, the woodpecker or another bird can build its nest in the boot.  When the cactus dies, the flesh decays and the boot(s) and skeleton are left over.  These are some of the boots that Jill has collected in the desert.

the outdoor kitchen

The back wall is straw bale.  You can see the straw in the “truth window” above the mirror.

one of the greens gardens

Jill grows her greens in the winter because it is too hot in the summer.  She mixes the seeds together and sows them randomly.  She said in her experience the greens grow better when they are mixed together than separated in rows, they keep each other warm : )

Jill's Solar Oven

fire heated hot tub

This tub is the inspiration for the one we are working on at Bean Tree!

the smoke pipe for the tub

a 10 year old octopus agave

We have more exciting adventures planned for the rest of this week!


One response to “a visit to Jill’s

  1. loved it! but how does it survive rains? (what is the abbual rainfoall where you are?
    thanks for sharing this beauti with us

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