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Living With Nature

My tiny cob house is unheated, another one of those unplanned events.  While the climate here is "moderate", the temperature range each year is well outside what is normally considered comfortable, with temperatures each year typically ranging from 15 to 100 deg. F. (-10 to 38 deg. C.), though it has been much higher and lower on rare occasions.  Between the thermal mass of the cob and the heat of the earth below the house, the temperature inside the building has ranged from 38 to 85 deg. F. (3 to 29 deg. C).

  Most people in the developed world would consider this completely unbearable, where in other parts of the world, it's just a normal part of life.  Having lived with this temperature range for the last three years, there are a few observations I think are worth noting.

Like probably everyone reading this, I did not have much tolerance for large temperature shifts, particularly in the cold end of the range.  During late Fall and early Winter of my first year here, I wore lots of extra clothing and still I was always cold, at least initially.  Around mid to late January, I looked over at the thermometer one day and saw that the temperature inside was 43 deg. F. (6 deg. C.), then I looked down at myself, I was barefoot and wearing only shorts, and a tee-shirt.  By living without heat, I had regained much of my body's natural tolerance for cold temperatures.  My second winter here there was no adjustment period, and the following March I realized that I had never even taken my jacket out of the closet, not even to go outside.  I have also noticed while living here that my night vision is improving, undoubtedly because I spend more time outside at night, and since I am off-grid, I minimize the use of artificial lights at all times.

The point here is that the energy we use to make our lives more comfortable actually makes us weaker and reduces our tolerance for "nature".  The human body is highly adaptive, and has evolved to live in the natural world around us; however, what we do not use, we lose, so next time you feel a little uncomfortable, push your limits, and live with it a while before turning on a light or heat!

For more information on my house (including photos), see: The Forty Acre House


Hi there,I know you are not thrilled about having or writing a 'blog' but I love reading it! We are hoping to build our own cob home sometime next year. Do you have photos you can send us of yours or other homes you have worked on?Móna Wise

I have added a link from this article to: The Forty Acre House where pictures have now been added to the story.

Glad you like the "blog".  I actually enjoy writing it, it's just the term I object to because in my mind it is associated with poorly written low grade drivel that I often see on the internet.  I just don't want my low grade drivel to be associated with that of everyone else Laughing

I recall reading somewhere that Native Americans typically lived with little or no clothing year-round, and that they blamed the loss of their natural good health and vitality on being forced (or otherwise influenced) to wear the white man's clothing. I was raised in Texas and used to "freeze" at 68 degrees. Now I live in the Pacific NW and I can hardly ever even find an occasion to wear a wool sweater. For me, 68 is now a nice, warm day, and like you, I find myself wearing shorts in 40-something-degree weather. I have a feeling we'd all be healthier if we tried, as you suggest, living WITH natural temperature swings instead of always fighting against them.