Shalina Luna and her daughter, Joli Galvan, were glued to the TV on Tuesday evening with a dozen or so close friends who helped them build a 700-square-foot earthen house in the Ignacio area.
Luna, Galvan and their friends’ trials and tribulations building their own earthen home were featured in Tuesday’s episode of “Building Off the Grid” on Discovery’s DIY Network, and Luna and Galvan held a viewing party at the Himalayan Kitchen.
“We really hope that it’s educational,” Luna said in a telephone interview Monday.
Luna said she had experience in different construction methods helping build homes in urban areas of Oregon and Mexico, and her husband, Ben Griffith, has experience building trusses, which all helped building the straw bale house on her Ignacio property for Galvan, 18.
The family already lives in an off-grid house on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. Both homes are made of locally sourced, natural materials and powered by renewable energy.
“The hardest thing for me was mudding the home. You never realize how much mud it takes to build a house until you’re literally putting it on. And then you’re trying to do it when it’s like 30 degrees at night,” Luna said.
Like the main house, Galvan’s earthen bungalow is solar powered and has a water catchment system.
“We ran into so many mishaps along the way, so many things you don’t really think you’re going to need to face, so it’s always a question of getting things done,” Luna said.
Tuesday’s episode of “Building Off the Grid” won’t be the last for Luna, Galvan, Griffith and their construction crew friends.
The family will be building a guest house on a mesa top that will use locally sourced timber that they will mill themselves, and it, too, will be filmed by DIY.
Construction on the mesa-top, all-timber guest house will begin in mid-June.
The tricky part of building the guest house will be that vehicles with trailers can get within only about 100 yards of the building site.
The family has already started prepping the site, and will be cutting trails from the road to the guest house.
“We have our work cut out for us. I bought some donkeys this week. I’m hoping they’ll help me,” Luna said.
Luna said the family has begun going to a sawmill in Bayfield to learn how to run the machinery and has begun picking trees for the timber.